Friday, December 29, 2017

Examining Claims by Flat Earth Theorists

I was surprised to see on the news a couple months ago that a conference of people who believe the earth is flat was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Nov. 9-10, 2017.  It was a sold-out event, with about 400 people attending.  The image above is the shape of the earth as most of them see it.  The white band around the edge is the "ice wall" (known to everyone else as "Antarctica") that keeps people and the oceans from falling over the edge.

A little more research turned up news stories about the Flat Earth Conference.  Examples: "Inside the first ever 'Flat Earth conference' where conspiracy theorists promise to 'reveal Nasa space lies' and prove our planet isn't spherical," "Fanatics descend on sell out 'Flat Earth' conference promising to 'reveal NASA space lies'," "GLOBE NOTTERS: These oddballs are convinced the Earth is FLAT … and they’re out to ‘prove’ their theories are true," "Sellout flat-earth conference discusses NASA lies, fictional 9/11 and government mind control." 

I also found that there are many web sites run by Flat Earthers, and they also have many YouTube videos where they explain their beliefs.  One Flat Earther, Eric Dubay, has a 35 page "book" in which he presents "200 Proofs Earth is Not a Spinning Ball."  Four of his more interesting "proofs" are #44, #46, #47 and #48.   Here they are: 
 44) If Earth was a ball, and Antarctica was too cold to fly over, the only logical way to fly from Sydney to Santiago would be a straight shot over the Pacific staying in the Southern hemisphere the entire way. Re-fueling could be done in New Zealand or other Southern hemisphere destinations along the way if absolutely necessary. In actual fact, however, Santiago-Sydney flights go into the Northern hemisphere making stop-overs at LAX and other North American airports before continuing back down to the Southern hemisphere. Such ridiculously wayward detours make no sense on the globe but make perfect sense and form nearly straight lines when shown on a flat Earth map.
46) On a ball-Earth Cape Town, South Africa to Buenos Aries, Argentina should be a straight shot over the Atlantic following the same line of latitude across, but instead every flight goes to connecting locations in the Northern hemisphere first, stopping over anywhere from London to Turkey to Dubai. Once again these make absolutely no sense on the globe but are completely understandable options when mapped on a flat Earth.
47) On a ball-Earth Johannesburg, South Africa to Sao Paolo, Brazil should be a quick straight shot along the 25th Southern latitude, but instead nearly every flight makes a re-fueling stop at the 50th degree North latitude in London first! The only reason such a ridiculous stop-over works in reality is because the Earth is flat.
48) On a ball-Earth Santiago, Chile to Johannesburg, South Africa should be an easy flight all taking place below the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern hemisphere, yet every listed flight makes a curious re-fueling stop in Senegal near the Tropic of Cancer in the North hemisphere first! When mapped on a flat Earth the reason why is clear to see, however, Senegal is actually directly in a straight-line path half-way between the two.
They are all basically both the same argument.  They just use different locations.  I found a graphic that some Flat Earthers use to illustrate this argument.  Here it is:

Note that the routes were clearly chosen so that they would cross Antarctica, and they ignore shorter, actual airline routes that go to and from the places depicted and do not require flying over Antarctica.  Moreover, the route they show from San Paolo, Brazil, to Perth, Australia, which goes closest to the South Pole, would be a 9,240 mile trip, and the range of a Boeing 747-400 is just 8,380 miles.

I did a little research and found that, contrary to the claims in the illustration and in the "proofs," anyone who has the money can fly around the earth (and around Antarctica) on commercial flights.  And it can be done on just 4 hops:

1.  Sydney, Australia, to Santiago, Chile, via Qantas Airlines.
      Distance: 7,055 miles.
      Time: 12 hours, 20 minutes.  5 non-stop flights per week
      Cost: $1,920, one way.
2.  Santiago, Chile, to San Paulo, Brazil, via  LATAM. 

      Distance: 1,604 miles
      Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes.  Many daily non-stop flights.
      Cost: $741, one way.
3.  San Paulo, Brazil, to Johannesburg, South Africa, via South African Airways

      Distance: 4,620 miles.
      Time: 10 hours 25 minutes.  1 - 2 non-stop flights per day.
      Cost: $1,982, one way.
4.  Johannesburg, South Africa, to Sydney, Australia, via Qantas. 

      Distance: 6,934 miles.
      Time:11 hours, 40 minutes.  1 non-stop flight per day.
      Cost: $1,270, one way. 

Total distance: 20,213 miles.
Total cost: $5,913

On a projected map with the South Pole in the center, the 4 hops look like this:

On the Flat Earth map, however, the 4 hops look like this:

And that is where the absurdity of the Flat Earth theory can be clearly seen.  To get from Sydney to Santiago, you have to fly across the flat earth world, passing over Los Angeles, California!  There doesn't seem to be any way to measure distances on the Flat Earth map, but on a globe, a flight from Sydney to Santiago that passes over Los Angeles would be 13,084 miles, much farther than directly from Sydney to Santiago on a globe, and far beyond the range of a Boeing 747-400.

And, of course, when flying on the flat earth from Johannesburg to Sydney, you would fly over Saudi Arabia and China.  On a globe, the flight is mostly over the Indian Ocean.

The question then becomes: When people take these flat earth flights, how is it they do not notice that they are flying over land when they should be flying over the ocean?  And how do they make it in one hop if the distance is greater than the distance the plane can fly without refueling?   Do the Flat Earthers believe all the passengers are hypnotized or drugged as soon as they get aboard?

Or maybe the Flat Earthers are just incapable of understanding simple logic.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

airplane on a conveyor belt

As I see it, the answer to the question is clearly "NO."  Some people agree.  But, it seems that many other people on the Internet strongly disagree.  And the TV show "Mythbusters" agreed with the naysayers.

This is an analysis of the dispute.  The question and illustration above are what Albert Einstein would have called a "gedanken," or a "thought experiment."  It is probably impractical or far too expensive to perform in real life, but there is nothing to stop the experiment from being performed in our imaginations.  You just need to have an imagination.

This is how the "thought experiment" works:

We have a 747 setting on a conveyor belt.  There is a wind sock or flag next to the conveyor belt which hangs limp, indicating there is no wind blowing.  Since "the conveyor belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels, moving in the opposite direction," the flag pole can be used as a guide to assure this happens.  When the plane starts to move, the flag pole will get farther away unless the conveyor belt also moves to keep the plane in the same place.  So, we need some kind of device that makes sure the airplane always remains in the same spot.  That way, the conveyor belt will "exactly match the speed of the wheels, moving in the opposite direction."

The pilot of the plane can push his throttles full forward, and the conveyor belt will compensate to keep the plane in the same place, the speed of the wheels exactly matching the speed of the conveyor belt.

Can the plane take off?  Of course not.  It is basically just standing still.  It cannot get any lift.  There is no air rushing across the wings to create low pressure atop the wings to lift the plane.  That is what the "thought experiment" was designed to illustrate.

So, how can anyone possibly disagree with this?

Mostly they disagree because they misunderstand it.   Many disagree because they consider the "thought experiment" to be impossible, and they create a different experiment that they agree with.

The "thought experiment" might have been easier to understand if the pilot was in control of the experiment instead of the conveyor belt.  That way, the conveyor belt can be set to just run faster and faster until it reaches about 200 mph or beyond normal takeoff speed.

When the conveyor belt starts moving, the pilot will see the flag pole moving away from him, indicating that his plane is being hauled backwards.  He can then add power to his engines to compensate, keeping the flag at the same angle to the aircraft.  As the conveyor belt moves faster and faster, the pilot applies more and more power to the engines which generate more and more thrust.  But the weight of the plane on the conveyor belt remains the same.  No air moves across the wings, so the plane does not lift and cannot take off.  If the conveyor belt reaches 200 or 300 or 500 miles per hour, the plane will still be in the same spot.  All the engines are doing is preventing the the airplane from moving backwards.  The wheels will be flattened on the bottom just as if the plane was parked.

In reality, of course, the constant flexing of the rubber in the tires as they rotate under the full weight of the plane at high speeds would cause the tires to overheat and burst, and the engines would also overheat and either shut down or explode because they are designed to fly best in the cold air of higher altitudes.  But the plane would not take off.

What are the arguments from the naysayers?  The first argument (on a web site HERE) is "The wording of this quiz is wrong and makes it physically impossible," and "we can not design the conveyor belt to move at the same speed as wheels."   In effect, he admits that the plane cannot take off unless you reword the "thought experiment" to allow it.  He argues that the way the thought experiment is phrased does not allow for an imbalance of forces to move the plane forward.

So, he wants the experiment done the way it was done on Mythbusters.  And he includes a link to the Mythbusters episode about the thought experiment:

But the Mythbusters experiment did not have a conveyor belt.  They had a long canvas cloth laying on pavement.  And a truck pulling the cloth under the plane is supposed to simulate a conveyor belt.  But, it doesn't, because the weight of the plane is being held up by solid earth, not by the cloth and not by any conveyor belt.

When power is applied to the engine in the video, the plane can be seen to move almost normally relative to the traffic cones marking the side of the runway.  And the plane took off.  Why?  Because it wasn't the experiment in the original question.  The plane was moving across the stationary earth, not sitting on a moving conveyor belt.  The cloth was being pulled out from under the plane, but the cloth was very long and therefore flexible enough to have little effect on the movement of the plane.  That flexibility allowed the wheels to turn at the speed the plane moved relative to the earth.  And the plane is allowed to move forward, almost as if the cloth wasn't there.  They should have had high-speed cameras and marks on the tires to record the speed of the wheels versus the speed of the cloth and the speed of the ground.  That would have shown that the plane moved almost as if the cloth wasn't there, totally ignoring the experiment.

Another web page HERE also argues that the original question is not realistic, and it also argues that if the conveyor belt is moving fast enough it will drag air with it and give the airplane the lift it needs to take off.  That is highly doubtful, since the air being dragged will be very close to the earth and certainly won't be going OVER the wings, creating low pressure, which is what is needed to give the plane LIFT and allow it to take off. 

Another web page HERE also argues that the question is unrealistic.

A web page HERE says the plane cannot take off, and then he opens the question for debate, getting responses for and against.  There's another such page HERE.

There are more arguments HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.  And there is a New York Times article from 2006 HERE.

 As I see it, the question is HYPOTHETICAL.  It is a "gedanken" thought experiment.  As it is stated in the original question, the plane cannot take off.  If you change the question and add other conditions, then you aren't answering the question.  You are just arguing.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trump thinks emotionally, NOT logically

I've been trying to restrain myself, but I keep thinking I need to write a comment about President Donald Trump's screwball claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama.  It's just one straw too many.  So, here's my comment. 

According to an article in Friday's Washington Post:

In the days since Trump’s tweets alleging the wiretapping were posted, the White House has called for a congressional investigation, declined to comment, dodged questions, pointed to media reports that don’t contain the information aides say they do and analyzed the president’s use of quotation marks — all while doubling down on his claim without providing any evidence.
While doing research, I found this cartoon: 

I keep thinking that President Trump simply cannot think logically, he only thinks emotionally.  Evidence obviously has no meaning to him.  Only his beliefs have meaning.  If there's no evidence of wire tapping, that just means the FBI hasn't looked hard enough to find the evidence that Trump believes must exist.

How can President Trump believe the evidence must exist?  Because some staffer comment or news article or email or idea convinced him to believe it.  And once he believed it, it becomes an emotional conclusion.  What he believes cannot be wrong, since that would mean he is not as smart as he thinks he is. 

There is no middle ground for those who think emotionally.  Those who think emotionally must be right, and the only acceptable alternative is that the world must be conspiring against them to maliciously argue something is wrong that must with absolute certainty be right.  If something they argued for turns out to be a failure, it is always the fault of those ignorant and malicious people who disagreed with them.

This topic has special meaning to me because I spent over a decade arguing with people who believed that Muslims sent the anthrax letters, even though all the evidence clearly said the letters were sent by an American scientist.   And those True Believers are still out there arguing the same things they argued ten years ago.  No facts or evidence will ever change their minds.  And, of course, they have no facts or evidence to support their beliefs.  As with Trump, they want the FBI to find the facts and evidence for them.  They are just absolutely certain that there is evidence out there somewhere that will confirm their unshakable beliefs.

It also seems that if these True Believers have one totally unsupported belief, they also have others.  And they are totally certain about all of them.  The absurd claims were probably never more absurd than when Trump argued that millions of people voted illegally in the election he won.   

From my observations, it appears that Trump was elected by people who think the way he does, people who think emotionally, not logically.  Were they driven by a hatred of foreigners, a fear of foreigners or a hatred of the government in general?  Maybe a bit of all three.   All that appears certain is that were "fed up" and wanted to elect a fast-talking game show host to straighten out the situation.  Trump told them what they wanted to hear, and they believed him. 

Another thing that Donald Trump has made very clear is that he had absolutely no idea how complicated politics can be.  He was probably the only person in America who thought that replacing "Obamacare" would be a simple task.

I'm reminded of a comment in Eric Hoffer's book "The True Believer" which said
the only way to change a True Believer's mind is to convert him to a different belief.  "He cannot be convinced, but only converted."

I have a paperback copy of Hoffer's book somewhere in my library, but I couldn't find it when I looked for it yesterday.  (It's probably behind some other book.)  But I quickly found a free pdf copy on the Internet.  Searching through it for the word "convert," I found this full quote:

The fanatic cannot be weaned away from his cause by an appeal to his reason or moral sense. He fears compromise and cannot be persuaded to qualify the certitude and righteousness of his holy cause. But he finds no difficulty in swinging suddenly and wildly from one holy cause to another. He cannot be convinced but only converted. His passionate attachment is more vital than the quality of the cause to which he is attached.
I also found this quote which seems very much to apply to President Trump:

Both by converting and antagonizing, he shapes the world in his own image.
And this quote also seems to apply to President Trump:

The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse.
So, we can assume that as more and more of Trump's absurd beliefs get shot down and debunked by people citing facts and evidence, the more Trump will become convinced that he is right and the world is conspiring against him.

Doing a Google search for the words "Trump" and "impeach" I was provided with 16,900,000 results.  Among those results, I found a web site called "" which is looking for people to sign their petition to impeach President Trump (and to donate to their cause).  There are also a lot of other sites out there with petitions to impeach Trump.   I also found a Time Magazine article titled "Congress Can Remove Donald Trump From Office Without Impeaching Him."  And a article titled "Trump's Wiretap Tweets Raise Risk of Impeachment."  According to one source, Congressman Jerrold Nadler has already set in motion a plan to impeach Trump.

Of course, if Trump were to be impeached, that would mean that Vice President Mike Spence would become President.  Some consider that to be a worse situation: It's better to have an incompetent President than an evil President. 

Personally, I think it is more likely that Donald Trump will resign before the end of his four-year term than that he will be impeached.  If he doesn't find being President the "fun" and the boost to his ego that he thought it would be, and if he constantly suffers setbacks in his plans, he could just "throw in the towel" and say "The hell with it."  He'd blame others for his failures, of course.

On the other hand, if President Trump manages to start a war somewhere, that would mean all bets are off.   

I've been wanting to write a comment about Donald Trump for weeks, even though I try very hard to avoid thinking about him.  The problem is: He's on the TVs they have at the gym where I work out four times a week.  I seem to work out at the exact same time that Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer gives his daily news briefing.

When I get home, the evening news every night seems to have some story about Trump's latest screwball tweet.  And The Late Show with Stephen Colbert always has some hilarious comments about the Trump absurdities.

It's all very hilarious.. But, at the same time it isn't very funny at all.

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 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:

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 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.
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.
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 "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:

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.