Archive for ed-lake.com
June 2016

Comments for Sunday, June 26, 2016, thru Thursday, June 30, 2016:

June 29, 2016 (B) - Yesterday, someone sent me an email that said,
Have you parsed closely or noticed the wildly different stories between the FBI vs others claiming the Orlando shooter was active in the gay community? I seem to have run across three articles describing three different individuals saying he visited Pulse frequently and/or was gay. But the FBI says no forensic evidence...
I replied,
I noticed the different stories, but I leave it to the FBI to sort them out.  Eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable in situations like that.
In the back of my mind I felt Orlando was another "Truther" situation where a group of people would start to believe that they knew "the truth," and whatever "the truth" was that they believed, it wouldn't match the official version.

This morning, someone else sent me an email that contained no message, only  a link to a New York Times article titled "After Orlando Shooting, ‘False Flag’ and ‘Crisis Actor’ Conspiracy Theories Surface."  The article begins with this:

After the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, Twitter brimmed with news reports of the carnage. But some posts on the massacre that claimed 49 lives also included a curious phrase: “false flag.”

It was a code used by conspiracy theorists to signal their belief that the government had staged the massacre and the information the public was reading and hearing from the mainstream media was untrue.

The victims in the shooting? They were “crisis actors” hired to promote the story as a pretext to impose tighter gun restrictions, the theory goes.

That theory reminds me very much of Professor James Tracy's theory about the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook.  The Orlando Truther theory is almost word for word the same: It was all staged by the government as part of a plot to take away our guns!

How much evidence would be required to convince the "Orlando Truthers" that their theory is just plain nuts?  More than anyone can possibly find.

The New York Times article ends with this:

Still, trying to quash conspiracists can be a no-win proposition.

“For someone who believes in a conspiracy, you can’t go wrong,” Derek Arnold, who teaches communications at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, wrote in an email.

“If the powers that be give you information that is against your theory, it’s a lie; if it supports your theory, you are even more vindicated. And if they stay silent, it’s because [they've] got something to hide.”

The 9/11 Truthers are still out there.  They still have their web sites and they still preach theory theories to anyone who will listen.  The same with Anthrax Truthers who are still filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documents that they believe will prove their theories.  And if the documents prove nothing, then they file more FOIA requests.  If the government redacts some name or phrase in a document, or if they say they cannot provide a requested document because it contains classified or confidential personal information, then that is proof that the government is hiding something.

I don't pay much attention to Anthrax Truthers or 9/11 Truthers any more.  The Orlando Truther arguments show how ridiculous the "Truther" beliefs are.  Professor James Tracy started writing letters to the parents of the Sandy Hook murdered children to ask them to confess that their children hadn't really been murdered, that it was all just a government hoax.  Now I suppose the Orlando Truthers will start doing the same with the relatives of those murder victims.  There's nothing I can do about it.  I tried for over ten years to change the minds of Anthrax Truthers.  They all still believe what they want to believe.

So, now I just view them as I view the rantings of Donald Trump.  When it's my time to vote, I'll vote.  Until then, I just keep an eye open.  That's all I can do.  That and to remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
June 29, 2016 (A) - This morning, someone on the "Astrophysics and Physics" Facebook group posted another article about dormant black holes.  However, the article titled "Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population" doesn't use the word "dormant."  In addition to "clandestine black hole," it refers to "quiet black holes and "stealth black hole."  But the real problem I see is that it doesn't mention "dark matter," either. 

The article says,
"there may be a vast number of black holes in our Galaxy that have gone unnoticed until now."
And,
"Because this study only covered a very small patch of sky, the implication is that there should be many of these quiet black holes around the Milky Way. The estimates are that tens of thousands to millions of these black holes could exist within our Galaxy, about three to thousands of times as many as previous studies have suggested."
Once again, it seems that something totally obvious to me is being totally missed by astronomers.   Obviously, dormant black holes and dark matter are the same thing.  I fully realize I could be the one who is wrong, but the other recent articles (see my June 26 comment) about "primordial black holes" and "dormant supermassive black holes" made the connection to dark matter, speculating that they could be the same thing.  Why not the "millions" of "clandestine" black holes?  Could they be the explanation for dark matter, too?

When I posted my comments about this most recent article and the possible connection between dark matter and dormant black holes, I also wondered about some other implications of dormant black holes:

It's one thing to argue that matter falling into a black hole gets crushed down to "an infinitely tiny point" because that is what the math suggests, but how does that "infinite point" continue to exist when nothing is falling into the black hole? How do you get "infinity" as a result when zero is the only number being added? Does zero plus or minus zero still equal infinity?

The same with the theory that everything that falls into a black hole is going through some infinitely tiny "doorway" into another universe. How does the math say that "doorway" stays open when nothing is falling into the black hole?

To me, it seems "obvious" that there is some as-yet-undiscovered form of compressed matter at the center of black holes.  Infinite points are mathematical answers that seem to have nothing to do with the reality of black holes.  IMO

I could be totally wrong, of course.  But, until someone explains to me where I am wrong, I'll continue looking for the answers myself. 


June 28, 2016
- I think I suffer from chronic curiosity.  This morning when I turned on my computer, Microsoft showed me an image I'd never seen before.

tallest skyscraper

Coincidentally, I'd watched a TV program the night before about the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, which is the tall building in the picture.  At 830 meters (2,717 feet) in height, it is more than twice the height of the Empire State Building, which is 381 meters (1,250 feet) tall, and Burj Khalifa is almost 700 feet taller than the next tallest building in the world (the Shanghai Tower).  Somehow, I'd never realized that skyscrapers were now being built anywhere near that tall.  In the past, a hundred feet taller than the previous record was a big deal. 

 I traced the image back to the source to see if there were more images I hadn't seen, and I found over a thousand of them, all very large, "wallpaper" sized images.  Here's  a cat and mouse picture that caught my eye:

Cat and mouse

I spent over an hour going through them all.  They ranged from this map of our upside down world,

map of the upside down
                  world
 
to magazine and book cover illustrations,

book cover illustration

to oddball signs,

warning sign

and nature photography,

sunset

and scenes from great movies and TV series:

Wall-E

I could go on and on, but all it proves is that I'm easily distracted by the Internet, particularly when I'm supposed to be working on other things.

That's all folks

June 26, 2016 - Yesterday morning, I received a notification that someone had posted something to the "Astrophysics and Physics" Facebook group.  It was the first time I could recall getting such a notification, and I'd totally forgotten that I had applied to join the group a couple weeks ago.  It has 72,289 members.

Anyway, I looked through the recent posts and found that they all seemed to be about serious physics and astrophysics subjects, mostly posts of scientific articles from real scientific web sites.  There were no Science Truthers anywhere in sight.

On the negative side, there seems to be very little discussion of the articles after they are posted, and many who post the articles seem to be people from India and Russia who struggle with writing in English.  Nevertheless, several articles were of great interest to me.  The first was an article titled "Dormant Black Hole Eats Star, Becomes X-Ray Beacon.
The article begins with this:
Roughly 90 percent of the biggest black holes in the known universe are dormant, meaning that they are not actively devouring matter and, consequently, not giving off any light or other radiation. But sometimes a star wanders too close to a dormant black hole and the ensuing feeding frenzy, known scientifically as a tidal disruption event, sets off spectacular fireworks.

Astronomers from the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan are the first to document X-rays bouncing around deep within the walls of a once-dormant black hole’s newly formed accretion disk—the giant, puffy cloud of shredded star stuff circling the black hole, waiting for its turn to be swallowed up—during a tidal disruption event. Using these data, the researchers discerned the shape and activity of the accretion disk near a supermassive black hole named Swift J1644+57. 

This marks the first time such detailed observations have been made for a dormant supermassive black hole.
Using Google to research "dormant black holes," I found an article from NASA titled "NASA Scientist Suggests Possible Link Between Primordial Black Holes and Dark Matter."  It begins with this:
Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe's existence, known as primordial black holes.
The two articles do not seem to be talking about exactly the same thing.  The first one is about dormant "supermassive black holes."   The second article is about "primordial black holes," with no indication about their size other than some hints that they wouldn't be very large.

This morning, I checked out the "Astrophysics and Physics" group again and found an article from Johns Hopkins University titled "Did a gravitational wave detector find dark matter?" that is also about "primordial black holes."  It says,
When an astronomical observatory in the United States this winter detected a whisper of two black holes colliding in deep space, scientists celebrated a successful effort to confirm Albert Einstein's prediction of gravitational waves. A team of Johns Hopkins University astrophysicists wondered about something else: Had the experiment found the "dark matter" that makes up most of the mass of the universe?
and
"We consider the possibility that the black hole binary detected by LIGO may be a signature of dark matter," wrote the scientists in their summary, referring to the black hole pair as a "binary."
and
A matter of scientific speculation since the 1930s, dark matter has recently been studied with greater precision; more evidence has emerged since the 1970s, albeit always indirectly. While dark matter itself cannot yet be detected, its gravitational effects can be. For example, dark matter is believed to explain inconsistencies in the rotation of visible matter in galaxies.
and
Primordial black holes are believed to have formed not from stars but from the collapse of large expanses of gas during the birth of the universe. While their existence has not been established with certainty, primordial black holes have in the past been suggested as a possible solution to the dark matter mystery. Because there's so little evidence of them, though, the primordial black hole-dark matter hypothesis has not gained a large following among scientists.
The reason these articles were of such great interest to me is because, back on January 31, I created a blog thread titled "Inactive Black Holes and Dark Matter" in which I describe my search for information to support an hypothesis that dark matter and dormant black holes might be the same thing.  At that time, I could find nothing that really supported my hypothesis.  And then, yesterday and today I found three articles which seem to vaguely support it.

The problem is: It seems to me like such an obvious thing.  I can't understand why there aren't hundreds of articles on the Internet that argue (or declare) that dormant black holes and dark matter are the same thing.  And why must dark matter consist of only "primordial" black holes?

It all seems very similar to what happened with my hypothesis that "Time is particle spin."  I searched and searched for some scientific paper that might support my theory and found absolutely nothing.  Yet it seemed like such an obvious conclusion.  Then, one day, while just browsing NPR's Space Time YouTube videos I found one that indicated nearly exactly what I hypothesized (I wrote about it in my June 14 C comment). It describes an atom as a "box" which holds the spinning particles which can slow down and cause time to slow down.  But, I still can't find anything else anywhere that describes time that way.

What's going on?!  These are very important subjects!  Yet, it seems that people with scientific interests cannot communicate unless a person happens to be talking with another person who has exactly the same interests and who is trying to solve the exact same problem the first person is trying to solve.

discussion of black holes
                  and dark matter

I finished creating the above cartoon and writing the above comment at around 11 a.m. this morning.   Then I puttered around for awhile and ate lunch.  While eating lunch, I read a bit from the book I've been reading on my Kindle during breakfast and lunch for the past few weeks.  The paragraph below is from "The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality":
And yet, astronomy itself was changing. The traditional go-it-alone aesthetic was disappearing. The diversity of the science and the complications of technology were forcing the field into greater and greater specialization. You couldn’t just study the heavens anymore; you studied planets, or stars, or galaxies, or the Sun. you didn’t study just stars anymore, either; you studied only the stars that explode. And you didn’t study just supernovae; you studied only one type. And you didn’t study just Type Ia; you specialized in the mechanism leading to the thermonuclear explosion, or you specialized in what metals the explosion creates, or you specialized in how to use the light from the explosion to measure the deceleration of the expansion of the universe—how to perform the photometry or do the spectroscopy or write the code. A collaboration could easily become unwieldy.
That's kind of spooky.  It supported and seemed to explain what I'd just written.  Can it be that no one can see "the obvious" anymore because everyone is too specialized?  Maybe they can't talk about "the obvious" anymore, because you need to see "the big picture" to see the obvious.

Or maybe I just don't see all the details that explain why dormant black holes are not dark matter and why Time is not simply particle spin.  Maybe.


Comments for Sunday, June 19, 2016, thru Saturday, June 25, 2016:

June 23, 2016 - For what it's worth, on Monday I finished listening to another audio book while working out at the gym.  It was titled "Hollywood Said No: Orphaned File Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show," by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross.  It wasn't particularly interesting, it was a little too far-fetched for my tastes, and most of it went in one ear and the other because I had other things on my mind most of the time.
 
Hollywood said No

This afternoon, I finished another audio book I got from my local library's humor section at the same time as "Hollywood Said No."  The second book was called "A Load of Hooey" by Bob Odenkirk. 

A Load of Hooey

I was able to pay more attention to this one than the previous book, and I enjoyed it a bit more.  However, I still got the strong feeling I should have been spending my mental time at the gym on other things -- even though the "book" involved less than 3 hours of listening time.

Throughout the book they gave occasional "Famous Quotations - Unabridged," which started with a famous "abridged" real quotation and ended with a fictional additional "missing part."  Example:
J. R. R. Tolkein: "It's the job that is never started that takes longest to finish, but that's nothing compared to writing a trilogy; that takes f**king forever. 
Since I haven't been able to finish the 3rd book in my trilogy for what seems like "forever," that "unabridged" quote really hit home.

I used to get a lot of intense thinking done while walking on the treadmill and peddling the Exercyle at the gym.  I'm starting to think that one reason I haven't been able to get started on my 3rd sci-fi novel is because I'm not thinking about it as much as I should be.  I've been listening to audio books instead.  Starting tomorrow, I'm going to try leaving my MP3 player at home.  Maybe it will help.  If it doesn't, I can always start listening to audio books again.  (Listening to CD audio books while driving is a very different situation.  I'll continue doing that, particularly since I'm really enjoying the book to which I'm currently listening.)

June 19, 2016 - While I was driving around running errands yesterday afternoon, I finished listening to the last of 6 CDs for the audio book version of "Around The World In 80 Days."

Around The World In 80
                  Days

It wasn't the Jules Verne novel, it was a non-fiction book published to accompany a BBC TV series from around 1989 that starred Michael Palin.  Palin also did the reading for the 7½ hour audio book. Here's Amazon's description:

In the autumn of 1988 Michael Palin set out from the Reform Club to circumnavigate the world, following the route taken by Phileas Fogg 115 years earlier. He had to make the journey in 80 days - accompanied by a BBC film crew - using only forms of transport that would have been available to Fogg. Their voyage took them from the opulence of the Orient Express to the stench of a Venetian refuse-collecting boat; from the lurching progress of an Egyptian camel called Michael to the heights of a hot-air balloon over Aspen,Colorado. Palin was attacked by a parrot in Hong Kong, given a close shave by an apparently blind Indian barber and accepted into the Brotherhood of Mariners by King Neptune himself - all recorded by the BBC film crew and resulting in a six-part television series on BBC1. This book is the story of, and the story behind, the making of that television series.
The trip involved some travel via sailing ships, but several long sea voyages were done on container ships.  Container ships do not normally carry passengers, but arrangements were made, since otherwise they would have had to travel on cruise ships that couldn't change their schedules to accommodate BBC's needs.  I suspect Phileas Fogg also had problems with train schedules and ships that didn't leave on time, plus last minute changes in plans when some ship broke down and couldn't leave port for weeks.  The book also contains a lot of interesting details about the people and lands though which they traveled, but there's no way to make notes while driving, so I can't provide any interesting quotes.  Travel books are good books to listen to while driving, and this one was no exception. 

I had a lot on my mind last week, so the audio book I'm currently listening to on my MP3 while working out at the gym has been largely going into one ear and out the other.  I'd really like to find a scientist who was willing to answer the question I mentioned in my June 13 comment:
If I am at the top of a set of stairs talking with someone at the bottom of the stairs, I am talking with someone IN THE PAST - as a result of gravitational Time Dilation?
I'd say the answer is obviously "No, both people are in the present, even though time is moving slower for the person at the bottom of the stairs."  But, what is "the present" in that context?  So, a "yes" or "no" answer wouldn't help me much. I need a detailed explanation.

It seems like such a simple question that one would think it should be easy to find the answer somewhere on the Internet.  But I don't know if anyone has phrased the question exactly that way before, so I'm not certain what I should be searching for.  The same "who is in the past?" question applies to people on the International Space Station talking with ground controllers in Houston or Florida.  Only then you would have to compute who is "in the past" utilizing velocity Time Dilation in addition to gravitational Time Dilation.

Yesterday, I did a Google search of cartoon images related to time dilation and this one popped up:

Time dilation issues
No, my watch isn't slow, your clock is fast.

I added my own caption.  It seems to fit, and it's certainly funnier than the original caption: "I make it 90 billionths of a second over 80 years."  And it might even be funnier than the cartoon I put together using an image from the Internet and my text:

Romeo time dilation
                  problem


I was also thinking of a cartoon like the one below, and I finally slapped together this version:

apartment time dilation
                  question

As I was looking around for other cartoons I could modify to create cartoons to illustrate my time dilation question, I found an interesting article titled "Einstein’s Mistaken Time Dilation Prediction." The author, Harry Hamlin Ricker, begins the article with this:
The purpose of this short note is to expand upon a conclusion I discussed in my paper on the Irksomeness of Einstein’s Special Theory Of Relativity . There it was pointed out that the famous prediction made by Einstein in his 1905 paper was false. Einstein said that a clock placed at the equator should run more slowly than an identical one located at one of the poles of the earth. Obviously it was implicitly assumed that the earth’s rotation would produce a relative motion between the clocks that could be used to test the prediction. As was pointed out in that paper, there is no relative motion at all, so the prediction is a false one.
A paragraph later, Mr. Ricker wrote:
After writing my paper, I later learned that Dr. Carl Zapffe had published a similar conclusion in his booklet “Seven Short Essays”. There he states the following: “…the Einstein clock had no real motion with respect to the coordinate axes of the Earth’s field…” He drew the conclusion that since there was no real motion, there would be no time dilation observed in the experiment. From this it is obvious that Einstein’s most famous “discovery” was based upon a mistake.
I'm surprised that no one has pointed out either author's misunderstanding to them. Mr. Ricker's "implicit assumption" is total nonsense. But it's a very good example of how someone can think that Relativity is ONLY about relative motion and not about ACTUAL motion. So, Ricker bizarrely believes that Einstein somehow saw some "relative motion" between a stationary clock at the equator and a stationary clock at one of the poles, and the writer helpfully points out that there is no relative motion since both clocks are stationary relative to one another.  He corrects an error that is only in his mind.  What Einstein was talking about was that both clocks are moving relative to the earth's axis, one at 1,000 mph, and the other just spinning in place.

Interestingly, both Harry Hamlin Ricker and Dr. Carl Zapffe seem to be members of something called "The Natural Philosophy Society."  It's evidently another group of people who are out to challenge modern science by misunderstanding and misinterpreting everything they read.  And since these "philosophers" only discuss things with people who believe as they believe, they never learn that what they believe is total nonsense.

What's most mind-boggling is how many such organizations there are.  Wikipedia lists a couple dozen.  But I've stumbled across some that they don't list, including The Natural Philosophy Society.  They list the National Philosophy Alliance, which may or many not be the same thing.

And one thing my search for an answer to the question "Am I talking with someone in  the past?" has done is showed, once again, that when you start researching and looking for answers and explanations, you never know what kind of fascinating things you'll discover along the way.


Comments for Sunday, June 12, 2016, thru Saturday, June 18, 2016:

June 17, 2016 - Ah!  They found the data recorder "black box" for EgyptAir Flight 804.  According to The New York Times,
The second black box of the doomed EgyptAir plane that crashed last month killing all 66 people on board was pulled out of the Mediterranean Sea on Friday, a day after Egypt's investigation committee said the plane's cockpit voice recorder had been recovered.

The find significantly raises hopes that investigators will finally able to determine what caused the crash of the EgyptAir Airbus A320. Both France and the United States are sending investigators to Cairo to help with the probe

June 16, 2016 (B) - They've recovered parts of the cockpit voice recorder black box from EgyptAir Flight 804.  According to USA Today:

The cockpit voice recorder from doomed EgyptAir Flight 804 was at least partially recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt’s investigation committee said Thursday, giving rise to hope that mysteries surrounding the crash could soon be solved.

The black box was damaged and had to be carefully retrieved in stages by a salvage ship with robotic search devices, the committee said in a statement. The ship "was able to salvage the part that contains the memory unit, which is considered the most important part of the recording device," the statement said.

There was no immediate word on the fate of the data recorder.
There's nothing like having some solid facts to work with.

June 16, 2016 (A) -  It looks like I'm going to have to revise my paper on "What is Time?" once again.  In a discussion on the Facebook group "Time and Time Dilation," someone wrote something that made me realized that I had made things more complicated than they probably are.  I wrote that the fixed speed of particle spin conflicts with the fixed speed of light when a particle moves laterally.  Now it seems that the speed of light is not relevant.  The fixed speed of particle spin by itself requires that the spin must slow down when the particle moves laterally.  In other words, if the particle spins at a "fixed rate," when the particle is moved laterally, its lateral movement is part of the spin. 

It might also help to refer to "particle spin" as "particle motion."  That way it is easier to see how particle motion is affected by lateral motion.  If the total "motion" is fixed, then lateral motion requires a reduction in particle motion.

And the speed of light is not a factor. 

June 14, 2016 (C) - Ah!  Someone brought to my attention a YouTube video from PBS Space Time in which Matt O'Dowd describes Time in much the same way I envisioned it in my paper "What is Time?"  Here's the video:



Starting around the 6:30 mark, it nearly confirms my hypothesis that "Time is particle spin."  Only instead of referring specifically to particles and particle spin, Matt O'Dowd talks about the atom as being a "box" inside which everything slows down when the atom is moved at a high velocity or gets into a massive gravitational field.  It's the best description of how time works that I've seen anywhere.

June 14, 2016 (B) - I finally gave up on reading "Time in Science and Life: The Greatest Legacy of Albert Einstein" by Samuel K. K. Blankson.  (See my June 5th (B) comment.)
 
Time in Science and Life

I read about 66% of it.  It was strangely fascinating to read a book about Time, Relativity and Einstein written by someone who seems to have no understanding of Time, Relativity OR Einstein.  (And he wrote TEN self-published books on similar topics!)  Blankson (a Ghanaian philosopher who was 70 years old at the time the book was published) didn't seem to understand anything about Herman Minkowski's theories, either, even though the whole book is an attack on Miknowski's SpaceTime ideas while praising Einstein's SpaceTime ideas.  The author, Blankson, was just repeating what others said and then voicing the same bizarre misunderstandings over and over and over.  So, I gave up.  


June 14, 2016 (A) - Egypt has finally agreed with the rest of the world.  According to The Wall Street Journal, they now accept that EgyptAir Flight 804 veered off course before plunging into the sea, which strongly suggests that it was not brought down by any kind of explosion:

Egyptian officials probing the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 said Monday the plane veered off course before plunging into the sea, suggesting an abrupt in-flight explosion didn’t bring down the aircraft.

The Airbus Group SE A320 plane bound for Cairo from Paris deviated from its course while flying at 37,000 feet, first turning left before rolling to the right and completing a full circle, investigators said in their latest update into the May 19 crash that killed all 66 people onboard.

The finding confirms statements initially made by Greek officials about the last seconds of flight but initially rejected by Egyptian authorities, who suggested contact was lost more abruptly. Investigators have spent the past few days going over all available radar information to reconcile the conflicting theses.

June 13, 2016 - While at the gym this afternoon, I finished listening to the audio book version of "Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World" by Adam Grant.

Originals

It was an excellent book, but for the past week my mind has been on Time and Time Dilation, so my thoughts would wander while the book was being read.  As a result, I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have.  But, I'm not going to go back and listen to it again.  I think I got enough out of it.  (Check my May 29 comment for more details about the book.)

This morning, I joined Reddit so that I could ask Matt O'Dowd some questions about Time and Time Dilation.  Matt O'Dowd is the current lecturer on a series of YouTube videos put together by PBS and collectively called "Space Time."  Someone on Facebook told me about him on Friday.  I asked the questions before researching Mr. O'Dowd.  He was going to answer questions posed to him this afternoon on his own thread on Reddit.  Unfortunately, it looks like my three questions will get lost among the 500 that have been posted.  He'll probably never get to my questions.  Time will Tell.

My three questions:

If I am at the top of a set of stairs talking with someone at the bottom of the stairs, I am talking with someone IN THE PAST - as a result of gravitational Time Dilation?

Once a black hole finishes gobbling up everything in its vicinity, wouldn't it become a "dormant black hole" giving off no local sign of its existence? If so, couldn't its long range effects be mistaken for "dark matter"?
This afternoon, when I saw he had a long way to go before he'd ever get to my questions, I decided to take a closer look at "PBS Space Time."  I found that, as of this moment, it consists of 66 YouTube videos on various science subjects.  I quickly browsed through them to see if my questions may already have been answered in one of the videos.  Nope.  But, I'm going to have to actually watch some of them from beginning to end to get a better feel for what Mr. O'Dowd explains and how he explains it.  There might be something of interest about Time and Time Dilation buried in a lecture about some related subject.

It's not as if I have something better to do.  Sigh.    


June 12, 2016 - The past week was very interesting for me.  On Monday I helped create a new Facebook group to discuss two subject with which I've become more and more fascinated: "Time and Time Dilation."  But, creating a new Facebook group is like self-publishing a book.  No one else in the world knows what you did.  So, on Tuesday I realized I needed to tell people about the new group, otherwise they'll never now about it.  I joined the "Science, Philosophy and Psychology Discussion" group, which is a "closed" group with 11,731 members.  On Wednesday, my membership was approved.

They have rules against plugging or advertising other discussion groups or blogs, so, the first thing I did was create a new discussion thread on the subject of
trying to understand Time Dilation, particularly Velocity Time Dilation as described in Einstein's 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies."  I used this image that I found on the Internet:

Time Dilation 1

To my pleasant surprise, that new thread quickly became very active with many different of people arguing different things.  It became so popular, that I was discussing things with 4 or 5 people at the same time, and it was getting very difficult to find the specific discussions I was involved with as I shifted back and forth among all the various sub-threads.

So, on Thursday I created another new thread, this one on a specific aspect of Time Dilation that seemed to interest some of the people in the group.  It was also a subject that definitely interested me: The Relativity problem of measuring time when you have two people moving at different speeds.  My idea was to use a pulsar instead of ordinary clocks to keep track of the common time as seen by someone on earth and by someone traveling on a space ship to Alpha Centauri and back.  Both would be able to see the "clock" (the pulsar) no matter where they were in that part of the Milky Way.  I used an image from my paper on the subject of "Time Dilation Re-Visualized" to start the thread:

time dilatiion using a
                  pulsar 
That thread wasn't as popular as the first.  Most discussions continued on the first thread, and I was gradually beginning to see that - as I experienced many times before - a lot of people couldn't think of Time Dilation except in terms of Relativity and not knowing what is real and what is not real.  That's all they seemed to "know" about Relativity: You can't be sure of what you are seeing.

I spent the night thinking about that and came to the conclusion that it might be helpful (or funny) to view it as a kind of mental "syndrome."  So, the next morning (Friday), I started another thread about the "Relativity Disorder" where people cannot tell "fantasy" from reality.  Here's the image I created to start that thread:
The Relativity Disorder

The discussion spurred by my cartoon and comments quickly made me realize what the actual "cure" was for the "Relativity disorder" or "disease."  People with the "disorder" needed to understand that the situation where a person on a train momentarily "thinks" that it is the railroad station and the ground that is moving, not the train, is an analogy.  It is not something that represents a real permanent situation.

train analogy in
                  relativity 

The same with the hypothetical situation where two space ships pass each other in an empty universe, and no one on either ship can tell who is moving and who is standing still, or if both are moving.  It's just an analogy.  It's a purely hypothetical situation.  In our real universe there are trillions of objects, and by simple triangulation we can tell who is moving relative to what.  Yet, all people with "Relativity Disorder" seem to understand from the analogies is that everything in the universe is moving and no one can really measure anything accurately.  And they see no connection to time dilation.  

The analogies were created to help explain how two different people at different locations might both measure the speed of light as being 186,262 miles per second, BUT that could be just an illusion like the illusion of the ground moving under a seemingly stationary train.  In reality, the length of a second may be different at the different locations.


In discussion after discussion, I was talking with people who saw no connection between relativity and the speed of light, nor between the train analogy and time dilation, nor between relativity and time dilation.  Yet, they all seemed certain that Time Dilation is a matter of perception, not reality.  No one was interested in my "cure."  The people who "liked" my point of view would typically just click on the "like" icon instead of actually responding with some additional insight.

On Thursday and Friday I used Facebook's messaging feature to invite a few people to join the "Time and Time Dilation" group.  So far, only one person has done so.  There are a lot more I could ask, but it takes time to hunt them down and to check them out to make sure they aren't Science Truthers or nut cases.

I'd really like to clarify my thoughts on Time and Time Dilation.  I'd like to find out where I'm right and where I might be wrong.  But, the general attitude on the Facebook group seemed to be:
I don't agree with your  point of view, but I do not really know enough about the subject to discuss it intelligently.  So, I'm just going to stick with my point of view.
At least they don't have the attitude you get with Science Truthers and Anthrax Truthers:
Your point of view is wrong, but you are obviously too stupid to understand what I believe is right, so I'm not going to try to explain anything to you.
It was all very interesting and educational, but I really really need to get to work on my 3rd sci-fi novel.

Oops.  I see that overnight some guy posted a whole bunch of questions for me on the "Science, Philosophy and Psychology Discussion" group.  I'll have to respond to them before doing anything else.


Comments for Sunday, June 5, 2016, thru Saturday, June 11, 2016:

June 5, 2016 (B) - Last week, while browsing through Facebook discussions related to science, I came across a link to a book titled "Time in Science and Life: The Greatest Legacy of Albert Einstein" by Samuel K. K. Blankson.  I browsed through it on-line, became fascinated, and ended up purchasing a copy for my Kindle for $2.99.  It was only later that I noticed this in the Amazon.com description of the book:
Samuel K. K. Blankson, the Ghanaian philosopher, gives one of the most lucid and logical interpretations of what Einstein called 'time, pure and simple'.
A Ghanaian philosopher?  I suppose there's nothing wrong with that.  But then I noticed that the book was self-published.  I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, either, since I've done it.  Besides, Blankson appears to have written about 10 self-published books on variations of the same subject, including "The Einstein Theory of Space-Time Without Mathematics" and "Time and the Application of Time."  Those are interesting titles for someone who is fascinated with Time Dilation, as I have become during the past year.

The book seemed very readable and kept mentioning Time Dilation, so I began to read.  It soon seemed clear that the author had a tendency to repeat the same argument against Einstein's critics over and over, but that wasn't enough to cause me to stop reading.  I really wanted to see what a Ghanaian philosopher had to say about Time Dilation, particularly since he kept heaping praise on Einstein for coming up with the concept.

I was about 35% through the 274 page book when I started to get a feel for Blankson's understanding of Time as he believes it was defined by Einstein.  According to Blankson, Einstein defined all time as being "local," (which is true) but which Blankson interpreted as meaning "Earth Time" is one year as measured by how long it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun.  And time elsewhere in the universe would be have a different measurement, because other planets would orbit other stars at different rates.  That may be true, but it has nothing to do with the nature of Time.  And it certainly has nothing to do with Time Dilation


I kept reading, and I kept highlighting passages.  Here's an example:
As always, Albert Einstein saw things differently. He declared that local time is ‘time, pure and simple’, and that, by implication, means every time is somebody’s local time. With great ingenuity in mechanics we have managed to create one local time to serve all and sundry on this planet based on the earth’s regular journeys round the sun. That is the story of time so far; and that is what this book is all about.
Another example:
Local time is the time of your own making, otherwise where does the time come from when it is supposed to be ‘local’?  How local time is created is precisely how we create our time for this inertial frame — i.e. by counting external repetitive cycles as years, and further sub-dividing the year, as one unit of time, into the other smaller units of time all the way down to the seconds, and so forth. To recap, Einstein found that there is no other time. Local time may be regarded as ‘time’, pure and simple.
And one final example:
In this sense (of the time we have), it is not true that as one gets closer to the speed of light time slows down to zero, so that you could travel round the cosmos and return many years younger when those you left behind were drawing their pensions. The clock you travel with will look slow by comparison with clocks you left behind, but only to observers outside your travelling vehicle simply because they are in a different frame. The clock you are travelling with will seem normal to those travelling with it in one vehicle. How therefore could you travel round the cosmos and return to find that, because time had slowed down, the people left behind are aged more than yourself? What logical mechanism could achieve that? The travelling or speeding clock could in no way control all time; it would merely perform its own functions, rightly or wrongly. It will have no connection with other clocks, let alone all time. Neither could it control the traveller’s ageing process. I believe that, of all the myths and legends relativity has spawned, this is the most fatuous. In the absence of a universal time, as Russell has observed above, what possible mechanism could there be for making one clock capable of controlling all time and ageing?
Blankson totally misunderstands what Einstein wrote about Time and Time Dilation, instead creating his own interpretation and praising his interpretation as if it was Einstein's.  And he goes on and on and on.  Furthermore, he attacks Herman Minkowski's concepts of spacetime without any understanding of that, either.  All he does is endless repeat that Bertrand Russell argued that Minkowski uses a "fictional" number in his calculations.  He never explains what is fictional about it, or why it is fictional.

Yet, the book is strangely readable.  It's a fascinating look into the thinking of someone who is totally wrong about nearly everything, who thinks he's a philosopher who is correctly interpreting Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and who endlessly praises Einstein.

Of course, I wanted to contact Mr. Blankson to explain where he is wrong.  But, his web page no longer works, and I couldn't find any other way to get to him.

Finally, I had to give up.  I can only assume that someone else got to him and explained to him where he was so completely wrong.

I paused at about the 50% point in reading his book and finished reading the hand-typed manuscript for my novel "Track of the Dragon," which I wrote around
1970 (46 years ago!).  It's a chase story that takes place in snow country of Northern Honshu Island, in Japan.  During the course of shutting down a top-secret listening post in Northern Japan, a box full of top secret documents is stolen by the Red Japanese Army.  (Remember them?)  A writer who is a former CIA "consultant" gets involved in trying to recover the box before it reaches the hands of the Russians who hired the RJA.  I was absolutely absorbed by the novel, probably mostly because of all the memories it brought back.

I'm tempted to quote some funny, well-written passages from it, but that would require me to retype them, and I'm running out of time for posting this comment.  It's nearly 12 noon, and I usually try to finish my Sunday comment by 10:30 a.m.

Anyway, I'll probably continue reading Blankson's book.  He may be totally wrong about nearly everything, but it's still a fascinating look into the mind of someone who is totally wrong but thinks he is profoundly correct.  He explains himself.  That is something that is very rare with people who are totally wrong.

Too bad he seems unavailable to discuss his beliefs.

June 5, 2016 (A) - Yesterday, while looking at some news photography of the "Paris flood" currently happening, I noticed this photo:

Paris flood - 2016

It's a shot of the model of the Statue of Liberty they built in Paris before building the full scale version and shipping it to the U.S. around 1876.   Here's a photo I took of the model when I was in Paris many years ago (in 1975?):

paris circa 1975

Here's another shot showing the current flood levels:

Paris flood - June 2016

Which I had to compare to another photo I took many years ago:

paris circa 1975

I could probably find some more "then and now" shots, but they would probably just be more examples of things that are of interest to no one in the world but me.
 


Comments for Wednesday, June 1, 2016, thru Saturday, June 4, 2016:

June 4, 2016 - This morning I noticed a couple interesting headlines about EgyptAir Flight 804 that seem worth mentioning.  Here they are:
EgyptAir flight MS804 made ‘three emergency landings’ in the 24 hours before it crashed -- National Post
EgyptAir plane made no emergency landings day before crash: EgyptAir chairman -- Egypt Independent
The first article says:

EgyptAir flight MS804 was forced to make three emergency landings in the 24 hours preceding its crash, according to reports in French media.

On three occasions the Airbus A320 was forced to turn around after taking off and return to its originating airport – Asmara in Eritrea, Cairo, and Tunis — after its warning systems signalled anomalies on board.

Each time it returned, it was quickly allowed to leave again after inspectors carried out a technical audit and found nothing amiss, the reports said.

The second article says,
The chairman of EgyptAir, Safwat Mesallam, has denied reports that EgyptAir flight MS804, which recently crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, reported technical problems during three of the five trips it made over the Mediterranean in the 24 hours preceding the crash.
Come on, guys!  Surely there's some record somewhere about this!  Why do we have to rely on unsupported claims!

The National Post also says,

it will be at least a week before a specialist vessel will arrive carrying robots able to dive to the 1.8 mile-depth where the wreckage is believed to be, around 180 miles north of the Egyptian port of Alexandria.
The New York Times confirms this:
Another research vessel, the John Lethbridge, is being prepared to join the search team within a week and to retrieve the recorders if they are found, officials said. The vessel is operated by Deep Open Search, a company based in Mauritius.
So, it seems likely that a week from now they will have located at least one of the "black boxes," and maybe a week after that we should have some detailed information about the final moments of EgyptAir flight 804.

It's certainly looking more and more that it was some kind of accident, not a terrorist act, that brought down the plane.  But, one solid fact could easily change my point of view on that in an instant.

June 2, 2016 - I neglected to mention this a couple days ago, so I might as well mention it now and simply backdate it:

Confirming that anyone can dream up a conspiracy about anything, I noticed this headline in The Huffington Post:

Don’t Fall For The Latest Zika Virus Conspiracy Theory
Americans don’t have magical immunity to Zika virus.
The article says a "few" people believe this conspiracy theory and quotes their "tweets" about how Americans are immune to the virus.  The article then goes on to say that the Zika virus was first "discovered in rhesus monkeys in the Ugandan forest in 1947, and is common in Africa and Asia."  And then it describes the psychology of conspiracy theories and how trying to convince someone that their theory is wrong (or nuts) is very difficult:

The sticky thing about individuals who buy into conspiracy theories is that they don’t trust experts or research — the main tools we have to debunk what’s not true.

One danger on the internet is confirmation bias: People tend to consume and focus on information that confirms the views they already hold. These days, there’s a blog or a Reddit thread that confirms just about any alternative viewpoint you could cook up.

There’s also what’s know as the “backfire effect,” which two political scientists documented in 2006. When people are confronted with accurate information that debunks their beliefs, they don’t usually change their minds. Instead, they dig in their heels and develop an even stronger belief in the veracity of their discredited opinion.

To bridge the gap, [Eric Oliver, a political science professor at the University of Chicago who studies conspiracy theories] suggests trying to empathize, rather than rationalize, with conspiracy theorists.

“Acknowledge that, yes, they have anxiety, they have fears, they have discomfort,” he said. “Our immediate inclination is to dismiss or disregard people who have conspiracy theories. We think of them as a signal of some sort of psychological aberration. Really, what they are doing is something that’s pretty natural and intuitive and probably just motivated by a great deal of apprehension.”

Huh?  We're supposed to empathize with conspiracy theorists?  That's the end of the article!  What the f**k can be accomplished by empathizing with conspiracy theorists?!  The article doesn't say!  However, the link they provide goes to a New York Times article which says,
Psychologists aren’t sure whether powerlessness causes conspiracy theories or vice versa. Either way, the current scientific thinking suggests these beliefs are nothing more than an extreme form of cynicism, a turning away from politics and traditional media — which only perpetuates the problem.
I think someone should start a conspiracy theory that political science professors are encouraging people to dream up conspiracy theories in order to provide material for scientific papers the professors want to write and get published!   





© 2016 by Ed Lake
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