“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” -Walter Elliot

It’s been two great weeks here at Starts With A Bang, where we’ve seen an incredible slew of new articles, new contributions, and literally hundreds of comments where nobody needed to get banned! To all of those who made it out to see me last weekend at NorWesCon, thank you for your incredible support, and to those who didn’t, I hope things have gone well for you, and that you’ve enjoyed all our articles! To take a look back, here’s what we’ve seen over the past two weeks:

We now have over 130 Patreon supporters, and they all have access to this month’s podcast (on Time Travel!) a week early; go sign up, even for $1 per month, and get access today! I’d also like to extend a big thank you to everyone who showed up and heard me speak at my local March For Science. And with that big two-week recap out of the way, let’s hear and respond to the best of what you had to say on this edition of our comments of the week!

The production of a cosmic ray shower, produced by an incredibly energetic particle from far outside our Solar System. Image credit: Pierre Auger Observatory, via http://apcauger.in2p3.fr/Public/Presentation/.

The production of a cosmic ray shower, produced by an incredibly energetic particle from far outside our Solar System. Image credit: Pierre Auger Observatory, via http://apcauger.in2p3.fr/Public/Presentation/.

From Michael Mooney on relativity, length contraction and time dilation: “I am (still) saying that appearances might change via relativistic effects but that physical bodies and distances are not affected by different frames of reference.”

What if I could prove to you that physical distances are affected by different frames of reference, with a genuine physical experiment? Hold out your hand and hold it so your palm faces the sky, and ask yourself how many muons are passing through it? If you wait about one second, the answer is “one.” You can verify this by building a small cloud chamber for yourself. The thing is, this doesn’t make sense if distances are not affected by different frames of reference.

A muon lives, on average, for 2.2 microseconds. It travels close to the speed of light, and is created, typically, about 100 km up in the atmosphere. If you multiply 2.2 microseconds by the speed of light, the mean distance a muon will travel is 660 meters, meaning that — if we do the math — then all of the muons created in the upper atmosphere should decay away before they reach your hand. But they don’t! From our reference frame, the muon’s time dilates, and that’s why it survives.

But from the muon’s equally valid reference frame, the distances in front of it must contract. The atmosphere must be compressed to less than 660 km thick, and the Earth must be contracted itself so that its “towards-the-muon” diameter is less than 1% its transverse diameter. This contraction is real to the muon, and is equally valid to our own perception. If you want the physics in both reference frames to agree, this is what you need to happen. I hope this helps, but I fear that you are so hellbent on your predisposed opinion being correct that no fact will serve to educate you.

A map of world population density from 2012. As the mean per capita income increases and economic prosperity grows, the population growth rate increases temporarily, but then levels off to a constant population.

A map of world population density from 2012. As the mean per capita income increases and economic prosperity grows, the population growth rate increases temporarily, but then levels off to a constant population.

From Denier on some bad assumptions: “How many people will there be in the year 2300? We are talking about Anthropogenic Global Warming so the number of anthropoids is an important detail, don’t you think? I’d be stunned if Ethan put any thought into it before making the prediction. I’d bet he just extended a trend line or parroted a source who did.”

There is a move in the wrestling world where the heel hits the face over the head with a folding chair, unnoticed by the referee. When the face picks up the folding chair and goes after the heel, the referee notices, and the crowd howls at the injustice. Just because there are those making exaggerated statements, unthinkingly or maliciously or misleadingly or otherwise, doesn’t mean that just because I reached a conclusion you don’t like, I exaggerated.

So prepare to be stunned. The number of humans, as predicted by scientists who study population growth, will peak at around 9 or 10 billion worldwide, which will happen likely sometime about 40 years from now. It is anticipated to hold relatively steady or decrease slightly. Meanwhile, the model I used — wildly unrealistic in its conservativism — was for global (not per capita, but global) emissions to remain constant at present (2016/7) levels. Don’t be so quick to bet against Ethan.

A singularity is where conventional physics breaks down, whether you're talking about the very beginning of the Universe and the birth of space and time or the very central point of a black hole. Distances smaller than the Planck length can effectively be treated as singularities. Image credit: © 2007-2016, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam.

A singularity is where conventional physics breaks down, whether you’re talking about the very beginning of the Universe and the birth of space and time or the very central point of a black hole. Distances smaller than the Planck length can effectively be treated as singularities. Image credit: © 2007-2016, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam.

From zeuxis on the Planck length: “Determining the Planck length is a pirate’s favorite physics problem.”

We needed something lighter. Why did the pirate have a ship’s wheel attached to the crotch of his pants?

“Yar, it’s drivin’ me nuts!”

Fluctuations would need to be many orders of mangitude larger on a very small, specific scale to create primordial SMBHs. Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team.

Fluctuations would need to be many orders of mangitude larger on a very small, specific scale to create primordial black holes. Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team.

From Anonymous Coward on primordial black holes: “There are also primordial black holes, which were supposed to be formed by the collapse of slightly overdense regions of spacetime a fraction of a second into the Big Bang.”

There are fans of PBHs out there, and they were a good and interesting cosmological idea (and dark matter candidate) when they were first proposed. If a region of space, in the early Universe, is about 68% denser (or more) than the mean density in the Universe, then rather than grow into stars and galaxies, or give up their matter to denser regions, they’ll just collapse into a black hole. Unfortunately:

  • the power spectrum of the Universe has been measured, and the fluctuations are pretty much scale-invariant and are at the 0.003% level, not the ~68% level.
  • And we have performed exhaustive searches for primordial black holes, and can pretty much rule them out over every possible mass range, with only a slight window still disputed from neutron stars in globular clusters.
Constraints on primordial black holes over various mass ranges. Image credit: M. Cirelli (2016).

Constraints on primordial black holes over various mass ranges. Image credit: M. Cirelli (2016).

Of course it’s important to constrain all of this as tightly as possible observationally, but the constraints are so good and so many things would have to be wrong (like inflation, like the idea of a scale-invariant spectrum, like our understanding of small-scale structure) for primordial black holes to exist at all in this Universe. There’s no good reason to believe they exist, and lots of evidence against them. Once that last window closes at around 10^20 kilograms (about the mass of a large dwarf planet), you can officially bury the already-nailed-shut coffin.

The Great Observatories Origins Deep Studies North field (GOODS-N), cropped to show the Universe's most distant galaxy, in red. All four of these circumstances needed to come together at once to make this galaxy's discovery possible. Image credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz), P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz; Yale University), R. Bouwens and I. Labbé (Leiden University), and the Science Team.

The Great Observatories Origins Deep Studies North field (GOODS-N), cropped to show the Universe’s most distant galaxy, in red. All four of these circumstances needed to come together at once to make this galaxy’s discovery possible. Image credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz), P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz; Yale University), R. Bouwens and I. Labbé (Leiden University), and the Science Team.

From Jonathan on lensing and the most distant galaxy: “If it had to be lensed by a foreground galaxy so we could see it, why doesn’t it appear as a ring? (And why don’t we see the foreground galaxy in the images?)”

Maybe this one isn’t lensed, but I thought it likely was. Do you see, in the above image, the “red dot” (this galaxy) and the yellow smudge (a foreground galaxy) just to the left of it? That is a configuration I’m familiar with of where a galaxy will appear to be magnified but not very much distorted by a strong lensing effect. You see this a lot in high-redshift astrophysics, so I just assumed, seeing this familiar configuration visually, that there was lensing at play here.

But maybe there isn’t! They talk about this as being an extremely intrinsically bright galaxy, and it may be all due to intrinsic brightness. I had thought there was a mix of the two effects and they were unable to disentangle them, but none of this is discussed in the literature so perhaps I am wrong. It certainly isn’t incredibly lensed like the previous record-holder and is much more intrinsically bright, but I believe we will need something like JWST and possibly a better map of the mass in this field before we know more. But I’m very open to being 100% wrong on the issue.

Mongo McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett, 1997, WCW.

Mongo McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett, 1997, WCW.

From CFT on exemplifying the heel/face/folding chair analogy: “The truth is almost always more complicated than Ethan portrays it, he will go to great lengths to simplify a situation to the point of being factually dishonest by omission of all the pesky details he knows will cause people to more closely scrutinize his assertions and question his undisclosed motives.”

And maybe no one will notice, since there is no referee on the internet, and you used a metal briefcase instead of a folding chair…

Measuring back in time and distance (to the left of "today") can inform how the Universe will evolve and accelerate/decelerate far into the future. We can learn that acceleration turned on about 7.8 billion years ago. Image credit: Saul Perlmutter / UC Berkeley.

Measuring back in time and distance (to the left of “today”) can inform how the Universe will evolve and accelerate/decelerate far into the future. We can learn that acceleration turned on about 7.8 billion years ago. Image credit: Saul Perlmutter / UC Berkeley.

From ketchup on whether dark energy is an illusion or not: “I found it very strange that the people who wrote this new paper would either ignore or be totally unaware of previously published work that disproved their idea.”

It’s not so much they they’re unaware of previously published work that disfavors their idea, but that they start from the assumption — like many physicists do when they’re working on disfavored ideas — that one particular physical phenomenon is responsible for one particular set of observations despite the known shortcomings. People still discuss the steady-state phenomenon in peer-reviewed publications and simply state that they ignore the known problems with the CMB and with Helium production. People still discuss alternatives to dark matter and ignore the large-scale phenomena they cannot explain without dark matter. And people discuss the “dark energy is an illusion” idea in the same way.

It’s not a bad thing! It’s not a bad thing at all to continue to explore ideas that don’t match the Universe we have. They may, someday, lead to a better understanding of the Universe we actually do have. What is bad is to present this to the public as a viable possibility in its current state. That is what this team did, and that is why it warranted writing such a scathing piece on the matter.

The plasma in the center of this fusion reactor is so hot it doesn't emit light; it's only the cooler plasma located at the walls that can be seen. Hints of magnetic interplay between the hot and cold plasmas can be seen. Image credit: National Fusion Research Institute, Korea.

The plasma in the center of this fusion reactor is so hot it doesn’t emit light; it’s only the cooler plasma located at the walls that can be seen. Hints of magnetic interplay between the hot and cold plasmas can be seen. Image credit: National Fusion Research Institute, Korea.

From John on the waste products from nuclear fusion: “That said, I’m less sanguine about the purported pollution free nature of controlled fusion power.
Both Deuterium/Tritium and Deuterium/Deuterium fuels (the fuels most easily “ignited”) produce quantities of neutrons sufficient to contaminate the reactor materials via neutron activation.”

This is absolutely true! The nice thing about fusion, though, is that the overwhelming majority of neutrons produced will be absorbed by nuclei that will either be stable (like oxygen-17) or will have a short, manageable half-life (like tritium). Tritium is outstanding because it can often be re-used as new fuel, and also has a short half-life of ~12 years, meaning that it doesn’t take all that long (just a couple of centuries) before it can safely be released back into the environment. There is radioactivity produced, but it isn’t the long-lived waste that we’re having such a problem with in fission reactors.

But I am hopeful that as we learn more about the practical realities of all the different energy sources, we can… what’s the expression… Make Earth Cool Again! (As seen at Marches for Science around the world.)

Looking back a variety of distances corresponds to a variety of times since the Big Bang. Entropy has increased always. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI).

Looking back a variety of distances corresponds to a variety of times since the Big Bang. Entropy has increased always. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI).

From Denier on the possibility of time not existing before the Big Bang: “Did the Big Bang mark the point where we transitioned from a 3 to a 3+1 universe?”

We really don’t think so. Don’t confuse a time-translation-invariant state (like cosmic inflation) with a state where time doesn’t exist! We need time, in the moments before the hot Big Bang, to perform a whole slew of tasks, including:

  • to stretch quantum fluctuations across the Universe, creating the seeds for structure formation,
  • to stretch the Universe flat,
  • to create a Universe that has the same temperature and mean energy density everywhere,
  • to eliminate any high-energy relics (like magnetic monopoles) from the observable Universe,

and so on. If you don’t have time — or if you have a time dimension suddenly emerge — then all of these things become “initial conditions” problems. And you also have the “we are changing the laws of physics” problem. Why? From what? And how? I’m not saying this is absolutely forbidden, but I don’t see how it would work. Pre-big-bang, we have a state that looks the same at any initial time and any arbitrary other time before that (that’s what time translation is), but that doesn’t mean time doesn’t exist!

In classical general relativity, singularities are hard to avoid. But in quantum theories of gravity, such as those with extra dimensions, bouncing scenarios are possible. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Rogilbert.

In classical general relativity, singularities are hard to avoid. But in quantum theories of gravity, such as those with extra dimensions, bouncing scenarios are possible. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Rogilbert.

From eric on the size of extra dimensions: “There are either only three, or more with the others being very small and not impacting the fundamental forces. It’s a ‘what-if’ analysis. Those are often very useful in science, as a way of weeding out ideas before we spend money on them. Hypothesize X. Calculate what it mathematically entails. Ask/observe whether reality is consistent with that. If not, reject X…before you waste any significant time and effort trying to test it directly.”

This hits a very important point about spatial dimensions: we can constrain the number of them we have based on force laws and how they can be probed down to a particular length scale. For the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces, we can probe distances down to about 10^-18 meters or so: about 1/1000th the width of a proton. We see that there are three spatial dimensions down to that scale. But for gravity, we’ve only gotten it down to about 10^-5 meters, because we can’t probe down to smaller distances yet.

So if we talk about “large extra dimensions,” we are talking about “large” as in between 10^-18 and 10^-5 meters, but only for gravity. For all other extra dimension scenarios, where all the forces are allowed to access those dimensions, you need to go to higher energy scales (and smaller distances) than we’ve ever gone.

A system set up in the initial conditions on the left and let to evolve will become the system on the right spontaneously, gaining entropy in the process. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons users Htkym and Dhollm.

A system set up in the initial conditions on the left and let to evolve will become the system on the right spontaneously, gaining entropy in the process. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons users Htkym and Dhollm.

From Johnny on black hole entropy: “why do black holes contain so much entropy? Once a black hole forms we lose all the quintillion particles that could have different arrangements and have a single entity with no structure.”

So one of the things I attempted to do with the piece I wrote was to define entropy, because the common one used by laypeople — “a measure of disorder” — is a pretty garbage-esque definition. If you missed it:

What entropy actually measures is the number of possible arrangements of the state of your system.

If you had two different particles inside (a proton and an electron), there’s only one arrangement, since particles are distinct. But if you have two identical ones (two protons), there are two arrangements. How many arrangements are there if you know the total mass, total electric charge and total angular momentum of your system, and nothing else? The answer is a lot, and that’s why a black hole has so much entropy.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite senses temperature using infrared wavelengths. This image shows temperature of the Earth’s surface or clouds covering it for the month of April 2003. The scale ranges from -81 degrees Celsius (-114° Fahrenheit) in black/blue to 47° C (116° F) in red. Higher latitudes are increasingly obscured by clouds, though some features like the Great Lakes are apparent. Northernmost Europe and Eurasia are completely obscured by clouds, while Antarctica stands out cold and clear at the bottom of the image. Image credit: NASA AIRS.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite senses temperature using infrared wavelengths. This image shows temperature of the Earth’s surface or clouds covering it for the month of April 2003. The scale ranges from -81 degrees Celsius (-114° Fahrenheit) in black/blue to 47° C (116° F) in red. Higher latitudes are increasingly obscured by clouds, though some features like the Great Lakes are apparent. Northernmost Europe and Eurasia are completely obscured by clouds, while Antarctica stands out cold and clear at the bottom of the image. Image credit: NASA AIRS.

From CFT on privacy: “Is there any particular reason why you failed to mention WHERE you were going to march around?”

Because there are over 600 satellite marches that have taken place on all seven continents, and I don’t really like publicly announcing my location all the time. Because I value a little bit of privacy, and I think it’s reasonable that I get to choose how much I do or do not broadcast. I respect that for you, don’t I, pseudonymously operating commenter CFT whose name, IP address, physical address and birthday I all know but do not share with anyone, right? There are no doubt some people here who know where I am and where I’ll be, but that’s the reason. Even people who write on the internet can hope for some privacy.

And while many of the people who were marching were political, and many of the messages were political, the march itself was not, at least at the one I went to and spoke at.

Image credit: Sandra W. Roush, Trudy V. Murphy, and the Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group / Journal of the American Medical Association.

Image credit: Sandra W. Roush, Trudy V. Murphy, and the Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group / Journal of the American Medical Association.

From Anonymous Coward on science and politics: “…what is so wrong with using science for political ends? Just so we are on the same page here, by “science” I mean the enterprise of building and organising knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about reality. Why wouldn’t you want to use science so defined to inform politics? It is the best tool we have today for understanding how the universe works, and it was through science that the human species has advanced to the point that it has today. From the Carl Sagan quote that Ethan used to start the article, we’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. So why the hell wouldn’t you use science to inform politics?”

This was the number one sentiment I encountered at the March for Science. The overwhelming opinion I encountered as to “why you wouldn’t” want to do that is because the conclusions that science draws and the realistic, practical (i.e., regulatory) solutions that would emerge run counter to the political or economic or social agendas of others. It’s my own opinion that if that’s the case, you should still embrace science, and just own the fact that you value something else more highly than the consequences of your actions.

Maybe “economic freedom” of water providers is more important than clean, safe drinking water to you? Maybe the rights of corporations to mine, refine, ship, sell and burn fossil fuels are more important than returning Earth to a mid-18th-century climate? And maybe your personal right to spread preventable diseases to newborn babies is more important than the personal freedom consequences of mandatory vaccination policies?

I can’t answer those questions for you; those are questions that should rightly be decided by political institutions. But no one should doubt or deny the science behind those issues. That should be the starting point that everyone agrees on. It’s a sad state of affairs — and why so many of us marches — that it isn’t.

Fred Hoyle presenting a radio series, The Nature of the Universe, in 1950. Image credit: BBC.

Fred Hoyle presenting a radio series, The Nature of the Universe, in 1950. Image credit: BBC.

From John on Fred Hoyle: “It’s a delightful contrast that Fred Hoyle, now known more as a champion of the failed Steady State theory, was one of the principles in developing the successful stellar nucleosynthesis theory.”

Hoyle’s life was a tremendous mix of triumph and tragedy. On the one hand, his stellar nucleosynthesis advances were incredible, and it’s pretty unjust that he wasn’t co-awarded the Nobel Prize with Fowler for the discovery of the carbon-12 excited state that makes helium fusion possible. (It is still known as the Hoyle state, and the triple-alpha process by which it’s created was also discovered by Hoyle.)

But Hoyle also never accepted the cosmic microwave background as the leftover glow from the Big Bang. He never accepted the COBE results or how the blackbody spectrum ruled out alternative explanations. Since he conflated Big Bang cosmology with creationism, he rejected Earth as a location where life could have originated and instead claimed that life must have originated elsewhere and come to Earth via panspermia.

A mix of scientific brilliance and dogmatic rejection of evidence shaped his life, and today, over a decade after his death, they shape his legacy, serving as simultaneously an inspirational and cautionary tale.

The three valence quarks of a proton contribute to its spin, but so do the gluons, sea quarks and antiquarks, and orbital angular momentum as well. Image credit: APS/Alan Stonebraker.

The three valence quarks of a proton contribute to its spin, but so do the gluons, sea quarks and antiquarks, and orbital angular momentum as well. Image credit: APS/Alan Stonebraker.

From Klaus Hansen on the spin of a proton: “Good the computers understand it. I would feel better if I also did. There must be a simple reason for precisely 1/2, independently of whether the gluons carry 60 or 59.5% of the spin.”

We think there may be, but we aren’t sure what that reason is or if there even is such a reason. We like to think there’s a good reason why CP-violation isn’t seen at all in the strong interaction, but we don’t know if there is one. We think that pions should decay to four photons, but we’ve never seen it. We thought that the electron and proton should have equal-and-opposite magnetic moments, but the proton’s is almost three times as large, and the neutron’s is almost twice as large, with no obvious-and-simple relationship between them.

I like to say that this simply means there’s more science to be done!

The known particles and antiparticles of the Standard Model all have been discovered. All told, they make explicit predictions. Any violation of those predictions would be a sign of new physics, which we're desperately seeking. Image credit: E. Siegel.

The known particles and antiparticles of the Standard Model all have been discovered. All told, they make explicit predictions. Any violation of those predictions would be a sign of new physics, which we’re desperately seeking. Image credit: E. Siegel.

From Kasim Muflafi on science: “Science is based on definitions and agreed upon postulates.”

Oh my no! No, not at all. Science is based on the physical Universe and the rules that govern it. Definitions and postulates are how you get philosophy and mathematics, which can be used as scientific tools, but no, that is not at all what science is.

The standard model calculated predictions (the four colored points) and the LHCb results (black, with error bars) for the electron/positron to muon/antimuon ratios at two different energies. Image credit: LHCb Collaboration / Tommaso Dorigo.

The standard model calculated predictions (the four colored points) and the LHCb results (black, with error bars) for the electron/positron to muon/antimuon ratios at two different energies. Image credit: LHCb Collaboration / Tommaso Dorigo.

From Chelle H.C. on particles: “Today a planetoide discovered in 1988 got to be named after a local weatherman. Looks like the LHC is starting to fall in the same category of relatively unimportant ‘discoveries’.”

What you are referring to, at the LHC, is composite particles like mesons and baryons, that themselves are made up of quarks and/or antiquarks in different quantum and energy states. These have been known to exist for nearly a century, and there are literally thousands of them predicted. Finding and measuring them and their behavior is an important part of uncovering information about some of the many unsolved problems in theoretical physics, like the origin of the matter/antimatter asymmetry.

You might look at that and say, “give me a new fundamental particle or I don’t care,” and that’s fine, but others care even if you don’t.

The Earth, moving in its orbit around the Sun and spinning on its axis, should provide an extra motion if there's any medium that light travels through. Image credit: Larry McNish, RASC Calgary.

The Earth, moving in its orbit around the Sun and spinning on its axis, should provide an extra motion if there’s any medium that light travels through. Image credit: Larry McNish, RASC Calgary.

And finally, from Carl on how to do the internet right: “Ethan deserves to be treated respectfully. He provides enlightening and thought-provoking articles every day. He presents the mainstream view of science, tailoring his writings to be understood by reasonably intelligent readers from widely-varying backgrounds. Though well educated himself, he frequently checks with experts to make sure he’s presenting information on complex and subtle topics “just right.”
In short, he works hard at his job and we benefit.”

Thank you, Carl. I like to think that I’m performing a public good by writing what I’m doing, that I’ve worked hard to be good at it and that is worth something, and that there’s a “silent majority” out there who are actually pleased with what I do. I like to think that people of different political persuasions than my own like and respect what I do (sometimes with certain pet topics exempted), and that most of the people who disrespect me do so for reasons that have nothing to do with me.

But I very much appreciate your call for giving respect to everyone, even to me. We’ll see what the response is. Have a great rest-of-your-weekend, everyone, and looking forward to another great week ahead here on Starts With A Bang!

Comments

  1. #1 George Hansen
    USA
    April 23, 2017

    Atmosphere to the moon is less than 660m not 660 km…just so as to not mess up your example.

  2. #2 Michael Mooney
    April 23, 2017

    See: “From Michael Mooney” above for reference.

    Your last sentence: ” I hope this helps, but I fear that you are so hellbent on your predisposed opinion being correct that no fact will serve to educate you.”

    I am sorry that you refuse to address the core of the issue I bring to your forum.
    Is there a “real world” independent of observation or not?
    (Yes, there is.)

    Does the Earth physically change dimensions when (if ever) viewed from near light speed or not? (Ans: Not)

    Does Earth’s atmosphere physically change in depth/height “for” every incoming muon or not? (Ans: Not.)

    (Maybe you have too much on your plate (with so many new subjects you introduce every week) to do justice to answering the arguments you incite/ inspire here.)

    In case you have a change of heart, here is my last comment, which you totally ignored.
    ———————–
    Ethan wrote:
    “I am puzzled as to what you’re contending. Are you saying that if you switch reference frames, or if you go to the rest frame of the object, then that’s the “true” physical size? That’s nonsense; all reference frames are equally valid. Are you claiming that physical objects aren’t really contracted in their direction of motion? They absolutely are, just like you and I are with respect to an incoming comet. It doesn’t change how we perceive ourselves or the measurements we make, but it’s a real, physical effect that occurs uniquely for every unique observer in the Universe.”

    Please re-examine your last clause. In fact a “real physical effect” *does not* “occur uniquely” (differently) for “every unique observer.”

    Again, “I have asked you many times to consider the possibility that, contrary to Einstein’s philosophy, there is a “real world” which exists in and of itself, independent of observational differences (the constant “frame of reference” recital.” You disclaim a true physical size of an object as “nonsense” by simply parroting the doctrine,… “all reference frames are equally valid.”

    I concluded my reply: “Physics is the same for all physical bodies. Observation does not change the physical world.”

    I repeat my offer: “If you honestly accept as factual that, for instance, Earth’s diameter physically changes as a result of variations in observation, please just say so, and I will leave this forum.” (Edit: …having lost all respect for you as a reasonable scientist.)
    ——————————-

    If it’s just another brush-off like I’m in need of more education (mainstream relativity indoctrination))… no criticism allowed…
    or you just continue to ignore the above…

    Well… at least admit you believe that a flat Earth is “equally valid” science… depending on Frames of Reference of course especially the Special case of approaching at near light speed. (That will make it flat!)

  3. #3 CFT
    April 23, 2017

    @Michael Mooney,
    When Ethan doesn’t want to answer a question, he makes a glib comment and calls it a day. If you really want to know what he thinks (he likes consensus), go to his source, just google Wikipedia.

  4. #4 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    April 23, 2017

    And what is your source?

  5. #5 Michael Mooney
    April 23, 2017

    CFT,
    Even when he contradicts himself he avoids any responsibility for clarification. He once told me, “We don’t think so” when challenged about shrinking physical objects (but shrinking distances between stars (“for” fast travelers), he said, was “real.” Now shrinkage of physical objects is real again.

    ” Are you claiming that physical objects aren’t really contracted in their direction of motion? They absolutely are…”
    Since “motion” is relative to whatever, Earth is moving relative to the approaching observer at near light speed, so it IS flat… “for the observer.” To hell with real physics applied to shrinking physical objects.
    Speaking of nonsense….!

  6. #6 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    April 23, 2017

    MM:
    What do you think about this?

  7. #7 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    April 23, 2017

    And what do you think about this one?

  8. #8 Axil
    April 23, 2017

    In response to: “We like to think there’s a good reason why CP-violation isn’t seen at all in the strong interaction, but we don’t know if there is one.”

    There is a new version of quantum mechanics that is gaining traction called: PT-symmetric non-Hermitian quantum-mechanical Hamiltonians. In this QM, PT symmetry can be broken at the extreme end of the real solution set.

    Carl Bender has been developing this QM version that uses complex numbers since he proposed it in 1998. For your convenience, here are links to his collected papers

    https://arxiv.org/a/bender_c_1.html

    In optical systems among other, when PT symmetry is broken, the strong force may be effected. In these cases, the proton may decay as Leif Holmlid has seen experimentally.

  9. #9 Denier
    United States
    April 23, 2017

    @Michael Mooney

    I’ve mostly stayed out of your discussion, but out of masochism I’ll try this one time.

    To start, understand that you are wrong. I’m sure you think a lot of your theory but you don’t know more about this stuff than PhD Physicists do. Although I am not a PhD Physicist I do see your error. I’m not trying to be adversarial here. I’m trying to help.

    Michael Mooney wrote:

    Is there a “real world” independent of observation or not?
    (Yes, there is.)

    This is your problem right here. Your base assumption is wrong and you’ve built everything on top of it.

    When people are talking about ‘observers’ or ‘observation’ they aren’t talking about people actually seeing something. People aren’t magic. Nothing acts different because of people. An observer is simply a personification of a reference frame.

    To your question ‘Is there a “real world” independent of [reference frames] or not?’, the answer is ‘Not in Relativity’. The changes you are referring to are to information between reference frames. Relativity is about the way different reference frames relate. If you are talking about a world independent of reference frames then you aren’t talking about Relativity. In your thinking up to this point you have a confused mix of transforms with a lack of reference frames.

    That is where your error is.

  10. #10 Denier
    April 23, 2017

    @Axil #8

    Your post is missing something. They didn’t fire you, did they?

  11. #11 Axil
    April 23, 2017

    @Denier#10

    I did not provide much detail because the detail can expand in many directions. But I will be happy to supply anything that you required.

  12. #12 Denier
    United States
    April 23, 2017

    @Axil

    I’m good. Happy to have you around.

  13. #13 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 24, 2017

    @ Frank & Denier

    all of that has been hashed and re-hashed for weeks now. Even the videos are the same.. Mooney is just looney.

  14. #14 Elle H.C.
    April 24, 2017

    … but others care even if you don’t.

    Fair enough, but they are getting too much credit. They make me think of the cocky swordsman in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark who was simply shot down with a gun.

    ‘Real’ physical testing isn’t going to open any new doors (physics). The future will come from fiddling and experimenting with computer simulations. That’s where all the money should go, not to some primitive sandsifters. But I guess the business of making swords is still too lucrative for some.

  15. #15 eric
    April 24, 2017

    Denier:

    To your question ‘Is there a “real world” independent of [reference frames] or not?’, the answer is ‘Not in Relativity’.

    Once again, in relativity the spacetime interval of an object is independent of its reference frame. Michael evidently rejects this simple statement, even after hearing it multiple times.

    MM:

    Does Earth’s atmosphere physically change in depth/height “for” every incoming muon or not? (Ans: Not.)

    Then what is your explanation for how muons can get to Earth without decaying?

  16. #16 eric
    April 24, 2017

    ‘Real’ physical testing isn’t going to open any new doors (physics). The future will come from fiddling and experimenting with computer simulations. That’s where all the money should go, not to some primitive sandsifters.

    At this stage of our scientific understanding, we really need both. Simulations can help us understand what we think will happen in an experiment or whether some observation we’re considering will yield data that is useful for distinguishing different hypotheses. IOW they help us decide which experiments to do. However, simulations are built on assumptions, and those assumptions can be wrong or inaccurate. So ultimately you must test them by actually looking.

    (NB: they may be inaccurate for two general reasons. First, because our physics understanding of the universe is wrong. Or second, because the simulation contains simplified/approximate physics calculations. The latter occurs a lot, as scientists often don’t have the computational resources to simulate what they actually want to simulate, or because we simply don’t know how to compute the actual physics.)

  17. #17 Elle H.C.
    April 24, 2017

    “At this stage of our scientific understanding, we really need both.”

    Nah, at this point high-energy particle collisions have become obsolete, we know enough. It’s like how Einstein came up with GR by looking what’s behind all of it … in the same way the next big breakthrough in physics will be a solver … think of a CFD fluid, gas of foam to define what space is build of. Look at a solver to simulate something like a von Kármán vortex street it has moven away from physically studying the itsy bitsy details of how water flows.

  18. #18 eric
    April 24, 2017

    It’s like how Einstein came up with GR by looking what’s behind all of it

    Einstein came up with GR by working from SR for 10 years. SR was based at least in part on experimental observations.
    Moreover one of the ways Einstein convinced people his GR was correct was to show – in 1915, the same year he published his GR theory – how it could account for Mercury’s motion. While Mercury’s motion is not a lab experiment per se, comparing the results of what the theory says to an observation like that is still a form of experimental theory-testing. You must get out your telescope. You must use it to collect data. And you accept or reject your hypothesis based on what the telescope tells you.

  19. #19 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    April 24, 2017

    “next big breakthrough in physics will be a solver”
    Theory Of Everything needed for that first. Neither Quantum Mechanics nor Relativity enough to make perfectly accurate computer simulations of physics experiments. Even if TOE found someday it is quite likely that it will require so much more computer power than any future computer to simulate any big volume. I think it will useful only to solve few problems like what happens in the center of a Black Hole or at its event horizon or how to calculate basic constants of physics.

  20. #20 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    April 24, 2017

    So I think people hoping humanity will create The Matrix someday will be disappointed. 🙂

  21. #21 eric
    April 24, 2017

    Neither Quantum Mechanics nor Relativity enough to make perfectly accurate computer simulations of physics experiments.

    Oh its worse than that. When I was in grad school, the only atom whose QM wave equation was fully solvable without simplifying assumptions was the hydrogen atom. A fully QMical description of even helium lead to a differential equation we couldn’t analytically solve. Maybe (hopefully) science has progressed since then, but I would be quite comfortable betting that Elle couldn’t find a “full” (i.e. no simplifying assumptions) QM description of a single atom of gold. Not because it’s in some dusty esoteric literature, but because literally nobody has been able to figure it out.

    So, do we ‘know enough’? We don’t even know enough to do a fully QM (i.e. no approximations), ab initio calculation of the electron shells in a single high-z atom.

  22. #22 eric
    April 24, 2017

    However events are characterized, not by intention, but by those who show up.

    I viewed some of the coverage of the main march by BBC, and by CNN. With the exception of some people wearing the pussyhats (I guess they went to the March for Women and decided to recycle), I didn’t see any of the coverage focusing on social justice issues. It was all on supporting science as an enterprise. So at least in my opinion, the message that made it out through the news coverage was the right one.

    ANTIFA went to their message board and talked about wanting to come to the next skirmish better armed.

    Wait, isn’t that the GOP’s own solution to the problem of violence? Are you telling me “violence will go down if more people carry guns” is incorrect?

  23. #23 Elle H.C.
    April 24, 2017

    @Eric & Frank

    With the a solver in CFD you’re not calculating a wave, the wave is emergent.

  24. #24 Elle H.C.
    April 24, 2017

    @Eric

    Einstein solved existing issue the deviation of Mercury was already known for a long time even bending of light … the point is that he got his idea from a ‘particular’ insight … all the data was there already for a long time. In the same way (almost) all the data exists regarding particles some extra details won’t make the difference. What is needed is a different approach such as CFD and emergent behaviors. Anyway it’s just to tickle your imagination and see if there’s an other approach, just as Einstein came up with something completely new.

  25. #25 Michael Mooney
    April 24, 2017

    @Denier (#9):
    ” Relativity is about the way different reference frames relate. If you are talking about a world independent of reference frames then you aren’t talking about Relativity. In your thinking up to this point you have a confused mix of transforms with a lack of reference frames. ”

    I understand and agree with your first sentence.

    I am in fact talking about a world independent of reference frames. Objective realism calls it “the real world.”
    In the real world physical objects (stars, planets, trains, ladders… or the distances between stars) don’t shrink when (theoretically) “observed” (yes, even by a muon) from a high speed frame. They might appear to shrink, based in possible image distortion, but there is *no physics* of shrinking physical objects or distances, i.e., being physically compacted to shorter length.

    I am talking about the error of SR in thinking that a flattened Earth (for instance) is an “equally valid” description, based on the doctrine that “all frames of reference are equally valid..” “Proper length” is, of course, based on measurement from at rest with an object. This avoids the above distortion… in both images and in thinking… confusing the image with the object.

    Of course, if a high speed “observer” (particle, whatever) wants to “know” what shape Earth actually IS (in the real world), we have the Lorentz formula to transform the flattened image (or shortened measurement) into the actual physical (nearly spherical) body we all know and love.

  26. #26 CFT
    April 24, 2017

    @eric #21,
    A more accurate model of atomic structure on which to base such calculations on wouldn’t hurt either.

  27. #27 CFT
    April 24, 2017

    @Michael Mooney,
    I wouldn’t get too worried about space time (minkowski space). It is a mathematical model that has little to do with reality, as there is no movement, interaction or change possible in space time, and there IS movement, interaction, and change in reality.
    If you turn time into a fixed or static geometry, your model can not accommodate interaction…such as two bodies approaching one another gravitationally, or provide a reason why two objects would even approach one another, or allow an impulse to motion such as a rocket igniting its engines, which would be required if you are claiming to do science or physics.
    Jumping from time frame to time frame is also a complete and utter violation of the model itself made possible only by magic, as there is no way this would be possible inside of a static space without the movement of the observer between frames…which the model can not actually accommodate.
    If you really wish to make an analogy between film frames and reality, just remember the observer of movement is not inside the movie (outside the model), so the film analogy (time frames) actually doesn’t work without a cheat, it requires slight of hand to re-introduce movement of the frames past the observer or the movement of the observer past the frames for anything resembling ‘change’ to be possible, requiring an external time dimension outside of the model’s time as fixed geometry.

  28. #28 Axil
    April 24, 2017

    One consideration that I feel is important to understand is what PT symmetry violation means with respect to CP symmetry violation. We understand that we can produce PT symmetry breaking using optical mechanisms but can PT symmetry violation somehow generate CP violation which is required to produce the decay of the nucleon (protons and neutrons)?

    From the various descriptions of symmetry in this article:
    https://www.europhysicsnews.org/articles/epn/pdf/2016/02/epn2016472p17.pdf

    Space time (PT) Symmetry is only valid in an open system where energy and/or matter can be gained or lost. In a closed system, PT symmetry does not exist since a closed system can neither gain nor lose energy and/or matter. Because LENR requires CP symmetry breaking and CP symmetry breaking requires PT symmetry breaking, LENR can only occur in an open system.

    Open vs. Closed Systems

    Systems can be either open or closed. A closed system is one where a quantity or series of quantities cannot enter or leave the system. For example, a system might be closed to energy, meaning energy might not be able to enter or leave the system. A vacuum thermos flask does a really good job of stopping energy from leaving the system to keep your drink warm. So it might make sense to treat it as a closed system – but no system in the real world is ever perfectly closed, so it will only be an approximation.

    The opposite of a closed system is an open system. An open system is one where a quantity or series of quantities can enter or leave the system to a significant degree. If you pour your hot drink into a mug instead of a vacuum thermos flask, the heat will escape relatively quickly into its surroundings. So a mug is most certainly an open system! Open systems are a lot more complicated to understand than closed systems, and so scientists prefer to work with closed systems when possible. Science usually stays away from open systems because closed systems makes things much simpler to explain and can be a good starting point before trying to explain open systems, too. Quantum mechanics only deals with closed systems.

    Traveling backward in time.

    If you make a movie of yourself throwing a ball, and thread the film backwards, it’ll look the same as you catching a ball. So if you want to think of the falling object as being the same as the rising one going backwards in time, the physics will support that statement, but it doesn’t sound all that cool. It is, however, the same thing as antimatter being viewed as going backwards in time.

    At the most basic level, the laws of physics are symmetrical: reverse time and they will follow the same route in reverse. Reverse the charge, and things will be attracted where they would have repulsed, and vice versa. Flip them both, and you’ve flipped it twice, so it’s just like you started.

    Since a positron is exactly like an electron, only with the opposite charge, then if you (a) replace an electron with a positron, and (b) reverse time, it behaves exactly like an electron. The physicists call this Charge/Parity (CP) symmetry, where “parity” is actually more like looking at things in a mirror rather than flipping time, but it’s the same idea.

    Flipping time is another way of looking at flipping left and right: a left-moving object going forwards in time is just like a right-moving object moving backwards.

    An electron like a ball sitting in the same spot is a closed system. It cannot change into a positron because it is not moving. The motionless ball is a closed system which cannot experience CP symmetry breaking. A moving ball is an open system where its motion can be deemed to have CP symmetry.

    So in an open system that has experienced PT symmetry breaking, LENR occurs because the nucleon undergoes CP symmetry breaking since in this case PT = CP.

    In optics, there are special conditions involving optical cavities that can experience PT summitry breaking. These cavities can reach out magnetically and become entangled with nucleons via their magnetic projections. This phenomenon is known as the chiral magnetic effect(1) — “chiral” means “distinguishing left from right, When PT symmetry is broken in these entangled open systems of optical cavities and nucleons decay via CP symmetry breaking. The energy of the nucleon decay flows one way into the optical cavity.

    It seems to me that it is central to the understanding of LENR to appreciate the mechanisms of symmetry breaking with regards to nucleons.

    1 – http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2010/02/16/violating-parity-with-quarks-and-gluons/#comments

  29. #29 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    April 24, 2017

    @Elle #23:
    That is what I meant with Theory Of Everything approach.
    I think it will turn out to be a Cellular Automata operating at Planck scale (cell size). But being in Planck scale also means to simulate same volume of spacetime it would require astronomically more calculations than simulating in Quantum (particle) scale. And current computer tech is far away from even simulating a tiny volume of the world in atomic scale.

  30. #30 Elle H.C.
    April 24, 2017

    @Frank

    1 planck length = 1,6 × 10^-26 nanometre

    The latest Millenium Run XXL in 2010 had 10^9 particles

    So let’s upgrade the LHC and find a couple more breadcrumbs or go for a Supercomputer facility and start toying around?

  31. #31 Ragtag Media
    United States
    April 24, 2017

    @ Frank, Thanks for posting those video clips. I am adding that youtube channel to my favs.

  32. #32 Michael Mooney
    April 24, 2017

    @CFT # 27,
    I’m not worried but for the objective, unbiased pursuit of knowledge about the real world… not constrained by the doctrines of belief required by the Minkowski/ Einstein invention of an imaginary fabric which is curved by mass… in their minds/ model. … Just because Einstein choked on gravity as a force transmitted as “action at a distance” through empty space.

    Here is a reference for true believers to check out… a paper by Brown and Pooley:
    “Minkowski space-time: a glorious non-entity”

    How “glorious” is it in the real world… as a compound non-entity?

  33. #33 Elle H.C.
    April 24, 2017

    @Michael Mooney

    You do realise that Einstein ‘only’ came up with a mathematical model. Take for instance 1 + 1 = 2 those numbers can be anything, the same goes for SpaceTime it is a mathematical tool, or just like any other language. For instance a ‘cat’ describes the animal, but only an idiot starts complaining that the letters c-a-t are no real ‘cat’.

  34. #34 Michael Mooney
    April 25, 2017

    Elle H C,
    Numbers must “stand for something” (even a ratio like Pi) in the real world or math has no relevance. Numbers and models mean nothing without referents in the world of observable empirical science. (To what do the numbers and models refer?)

    So, what is it actually (in the real world) that is supposed to be curved by mass in the spacetime model? Is space a malleable medium? By what mechanics is empty volume warped. How about time? An entity that clocks “measure” by ticking at different rates when exposed to different forces? “Weave” them together and what flexible “fabric” do you have?
    See last line of my #32.

  35. #35 dean
    April 25, 2017

    “Numbers and models mean nothing without referents in the world of observable empirical science.”

    So what do you make of complex numbers?

  36. #36 Elle H.C.
    April 26, 2017

    @Michael Mooney

    Maybe you should contact a physicist were you live and pay him/her for a few hours to listen to your ideas and let him or her help you with them. It seems that you have a genuine curiosity but are stuck on a few points.

    Like in this article: https://aeon.co/ideas/what-i-learned-as-a-hired-consultant-for-autodidact-physicists

  37. #37 Michael Mooney
    April 26, 2017

    Elle H.C.,
    Do you know of any physicist familiar with relativity who can answer the ontological and mechanical questions I just posed to you above? We have the opportunity to discuss/ debate such issues right here in this form, but you and the rest of the indoctrinated relativity advocates here refuse to even address such challenges, but rather just repeat the standard doctrines.

    I have twice offered to shut up and go away if Ethan would take the time to address challenges like the b.s. about actual physical shrinking of objects and distances via reference frame differences… “It all depends on how you (or a muon) look at it”… and the basic, “What is spacetime.” He did a piece with that title, but when pressed for an ontological answer, it was just “Spacetime is spacetime”… a “fundamental” which can not be explained, like “what is the number 1?” Yet “it” is supposed to be a malleable medium!

    I have cited references which deal with it, like Brown and Pooley above and like Kelley Ross on the ontology of curved space and the evolution of non-Euclidean geometry, but nobody will discuss either… just more parroting of the standard doctrines.
    Same with a link I cited on ‘the muon argument” for length contraction. If it is critical of SR, it is immediately dismissed.
    This is not intellectually honest discussion of science.

    I will be disengaging here soon if it’s just more of the same denial of all critical thinking.

  38. #38 eric
    April 26, 2017

    nobody will discuss either… just more parroting of the standard doctrines.

    We seem to be somewhat talking past each other then, since for most of us, the standard doctrines provide sufficient answer many of your questions.

    As for things like ontology, why not visit a philosophy blog to discuss it? Scientists may like to discuss philosophy occasionally over beer, but it’s not their day job. If you want a professional treatment of the subject, go to the professionals.

    I will be disengaging here soon if it’s just more of the same denial of all critical thinking.

    As an empiricist, I’m skeptical but am willing to revise my provisional conclusion should new evidence arise.
    🙂

  39. #39 Michael Mooney
    April 26, 2017

    To Elle H.C. and Eric,
    Regarding Ethan’s most recent answer to my length contraction challenge:

    I said, “I am (still) saying that appearances might change via relativistic effects but that physical bodies and
    distances are not affected by ( “viewing” from) different frames of reference.”

    I invite your direct answer.

    Ethan replied,
    “But from the muon’s equally valid reference frame, the distances in front of it must contract. The atmosphere must be compressed to less than 660 km thick, and the Earth
    must be contracted itself so that its “towards-the-muon” diameter is less than 1% its transverse diameter. This contraction is real to the muon, and is equally valid
    to our own perception. If you want the physics in both reference frames to agree, this is what you need to happen.”

    First, I have never claimed that different reference frames will not “see things” differently. I have consistently reminded this forum that seeing things differently from all varieties of frames does not change the physical objects themselves. If you claim that they do, you need to show the physics of how observation/ measurement compresses physical objects, as Ethan claims above.

    Does Earth’s atmosphere actually physically compress to 660 KM thick? Does The whole body of Earth actually physically contract “towards the muon” to a diameter ” less than 1% its transverse diameter?

    If either of you believe Ethan’s claims as above, please explain the physics of such physical shrinkage… the power of a muon to compress the atmosphere and drastically shrink Earth’s diameter, in one direction only, of course.

    There is a limit to the absurdity that can still be called science!

    There have been no takers here yet on that challenge

  40. #40 eric
    April 26, 2017

    If you claim that they do, you need to show the physics of how observation/ measurement compresses physical objects, as Ethan claims above.

    The act of observation doesn’t compress anything. The spatial component of the Earth’s spacetime interval is relative, the same way velocity is, or the strength of an electrical field is.

    Considering EM may be the best analogy. If I experience a strong electric field and you (moving in relation to me and the field) perceive less of one, where did it go? Did your movement compress it? No. You experience that ‘missing’ component as a magnetic field, because of your movement..

    A relativistic traveler likewise experiences time and space in different contributions than we do. They lose simultaneity with us, and in a directly analogous way, they lose equivalency of space with us. Like magnetic and electrical fields, it’s the sum total that is conserved, not the individual components separately.

    the power of a muon to compress the atmosphere and drastically shrink Earth’s diameter, in one direction only, of course.

    You are viewing the muon as somehow exerting a force on the Earth to compress it while both exist in an absolute frame of space. Of course that makes no sense. But no such mechanism is needed in relativity, because your whole concept of absolute space is wrong.

    I’m sure I won’t convince you of that, so I’ll try a different tack (admittedly, one which I believe Sean or Sinisa already took, and which you didn’t deign to answer). Tell us which of the two special relativity postulates is wrong and how it’s wrong. Because all the things you reject deductively and mathematically follow from those two postulates. You cannot reject their consequences without rejecting one of them.

    So which is wrong? And how is it wrong?

  41. #41 Michael Mooney
    April 26, 2017

    Just a quickie, by necessity: All assumptions that there is no “real world” independent of Frames Of Reference are wrong.
    Start there.

  42. #42 Elle H.C.
    April 26, 2017

    @Michael Mooney

    “We have the opportunity to discuss/ debate such issues right here …”

    I am not getting anything out of discussing with you, so I am not interested … unless you pay me $150/h. You sure know what those numbers mean don’t you?

  43. #43 Axil
    April 26, 2017

    https://phys.org/news/2017-04-theoretical-approach-non-equilibrium-phase-transitions.html

    Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

    A new and elegant take on Quantum Mechanics has arrived on the scene just in time to help explain how LENR works. With this new tool, dynamic systems are understood to include phase transitions at the extreme limits of their solution sets.

    Dynamic operators that have been only discovered a few years ago are now widely used in quantum optics which is at the heart of the LENR reaction.

    Phase transitions are hot in physics now central to the understanding of the Higgs field, optics with changing indices of refraction, and superconductivity all demonstrate phase transitions and the famous Mexican hat upside down potential that only using the complex number set can properly explain.

    https://source.wustl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/OpticalDiodes_network.jpg

    In this figure, think of the blue optical resonators as the Surface Plasmon Polariton (SPP) with a whispering gallery wave structure. The red toroids are the protons and neutrons in the nucleus.

    In this experimental setup explained by the figure, coupled optical resonators (paired red and blue toroids on little pedestals) are PT symmetry systems. When they are tuned through a “phase transition” light, instead of moving through them in both directions, can only travel one way.

    In LENR terms when a phase transition occurs is the SPP optical resonators, and when a proton decays, the energy of that decay in the form of a Gamma ray can only be absorbed by the SPP. Light energy cannot move from the SPP into the proton.

    We learn from this model that quantum theories need not obey the conventional mathematical condition of Hermiticity so long as they obey the physical geometric condition of space-time-reflection symmetry (PT symmetry).

    PT symmetry challenges a standard convention in physics—the widely held belief that a quantum Hamiltonian must be Hermitian. And, because PT symmetry is a weaker condition than Hermiticity, there are infinitely many Hamiltonians that are PT symmetric but non-Hermitian; we can now study new kinds of quantum theories that would have been rejected in the past as being unphysical. Moreover, PT-symmetric systems exhibit a feature that Hermitian systems cannot; as indicated in the energy levels become complex when energy from outside the system changes in the system.

    The transition from real to complex energies is a key feature of PT-symmetric systems and it is called the PT phase transition. At this transition the system goes from a state of physical equilibrium (called a state of unbroken PT symmetry) to nonequilibrium (broken PT symmetry).

    LENR occurs when PT symmetry is broken in an optical micro cavity.

  44. #44 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 27, 2017

    Just a quickie, by necessity: All assumptions that LooneyMooney is anything else than a crazy ignorant whack are wrong.
    Start there.

  45. #45 eric
    April 27, 2017

    MM:

    All assumptions that there is no “real world” independent of Frames Of Reference are wrong.

    Do you not understand the sentence “the spacetime interval is real and independent of frame of reference”?

    Or do you understand it and not believe it?

  46. #46 Michael Mooney
    April 27, 2017

    Note to Ethan: I hereby formally complain that Sinisa Lazarek’s comment # 44 is an abusive insult in obvious violation of your new rule against same. Are you going to enforce it or not?

  47. #47 Michael Mooney
    April 27, 2017

    Eric (# 45),
    We have been here before. Need more repetition?
    Read my comments on Ethan’s post, “What is spacetime?”

    I understand that “spacetime” is a compound non-entity, therefore not “real.” Neither is a flattened Earth. The physical body, Earth, is a real physical entity, and it does not change with every possible approaching Frame Of Reference.

    Models change whenever new empirical evidence demands that they change, and math is just a tool applied to understanding “the real world,” which exists prior to and independent of any and all concepts/ theories about it or measurements of it.

    When a word or phrase is commonly used often enough for long enough… like “the spacetime interval”… it takes on a false sense of reality. This is called false reification, and “spacetime” is a clear case of it.
    Does that answer your question… again?

  48. #48 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 27, 2017

    You can forget spacetime for all it matters. It changes nothing. There is actual, existing universe out there for everyone to see and touch. And in it, light is bent by presence of matter/energy near it. Time dilates in relation to velocity. Speed of light is same however we try to measure it, and try we did. Distances of things change relative to their velocities (not that anyone believed it at first… but again, even the angriest of sceptics couldn’t do anything about actual experiments and results).

    We have Cherenkov radiation. We have muons. We have black holes and atomic bombs, we have GPS and gravitational waves… etc, etc, etc.. So even if “spacetime” is a mathematical construct, all those things above happen. Words are irrelevant. Your “objective realism” is nothing.. it’s a same mental construct as anything else. Except it’s worse.. it doesn’t try to do anything other than try to sound important. You have no explanation why is light bent in presence of mass, maybe you don’t care… regardless, it does. So you’re not a scientist who tries to come up with a better theory to explain the actual things happening in reality.

    You’re ignorant because regardless of how many people have drawn your attention to actual scientific objections to what you are saying, you haven’t offered a shred of effort to read, learn, offer evidence or counter arguments based on science.

    You’re a whack because even after you yourself, on multiple times, claimed that you will stop posting same nonsense because no one cares and you’ve told you’re wrong even by the blog author.

    And lastly, I did try to find your famed “objective realism” online. Not that anything came up… and I do mean anything. Zero, nada.. null.. Noone is questioning the validity of SR in 2017 in a manner you’re doing, and noone other than you here is tying SR with anything called objective realism etc..

    So no, I’m not insulting you. I’m calling you for what you are, ’cause you haven’t put a shred of evidence to convince anyone here otherwise.

    And just so you don’t get the wrong impression. It’s not about SR at all. That one you picked. It’s about you dissing a scientific theory (any theory) from day one without offering any scientific backing ever. Or even philosophical, other have called you on philosophy.. didn’t seem you were much better there either, you again didn’t offer any answers. It doesn’t work that way…

  49. #49 Narad
    April 27, 2017

    And lastly, I did try to find your famed “objective realism” online.

    I wasn’t exactly expecting an entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The funny thing is that Mooney, for all his blathering about realism, is actually a monist idealist (perhaps with a dash of occultist supernaturalism) – he is the preferred frame of reference.

  50. #50 Narad
    April 27, 2017

    ^ OK, I can’t help myself with this one:

    I understand that “spacetime” is a compound non-entity

    So is Philip Glass, as noted on a series of posters hilariously defaced by the musicology students at my alma mater, but…

    therefore not “real.”

    … you’re likely to notice if someone drops him on you.

  51. #51 eric
    April 27, 2017

    I understand that “spacetime” is a compound non-entity, therefore not “real.”

    So, basically, your claim is that relativity does not recognize an objective reality because the objectively real thing it claims is not something you think exists or you think it is not well defined? That’s an extremely ill-fashioned argument, the equivalent of claiming someone is not sincere because you think they are wrong. SR is sincere in claiming there is an objective thing that exists independent of reference frame – spacetime. Thus it is not, as you constantly claim, a theory that denies an objective reality. I get that you think it is wrong about spacetime being a thing. But this objection in no way alters the fact that the theory includes in it things that are independent of reference frame.

    Secondly, if you don’t like the idea of spacetime, fine, there’s another objective quantity that SR accepts (two, in fact, but I’ll stick with one here). Electromagnetism: in SR, an object’s electrical and magnetic fields are relative, but the combined EM properties of the object are not. The combined vector description is the same in all reference frames. It is a “real” thing that doesn’t change with reference frame.

    So now what, MM? Are you going to claim electromagnetism isn’t a real thing? Or are you going to drop this ridiculous line about relativity once and for all?

  52. #52 Michael Mooney
    April 27, 2017

    Just to get down to basic epistemology… “What do we know and how do we know it??…

    (Those pesky little muons! They keep changing the depth of Earth’s atmosphere. It’s a wonder how airplanes can navigate through such an ever-changing depth of air. Not to mention… Earth’s diameter keeps changing! Science gone mad?) Maybe that was a repeat. Not sure. So many threads and archives!

    Eric,
    That was a real word storm. Do you have anything to say about muons changing the depth of our atmosphere or altering Earth’s diameter… scientifically speaking, of course.

  53. #53 Narad
    April 27, 2017

    Just to get down to basic epistemology…

    Heh.

    “What do we know and how do we know it??…

    I think I may have underestimated the degree of occultist supernaturalsm at work here.

    That was a real word storm.

    One might also note that you studiously avoided its content and then…

    Do you have anything to say about muons changing the depth of our atmosphere or altering Earth’s diameter…

    … promptly tried to change the subject back to your poorly written script.

  54. #54 Narad
    April 27, 2017

    ^ Eh, the penultimate graf should have been blockquoted.

  55. #55 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 28, 2017

    yeah.. same old same old..

  56. #56 eric
    April 28, 2017

    That was a real word storm. Do you have anything to say about muons changing the depth of our atmosphere or altering Earth’s diameter… scientifically speaking, of course.

    Nothing new. You’ve heard it before and not understood or believed it before .Time and space properties of an object are relative. That means the muon isn’t doing any sort of work in the formal physics sense, or “changing” the Earth by its movement. The Earth is the same. It means, instead, that the properties of the Earth the muon experiences are different from the properties of the Earth we experience because of it’s movement relative to the Earth (and us).

    But nice try dodging the point about EM. I’m still waiting to know if you think EM is another “not real” thing like spacetime, or whether you think it is and plan to acknowledge that this undermines your claim about relativity not recognizing real, frame-independent things.

  57. #57 Michael Mooney
    April 28, 2017

    Quite awhile back Ethan, in reply to my challenge about shrinking physical objects and distances between them, said that physical objects don’t shrink (“We don’t think so” anyway,) but that contraction of distances between stars is “real.”

    I repeatedly challenged him to clarify. Then he went back to saying that physical objects shrink too. No reply to challenges on the contradiction or change of mind.

    I am still asking for clarification on his contradictory statements before I go away and leave you all to your constant recital that “all frames are equally valid” … and that “length is not invariable”…different Frames OF Reference shrink objects and distances. (No Real World independent of Frames OF Reference!)

    And of course that “time” is an entity that “dilates” as clocks exposed to different forces ‘tick’ at different rates. (Yes, they do.)
    About objective realism as i use it:
    .Objective: Not depending on individual or subjective (even muons’) points of view, as in “objective science.”
    Realism: That the world must exist “as is” prior to being observed/ measured… or there is nothing to measure but our measuring process. “Here is how we see things differently.” (Of course!)

    Well, back to “real life.”

  58. #58 eric
    April 28, 2017

    .Objective: Not depending on individual or subjective (even muons’) points of view, as in “objective science.”

    In SR and GR, the spacetime interval is not dependent on point of view. The combined electromagnetic properties of an object are not dependent on point of view. The rest mass is not dependent on point of view. A quantity consisting of energy and momentum – combined via a specific mathematical formula – is also not dependent on point of view.

    There are lots of non-relative properties in the theory of relativity. The problem you have is that they don’t include time separately and space separately, which are the two properties you keep insisting (without any evidence or quantitative hypothesis to back it up) should be non-relative

    Realism: That the world must exist “as is” prior to being observed/ measured

    In SR and GR, the world exists ‘as is’ prior to being observed/measured. Nor does the theory claim that the act of measurement changes it (though another theory, QM, does claim that).

    So your claim that SR does not fit in the category objective realism ‘as you use it’ is just plain wrong.

  59. #59 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 28, 2017

    “.Objective: Not depending on individual or subjective (even muons’) points of view, as in “objective science.””

    Well, it does depend on local point of view but it doesn’t depend on any humans.. so it’s not objective or subjective.. it just is.

    Realism: That the world must exist “as is” prior to being observed/ measured… or there is nothing to measure but our measuring process. “Here is how we see things differently.” (Of course!)

    Since by observation, in physics, what’s meant is interaction. There is no world out there if there are no interactions. So, no.. you simply can’t have a universe we have without interactions in order for it to exist. The only universe existing without any observations in it is an empty universe. Luckily, we don’t live in one.

    So what does this mean to your labels, I don’t know.. but they are only labels.

  60. #60 Axil
    April 28, 2017

    An nanoplasmonic based experiment suggested as a probe of the nature of the LENR reaction involving the fission of thorium by muons as follows:

    This expanded experiment is based on this one that has already been performed as follows:

    Initiation of nuclear reactions under laser irradiation of Au nanoparticles in
    the presence of Thorium aqua-ions
    A.V. Simakin and G.A. Shafeev

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0906/0906.4268.pdf

    “The resulting average size of Au NPs as determined by Transmission Electron Microscopy lies between 10 and 20 nm.”

    The addition is to configure this experiment with two double concentric glass chambers with pure water and gold nanoparticles in the inner chamber and one with a thorium salt in solution in water filling the outer chamber but without any nanoparticles inside of it.

    First test the two concentric chambers without nanoparticles added to the inner chamber. Expect to see no transmutation in either the inner or the outer chamber.

    Next test the two concentric chambers with nanoparticles added to the inner chamber. Expect to see transmutation results involving thorium in the outer chamber as was seen in the referenced experiment done by A.V. Simakin and G.A. Shafeev.

    This will show that interaction between light and nanoparticles produce the LENR reaction and that the reaction is carried out at a distance by subatomic particles that can penetrate a glass wall.

    Variations on the wall material: aluminum, iron, stainless steel, lead etc can be carried out if the laser beam enters the inner chamber from an open top of the inner chamber.

    Next, a high voltage spark discharge can replace the laser light that is fired just above the top of the water level on the inner chamber. As a probe of the LENR reaction with gold nanoparticles present, expect to see transmutation results involving thorium in the outer chamber.

    No LENR reactions will be produced without the presence of gold nanoparticles in the inner chamber.

  61. #61 Michael Mooney
    April 28, 2017

    Eric @56: ” The Earth is the same.”

    So it is not physically compressed to 1% of its former diameter (as a sphere), as Ethan recently claimed… by incoming muons… as they also compress the atmosphere… to make the theory work!

    Better check in with your mentor on that. He will not answer me on the basic “shrinkage” claim of SR.

  62. #62 eric
    April 29, 2017

    So it is not physically compressed to 1% of its former diameter (as a sphere), as Ethan recently claimed…

    The muon isn’t doing anything to the planet. The planet has spacetime properties that are experienced differently by it and by us. Its spacetime interval has less extension in X to the muon, just as a cannonball has less v to someone moving in the same direction as it. Again, and again, and again, pleace try and get it right: they don’t “compress” it it all. They do nothing to it. The space and time properties of the planet earth are simply experienced differently by objects moving at different speeds relative to it.

    Better check in with your mentor on that. He will not answer me on the basic “shrinkage” claim of SR.

    Scientists disagree all the time on how to interpret theories. If you look @59, Sinisa and I seem to be disagreeing as to what constitutes ‘realism’. But ultimately we’ll use the same physics and math to solve problems, so it’s not a big deal. Scientists don’t suffer any sort of philosophical paralysis merely because their theories are hard to understand or describe in normal language. We also don’t require philosophical approval of the ontology of some concept to use it. We’ll keep using theories and hypotheses to solve problems, regardless of whether we agree on what they philosophically mean and regardless of how absurd or nonintuitive folk like you may think those theories sound. Your approval is not needed for our theories and innovations to work.

  63. #63 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 29, 2017

    “Sinisa and I seem to be disagreeing as to what constitutes ‘realism’.”

    What I found interesting is that almost at the same time we gave two very different views on MM’s “definition” of realism. 🙂 I tend to not dig into philosophy that deeply, so I admit that my view on “real” might be limited. On the other hand, physics doesn’t deal with supernatural… so that only leaves “real”. Don’t know of any natural science that doesn’t deal exclusively with realism and reality 🙂

    You viewed it in the backdrop of GR, and rightly pointed that GR actually needs apriori universe out there in order to start making any predictions.

    I took a QM path in order to show that from physics POV unlike philosophical one… word “observation” or “observable” don’t mean the same thing in two fields. If you try to enforce philosophical nomenclature in physics, you run into whole slew of issues. Because unlike philosophy, which requires humans, physics moved in a different direction, and it’s theories, predictions and nomenclature doesn’t actually deal with us. And measurement, and observation is any and all things that “stuff” in the universe does.

    When MM says observation.. he actually means someone “seeing” something. The old “… does a tree make a sound..” can be applied to philosophy, but isn’t applicable in physics. Physics has a very clear and only one answer to the tree question. Tree will fall.. air will move… it’s irrelevant if someone is there to “hear” it or not.

    But all this is for nought, since MM will never admit that apples and oranges don’t mix, and you can either debate philosophy or you can debate science.. but you can’t do both. And in both cases you need to have your belt tight, since this blog (thank goodness) is not filled with that many cracks.. and most of the people here actually know enough to have a very prolific and scientific discussion on any topic, and if you’re dishonest, it tends to show.

  64. #64 Michael Mooney
    April 29, 2017

    Eric, #58:
    “In SR and GR, the world exists ‘as is’ prior to being observed/measured. Nor does the theory claim that the act of measurement changes it”

    Relativity insists that all Frames Of Reference (relativity’s absolute… the epitome of irony!) are equally valid. However real things in the real world can not actually BE two shapes,… one “for” a high speed frame relative to the object and another “for” a frame at rest with the object. Obvious example: Earth and its atmosphere. The “for” in each case is subjective in the broadest sense, even if the subject is a muon.
    As I said in #57, that is all about how “we” (all individual “frames”) see things differently, as from relativistic speeds. That doesn’t change the objective, “as is” nature (or dimensions/ lengths of things or distances. Each “subject” (frame) does not create a different Reality, objectively… only subjectively (as used above.)

    The physics of Planet Earth, from its process of formation to its present form is beyond debate. The debate starts with SR’s claim that a flattened Earth, and/or a variable depth of atmosphere is “real”, based on the ** philosophical doctrine** that all frames are equally valid.

    “In SR and GR, the spacetime interval is not dependent on point of view.”

    Yet again, “spacetime” is a concept/ model based on the theoretical coalescence of empty volume and the variable ticking of clocks into a fabric which is bent by mass. The word is now used as a “given,” a “fundamental” reality, as Ethan insists.

  65. #65 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    April 29, 2017

    MM:
    Sorry but this website is for scientific discussion. It is not for philosophy. Only theories supported by experiment and observations count in science if you didn’t know.

  66. #66 Narad
    April 29, 2017

    real things in the real world can not actually BE two shapes

    Your constant failure to define the terms that you deploy willy-nilly is both pathetic and extremely irritating. In the “real world,” can a coffee mug “actually BE” a torus?

  67. #67 Michael Mooney
    April 29, 2017

    Frank,
    Scientifically, Planet Earth is nearly spherical. The SR claim that a “flat Earth” is equally valid is bullshit.

    The empirical evidence for a spherical Earth is Real Science. “Thought experiments” (Einstein’s favorite exercise) about how Earth might look to a high speed traveler are just that, exercises in how it might look.”… another exercise in imagination… with plenty of math to support the theoretical model, of course.

    There is no way to get a true believer to understand that, and I don’t expect you to even consider what I just said. Bye.

  68. #68 eric
    April 29, 2017

    However real things in the real world can not actually BE two shapes,…

    Can they BE two velocities? Can they BE two masses? Can they BE two differently expressed EM fields? Because all three of these “be two differents” – as well as foreshortening – have been experimentally tested and shown to be true.

    So tell me, how do you explain all that?

  69. #69 Narad
    April 29, 2017

    another exercise in imagination… with plenty of math to support the theoretical model, of course

    Wait, so now mathematics is not a “real” “entity”? Y’know, like “numbers.” Or are the only “ontological” “entities” that merit Special If Erratic Capitalization you recognize wholly empty, scientish word-blobs, such as your treating “Momentum” and “Inertia” as some sort of magic incantations – which, ironically, can be connected with a virgule, presumably by virtue some hitherto unmentioned theorem – in the six-year-old comment thread cited above?

  70. #70 Narad
    April 29, 2017

    ^ Dagnabit. One more try:

    Wait, so now mathematics is not a “real” “entity”? Y’know, like “numbers.” Or are the only “ontological” “entities” that merit Special If Erratic Capitalization you recognize wholly empty, scientish word-blobs, such as your treating “Momentum” and “Inertia” as some sort of magic incantations – which, ironically, can be connected with a virgule, presumably by virtue some hitherto unmentioned theorem – in the six-year-old comment thread cited above?

  71. #71 Michael Mooney
    April 30, 2017

    @Eric #68:
    “Can they BE two velocities? Can they BE two masses? Can they BE two differently expressed EM fields? Because all three of these “be two differents” – as well as foreshortening – have been experimentally tested and shown to be true.”

    In relativity, it all depends on how you* look at it from different frames of reference. *(Even a muon, just to be clear… not just about a person “looking”, as I’ve acknowledged repeatedly in reply to others.)

    A physical object does *not change* with “how you look at it.” It might *appear* to change but it does not physically change. No physics can explain a physical change due to different observations or measurements.
    That includes an object’s length, shape, mass, velocity, EM field, etc,. etc.
    Of course the velocity of an object depends on a reference point, but that doesn’t change the object itself.

    Criticisms of the MMX argument for length contraction have been well expressed in comments on Ethan’s recent post on it.
    The whole “relativity of simultaneity” argument for length contraction is based on the fallacy, “It all depends on how you look at it,” i.e., …”There is no real world independent of observation.”
    Shortened, trains, ladders, meter rods, the atmosphere and Earth’s diameter are absurd thought experiments based on the above nonsense.

    Check in all reason at the door of relativity’s Magic Theater.
    Y’all seem to think abandonment of common sense is a virtue in service to “non-intuitive” aspects of science.

  72. #72 eric
    May 1, 2017

    Of course the velocity of an object depends on a reference point, but that doesn’t change the object itself.

    IMO this statement is exactly what the theory of relativity says too – about physical dimensions, EM properties, time, etc. The spacetime interval of planet Earth does not change, but its extension in x depends on a reference frame.

    Y’all seem to think abandonment of common sense is a virtue in service to “non-intuitive” aspects of science.

    When the data contradicts what your common sense is telling you, then yes you should abandon it. Test first, of course, to make sure the contradiction isn’t due to error. But assuming you’ve done that, then yes; take what the data tells you over what your gut thinks ought to be true. Because there is no metaphysical requirement that the laws of physics must align with the common sense of homo sapiens.

  73. #73 Michael Mooney
    May 1, 2017

    Eric,
    All observational differences aside for a moment, PLEASE cite the physics of shrinking physical objects as claimed by SR.

  74. #74 Michael Mooney
    May 1, 2017

    Ps: When the data tells you that Earth is as flat as a pancake, must you believe it?

  75. #75 eric
    May 1, 2017

    All observational differences aside for a moment

    LOL you’ve been setting aside that issue for weeks now. In fact the entire time you’ve been asking the same questions over and over again, AFAIK you’ve never actually told us any observational difference between your idea and SR. Are there any?

    PLEASE cite the physics of shrinking physical objects as claimed by SR.

    They’re not shrinking. In SR, the act of some traveler moving toward the Earth doesn’t change the Earth. I’ve repeatedly told you that, most recently in @72 just a few hours ago. Agreed: the velocity of an object depends on a reference frame, but that doesn’t change the object itself. You are getting relativity bang-on with that statement: in SR, the space and time of an object depend on a reference frame, but that doesn’t change the object itself.

    When the data tells you that Earth is as flat as a pancake, must you believe it?

    If all the data pointed that way, yes. To be clear though, SR does not claim the Earth transforms from a sphere to a pancake in a background frame of Newtonian space just because someone is moving toward it. That mischaracterization is all yours.

  76. #76 Michael Mooney
    May 2, 2017

    Eric #75:
    “They’re not shrinking. In SR, the act of some traveler moving toward the Earth doesn’t change the Earth.”

    Glad you agree. That’s what I have always said, but mainstream SR and Ethan say otherwise.
    Ethan:
    ” Does Earth physically change dimensions when viewed near the speed of light? The answer is yes, dependent on which observer you ask.”

    Obviously he is confused, claiming that Earth does physically change, but “how?” depends on the observer!!
    Also:
    “But the thing you want to be invariant — the physical size of a physical object — simply isn’t, nor is it well-defined in the absence of an observer.”

    So he insists that “the physical size of a physical object varies,” i.e., is not invariant.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it until you are as confused as Ethan.

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