Ed Lake's web page

If you want my opinion ......
you've come to the right place.

Welcome to Ed Lake's web site!

I also have an interactive blog open for discussions

You can go directly to them by clicking HERE.

Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

My interests are writing, books, movies, science, psychology, conspiracy theorists,
p
hotography, photographic analysis, TV, travel, mysteries, jazz, blues, and ...

just trying to figure things out.

A major interest: Fact Finding
I have a fascination with Time and Time Dilation.                                Another interest: Movies Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Comments for Sunday, March 17, 2019, thru Saturday, March 23, 2019:

March 21, 2019 - Besides checking my web site statistics, another thing I do every morning after turning on my computer is to check my two Blogs to see if there has been any interesting activity:
http://anthraxdebate.blogspot.com/
http://oldguynewissues.blogspot.com/
The last time I put something on the anthrax blog was on April 2, 2018, when Scott Decker's book was published.  And the last time I put something on the oldguynewissues blog was on February 26, 2018, over a year ago.   I think the last time any reader made a comment about any of my posts was in July 2018.

Starting about a month ago, however, when I went to the owner's page which shows the blog statistics, I started seeing this message at the top:

I had no idea what any of that means.  And I didn't have the time to try to figure it out.  Then, a couple days ago I got an email from Google that said,

I'm still not sure exactly what is going on, but it seems like they are going to delete my two blogs.  Clicking on the links doesn't help.  They talk in a language that is Greek to me.  Evidently, everyone in the world does things with blogs in a different way than I do them.

It's no great loss to me if those blogs are deleted.  I will go through the process of saving copies of them, however.  The anthrax blog was started on October 6, 2011.  So, there are about 140 posts from me with hundreds (maybe thousands) of reader comments in response to my posts.  I'm not sure what I will do with the copies, but it's better to save copies than to wonder if I'm making a mistake by not saving them.  It's a good thing that I have a 1 terabyte auxiliary hard drive that still has about 25% empty space.

It will be interesting to see what happens on April 2.  If the blogs are deleted, then it will mean there are two things that I will no longer have to do each morning.  If the blogs are not deleted, then I'll have another unsolved mystery on my hands: What were those messages all about?

March 20, 2019
- Every morning I check my web site statistics to see who has visited this web site in the past 24 hours.  This morning, the graph showing "Daily usage" for the month of March looked like this:

Hmm.  Obviously, something unusual happened yesterday.  The number of visitors was about normal, but there were an unusual number of "hits" and a lot more "files" were visited than was normal.  That's usually the sign of a hacker.

But, when I checked the logs to see who it was, it turned out to be the Kentucky Department of Education.  Other statistics pages informed me they had visited just 4 times, but they had accessed 34 different "pages" and registered 347 hits.  The first "visit" occurred at 8:36 in the morning and lasted until about 8:43 a.m., but it appears to have been seven identical computers accessing my site at about the same time (08:36:41, 08:36:42, 08:39:54, 08:40:15, 08:40:28, 08:41:00 and 08:42:56).  Since they all used the same IP address and were accessing my site at the same time, they all registered as just one "visit".  (Each seems to have visited the main text file and the 8 picture files that are part of the main page.  I have no idea why only 34 files were counted as having been accessed.  It should have been 4x9=38.)  The second "visit" began at 9:48 a.m. and lasted until about 9:50 a.m., again with multiple computers  The third "visit" began at 12:19 p.m and lasted until 12:27 a.m., with about 20 computers accessing my site.  The fourth "visit" began at 1:30 p.m. and lasted until 1:49 p.m., with only about 5 computers.

Okay.  It seems that a teacher in three different morning classes and one afternoon class had his or her students access my web site.  Why?  Did it have something to do with my comment about photons on March 17?  Or was it something else entirely?  None of the accesses went beyond the main page, so whatever they were looking at must have been on the main page.

All the accesses were via Google.  They didn't directly access www.ed-lake.com. But I've seen that when most people want to access ed-lake.com, they do not go direct, they type ed-lake.com into Google's search engine and Google provides a link to my page, which they then click on to get to my page.

I suppose it could also have been just the teacher who accessed my page to show something to the class on a big screen TV, then showed some other web site, then back to mine, and then another web site, going back and forth.  I don't know what that would look like on my logs, but I suspect it wouldn't show as 347 hits.  The first visit would be registered and subsequent visits would get the 8 picture files from the computer's cache, not via totally new accesses to my site.

All I can say with any degree of certainty is that it is something I've never seen happen before.

March 18, 2019
-
I recently finished listening to "Trust No One," an audio book which contains a collection of 15 "X-Files" short stories by 17 authors.

I borrowed the audio book on February 27, and have been listening to a short story from time to time when I had nothing better to do.  While the book certainly wasn't a waste of time, and there were no stories in it that I just stopped listening to because they were bad, there also wasn't a single story in it that is worth mentioning or discussing.  Like the TV series, the "X-Files" short stories generally have some supernatural element to them which FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are never able to fully "solve" and present to the FBI or to the world as a "case closed."  Instead, cases are usually closed because the mystery stopped occurring and all the evidence vanished after Mulder and Scully barely escaped with their lives.  It's an ending, but it's not a satisfying ending.

Plus, I'm evidently not someone who really likes short stories.  I prefer novels, although funny short stores (like those by Spider Robinson) are an exception.  I enjoyed those.  But are there any other authors of funny short stories?  I dunno.

Meanwhile, this morning, I downloaded eleven podcasts by national security expert Richard A. Clarke.  I haven't yet fully listened to any of them, but they are discussions with people like President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice, Secretary Madeline Albright, and reporters Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz.  They were all recorded in 2018, just before the mid-term elections.  I heard about them on Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast #334.  Clarke discussed his podcasts on that podcast, and it seemed like they could be very interesting and something I really want to listen to.  All I need now is to find the time to listen.

March 17, 2019
- For most of the past week I've been working on my scientific paper tentatively titled "Visualizing Photons."  I hesitate to write anything about it here, since whenever I did that in the past, I ended up changing things, which would mean that what I had written in a comment here was no longer what I was thinking.  Coin-shaped photons, for example.  For awhile it seemed that a photon had to be coin-shaped if it is going to fit through the slots in a polarizing filter.  But I was misled by all the drawings the text books and web sites have which show how polarization works for waves.  One example:

When you see a diagram like the one above, it suggests that only something tall and flat will get through the filter.  It also suggests that maybe one wave in ten (or one wave in ten thousand if light waves truly "vibrate in any direction") gets through the filter.

Here's how Encyclopedia Britannica illustrates light waves going through a polarizing filter:

It looks like one wave in four gets through.  But, in reality, just about exactly one half of the waves (i.e., half of the photons) get through the filter.  That is a VERY important fact, since it means that waves (i.e., photons) that are 1 degree to 45 degrees off of vertical get realigned to be vertical.  They are not vertical when they enter the filter, but they are vertical when they come out.

And how can anyone believe that light consists of waves which are comparable to water waves or sound waves?  How can you have water waves oriented in every direction?  Or sound waves?  There is absolutely no comparison between how light works and how water waves and/or sound waves work.

To confuse matters even more, an electromagnetic wave is typically visualized as shown in the illustration below (except that magnetic fields are more often colored blue and electric fields are colored red):

In the illustration above, which wave is depicted in the illustrations showing light being polarized?  You have two waves working together.  Which gets polarized by a vertical polarizer?  The sources rarely say.  You have to research that specific question to find that it is the magnetic field that is usually shown in the polarized light illustrations.  If the electric field is oscillating in the same direction as the slit-openings in the filter, the entire photon or wave will be absorbed by the filter (and presumably re-emitted in some random direction away from the filter, although the sources never mention that).

Awhile back, I decided that the electric and magnetic fields of a photon must radiate away from the photon itself.  So, I decided a photon looks something like the image below when one field is half-way contracted and the other field is half-way extended:

Now I see I'll have to change it to have the blue arrows pointing toward the photon instead of away from the photon, because while the electric field is expanding, the magnetic field is contracting.  Again I was misled by what is shown in all the texts and web pages about light waves.  They show the two fields extending at the same time, just in different directions.

And, too, the illustration above does not explain how a photon that is tilted less that 45 degrees will get through a filter, or how a photon that is tilted more than 45 degrees will be absorbed by the filter.  If you assume that the filter has openings only wide enough to allow photons that are tilted less than 45 degrees to get through without bumping into the sides, you soon realize that makes no sense.  It demands high precision that just isn't required when making polarizing filters.  The answer seems to be that the fields are not two-dimensional as shown in the illustration.  In reality, it appears the photon is spherical, but the intensity of the electric field varies from 100% at vertical to zero at horizontal.

I'm still working out the details, but it looks like a pretty good theory.  I have no idea how long it will take me to finish the paper, but I'm hoping it will be a matter of weeks, not months.

Meanwhile, another mystery distracted me for a short time last week.  On March 13, nine people accessed my paper about Einstein's First Postulate and six people accessed my paper about Einstein's Second Postulate.  That is definitely not normal.  Normal for the Second Postulate paper is about 4 unique readers per week, although there have been  a few one-day surges in the past.  However, there have been only 84 unique readers of the First Postulate paper since I  uploaded the first version on September 21, 2017.  There were 10 unique readers on the first day, but since that time it's been less than one unique reader per week.

Why did nine people access the paper for their first time on March 13?  I have no idea.  It can't be just some coincidence, so there must be some "word of mouth" involved.  But who?  Where?  When I checked my web site logs, I found that someone from Drexel University in Philadelphia visited my site for the first time on March 13.  Is there a connection?  I have no idea.  There doesn't appear to be any way to determine where the nine first-time readers were located, much less who they were, or so it's a mystery without any means to solve the mystery.

 Comments for Friday, March 1, 2019, thru Saturday, March 2, 2019: March 1, 2019 - Yesterday evening, at around 6 p.m. I finished listening to another science fiction novel on my MP3 player.  It was "The Rolling Stones" by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1952. The book attracted my interest because it was by Heinlein and it was considered one of Heinlein's best works.  That fact that it was written for teenagers wasn't enough to deter me from reading it.  It turned out to be an enjoyable 7 hours and 2 minutes of listening time, with quite a few laughs.  Wikipedia summarizes the story this way: The Stones, a family of "Loonies" (residents of the Moon, known as "Luna" in the book [from the Roman goddess]), purchase and rebuild a used spaceship and go sightseeing around the Solar System. The twin teenage boys, Castor and Pollux, buy used bicycles on Luna to sell on Mars, their first stop, where they run afoul of local regulations but are freed by their grandmother Hazel Stone. While on Mars, the twins buy their brother Buster a native Martian creature called a flat cat, which produces a soothing vibration, as a pet. In preparation for the asteroid belt, where the equivalent of a gold rush is in progress prospecting for "core material" and radioactive ores, the twins obtain supplies and luxury goods on Mars to sell at their destination, on the principle that it is shopkeepers, not miners, who get rich during gold rushes. En route, the flat cat and its offspring overpopulate the ship so the family places them in hibernation and later sells them to the miners. The novel ends with the family setting out to see the rings of Saturn. The book contains a lot of details about orbits, about using gravity to gain speed when going from place to place, and about living in zero gravity and on moons and planets with less than 1G of gravity.  No one travels faster than light, and it takes many months to get from the Earth's moon to Mars and from Mars to the asteroid belt.  And the book is also about getting sick while you are millions of miles from the nearest hospital.  The mother of the two teenage boys is a medical doctor, and she has to transfer to another ship while they are on their way to Mars because a "neo-measles" epidemic has broken out on that ship, and that ship's doctor was one of the first to die from it. The science described in great detail in the book is generally solid, although a bit dated.  It contains some details about Martians and the Martian landscape that we now know is totally wrong.  Today, no one would ever write a science fiction novel in which there are ancient cities on Mars.  We've sent robots to Mars and they've explored Mars, so we know there are no ancient cities (or canals) there, much less life forms.  Fortunately, Martians and Martian cities are not critical to the story.  They are just mentioned as part of the sightseeing experience on Mars.  And it appears that the cuddly, purring "flat cats" that live on Mars have a well-known connection to "The Trouble with Tribbles" on Star Trek.

 Comments for Sunday, February 17, 2019, thru Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019: February 20, 2019 - This afternoon, while driving around doing chores, I finished listening to CD #4 of the 4 CD audio book set for "The Order of Time" by Carlo Rovelli.   While it was generally worthwhile, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend the book.  Too much of it is philosophy instead of science.  But Rovelli does make some good scientific points.  For example, he says this on page 43: For millennia before clocks, our only regular way of measuring time had been the alternation of day and night. The rhythm of day followed by night also regulates the lives of plants and animals. Diurnal rhythms are ubiquitous in the natural world. They are essential to life, and it seems to me probable that they played a key role in the very origin of life on Earth, since an oscillation is required to set a mechanism in motion. Living organisms are full of clocks of various kinds—molecular, neuronal, chemical, hormonal—each of them more or less in tune with the others. There are chemical mechanisms that keep to a twenty-four-hour rhythm even in the biochemistry of single cells. Later on the same page, Rovelli says,   Aristotle is the first we are aware of to have asked himself the question “What is time?,” and he came to the following conclusion: time is the measurement of change. Things change continually. We call “time” the measurement, the counting of this change. and So if nothing changes, if nothing moves, does time therefore cease to pass? Aristotle believed that it did. If nothing changes, time does not pass — because time is our way of situating ourselves in relation to the changing of things: the placing of ourselves in relation to the counting of days. Time is the measure of change: if nothing changes, there is no time. I agree with that, although I wouldn't phrase things that way.  Its a philosophical view, not a scientific view where (in my view) time is simply particle spin.  Change and other effects of particle spin are measurements of time, not time itself. Quantum Mechanics, of course, looks at time differently.  It quantizes time.  It requires that time consist of multiples of a specific unit ("quanta").  On page 54, Rovelli writes this about how time is viewed in Quantum Mechanics: The time measured by a clock is “quantified,” that is to say, it acquires only certain values and not others. It is as if time were granular rather than continuous. and The “quantization” of time implies that almost all values of time t do not exist. If we could measure the duration of an interval with the most precise clock imaginable, we should find that the time measured takes only certain discrete, special values. It is not possible to think of duration as continuous. We must think of it as discontinuous: not as something that flows uniformly but as something that in a certain sense jumps, kangaroo-like, from one value to another. In other words, a minimum interval of time exists. Below this, the notion of time does not exist—even in its most basic meaning. It's difficult for me to make any sense of that, and Rovelli doesn't try to.  He just describes it as another way for a philosopher to view time. The books provides a lot to think about, particularly about how entropy relates to time, but the net result of spending 4 hours and 23 minutes listening to the book while two weeks went by is more akin to confusion than enlightenment. February 18, 2019 - I my February 16 comment I mentioned that I had accessed some podcasts for the first time.  It was the first time I found podcasts that didn't require joining something and paying a fee.  The podcasts were on a web site titled Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, and there are currently 348 podcasts available. I began by listening to episode #348 in which the host of the show, David Barr Kirtley, interviews astrophysicist and science fiction writer Gregory Benford.  While the whole interview was enjoyable and worthwhile, I found something very interesting near the end, at about the 1 hour, 2 minutes and 40 seconds mark.  At that point Benford says, I'm always trying to use my unconscious as much as possible in order to avoid extra labor. I think one of the great [mumble] about people is whether they've learned to use their unconscious to solve problems.  I use it every day. I review all the things I'm working on just before I go to sleep, and when I wake up in the morning I do not open my eyes, I lie there and recall what I was working on.  And about one time in three there is an idea there - for free - and it almost always works!  And it's been produced by your unconscious, which has still been working while you were asleep. That's exactly what I do!  I've mentioned it in comments I've written here many times.  Recently, I've been thinking about photons just before going to sleep, hoping that my unconscious mind will figure out something while I'm asleep.  I think it needs more information.  So, I'm going to have to do more research. In the Interview, Benford also mentions discussing the unconscious mind with another scientist, and together they wondered:   We evolved with an unconscious.  Why?  Why did we evolve with an unconscious mind? They had no answer to that.  Maybe they need to think about it just before going to sleep.  Or maybe I do. After finishing Episode #348, I started on Episode #347.  In it, David Barr Kirtley interviews three different science fiction writers about a science fiction anthology TV series titled "Dimension 404."  The series is on Hulu, and I'm not a subscriber, so I've never seen it.  I don't even know how to access Hulu. But, very little of the show was about "Dimension 404."  Mostly it was about other things.  They talked past TV anthology series such as "The Twilight Zone," "The Outer Limits," "One Step Beyond" and "Amazing Stories."  And there is also a series titled "Black Mirror" on Netflix, which I've also never seen.  They also talked about a book called "The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos," which I had never heard of before. I was probably ten minutes into the show when I had to grab a pen and a piece of paper so I could start making notes.  I didn't know Jeff Bezos had a company called "Blue Origin" which is involved with space exploration.  I may have read about it or heard about it before, but it never registered the way it did while I was listening to that podcast.   I listened to all or parts of about 6 other episodes, working backward through the list, and while they weren't all as interesting as the first two I'd heard, they sometimes caused me to grab that paper and pen again to make notes.  In one episode they mentioned other podcasts, such as Hardcore History, and shows by Joe Rogan.  I downloaded samples of those to check out.  I think I've just sampled a tiny tiny fraction of all the podcasts that are available.  Just prowling around this morning, I found that Science magazine has a web site of podcasts.  I downloaded a couple samples to check out when I find the time.  Meanwhile, someone sent me a link to a talk by an American doctor who was asked to fly to India in 1989 to treat Mother Teresa, who appeared to be dying.  I could only listen to it on my computer, but I'd like to save it as an MP3 file.  It's fascinating and funny, while at the same time being very serious and bizarre. It appears that I'm going to be listening to a lot of podcasts in the future.  I might even start taking my MP3 player with me again when I go to the gym. February 17, 2019 - Sometimes when I'm researching how photons and light waves work, I just feel like just giving up.  Things make no sense. Last week I researched the size of various atoms.  The books and articles and web sites all seem to generally agree on these sizes for various atoms: Barium (Ba) has a radius of 0.253 nanometers (253 picometers) Strontium (Sr) has a radius of 0.215 nanometers (215 picometers) Calcium (Ca) has a radius of 0.197 nanometers (197 picometers) Sodium (Na) has a radius of 0.190 nanometers (190 picometers) Lithium (Li) has a radius of 0.167 nanometers (167 picometers) Silver (Ag) has a radius of 0.165 nanometers (165 picometers) Copper (Cu) has a radius of 0.145 nanometers (145 picometers) And they also seem to generally agree that wavelengths have these sizes: And they all seem to agree that light is created this way: So, a photon hits an atom and is absorbed, which causes the outermost electron in the atom to jump to a higher, unstable energy level. The electron then falls back to its original energy level and the atom releases the extra energy in the form of a new light photon.  According to an on-line source: During the fall from high energy to normal energy, the electron emits a photon -- a packet of energy -- with very specific characteristics. The photon has a frequency, or color, that exactly matches the distance the electron falls. You can see this phenomenon quite clearly in gas-discharge lamps. Fluorescent lamps, neon signs and sodium-vapor lamps are common examples of this kind of electric lighting, which passes an electric current through a gas to make the gas emit light. The colors of gas-discharge lamps vary widely depending on the identity of the gas and the construction of the lamp. A frequency that matches a distance?  What does that mean?   You can also cause light to be emitted by applying heat to an atom.  Heat will cause the electron to jump to a higher level and then back down again to emit a photon.  The type of atom being heated will determine the color of the light that is emitted.  According to an on-line source, Sodium Na produces yellow color, Copper Cu gives blue. Barium Ba emits green and Strontium salts and lithium salts produce: Lithium carbonate, Li2CO3 emits red Strontium carbonate, SrCO3 emits bright red. Okay, so a sodium atom that is 0.38 nanometers in diameter will emit a yellow light wave that has a length of 580 nanometers - or a photon that is 290 nanometers in diameter.  And if that wave or photon hits a silver atom that has a diameter of 0.33 nm, it will be fully absorbed, and the silver atom will then emit a totally new 290 nm photon or new wave that is 580 nanometers long. How does an atom that is 0.33 nanometers in diameter absorb a light photon that is 879 times larger than the atom?   Or how does an atom absorb a wave that is 1,758 times the size of the atom?  Someone on Quora.com asked the question "How big is a photon?" and the general consensus seems to be that there is no answer to that question.  The answer that received twice as many "up votes" than everyone else put together was from a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of British Columbia who wrote: I’m pretty sure there is no possible answer to that question. A photon is a wave — usually a wave packet, which limits and fuzzily defines its net “length”, but it can occupy any number of different volumes and still be the same quantum. What is the size or volume of a shout? How can such a basic question have no possible answer?  Is it because no one is looking for an answer?  Because no one cares? While trying to find an answer (because I care) I found a link to a book that says this on pages 21 and 22: Physicists had known for nearly three decades that something was wrong, that a change was desperately needed to understand what was happening in the world of the very small—the world of atoms. But they were working blind. Atoms are simply too small to see through any normal microscope, no matter the magnification. The wavelength of visible light is thousands of times larger than the size of an individual atom. That's exactly what I just wrote.  Going back to the start of the book, I found this on pages 5 and 6: Despite the fact that every physicist agrees that quantum physics works, a bitter debate has raged over its meaning for the past ninety years, since the theory was first developed. And one position in that debate—held by the majority of physicists and purportedly by Bohr—has continually denied the very terms of the debate itself. These physicists claim that it is somehow inappropriate or unscientific to ask what is going on in the quantum realm, despite the phenomenal success of the theory. To them, the theory needs no interpretation, because the things that the theory describes aren’t truly real. Indeed, the strangeness of quantum phenomena has led some prominent physicists to state flatly that there is no alternative, that quantum physics proves that small objects simply do not exist in the same objectively real way as the objects in our everyday lives do. Therefore, they claim, it is impossible to talk about reality in quantum physics. There is not, nor could there be, any story of the world that goes along with the theory. The book (published in 2018) is "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker.  The book goes on to say, The popularity of this attitude to quantum physics is surprising. Physics is about the world around us. It aims to understand the fundamental constituents of the universe and how they behave. Many physicists are driven to enter the field out of a desire to understand the most basic properties of nature, to see how the puzzle fits together. Yet, when it comes to quantum physics, the majority of physicists are perfectly willing to abandon this quest and instead merely “shut up and calculate,” in the words of physicist David Mermin.  and, This is an astonishing state of affairs, and hardly anyone outside of physics knows about it. But why should anyone else care? After all, quantum physics certainly works. For that matter, why should physicists care? Their mathematics makes accurate predictions; isn’t that enough?  No, it is not enough.  I could quote endlessly from the book, even though I've only read the first 22 pages so far.  The point seems to be that Quantum Mechanics is not about the real world, it is about calculating probabilities.  And the book doesn't seem to provide any answers, it seems to just describe the reason no one is even looking for answers: Physicists are fully satisfied with calculating probabilities.  As long as they can calculate probabilities and get good results, no one cares what is actually going on at the atomic level. When looking at the book on Amazon's web site, they displayed another book published in June of 2018 that looks interesting and similar: "Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray Hardcover" by Sabine Hossenfelder.  I mentioned that book in my June 2, 2018 comment, when it first came out.  And that book led me to another book published in 2018: "Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different" by Philip Ball.  It has this famous Richard Feynman quote on page 6: “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” And then it goes on to explain what Prof. Feynman meant: In case we didn’t get the point, Feynman drove it home in his artful Everyman style. ‘I was born not understanding quantum mechanics,’ he exclaimed merrily, ‘[and] I still don’t understand quantum mechanics!’ Here was the man who had just been anointed one of the foremost experts on the topic, declaring his ignorance of it. The book goes on to say, Feynman’s much-quoted words help to seal the reputation of quantum mechanics as one of the most obscure and difficult subjects in all of science. Quantum mechanics has become symbolic of ‘impenetrable science’, in the same way that the name of Albert Einstein (who played a key role in its inception) acts as shorthand for scientific genius. Feynman clearly didn’t mean that he couldn’t do quantum theory. He meant that this was all he could do. He could work through the math just fine – he invented some of it, after all. That wasn’t the problem. Sure, there’s no point in pretending that the math is easy, and if you never got on with numbers then a career in quantum mechanics isn’t for you. But neither, in that case, would be a career in fluid mechanics, population dynamics, or economics, which are equally inscrutable to the numerically challenged. No, the equations aren’t why quantum mechanics is perceived to be so hard. It’s the ideas. We just can’t get our heads around them. Neither could Richard Feynman. His failure, Feynman admitted, was to understand what the math was saying. It provided numbers: predictions of quantities that could be tested against experiments, and which invariably survived those tests. But Feynman couldn’t figure out what these numbers and equations were really about: what they said about the ‘real world’. The existence of these three books, all published in 2018, tells me that others are bothered by the problem.  And they aren't afraid of writing about it.  So, I'm not alone.  But it sometimes seems like I'm the only one who is trying to make sense of it all.  They write about the problem, not about attempts to solve the problem. No one is saying that it is impossible for an atom to absorb and emit a photon that is a thousand times larger than the atom.  It is just not something that happens in the visible universe.  Or does it?