|Comments for Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018,
thru Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018:
January 31, 2018 - Hmm. This morning I decided I needed to create an Exel spreadsheet with numbers I commonly use when writing about physics. For example, how many kilometers per second do you have to be traveling before 1 second for you will equal 10 seconds for some stationary individual? The answer is roughly 298,290 kilometers per second. The problem has been that every time I want to use that number I have to recalculate it using an on-line time dilation calculator. So, I'm putting the number (or a more precise number) in a spread sheet that I will retain. Now I just have to remember where the spreadsheet is located. :-)
During the process of looking for key numbers (how fast the Sun goes around the Milky Way Galaxy, etc.), I found an article titled "How fast are YOU spinning on Earth’s axis right now? Infographic reveals the precise speed your country is moving at as the planet rotates." The article contains this interesting graphic:
Under the graphic it says, "Using this map, you can search for where your line of latitude crosses the black curve to determine the speed you're spinning in the cosmos."
That becomes important when you talk about Time Dilation, because Einstein wrote this in his 1905 paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies:
Thence we conclude that a balance-clock at the equator must go more slowly, by a very small amount, than a precisely similar clock situated at one of the poles under otherwise identical conditions.So, if you know Milwaukee is at 43 degrees north latitude, the map shows you that latitude almost exactly matches to the "Tangential Speed" of 750 mph. If you are at the equator, your speed around the earth's axis will be 1,040 mph. If you are at the poles it will be zero. Everywhere in between it will be somewhere between zero and 1,040 mph, and Time will tick at a different rate at every different latitude. Cool! I wish I'd found that map long ago.
January 30, 2018 - Yesterday, I took my camera with me to the gym, and, between about 3 and 3:15 p.m., I took two dozen pictures of their 12 TVs from different angles. Prior to going to the gym, I had set my DVR (Digital Video Recorder) at home to record Fox News from 3 to 4 p.m. That would and did allow me to compare pictures of the TVs at the gym to pictures of the exact same Fox News show on my TV at home. Here's one result:
The backgrounds in the pictures are a bit darker than I would have preferred, but you can clearly see the black band on the screen at the top of the image in the upper photo, particularly where the yellow light is being reflected off the glass. There's another black band at the bottom of the screen. All 12 of their TVs have those black bands. I've been trying to convince them that those black bands aren't supposed to be there.
The picture I took of my TV at home shows no black bands. That is clearest when looking at the upper left corner where light reflects off the frame and the glass, and there is definitely no gap between the TV image and the frame.
I printed out black and white versions of these images and gave them to the manager of the gym. I also pointed out that the trees on the right side of the images on the screens are the same distance from the frame in both shots. That means both pictures are the same width. And both are 16x9 screens. Therefore, the upper picture must be compressed (or "squished") vertically to make room for the black bands.
I think I convinced him. We'll see what happens next. I've done all I can do to show them that their 12 TVs are all showing "squished" images and have been doing so since November 3.
Above is a shot I took of 11 of the 12 TVs at my gym. Seven TVs are mounted on the far wall and 5 are hanging from the ceiling. I couldn't find a position where I could get all 12 in the same shot. The 12th TV showing Fox News is mounted on the wall off of the right side of the picture. Four of the screens are dark, because someone turned off the cable connection. I put white numbers on them. 1 = ESPN, 2 = CNN, 3 = NBC and 4 = CNN.
If the manager can persuade their "Tech guy" to fix the size of the images on the screens, the "Tech guy" will hopefully and presumably turn on those 4 TVs at the same time. Then I'll wait to see if someone turns them off again. If they do, then I'll bring that "mystery" to their attention. Who keeps turning off CNN (and NBC) and why? Whoever is doing it has done it three times since October. I think I know why it was done (Trump hates CNN and so do his supporters), but I have no idea who did it.
January 29, 2018 (C) - While I was at the gym this afternoon, someone posted a very interesting comment on my interactive blog. It contained a link to a video titled "10 Times Michio Kaku Arguments Blew Our Minds":
I haven't yet watched the whole video, but the first two segments are about Einstein's conflicts with Quantum Mechanics, and those two segments fascinated me. Michio Kaku says Quantum Mechanics is "right" even though Einstein said it is "stupid." I would say that Quantum Mechanics "works," so it is assumed to be right. But Einstein could also be right, and all we are doing today is waiting for the right technology to come along to show Quantum Mechanics may have been right in what it calculated, but it was totally wrong in its description of how the universe works.
Added note: Quantum Mechanics mathematicians are also content to say that light "sometimes acts like a wave" and "sometimes acts like a particle," and they contentedly use different mathematical formulas for the different situations. To a scientist or physicist or me, that is just plain STUPID. We need to understand how light actually works.
January 29, 2018 (B) - Uh oh. For the past week or two, I've been working on a new "paper" about Einstein's First and Second Postulates as defined in his 1905 paper "On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies." I began by writing how I understand what Einstein wrote. I quote Einstein and then I explain the same things in simpler terms, terms I would use.
The second part of the "paper" is an analysis of what is written about the First and Second Postulate in 5 different highly recommended physics books. I used the five books listed in an on-line article titled "Five Highly Recommended Physics Textbooks." (I put the word "paper" in quotes because I haven't actually been writing it as a scientific paper in .docx WORD mode. I've been writing it as a web page, in .html format. My thought was that I'd first put the full version on this web site with all the links and all the interesting quotes, and then I'd strip it down to a shorter .docx version with fewer quotes and references instead of links. It's still in web page mode.) Here are the five books on the list:
1. University Physics with Modern Physics by Young, Freedman & Lewis FordWriting the web page version turned out to be a wildly educational experience. Three of the listed books (#1, #2, and #4) use what I've been calling "The Mathematicians' All Observers Theory," i.e., the mathematicians' distorted version of Einstein's postulates. Then I discovered that one of the books (#3 on the list) has what I consider to be Einstein's version of the two postulates. It explains things the way I explain things. I think I may have found it before, but I'd somehow lost track of which book it was (or maybe there's another text book somewhere that also agrees with Einstein).
To make things even more interesting, it appears that the authors of book #3 changed their minds at some point in the past. The link in the article goes to the 9th edition of the book. I also found the 10th edition, which says the same things. Then I found the 8th edition, and it uses the mathematicians' version. So, I had to study the 9th edition to see if I could figure out why they changed things. I couldn't.
Then I got to book #4 on the list. It also uses the "all observers" version, but it phrases things differently, and it cites a scientific experiment as justification for using that version. The experiment is the Kennedy Thorndike experiment from 1932. I couldn't recall ever reading about that experiment before. But, I was extremely interested in any experiment that supports the "all observer" theory.
I found a copy of the Kennedy-Thorndike 1932 paper on line. It's titled "Experimental Establishment of the Reality of Time." As far as I can tell, it does not support the "all observers" theory, since it never uses the word "postulate," and it uses the word "postulated" only once and in a different context. But, the paper definitely supports time dilation. I'm still studying it to see if I can determine why Randall D. Knight feels it supports his beliefs. It might also contains something I can use in my arguments. The problem is that the 1932 terminology is very obscure. For example, it repeatedly refers to "pencils" of light, as in "a pencil of homogeneous light" in the second sentence of the paper. So, a lot of deciphering is required.
Then I got to book #5 on the list. And there my mind was thoroughly "blown." Richard Feynman doesn't use the word "postulate" anywhere in the book, as far as I can tell. The entire book is on-line HERE. But there is a separate web page for every chapter. Chapter 15 is titled "The Special Theory of Relativity," and it doesn't contain the word "postulate." Nor does Chapter 8 on "Motion" or Chapter 17 on "Space-Time," or any other chapter which seems relevant. Plus, there are two other books in the set, neither of which seem relevant to the issue.
So, I studied Chapter 15. While Feynman doesn't use the word "postulate," he does explain things about time dilation and light. And, he explains those things in a way they have never been explained to me before. He wrote (with me highlighting a few phrases in bold):
Suppose we are riding in a car that is going at a speed u, and light from the rear is going past the car with speed c. ... according to the Galilean transformation the apparent speed of the passing light, as we measure it in the car, should not be c but should be c - u. For instance, if the car is going 100,000 mi/sec, and the light is going 186,000 mi/sec, then apparently the light going past the car should go 86,000 mi/sec. In any case, by measuring the speed of the light going past the car (if the Galilean transformation is correct for light), one could determine the speed of the car. A number of experiments based on this general idea were performed to determine the velocity of the earth, but they all failed—they gave no velocity at all. We shall discuss one of these experiments in detail, to show exactly what was done and what was the matter; something was the matter, of course, something was wrong with the equations of physics. What could it be?Using the speed of light to determine the speed of a car (or rocket ship)? That was not the way I'd been looking at things, but I knew it was how they looked at things in the Kennedy-Thorndike and the Michelson-Morley experiments. So, suddenly I was looking at things from a very different angle. For a moment, I thought that the "all observers" theory might be right after all. But, then after thinking about what Feynman wrote for awhile, I began to realize it's a different angle on things, but it doesn't change everything. It just makes it more important for me to clarify what I am saying versus what the mathematicians are saying.
And that's where I am now. Hopefully, I'll be done in the next year or two. But, maybe it won't take that long.
January 29, 2018 (A) - I just finished listening to part 4 of the 4-part audio book version of "I'll Mature When I'm Dead," by Dave Barry.
I was listening to CD #4 in the 4-CD series when I pulled into my garage yesterday afternoon. I figured I had between 5 and 10 minutes left on that last CD, but I didn't want to sit in my car to listen to it. So, I just turned it off.
This morning I turned on the MP3 version in my computer, skipped to where I'd left off, and finished listening to what turned out to be the last 4 minutes.
It was a very funny and enjoyable book. Unlike the previous Dave Barry audio book I'd listened to, this one didn't require that you read it to enjoy the humor. It was perfect for listening. And while being very funny, it was also somewhat educational. It has a lot about crime and criminals in Miami (Barry was a columnist for the Miami Herald), it has stuff about stupid politicians, it has a section about writing screenplays, it includes a brief but hilarious reading of a "vampire novel," it has a section about getting a vasectomy, a section about paying for a daughter's wedding, etc., etc. I highly recommend listening to it.
So, when I get into my car this afternoon to go to the gym, I'll eject that last CD and put in the first CD of the next audio book in the queue. It's a very different kind of book, but hopefully it will be another good listening experience.
January 28, 2018 - The discussion I was having on the Facebook closed group, Science, Philosophy and Psychology Discussion, seems to have come to an end. But it was a very good discussion while it lasted.
It began with someone asking "What is Time?" Lots of people posted responses before I entered the conversation. Most of the responses either said that time was an "illusion" or that it's just a "measurement." Then I posted my theory:
Time is particle spin. Sub-atomic particles are like little clocks that tick at a specific rate when stationary in open space. When the particles are made to move, like when part of a space ship, the spin slows down, and time slows down. Clocks on the space ship slow down, you age slower, metal rusts slower, everything that is on the space ship goes slower.
That comment got six "Likes" and one
"Wow!" And it also got some interesting
responses, to which I responded in turn. One of the
more interesting responses was from Fasesin
Hezekiah Sunny who wrote:
And I responded to him:
Time doesn't stop when motion stops. Time runs at its FASTEST speed when motion stops. Sub-atomic particles spin fastest when the particle is stationary in space.Then after a lot of back and forth on various aspects of time, someone named Andrew Pennington asked me:
Ed Lake is the speeding up and slowing down of time, as you describe, large enough to affect differences in ageing within humans. I mean if I spend my life constantly on the go vs someone very sedentary, will I be visibly or measurably younger than them after 80 odd years??And I responded,
No the speeding up of time is only really noticeable when you are going over 90% of the speed of light, and no one so far has gone even 1% of the speed of light.I got a nice complimentary response to that. After some more exchanges with various people, someone called "John Osborne" posted this:
May one ask how your investigation related to the fact that we are moving in more than 8 directions at the same HC Time at high velocities.Did you calculate a Resultant and base your conclusions on this or what?And I responded,
All the movements of the earth spinning on its axis, of the earth orbiting around the sun, of the sun orbiting around the Milky Way galaxy do not add up to a significant fraction of the speed of light. And since it is extremely difficult to use all those numbers in routine calculations, it's better to just use a stationary point instead of a moving spot on earth. That is what the calculator does. And that is what I did. The answers are not significantly different from what you'd get if you used all the various motions. If you want to argue the differences, that's up to you. Generalities are better for explanations on Facebook pages.And John Osborne responded,
Stationary Point?Where would that point be located?All is moving All is changing in our universe to the best of our knowledge.And I responded with another part of my theory,
That "stationary point" would be where the Big Bang occurred. From that "stationary point," everything exploded (moved) outward. And at that point, all matter should be evenly distributed in all directions, thus gravity would be the same in all directions.And then John Osborne ended our discussion by posting this:
May we agree that a probable process was 1The Slngular 2 QF 3 BB / RE.At the commencement of which HC time t equal zero.This indicates that in HC terms t may equal a minus quantity before BB / RE commenced. May one also indicate that whereas light generally travels in a straight line the motions that our bodies experience are not straight lined.Therefore we may not discount them in our investigations.Prehaps one may take up other points later.So, he was evidently a mathematician, and I'd put him into a position where he could only respond with mathematical abbreviations and memorized phrases.
But, while all those discussions were going on, a totally different kind of discussion was going on. Someone called "Tracy Love," whose bio says he is "Dr. Love" who formerly ran a chiropractic clinic in Arkansas, posted this message after my very first comment:
Well I must say, your comment on time is more interesting than mine.And I responded:
It's an EXTREMELY interesting subject for me.And Dr. Tracy Love responded:
I bet it gets you lots of significant others...huh?I didn't know if that was some kind of snide remark or just a creepy remark, but I responded cordially:
It gets me into a LOT of arguments with people who think time is an "illusion" or who think that time cannot change speeds, even though many many experiments show that time does change speeds. And, of course, Einstein's 1905 paper on Special Relativity says that time runs slower at the equator than at the North Pole, which means time runs slower in Miami than it does in Atlanta (because the spin of the earth is faster when you are nearer the equator).The mention of Einstein must have triggered something in Dr. Love, because his next comment was:
Einstein worked in patent offices stealing technologies for the benefit of the Corporation of the Inner City of London. His oddball theories helped safeguard the monopolies of the Corporation. Information is a strategic political monopoly and the Corporation keeps a profile on every person on Earth.Oooo. A conspiracy theory! And a personal attack on Einstein! I didn't want to get into arguing against personal attacks, so I wrote:
I don't comment on personal attacks. I only comment on whether the science is correct or not.Dr. Love wasn't ready to let the matter drop, however. He then wrote:
What is perceived as attack in fact goes to "motive". If you discount motive you can't understand the "why".Against my better judgement, I responded to that message, too. I wrote:
Motives are generally a matter of opinion, unless the person explains his motive. Opinion versus opinion arguments are a waste of time.And Dr. Love then wrote:
Your mental "orientation" reminds me of the Rotary Club motto (the Freemasons have tried to get me to join Rotary for decades). Rotary motto goes something like this..."before you say anything, consider these things...1) is it the truth, 2) will it promote good will among all concerned, 3) will it hurt anyone's feelings, 4) in summary, if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything". Keeping science secret is a nice thing...to the Corporation. If you can be loyal to this motto you can function as a Freemason...making it look like all is well in the world run by the secret society. Most of all...keep the mysteries of science secret. That just isn't my way, Ed. Now, I have had my free speech for the past two years about science and now I will retire to my other hobbies, creating music and, of course other entertainment.That ended our discussion. I didn't respond further. "The Corporation"? Evidently, he was talking about "the Corporation of the Inner City of London," whatever that is, but which he mentioned in his earlier comment. I did a Google search for it, and I found quite a few links about it. Perhaps the most interesting was an article from 2014 titled "Three Corporations run the world: City of London, Washington DC and Vatican City." It begins with this paragraph:
World events most of which are ‘engineered’ leave a trail that leads to the architects. We next discover that there are 3 cities on earth that come under no national authority, they have separate laws, they pay no taxes, they have their own police force and even possess their own flag of ‘independence’. These 3 cities control the economy, military onslaughts and the spiritual beings of those in powers. The 3 cities are actually corporations and they are the City of London, District of Columbia and the Vatican. Together they control politicians, the courts, educational institutions, food supply, natural resources, foreign policies, economies, media, and the money flow of most nations as well as 80% of the world’s entire wealth. Their ultimate aim is to build a totalitarian rule on a global scale where people will be divided into rulers and the ruled after they have depopulated the world to numbers they wish to rule over. What we need to understand is that the world does not work according to what we have been led to believe. We are drowning in misinformation.Groan. So, Dr. Love is another conspiracy theorist who believes a conspiracy theory I thought had died away two hundred years ago.
It doesn't make me wonder if there is such a conspiracy, but it does make me wonder if the conspiracy theorists might someday take over the world. There seems to be enough of them to do it.
|Comments for Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018,
thru Sunday, Jan. 27, 2018:
January 26, 2018 - Yesterday, someone sent me a link to an interesting YouTube video about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 four years ago.
It doesn't provide any new information, and it isn't clear when the video was created. But, it explains the situation nicely and it is interesting to follow the plane's route on a map or globe, since it clearly shows that the disappearance could not be an accident because the plane changed direction several times.
About a week ago, an American company started another search for the aircraft. I wrote about it in my January 11 comment.
January 25, 2018 - I awoke this morning thinking I might have solved the greatest mystery in the history of the universe. Or maybe not.
For the past couple days, I've been working on a paper about Einstein's two postulates and the arguments about them, plus how the two postulates relate to Time Dilation. I've been trying to simplify the first and second postulates, and relativity, down to its bare essentials. I've got that part of the paper done. Now I'm going through physics text books to quote how they distort the first and second postulates to mean something other than what Einstein said and wrote. While doing that, I realized that the third part of my paper would have to be about whether the misquotes and distortions are intentional or not. Do the authors think Einstein was wrong, or do they think that Einstein just didn't explain things clearly? Or are they deliberately distorting what Einstein wrote in order to promote the Quantum Mechanical view of the universe?
Last week, someone calling himself "Anonymous" posted some comments to my interactive blog, comments stating how he had never read anything about Einstein disagreeing with mathematicians, much less that the disagreement went on for 50 years. He said, there was nothing in his biographies about any such arguments. "Anonymous" was right. But, we were talking about arguments over the meaning of the First and Second Postulates. That's not what the arguments were really about. The arguments were about the incompatibility between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. There is page after page about that subject in his biographies.
I think the misunderstandings about the First and Second postulates stem from a disagreement about the nature of Time. I'm not sure what the disagreement between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity is all about. I'll have to do more research on it. Articles on the subject usually just say that Relativity is about how the large scale universe works, and Quantum Mechanics is about how particles and atoms work, and the two concepts are somehow irreconcilable. It seems to have something to do with the nature of Time. I don't quite understand that, since time slows down for particles just as it slows down for everything larger when going fast. That has been proven with muons and other particles.
I was hoping to get back to work on that paper this morning, but then, as I was going through my morning routine of checking various things on the Internet, I saw someone had asked the question "What is Time?" on the closed group, Science, Philosophy and Psychology Discussion. You have to be a member to even see what is posted there. I'm a member, so I responded. And I got a terrific response to everything I posted. So, I spent some time on it. And there might be a lot more comments when the "night shift" comes on (when people who only get on Facebook in the evening start viewing that thread).
Meanwhile, of course, I keep thinking about the problems with the TVs at my gym. And every day there seems to be another mystery of some kind that briefly grabs my attention. (Who in Houston is accessing this site every day from a different IP address? And how is that done?) Sigh.
January 23, 2018 - Sigh! Once again, someone turned off the two TVs at my gym that have been showing CNN. It's the 3rd time in the past 3 months. I don't know if there's any way to find out if it is part of the campaign to get gyms to turn off CNN or if the guy who runs the gym just doesn't like CNN.
I talked with him yesterday about how the TV images on their 12 LG TVs all have black bars across the tops and bottoms, but he seemed to think that it must be normal, since no one else mentioned it. I got the model number of the remote control they use, and I found a 152-page LG instruction manual on the Internet. But, I can't reproduce the problem on my Sony TV, so I can't define the exact solution. It looks like a problem I'm just going to have to forget about. It isn't worth all the effort I'm putting into it to find a solution. Out of curiosity, I stopped in Best Buy yesterday to see what the 21x9 screens look like, but they don't have any identified that way. Some screens look wider than others, but none looks significantly wider. They had about 35 TVs on all at once. None, of course, had black bars across the tops and bottoms of the screens. So, how can anyone think the black bars are "normal"? Sigh.
January 22, 2018 - In a response to the comment I wrote yesterday, I received an email this morning reminding me that my cable box remote control can probably be programmed to also be my TV remote control. That way I can use one remote control for both. I knew that. My cable box remote control is supposed to be a "Universal remote control," which can supposedly be used to operate my TV, my cable box, and certain functions of my BluRay player. But, is it easier to pick up one remote control and push two or three buttons than to pick up one remote control, push a button, then pick up a second remote and push another button? Researching the question, I found the cartoon below, which shows having multiple remote controls to be a problem.
Then I found the cartoon below, which seems to show having multiple remote controls to be an easily met challenge.
My feeling is that I am too busy trying to understand the universe, and I don't really have the time to try to understand a universal remote control. A universal remote control solves a problem that I don't have.
Right now, I have a much bigger problem in trying to figure out why so many people misunderstand the First and Second postulates in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. How can I convince them they are wrong if they cannot discuss the subject except in mathematical terms? I cannot convince them using mathematics. The problem doesn't have to do with mathematics, it has to do with LOGIC. Their misunderstanding is NOT LOGICAL. Neither is their argument that mathematics IS logic.
Back when I was working on this problem in order to write my paper about Einstein's Second Postulate, I collected dozens and dozens of papers and books on the subject. I tried to organize them in a file in web page format that I never put on the Internet. Since then, I've collected dozens and dozens of additional papers and books that aren't included in the web page. Looking through some of them, I see all sorts of misunderstandings. For example, on page 15 of Wolfgang Rindler's Essential Relativity: Special, General and Cosmological, it says this:
So the only function of the second postulate is to fix the invariant velocity.And on page 61 it says this:
We have seen how Einstein’s second postulate (the invariance of the speed of light) seems to violate common sense and certainly violates Newtonian kinematics.The Second Postulate isn't about the "invariance" of the speed of light! It is about how the speed of the emitter does not affect the speed of light (because there is a maximum speed at which light can travel). And it makes perfect sense, common or not! Here, for the umpteenth time, is what Einstein wrote (translated into English):
We will raise this conjecture (the purport of which will hereafter be called the “Principle of Relativity”) to the status of a postulate, and also introduce another postulate, which is only apparently irreconcilable with the former, namely, that light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body.That is so simple and clear. How can physicist after physicist, author after author, turn that into something it does NOT say??!!! And when you argue with them, they claim it may be what Einstein wrote, but it's not what Einstein meant. So, it becomes an opinion versus opinion argument about whether or not Einstein meant what he wrote, or did he mean to write what the mathematicians believe he meant? Opinion versus opinion arguments are a total waste of time.
Sigh. This is totally fascinating to me, but how do I convince people that Einstein meant what he wrote and what he wrote makes perfect sense, while the beliefs of the mathematicians do NOT make sense? I tried that with my paper about the Second Postulate, but maybe I can argue it in some different way.
I'm going to dig through all those papers and books to see if I can find a pattern to them or something that will undeniably show who is right and who is wrong.
January 21, 2018 - In the past few days, I've learned two lessons about what Carl Sagan meant by "common sense" in his book "The Demon-Haunted World." (See my January 18 comment.) The first lesson I learned at the gym. The second I learned in a discussion on my interactive blog.
I've mentioned in previous comments on this web site the problems I've noticed with the TVs at my gym. At my gym, there are 12 TVs, 7 mounted high on the wall in front of the rows of Exercycles and treadmills, and 5 more hanging from the ceiling about midway between the wall and the last row of treadmills. They show seven different networks (TBS, ESPN, CNN, ABC, FOX, NBC and FOX News). Since November 3, all 12 TVs have been using the wrong screen size. (I mentioned this in my December 31 comment.) All the TVs show black bars at the top and bottom of the picture. Like so:
Everything these days is transmitted for today's 16x9 TV screens. So, "normal" TV shows should fill the entire TV screen, like so:
You should only see black bars on the top and bottom if you viewing a CinemaScope movie or if you have an old TV with a narrower screen. Like so:
Those black bars should NOT be there for normal stuff on CNN, NBC, ABC, etc. The TV screens at the gym are 16x9 screens just like the one I have at home, and I don't have the black bars on my screen at home when I view CNN or the other networks.
I hadn't mentioned it to the gym management because I didn't want to make a pest of myself. I had previously complained about them turning off CNN and NBC, and they had to call Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) to come in to turn CNN back on. (They never did turn NBC back on.) And they seemed to claim that they had to call Spectrum for all problems with the TVs.
Then on Friday of last week, as I sat down on the Exercycle in front of the TV showing CNN, I noticed that 4 of the 7 TVs on the wall were dark. None of the TV screens had been dark 20 minutes earlier when I was on the treadmill. The one showing CNN wasn't dark, so it was not a problem for me, and I didn't tell anyone. Then, about ten minutes into my 20 minutes on the Exercycle, the young woman who was tending the reception desk by the door came into the room carrying a remote control, and she turned on each of the 4 TVs that had been off.
BOING! They had a remote control for the TVs!! They did not have to call Spectrum. Of course!! I then realized that they probably only had to call Spectrum to change channels. The controls for the channels provided by Spectrum were inside the wall somewhere, but the remote control for the TVs was available to the gym personnel. I have two remote controls for my TV at home, too. I have the remote control for the cable box, and I have a remote control for the TV. The remote control for the cable box changes channels, the remote control for the TV turns the TV on and off, it adjusts the sound - and it also adjusts the picture shape and size.
Since the young woman was right in front of me, I waved her over and pointed to the TVs to tell her that the screen size was wrong on all the TVs. She just smiled pleasantly and told me that that was something they'd have to call Spectrum about. I didn't want to argue with her, so I just let her go about her business.
When I was finished on the Exercycle, I wondered about the TVs hanging from the ceiling behind me. I walked back to look at them, and sure enough, three of those TVs were still off. Simple LOGIC had made me think that if most of the TVs on the wall had somehow been turned off, then some of the TVs hanging from the ceiling had also probably been turned off. Or was it "common sense"?
Then, when I'd finished my workout, showered, dressed and was on my way out the door, I stopped by the front desk and asked if I could look at the remote control for the TVs. The young woman obediently handed it to me. It was very different from the TV remote I have at home. The one I have at home has a "WIDE" button that adjusts the screen size. The one at the gym had no such button, but it did have a big button labeled "MODE" that isn't on my remote control. Would that be the button to adjust the screen size? I didn't know, and I didn't want to ask if I could experiment with it. At that moment, one of the men from the gym came to the desk to get something from a drawer, and the young woman told the man that I thought that the screen images were all the wrong size. The guy smiled condescendingly and said that they'd call Spectrum about it. And he left. So, did I. But, before I did, I informed the young woman that three of TVs hanging from the ceiling were still off. Her jaw dropped open, probably because she hadn't thought to check them.
It was a lesson in "common sense" as the term was used by Carl Sagan. Their "common sense" was telling them that no one else was complaining about the screen size, so I must be mistaken. Their "common sense" was telling them that the screen size was some technical matter that was handled by Spectrum, and Spectrum certainly must know what they are doing, so I must be mistaken. My "common sense" (i.e., LOGIC) was telling me that CNN and the other networks do not transmit two different sized images. I knew that I was using the right size image on my TV at home, the gym had the same shaped TV screens, so the gym must be using the wrong size image.
When I got home, I tried to find the instruction manual for their TV remote control on the Internet, but I couldn't find any that has a big "MODE" button. So, I need to identify the model of the TV and/or the model of remote control they use at the gym to research it further. Meanwhile, I'll just keep my mouth shut.
And that brings us to the other lesson in "common sense" that I learned on my interactive blog.
The guy I'm arguing with on my blog (he uses the "Anonymous" option for identification), thinks it is "common sense" that if dozens of college textbooks claim that all observers will measure light to be arriving at the same speed, regardless of their own motion, then that must be true. And, if I disagree, I have to be wrong. And my paper on the subject must also be wrong, regardless of all the experiments I list which show that I am correct. It is just "common sense" that all those physics books cannot be wrong.
Plus, "Anonymous" believes that if Einstein disagreed with the mathematicians about their "all observers theory," Einstein's biographers would certainly have mentioned it. That's just common sense.
I have a hardcover copy of "Einstein: The Life and Times" by Ronald W. Clark on a bookshelf against the far wall behind my computer right now. It has no mention of the Second Postulate problem, and it doesn't even have the word "postulate" in the index. I explained to "Anonymous" that a biographer writes about what he has researched, and the "all observers" argument was probably something he didn't want to put into a popular biography, even if he was aware of it or understood it. And I provided references to Einstein's lectures and letters where Einstein mentioned his problems with mathematicians.
The problem, as I am now beginning to understand it, is that I'm battling against "common sense." And using logic to show that "common sense" is wrong on the subject of "the mathematicians' all observers theory" just makes no sense to those who use "common sense" to determine what is right and what is wrong. And it doesn't matter how many experiments I provide which undeniably confirm that the "mathematicians' all observers theory" is wrong. If it is one person against many others who are obviously intelligent, "common sense" says the many others who are obviously intelligent are right. So, the only thing that will change the minds of people who are using "common sense" is to provide a lot of information showing that many other people agree with me. Showing that I agree with what Einstein himself has written isn't enough. Other people have to have found the same thing. "Common sense" says that if one group of intelligent people disagrees with another group of intelligent people, then something can and should be done to resolve the conflict, because both groups cannot be right.
I'm going to have to identify others who agree with me. I've found a few documents which support Einstein's interpretation of his own Second Postulate against the mathematicians' interpretation. I've even exchanged emails with some of them, but they seem reluctant to battle "the establishment" which these days seems to be controlled by the editors who run arXiv.org. That means I have to find papers and books that got published without first going through arXiv.org.
And I'm going to find some way to locate the instruction book for the remote control used for the TVs at my gym. I just found this on the Internet:
The middle column is for the TV's I and my gym have. It is for today's 16:9 TVs. The column on the right is for old 4:3 TVs. The column on the left is for newer widescreen 21:9 TVs. The TVs at the gym must be set for 21:9 images used on new 21:9 TVs, so the images look like the center image on the top row.
And this reminds me of the last time I visited my sister and her husband. They had problems getting rid of the dark lines and couldn't understand why there should be ANY dark lines on their TV. So, when they got dark lines on the sides like the center column bottom row because it was an old TV show, they tried to adjust the TV to get rid of them. The same with CinemaScope movies, which have dark lines at the top and bottom, but are NOT squeezed as is the case with the TVs at my gym.
I never before realized how complicated this is. I wonder how many people voted for Trump because they figured "Make America Great Again" meant going back to when all TVs were the same size, and things weren't so complicated.
|Comments for Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018,
thru Sunday, Jan. 20, 2018:
January 19, 2018 - Yesterday afternoon, someone who read the comment I wrote yesterday morning about Carl Sagan's use of the term "common sense" posted a comment to my interactive blog. Here's part of what "Anonymous" wrote:
Tell me, Mister Lake, what does your research tell you about what Einstein was saying from 1905 to the year of his death in 1955 (He was a Prof. in Zurich, Prague, Berlin and then Princeton)? Did he say that ALL the other academic professors of physics over that half century had misinterpreted his ideas and were teaching their students, undergrads and grads, "nonsense"? If not, why not?I responded by telling "Anonymous" that for the last 50 years of his life, Einstein endlessly complained about the way the mathematicians were misinterpreting his theories. And he wrote books and papers further clarifying his theories.
"Anonymous's" question, however, prompted me to do some more research. I recalled reading one college physics text book which agreed with Einstein against the mathematicians, but I couldn't immediately find the notes I made about it. Instead, I found an interesting article by someone named Steven Wykstra where Wykstra argues much of what I've been arguing about Einstein's Second Postulate. The article (or letter) is titled "On Einstein's Second Postulate" and is from The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Volume 27, Issue 3, 1 September 1976. It seems to be a 3-page article, but I've only managed to access the first page. That first page begins with this:
In a recent note Kenneth Schaffner has argued that Einstein shifts from one form of the second postulate (or 'light postulate') to another in the course of his 1905 paper. The second postulate formulated by Einstein in his introductory section (hereafter "the second postulate-1"), Schaffner takes to be the "I.L.V. hypothesis", according to which the velocity of light is independent of motion of the light source. That which Einstein gives as his second postulate in his second section (hereafter "the second postulate-2"), Schaffner claims is the stronger "C.L.V. hypothesis", which asserts that the speed of light is a constant which is independent not only of the motion of the light source, but also of the state of motion of the observer's frame of reference. In an earlier article to which Schaffner refers, Adolf Gründbaum has similarly interpreted the second postulate to be the C.L.V. hypothesis.Wykstra then goes into his reasons for rejecting Schaffner's version, which are the same reasons I have. Judging from that page, this is an argument that has been going on for awhile. And I've also had a college professor tell me that Einstein's phrasing in the "introductory" part of his 1905 paper conflicts with Einstein's phrasing in the "second section," and it has been a constant source of argument for decades. But, I can't get anyone to point out exactly where the "second section" conflicts with what's in the introductory" section. They always tell me it's obvious and I should find it myself, or take some college courses to help me understand the obvious. I suspect it is in the form of a mathematical equation.
This morning, I'd hoped "Anonymous" would have more to say, but he seems to have gone away. However, he helped me realize that I need to keep better track of the arguments, and I specially need to keep better track of the arguments by people who agree with me. It will help when people think I'm the only person arguing that what most colleges teach about the Second Postulate is nonsense.
January 18, 2018 - I keep thinking about this paragraph from Carl Sagan's book "The Demon-Haunted World" which bothered me greatly when I first read it:
No physicist started out impatient with commonsense notions, eager to replace them with some mathematical abstraction that could be understood only by rarefied theoretical physics. Instead, they began, as we all do, with comfortable, standard, commonsense notions. The trouble is that Nature does not comply. If we no longer insist on our notions of how Nature ought to behave, but instead stand before Nature with an open and receptive mind, we find that common sense often doesn’t work. Why not? Because our notions, both hereditary and learned, of how Nature works were forged in the millions of years our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. In this case common sense is a faithless guide because no hunter-gatherer’s life ever depended on understanding time-variable electric and magnetic fields. There were no evolutionary penalties for ignorance of Maxwell’s equations. In our time it’s different.Sagan used the term "common sense" in a very different way than the way I use it. I use it to mean something that is logical. Sagan seems to use it to describe something that is believed. Unfortunately, I've never questioned anyone who used the term "common sense" to find out exactly what they meant by it. But, I did encounter a lot of people on discussion forums who argued that there are a lot of things in physics that do not agree with common sense. And when asked to provide examples, they always provided examples that were illogical to me but logical to them, the prime example being that light travels at c for all observers. They use it the way it is used in college text books. Here's an example from page 11 of Space, Time and Einstein: An Introduction, by J. B. Kennedy:
At the start, with the police car at a standstill at the side of the road, the speeding car zips away at 150 kilometres per hour. As the police car reaches 30 kilometres per hour, the speeding car travels only 120 kilometres per hour faster. As they accelerate, the relative speed of the fugitive drops down further and further, and finally dwindles to zero as the police catch up and race alongside flashing their lights. This is common sense. If the speeding car goes at 150 kilometres per hour and the police are chasing at 130 kilometres per hour, then their relative speed is 20 kilometres per hour.And here's how "common sense" is used on page 12 in the 6th edition of the college text book Modern Physics, by Paul A. Tipler and Ralph A. Llewellyn:
Although each postulate seems quite reasonable, many of the implications of the two together are surprising and seem to contradict common sense. One important implication of these postulates is that every observer measures the same value for the speed of light independent of the relative motion of the source and observer.When you provide many experimental results which show that light travels at c + or - v for someone who is moving toward or away from the source of light (as I do in my paper about Einstein's Second Postulate), they just start calling you names and declaring that you are stupid. They cannot argue the logic, and they simply claim the experiments were flawed. To me, they are simply misreading what Einstein wrote about his two "postulates" in his 1905 paper on Special Relativity. And they are repeating what they memorized in school, without really understanding anything.
Here's the only time I use the term "common sense" in my paper about Einstein's Second Postulate:
Einstein says nothing about what others may observe or measure for the speed of light, since their movements do not actually affect the speed of the light they observe. However, an observer approaching the source of light will measure the light to arrive at c + v, where v is his velocity, and if the observer is moving away from the source of the light, he will measure the light to arrive at c – v. That is totally in tune with common sense. How could an observer affect the speed of light he didn’t create? That would make no sense.I did a Google search for common sense vs logic, and found that a lot of people want to know the difference. And, there seems to be a standard reply:
Logic is used to reach a conclusion using the most accurate route available to us mankind. Common sense however is not always accurate and can sometimes be based on assumptions, social acceptance and no facts. logical thinking is a process which should involve no facts based on emotion.That doesn't say what "common sense" is. It just says it is not always accurate. Neither is logic, even though it is "the most accurate route available." Is "common sense" sometimes based on "assumptions, social acceptance and no facts," or would that be better described as beliefs that are devoid of common sense?
I'd never really thought about scientists and physicists possibly having a different definition of "common sense" than I have. Now I can see I'll have to be careful about using that term.
January 16, 2018 - At about 10:15 this morning, I finished reading another library book on my Kindle: "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" by Carl Sagan. (I have read many other books by Carl Sagan, and I have several on a bookshelf behind me, but this one I don't recall every hearing of before I spotted it on the list of available science-related Kindle books at the library.)
While it was an extremely interesting book, it was also very frustrating at times, because Sagan repeatedly wrote at great length about things that are of little or no interest to me (witchcraft trials, alien abductions, religious visions, etc). And then he'd switch to some scientific subject of great interest.
I highlighted a lot of passages, enough to turn into a 24-page .DOCX file when copied from the MyClippings.txt file in the Kindle. Here are two passages that can be used as examples of what the book was all about:
Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science. Science thrives on errors, cutting them away one by one. False conclusions are drawn all the time, but they are drawn tentatively. Hypotheses are framed so they are capable of being disproved. A succession of alternative hypotheses is confronted by experiment and observation. Science gropes and staggers toward improved understanding. Proprietary feelings are of course offended when a scientific hypothesis is disproved, but such disproofs are recognized as central to the scientific enterprise.and
Pseudoscience is just the opposite. Hypotheses are often framed precisely so they are invulnerable to any experiment that offers a prospect of disproof, so even in principle they cannot be invalidated. Practitioners are defensive and wary. Skeptical scrutiny is opposed. When the pseudoscientific hypothesis fails to catch fire with scientists, conspiracies to suppress it are deduced.Ah, yes. That's something I've seen many times in my arguments with True Believers of many kinds. I also highlighted this passage:
In 1993, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz, issued an edict, or fatwa, declaring that the world is flat. Anyone of the round persuasion does not believe in God and should be punished.That's the only mention of Flat Earthers in the book. But what it says about people who believe in alien abductions and religious visions can be applied equally well to Flat Earther beliefs. Here's another quote from the book:
Only 9 percent of Americans accept the central finding of modern biology that human beings (and all the other species) have slowly evolved by natural processes from a succession of more ancient beings with no divine intervention needed along the way.The book is absolutely fascinating in parts, one really great example being when it used as an example of "scientific thinking" the things that Native American and aboriginal trackers did (as seen in countless movies): determining how fast an animal or person was moving and how long ago he passed by, based upon the foot or hoof prints left behind in the dirt. That was a science that someone figured out centuries ago and passed on from generation to generation.
It's also fascinating when Sagan describes our system of government and how it was developed by a scientist, Thomas Jefferson. It's based not only upon the consensus of the people, instead of upon the wishes of some dictator, it's also based upon doing experiments. This passage is from one of the final chapters in the book (unfortunately, passages highlighted on a Kindle aren't identified by page number but by some cryptic "location" number and time):
It is a fact of life on our beleaguered little planet that widespread torture, famine, and governmental criminal irresponsibility are much more likely to be found in tyrannical than in democratic governments. Why? Because the rulers of the former are much less likely to be thrown out of office for their misdeeds than the rulers of the latter. This is error-correcting machinery in politics. The methods of science—with all its imperfections—can be used to improve social, political, and economic systems, and this is, I think, true no matter what criterion of improvement is adopted. How is this possible if science is based on experiment? Humans are not electrons or laboratory rats. But every act of Congress, every Supreme Court decision, every Presidential National Security Directive, every change in the Prime Rate is an experiment. Every shift in economic policy, every increase or decrease in funding for Head Start, every toughening of criminal sentences is an experiment.It's a 457-page book in print form. It seemed a lot longer, due to all the material that was of little or no interest. Normally, I would just read from my Kindle during breakfast and lunch, but I wanted to finish this book, so yesterday and this morning I spent hours on my couch reading. My Kindle is now set to start on a new and shorter book that I hope will not contain so much unwanted material.
January 14, 2018 (C) - I keep waking up each morning thinking about writing a scientific paper titled "The Logic of Light," but then I get distracted into other things. I've already started working on the paper about 8 or 10 times. Each time I start by approaching the subject from a different angle. Then I realize there are things I need to explain before I can write about what I'm currently writing about.
Now I'm thinking I need to begin by explaining and defining "the problem." The problem, once again, is that colleges and universities around the world are teaching nonsense. They are teaching students that two waves of light energy can cancel each other out via a process they call "Destructive Interference." But there are two major problems with that:
1. "Destructive interference" implies that the light energy is destroyed, and the law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be destroyed.
2. When attempting to justify the absurdity of problem #1, physic teachers explain that "destructive interference" does not really destroy energy, because the energy is somehow transferred to another wave via "constructive interference." But, the facts say light is NOT a wave. It is a particle.
Interestingly, this is clearly a MAJOR controversy. I'm definitely not the first to identify the problem. A Google search for "destructive interference" and energy conservation finds dozens of articles where the question is being asked and the answers always seem to be variations of gibberish. One guess is that the kinetic energy is transformed into potential energy. Another guess is that the destruction of energy in one wave becomes the construction of energy in another wave. A third source argues basically the same as the previous argument, but does it with mathematics. A fourth explanation basically has the teacher saying he doesn't know, but he thinks it has something to do with the source of the light. A fifth source has a combination of all of the above. A sixth source seems to suggest that the equipment doing the experiment plays a role in the destruction and somehow preserves the energy. A video on the subject seems to suggest that it's all magic, the energy from the destroyed wave is magically transferred to the heightened wave.
Having defined the problem, my paper would then have to clarify that light is NOT a wave, it is a particle that moves in a wave-like pattern. I can cite many experiments which make that clear, plus I can cite and quote Richard Feynman making it very clear. And, of course, no one knows how the energy of a particle can be transferred to another particle when all the particles in the experiment are known to always have the same amount of energy.
The next part of the paper would then have to define what is actually happening, based upon experimental results and logic. I can visualize it, but the problem is to put it down in words. The words have to make the answer very clear, so clear that no one can intelligently challenge the logic or the answer. (There will certainly be countless people who will simply not accept it, and will just call me an idiot.)
The biggest problem I have is that physicists performing the "double-slit experiment" never seem to address some key questions: First, what happens to all the light that enters the experiment but does not get "destroyed" via "destructive interference" and also does not end up as bright lines on the wall?
If the answer is that all the non-destroyed light does end up as bright lines on the wall, the second question then becomes: How did all the light get to the wall if there are obstacles in the way (like closed slits and the wall that contains the two slits)?
The single-photon double-slit experiments seem to indicate that the same amount of light hits the wall when one slit is open and when two slits are open. How did all the light photons get through the remaining slit? Imagining the light as a wave instead of as a photon doesn't answer the question.
My paper has to try to answer that question. And, I'm not totally certain I have the answer ... yet.
January 14, 2018 (B) - I had to go to the grocery store this afternoon, and since the store is right across a narrow street from my local Barnes & Noble book store, I decided to once again see if they had Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury in stock. There was nothing in the windows and nothing on any shelves or tables at the front of the store. (They did have a small table covered with other books about Trump, that wasn't there on my previous visit.) So, I asked the clerk behind the Customer Service counter when they expected to receive copies. He replied that they've receive several small shipments, but they sell out almost immediately. We were both amused by the phenomenon.
Additionally, on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Friday night, they mentioned that Amazon has another book titled "Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945" that is selling extremely well because people are buying it thinking that it is the "Fire and Fury" that everyone is talking about.
And, when I checked Amazon's web site to look for that WWII book, I found that Amazon has a new "book" on sale that is titled "Fire & Fury?: Profiles of Intelligence: Michael Wolff - A Biographical Look into the Mind of a Fake News Punk," and it was supposedly authored by I. M. Stu Pido. It was published 4 days ago, on January 10, by Citizens Revealing Ethicless & Apathetic Media (PAC) (C.R.E.A.M. PAC). ("PAC" stands for "Political Action Committee".)
The description of the "book" provided by the "author" doesn't say much, but it contains this information about C.R.E.A.M. PAC:
Citizens Revealing Ethicless & Apathetic Media (PAC) is a political organization formed for the purpose of addressing the social, civic, legal, political and constitutional consequences of the media that provides for the citizens of the United States. Our focus is to evaluate reporting that we feel is ethicless and apathetic. Five general initiatives are utilized to accomplish this goal: 1) Identification, 2) Reporting, 3) Education, 4) Issue Advocacy and 5) Representation.It also says this about the "book" that is supposed to consist of 254 pages:
Our lawyers require that we advise you that this book is almost blank and contains precisely 5294 words.I'm not sure what the purpose of the book is, but using Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, you can see that the entire book appears to be page after page that contains only this:
This page intentionally left blank due to lack of evidence
on the subject matter.
FIRE & FURY?
That's 18 words. Divide 18 into 5294 and you get 294, so they must have counted all the words on the copyrights page and the phony table of contents.
I can imagine some people are buying the $24.99 paperback just to have it as a "conversation piece." However, I cannot imagine why anyone would buy the Kindle version they sell for $9.99.
Needless to say, I find this all very interesting.
January 14, 2018 (A) - Yesterday afternoon, while running errands, I finished listening to CD #17 in the 17-CD set of the audio book version of "The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley" by Eric Weiner.
It was an absolutely terrific book to listen to while driving. I'm not sure if I found it in the travel section or in the science section of my library's web site. It fits well in both. The author travels to eight different locations around the world to study and talk about the "geniuses" who lived there. The only "complaint" I might have is that there were many occasions when I wished I had a printed version of the book in front of me so that I could highlight some interesting passage that was just read to me. There's a lot in the book that is worth remembering and quoting. I searched the Internet and found a free .epub version of the book, which doesn't allow highlighting, but, when I returned home, if I remembered what passage I wanted to highlight, I could find it in the .epub version and copy and past from it into a .DOCX files of "notes."
Here's the first passage I made a note of:
Some use genius to describe a very smart person—someone with a high IQ—but that is overly narrow, and misleading. Plenty of people with extremely high IQs have accomplished little, and conversely, plenty of people of “average” intelligence have done great things. No, I am speaking of genius in the creative sense—as the highest form of creativity.And here's another:
Francis Galton may have gotten much wrong, but his definition of genius, though typically sexist, points to something important: “A genius is a man to whom the world deliberately acknowledges itself largely indebted.” Admittance to the club of genius is not up to the genius but to his peers, and society. It is a public verdict, not a private assertion. One theory of genius—let’s call it the Fashionista Theory of Genius—states this unequivocally. Admission to the club of genius depends entirely on the whims, the fashion, of the day. “Creativity cannot be separated from its recognition,” says psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the main advocate of this theory. Put more bluntly, someone is only a genius if we say so.So, the book isn't about people who were super smart, it's about people who were very creative ("creative geniuses"), who were recognized for being creative, and who changed the world via their creations. The book is also about where these creative geniuses lived, and how where they lived seems to have affected their creativity. The author makes a good case for certain locations at certain times being very conducive to creative thinking. Specifically the author visits eight places: Athens, Greece (Plato & Aristotle); Hanzhou, China (Su Tungpo); Florence, Italy (Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo); Edinburgh, Scotland (David Hume); Calcutta, India (Rabindranath Tagore); Vienna, Austria (Mozart, Freud and Einstein); and "Silicon Valley" (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg), which is the area around Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, California.
At the end of the book the author sums up what qualities it seems a geographical location must have in order to spawn geniuses. He calls them the "Three Ds"; disorder, diversity, and discernment. Disorder is necessary to shake up the status quo, to create a break in the air. Diversity, of both peoples and viewpoints, is needed to produce not only more dots for the genius to connect to solve a problem, but also different kinds of dots. And discernment is basically the ability to tell a good idea from a bad idea.
I don't keep a whole book's worth of CDs in my car. I keep only the CD I'm listening to in the player, and behind the visor I keep the next CD in line. I finished "The Geography of Genius" while at a stop light as I was outbound on the way to run errands. So, I ejected it. The CD I took from behind the visor, the next book in my listening queue, is a humor book, I'll Mature when I'm Dead, by Dave Barry. It's an audio book I had once put at the bottom of the queue, but, as I was about to finish Geography of Genius, I moved it to the top. Maybe I did it just to create disorder or to have a little diversity, or perhaps I decided I wasn't in the mood for another serious book. The other two books I've burned onto CDs are relatively serious: My Week with Marilyn, by Colin Clark (8 CDs) and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari (17 CDs). I'll Mature when I'm Dead is only 4 CDs. So, if I made a mistake, it will be a short mistake.
|Comments for Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018,
thru Sunday, Jan. 13, 2018:
January 13, 2018 - When I tried to open the .epub version of Fire and Fury via Adobe Digital Editions this morning, I was informed that the loan had expired and the book cannot be opened. And no other program can open it, either. That's kind of what I expected would happen, but it's the first time I'd ever borrowed an .epub book from my library, so I wasn't sure. No great loss. I have a Kindle version, which I'm certain won't be deleted. Plus, I have "screen grabs" of about 200 highlighted pages which I saved because I figured that the .epub file might get deleted. Strangely, while they wouldn't let me access the book on my own computer, the file was still there. I had to delete it to recover the disk space.
January 12, 2018 - Hmm. This morning I had to shut down everything to let Windows do a software update on my big laptop computer. When they were finished, I opened my .epub version of Fire and Fury and found that all the highlighting I had done was gone. Coincidentally, my loan from the library has also expired, so I'm waiting to see if the .epub file will also be somehow automatically deleted.
Hmm. I was just notified that I can now borrow a KINDLE version of Fire and Fury from my library. I did so. It's now in my Kindle, where I know they will not delete it. And because borrowing that Kindle book meant I could add another book to my "hold" list, I put "Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win" by Luke Harding on the list. I'm #20 in line waiting to read one of the 2 copies the library has purchased.
Meanwhile, using Adobe Digital Editions software and the .epub version, I did a word search through Fire and Fury for the word "pubic." I'd watched the TBS TV show "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" last night, and Samantha mentioned that there were some misspellings in Fire and Fury. She provided this example from page 287:
Bannon, with mounting ferocity and pubic venom, could abide them less and less every day.Hmm. I just copied and pasted that! So, something has changed. I can't highlight, all the highlighting I had done has disappeared, but now I can copy and paste, which I couldn't do while I was reading the book.
It seems to me that Samantha Bee could also have used this misspelling of the same word from page 130, which I've copied and pasted below:
Bannon was making his first official pubic appearance of the Trump presidencyHmm. Two odd Freudian misspellings of the same word. (I did a search for "pubic" on my Kindle version and found the same two occurrences. A search for "public" found it was used 17 times.) The only typo I'd made a note of while reading the book was this one which I've copied and pasted from page 11:
In early August, less than a month after Ailes had been ousted from Fox News, Trump asked his old friend to take over the management of his calamitous campaign. Ailes, knowing Trump’s disinclination to take advice, or even listen to it, turned him down. This was the job Bannon a week later.Apparently the sentence in red should be "This was the job Bannon took [or "assumed" or "accepted" or "began"] a week later.
You can probably find a typo in almost any book. We humans are simply prone to errors, and in the process of writing a book there will inevitably be mistakes. I asked two people to proof-read A Crime Unlike Any Other for me. Both found typos, but interestingly, they found different typos. And, of course, I found some they didn't find. Michael Wolff can probably correct the typos for the second edition of his book. But, there will almost certainly still be a few left.
January 11, 2018 - I'd almost forgotten about the still-unsolved Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370 mystery. It's another mystery that attracted a lot of conspiracy theorists, and it thus became of interest to me, causing me to track all events related to the mystery for the past 4 years. It's now summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, which means there is good weather in the Southern Indian Ocean. And, it appears there is going to be a new search for the missing plane. It was mentioned on the NBC nightly news last night, so I researched it this morning.
According to USA Today, the Malaysian government is now - in effect - offering "up to" a 70 million dollar reward for finding the aircraft. Unlike previous efforts where Malaysia helped pay for people to do the searching, the new policy is that they will pay only if the plane is found, and only if it is found within 3 months. USA Today phrases it this way:
the government of Malaysia ... will pay up to $70 million if the company [doing the searching] can find the wreckage of the plane or its two flight recorders within 3 months.and
Payment is based on a sliding scale, starting at $20 million if the items are found earlier within a 2,000-square-mile section of the main search area.The Huffington Post says something similar:
U.S.-based Ocean Infinity announced Wednesday that the Malaysian government had accepted its “no-find, no-fee” contract, with a reward of up to $70 million if wreckage from MH370 is located within 90 days.I had to go through a half dozen sites before I found a clear explanation of the deal on The Washington Post's web site:
If the mission is successful within three months, payment will be made based on the size of the area searched. [Transport Minister] Liow said the government will pay Ocean Infinity $20 million for 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square mile) of a successful search, $30 million for 15,000 square kilometers (5,790 sq. miles), $50 million for 25,000 square kilometers (9653 sq. miles) and $70 million if the plane or recorders are found beyond the identified area.So, I've got something else to think about as I try to get back to work on my scientific paper about the logic of light.
January 10, 2018 (D) - I don't go to the gym on Wednesdays, but I still usually have to run errands. This afternoon, I had to take back two videos I'd rented from Redbox. The store where I'd rented them was across a narrow street from my local Barnes & Noble book store. Curious about Fire and Fury, and wanting to see and thumb through a printed copy, I walked over to the store.
There were no copies on display in the windows. I thought that was odd. But, then I looked around inside and there weren't any copies anywhere inside the store either. Another man came in and started looking around, too. I guessed he was looking for the same thing I was looking for, so I asked him. Yes, he was looking for Fire and Fury. He suspected they were sold out. But, I figured if they were sold out there would be an empty space where the books had been on display. There wasn't. I told the guy that I'd ask the clerk behind the counter.
I was informed that they hadn't yet received any copies, but the clerk was willing to reserve a copy for me when it did come in. Hmm. Interesting. I told the other customer, "I guess the publisher didn't expect such demand and didn't print enough copies." And we walked out together. Neither of us had expected that finding. I wonder how many others had visited the store expecting to find copies on sale.
Added Note: After putting the above comment on my site, I was sent an email with a link to a New York Post news article titled "Barnes and Noble misses out on bombshell Trump tell-all." The NYP article says,
So, at least one of "Life's little mysteries" has been solved.
January 10, 2018 (C) - This morning I started looking through some of the passages I had highlighted and/or underlined in Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury. I was looking for one of the passages which I clearly remembered as describing the three factions fighting for Donald Trump's attention in the White House. I found the passages after lunch. They're all on page 123, 124 and into page 125. There's too much to retype and show on this web site, but here is a key bit from it:
From their separate corners each man pursued his own strategy. Bannon did all he could to roll over Priebus and Kushner in an effort to prosecute the war for Trumpism/Bannonism as quickly as possible. Priebus, already complaining about “political neophytes and the boss’s relatives," subcontracted his agenda out to Ryan and the Hill. And Kushner, on one of the steepest learning curves in the history of politics (not that everyone in the White House wasn’t on a steep curve, but Kushner’s was perhaps the steepest), and often exhibiting a painful naïveté as he aspired to be one of the world’s savviest players, was advocating doing nothing fast and everything in moderation. Each had coteries opposed to the other: Bannonites pursued their goal of breaking everything fast, Priebus’s RNC faction focused on the opportunities for the Republican agenda, Kushner and his wife did their best to make their unpredictable relative look temperate and rational.One problem I have with the idea of impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office, or with him resigning, is that he would be replaced by Mike Pence. For me, that poses a question: Would the country be better off being led by an incompetent know-nothing or by someone who is downright evil? Pence isn't mentioned very often in Wolff's book, but I highlighted this passage from page 129:
Although many saw him [Pence] as a vice president who might well assume the presidency someday, he was also perceived as the weakest vice president in decades and, in organizational terms, an empty suit who was useless in the daily effort to help restrain the president and stabilize the West Wing.Here are two paragraphs I highlighted from page 188 that are about Trump. I then did a "screen grab" of the page and drew a red line around the two paragraphs:
The unique problem here was partly how to get information to someone who did not (or could not or would not) read, and who at best listened only selectively. But the other part of the problem was how best to qualify the information that he liked to get. Hope Hicks, after more than a year at this side, had honed her instincts for the kind of information - the clips - that would please him. Bannon, in his intense and confiding voice, could insinuate himself into the president’s mind. Kellyanne Conway brought him the latest outrages against him. There were his after-dinner call - the billionaire chorus. And then cable, itself programmed to reach him -to court him or enrage him.Here's a passage I highlighted on page 197, then I took a "screen grab" of the page and underlined the last 5 words twice in red:
Mainstream media's self-righteousness and contempt for Trump helped provide a tsunami of clicks for right-wing media. But an often raging, self-pitying, tormented President had not gotten this memo, or had failed to comprehend it. He was looking for media love everywhere. In this, Trump quie profoundly seemed unable to distinguish between his political advantage and his personal needs - he thought emotionally, not strategically.Those words seem to confirm what I wrote about Trump here and on my blog back on March 23, 2017: "Trump thinks emotionally, NOT logically."
I highlighted all of page 284, and then I also took a "screen grab" of the page and underlined three sentences in red. The first is from the middle of the page:
The president continued to stew about The Devil's Bargain, the book by Joshua Green that gave Bannon credit for the election.I found the mention of The Devil's Bargain to be interesting. I have The Devil's Bargain on my reserve list at the library. It's been on the list since December 16. The library says I am #17 on the waiting list for the 3 copies they have. (They have 53 copies of Fire and Fury.)
The second underlined quote is from near the bottom of the page. Here's the entire paragraph with the two underlined sentences:
But overriding the management of the harrowing West Wing dysfunction, [General] Kelly’s success - or even relevance, as he was informed by almost anyone who was in a position to offer him an opinion - depended on his rising to the central challenge of his job, which was how to manage Trump. Or, actually, how to live with not managing him. His desires, needs, and impulses had to exist - necessarily had to exist - outside the organizational structure. Trump was the one variable that, in management terms, simply could not be controlled. He was like a recalcitrant two-year-old. If you tried to control him it would only have the opposite effect. In this, then, the manager had to most firmly manage his own expectations.Wolff often writes very convoluted sentences. That paragraph begins with one such sentence.
January 10, 2018 (B) - While I was reading "Fire and Fury," I had set my DVR to record some TV talk shows on which the author, Michael Wolff, was scheduled to be interviewed.
I recorded "Meet The Press" on Sunday morning and watched it after supper on Sunday evening. I was absolutely "riveted" by it, my jaw hanging open as I hung on every word.
I recorded "Morning Joe" on Monday morning and watched it after supper on Monday evening. It was okay, but Joe Scarborough kept interrupting and talking too much.
I recorded "The Late Show with Steven Colbert" on Monday night and watched it after supper on Tuesday night. It was okay, but the sound kept going out every so often, and the picture would sometimes scramble briefly. I think about 25% of the interview was just silence and moving lips. That made me wonder about the cause. Liam Neeson was Stephen's first guest, and there were no sound problems during that interview (which was longer that the Wolff interview). Nor were there any problems during the rest of the show. The problems only happened while Michael Wolff was being interviewed. Was it because every TV on my cable system was being tuned in to watch that interview, somehow reducing the cable signal strength? Or was someone at the cable office doing something?
I was thinking of trying to watch it again via "On Demand" when it becomes available in a day or so (presumably). Then, this morning, I realized it's probably on YouTube. Yup, Here it is:
No sound problems, so the problem I had was entirely local. And it seems to me that Colbert was a little uncertain about how he should react to the book. It seems he was expecting a scientific analysis, "How the Trump White House Operates," with at least a half dozen footnotes and references on every page, but what the book turned out to be is an adventure story, "Life Among the Warring Tribes of the Trump White House."
January 10, 2018 (A) - Hmmm. One of the things I have on my "things to do list" when I turn on my computer each morning is to check the morning news. One of the sources I check is the Huffington Post. This morning, the Huffington Post had a video news story about Lifetime Fitness gyms turning off all TV cable news shows. I didn't know how to show that video here, so I checked to see if there was a YouTube video on the same subject. There is. It's a clip from a CBS news show:
Both videos name other places which have also decided to turn off cable news shows because they generate too many arguments and/or generate too much stress for people. While I don't know how to provide the Huffington Post video here, I can show a "screen grab" I took of one frame of the video:
I gather it is a Tweet or a comment from some other social media site. But, I'm hoping that my gym is where the guy will now be going, and that my gym will continue to show CNN cable news.
And that reminds me of a passage on page 93 of Wolff's book. The passage is about a planned meeting to take place during dinner:
The dinner was called for the bar at the Hay-Adams hotel, but Arthur Schwartz, a Bannonite PR man, got into an altercation with the Hay-Adams bartender about switching the television from CNN to FOX, where his client, Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman of one of the president's business councils, was shortly to appear.The bartender evidently refused to change the channel, since the book then says,
Schwartz, in high dudgeon, announced that he was checking out of the Hay-Adams and moving to the Trump Hotel. He also insisted that the dinner be moved two blocks away to Joe's, an outpost of Miami's Joe's Stone Crab.I found that interesting, but it also reminds me of the famous Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." It might be very "interesting" to watch the government being run by a band of idiots, but it is also very scary.
January 9, 2018 - At almost exactly noon today, just before eating lunch, I finished reading the .epub edition of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff.
It's an absolutely fascinating book. What made it so fascinating to me was that it seemed to put all the pieces together. Like almost everyone else, I've been watching the news about the Trump White House for the past year, and what the book did or me was to put a lot of things into an understandable context. While reading, it was like I kept saying to myself, "Ah! That's what that that was all about." And "Ah! So, that is why that happened." And "Okay, yes, it makes sense now."
Of course, the book didn't answer all of my questions. I'm still not clear on why Trump ran for President. The book makes it clear that no one expected Trump would win - least of all Trump himself. So, why did he run? On page 18 there's a suggestion that Trump wanted to be "the most famous man in the world." He wouldn't have to win to do that. He'd just have to lose by a small amount. On page 37 it suggests at one time he was thinking of being Chris Christie's vice president if Christie got the nomination. I couldn't find any indication he thought of it as a way of making money. It seems he most likely did it because he was bored, and his TV show The Apprentice was running out of steam and losing its audience.
There are quite a few statements of what Trump's "problem" is. It says on page 119:
Trump didn't read. He didn't even skim. If it was in print, it might as well not exist. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate. (There was some argument about this, because he could read headlines and articles about himself, or at least headlines on articles about himself, and the gossip squibs on the New York Post's Page Six.) Some thought him dyslexic; certainly his comprehension was limited. Others concluded that he didn't read because he didn't have to, and that in fact was one of his key attributes as a populist. He was post-literate -- total television.It says on page 55, "You could tell him whatever you wanted, but he knew what he knew, and if what you said contradicted what he knew, he simply didn't believe you."
On the other hand, if the subject is something he knows nothing about and doesn't care about, it says on page 76 that he tends to believe whoever was the last person to talk to him. And, if it is a subject he truly doesn't care about, he'll just walk out on you. Over and over the book suggests Trump is like a child with a short attention span and a constant need to be comforted and to be the center of attention.
The book also makes it very clear why the Trump White House is like a bunch of clowns hitting each other with rubber baseball bats. There are three factions trying to get Trump's attention and to control the White House: (1) His family, which he seems to listen to most often, and thus are behind the biggest mistakes, (2) Steve Bannon, who has his own ultra-right-wing agenda, and (3) White House staffers who are trying to keep things from falling apart.
I'm running out of time while writing this. I should be quoting a lot more from the book, but there seems to be no way to copy and paste from the .epub file. And just finding the passages I want to quote is not as easy as I thought it would be, because I highlighted so much of the book - probably close to half of it.
Anyway, I highly recommend the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even if it was a total pain in the ass to read it on my big laptop, while working the mouse to highlight passages, and often doing "screen grabs" of pages I wanted to store safely away in case Adobe Digital Editions deletes my .epub file when my library loan time is over. Plus, and most annoying of all, the computer screen would go dark for about 5 or 6 seconds whenever I highlighted anything, and also when I moved to the next page. I think it was because Adobe Digital Editions had to save the entire book in order to save the highlighting.
I might write more about it if I realize there were important things I forgot to mention.
January 7, 2018 - This morning, after eating breakfast, I paused in my reading of "Fire and Fury" on my big laptop. I was on page 104 as I took the laptop into my office to begin my Sunday morning on-line routine, which includes the writing of this "Sunday comment."
When I checked my emails, I found that another book I had "On Hold" at my local library system was available to download. It was the audio version of "You Can't Spell America Without Me," by Alec Baldwin. So, I downloaded the 5 MP3 files, which I'll use to burn 5 CDs when I get some free time. At the moment, I have only two books on loan from the library.
For some reason, even though I have borrowed "Fire and Fury," my library still shows that I am also waiting to borrow a copy. It says I am #1 in line to borrow one of the 53 copies they purchased. Here's part of my "On Hold" list:
I'm hoping it isn't just a glitch and that I'm in line to borrow a Kindle copy. Reading the .epub version on my big laptop is a pain. Highlighting passages doesn't always work smoothly, and you cannot copy and paste from the .epub version I have. So, if I want to comment on and quote something I read in the book, I have to retype the passage or go through some other tedious procedure. (I've probably highlighted something on at least 90 of the 104 pages I've read so far. That's more highlighting than I've never done to any other book I've ever read.)
For example, here's an interesting passage from page 89 (or so):
[Kellyanne] Conway thought that the president, in addition to being aware of the hostility in New York, was making a conscious effort to be “part of this great house.” (But, acknowledging the difficulties inherent in his change of circumstances and of adapting to presidential lifestyle, she added, “How often will he go to Camp David?“ the Spartan, woodsy presidential retreat in Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. "How ’bout never”)I thought that was really interesting stuff about Trump's psyche. I'll write a full review of the book when I finish it, but one point I want to make now is that I don't know for certain what page that passage is on. The .epub version seems to have problems with page numbers, probably because the .epub page size does not correspond to the book page size.
So, while writing this comment I thought I'd use Amazon's "Look Inside" feature to find the exact page number. But, it turned out they only have some pages from the very beginning of the book, absolutely no page numbers, and nothing after the first couple pages of chapter 1.
Most interestingly, however, I noticed they already have 1,012 customer reviews for the book, and they all seem to be from "verified purchase" customers. The book has only been out for two days. Moreover, the first review (by "Smooth Sluggo") shows that 12,015 people found his review to be "helpful." Wow!
The first bunch of reviews seem to be all by people who bought the book mainly to thumb their noses at Trump for trying to stop the book from being released. The book appears to be #1 in sales in all of Amazon's categories.
I don't know exactly how I lucked out to get a copy from my library on the very first day of release, but I'm going to stop here with writing this comment and get back to reading it.
|Comments for Monday, January 1,
2018, thru Saturday, January 6, 2018:
January 5, 2018 - I probably wouldn't have paid much attention to all the news stories about Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" if it wasn't for one item which said the book claimed: "Donald Trump Didn't Want to be President."
The drawing above is used in a New York Magazine article about the book. It supposedly shows Trump looking horrified at being elected. The article contains the following quote from the book:
Bannon, who became chief executive of Trump’s team in mid-August, called it “the broke-dick campaign.” Almost immediately, he saw that it was hampered by an even deeper structural flaw: The candidate who billed himself as a billionaire — ten times over — refused to invest his own money in it. Bannon told Kushner that, after the first debate in September, they would need another $50 million to cover them until Election Day.It's been bothering me that for the past 7 months Trump has been out doing "fund raising" speeches for his 2020 re-election campaign. One news story about one fundraiser three months ago says,
The private party, held at an undisclosed location, will cost attendees $2,700 a ticket and an extra $35,000 to take a photo with Trump.Another news story from last June is headlined "Trump rakes in $10 million at first re-election fundraiser."
My question is: What happens to the money Donald Trump is raising if he decides not to run, or if he is impeached or resigns before 2020?
And what happened to all the money that was collected during his 2016 campaign that wasn't spent? Who pocketed it?
Maybe I'm missing something, but it looks to me like Donald Trump could be perpetrating one of History's greatest swindles right in front of everyone. And it now looks like that could have been his motive for running for President in the first place. When he lost, he could just pocket the left-over campaign donations and walk away.
It can't be as simple as that, can it? How do they keep track of donations? DO they keep track of donations? CAN they keep track of donations?
It's not something I can or want to investigate personally, but I definitely want to read Wolff's book. So, even though the book wasn't officially published until today, I wanted to get my name on the waiting list at my library, and yesterday I spent some time figuring out how to do that.
The library has a "hold" category where you can put your name on a "waiting list" for a book they have, and the library will automatically check out the Kindle, or ebook or audio version of the book to you when a copy becomes available. You can have only 10 books on that list. I already have 10 books on the list. Plus, "Fire and Fury" isn't out yet, so there was no way to use the "waiting list" to reserve a copy. So, I tried the "Wish List." I learned I can put as many as 2,000 books on my "wish list," and they'll notify me when each one becomes available. But, again, the "wish list" is only for books the library already has available.
A little research found another category: the "Recommendation" list. You can recommend that the library purchase a copy of a book, and if the library does buy a copy, they will send you an email advising you that it is available. Yesterday, I recommended they buy "Fire and Fury."
I didn't receive any email, but, this morning I checked my Recommendations and found an .epub version was available for me to borrow. So, I borrowed it using my big laptop. Then I had to figure out how to read it. At first, I didn't actually download the book, I only downloaded an .acsm trigger file that Adobe Digital Editions has to open and turn into an .epub book that I can read. I didn't want to read the book on my big laptop, I wanted to read it on my small laptop. But, there were a lot of rules I'd never seen before. To make a long story short, I didn't want to spend the time to figure out how all the rules worked, so I downloaded the 321-page .epub book into my big laptop. And now it's time to start reading it. It's been borrowed for 7 days. Will it still be in my big laptop after 7 days? I dunno. I don't think so. However, if they somehow delete it, and if I want to, I can always borrow another copy for my Kindle, where I can read it and refer to it at my leisure, since I know from experience that they do not delete anything I put on my Kindle. Until then, I probably won't be doing much work on anything else. I'll just be reading "Fire and Fury."
Added note: This afternoon I received an email from the library informing me that, "We recently purchased a title you recommended: Fire and Fury. You've been placed on the title's waiting list, and you'll be notified when it's available for you." I was reading page 37 when the notification arrived. So, I'm not the only one who doesn't know exactly how the .epub borrowing process works.
January 3, 2018(B) - Hmm. I must have used Amazon.com to look for some book about Flat Earth theories, because yesterday Amazon sent me an email with a list of other books about Flat Earth theories they have in stock. I wasn't about to spend any money on such a book, but a little research found that some of them are available for free if you know where to look.
"Terra Firma: The Earth Not a Planet, Proved from Scripture, Reason and Fact," by David Wardlaw Scott is available in pdf format for free. It's a 288 page book originally published in 1901. In the very first chapter the author rants about how gravity is nonsense. He states on page 5:
The truth is that Gravitation, Attraction, Cohesion are only scientific names invented to cover men's ignorance of God's works in nature, pretending to explain facts, when, in reality, they explain nothing at all.And he states on page 8,
Gravitation is only a subterfuge, employed by Newton in his attempt to prove that the Earth revolves round the Sun, and the quicker it is relegated to the tomb of all the Capulets, the better will it be for all classes of society.Prior to that, starting on page 1, he provides some reasoning behind his beliefs:
I remember being taught when a boy, that the Earth was a great ball, revolving at a very rapid rate around the Sun, and, when I expressed to my teacher my fears that the waters of the oceans would tumble off, I was told that they were prevented from doing so by Newton's great law of Gravitation, which kept everything in its proper place. I presume that my countenance must have shown some signs of incredulity, for my teacher immediately added—I can show you a direct proof of this; a man can whirl around his head a pail filled with water without its being spilt, and so, in like manner, can the oceans be carried round the Sun without losing a drop. As this illustration was evidently intended to settle the matter, I then said no more upon the subject.I found that very interesting, and it made me wonder if bad teachers and bad examples are responsible for most other Flat Earth theorists. As he explains his beliefs, almost anyone can see where he is totally misunderstanding things.
"The Flat Earth Conspiracy" by Eric Dubay is a 252 page book published in 2014 that is also available for free. And so is "One Hundred Proofs the Earth is Not a Globe" by William Carpenter, a 42 page "book" published in 1885. I haven't had time to peruse either of them, but I downloaded and saved copies for when and if I can find the time.
January 3, 2018(A) - Instead of working on my scientific paper about the Logic of Light, I spent most of this morning on Facebook, starting a thread about a really fantastic video that was on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site back on December 3. Click HERE to view it. It's a 3 minute 45 second video which shows the moon rising over a group of onlookers. In that short time, the moon goes from behind the horizon to being over the heads of the onlookers, and the video is not edited, nor is it a time-lapse video. Check it out. Here's a screen grab from the 1 minute 42 second mark:
It's an interesting example of how your point of view can change what you see.
January 2, 2018 (C) - When I got on the treadmill at the gym this afternoon, I saw that the TV that is set to CNN was once again working properly. It had been off since last Thursday. So, there is someone besides me who notices these things! The second TV that shows CNN was also working again, confirming that neither TV was broken. This time, the problem was fixed in less than a week. The remaining problem is: I don't know if someone complained or if the manager noticed it himself and had it fixed. But, it goes on the "Positive" side of this year's ledger of negative and positive happenings.
January 2, 2018 (B) - Not everything is on the positive side of the ledger this new year. When I checked my web site logs yesterday, I saw that early on New Year's Eve morning, starting at 02:15:49 a.m. and ending at 02:17:37 a.m., there were about 40 attempts to post WordPress information to my web site. They were all blocked by my host's software, but it was a somewhat different kind of attack than I've ever seen before, because nearly every one of the post attempts was from a different IP address. The addresses checked out to be from all over the world, everywhere from Sihanoukville, Cambodia (the first time anyone has accessed my site from Cambodia) to Elephant & Castle, England (which appears to be a "tube stop" and a shopping center in London). Most post attempts, however, were from cities in Asia, particularly China.
The post attempts didn't do any harm, so I just logged them and made no attempt to block them. They appear to be from hacked computers which use WordPress software, and by some accounts there are about 90,000 such hacked computers around the world.
This morning, I checked my logs to see what happened yesterday, and I found about 40 more post attempts between 19:16:55 p.m. and 19:18:00 p.m. This time, however, there were some repeats and some post attempts from different IP addresses in the same area, Elephant & Castle, England, being one example. The lines below in bold are from December 31st, all others are from January 1st:
22.214.171.124 Elephant & Castle, EnglandXi'an, China, being another example:
126.96.36.199 Xi’an, ChinaMy records show no other visits from anyone in the 94.177 IP range in the past 3 years, so, I blocked all further visits from that range. The same for 111.20.46.
But, I have to wonder what is going on. I don't think it is any kind of attack upon me personally. I suspect a lot of other web sites are seeing the same kind of post attempts. The problem is: I don't know what is going on. And there doesn't seem to be any serious attempt to correct the problem. Most of the activity on my web site logs comes from hacked computers using WordPress software! On some days it seems like as much as 90 percent of the log entries for my site relate to the problem. That has to be a major problem for the Internet in general. But who can you talk to about it? The Internet has no central authority.
A Google search for hack computers using wordpress finds a lot of articles about hacking WordPress web sites. But, what's missing is that those hacked web sites appear to attempt to hack other web sites, like a virus. And, somehow, they think my site uses WordPress software. Or, they just picked my site at random and there are millions of sites like mine that are getting these post attempts.
It seems to me that this has got to be a major problem. But, it also seems that it is just another problem that is too complicated for most people to understand, so nothing is going to be done about it until the entire Internet (or some large part of it) just collapses from all the unsustainable activity resulting from hacking.
Or maybe this isn't as big a problem as it seems to me. Time will tell.
Added note: While I was working out at the gym this afternoon, I realized that I really needed to know more about WordPress. So, I looked it up. I learned that it is web-site creation software. It's free. And about 26% of all web sites on the Internet use it. I learned that
Another web site HERE provides a lot more information.
I use different free software for the same purpose, software that is not nearly so widely used. However, I imagine that many of my web site host's customers use WordPress software.
So, the hackers are trying to hack web sites that were created using WordPress software. That explains a lot of things, and it seems to make the problem less serious for me. And it's another "positive" item for this year's ledger of positive and negative happenings. All I had to do to move it from the negative side to the positive side was to research it. Live and learn.
January 2, 2018 (A) - A couple days ago, I posted this photo of astronaut Bruce McCandless as part of a comment I wrote here.
After posting the comment here, I wrote a different comment which included a link to a Flat Earther news story, and posted it with the same picture to the "Science, Philosophy, and Psychology Discussion" Facebook group. It's a "closed group," so you won't be able to see anything on it without becoming a member. My post took about a day to get past the moderator, so it didn't show up until yesterday.
My post got a good reaction. 5 "loved" it, 5 others were "wowed" by it, and 80 people "liked" it. But, of course, there was one who argued that it was a fake, since you cannot see any stars behind McCandless. That's the same argument that conspiracy theorists have about photos taken on the moon. Before I could respond, the moderator of the group responded by saying,
cameras work using the available light. in sunlight there is so much light that to prevent overexposure the time of exposure is short and the aperture will be small. however to get stars in the background, because they are small and dim you need a longer exposure and a wider aperture setting. the cameras are not set up to capture the light of the stars. so you will either get foreground shots of the station and people or you will get stars. it is due to the exposure. now if you knew anything about taking photographs of stars you might know that. also if it were going to be faked as you are implying they would have put the stars in.So, all I could do this morning was try to make things more clear by posting this:
I concur with [the moderator]. It's the way cameras work. There are no stars in the photo because you need a longer exposure to see the stars, and a longer exposure would mean either that the earth and the astronaut would be overexposed, or that they would be blurred due to movement while the lens was open.So far, there's been no counterargument from the guy who thinks the picture is a fake. So, the year is starting off right. It could be further improved if the guy would say, "Ah! I hadn't thought about that. Thanks."
One person also mentioned that the horizon wasn't curved in the picture. But, it is. It just isn't curved as much as a Flat Earther would claim it must be for the earth to be round. When that was pointed out, there were no further arguments.
January 1, 2018 - I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!