|Comments for Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017,
thru Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017:
November 29, 2017 - While doing some research a couple days ago, I found an interesting quote from Albert Einstein about the particle-wave problem. Of course, that meant I had to find the source of the quote, since I'd probably want to cite it in my paper. And that led me to the book "Albert Einstein and the Frontiers of Physics" by Jeremy Bernstein. It had the quote on page 83:
Einstein was fully aware of the dilemma of whether light consisted of waves or streams of quanta. It is probably correct to say that in 1905 he was the only person on earth who was fully aware of it. For the rest of his life he thought endlessly about it, and in one of his last letters to Michele Besso, in 1951, Einstein wrote, “All these fifty years of pondering have not brought me any closer to answering the question, What are light quanta?”So, if I want to figure it out, I have to remember that Einstein couldn't. But, a lot of new information is available today that wasn't available to Einstein back in 1951. So, maybe there is some way to logically figure out how light works. It is certainly interesting - even fascinating - to research the subject.
While looking for a copy of the book mentioned above, I found another book by Jeremy Bernstein: "Secrets of the Old One: Einstein 1905." It's generally about how Einstein figured things out. (The "old one" in the title is God, not Einstein.) It has some absolutely fascinating information about Thomas Young's Double-Slit experiment and what it meant to Einstein. The book seemed so readable that I found myself starting to read it from the beginning. It said this about Einstein's school days:
He also decided the teaching of physics was inadequate, so he spent most of his time teaching himself.And the author also says,
I think it is also true that he did not much care and did not want to waste his time reading about physics that he was quite sure was wrong.While I don't want to compare myself to Einstein, that certainly reminded me of the many arguments I had about college textbooks which are clearly wrong, particularly about Einstein's Second Postulate. Moreover, I was arguing with people who could only mindlessly cite from those textbooks and couldn't explain anything, because they didn't seem to understand anything. All they knew was what they had memorized in order to complete exams. Their response to virtually every argument was that I needed to take the courses they took and read the books that they had read so that I would believe as they believe.
Somewhere along the line, I did more research and found a very interesting lesson on YouTube about the Double-Slit experiment being taught by Richard Feynman:
And, of course, I then had to find a print version of it, so that I could highlight the most interesting parts while also studying the words carefully to make certain I understood all that he was saying. Example:
Things on a very small scale behave like nothing that you have any direct experience about. They do not behave like waves, they do not behave like particles, they do not behave like clouds, or billiard balls, or weights on springs, or like anything that you have ever seen.That's a quote I'll probably want to use in my paper. Here's another interesting quote that describes the current situation nicely:
Newton thought that light was made up of particles, but then it was discovered that it behaves like a wave. Later, however (in the beginning of the twentieth century), it was found that light did indeed sometimes behave like a particle. Historically, the electron, for example, was thought to behave like a particle, and then it was found that in many respects it behaved like a wave. So it really behaves like neither. Now we have given up. We say: “It is like neither.”Comparing the video version to the print version also shows you all the ad libbing Feynman does during this lectures. The ad libbing, which are the funny parts of his lectures, are not part of the print version, of course.
So, in addition to reading and re-reading the print version, I'll be viewing the video again, while also trying to find time to read more about how Einstein figured things out. And, somewhere along the line, I'll be trying to write a paper about how light works.
November 27, 2017 - Another major problem with the way light is defined and explained in college textbooks is the problem with wave frequency. If you do a Google image search for light frequency, you get an endless supply of images that basically show a direct relationship between wave frequency and wave length.
The direct relationship implies that the waves are all connected in one endless series of waves. The idea suggests that when you are outside at night looking at a star, there are waves of light running continuously from the North Star to your eye, with no breaks between waves unless a cloud gets in the way. It also implies that if you know the wave length of the light you are viewing, you also know the wave frequency. There's a direct relationship.
However, if light is a photon or particle, then there can be no direct relationship between wave length and wave frequency. Higher frequency just means that the individual particles are arriving more often. That would be illustrated this way:
A Google search for such images finds absolutely nothing. But, now the above image is on-line on my web site, so maybe a search next week will find it. I created the above image for one of the earlier versions of the scientific paper I'm trying to write about particles versus waves. As you can see, the implications are extremely interesting. I dropped that illustration (and others) from newer versions of the paper which just focused on "destructive interference," but now it looks like I'll be adding them back again.
Meanwhile, this morning someone sent me an email mentioning a science fiction short story by Arthur C. Clarke titled "Silence Please."
Of course, I immediately looked for a copy of the story on-line. I found a pdf copy HERE. I read it and enjoyed it. The story is about a guy who invents a device to block out sound waves, supposedly by emitting destructive interference sound waves that create total silence. The problem is the same problem that I mentioned about destructive interference with light waves: Where does the energy go?
And then I wrote this comment mentioning it, along with some other thoughts I have about light photons. And that's how I avoided working on my particle-vs-wave paper all morning.
November 26, 2017 - The controversy over whether light consists of particles or waves has been raging for centuries. I became interested while I was studying college physics textbooks looking for information about Time and Time Dilation. Virtually every physics textbook includes illustrations and a description of the so-called "Double Slit Experiment," which argues in favor of "wave theory." And, too, the waves-vs-particle controversy came up in the books I read by Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman. Einstein generally favored particle theory, and Richard Feynman argued very strongly in favor of particle theory in his book "QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter".
Typical textbook illustrations for the Double-Slit Experiment initially performed by Thomas Young between 1801 and 1804 look similar to the one below.
Light supposedly arrives in the form of "plane waves" from some source off to the left; the light then goes through a single slit (S0) into a small, closed, darkened chamber, spreading out like waves on a pond. Then the light goes through two slits (S1 & S2) into another darkened chamber and again spread out like waves on a pond. However, this time the two sets of waves supposedly "interfere" with one another as they move from the two slits to the wall. That produces an "interference" pattern that can be seen on the wall opposite the two slits.
My first question was: Where is the experimenter/viewer in this experiment? The answer is that he is either inside the darkened room or he peers through a hole from the outside and sees what is on the wall.
Of course, that poses another question: If he can see the interference pattern, where are the waves of light going from the wall to his eye? And another question: Why don't those waves from the wall interfere with the waves that are shown?
As far as my research to-date has determined, no one ever asks that question. Maybe questions are not allowed, since, if you start to ask questions, it quickly becomes clear that many of the textbook explanations for the "Double Slit Experiment" makes no sense whatsoever.
Below is what the pattern on the wall looks like if you are in the darkened room.
The bright lines are, of course, where matching light waves are hitting the wall. Supposedly, the dark lines between the bright lines are areas where two waves "interfered" with each other and thus produced no light. Textbooks use an illustration like the one below to show how light waves hitting at conflicting angles result in "destructive interference" and produce no light on the wall.
But how is that possible? Doesn't it require that the energy of the light be destroyed when the waves hit each other in the wrong way? But, we know from other tests that energy cannot be destroyed. It can only be transformed.
I wondered for awhile if the "conflicting" waves somehow transform or combine into light waves that are outside of the visible spectrum. At first I thought the waves would combine to become Ultraviolet light. Then I realized the light might possibly break down into more waves with less energy and become Infrared light. And, as I researched the idea, I wrote a comment to that effect for this web site.
But, last week, after spending some time studying the "airplane on a conveyor belt" question, I returned to the questions about light. And as I started doing more research, I came across a lot of information about "single photon double-slit experiments" where light is sent one photon at a time from the source to the wall. Bizarrely, when that happens, the interference pattern still appears. That says even more emphatically that the photons (or waves) cannot possibly conflict to create the interference pattern. So, that makes the textbook illustration even more nonsensical. But, it also shoots down my working theory that the dark areas represented photons combining into light that is outside of the visible spectrum. That cannot possibly be true, either. If photons are traveling from source to wall one at a time, there is nothing to combine (or conflict) with.
That tells me that whatever is happening must be happening at the two slits and/or in the area between the single slit and the double slits. It is definitely NOT happening in the area between the two slits and the wall, as the textbooks say.
But what is happening? I dunno. I still need to put all the pieces together. And I have other questions that, as far as I can tell, no one has ever asked. Example: What happens to all the light that does not go through the two slits?
One "single photon double-slit experiment" which is presented as a YouTube video explains things much more clearly than you would get in a scientific paper. However, there is a really interesting web page titled "Two Slit Interference, One Photon at a Time" containing an even more interesting YouTube video of a "single photon double-slit experiment" which involves listening to the photons hitting the wall (actually a detector). The impacts can be heard as clicks (starting at about the 8:10 minute mark). But things really get interesting at about the 9 minute mark when the experimenter covers over one of the two slits. You would think that would cause half the number of photons to hit the detector. Or, you might think that somehow you would still get the same number of photons hitting the detector. But, instead, you get about twice the number of photons hitting the detector. You get about twice as many photons going through one slit as you get going through two slits. How is that possible? What's going on?
Just after the experimenter in the second video turns a knob which causes the device to block light from passing through one of the two slits, he says:
I've covered the slit, but now there are MORE photons striking than there were before. Instead of about 9 or 10 photons, I have 20 or 30 photons every second. More clicks. Somehow by blocking one of the paths the photons can travel, I increased the probability that the photon will land at the detector. I can understand this if the light travels in the form of waves. But it seems incomprehensible to understand this if you think of light composed of photons.You can clearly hear the increase in the number of photons hitting the detector as he turns the knob to block one of the slits. However, the video doesn't explain or illustrate how it is more understandable to him for this to happen if light travels as waves. He also doesn't explain why he thinks it is "incomprehensible to understand" "if you think of light composed of photons." He just creates more unanswered questions. The key word he uses might be "probability."
Whatever is going on, it isn't anything like what the textbooks say is going on.
I haven't figured it out myself yet. But, I'm working on it. I was encouraged this morning to read an article titled "Lone researchers with radical ideas may hold the keys to science’s unanswered questions." The article ends with these thoughts:
It's nice to see that there are others who think as I do.
|Comments for Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017,
thru Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017:
November 25, 2017 - While driving home from doing some shopping this afternoon, I finished listening to CD #11 in the 11-CD set for the audio book version of "The Laugh Makers" by Robert L. Mills, who was one of Bob Hope's comedy writers for about 17 years (some of the last years of Hope's life).
I chose the book from the "Humor" selection they had at my library's web site, and it was certainly loaded with Bob Hope jokes. Some of them are still funny, but a lot are also "corny" by today's standards. And, of course, some of the humor is also "politically incorrect" in today's world. But, it was still a good listen, and I enjoyed it. One thing I didn't think about when I downloaded it as an audio book is that the print version (and probably the Kindle version) is loaded with pictures. So, the audio book just has verbal descriptions of the pictures.
November 23, 2017 - I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! Mine has been made happier by the fact that I'm no longer thinking about the airplane on a conveyor belt question. The blog page I wrote about it says all I have to say on the subject. Unfortunately, when I went back to thinking about and researching the particles versus waves theory of light, I came upon some recent experiments which caused me to throw all my previous ideas into the trash. The only good thing about it is that the concept of "destructive interference" remains nonsense. I'll write more about it in my Sunday comment.
November 21, 2017 - Dammit!!!! I awoke at about 5 a.m. this morning thinking about the plane on a conveyor belt "thought experiment" I mentioned in yesterday's comment. And I couldn't really fall asleep after that, mostly just tossing and turning and thinking until 7:25 a.m., when it was time to get up.
Then, after breakfast and after doing my morning "chores," I spent about three hours doing research and writing a page about the experiment for my interactive blog. It's HERE.
It appears that there are people who will agree with me, but there will probably be a lot more who will disagree, and, if experience is any judge, those who disagree are the ones who will post comments to the blog entry. Time will tell.
The question has evidently been around for over a decade. But, I don't think anyone has answered it quite the way I answered it. So, we'll see what happens.
November 20, 2017 - Yesterday, while going through my daily routine of checking statistics, emails and various web sites, I found an interesting question posted to the Science, Philosophy, and Psychology Discussion group. It's a "closed group," so clicking on the link may not show anything if you are not a member, but I am a member. Here's the question:
After writing my Sunday comment, I returned to that Facebook page and read through some of the nearly 100 comments. Then, contrary to my own common sense, I posted a comment.
People kept arguing that the plane's wheels "do not move." One said, "for the wheel to move the plane must move, the wheels are not driven." So, I posted this:
You need to stop saying the wheels do not "move." The wheels certainly ROTATE due to the moving conveyor belt, but they AND THE PLANE stay in the same position relative to the ground. So, the PLANE does not move forward. Thus it can generate no lift from the air moving across the wings. And it cannot take off.And off we went into various arguments that lasted the rest of the day. I couldn't convince the guy that the plane needed to move in order to get lift, and the conveyor belt prevented the plane from moving. He kept arguing that thrust was enough to get the plane to fly. He kept claiming that I was arguing that the wheels make the plane move, so I started talking about a seaplane trying to take off while heading against the current in a rapidly moving river. He evidently couldn't visualize that, even though he found a web page describing he problem, and he just returned to arguing that the wheels do not make the plane move. We finally gave up on trying to change each others minds.
This morning, I was still thinking about the problem. I decided to write this comment about it, and I needed a copy of the illustration. So, I did a Google image search for "airplane on a conveyor belt" and found two dozen different images depicting the problem, including a half dozen versions of the one I used above. So, obviously it is an often-discussed problem, even though I didn't recall ever seeing it before.
I also found a web site page titled "Plane on a conveyor belt – explained / debunked" that exactly matched the argument I was getting yesterday, although I didn't quite view it that way yesterday. The site argues
"The wording of this quiz is wrong and makes it physically impossible."So, if we had a different question, then the nay-sayers would get the answer they want. And they cannot accept the answer to the question that was asked.
Wow. Another web site HERE also criticizes the question. And the one HERE, too. Checking web site after web site, they nearly all criticize the question and say the question is invalid. A lot of them mention a Mythbusters show which performed an experiment to demonstrate the problem. So, I watched the Mythbusters show, which is in two parts (possibly because the original was interrupted by a commercial).
So, Mythbusters says the plane would take off. But the Mythbusters show doesn't follow the rule that the conveyor belt must exactly match the spinning of the wheels. It doesn't even mention that rule. One of the comments following the first video says,
The mythbusters test is a false one, a moving cloth is NOT a conveyor belt, while the runway under the cloth stays stationary its NOT a conveyor belt. The power omitted by the the plane goes to its wheels THROUGH the cloth onto the STATIONARY ground. When they do this and the entire weight of the plane is taken by the conveyor belt, then its a real test. The question I was asked involved a 747 which has a power to weight ratio much more in tune with reality. A model plane can just pull itself up, No lift is needed, but a 747 cannot do that.So, the entire debate boils down to the fact that the question is a "hypothetical" and requires a conveyor belt that can hold a 747 and move at 200 to 500 miles per hour. That may not be possible to build in real life using today's technology. Plus the tires would probably shred if you tried it, and the plane's engines might overheat.
But what it really means is the question is about lift, while the people who argue against it ignore the main point of the question and argue about wheels and power. So, if you answer the question correctly, you will be considered wrong by people who ignore the question that was asked and instead create and answer their own questions.
Groan! It also looks like the question has been around for years, and still just generates arguments, instead of people sitting down and agreeing that the question is about a purely hypothetical situation.
But it was very educational anyway.
November 19, 2017 - I awoke yesterday morning realizing that I probably should not use the title "Photon Fusion" on my new scientific paper. While it seems very logical that, in the Double-Slit experiment, two visible light photons are (in effect) "fused" into one ultraviolet light photon when they hit an atom in the wall at opposite (or very different) angles, there is another possible explanation. The standard explanation taught in schools still does not seem logical or possible, but it does seem "possible" that the dark lines between the bright lines in the "interference pattern" shown below are the result of the photons somehow losing energy and turning to infrared light, which is not visible to the eye, just as ultraviolet is not visible light.
I don't know exactly how that would be "possible," but if the wall was painted black instead of white, there wouldn't be any pattern on the wall at all because the black paint would supposedly absorb all the light in the photons and convert it to infrared heat. If that can happen with black paint, then it might happen with white paint if the photons hit at opposite angles.
So, unless I can eliminate that "possibility" of "fission," I cannot assume that the photons are being fused in the dark lines. And my paper now has "Analyzing the Double Slit Experiment" as its title once again.
While I was laying in bed yesterday morning waiting for it to be time to get up, I also began thinking about the Flat Earther conference that I mentioned in last Wednesday's comment. And I kept wondering,
Who organized that conference?
I would think that Flat Earthers would be like virtually all conspiracy theorists: Each one of them would have his own unique theory, which he developed all by himself. And he'd argue his personal theory against any other Flat Earth theory. The only thing all parties would fully agree upon is that the government is lying.
That's what I saw while analyzing the anthrax attacks of 2001 for eleven years. I eventually created this cartoon to illustrate the situation:
Years later, when I started arguing about science on Facebook, I found a group of people who all thought the "official explanations" about science were part of some conspiracy to hide the truth from the public. On May 15, 2015, I created a blog thread about "Science Truthers." At the top of the thread, I used the same drawing, but with different words, to create the following cartoon:
The Science Truthers consider themselves to be believers in "Rational Physics," and they have annual conferences. The 4th annual Rational Physics Conference is scheduled to take place in Acapulco, Mexico, in February of 2018. They also have a Facebook page set up.
It seems to me that Flat Earthers must think in a similar way. Since each of them developed his own unique theory all by himself, and no two of them would have the exact same theory.
Doing a little research, I found that someone created a very nice web page for the Flat Earth conference, showing photos of all the speakers. But that just indicates that someone figured a way to make money off the conference. That wasn't enough to show it was organized by one of the Flat Earthers.
A little additional research, however, showed that the Flat Earth Conference had 14 speakers lined up. Each one of the speakers seems to have his or her own little enterprise. The first one calls himself an “ancient Nephilim theorist.” The second one evidently calls herself a "coincidence theorist" and appears to make money selling "apps" for watching her shows. The third one seems to be a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. The fourth one seems to be a Flat Earth theorist, but I doubt his theory fully matches any other Flat Earth theory. The fifth one preaches something called "jeranism" (his first name is Jeran). The sixth one is another Flat Earther who creates a lot of YouTube videos about his beliefs. The seventh one is a motorcyclist who evidently had an epiphany after an accident. The eighth one is the organizer. He makes money from creating documentaries and appears to be pro-Christian and anti-science. The ninth one is a pastor and also has religious arguments and a fascinating web site. The tenth one doesn't seem to understand optics, makes no sense whatsoever, and calls everyone "stupid" who does not believe as he believes. The others are more of the same, except for the twelfth one, who just seems to be a follower of number six and seems to like the "fame" of being a Flat Earther.
So, there is an organizer. The web page about him says,
The world's lies? So, he's fighting against "the world" and is looking for people to follow him. I wonder how many Flat Earthers will follow, and how many will stick to their own theories and look for their own followers.
A little more research turned up news stories about the Flat Earth Conference. Examples: "Inside the first ever 'Flat Earth conference' where conspiracy theorists promise to 'reveal Nasa space lies' and prove our planet isn't spherical," "Fanatics descend on sell out 'Flat Earth' conference promising to 'reveal NASA space lies'," "GLOBE NOTTERS: These oddballs are convinced the Earth is FLAT … and they’re out to ‘prove’ their theories are true," "Sellout flat-earth conference discusses NASA lies, fictional 9/11 and government mind control."
Some of it is really fascinating, and it leads to articles like "Nazis and pyramids: What's really going on in Antarctica?" which says that some of the Flat Earthers believe that Antarctica covers the entire edge of the disk-shaped Flat Earth, and that's why no one can fall off.
I have to wonder if having Donald Trump as President hasn't unintentionally given these Truthers some encouragement. Trump seems to be a conspiracy theorist, starting with his belief that President Obama's birth certificate was a fake. Today he believes that all the news outlets are creating "fake news" to discredit him. Trump has made it acceptable for nut cases everywhere to preach their screwball beliefs.
Youtube seems to be a factor, too. The Flat Earthers have created dozens - maybe even hundreds - of videos expressing their beliefs. Yesterday, I spent about 3 hours researching it, but I probably didn't examine 1% of what is available.
This morning I found a map of the flat earth, surrounded by Antarctica:
It's from a web page HERE, which is not run by any of the speakers at the Flat Earth conference. And the map says it was created by someone else who was not a speaker at the conference. I wonder what the people who believe the flat earth is in the shape of a circular disk say about the theory that the flat earth is square.
It's fascinating to research, and the ways to show it is all nonsense seem endless, but I don't want to get into another debate with True Believers. It can be interesting, and you can learn something from the arguments you create, but it always eventually turns into a waste of time. Their minds are closed to all arguments which show they are wrong.
I've got my own theories to argue. I'm not looking for followers. But, I do need to find people who will discuss the theories with me. If I'm wrong, I want someone to explain to me where I'm wrong. If I'm right, I want to understand why no one cares if nonsense is being taught in colleges around the globe.
|Comments for Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017,
thru Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017:
November 15, 2017 - Every morning, when I first turn on my computer, I go through a routine of checking my email accounts, collecting visitor data about my web sites and blogs, checking on my book sales, and then I check various forums and news outlets to see what is going on in the world. One of the places I check is the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook page. For some reason, very little ever gets posted there. I have a post about one of my papers that has been awaiting approval from the moderators for probably close to a year. While there, I look at the "Notifications" informing me about people's birthdays and new posts in other Facebook groups to which I belong. This morning, there was a notification of a new post to the Science, Technology and Society Discussion Corner Facebook page. The post was about a recent meeting of Flat Earthers.
The post linked to an article titled "Flat Earthers from around the world descend upon NC for convention." It's about a 2-day convention of "hundreds" of Flat Earthers that took place last week in Cary, NC. Every single one of the attendees appears to be a conspiracy theorist, somehow totally convinced that the government and scientists are lying to them about the earth being a globe. But far more interesting to me was a YouTube video mentioned in the Facebook thread. It was made by a guy who explains why he doesn't believe the Earth is round. He uses GPS satellites as part of his explanation. It's really interesting, since the guy happily demonstrates all of his bizarre misunderstandings.
And there are 1,864 comments about the video which, as of this moment, has had 85,568 views. A lot of the comments seem to be from other Flat Earthers. Unfortunately, a lot are also from people who are not Flat Earthers, but who also have very little understanding of science. In some ways, it is the ignorant arguing with the ignorant.
While watching that video, I noticed there were a bunch of other videos made by other Flat Earthers explaining the reasons they do not believe the Earth is round. The next video I checked was by a guy who claims to be a satellite engineer, who disguises his voice, and who claims to be afraid that he'll be killed for blowing the whistle on all the people who are lying about the Earth being round and about where the satellites are located.
He inexplicably believes that the flat Earth is covered by some kind of dome which reflects all radio and light signals back to Earth. So, there is really no need for the satellites he helped build.
Perhaps the most interesting video I watched is titled "Satellites Are Fake - Just Another NASA Hoax":
It has had 249,238 views and is followed by 7,175 comments. It's a conspiracy theory video, sometimes claiming that the Masons are behind everything, and it's all a massive conspiracy to get money from you via taxes to pay for things that do not exist and which are totally impossible.
I glimpsed at a bunch of other videos arguing similar things. Many of them are really bizarre.
Then, after about two hours of watching such videos while writing the above comment, I remembered that I was supposed to be working on my paper about "Photon Fusion." And I remembered that I awoke this morning planning to write another comment about "Photon Fusion" and how my analysis suggests that it is a natural process that probably goes on all the time, not just during "Double Slit" experiments. There also doesn't appear to be any evidence of "Photon Fission," where a photon would be divided into two less energetic photons by some equally simple natural process. That poses a very interesting question of whether photons can combine and combine until they become Gamma rays. Then what? It's all interesting to think about, but I really need to focus on the paper and try to keep it limited to what appears to actually happen during Double-Slit experiments instead of what college teachers and their text books claim happens.
I suppose I should also mention that I don't think there is any kind of conspiracy. I'm trying to figure out how so many intelligent people can believe things that make no scientific sense. And, if I'm wrong, I want people to explain to me where I'm wrong. But, it seems no one can explain anything. Instead, what I get is people telling me I need to take the college courses they take, read the books they read, and then I'll believe as they believe.
November 14, 2017 - After writing Sunday's comment, I continued to think about the nonsensical beliefs many physicists have about light wave "interference." So, I researched the term "interference" in a bunch of college text books. I didn't find anything helpful, but I did find a few things that were very interesting. One text book provided the "confirmed" finding that when an atom emits a photon, the atom recoils, just the way a gun recoils when firing off a bullet. I found the following information on page 52 of the 4th edition of a college textbook called "Optics" by Eugene Hecht:
A number of experiments have directly confirmed the quantal nature of the emission process. For example, imagine a very dim source surrounded, at equal distances, by identical photodetectors each capable of measuring a minute amount of light. If the emission, no matter how faint, is a continuous wave, as is maintained classically, all the detectors should register each emitted pulse in coincidence. That does not happen; instead, counts are registered by detectors independently, one at a time, in clear agreement with the idea that atoms emit localized light quanta in random directions.The first paragraph provides more evidence that light is a photon (i.e., a unit or quanta of light) and not a wave. The second paragraph describes how an atom recoils when it emits a photon. The second paragraph also indicates that light is a photon, not a wave, since if an atom emitted a wave like a ball dropped into a pond (or in three dimensions like a bomb exploding in the air), the wave would spread out equally in all directions and there could be no recoil.
That brought back to mind the image of an atom emitting a photon (from a web page about how light bulbs work):
And, as I was laying in bed this morning waiting for it to be time to get up, I started thinking about what I wrote on Sunday.
If two photons hit an atom from different directions, I stated that the energy could not be destroyed (as "destructive interference" suggests), since energy can only be converted into another form, it cannot be destroyed. I suggested that the energy from the two photons would be converted into a single photon with twice the energy. This morning it occurred to me that that process could be called "photon fusion." It's a term I have never heard.
This morning I did a Google search for "photon fusion". I found a web page where someone else asked if anyone had ever heard of the term. One person had, and he provided a link to an article from 2006 titled "Photon 'fusion' boosts solar cell performance." The article says (with my highlighting in red),
Using a combination of two light-active materials, the scientists have for the first time manipulated normal light, such as sunlight, to combine the energy in photons with particular wavelengths (Physical Review Letters, October 4, 2006).Hmm. What I wrote on Sunday says that the same thing happens when light photons coming from different directions hit an atom on a wall, as has been done in virtually all of the countless "double slit" light wave experiments performed since Thomas Young first did it in 1801.
(Added note: Hours after writing the first version of this comment, I began to wonder if the term "photon fusion" appears in any papers on arXiv.org. So, I did a search. I found 88 papers that contain the term. A scan through about twenty of them picked at random found that they all pertained to complex results from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, which is near Geneva, Switzerland. Plus, all 88 papers were in the "High Energy Physics" category, which suggests that all the papers were written by people working with colliders, mainly or exclusively at CERN.)
So, at least I know that "photon fusion" is possible. It seems everyone else is just looking at it from a wrong angle (no play on words intended).
And I made a mistake, too. On Sunday, I wrote:
Logically, the atom could emit a single photon of higher energy, which would put it into a range that is not visible to the naked eye, such as heat energy.I was somehow thinking that if you combined two photons of light that have at a 500nm "wavelength," you'd get a photon with a 1,000nm "wavelength." That would put it in the infrared (heat energy) range.
But, of course, that is wrong. Such combined wave lengths would have HALF the energy of the individual photons that fused, not TWICE the energy. So, instead, when two 500nm photons fuse, the atom would emit one photon in the 250nm range, the ultraviolet range. It's still not "visible" light, so the theory still holds true. But it is just not "heat energy," which is infrared energy.
That means that the so-called "light wave interference pattern," shown below as produced in a double-slit experiment, is very misleading. It only shows the visible light being emitted by the atoms in the wall.
If you have some kind of ultraviolet light detector, the dark lines between the bright lines on the wall should show atoms there are emitting UV light.
It should be easy to prove - for someone who has the necessary equipment. I don't. I wonder if anyone has ever done it.
When I do research to see if anyone has done it, all I find is information about "superposition," which is the belief that two light waves that meet between the double-slits and the wall that shows the "interference pattern," will somehow combine into a merged wave.
Sigh. It seems like there's enough here to put into a scientific paper. I'll start working on it this afternoon. But, of course, no journal would ever publish such a paper. They would need the paper to have experimental evidence (probably with all the mathematics) showing that the dark lines are indeed areas where the atoms are emitting UV light.
What I have, instead, is an example of theoretical physics. It could be right, it could be wrong. All it needs is to have someone with the right equipment to prove it one way or the other.
November 12, 2017 - I'm still trying to write a scientific paper about the Wave Theory of Light versus the Particle Theory of Light. However, there are so many angles to the topic that it is difficult to find the right place to start.
On Wednesday, I thought that I might break the topic down into smaller topics, and then address each smaller topic separately. I still think it's a good idea, but it's not as easy as I thought it might be. For example, one reason some people believe that the universe is filled with some kind of "ether" (or "aether") is because they believe that you cannot have "waves" unless some "disturbance" is traveling through some kind of "medium." They know that sound travels as "disturbance" waves through air (a "medium") and through water (a different "medium'). With light waves, that "medium" is thought to be the "ether," some kind of invisible and undetectable substance that fills space. They believe the "ether" must be there if light consist of waves.
Another reason they believe in the "ether" seems to be because they need it to be "stationary" in order to have something they can measure all other movements against. They need a stationary "preferred" frame of reference.
To me, that stationary, "preferred" frame of reference is the point where the Big Bang occurred. Everything moved outward from that stationary point, and all matter is presumably evenly distributed in all directions from that point, so the pull of gravity is equal in all directions from that point.
I see no reason to believe that the "ether" exists. All the facts seem to indicate it does not exist.
For me, the most annoying belief about light waves is that they "interfere" with one another when light comes from multiple directions. Those who believe this always use water waves to illustrate such "interference."
The only "proof" of light-wave "interference" is what is seen in "double slit" experiments where light of a specific wave length is emitted through two different slits in a barrier to produce an "interference pattern" on a wall.
Note that the illustration above indicates that the "Destructive Interference" and the "Constructive Interference" occur between the barrier and the screen. It says that the light waves interfere with one another as they travel from the two slits in the barrier to the screen. But we know that isn't true. If it were, we should see the "interference" in some form happening all around us.
In reality, all the "interference" must happen when the "waves" (or photons) hit atoms in the wall. You get different results depending upon the angle at which the "waves" (or photons) hit the atoms in the wall. The illustration below shows light "waves" hitting a wall at two slightly different angles, one angle producing a dark spot ("destructive interference") and the other angle producing a bright spot ("constructive interference").
What the illustration above does not show is that, in order to see the pattern, the wall must emit light back to your eye. We know that when a photon hits an atom in the wall, the photon is momentarily absorbed. The atom then immediately finds it cannot hold the extra energy and instantly emits a totally new photon in some random direction.
If we assume that your eye is at the location marked by (a) or (b) in the above illustration, the light must be emitted by atoms in the wall in order to reach your eye. And the light emitted by the wall must travel through other light "waves" or photons moving toward the wall in order for you to see it. And there clearly is no interference when this happens.
The point is: Light waves and/or photons from two or more different sources do NOT interfere with one another as they travel from point to point. They only "interfere" when they hit an atom in the wall virtually simultaneously.
How can a spreading water-like wave hit an individual atom? It can't. It seems totally illogical to believe that a single water-like wave can hit a single atom. But a photon certainly can.
As I envision it, what happens when two photons (or waves) hit a single atom at the same time depends upon the angle of arrival. In order for two photons from a common source to hit an atom at different angles, the photons cannot move in a straight line but must move in a wave-like pattern, like so:
What happens next seems to depend upon the type of photon and the type of atom. The so-called "destructive interference" cannot destroy the photons, since energy cannot be destroyed, it can only be transformed into a different kind of energy. Logically, the atom could emit a single photon of higher energy, which would put it into a range that is not visible to the naked eye, such as heat energy. So, it would show a dark pattern on the wall, but the wall would feel warm. That seems to explain the dark lines on the wall.
If the photons hit the atom at the same angle, the atom will evidently emit two identical photons and it will show "constructive interference" as a bright pattern on the wall.
If two photons hit at slightly different angles, you should get what is seen in the first illustration above: a different intensity of light depending upon how many photons are being re-emitted that are identical to what was absorbed and how many photons are being converted to higher-level energy such as heat. The illustration below shows the same kind of "interference pattern." There are bright lines and dark lines, and the edges of the lines are fuzzy, not clear, since they are a blend of light and dark.
Hmm. Instead of working on my paper, I've worked on this comment as if I was working on my paper. One difference is that this comment is going to get "published" on this web site, whereas if it was written for a scientific paper, it would probably just end up as version #47 in a folder containing many versions. Another difference is that I probably won't rewrite this version. I'll just leave it as representing my thinking as of this moment. I could very easily change my thinking five minutes from now. If I do, then I'll have to decide if I want to revise this comment or not.
|Comments for Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017,
thru Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017:
November 9, 2017 - The last time I heard from that group that is or was putting together a TV documentary series about the anthrax attacks of 2001, they said they expected to pay me a visit in early November. They also said they'd give me two week's notice before showing up at my door. They haven't given any such notice, and we're well into early November. So, I'm just going to assume that they aren't going to be paying me any visit until next spring, if at all. I could contact them and ask them about the status of their project, but I think it is easier to just wait to see what happens. I don't want to put them on the spot of having to tell me that I won't be in their "pilot" episode. Or maybe the whole idea just didn't pan out. That's show biz.
I'm still trying to write a scientific paper about the wave theory of light versus the particle theory of light, but I'm having a really hard time getting organized. I've got one 26-page paper of pieces and starts, and another 30-page paper of pieces and starts, but there's no real organization to either of them. The problem is that there are so many different ways to view the issue. Plus, every time I start writing, I end up doing some research which uncovers another angle that I feel I need to examine.
Yesterday, when I got hung up on how to organize the paper, I finished winterizing my apartment (putting plastic over the windows, air-conditioner and balcony door), and I laid down on my couch once again to finish listening to another audio book on my MP3 player. It was "The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America" by Bill Bryson.
It's an abridged BBC radio version of the 384 page original, although I didn't know that when I "borrowed" it from the library. It was just 2 hours and 19 minutes long.
It's probably a good thing that I didn't pick the unabridged audio version that is available elsewhere. While Bill Bryson is becoming one of my favorite authors, The Lost Continent was very mean-spirited in parts. America-born, Bryson lived in England for ten years before deciding to return for a visit to his home down of Des Moines, Iowa, and take a long drive around America to see how things had changed while he was gone. According to the Amazon description:
his hopes of finding the American dream end in a nightmare of greed, ignorance and pollution.It is not as bad as all that, and it is very funny in parts. However, when he describes trying to understand Southern accents, it is more ridicule than humor. And he clearly prefers the English and European practice of restoring old buildings instead of tearing everything down and constructing new buildings as we tend to do in America. When he talks about "ignorance," he talked about how he found the typical American didn't know who Thomas Hardy was. That hit home, since I recalled the name and believed Hardy was a writer, but I didn't recall any more than that. Researching Hardy this morning, I find that I don't really want to know any more than that. Hardy wrote some famous books that I never read (Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd) and have no interest in reading. So, if Bill Bryson looks down on me because I haven't read those books, that's not something that's going to keep me up at night. The humor in Bryson's books is the reason I read them. I have several more audio books by him in my listening queue. I still look forward to listening to them, even if I didn't particularly like Bryson's superior attitude in The Lost Continent.
November 7, 2017 - During breakfast and lunch, I've been reading a book on my Kindle about explorers, a book that makes a very interesting point about explorers of every type, geographical, cultural and scientific: They are all driven by curiosity.
It strikes home because I'm constantly driven by curiosity. I've wandered alone around Tokyo, Sendai, Aomori, Hakodate, Misawa, Yokohama Bangkok, Nakhon Phenom, Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Paris, Málaga, Torremolinos, Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, Madrid, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and cities and towns in 44 of the 50 United States. A web page I found this morning lists 4 types of "explorers." Type 4 is a "wanderer" who is just curious. That's me.
I spent about 11 years studying every aspect of the anthrax attacks of 2001 simply because I was fascinated by it and curious. There were many scientific aspects to the case that aroused my curiosity. And the crazy theories people had about the case were endlessly fascinating. I've always been interested and curious about science. And now I'm curious about physics. How can colleges and universities teach total nonsense like the mathematicians' All Observers Theory? And why haven't scientists and physicists figured out whether light is a wave, a particle or something else? Why is it still "a mystery" after 200 years of arguing about it?
This morning I awoke thinking I should focus my paper on why light is NOT a particle nor a wave, instead of whether it IS a particle or a wave. Light is NOT a wave, like waves on a pond or sea, because the waves can pass through each other undisturbed. Waves on a pond cannot pass through each other. They interact. Light is NOT a particle, like a grain of sand or dust, because the particles do not collide when traveling in opposite directions. Light supposedly consists of "photons," but photons cannot be particles like other particles. You can crash particles into each other in a particle accelerator, but apparently you cannot crash photons into each other. It doesn't seem logical that photons can pass through each other since they do collide with walls and solid objects. So, they apparently have the ability to avoid some collisions by deflection.
And that suggests that photons pass through glass by deflection, not the way electrons pass through wires, by being absorbed and recreated.
Of course, I could be wrong. I'm curious to find out if I am or not.
November 6, 2017 - I'm trying to get back to work on my paper about whether light consists of particles or waves. This morning, while doing some research, I found a YouTube video that explains the situation nicely:
The video makes no attempt to resolve the question. And it seems that that is the way the problem is viewed: It's an unresolved question. And no one seems interested in resolving it.
Of particular interest to me in the video was the explanation at about the 2:00 minute mark where they stated that light "cannot be made up of tiny atom-like particles" because they would crash into one another when they crossed paths. But isn't that something that waves always do? Don't waves always crash into each other when they cross paths? How can that be an argument against light consisting of particles?
And, too, light particles aren't "atom-like." They are incredibly tiny compared to atoms. In theory, kazillions could cross paths in a room without any collisions at all. Light can supposedly travel through water and glass without colliding with anything. Dozens of sources describe it as being like a person entering a crowded room from one door, moving through the crowd by weaving back and forth to avoid collisions, and exiting via another door. The weaving back and forth "slows down" the light while it is crossing the room (i.e., it takes longer to travel a specified distance), but it returns to full speed when it exits and moves in a straight line again. Why wouldn't two beams of particles of light avoid collisions the same way?
Researching further, I found a video in which scientist Michio Kaku says that light doesn't weave around things as it moves through glass or water, it crashes into one atom which creates a new photon which crashes into the next atom which creates a new photon which crashes into the next photon, and on and on until the light exits the glass. Who is right? I dunno. I need to do further research.
When trying to find answers, sometimes you just find more questions.
November 5, 2017 - I'm still doing research and bouncing around ideas on how to change or rewrite my paper about "Time Dilated Light," and how to organize my new paper about the Wave Theory of Light versus the Particle Theory of Light in order to make the points I want to make. So, being unable to decide on what changes to make or which paper to work on, yesterday I laid down on the couch once again and finished listening to another audio book on my MP3 player.
The book consisted of just 3 MP3 files, totaling only 2 hours and 34 minutes of listening time. It was "City of The Soul" by William Murray.
Of the many places I've visited in my life, Rome was definitely one of the cities I liked best. I visited it twice, as I recall, back in the 1970s or 1980s. The first time was on a TWA tour of 3 capitals: London, Paris and Rome. The second time was on a TWA tour labeled "Italy by Train," which began in Rome, then via trains to Naples and Pompeii, then to Florence, to Venice (probably my favorite city to visit), and the tour ended in Milan. (Instead of returning to the U.S. with the others on the tour, I rented a car and spent a few days visiting Nice, Cannes and Monaco, before returning to Milan to get a later flight.) All together, I spent maybe a week in Rome.
I had a problem right away while listening to the audio book. I needed a map to see where things were located. I dug through a box of maps I had collected during my visits to other countries, but for some inexplicable reason, I didn't seem to have a map of Rome. I have maps of probably two dozen other cities, but not Rome. (I may just have misplaced it.) So, I opened my small laptop on the coffee table next to the couch and used it to find the places mentioned by the author. Then, a few times, I "toured" the area using Google Maps' "street view" option. When the author talked about the "baboon" statue after which the Via del Babuino ("Street of the Baboon") was named, I found a lot of pictures of the statue (It's not a really statue of a baboon, it's a statue of a mythical creature that is half man and half goat), but I couldn't visualize it as a "Roman Statue" you would come upon while walking down Via del Babuino.
I'd never visited that particular area. The statue's location didn't seem to be identified on any map. So, I used Google Maps' "Street View" option to go hunt for the statue. It was like looking through my computer to see the street as I "walked" from Piazza del Spagna (where the "Spanish Steps" are located) toward Piazza del Popolo, checking both sides of the street. And then I found it. It is definitely not like any other "Roman Statue" I had ever seen. And it's difficult to understand why a major Roman street would be named after it.
You could easily walk right past the statue without noticing it. It's up against the wall of a restaurant, maybe fifteen feet from where the Google camera passed by. It's certainly nothing "special" in appearance. But, it was very interesting to look for it that way.
I wouldn't recommend "City of the Soul" to people who have never been to Rome. There are probably hundreds of better books about the city. But, if you already like Rome and have a few hours you need to kill in some way, it's an available option. I enjoyed listening to it, even though there were parts that had only to do with the author's life there (including family problems and the death of his mother) and nothing to do with touring the city. The author is an Italian-American journalist who lived in various parts of the city for around 50 years.
I awoke this morning once again thinking about the scientific papers I want to revise and write. There are a lot of things I still need to visualize and get clear in my mind, particularly gravitational redshifting. Wikipedia says,
In astrophysics, gravitational redshift or Einstein shift is the process by which electromagnetic radiation originating from a source that is in a gravitational field is reduced in frequency, or redshifted, when observed in a region at a higher gravitational potential. This is a direct result of gravitational time dilation—if one is outside of an isolated gravitational source, the rate at which time passes increases as one moves away from that source.I can't make any sense of that. If you view light as particles instead of waves, then "reduced in frequency, or red shifted" simply means the particles are farther apart. And then it doesn't matter where you are located when you observe it. The particles will always be farther apart. As I visualize it, redshifting is not the "result of gravitational time dilation." The reverse might be true: Redshifting might somehow be the result of Time Dilation. However, it seems more likely that redshifting and gravitational Time Dilation are separate phenomena both caused by the same thing: gravity.
I just need to focus and think it through.
|Comments for Wednesday, Nov. 1,
2017, thru Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017:
November 3, 2017 - While I was pumping away on the Exercycle at the gym yesterday afternoon, the TV that normally shows CNN but which has been dark for over a month, suddenly started showing a moving sign that said the TV was on but there was no input signal. After a minute or two, a picture appeared on the screen, but it was CBS. Then, a few minutes later, it changed to CNN. There wasn't anyone around me visibly changing channels, as far as I could tell. I could only guess that they were working behind the wall on which the bank of 7 TVs were mounted. So, I am once again able to watch CNN while on an Exercycle. And the TV in the bank of 5 TVs that hang from the ceiling behind the Exercycles for viewing by people on the last two rows of treadmills, that had also been dark, is now also working again, and I was right, it does show CNN.
So, now I guess I'll watch to see if that guy who was ranting at CNN shows up again. I haven't seen him since CNN was turned off. Maybe that is what the management of the gym is also doing. He may have joined just for a week, solely for the purpose of trying to get them to turn off CNN. It will be interesting to see if he shows up again.
Meanwhile, this morning I read through my first "scientific" paper, which was titled "Time Dilated Light," and I started modifying it. But, I think it's going to take a lot more than fixing a few sentences. It appears I'm going to have to rewrite the entire paper. The current version certainly doesn't reflect my current thinking. I'm not going to delete it from ViXra.org, since it does show what I was thinking early last year. However, I have deleted the link to the version that I had on this web site.
November 2, 2017 - This morning I remembered something else I'd seen recently that related to the hundred-year-old debate over whether light is a wave or a particle. It wasn't about visible light, though. It was about cosmic "rays."
Last week, astronaut Scott Kelly was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and he talked about how cosmic "rays" cause astronauts to see tiny flashes of light when they close their eyes while out beyond Earth's atmosphere. There's a YouTube video of that interview.
They start talking about it at the 3:30 minute mark. It seems easy to explain if light (and cosmic "rays") are particles and the flashes are "the result of actual photons of visible light being sensed by the retina" (quoted from Wikipedia), but how could anyone use the wave theory of light to explain such a phenomenon?
I wondered if that might be an argument worth mentioning in my paper about Wave Theory vs Particle Theory. I couldn't make up my mind, so I turned off my computer, laid down on the couch in the living room, and I finished reading a book I have on my Kindle. The book is "Physics for Future Presidents; The Science Behind the Headlines" by Richard A. Muller.
The book contained a lot of interesting details about things that would be very important for a President to know, but mostly it seemed to be about how things are never as simple as they seem. (Donald Trump should have learned that lesson by now.) The author writes about atomic weapons and how they differ from one another. He writes about energy problems and the advantages and disadvantages of oil, coal, and nuclear power. He writes about the 9/11 terrorists investigating the possibility of using crop duster aircraft as flying bombs before they settled on hijacking commercial airliners. (I always advocated that point of view against the ridiculous idea that the 9/11 terrorists would were going to use the crop dusters to spray anthrax over some city (which would have required a LOT of anthrax that was never found anywhere)).
The last few chapters of the book are mostly about global warming. What the author says is that while it seems a virtual certainty that global warming is being aggravated by humans burning too much fossil fuels, it is not 100% certain, and if the President says something is a "certainty" that is only 90% likely, he's likely to do his agenda more harm than good. Many Americans do not seem able to cope with things that are not 100% certain (President Trump being a prime example). If they are not 100% safe, then they are in danger. If there is a .0001% chance that they might be killed by terrorists, that is too big a chance. They don't want to risk it.
It was an enjoyable book, and definitely worth reading, but, instead of science and physics books, I think I'm going to focus on humor, history and travel books for awhile. I downloaded a few and put about ten more "on reserve" at the library. And I've already started reading history book on my Kindle, I'm listening to a travel book on my MP3 player, and while driving I'm listening to a humor book I burned on CDs.
November 1, 2017 - I've been thinking a lot lately about working on my paper about the Wave Theory of Light versus the Particle Theory of Light, but I also know I need to get my apartment ready for winter. A few days ago, I needed to make a decision: Which should I do? So, what I did was lay around on my couch and finish listening to the 10-part audio book version of "I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend" by Martin Short.
As near as I can tell, I paused in listening to it on my MP3 player while working out at the gym sometime in mid-2016. That's about when I decided that listening to audio books while at the gym was not the best way to spend my mental time there. It was better if I just spent my time thinking while on the treadmill and the Exercycle, because I wanted to work on some scientific papers. The first thing I do when I get to the gym is spend 30 minutes walking 1.6 miles on the treadmill. And, for some reason, I get some of my best ideas while on the treadmill.
Anyway, the MP3 player showed I had stopped listening to Short's book when I was about to start Part-7. I decided to restart from Part-6. This morning, while doing monthly backups of all my computer files, I finished Part-10.
The book is very funny in parts, and that is undoubtedly why I "borrowed" it from the library. It was in their "Non-fiction Humor" section. But it's also an autobiography, and the last three chapters are very sad, since they are largely about the author's ordeal of losing his wife to cancer. But, it was still worth my time to finish listening to it, since the alternative would have been to winterize my apartment. I plan to get to work on that this afternoon.
Even while listening to Short's book, I kept thinking about the Wave Theory of Light. On the way home from the gym yesterday, I rented a DVD movie from RedBox, and last evening I watched a dubbed version of a Russian sci-fi film titled "The Guardians." Coincidentally, it had a big scene involving hauling a gigantic "antenna" the size and shape of Tokyo Skytree from one place to another in downtown Moscow. Someone needed the tall antenna in the new location for some sci-fi reason involving radio signals. I could only wonder about other such tall structures and how they are used to hold antennas so that radio waves can travel farther, the Empire State Building being the best example.
Perhaps even more coincidentally, after the movie was over I watched last night's episode of "NCIS," which just happened to be largely about a murdered short wave radio enthusiast who was also in the Navy. A large part of NCIS solving the murder was the result of the short wave radio supposedly having a range of only about 60 miles. Therefore, they were able to track down another short wave radio enthusiast who had the clue needed to solve the murder.
My understanding of short wave radio is that the signals bounce off of atoms in the ionosphere and therefore can travel all the way around the world -- or at least to very great distances, far greater than 60 miles. The reason for building tall antennas is for radio waves of longer lengths, which only reach shorter distances because you have to be in the transmitter's "line of sight" to receive the signals. That means that the higher the transmitter antenna, the farther the radio waves will travel before the curvature of the earth causes the waves to head off into outer space. They do not bounce off the ionosphere.
I assume the NCIS show was written by someone who knew about CB radios and CB radio enthusiasts and thought CB radios were still as popular as they were in the 1960s and 70s, before cell phones turned out to be much easier to use. So, instead of just throwing out the script, they changed it to be about short wave radio enthusiasts - perhaps thinking that very few in their audience would even know about short wave radios and how they are for long range communications. Thus they also wouldn't know that shortwave radio is virtually dead in the U.S.
Anyway, it was like the universe was telling me that I need to work on my paper about the ridiculous Wave Theory of Light (which includes radio waves).
But first I need to winterize my apartment.