Archive for
December 2022

Comments for Sunday, December 25, 2022, thru Sat., Dec. 31, 2022:

December 31, 2022 - While driving around doing grocery shopping this afternoon, I finished listening to CD #9 of the 9-CD audio book version of "A Hunter-Gatherer's guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life" by Heather Haying and Bret Weinstein.

Hunter-Gathers Guide

Wow!  What a great book!  When I was about 1/4th done, I obtained a Kindle copy of the book and started reading it, too.  But, I soon stopped and just listened to the audio book.  Here's one passage I underlined:

Our species’ pace of change now outstrips our ability to adapt. We are generating new problems at a new and accelerating rate, and it is making us sick—physically, psychologically, socially, and environmentally. If we don’t figure out how to grapple with the problem of accelerating novelty, humanity will perish, a victim of its success.
I may finish reading the Kindle version at some later date, so that I can underline and save more key passages.  I may also listen to the audio book again at some later date.  That's something I've never even considered before for any other book.

Here's part of Amazon's description of the book:
We are living through the most prosperous age in all of human history, yet people are more listless, divided and miserable than ever. Wealth and comfort are unparalleled, and yet our political landscape grows ever more toxic, and rates of suicide, loneliness, and chronic illness continue to skyrocket. How do we explain the gap between these two truths? What's more, what can we do to close it?
The two authors are evolutionary biologists, and they expertly explain how humans evolved and how our current lives are incompatible with how we have evolved.  We evolved to live in clans and tribes, but today most people do not even know their next door neighbors.  We were built to adapt to change, but change is now coming so rapidly that we cannot easily adapt.  As someone who read the book commented: "The human brain hasn't sufficiently evolved to be compatible with Twitter."

That may partially explain why Twitter (and most of social media) is so dominated by personal attacks and conspiracy theorists.  Everyone on Twitter is from "a different clan" and they all are trying to tell you how "their clan" and their beliefs are superior to yours.

If or when I finish reading the Kindle version, I'll write another review and quote some more key passages.

December 29, 2022
- I recently discovered a new science podcast called "The Science Show."  It's produced in Australia, so everyone speaks with an Australian accent, but the first few episodes I downloaded and listened to were absolutely fascinating.  The first episode that attracted my attention is from January 14, 2022, and it is titled "Hedy Lemarr actress and inventor who helped develop the modern world."

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was a very beautiful movie actress from the 1940s, who was sometimes called "the most beautiful woman in the world."  I've known for many years that Hedy Lamarr was also an inventor, but it was my recollection that she invented something to do with radar range finding.  This episode made it clear that her invention has to do with "frequency hopping."  That's a term that was unfamiliar to me, until I listened to the episode. 
It appears that, without "frequency hopping," cell phones wouldn't be possible.  Nor would a lot of other things.   If you didn't have "frequency hopping," every cell phone would have to use a different transmission frequency.  And that would mean that someone could just turn on a radio receiver and start going through the frequencies to pick up phone calls from everyone.

Hedy Lamarr's invention, patented on August 11, 1942, was to have the transmitter and receiver change frequencies in unison many times per second.  That way, no one can tune into your frequency without knowing the exact pattern to your "frequency hopping."  It's the technology behind GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.  I've looked around the Internet for a simple description of the invention, but I couldn't find one.  The Science Show podcast, however, explains things very well.

It's something I never thought about before.  It showed me that I've been making false assumptions about Wi-Fi communications, but I never realized it because I've never really discussed the issue with anyone, and therefore it was never explained to me how my false assumptions could not possibly work.

You learn something new every day.  This one was "jaw-dropping" for me.

The Science Show episode about H.G. Wells was also fascinating and filled with things I never knew before.

December 28, 2022
- Sometimes it seems like I don't do anything the way "normal people" do them.  I go to the gym 4 times a week to "exercise."  But what I call "exercise" doesn't appear to be what everyone else in the world calls "exercise."

I do the same routine every time.  I walk for 22 minutes on the treadmill, going 3 miles per hour.  I then work out on 6 different weight machines, doing 75 "reps" on each machine: lift up weights, pull down weights, a row, a reverse row, an arm curl and a reverse arm curl.  And, finally, I sit on a bicycle and peddle it for 20 minutes.  It's basically the same routine I've been doing for nearly 40 years. 
What I don't do is huff and puff and grunt and groan.  I don't do "body building."  I just "exercise."  

A couple days ago, while I was doing my regular 20 minutes peddling a bicycle at my Planet Fitness gym, one of the guys who works in the place started talking to me.  It was a conversation similar to many I've had.  He asked about my routine, and when I told him, he couldn't comprehend that I did 75 "reps" on 6 different weight machines.  What "normal" people do is about 10 reps, then they stop to huff and puff, and then they may do another 10 reps.  How could I possibly do 75 reps?  The answer is simple: I use 25 pound weights when "normal" people use 50 pounds or 75 pounds.  I use 35 pound weights when "normal" people use 100 or 150 pound weights.  I just exercise, I don't do body building.

Here is a dictionary definition of "exercise":

activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.
That's what I do.  I exercise to sustain my heath and fitness.
Yesterday, I did a Google search for "body building vs exercise."  There were no sites which compare those terms.  Instead they compare "body building" to a "fitness session."  According to one site:
Although the two fitness regimes might seem similar to each other, they are in fact very different. Fitness workout/modelling is a more recent offshoot of exercising, while bodybuilding has been around since the late 1960’s.
Hmm.  Okay.  So, what I do is "a recent offshoot of exercising."  I should be saying that I'm doing a "fitness workout."  Then people will hopefully understand.

You learn something new every day.

December 27, 2022
- I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, mostly podcasts about science.  Those podcasts always have a scientist or astronomer as one of the hosts, and the co-host is usually a non-scientist. Here are 5 examples from my web page about podcasts:
The Infinite Monkey Cage
Hosts: Brian Cox (scientist) and Robin Ince (comedian)

Big Picture Science
Hosts: Seth Shostak (astronomer) and Molly Bentley (science journalist)

Hosts: Fred Watson (astronomer) Andrew Dunkley (journalist)

Astronomy Cast
Hosts: Fraser Cain (publisher of Universe Today) and Pamela Gay (astronomer)

Daniel and Jorge Explain The Universe
Hosts: Daniel Whiteson (physicist) and Jorge Cham (online cartoonist)
One thing that is clear to me after listening to hundreds of these podcasts is that I'm never in disagreement with any of those scientists or any of the other scientists on the other podcasts I listen to.  However, it is also very rare for them to discuss time dilation, which is the subject which seems to be at the heart of most disagreements I've had on science forums.  And those disagreements involved mathematics versus reality.  In one recent episode of SpaceNuts, Dr. Fred Watson did a lengthy explanation of the difference between mathematical models and reality, which I totally agreed with.  I just wish I'd made a note of which episode it was so that I could quote from it right now.  As I recall, however, it was about warping space-time, not about time dilation.

Of course, all those podcasts and many others are created for enjoyment by non-scientists - for people like me, who aren't scientists, but who enjoy learning about science.  Science is a fascinating subject.

My point is: There seems to be a difference between the way science is practiced and the way science is taught.  And that difference, of course, is in the way mathematics is used.  It is extremely rare for any podcast discussion about science to involve mathematics.  But, if you want to discuss science on the Internet, it seems that they will only discuss the math - and they endlessly argue about the math.  While I haven't participated in any discussions there in a long time, I check the sci.physics.relativity forum every morning to see what is being discussed.  What is always being discussed and is almost never being agreed upon is the mathematics of some science problem or issue. 

Of course, the Internet is infested with trolls.  If you have a belief that no one else on Earth agrees with, the place to argue it is on the Internet.  And the result is trolls arguing with trolls.  And such arguments produce nothing but conspiracy theories.  After all, if everyone in the world disagrees with you, it cannot be because you are wrong, it must be because of some kind of conspiracy. 

And lately there have been a lot of podcasts about conspiracy theories and theorists.  Fascinating stuff, particularly the Flat Earthers.

December 25, 2022
- I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Comments for Sunday, December 18, 2022, thru Sat., Dec. 24, 2022:

December 22, 2022 - Yesterday afternoon, I finished listening to the last of the Everything Everywhere Daily podcasts that were available and of interest to me.  It was the 760th episode I'd listened to.  As of this morning, there are 899 episodes available, but that number includes re-runs and some episodes about sports and ancient history that weren't of any interest to me. This morning I downloaded today's 11 minute episode about The Winter Solstice.  I put it into my 2-terabyte portable hard-drive, where I've stored the other 760 episodes.  Later I'll transfer that episode from there into my MP3 player.  That portable hard-drive also contains 145 episodes of The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast, which is my favorite podcast and the only podcast for which I've downloaded and listened to every episode.  When I finish listening to a podcast episode, I delete it from my MP3 player, but a copy remains on my portable hard-drive.

It's somewhat of a relief to be up-to-date on Everything Everywhere Daily (EED) podcasts.  Sitting around and listening to episode after episode of a podcast is not my favorite way to pass time, but "finishing what I started" can become an obsession sometimes.  On October 19, I started listening to EED and printed a list of all the episodes that had been aired as of that time.  And I started checking off episodes I downloaded and as I listened to them.  That created a "goal" for me.  I had to finished the list. I also noted which episodes I found to be particularly interesting, which is about 10% of them.  For example, I noted the recent episode about NASA's Human Computers as being particularly interesting.  Here's a quote from the episode:
The first use of the term “computer” dates back to the early 17th century. The first known written reference to the word computer was actually in 1613.

A computer was nothing more than a person who computes, in the same way, that a baker is someone who bakes and a cleaner is someone who cleans.
And another quote:
There were electronic computers used in solving equations for space flight, however, the early engineers for NASA didn’t actually trust them. They felt that human calculations would be more accurate because that was what they had become accustomed to.

When some of the first electronic computers arrived, they were often given to human computers as it was seen to be part of their job responsibility. As such, many of the first computer programmers were the same women who were human computers. 
And another:
In the late 50s and early 60s, as the space program began to launch its most important missions, it was these women, who by now numbered in the hundreds across the country, who were responsible for calculating the orbital trajectories upon which the missions would succeed or fail.
Two days ago, when this episode of EED was created, there was still one 85-year-old woman working as a "human computer" for NASA.  Her name is Sue Finley, and she began working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1958.

It's learning interesting stuff like that which caused listening to EED to become somewhat of an obsession for me.

December 20, 2022
- According to, Trump's NFT cards sold out in less than a day.  When I first saw the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) cards being advertised by Trump, I couldn't imagine anyone being dumb enough to spend $99 for a digital "card" with Trump's head photo-shopped onto some picture copied off the Internet.  Here's a sample:

Trump NFT

But, it appears that the collection of 45,000 NFTs sold out in less than a day, earning someone about $4,600,000.  The cards were owned by a company called NFT INT LLC, whose mailing address traces to a UPS store in Park City, Utah.

Trump evidently just earned some fee for allowing that company to use his name.  Their web site states:
These Digital Trading Cards are not political and have nothing to do with any political campaign. NFT INT LLC is not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, CIC Digital LLC or any of their respective principals or affiliates.
According to an article on, most of the basic pictures (without Trump's face) are just taken off the Internet, a lot from web sites for clothing companies and stock photo sites.  Some even still have logo on them identifying which site they were copied from.

While Trump undoubtedly received some fee for allowing the use of his name and for providing the filmed announcement that the cards were for sale, he certainly didn't do his status any good.  A lot of his major supporters denounced the scheme, including Steven Bannon.  It seems to be solid evidence that screwball schemes are Trump's basic method of operation.

I always viewed Trump as a sleazy huckster, I just never expected Trump to demonstrate it so clearly and undeniably.  

December 18, 2022
- The more I read about Flat Earthers, the more convinced I become that it is a psychology subject, not a science subject. And because it is about psychology, it doesn't matter how many facts and how much evidence you present, you won't change many minds.  A Flat Earther just sees facts and evidence as arguments that you are claiming to be smarter than he is - or that you are trying to trick him into believing nonsense.

While psychology interests me as a subject for study, it's generally not a very good subject for discussion.  I've been in countless discussions where nothing can be resolved because no one can agree on how to resolve a dispute.  I've never been in an argument with a Flat Earther, but I've been in countless arguments with mathematicians.  My arguments
with mathematicians always hit a wall when I want to discuss known facts and logic and they will only discuss mathematics.  So, we have no way to resolve our disagreements.

I imagine it would be similar with Flat Earthers.  I would  want to discuss facts and logic, and they would only want to state their beliefs.
Yesterday, I decided to do a Google search.  I was going to seek answers to "How do Flat Earthers explain lunar eclipses?", but when I finished typing the word "explain" Google filled in the rest of the question as "How do Flat Earthers explain time zones?"  So, I hit "enter" and checked that question first.  The answers from various articles published on the Internet were all very convoluted and boring, so I went back and finished typing my original question.  I was then provided with a link to the answers as given on The Flat Earth Society's web site."

Interestingly, they provide two totally different answers.  The first answer is titled "Electromagnetic Acceleration" and involves curved light rays.  They provide a link to a very detailed answer, complete with illustrations and arguments.  The second answer is a lot shorter and more interesting. It is titled "Lunar Eclipse due to Shadow Object."  Here's part of that explanation:
A Lunar Eclipse occurs about twice a year when a satellite of the sun passes between the sun and moon.

This satellite is called the Shadow Object or Antimoon. Its orbital plane is tilted at an angle to the sun's orbital plane, making eclipses possible only when the three bodies (Sun, Object, and Moon) are aligned.
So, the Lunar Eclipse doesn't happen because the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, it happens because some mysterious "shadow object" that orbits the Sun passes between the sun and the moon as seen by the viewer on Flat Earth.  And here is their explanation of a Solar Eclipse:
During the day the celestial bodies near the sun are invisible. An example of this is seen in the appearance of the Moon during the Solar Eclipse. The Moon seems to appear out of nowhere to intersect the Sun.
So, the moon can block our view of the sun, but the Earth cannot prevent light from the sun from hitting the moon when both the sun and the moon are always in orbits above the Flat Earth. 

Browsing the Flat Earth Society's web site, I found a page titled "The Conspiracy."  It contains this (mis)information:
There is no Flat Earth Conspiracy. NASA is not hiding the shape of the earth from anyone. The purpose of NASA is not to 'hide the shape of the earth' or 'trick people into thinking it's round' or anything of the sort.

There is a Space Travel Conspiracy. The purpose of NASA is to fake the concept of space travel to further America's militaristic dominance of space. That was the purpose of NASA's creation from the very start: To put ICBMs and other weapons into space (or at least appear to). The motto "Scientific exploration of new frontiers for all mankind" was nothing more than a front.
And they support their beliefs with a very interesting true quote:
    "Control of space means control of the world. From space, the masters of infinity would have the power to control the earth's weather, to cause drought and flood, to change the tides and raise the levels of the sea, to divert the gulf stream and change temperate climates to frigid. There is something more important than the ultimate weapon. And that's the ultimate position. The position of total control over the Earth that lies somewhere in outer space."
    —Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement on Status of Nation's Defense and Race for Space, January 7, 1958
Click HERE for one source verifying that quote.  There are lots of others.

But it's a quote from a different era.  We were afraid of things in 1958 that are no longer obsessed about in 2022.  Today we have other things to worry about.  Control of the world from space is still something to think about, but we have many ways to prevent anyone from taking control that way.

And we have the Internet, which allows you to get answers from Flat Earthers without actually having to sit down and talk with them.  If you want to try to change their minds, then you have to actually talk with them.  But that also makes you a crusader for your views.  I'm just interested in how people think.  I'm interested in why they believe what they believe.  I have no interest in converting anyone to my way of thinking.  They, however, are passionately interested in demonstrating that their beliefs are superior to mine (and yours).  That seems to be their only purpose in life.

They're not conspiracy theorists.  They're egotists.

Comments for Sunday, December 11, 2022, thru Sat., Dec. 17, 2022:

December 15, 2022 - This morning I listened to a terrific podcast episode about "Flat Earthers."  It was on the "Point of Inquiry" podcast, and the guest on the episode was Kelly Weill, author of a book about Flat Earthers titled "Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and why people will believe anything."  I'm definitely going to try to find a copy of that book somewhere.

Generally, Flat Earthers don't really qualify as conspiracy theorists.  A lot of their beliefs come from being religious.  Many do not even believe in gravity.  As they see things, heavy objects are simply heavier than the air, and that is why they do not float around. There's also a lot about a spherical globe moving through endless space that conflicts with their religion, so they basically just do not pay attention to what the facts are, and they believe what they feel comfortable believing.  And they like to hang around with people who believe the same way.  Very few just believe in a Flat Earth without also believing in some conspiracy theory, but it's just their way of making things more understandable for themselves.

It was the first episode of Point of Inquiry that I have listened to.  But this afternoon I downloaded three more, including one about science deniers and another about conspiracy theorists.  I just hope they are at least half has good as the Flat Earther episode.

December 13, 2022
- A couple days ago I mentioned that the most recent episode of my favorite podcast, The Infinite Monkey Cage, is titled "The Age of Conspiracy?".  At that time I hadn't yet listened to that episode, but now I've listened to it at least 3 times.  At about the 2 minute 40 second mark, a professor from the University of Manchester introduces himself and says,
"I think the most interesting conspiracy theories are those that are true, like the conspiracies about big business trying to make us believe tobacco wasn't harmful to heath or that there was a problem with the overwhelming majority view that there is climate change and it is unprotogenic." 
I listened to that sentence about ten times as I tried to transcribe it and get the last word correct.  I recall a book about how the tobacco industry tried to discredit all the science which showed tobacco was harmful.  It's an excellent example of a true conspiracy to cover up the truth.

In another introduction, someone mentions that he once talked with a flat earther who said that his group was very respectable and had members all around the globe.

Then someone talks about Isaac Newton and how Newton's theories about gravity changed the scientific world and remain valid today, but Newton also had screwball beliefs about how the universe works.  He believed in alchemy and believed that metals are alive.  He also thought you could change lead into gold, and that worried a lot of people who worried that if what Newton believed was true it could destroy our whole monetary system.

I wish there was a print version of the episode, since there are so many great things in it and I'd like to underline and study further.  I remember things much better if I see them in print, versus just hearing them in a podcast.

There are also lots of new books about how people are trusting science less and less, and are instead trusting things they read on social media.  That is also mentioned in the podcast.  The basic idea seems to be that if a person hasn't seen it for himself, he has no reason to believe it.  On the podcast they joke about a German town that "may not exist," because very few people have ever been there, and those that have been there found the place to be totally forgettable.

I'm fascinated by screwball conspiracy theories and how people can believe them simply because they don't know how to do research.

December 11, 2022
- The other day I learned about a podcast I'd never heard of before.  It is called "Cautionary Tales," hosted by Tim Harford.  It's a podcast about history.  History is one of  my favorite subjects, so I browsed through the 64 episodes that had been produced so far, and I found only two that seemed like they might be interesting.  The first was titled "Cautionary Conversation: The Conspiracy Theorist Who Changed His Mind." It's a 45 minute episode in which Tim Harford talks with fellow podcaster David McRaney about a famous 9-11 conspiracy theorist.  Here's part of the description of the episode:
Charlie Veitch was certain that 9/11 was an inside job. The  attack on the World Trade Center wasn't the work of Al-Qaeda, but an elaborate conspiracy. He became a darling of so-called "9/11 truthers" - until he actually visited Ground Zero to meet architects, engineers and the relatives of the dead. The trip changed his mind... there was no conspiracy. 

His fellow "truthers" did not take Charlie's conversion well.
I wish there was a transcript of the episode, since it is all about how conspiracy theorists form groups, and because they have found others who think the same way they do, they become more certain that they are right.  It's like every person they find who agrees with them causes their beliefs to virtually double in strength.  Facts and evidence, of course, are just viewed as false beliefs the bad guys are trying to use to hide "the truth" and change your mind.  And if someone in the group changes his or her mind, the entire group will attack that person as a traitor.  When Charlie Veitch changed his mind, they harassed his family in terrible ways.  For Charlie Veitch it was as if a "social death" is worse than an actual death.  He was hated by all the people who formerly considered him to be one of their group.  He had to change his job, change his name, and move to another city to escape the harassment.

The episode also discusses "deep canvasing," which sensible people use to get others to change their minds about beliefs.  It may not work on those who have firm beliefs, but it definitely works on those who just believe without really thinking about why they believe what they believe.  It's basically what I tried to do when talking to conspiracy theorists (and mathematician scientists).  But they were all "firm believers"  who have the support of many others who believe as they believe.

It was a fascinating episode.  And so was the episode titled "The Inventor Who Almost Ended the World."  That episode is about
Thomas Midgley Jr., the scientist who developed tetraethyl lead and some of the first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), better known in the United States by the brand name Freon.  His inventions stopped car engines from "knocking" and allowed refrigerators to replace ice boxes.  Unfortunately, his chemicals didn't decay.  They remain around forever in the atmosphere, and would eventually kill everyone on earth by destroying the ozone layer that blocks most harmful ultraviolet light from the sun.  It took decades for the world to realize the damage that Midgley's inventions were causing and to replace them with less harmful chemicals.  

I knew about leaded gasoline and problems with Freon, of course, but I didn't know the same scientist invented both, and he was a hero before he almost became "a destroyer of worlds."

This morning, as I was checking for new podcasts, I saw that my favorite podcast, The Infinite Monkey Cage, has a new podcast titled "The Age of Conspiracy?".  It looks very interesting.  I'll listen to it as soon as I finish this Sunday comment.

Meanwhile, the price of gas is still going down at the stations near me.  It's currently $2.84
9 per gallon.

And that problem I mentioned on December 1, about my science papers getting negative reads, has gone away.  Here's what the statistics look like this morning:

                    papers reads

The red numbers are negative numbers, meaning that the total number of reads for a paper went down that day, instead of up.  It appears that from November 28 to December 1 was doing something extra to remove "reads" done by various search engines, like Google, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, etc.  (When I was keeping track of who was visiting this web site, it seemed like there are dozens of search engines.)  The statistics above keep track of "unique" readers for each paper, which means that the first time someone with a given IP address accesses a specific paper, it is logged as a "read."  If he accesses that same paper again a week or month later using the same IP address, it does not register as a read.  Today, 5 "unique reads" were registered for five different papers.  But, chances are it was just one person who accessed and read 5 different papers for the first time.

Comments for Thursday, December 1, 2022, thru Sat., Dec. 10, 2022:

December 7, 2022 - Hmm.  I can't say I was surprised by Raphael Warnock's win over Hershel Walker in Georgia's runoff election yesterday, but I was a bit surprised that it was only by 51.35% over 48.65%.  And it appears that only about 50% of the eligible voters in Georgia actually cast their votes.  What would it take to get the other 50% to vote??

When people ask me why I voted for Joe Biden in the last Presidential election, I tell them I didn't vote for Biden, I voted against Donald Trump.  It just happens that the only sure way to vote against Trump was to vote for Biden.  Writing in "Mickey Mouse" wouldn't be voting against Trump, it would be throwing away my vote.  It would be the same as not voting.  And I definitely wanted to vote against Trump.

It appears that for almost half of American voters, if they don't particularly like either candidate in a race, he or she just doesn't bother to vote. They see most elections as just one jerk running against another jerk, so why bother voting if you do not care who wins?

But I cannot comprehend why anyone would vote for Hershel Walker or Donald Trump.  When I argued with relatives who voted for Trump, they didn't know about or care about all the crooked, sleazy, corrupt, brainless things Trump had done. They just didn't want to vote for any "politicians."  All politicians do is argue with one another without ever getting anything done -- except for raising taxes.  And giving money to the government so that they can give it to someone else is like stealing. 

Based upon that kind of reasoning, it appears that Hershel Walker got nearly 50% of the votes because he's an idiot, NOT a politician.  Idiots are generally harmless.  Politicians want to do harm to those who voted against them.  So, it's better to vote for an idiot.

Thankfully, it appears that slightly more than 50% of Americans would rather elect a politician than an idiot.

December 6, 2022
- Hmm.  When I drove to the gym yesterday, I saw that the price of a gallon of regular gas at the station down the street from me had dropped another 2 cents to $2.95
9 per gallon.  Clearly I need to stop being surprised by unusual changes in the price of gasoline during these unusual times. 

There's probably nothing that demonstrates how unusual these times are than that everyone is waiting to see the election results in Georgia.  It's like waiting to see if Georgia re-elects their current Senator or decides instead to elect a broken record.  How did a broken record get on the ballot in the first place?!  And how can the election be a "tight" race???

The answer seems to be that there are a lot of people in this world - and in this country - who do not want things to be logical.  It is logical that things change over time.  They do not want that.  They want everything to go back to the way they were in the past.  "Make America Great Again!" they shout.  When was American "greater" than it is today?  That's not a valid question.  In reality, they just want things to stop changing.  America was "great" when there weren't so many people around who are trying to change things.

It's just too puzzling for me.  I'm going to end this comment and just listen to some podcasts.  The podcasts I listen to are usually very educational.  What better way is there to spend my free time than to spend it learning about new things and things I never knew before?  Maybe there's a podcast out there somewhere that will make it clear why there can be a "tight" election in Georgia between a Senator and a broken record.  It seems it must have something to do with the fact that some people mostly think logically and some people mostly think emotionally.

December 4, 2022
- Hmm.  When I went out to do some shopping yesterday, I saw that the price of a gallon of regular gas at the station down the street from me had dropped 2 cents to $2.97
9 per gallon.  I don't think I've ever seen the price of gas drop by just 2 cents before.  And a couple days ago I wrote a comment about how in the past few years I've never seen the price of gas drop below $2.999.  When it dropped to that   price, the next change would always be an increase.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the desire to drive around to other stations to see if they also dropped their prices by 2 cents.  However, I did that today and found that other stations were indeed also now selling gas at
$2.979 per gallon.  That tells me that local gas stations may be competing by brand, but they are working together to avoid competing by price.

I'm still spending a lot of time listening to podcasts, but I'm no longer hunting for new podcasts which might be interesting.  I've found enough to keep me busy for years.  That doesn't mean, however, than I won't learn about other podcasts.  While listening to some podcast a couple days ago, they mentioned a podcast I'd never before heard about, called "History of the Second World War."  History is a favorite subject of mine, and I've always been interested in World War II.  So, I did a search for the podcast.  I found it and downloaded a few episodes to check out.  As of right now, it only has 120 episodes, and all seem to be about Europe and the war that Germany started.  There's nothing about Pearl Harbor and the war in the Pacific - so far.  However, my search also found a different podcast called "History of World War II."  It consists of 395 episodes so far, and they also seem to be mostly about the war started by Adolph Hitler, with very little about our war with Japan.  So, I downloaded some episodes of that show, too.  I haven't yet listened to any of the episodes from either show.  I need to find the time.

I definitely need to keep better track of the individual podcast episodes I find to be of particular interest - for all the different podcast series I listen to.  I printed out a list of the first 2½ years of Everything Everywhere Daily podcasts, and when an episode is particularly interesting, I write the word "interesting" next to the episode on the list.  But, I'd have to go back and listen to it again to recall exactly what was so "interesting."

Yesterday I listened to an episode about "The Assassination of President William McKinley."  I marked the episode as "interesting."  McKinley as shot by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz.  McKinley was also the third American President assassinated in 36 years.

Just before he was executed, Czolgosz stated,
“I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people – the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime."
Hmm.  Today I don't think we would call Czolgosz an "anarchist."  We'd probably call him a "Right Wing Radical".  The episode also contains this tidbit of information:
After three presidential assassinations in 36 years, steps were finally taken to improve presidential security. Agents of the Treasury Department, known as the Secret Service, were immediately assigned by congress to provide protection for the president, and that became permanent in 1902.
Before McKinley's assassination, apparently no one thought that the President might need some kind of security force for protection.  It took 3 assassinations in 36 years to change their minds: Lincoln in 1865, Garfield in 1881 and McKinley in 1901. 

December 2, 2022
- When I drove to the gym yesterday, I saw that the price of a gallon of regular gas at the station down the street from me had dropped another 10 cents to $2.99
9 per gallon.  The last time gas was that low was when I filled up on January 2, 2022, eleven months ago.

I don't know if I feel angry because I didn't wait another day to fill up, or if I should be happy that the price went down again.  But I don't really think emotionally, so it just makes me curious as to whether the price will go lower on the next change or go back up again.  My records show that the price went down to $2.99
9 a few times in 2021, but it would then go back up again.  It never went below $2.999.  I suspect that is what the future holds.  So, if I had checked my records before filling up this time, I would definitely have waited a day or so.  And, the facts and evidence seem to say that the next price change will be upwards.

But while the "facts and evidence" may accurately show what happened in the past, they don't always accurately show what will happen in the future.

Meanwhile, the number of reads yesterday for my science papers were all positive.  So, I'll have to wait for awhile before I can decide what all those "negative reads" I discussed in yesterday's comment were all about.

December 1, 2022
- The price of a gallon of regular gas at all the stations near me is now $3.09
9, the lowest price I've seen in many months.  I filled up my tank yesterday at the station just down the block from me, even though I still had over half a tank full.  I wanted to fill up before the price went up again, but mostly I wanted to fill up because the temperature outside was 22 degrees Fahrenheit.  It's better to keep the tank full at such a low temperature so that there isn't much air in the tank that can condense into water and ice.

I'm still listening to a lot of podcasts, but I think I've reached a point where I'll just be listening to my favorite podcasts, and I'll no longer be hunting for interesting new podcasts.  If I'm listening to a podcast and someone mentions another podcast that I've never heard of, I might check it out, but otherwise I've found more than enough podcasts to occupy my time.  What I really need to do is keep better track of the podcast episodes that are of particular interest, in case I might want to refer to them or listen to them again.

I also need to think about how long I'm going to continue with this web site.  I created my first web site back in the early or mid 1990s.  It's purpose was to expose fake photographs I was finding on the Internet.  Then in 2001 I shut down the fake-photograph site and created a web site to keep track of all the information about the anthrax letters that were mailed right after 9-11.  I stopped updating that site when I created this site on January 1, 2015.  It's main purpose was to promote my books and my science papers as I continued to look for problems and mysteries to study and try to solve.
Recently, I've noticed a new "mystery," which is also somewhat of a problem.  Since April 21, 2016, I've been keeping track of how many people have been reading my science papers.  On July 19, 2019, I saw my first negative number.  How can you have a negative number of readers?  Since then, I've seen negative numbers appear from time to time, but there wasn't much I could do about it.

Then, a few days ago, things really started going nuts.  I keep track of the "reads" on a spreadsheet.  Here what that spreadsheet now looks like:

science papers views

I'm mostly getting negative numbers (which I enter in red and bold).  On Tuesday I had a running total of 1,424 "unique" reads for my paper about The Reality of Time Dilation.  (A "unique read" is a read by someone at an IP address that has never been logged before for that paper.)  On Wednesday I had a running total of 1,421 reads, 3 less than the day before.  And, as you can see, with the exception of my paper on Stationary Points In Space, every paper has recently had negative numbers. has a FAQ page which has this question and answer:

Why does the document download count sometimes go down? Can't you fix it?

We only want to count downloads by real people, but documents are also downloaded by search engine robots for indexing purposes. To remove these the system looks for IPs which download many documents and then removes them from the statistic. Sometimes a robot IP is only identified after it has been counted previously. The count then gets adjusted down. We can't look into the future so there is no practical and legitimate way to fix this other than to take away the popular usage feature altogether. This is why other repositories do not provide similar statistics. It is just one of many reasons why such usage counts cannot be perfect. Authors must just accept this as a consequence of the imperfect counting method used, or ignore the count altogether.

So, they're removing views by search engine robots?  Does that mean search engine robots are suddenly accessing my papers more frequently?  Whatever the answer, it looks like there isn't much I can do about it - except to continue to watch it to see what eventually happens.

© 2022 by Ed Lake