Sunday, August 28, 2016

Physics teachers are teaching mathematical nonsense, not science

A couple years ago, I took a course titled Space, Time & Einstein at the WorldScienceU.com web site.  It's taught by Professor Brian Greene of Columbia University in New York City.  There were things about the course that bothered me, and I started thinking about Time Dilation and how it really works.  There was something in Professor Greene's lecture on "The Reality of Past, Present and Future" (Module #8) that bothered me a lot.  But then I forgot all about it as I organized my thoughts and worked on my scientific papers on "Time Dilation Re-visualized" and "What is Time?"  

Then, while waiting to see if my newest paper on Time Dilated Light will be accepted by a peer reviewed journal, I decided to watch parts of Professor Greene's course over again.

I want to make it clear before continuing that Professor Greene is not teaching anything that other physics professors aren't also teaching.  The only difference is the Professor Greene's course and lectures are on-line where I can easily access them.

I soon realized what bothered me about "Module #8" back then.  Prof. Greene was breaking Time down into "quanta," i.e., into moments, like the individual frames of a movie.  And he was viewing time as a mathematician would view time.  Plus, the lecture concludes with Professor Greene saying that, "What this collectively tells us is that the traditional way we think about reality - the present is real, the past is gone, the future is yet to be - that is without any real basis in physics.  What we are really learning from these ideas is that the past, the present and the future are all equally real."

If you believe that, then you can also argue that everything we see may be equally unreal - from a mathematician's point of view.

Looking over the course schedule, I noticed that Module #3 was titled "The Speed of Light."   That's the subject of my latest scientific paper.  So, I watched Module #3 again.  Wow!  It's total nonsense!    

 
Professor Greene explains that the fact that the velocity of the light-emitting-object (when it is coming toward you or going away from you) cannot be added to or subtracted from the speed of light you perceive is proof that the speed of light is a "universal constant."  It proves no such thing!  It is simply proof that the direction an object is moving does not affect the speed of light coming from the object.  I couldn't remember any of that from when I took the course in early 2014.  Evidently, it had no significance to me then.  Now I see it is just plain WRONG.

But there was even more nonsense to come.  I then watched the lecture on "Time In Motion" (Module #5), which is about Time Dilation.  In the screen capture below, he is explaining how the stationary clock by his hand runs faster than the moving clock off to his right because light bounces off mirrors more slowly when the mirrors are moving while light is being used to measure time.  That is total nonsense, and it is also a demonstration that has very little to do with Time Dilation or reality! 


He was teaching his students that Time Dilation is just "an optical illusion."  He didn't use that term, of course.  He was carefully explaining how a stationary person will view an object as moving while a moving person will view the stationary person as moving.  Furthermore, it is a totally wrong and silly demonstration.  It's twisting the facts to rationalize a belief!  In reality, light would not bounce at angles between moving mirrors, light would move in a straight line and the mirrors would simply move out of the path of the bouncing light!  Plus, if the speed of light is fixed and universal, a stationary light clock would give the same result on Earth as on Jupiter and in empty space, and it would disprove Einstein's theory of gravitational time dilation!

It would have been better if Prof. Greene had used the explanation of how a ball is perceived to move if a child on a jet plane tosses it up and down as the plane moves at 500 miles per hour.  The child will see the ball going straight up and straight down, while some imaginary viewer on the ground will see the ball travel in an arc that covers over a thousand feet laterally between the time the ball leaves the boy's hand and the time he catches it again.  It really has nothing to do with Time Dilation, it only has to do with Relativity, and therefore it is the same as saying Time Dilation is just an optical illusion. 

That is where everyone goes wrong!  They do not think of Time Dilation as a real phenomenon all by itself, they only think of it in terms of relativity!

And, it was really bizarre when I watched Module #7, "Time Dilation - Experimental Evidence," in which Prof. Greene explains how Time Dilation has been confirmed by people carrying atomic clocks aboard airplanes, and he explained how muons exist longer when they are traveling faster.  Professor Greene makes absolutely no mention of gravitational time dilation.  Nor does he explain who was the "observer" when the atomic clocks were flown around the world.  He doesn't put 2 and 2 together.
 

Module #12 was the most absurd of all.  It's titled "The Twin Paradox," and it shows how preposterous the explanations can get when mathematicians try to rationalize and distort Time Dilation to make it fit their equations.  Prof. Greene uses "fraternal twins," George and Gracie.  While George remains on Earth, Gracie goes off on a space ship to some nearby star and then returns.  That's simple enough, but Prof. Greene then explains how neither twin knows who is really moving.  He has Gracie arguing that her space ship is standing still while George and the planet Earth moved away from her, while George argues just the opposite.  Prof. Greene then explains that George is right because Gracie felt acceleration, which wouldn't happen if she had been standing still.  It's an absolutely silly explanation of Time Dilation.  In what universe would a space traveler think that she was standing still while the planet she just rocketed away from must be moving away from her and then somehow it reversed course to come back to her once again?  It's idiotic!

  
It also shows how mathematicians do not care about logic or reasoning.  They only care about how the math works.  The math says that an astronaut can stand still while the Earth moves away from his rocket, therefore it must be possible.  

At several points in the course, Professor Greene pauses to explain to his students that if what he is saying doesn't seem to make any sense, then they should take the version of his course that focuses on mathematics.  

Yes, why not?  After all, in the world of mathematics "garbage in, garbage out" is totally acceptable if the equation looks clever.  Nothing needs to be logical or make sense if the mathematics work.  Science today is about mathematics, not about logic -- or science.

I not picking on Prof. Greene.  He's just teaching the same nonsense that most physics professors seem to be teaching.  As stated above, Prof. Greene merely  put his course on the Internet where I could take it and view the lectures over again.  I should be grateful.  It taught me a great deal, but definitely not what Prof. Greene intended to teach.   

I don't see any way to contact Prof. Greene directly, so I posted a "zinger" question to the discussions for Module #5.  Click HERE to see if you can view it.  It works for me. 

As evidence that other teachers are teaching the same nonsense, here's a video that also uses a "light clock" to explain relativity:


There are probably many similar videos out there.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Light does NOT travel at a "universal speed of light."


There's "an elephant in the room" that no one seems to want to talk about because it just generates arguments: Light does NOT travel at a "universal speed of light."  The "speed of light is different in water, in air, in glass, and in a vacuum.  So, there can be no "universal speed of light."  It is not even constant in a vacuum.

Einstein's relativity theory was presented as a PRINCIPLED, rather than a CONSTRUCTIVE, theory. A principled theory is one that begins with scientific principles and then uses those principles to explain the phenomena; a constructive theory starts with actual observations and culminates in theories that explain and reconcile those observations.

Einstein's "principled theory" is interpreted to say that the speed of light is "constant" throughout the universe and therefore light must cause Time to slow down or DILATE when the object emitting light is in motion or near a gravitational mass.

A CONSTRUCTIVE theory based upon observations, however, shows the reverse. The speed of light changes depending upon the "time" occurring at the source of the light.

Thus, due to gravitational time dilation, light coming from the Sun is traveling slower than the speed of light as we measure it here on Earth in a laboratory. And light coming from distant stars is coming at various speeds due to gravitational and velocity time dilation at the sources.

Any calculations which assume that the speed of light is fixed throughout the universe, such as the calculations involved in Dark Energy, will be incorrect.

A new scientific paper "Time Dilated Light (A Constructive Relativity Theory)" has been published to explain everything. It is available at this link: http://vixra.org/pdf/1607.0289v3.pdf

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Dormant Black Holes and Dark Matter


Are dormant black holes the same thing as dark matter?  If not, why not?

It's been bugging me for a long time that dark matter and dormant black holes seem to be the same thing.  I'm not a scientist, I'm just a science buff, and I'd never really studied either subject in school.  But, I keep asking myself: why would there be two different mysterious substances (dark matter and whatever is at the centers of dormant black holes) that so closely resemble one another?

So, a few days ago, I started doing some focused research.  Over the years I've found that whenever I have a science question, it usually has already been asked and answered somewhere on the Internet.

I soon found a web site called "Ask Ethan," which has the exact question I was asking: "Are black holes made of dark matter?"  The page does a very good job of explaining how black holes are thought to be created.  However, it also contains arguable statements like this:
So initially, when they’re first formed, black holes are pretty much 100% normal (baryonic) matter, and just about 0% dark matter. Remember that dark matter interacts only gravitationally, unlike normal matter, which interacts via the gravitational, weak, electromagnetic and strong forces. All of this is a fancy way to say that when normal matter comes into contact with other normal matter, it goes “splat,” meaning that it can stick together, clump, exchange momentum and accrue even more normal matter when this occurs. Dark matter, on the other hand, doesn’t “splat” either with normal matter or with other dark matter. This is why, when we look at galaxies and clusters of galaxies, we picture spiral or elliptical galaxies where the normal matter is confined to a relatively small region of space, but they are embedded within dark matter halos that extend for maybe thousands of times the volume of the normal matter.
To me, the first sentence in the quoted paragraph above is highly questionable.  I would assume just the opposite.  I would assume that when a black hole is created, it is 100% dark matter, i.e., the normal matter that was ultra-compressed by the imploding supernova.  The supernova turns normal matter into the dark matter that is at the center of a black hole. 

The second sentence in the quoted paragraph does a good job of explaining what happens when a supernova creates a black hole consisting of dark matter.  It turns normal matter into a form of matter that is somehow stripped of all the properties which give it the weak, electromagnetic and strong forces.  That would explain how the matter that is at the center of a black hole can be so highly compressed without causing nuclear fusion.

The last paragraph in the article contains this conclusion:
And there you have it: a quantitative answer to the question of whether black holes are made of dark matter or not. At most they can only be made of about 0.004% dark matter, and that’s the most optimistic number that applies only to the most massive ones!
That might be so, but it's definitely not how I see things.  So, I looked for more information.

This article attracted my eye: "NASA simulation suggests black holes may make ideal dark matter labs."  It seemed to say what I've been thinking, that black holes are "factories" that create more dark matter.  They take in normal matter, strip normal matter of its weak, electromagnetic and strong forces, perhaps spewing out those forces in the form of X-rays, and leaving only dark matter behind at the center of the black hole.

Unfortunately, the article begins this way:
While we don’t yet know what dark matter is, we do know it interacts with the rest of the universe through gravity, which means it must accumulate around supermassive black holes.
Huh?  Reading the article, I found that it suggests that supermassive black holes concentrate dark matter that was created elsewhere and cause the dark matter particles to collide.  That has nothing to do with what I'd been thinking.  And there's nothing conclusive in the article, except for another description of some properties of dark matter that I consider to be very important:
dark matter [is] an elusive substance accounting for most of the mass of the universe that neither reflects, absorbs, nor emits light.
That description of dark matter should be compared to this description of dormant black holes I found elsewhere:
Roughly 90 percent of the biggest black holes in the known universe are dormant, meaning that they are not actively devouring matter and, consequently, not giving off any light or other radiation.
The source is this article: "Dormant Black Hole Eats Star, Becomes X-ray Flashlight."

Think about it.  A dormant black hole doesn't reflect light, nor does it emit light, and it doesn't absorb light, it bends the path of light - a process called "gravitational lensing."  What need is there to have two different things - dark matter and black holes - if they have the same physical properties?

Searching further, I soon found a web page where someone asked the question I've been asking, but just phrased in a different way: "Could the Universe's dark matter be made up of black holes?"

However, the answer was (in part):
What's important to realize about this is that our studies of dark matter don't just tell us that "it's out there somewhere"; when we study a galaxy, we learn something about the total distribution of matter within it. This means that we know the dark matter surrounds galaxies and is not a central object, like a black hole, within galaxies.
The problem with your idea is that black holes are nothing that special, gravitationally: they're just accretions of matter. They are centralized in the middle of the galaxy, and according to the laws of gravity, they can't pull very hard on stuff far out at the edge of a galaxy.
Who says black holes are "centralized in the middle of the galaxy"?  I'd seen an article which said there could be millions of black holes within our galaxy.  And who says "black holes are nothing that special, gravitationally"?  Just the opposite would seem to be true if a black hole can be dormant and yet be a massive gravitational source with no real explanation for what is inside the black hole.

A June 27, 2016, article on Astowatch.net web site titled "Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population" states:
Astronomers have combined data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope and the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to conclude that a peculiar source of radio waves thought to be a distant galaxy is actually a nearby binary star system containing a low-mass star and a black hole. This identification suggests there may be a vast number of black holes in our Galaxy that have gone unnoticed until now.
The article also says,
Because this study only covered a very small patch of sky, the implication is that there should be many of these quiet black holes around the Milky Way. The estimates are that tens of thousands to millions of these black holes could exist within our Galaxy, about three to thousands of times as many as previous studies have suggested.
But nowhere in the article does it mention "dark matter."  It's just about "millions" of black holes which could be in the same places where dark matter is believed to be.

It should seem "obvious" that dormant black holes and dark matter could be the same thing.  It seems so "obvious" that the question seems to be, What facts about dark matter show that it cannot possibly be dormant black holes?

I then found an article titled "Is Dark Matter Made of Tiny Black Holes?"  It's from November 14, 2013 and says,
A planet-hunting NASA spacecraft has detected no sign of moon-size black holes yet in the Milky Way galaxy, limiting the chances that such objects could make up most of the "dark matter" that has mystified scientists for decades.
Dark matter is one of the greatest scientific mysteries known — an invisible substance thought to constitute up five-sixths of all matter in the universe. It remains so mysterious that scientists are still uncertain as to whether dark matter is made of microscopic particles or far larger objects.
and
Over four years, Kepler monitored the brightness of more than 150,000 stars in the Milky Way to detect regular dimming caused by planets crossing in front of them. If a primordial black hole passed in front of one of these stars, the star would become temporarily brighter instead. That's because black holes warp light around them with their gravitational fields, a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.
and
Until now, researchers had eliminated the chances that black holes that are approximately the mass of the moon could make up dark matter. Kepler's data show no evidence of black holes between 5 and 80 percent of the moon's mass, suggesting these black holes could not constitute most dark matter.
However, even smaller primordial black holes, ones less than 0.0001 percent the mass of Earth's moon, could still make up the entirety of dark matter, Griest said. Future missions — such as the European Space Agency's Euclid spacecraft or NASA's proposed WFIRST satellite — could look for smaller black holes than those identified by the Kepler data.
"We've ruled out a range of primordial black holes as dark matter, but have not ruled them out completely," Griest told SPACE.com. "They're still a viable candidate for dark matter."
Hmm.  That definitely fits with the way I envision things. Most dark matter is supposed to be like a cloud surrounding the Milky Way galaxy.  Small black holes wouldn't produce any substantial gravitational lensing effect on distant stars and galaxies. 

It's quite possible that I'm totally misunderstanding everything.  But, if I'm understanding things correctly, there's also a key to "The Theory of Everything" in this.  The key is figuring out how you can strip a particle of normal matter of all of its electromagnetic, weak and strong forces, and produce a particle of dark matter that only possesses gravitational force, and thus can be packed like grains of wet sand into a spherical ball of dark matter that is so small that mathematicians can misinterpret it to be a single, dimensionless point of infinite density.

This "Theory of Everything" might also explain "The Big Bang."  A gigantic mass of dark matter encountered something that restored electromagnetism, weak and strong forces to the dormant dark matter - like a bowl of nitroglycerin being hit by a bullet.  And there could be lots of left-over "unexploded" dark matter floating around.

Of course, I could be wrong about all this. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

What is Time Travel when Everyone is Time Traveling?

Last night I watched Part 1 of "Genius by Stephen Hawking," a PBS series. Part 1 is titled "Can We Time Travel?" I'd recorded it on my DVR a couple weeks ago. The entire episode is available for viewing on line at this link: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365757267/

It does a fairly good job of explaining how Time Dilation works, and how we can travel into the future but not into the past. Traveling into the past would require the creation of another you out of nothing, which is totally against all we know about science. (No, the universe wasn't created out of nothing. We just don't KNOW what was there just before the start of the Big Bang.)

Traveling into the future doesn't require creating another you. You travel 1 second into the future every second of your life.

In the PBS show, two of the experimenters take an atomic clock to the top of a mountain. After spending the night there, they compare their atomic clock to one at the bottom of the mountain. The clock on top of the mountain is 20 nanoseconds (billionths of a second) ahead of the clock at the bottom. So the two people who went up the mountain aged 20 microseconds more than the experimenter who stayed at the bottom of the mountain.  OR, you might say that those who went up the mountain traveled 20 nanoseconds into the future.



Things get complicated and confusing when one of the people who went up the mountain talks about using binoculars to look at people at the base of the mountain and how, "technically, they are in the past." Are they? If they are in the past, then the experimenter who spent the night at the bottom of the mountain is also in the past as he meets the two who spent the night on the mountain. And the people who live at the bottom of the mountain will be in the past when the people who went up the mountain come down again and walk among them.

Who is in the past and who is in the future when everyone of us  moves through time at a slightly different rate than everyone else?


If you think about it a bit (as I did overnight), you realize that if you stand on the street and yell back and forth with someone leaning out a window on the third floor of a building, that person is moving through time at a faster rate than you are.  Yet, you can communicate with each other.

So, while Time is passing at different rates for both parties, "now" is evidently somehow the same for both of them.  The situation illustrates something I wrote in my "scientific paper" about "Time Dilation Re-visualized."  I wrote this about the "twin paradox": Neither twin was ever behind or ahead of the other in time."  And the same holds true with two people yelling at each other from different heights.  Neither is behind or ahead of the other in time, even though time is going faster for the person who is farther from the center of the earth.

How can this be?  It can be because of something I wrote about in my 2nd "scientific paper," which was titled "What is Time?"  I wrote: "time is particle spin."  If you are on the third floor, the particles that make up your body are spinning faster than the particles that make up my body down at street level.  We are both in the "now," which means we can talk with each other even though time is going faster for you than it is for me. 

The main problem is putting this into words that can be easily understood.  Is it something that others have pointed out thousands of times before, or is this a new way to view Time?

Obviously, the person on "Genius" was wrong.  You are not viewing people in the past when you stand atop a mountain and look through a telescope at people at the bottom of a mountain.  You are both in the "here and now," even though time is moving at different rates for everyone.

I'm going to have to think about it some more.  There's got to be a better way to describe this.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Does Dark Energy Exist?


I recently watched a TV program about dark energy on the Science Channel.  It was an episode of "Space's Deepest Secrets."  Dark energy was something I'd never paid much attention to before.  Suddenly, I found the subject to be fascinating.  Looking around the Internet, I found some key information HERE about dark energy:

Assuming the existence of dark matter and that the law of gravitation is universal, two teams of astrophysicists—one led by Saul Perlmutter, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the other by Brian Schmidt, at Australian National University—set out to determine the future of the universe. Throughout the 1990s the rival teams closely analyzed a number of exploding stars, or supernovas, using those unusually bright, short-lived distant objects to gauge the universe’s growth. They knew how bright the supernovas should appear at different points across the universe if the rate of expansion were uniform. By comparing how much brighter the supernovas actually did appear, astronomers figured they could determine how much the expansion of the universe was slowing down. But to the astronomers’ surprise, when they looked as far as halfway across the universe, six or seven billion light-years away, they found that the supernovas weren’t brighter—and therefore nearer—than expected. They were dimmer—that is, more distant. The two teams both concluded that the expansion of the universe isn’t slowing down. It’s speeding up.
The implication of that discovery was momentous: it meant that the dominant force in the evolution of the universe isn’t gravity. It is...something else. Both teams announced their findings in 1998. Turner gave the “something” a nickname: dark energy. It stuck. Since then, astronomers have pursued the mystery of dark energy to the ends of the Earth—literally.
The program made it very clear that no one really knows if "dark energy" really exists.  They call it "dark" energy because they don't now what it is, not because it is somehow dark in color.  Everyone seems to realize it could very easily be that they are just looking at things from the wrong angle. 

On the Internet I'd previously argued with people who believe that "the aether" is slowing down light coming from distant galaxies, or gravity from dust particles is slowing down light.  They were usually arguing against the Big Bang theory, not against Dark Energy.  To me, it seemed "obvious" that some misunderstood factor about Time and/or the speed of light was causing the distant supernovae to appear to be moving so fast.  There are lots of things we do not know about Time and Light, so why assume that there is something totally new that is behind what is being observed?

Of course, my ignorance of these subjects is very great, but what I do know says that it makes no sense to assume that anything like "dark energy" actually exists.  Unlike Science Truthers, however, I'm not prepared to argue that the idea is wrong simply because it makes no sense to me.  What I am prepared to do is some "slow thinking" to try to figure out why it makes no sense to me.  Maybe there is something the Nobel Prize winners know that I do not know.  That certainly seems possible.

First of all, I know the official "speed of light" is the speed of light in a vacuum.  And I know that the speed of light is slower through air and water.  In a vacuum the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second, while in water it is 225,056,264 meters per second.  And that means that, if the light from a supernova is somehow going slower when it arrives, it would merely appear that the supernova is farther away than it really is, because scientists used an incorrect measurement for the speed of that specific light.     

If it is not possible for light to go slower simply because it is coming from an object that is moving away at a very high speed, then the question becomes: If an object is moving through Time at a much slower rate than we are, wouldn't the light the object emits be slowed down as well?  Is it possible for us to detect a difference between light that travels at a slow speed and light that moves at its maximum speed through a slow tunnel of time?  Does that question even make sense?
 

I did a Google search for "how is the speed of light measured" and found this question and answer:

Is The Speed of Light Everywhere the Same?

The short answer is that it depends on who is doing the measuring: the speed of light is only guaranteed to have a value of 299,792,458 m/s in a vacuum when measured by someone situated right next to it.

Hmm.  Groan!  When I get some free time, I'm going to have to try to find out how the people who dreamed up "dark energy" eliminated all the other (seemingly) possible explanations for why light from a supernova shows that the universe is expanding faster and faster.  When you have an explosion, doesn't the material that ends farthest from the point of the explosion get there because it traveled faster than the other material involved in the explosion?  And who says that the universe has had sufficient time for gravity to start slowing things down?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Donald Trump's Upcoming Trial for Fraud

It seems like it should be in the news more often that Donald Trump will be going on trial on November 28 for Fraud.

It's all about his phony "Trump University," which advertised itself this way:


According to one source:
       Donald Trump will go to trial in a class-action lawsuit against him and his now-defunct Trump University after the presidential election but before the inauguration, setting the stage for a president-elect to take the witness stand if he wins the White House.

        U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel on Friday scheduled trial for Nov. 28 in the suit that alleges people who paid up to $35,000 for real estate seminars got defrauded. The likely Republican nominee planned to attend most, if not all, of the trial and would testify,Trump attorney Daniel Petrocelli said.
I looked for other articles and found one from the National Review titled "Yes, Trump University was a Massive Scam."  It says,
First thing first, Trump University was never a university. When the “school” was established in 2005, the New York State Education Department warned that it was in violation of state law for operating without a NYSED license. Trump ignored the warnings. ...

The free seminars were the first step in a bait and switch to induce prospective students to enroll in increasingly expensive seminars starting with the three-day $1495 seminar and ultimately one of respondents’ advanced seminars such as the “Gold Elite” program costing $35,000.
At the “free” 90-minute introductory seminars to which Trump University advertisements and solicitations invited prospective students, Trump University instructors engaged in a methodical, systematic series of misrepresentations designed to convince students to sign up for the Trump University three-day seminar at a cost of $1495.
The article also says,
The New York lawsuit alone represents some 5,000 victims.

Meanwhile, Trump — who maintains that Trump University was “a terrific school that did a fantastic job” — has tried to bully his opponents out of the suit. Lawyers for [one of the victims] Tarla Makaeff have requested a protective order from the court “to protect her from further retaliation.” According to court documents, Trump has threatened to sue Makaeff personally, as well as her attorneys. He’s already brought a $100 million counterclaim against the New York attorney general’s office.
The article also provides a link to an article in The Atlantic which says,
Every university has admission standards and Trump University was no exception. The playbook spells out the one essential qualification in caps: “ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED IN FULL.” Basically, anyone with a valid credit card was “admitted” to Trump University.
I'm totally amazed that some Americans would elect someone like Donald Trump to run for President.  Who are these Americans?  I don't see any possibility that they represent any kind of majority, but they certainly seem fired up and dedicated.  And I certainly could be wrong about how many there are.  On TV they seem to be angry bullies, reminding me once more of the followers of fascist leaders in the mid 20th century.  Mussolini had his admirers and followers, too.  When I talk with my Republican relatives, all they will talk about is how much they dislike Hillary Clinton.  It's as if they are embarrassed to be supporting the Republican candidate, but they seem to feel it's their duty to make sure Hillary Clinton isn't elected.  Why won't they vote for Hillary Clinton?  Because they just don't like her.  They'd rather vote for a fascist nutcase instead.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Google street view time travel

I've used Google Maps' Street View to look around my home town, around Washington DC, and around Chicago its suburbs, and for awhile I assumed that Google just ran it's camera car up and down streets of the USA.


Then, about 6 months ago, I wondered if I could use it to locate where a Rational Science Methodist conference was held in a small town in Scotland.  Since I knew the address, I quickly discovered the "conference" was held in this pub:


I spent hours touring Dalmellington, Scotland, via Street View.  Then, when I was done, I never thought about touring any other location -- until yesterday.

Yesterday, I wondered what Misawa, Japan, looks like today.  When I was there from mid-1963 to mid-1965 I took hundreds of photographs.  I also wondered if Google Street View had ever been to such a remote place.

So, I used Google Maps to locate Misawa and then picked what looked like the main street to see (via Street View) what it looked like today.  It didn't look anything like what I remembered.  Nothing in the town looked anything like what I remembered. Then I realized I needed to find some reference point to make sure I knew where I was.  The only reference point that I was certain was in the same place today as it was 53 years ago was the main gate to Misawa Air Force Base.  Here is what it looked like in the winter of 1963 or 1964 (you can click on the images to view larger versions):


Here's what is looked like in September 2015, when Google's street view camera car passed by:


At some point in time, probably in 1964, they added a sign over the main gate:


These days, the sign seems to be stone or concrete, and it's located on a grassy area outside the gate:


Using the main gate as a starting point, I was able to locate the main street which looked like this in 1964 when the Emperor drove through on his way to his plane at the air base:


And here is what that approximate same point looks like today:


A big part of the change was undoubtedly the need to replace flammable wood structures with concrete block buildings.  I remember one major fire while I was there that burned down several side-by-side businesses.   But, they must have razed virtually every building on both sides of the main drag to widen the street and transform in into what it looks like today.  And they must have done the same thing to most of the rest of the town.

(Several days after writing the paragraph above, I found the explanation for how they were able to widen the main street.   The whole center of Misawa burned down in January 1966.  Click HERE to visit a web site with 75 photos related to the fire.)

Back in the 1960s, there was an alley less than a hundred feet from the Air Base main gate.  That alley (now a side street) was lined with a string of at least a dozen bars, restaurants and pawn shops side by side.  Back in the 1960s, it was called Nakashio Koji, which translated to "the small street next to the Nakashio department store."  It was the only street I knew by name.

I never took a picture of the entrance to Nakashio Koji while I was there, but today it is a narrow side street.  Here's a current picture showing how close it was and is to the main gate:

 
The side street makes a bend to the left behind the first building on the left.  Here's a picture I took of the area just beyond the bend when I was there:


 Here's what it looked like to Google's camera car in 2015:


The street still seems to have several bars and restaurants, but there's now one or two businesses occupying the same amount of space where there used to be a jumble of four or five bars.

After using Google street view to tour Misawa for a few hours, I tried finding some places in England to see what they look like today compared to the 1990's when was last there.  They don't look all that much different.   For example, here's a shot I took at an intersection in London at least 20 years ago:


The name of the street is clearly visible on the sign at the lower right corner of the picture, so I was able to easily locate it as it looks today:


The street sign is no longer on the fence, it's now on the corner of the building.  The ground floor windows of that building seem to now be bricked over.  And there seem to be fewer signs on the buildings down the street, but the Halepi Greek Restaurant is still there, just with a new paint job.  And the hospital a few doors down now seems to occupy additional space that was previously occupied by two other businesses, but generally things look about the same.

Then I tried Las Vegas, which I know is very different today compared to what it looked like when I last visited it.

Here's a photo I took of the Stratosphere Tower when it was under construction:


And here is what it looks like today:


Except for completing the construction, this particular view isn't all the different today.  The "General Store" is still there and looks virtually unchanged.  The biggest difference is that I used a standard camera lens and Google uses a wide-angle lens, which makes the "General Store" look a lot farther away from the tower than it really is.

Construction on the tower began in February 1992, so the photos show only 24 years of change.

I'm constantly amazed by the things that can be done on the Internet, and viewing previously visited locations is one of the more amazing things.