Einstein to join Darwin in the pantheon of despised scientists

Physicists, do you feel left out? Some nobody biologist from the Middle-of-Nowhere, Minnesota gets featured in a crackpot movie, but all you get is incoherent dumpster-diving schizophrenics making tirades about your work, and never anybody who has heard of venture capital? Rejoice! Your loons are getting more professional, too!

Feature Length Doc "Einstein Wrong" Looking for Executive Producer

Two Oscar Winning Distributors Wanting a Rough Cut

LONG BEACH, Calif, October 16, 2007 - Bootstrap Productions is currently
looking for an executive producer for it's feature-length documentary
"Einstein Wrong - The Miracle Year" due out in 2008. The documentary is
about a suburban house wife who takes on the icon of 20th century physics
to see if in fact relativity is wrong. Shot over the past 3 years, the
film has two Oscar-winning distributors interested in the project. The
film is directed by David de Hilster who has invested 13 years studying
scientists and their efforts to show Einstein wrong. It is co-produced
and edited by Andrea Tucker, and Nick Tamburri and is due out in
2008. For more info, go to
http://investing.einsteinwrong.com.

Contact:
David de Hilster
Long Beach, California
http://www.einsteinwrong.com

I hope they get that financial backing soon, because I think it would be perfect if this movie came out in February 2008, and went head-to-head with Expelled.

This could be almost as bad as that dreadful What the bleep do we know? movie. By the way, you can search all over their website, and you won't find anything that explains what Einstein got wrong, how they figured it out, or what alternative they propose. The similarity to Intelligent Design creationism is perfect.

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I've seen quite a few fundies "debunking" relativity before (by, for instance, pretending the twin paradox is unresolvable). I assume they hate it because it sounds like "relativism". (Speaking of which.)

By Nick Tarleton (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

How can they hope to compete with the film "Insignificance", in which, with the help of a flashlight and a model train, Marilyn Monroe explains relativity to Albert Einstein?

By Ned in Zurich (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

And you see people studying Physics for years and years, or studying Molecular Biology... Why? Thanks to the truthiness concept, you can refute Dalton, Darwin, Einstein or Planck very easily. You don't need boring formulas, annoying lab work, hardous reading of previous literature. The only thing you need is a "coherent" discurse based in some "sacred text" or "common sense" conceptions. The way to crankiness is very wide in those days.

Well, in all honesty he was wrong in his comment about "God does not play dice" when confronted with quantum physics, and his version of "universal constant".

I particularly like the "suburban housewife" angle.

Surely it's feasible that an unlettered individual, noodling about in the scant amount of free time she has, to deconstruct a theoretical framework that's been successfully supported with countless independent observations of predicted results.

Right? Right?

How incoherent is this.
From the FAQs section on the website:

"There is much more than math that makes a theory correct. The idea is for the main character to decide on her own whether she thinks Einstein may be right or wrong. The filmmaker has the point of view that if the general public can't understand a theory, engineers don't use it, and there is a growing number of physicists and scientists finding fundemental problems with relativity, then the public (represented by the main character) should be able to judge this for themselves."

Speaking as a physicist and physics teacher, all I can say is this is old news. Einstein debunkers have been around for a long time. Heck, I've even seen Kepler debunkers (best evidence -- "I just can't believe that Pluto moves slower than a bicycle" -- I kid you not).

In that sense, we physicists are equal to you biologists. But in the larger sense, we'll never get anywhere close, thanks to the sheer vehemence of the Darwin debunkers. I've never seen any effort to get "equal time" in physics textbooks, or any laws passed banning the teaching of relativity (Nazi Germany excluded), or any stickers in physics textbooks calling relativity "just a theory". And for that, I'm grateful.

Yes, I'm too chicken -- I deliberately did not get a general science teaching license, just because I didn't want to teach evolution and respond to creationist garbage.

By spudbeach (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Seems like standard anti-semitism. They're linking to a site called 'jewishracism.com'.

By Christian Burnham (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

CB #9: Seems like standard anti-semitism. They're linking to a site called 'jewishracism.com'.Maybe they should hit up Mel Gibson and Ann C**ter for cash?

s/You/you/

(yes, I'm that self-pedantic)

By Nick Tarleton (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

if the general public can't understand a theory,

The general public could understand relativity a whole lot better if they actually got a science education. Uninformed comments from a large number of uneducated people are worthless against the informed statements of educated people.

Does that sound horribly elitist? Well, so be it. Let it be proclaimed from the mountaintops that I support elitism: in fact, I love my own elite so much that I think everyone should belong to it.

engineers don't use it

Bzzzt. GPS. Thanks for playing.

there is a growing number of physicists and scientists finding fundemental problems with relativity

No, there isn't. (String theory starts with special relativity as a basic assumption; it's the study of the relativistic dynamics of quantum strings, with supersymmetry added if you want to have super-strings. Loop Quantum Gravity, the only other idea which is anything close to a respectable plan for quantizing gravity, includes the idea of "Lorentz violation": look very carefully in the right places, and — maybe — you'll spot a circumstance in which relativity isn't working quite as expected. That's not a definitive prediction, however, and LQG theorists only expect departures from Einsteinian predictions in extreme circumstances. It'll be harder to check for those divergences than it was to check Einstein's divergence from Newton; that's progress for you!)

Simple, ain't it?

Before trashing the film, I'd want to know: is this a film that actually aims to debunk Einstein and special relativity? Because that would be laughable. Or is this doc a character-study a la Errol Morris, about people who want to debunk Einstein? Because that might actually be quite watchable. I think I'd even want to see that film.

I think I heard about this documentary, the point wasn't to promote the views of cranks as if they might really be right, the point was to explore what would possibly motivate a housewife or whatever to attempt to refute Einstein. So they know that the chances of a nonexpert refuting Einstein are miniscule. In concept it's a lot like a documentary about a guy who decides he is going to bicycle backwards across the U.S. or something. Typical weird American story.

So it might be better than you think.

Unless I am misremembering, in which case never mind.

By Nick (Matzke) (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

On second thought, having looked over the website, this thing looks painfully stupid. When the filmmaker puts themselves on the poster, you know you're dealing with a jackass.

Christian Burnham: The link to jewishracism is in a comment. The official position of the site might be antisemitic elsewhere though, but I haven't read much of it. There's only so much crazy I can take in a day.

So they are pimping "Autodynamics", what ever the heck that is. By the Wilki entry on Autodynamics it sounds like a discredited theory. How quantity familiar, recycling a discarded theory as a suppressed TRUTH™, why it almost reminds me of ID.

I wonder what they are really pushing? Somebody's magic story can't happen with Relativity?

Plot Synopsis:

Albert Einstein (that poseur) was wrong;
The housewife, of course, has it right.
The film clearly shows that stupidity flows
Just a little bit faster than light.

With the "dark side of physics" exposed
And the world once again seen as flat
The film next unlocks Dr. Schroedinger's box
And discovers what's up with his cat.

Joseph Priestly was also a fraud--
There's no "oxygen"--perish the thought!
And with oxygen pissed on, it's time that phlogiston
Is once again what kids are taught.

The de Hilsters' new paradigm shift--
"The new physics", we call it at work--
Shows a housewife can still, through the sheer force of will,
Kick the ass of a dumb patent clerk.

You may all disagree if you wish;
You may find it a little bit funny
But the most crucial part--from the depths of my heart...
Won't you please send us lots of your money?

http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2007/10/albert-einstein-that-pose…

If Einstein is true, how do you explain pygmies vs. dwarves?

Someone had to say it! :)

#8: "Speaking as a physicist and physics teacher, all I can say is this is old news. Einstein debunkers have been around for a long time."

Yep, and they often quote old, flawed, now hopelessly out of date experiments to justify their views. This also sounds a lot like creationists, no? For instance, Dayton Miller is a rallying point for relativity denialists.

daenku32:

Well, in all honesty he was wrong in his comment about "God does not play dice" when confronted with quantum physics.

I don't think these folks care that Darwin or Einstein were wrong on various issues where science has shown them wrong. They want to prove both wrong where later science most relies upon and has most corroborated their work. That's the point, right?

Cuttlefish nails it in verse, again. Kudos

I'm quite impressed that someone would be described as "suburban housewife" who has the mathematical skills to even begin considering the validity of relativity.

Warren wrote (#5):

Surely it's feasible that an unlettered individual, noodling about in the scant amount of free time she has, to deconstruct a theoretical framework that's been successfully supported with countless independent observations of predicted results.

Apparently that's what a lot of people think -- this movie is only feeding a preexisting appetite. A repetition of the popular "judge for yourself" mantra on the website's FAQ signals that the producers are tapping into the romantic ideal of the American maverick -- the "little guy" outsmarts the big guy, because what really counts isn't smarts, it's hearts.

Month ago or so I got into a debate with the woman manning a Young Earth Creationism booth at my county fair, and she seriously told me that she was capable of analyzing and judging abstracts in biology journals because she was "a mom who homeschools." When I told her that didn't give her expertise, she rolled her eyes in derision. Of course it did. She was a concerned mother. And a Christian.

I think two things are going on here in our culture: the aforementioned American myth that anyone can do anything if they only have sincerity and spunk; and the religious myth that the universe has been set up for us to provide important answers to anyone who has sincere faith and spunky humility. If the entire substructure of the cosmos is a Higher Consciousness with values akin to our own, then the universe is friendly. If you want to figure things out it's more important to do your spiritual work than rely on intelligence, effort, and book learning. Wisdom comes from above, to those who are attuned to it. Ask and ye shall receive.

That combination is deadly.

Jebus. That What the BLEEP Do We Know? movie was pretty freakin' awful.

My dear mother loved it and encouraged (bugged) me to see it. I saw it, hated it, and told her as much. We haven't broached the subject since.

PS: Sorry, I have nothing to contribute to the Einstein discussion. Relativity makes my head hurt.

I think this is far worse than the Bleep movie. I mean, quantum mechanics is hard to understand, and confuses many. Relativity is relatively easy--even I could probably debunk this junk. I took a look at their FAQ, and here are some ridiculous crackpot quotes:

If Einstein were 100% right, the reaction to the idea of Einstein being wrong would not bother anyone. It would be like a documentary about the earth being flat. No one would care or be upset. That idea is too absurde [sic].

Q: Do you have experimental proof that Einstein is wrong?

A: We talk with people who have addressed the current "proof" for Einstein who find much of it inconclusive and some just plain wrong. We present scientists and professors who have experiments that have proven Einstein wrong. To put is simply, there has to be proof for Einstein's theory before you can say it is wrong.

All I heard was, "They only hate us because they know we're right!" and "No, we have no proof." The latter might explain why they don't actually say on their website what the problem with Einstein is. Did I mention that they completely mangled the "not even wrong" concept?

Oh, and look, they're part of a group called Science Watchdogs. There's a pile of woo if I ever saw one.

It's annoying how things like this get more press than Gravity Probe B results. This prompted me to ask "whatever happened with that, anyway?" It sounds like it showed that Einstein was (gasp) right, although it also sounds like they're going to announce more detailed results on Nov 2nd. Where's the story in that? The public wouldn't be interested in a documentary about the engineering challenges of launching huge gyroscopes into orbit and attempting measurements with the highest precision our technology enables, I guess.

I can't believe the thread has gotten this far without a reference to the This American Life episode on a similar theme, of an average joe who's convinced he has discovered that Einstein was wrong (actual quote: 'It's something that every Nobel prize winner in physics missed'). The story starts at about 30:42 if you use the pop-up flash player at the link.

P.S. Comment #11 preempted my other comment.

By Warren Terra (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

The site itself is a demonstration of relativity.

I tried to watch the trailer and actually observed time slowing to a crawl.

Sastra (Comment #27)
Was this in Kansas?

Could you have coome face to face with FTK?

Here's a little limerick inspired by general relativity:

There once was a lady named Bright
Who traveled much faster than light.
She departed one day
In a relative way
And returned the previous night.

By NeoGothic (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Coming up next, another shot across the bow of the intelligentsia when a working-class man swings a broken beer bottle in the incendiary docu-drama: "You Ain't Better'n Me!"

"Speaking as a physicist and physics teacher, all I can say is this is old news."

True; pretty much every Physics dept. gets letters/emails/mailings roughly once a year with 'proofs' that Relativity is wrong.

It is also true that, fortunately for Physics, the situation is not as bad as those claiming to debunk good ol' Darwin. But with apparently silly movies like this, the situation could change. Like someone posted earlier, I can just imagine some lunatic school boards in the US forcing stickers on Physics books saying that this is only a 'theory'...

To play the devil's advocate, why should scientists be the only ones to debunk Einstein, when (cf. the Courtier's reply) anyone can question theology?

Matthew, you are correct. Anyone can "debunk" Einstein.

However, they must provide data.

People should know [link]You are not entitled to your own opinion.

Sure you are. You are just not entitled to your own facts. "Engineers don't use it", for example.

The film clearly shows that stupidity flows
Just a little bit faster than light.

You may all disagree if you wish;
You may find it a little bit funny
But the most crucial part--from the depths of my heart...
Won't you please send us lots of your money?

ROTFL!!! :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

This has to be sung!

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Does Scienceblogs delete paragraph breaks when they aren't followed by an empty line?
Test
Test

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

These are the people from the Science Watchdogs site (do not follow this link if stupid makes you angry) They have severe allergy to anything to do with reason, and science.

Then maybe it only does that to paragraph breaks in blockquotes?

Test
Test
Test

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

It does. Maybe the <p> tag helps?

TestTestTest

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Yes, except it introduces way too much space between the lines. Maybe <br>?

TestTestTest

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

David, does the Preview function not work for you, or something?

By Warren Terra (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Yeehaw! Was easier to figure out than relativity. =8-)

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

To play the devil's advocate, why should scientists be the only ones to debunk Einstein, when (cf. the Courtier's reply) anyone can question theology?

Since theology need not be predicated on anything resembling reality, no previous knowledge of the field is required, and therefore anyone attempting a theological statement becomes, de facto, a theologist.

For a demonstration of this, I ask you to make up any untestable claim and determine whether it's less or more true than anything any 'real' theologist's theological claims.

I didn't even get the idea, because the preview function very often messes up HTML, special characters, and other stuff in ways that don't happen when I just click "Post" immediately.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Oops, I meant to write 'than any 'real' theologist's theological claims' but my goldfish Fishyssoise--the God of Typos--changed it.

Prove me wrong. If you can't, then I'm a theologist on par with CS Lewis.

The day this piece of trash is released will also be the very first day that Andrew Schlafly has an erection for something other than his reptilian mother.

KeithB asked:

Was this in Kansas?

No, it was in Wisconsin. And it's unlikely it was FTK -- there are plenty of Christian YEG homeschool mom to go around.

What drove her nuts was that I wouldn't get into the science arguments. She and the guy with her kept asking "Ok, you tell me what you consider to be the best evidence for evolution and I'll try to answer it." I told them no. Although I'd done some evolution debates in the past I decided to take a different tack. None of us was a biologist or had a background in evolutionary theory, and she wanted me to ignore the consensus of expert opinion on the matter and play into a role. Let's all talk over our heads about things we don't understand fully and look for holes in each other's arguments. And let's assume that a Major Conspiracy on behalf of virtually all scientists across virtually all disciplines is a legitimate possibility, okay? That assumption isn't a big deal.

That's what's called a game. It's dishonest, and I told them they were exploiting people and fooling themselves. Science isn't done by inexperienced laymen who've looked at some books and websites and think they've now got enough knowledge to overturn established theories and argue on common ground with actual experts. Bottom line, they're not just peddling creationism: they're peddling arrogance. That mom was tricking people by pretending that's how science is done -- someone at a booth in the county fair can and should be taken seriously and her arguments weighed carefully. She was trying to find those more ignorant than herself.

No. Science is not religion. You can't just feel your way to truth. If you want to go against a mainstream view -- or any view -- you actually have to know what you're talking about, not just look and sound and talk like you do good enough to pass at the county fair.

That "Science Watchdogs" site it quite the collection of weapons-grade stupid. Stuff like this (commenting on an article about atomic clocks on the ISS):

Hey, Nobel Laureate, please listen to what all physicists and scientists around the world who know Einstein is wrong have been talking about for decades: clock retardation is not time dilation.

Those in the fight against Einstein's relativity know the concept well: clocks slowing down does not mean "time" slows down. Gravitation certainly affects clocks. We know clocks are slower the higher up they are in a weaker graviational field. We know this from GPS.

But a clock running slower doesn't mean time slowed down. Time is time is time is time is time. It goes on with or without our watches moving close to the speed of light or not or whether or not your clock is the coolest clock in the universe and way up in outer space.

leaves me at a loss... that's their argument? Seriously?

By Brain Hertz (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

The idea is for the main character to decide on her own whether she thinks Einstein may be right or wrong.

Is this before or after she draws the magic sword and slays the evil wizard?

All I got from the trailer was that debunking Einstein apparently involves hack cinematography, terrible narration, wearing a mock-Einstein fright wig, and pregnant women.

It has occurred to me that I should put all of my books in a watertight underground bunker so that they'll be safe from the impending dark age and can help rebuild human scholarship when they're found by future post-renaissance archaeologists.

Besides, I have quite a collection. I don't think I'd like the Christians of 2015 to take them outside in an attempt to verify the phlogiston theory (which they'll certainly be championing soon, if trends continue).

Why on the movie poster does she have her hand stuck in a cloud labeled E-mc2? At first I thought she was flipping us off! And what about the tiny very pregnant woman next to her.

FAQ: The filmmaker has the point of view that if the general public can't understand a theory, engineers don't use it, and there is a growing number of physicists and scientists finding fundemental (sic) problems with relativity, then the public (represented by the main character) should be able to judge this for themselves.

Who else is alarmed that our engineers are not using relativity in their work because they don't understand it? How on earth are we expected to create a better world for ourselves if we cannot account for the effects of light speed or neutron stars or black holes on our technology and infrastructure?

Oh, woe is me!

The 'suburban housewife' appears to be the director's mother. The DeHilster family name is also prominent throughout the credits.

Actually I thought the creationists, especially the Young-Earthers, have as much loathing for physics and cosmology as they do for biology, but they must reckon Einstein is too hard to touch. Especially since he made all those baby videos.

But a clock running slower doesn't mean time slowed down. Time is time is time is time is time. It goes on with or without our watches moving close to the speed of light or not or whether or not your clock is the coolest clock in the universe and way up in outer space.

Oy, gevalt.

All clocks run slow. It doesn't matter whether they're based on cesium atoms, a swinging pendulum, the growth of cancer cells or your cousin Earl counting "One Mississippi, two Mississippi. . ."

Bootstrap Productions is currently looking for an executive producer for it's feature-length documentary "Einstein Wrong - The Miracle Year" due out in 2008.

They can't even write a press release properly. They misspelled "its" in the first sentence!

Cuttlefish, that's your best yet, and that's saying something. Mind if I email that to everyone I know, with proper credit, of course? Awesome work.

(Particularly liked the "phlogiston" reference and the "dumb patent clerk.")

By cureholder (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I think I was thinking of the "This American Life" episode...

By Nick (Matzke) (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

"Speaking as a physicist and physics teacher, all I can say is this is old news."

True; pretty much every Physics dept. gets letters/emails/mailings roughly once a year with 'proofs' that Relativity is wrong.

At NASA we get piles of these; I particularly liked one that crossed my desk about twenty years ago. The author was certain he had "debunked" quantum mechanics, but wanted to collaborate because he needed somebody to "fill in the math."

Even better are some of the unsolicted proposals. I'm told that one of them read, in its entirety:

"I've heard of warp drive. I like strawberries."

Why are fundamentalists always so interested in getting people to decide things for themselves when discussing scientific theories, but not when figuring out how people should live their lives?

By Caledonian (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I think you're all missing that there's something larger going on here. Look closely: the motivation is not for a housewife to disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity, but to disprove Einstein.

These are exactly the same sort of people who fling about the term "Darwinists" as an epithet, no matter how often they are corrected.

These people live in a world of personality cults, and slavish deference to authority figures. They simply can't comprehend that not everyone does so. By "disproving Einstein" (even by showing that as a child, he once made a foolish breakfast choice) they are convinced that they are striking a blow against Science and scientists by removing the mantle of God from one of science's greatest prophets. If she wins, then absolutely nothing the man says can be trusted from that point on. Suck it, Einsteinists!

It's really the way they think. It's a common routine on comedy shows like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Really as well.

Even better are some of the unsolicted proposals. I'm told that one of them read, in its entirety:

"I've heard of warp drive. I like strawberries."

Posted by: Epikt | October 18, 2007 10:45 PM

That ranks right up there with the quote by Emperor
Ferdinand I of the Austirio-Hungarian Empire: "I am the emperor, and I want dumplings."

Heh! David de Hilster. Look, y'all, Nostradamus only missed his name by two letters!

By Crudely Wrott (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Dolphin Lambert claims the speed of light is decreasing.

He is a complete nutcase. I don't want to imply for a second I endorse his comments.

Enter at your own risk:

http://www.ldolphin.org/

He's two -- two! -- TWO quacks in one.

Blake Stacy #15 wrote:

Does that sound horribly elitist? Well, so be it. Let it be proclaimed from the mountaintops that I support elitism: in fact, I love my own elite so much that I think everyone should belong to it.

I officially love you now!

That's awesome. I could have used that earlier today with a coworker that I just discovered was a closet retard GW/Evolution/HIV denialist.

When he said he thought scientists were elitist the best I could come up with was "Yeah? Well maybe that's because they really are better than you!"

Common sense! Take that!

There may have been ninja moves. I don't remember, it was a heated debate.

Dolphin Lambert claims the speed of light is decreasing.

In fairness, there are some actual physicists who have forwarded similar hypotheses.

Doesn't make this guy less of a quack, but doesn't make him more of one either.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

From the Science Watchdog site:

"Question
· Who is qualified at the Physics Police to make critiques?

Answer
· Who is qualified at the Physics Police to make critiques?
If there were physicists critiquing the science being published and broadcast throughout the world, there would be no need for this site.

Many scientists and physicists believe that all science should be easily understood by the public and that theorical physics has become more of a fantasy world than science. That is the philosophy held by those who run this site and who are members."

There you have it. Science that's hard can't be true.

That's awesome. I could have used that earlier today with a coworker that I just discovered was a closet retard GW/Evolution/HIV denialist.

A trifecta!

I've come across a couple of relativity crank/HIV denialists before.

There definitely is a crank law of attraction. The ability to overestimate your ability and understanding in one field predicts with extremely high precision the probability that you are a crank in a completely different field.

Lynn Margulis is a 911 troofer and a HIV denialist. I wonder what she thinks about relativity and global warming.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I don't think we are left out, especially not by creationists that would love to support their YEC tent occupants by removing the relativity obstruction to a 6000 year old universe. But biology is chosen as the presumed "soft" target in the Wedge. (Hah! First lesson in strategy: never reveal a strategy. Second lesson in strategy: make sure of your intelligence..., um, now I see why they have problems.)

engineers don't use it

More fundamentally than GPS, what will we do without magnetism?

Maybe they don't appreciate that when we derive the Lorentz force directly from EM theory we use the covariant formulation that fundamentally unite E and M forces. Magnetism is such a cool low-velocity relativity effect, we just aren't used to think of it as such.

Then we will have to disuse X-ray tubes, whose photons are generated by Bremsstrahlung with relativistic corrections at higher energies.

We would have to close down our nuclear reactors. Which btw waters tantalizingly glow with Bremsstrahlung as well.

I guess we should leave interplanetary missions and accelerator technology alone. We wouldn't want to confuse such esoteric activities with, you know, what engineers do.

It doesn't matter whether they're based on cesium atoms

And you can make a very simple gedanken experiment clock by bouncing a photon between two parallel perfect mirrors. How can they when get a difference between time slowing down (the photon bouncing less frequently) and the clock slowing down (less frequent bounces recorded)?

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Sorry, Skeptico, it's not a spoof. David de Hilster has been pushing Autodynamics since ... well, I argued extensively with him on Usenet sci.physics in the late 80's or early 90's. One of the "features" of this so-called theory is the nonexistence of the neutrino. Given that, at the time (and again today), I was working on a particle physics experiment measuring the interaction properties of the neutrino, I was pretty sure they existed. I explained, patiently at first, less so later, how they were produced and how they were measured and how we were sure that what we saw wasn't something else. In the end he demanded that I give him copies of our data; seeing as it was just a bunch of bits unless you understood how to interpret the data-aquisition readout, etc (in 60-bit Cyber format!) he wasn't going to get far with that. In the end he never did tell me where to ship him the 8mm tapes.

Yes, Sastra, de Hilster is the king of the "little guy outsmarts those silly PhD's" 'cause they're just in it for the money not the knowledge and are suppressing the real thinkers.

Wrote his own imdb entry. Correlating this with his movie web page he has the following cast:

  • Lead:
    Patricia de Hilster [ mother ]
  • Main:
    Robert de Hilster [ father ],
    Doris de Hilster [ wife ]
  • Supporting:
    Geoff Hunter,
    Michael de Hilster,
    Addie de Hilster,
    Luanda de Hilster,
    David de Hilster [ himself ]

Wow, what modesty to list himself last.

He quote mines like a fundie, completely misinterpreting what is said. For instance, off a "science watchdogs" webpage he has:

[from a press release about a proposed neutrino experiment]
"Once the lab is built, initial research would center on neutrinos, believed to hold the key to understanding how the universe developed."

Notice the word "believed". Kudos to the journalists who at least did not lie about the fact that neutrinos are not 100% proven or 100% accepted as needed in the model of today's understanding of the universe.

[bolding his]. Now a simpleton with basic understanding of English grammar would know that "believe" modifies the "hold the key" and says nothing about the existence (or not) of the objects themselves.

I never quite understood about his insane need to not believe in neutrinos. I think it follows from neutrinos are needed to balance energy and momentum in radioactive decay under special relativity (SR). Thus if they exist that serves as evidence that SR is right, and if SR is right then Autodyanmics, his hobby horse, must be wrong (being that it is completely incompatible with SR ... or even Galilean, i.e. everyday slow moving, low energy physics).

So not only is he smarter than Einstein (who couldn't be all that smart since he got the "I after E" rule wrong twice in his name), he's also smarter than Newton and Galileo. I suspect that he was a contributing factor to the creation of the crackpot index developed by John Baez in the early 90's. Check it out, it's physics oriented only because the famous scientists mentioned are all physicists, but if you dropped Darwin in there you'd probably find it quite suitable for classifying Creationists/IDers.

Wrong thread but here's my favorite equation: Life, the Universe and Everything = 42.

By Don't Panic (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

less frequent bounces recorded

Relativistically speaking, of course. :-)

David Marjanović, OM:

You might want to use <br /&gt on The Panda's Thumb for the same function. (I guess we are all slowly drifting towards XHTML specs.)

test
test
test

The spec standard space between b and / is needed here. But not on PT. So much for standards.

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I think two things are going on here in our culture: the aforementioned American myth that anyone can do anything if they only have sincerity and spunk; and the religious myth that the universe has been set up for us to provide important answers to anyone who has sincere faith and spunky humility.

Also, it's official: I also love Sastra!

Chris Noble wrote:

A trifecta!

Ha!

Crap... That is such a good word. I really dropped the ball on this one. I just told him he sounded like an "ignorant, uneducated, top of the bottom of the barrel creationist". I admit... trifecta really has a lot more flare ;)

There definitely is a crank law of attraction. The ability to overestimate your ability and understanding in one field predicts with extremely high precision the probability that you are a crank in a completely different field.

Or... "Stupid is as stupid does", lol.

No seriously. I think Sastra had a good take on take on it. Except when I'm feeling dark I think it's a "war" on science.

Long time reader, first poster. And also a crusader against intelligent designists since 2002.

Thank goodness! I never thought other people hated "what the bleep do we know". All my non science friends either a) took it the wrong way, as in "wow, my thoughts can alter matter?" b) thought they understood everything about physics or c) STILL had no interest when I tried to tell them some cool science fact.

I did get a laugh out of how blown their minds were.

Sorry for the rant, I was just so excited.

...Einstein (who couldn't be all that smart since he got the "I after E" rule wrong twice in his name)...

Oops, that would be the "i before e except after c" rule. Damn, dylexia ruins another joke ....

By Don't Panic (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

It's amazing how many brainless lemmings there are here.

No one has seen the film and people are pre-judging the content. No one investigates the literature or is even curious about the real premise of this film. The director is not aligned with any "creationist" theories, is not a UFO person, or believes in conspiracies (from the FAQs).

Also, almost EVERY documentary is done by people who are not experts in the field. This director doesn't have his own theory. This is a documentary. He is trying to show another side of a story where Einstein and relativity are not what they seem and the proof is not there.

And being the smart people you are in this blog, none of you are smart enough to understand that the "Einstein is wrong" part is in the film and is not being revealed by the director. I hate it when director's reveal everything in the trailer. Can you grasp that?

Wait until the film comes out. The emotional bashing here is because people think they are smart and understand science but are a bunch of lemmings who defend Einstein first, and leap off the cliff without even considering the possibility that he could be wrong.

Get a life and do something smart. Look before you regurgitate. Once the movie comes out and people start to see the truth about this, you will all have infant formula on your faces.

So sad. No one thinks by themselves. You are like a sad science gang who only feels big being idiotic emotional bullies who are cowards if they are confronted by something real.

Get a life children. Do something for humanity. Do make us look bad. (Too late I'm afraid).

By Roger McWilliams (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

What the bleep did suck. The Einstein film has a human story with it and seems much more interesting.

I have heard that there are two editors on the film - one for the human story and one for the science story. I have been to the International Documenary Association meetings (www.documentary.org) and have talked with the director. The film is getting support from the higer-ups in the documentary community and they see these types of blogs as proof that people get emotionally pissed off by this film and subject because it touches something that is wrong - namely Einstein's theory of relativity where mass is "Supposed" to increase, time is "supposed" to slow down, and lenght is "supposed" to contract and it really doesn't. The director explained a few things to me about showing proof from scientists about Einstein being wrong.

Plus, the human side of the film is quite touching what the family goes through during the filming. The director told me several times that it was very hard to keep on track with the difficulties the family when through. I don't want to reveal more than that suffice to say both the science and the human story are drawing a lot of attention and support here in the documentary community in Los Angeles.

It is true that there are two distributors who are known for picking Oscar winners who are interested in the film. This film will go far in my opinion.

By Roger McWiliams (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I hate it when director's reveal everything in the trailer.

I hate it when people misuse apostrophes.

I also really, really hate it when people are stupid. I hate it when stupidity pretends to be intelligence. I hate it when people defend stupidity pretending to be intelligence. I hate it when a stupid person puts together a stupid movie, and pretends that the stupid movie is somehow going to challenge an intelligent scientific theory that has actual evidence going for it.

And I really, really, really, hate when some stupid person uses a stupid attack like: "a bunch of lemmings who defend Einstein first, and leap off the cliff without even considering the possibility that he could be wrong".

Oh, well. I guess I have to learn to live with a lot of hate.

PS: 2 quatloos and a plugged nickel says that "Roger McWilliams" is David de Hilster, autogoogling. Or — conceivably — a relative or an employee.

Any takers?

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I think the saddest thing about all of this is that we know that Einstein isn't completely right. Two problems right off the bat:
Gravity waves. Where are they? We should have detected something by now, but we still haven't. This is something which is moderately worrying for the theory.
Singularities. The theory produces them. This is bad, and the biggest reason why everyone is trying to get quantum mechanics and relativity to play together - blur those singularities out of existance.

So, we know there are problems with relativity - there are loads of scientists working on the problems right now as we "speak". And yet the best that these idiots can come up with are objections that have been debunked by experimental evidence over and over and over again. Sad.

Oh, and I wish they'd told me that engineers don't use relativity in their work. I could have skipped all those lectures! The lecturer sucked anyway, I had to actually go and read books afterwards (shocking, isn't it) to figure out what he'd been dribbling on about.

By demallien (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Hi David, I mean "Roger McWilliams". You needn't quote (unattributed) so completely from the film's, ah, FAQ.

I don't need to see a yet uncompleted movie to know that you de Hilster is a crank. I didn't (and I don't think anyone here) say you he was a creationist, or a UFO person, so why copy that from the FAQ? Though you have the "[not] believes in conspiracies" part wrong -- for you he does. He's/you're saying that for 100 years scientists have been conspiring to prop up Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity and that all their "evidence" is a fraud. If that isn't a conspiracy I don't know what is. All the supporting evidence is wrong and all but a few brave scientists are suppressing the real evidence for Autodynamics -- yah, right.

A little background: de Hilster is not some disinterested party making a documentary. He started the Society for the Advancement of Autodynamics, though I remember it having the acronym AIAA (which I remember as conflicting with the legit American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), so I guess it's changed names if not guises. He's had his errors pointed out to him repeatedly. To claim "This director doesn't have his own theory" is absurd and only technically true in the narrowest of senses (that he didn't originate it). He remains the most virulent proponent of Autodynamics.

He's using his mother as his proto-typical suburban housewife that's going to decide that Einstein was wrong (no bias there, so sir). "No, mom, you should feel free to tell me I'm wrong..." de Hilster, you're deluded if you really think that people seeing a movie of your mother coming to the conclusion that Einstein was wrong will lead to "people start[ing] to see the truth about this". They'll see the truth all right, that's your a twit. But it will probably never come to that because I doubt that you're ever going to find financing or a distributor.

You, "Roger" do share something with the fundies: a tendency to project. You are the coward who's afraid when confronted by something real: neutrinos. They're real. They've been measured in numerous ways. Do you remember how you kept arguing on sci.physics about how perhaps the particles we were seeing in our neutrino detector were somehow coming from around, rather than through, the berm of material put there to stop everything else? You would never accept that we could measure (momentum balance ... has to be there in CC interactions if there are no neutrinos) the directionality and could tell that wasn't the case. Well, now I'm working on an experiment that shoots neutrinos through 735 km of the earth to a mine deep underground (ie. shielded) and with a timing signal that correlates to the beam going on-and-off every 2 seconds and all interactions within an expected (beam duration) 8 microsecond window. It looks like a neutrino, it smells like a neutrino ... give us a bit of credit -- it is a neutrino ... or something so exactly similar in its properties to be indistinguishable.

Oh, yes, the SAA page on neutrino detectors is woefully out-of-date; you should correct that. And quite selective: it lacks the accelerator based bubble chambers, CDHS, CHARM, CCFR, E733, K2K, MiniBoone, MINOS, to name but a few. The ones listed before K2K date from the 70's and 80's so it's not like they were accidentally left off because the page hasn't been updated recently. It's because they definitively prove neutrinos exist. He can wave his hands about for the atmospheric and solar neutrinos being inconclusive -- but the accelerator based ones are under our control and thus very hard evidence.

But, whaa, whaa, those nasty "science gang" members (hey, PZ, I know we have that red "A" gang symbol but do we have a hand sign? Something about a middle finger extended, you say?) said mean things about de Hilster and his film. I'm not regurgitating -- I'm damn well measuring ==> doing science.

By Don't Panic (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Roger,

First off, you obviously didn't read this thread. We already know that the film is going to try to defend autodynamics. If you really have some amazing new secret experimental results that will flip us out and change our understanding of the universe, a documentary film isn't an appropriate forum for presenting it. We are well within our rights to scoff when you say "Wait until the movie comes out." No, give us the results and the method for producing them right now and we'll review it.

Second, there is simply no defense of this trailer from a purely artistic perspective. There is no possibility that any person, regardless of their opinion of SR and Einstein, could ever watch this trailer and say "Wow, that looks great, I can't wait to see it." The trailer is bad. Really, truly, bad. I am not being one bit biased based on its content when I say it is bad. "Expelled," for all the total wrongness of its content, is at least a professional-looking production. This isn't. I watched the trailer all the way through before judging. It's a stinker. Really.

Finally, no honest person would ever try to pass of that trailer as generating "lots of attention and support from the documentary community." There are hundreds of independent documentaries made in LA each year. Very few people have even heard of this film, much less watched that dismal trailer and said "Wow, that's exciting, I can't wait to see that." In fact, if its generating so much support, how come they are looking for sponsors on the damn *Internet*????

A couple of comments:
First off, No, people who understand physics, including Einstein's theories, are not "lemmings". If a man walks up to me on the street and says: "The world is Flat! I have proof!"
I am not honor-bound to waste time listening to him.
The First Amendment grants you the right to free speech, it does not include the right to an audience.

Second, there are many ideas, hypotheses and theories which fall by the wayside, and the overwhelming majority of them deserve to be left there.

I've been following the amusing antics of DdH and his merry band for a couple of years now and they never cease to amaze me, their whole theory is based on the mistake of an undergraduate student over 60 years ago. They even managed to get a bit of time at the Stanford Linear Accelarator to test their theory, the results of which clearly proved Special Relativity correct and Autodynamics wrong, and yet 25 years later they are still pushing it.

To Roger have a look here where I describe just how wrong Autodynamics is, Special Relativity may well not be entirely correct, however Autodynamics is wrong in particularly trivial ways. For example when you add velocities in AD they do not sum, so say you are on a train travelling at 10m/s and you throw a ball in the direction of motion at 10m/s then common sense (and all observations) say that a person by the side of the track observes a ball moving at 20m/s, Autodynamics predicts 14.14m/s, if they can't even get this right why should we trust any other statements they make. Don't even get me started on their pathological dislike of the neutrino.

They even make the startling claim that E=mc^2 is not correct, then claim that maybe its more like E=mc^3, which isn't even dimensionally possible. Blindingly obvious problems like that really make it very hard to take DdH seriously, never mind the usual crank claims of conspiracy and persecution.

Heh! David de Hilster. Look, y'all, Nostradamus only missed his name by two letters!

I thought Nostradamus wrote "Hister", so one letter? Or is Nostradamus's handwriting illegible as usual?

I officially love you now!

Just to generate some jealousy: I have the elitism quote in my quotation collection, dated from March 19th this year. Somehow I forgot to add an author attribution, though.

There definitely is a crank law of attraction. The ability to overestimate your ability and understanding in one field predicts with extremely high precision the probability that you are a crank in a completely different field.

Of course. Entirely logical. If the Evil Mad Scientists Conspiracy can cover up the Truth in one field, what stops them from doing the same in all others?

You might want to use <br /> on The Panda's Thumb for the same function.

What for? It's the same function. Right?

is needed here. But not on PT. So much for standards.

I learned the hard way that Scienceblogs requires <s> while the PhyloCode forum requires <strike> -- in each, the alternative does not work.

Bremsstrahlung

You keep that in German? Interesting. Would "braking radiation" be too ambiguous when said aloud?

BTW, Gedankenexperiment is a single word, too. :-)

Also, almost EVERY documentary is done by people who are not experts in the field.

That's why we cringe at them so much. Go over to the Dinosaur Mailing List archives, search for any documentary about dinosaurs or any other extinct animals, and watch people cringe. The errors number in the hundreds.

without even considering the possibility that he could be wrong.

Dude... we've all contemplated the possibility long and often. It just happened to turn out to be wrong in each case. Look at a photo of a Hubble Deep Field and behold the Einstein Cross, the Einstein Ring, and lots and lots of Einstein Arcs. Look with your own eyes. And then try to explain what you see by any other way than the theory of relativity. Have fun!

Einstein's theory of relativity where mass is "Supposed" to increase, time is "supposed" to slow down, and lenght is "supposed" to contract

All these effects have been observed again and again.

Just because you haven't seen the research doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

How incoherent is this.
From the FAQs section on the website:

"There is much more than math that makes a theory correct. The idea is for the main character to decide on her own whether she thinks Einstein may be right or wrong. The filmmaker has the point of view that if the general public can't understand a theory, engineers don't use it, and there is a growing number of physicists and scientists finding fundemental problems with relativity, then the public (represented by the main character) should be able to judge this for themselves."

Apologies if this has already been discussed, but I think this passage is missing a couple of "ifs." For example, it probably should read "if the general public can't understand a theory, and if engineers don't use it, and if there is a growing number of physicists and scientists finding fundemental problems with relativity . . ."

Of course, that only makes it more grammatical, and not actually correct.

You keep that in German? Interesting. Would "braking radiation" be too ambiguous when said aloud?

It's more euphonous than 'optic boom'.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

"I'm quite impressed that someone would be described as "suburban housewife" who has the mathematical skills to even begin considering the validity of relativity."

This is absurd. Plenty of educated women, even with graduate degrees, abandon the career track to raise a family.

"Many scientists and physicists believe that all science should be easily understood by the public and that theorical physics has become more of a fantasy world than science. That is the philosophy held by those who run this site and who are members.""

I gotta say, I have to agree. I am a scientist who believes that science should be understood by the public. However, from my perspective, the way to do that is to get the public to learn the science, not to deny the realities of it.

I get tired of the "scientists need to do a better job of describing what they can do in a manner that the public can understand." What about "The public needs to learn enough about science to understand what scientists do"? I can easily talk about my work in a manner that a person who has a general chemistry knowledge can understand, but even that is too complicated for the general public (believe me, I've written enough "green card" support letters and have heard from the lawyers).

Of course, it depends on what we mean by "communicating." My colleagues can say, "We are trying to make drugs that will cure cancer," but that's not communicating science at all. That's manufacturing. That's the same job that the folks who invent the things that get sold in the SkyMall magazine are doing. While entreupeneurship can certainly be part of the scientific endeavor, it is only a part, and not something that all scientists are doing.

The baseline knowledge issue is tough. For example, a biologist might be able to say, "We are investigating the impact of development on the habitat of the garter snake." Sure, there will be a lot of "why bother?" response, but at least people know what you are doing. OTOH, when I say, "We are investigating how electrons interact in when chemical bonds are broken" I get a lot of glassy-eyed looks, not only in the "why bother?" category, but in the "chemical bonds" and "electrons" aspects. How can I communicate anything when they don't have the vocabulary? Scientists come off as condescending and arrogant because they use words the public don't know. OTOH, it's not like I am talking about complicated concepts there; these are general chemistry topics.

"This is absurd. Plenty of educated women, even with graduate degrees, abandon the career track to raise a family."

Yes, but then their descriptor would be something more like "a suburban housewife with a Master's in physics" or something along those lines.

Bremsstrahlung

You keep that in German? Interesting. Would "braking radiation" be too ambiguous when said aloud?

You know actually every physicist I know calls it bremsstrahlung. I mean they wouldn't miss a beat if some one called it braking radiation but they use the german.

although the eerie blue glow of a nuclear reactor is cherenkov radiation.

Caledonian:

In fairness, there are some actual physicists who have forwarded similar hypotheses.

Doesn't make this guy less of a quack, but doesn't make him more of one either.

Ha. Bullfeathers. Show me the link.

And read this to see why this point is so important.

Please, before you defend Lambert, at least glance at some of the criticism people have directed his way. He's a lunatic of the highest order, and one of the things that makes him this way is his way-out-there theories on the speed of light.

Everything he spouts is Bible-based nonsense. Everything.

Of course Einstein was wrong. Time has inertia. Time and mass are the same thing. Venus must be reorbited to become a born-again earth.

By Alexander Abian (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

I think it follows from neutrinos are needed to balance energy and momentum in radioactive decay under special relativity (SR).

Is it even that complicated? My vague memory from my days as a teenage physics nerd are that you need them to balance even classical energy and momentum in neutron decay -- the electron and proton don't come out in exactly opposite directions.

And BTW: one more increment here in the applause for the latest from our resident Poet Laureate!

I didn't care much for What The Bleep either but at least they used credentialed scientists (although they were often speaking beyond the boundaries of their chosen discipline)

If the film had left-out Ramtha, it would almost be a fairly standard "pop-sci" doc.

I think Fred Alan Wolf is mostly correct though his work is highly speculative and does not conform to the experimental rigor implied by his physics doctorate.

Only wing-nuts will buy this Einstein thing

another side of a story where Einstein and relativity are not what they seem

So what do we care if Einstein wasn't what he seems if the theory has passed all current tests? You are like the creationists who thinks painting Darwin in a different color would affect the science he originated.

But hey, dogmatists think alike.

Bremsstrahlung

You keep that in German?

So? Do you want to say lumen desiit in biology? :-P

although the eerie blue glow of a nuclear reactor is cherenkov radiation.

D'oh! Thanks, I felt I missed something. Maybe I should try to get my own reactor someday. :-)

Ironically it makes my point stronger, as cherenkov radiation is a direct relativistic effect.

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

I see that Alexander Abian has risen from his grave to pay us a visit. Or was it Archimedes Plutonium who died when he tripped on his broom? It isn't easy to separate the nuts. :-)

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

Special Relativity limerick time!

If you go from Point A to Point B
With a d/t greater than c
The trip is the same
(In another man's frame)
As a trip back in time. QED.

Re: #31 and the This American Life episode: at first I felt sorry for the guy, then I realized that he hadn't mastered even high school level physics (difference between momentum and energy; dimensional analysis) in the year he had. Basically, he was just mentally masturbating, but he had his poor wife convinced he was working hard on something worthwhile.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM: Indeed. When I read the relativistic explanation of magnetism, that's when I really understood both SR and why people talk about electromagnetism. Unfortunately a lot of popular presentations of SR ignore the connection, despite Einstein's paper being called "On the electrodynamics of moving bodies" and all.

This kind of stuff sure is fun. Thanks for the "This American Life" link, Warren. Just listened to it.

Roger, at the risk of sounding like a "brainless lemming," I thought E=mc^2 was pretty well vetted. If it's not true then what is happening in the all those particle colliders which depend on E=mc^2 for their day-to-day operations?

If SR is wrong I'm annoyed that I've had to sit through lectures about hydrogen fine structure.....

In general though I think one of the problems with science communication/education is that you have to understand a lot of the theory to understand the evidence.

To give a practical example I always used to think that quantum effects were fantastical and basically kind of sounded made up or contrived (I did beleive them, just it seemed odd). Actually learning it you find you are basically forced to take these things as true otherwise the whole bits of physical reality (i.e. stability of electron orbits) make no sense.

A lot of it comes down to the entirely different/specific language used. Physicists especially have a habit of using language in a way which is kind of false and can lead to confusion (e.g. all physicists know that heat doesn't flow). Analogy also presents problems; you can think about an electron as a classical particle.

Lastly the mathematics for special relativity is very easy, mostly basic geometry. It's just being very careful about what you are looking at and following the axioms precisely.

Also when will people learn:
E^2=p^2c^2 + m^2c^4

By Anonymous Coward (not verified) on 20 Oct 2007 #permalink

And you see people studying Physics for years and years, or studying Molecular Biology... Why? Thanks to the truthiness concept, you can refute Dalton, Darwin, Einstein or Planck very easily. You don't need boring formulas, annoying lab work, hardous reading of previous literature. The only thing you need is a "coherent" discurse based in some "sacred text" or "common sense" conceptions. The way to crankiness is very wide in those days.

People should know [link]You are not entitled to your own opinion.

Sure you are. You are just not entitled to your own facts. "Engineers don't use it", for example.

The film clearly shows that stupidity flows
Just a little bit faster than light.

You may all disagree if you wish;
You may find it a little bit funny
But the most crucial part--from the depths of my heart...
Won't you please send us lots of your money?

ROTFL!!! :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

This has to be sung!

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Does Scienceblogs delete paragraph breaks when they aren't followed by an empty line?
Test
Test

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Then maybe it only does that to paragraph breaks in blockquotes?

Test
Test
Test

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

It does. Maybe the <p> tag helps?

TestTestTest

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Yes, except it introduces way too much space between the lines. Maybe <br>?

TestTestTest

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Yeehaw! Was easier to figure out than relativity. =8-)

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I didn't even get the idea, because the preview function very often messes up HTML, special characters, and other stuff in ways that don't happen when I just click "Post" immediately.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I don't think we are left out, especially not by creationists that would love to support their YEC tent occupants by removing the relativity obstruction to a 6000 year old universe. But biology is chosen as the presumed "soft" target in the Wedge. (Hah! First lesson in strategy: never reveal a strategy. Second lesson in strategy: make sure of your intelligence..., um, now I see why they have problems.)

engineers don't use it

More fundamentally than GPS, what will we do without magnetism?

Maybe they don't appreciate that when we derive the Lorentz force directly from EM theory we use the covariant formulation that fundamentally unite E and M forces. Magnetism is such a cool low-velocity relativity effect, we just aren't used to think of it as such.

Then we will have to disuse X-ray tubes, whose photons are generated by Bremsstrahlung with relativistic corrections at higher energies.

We would have to close down our nuclear reactors. Which btw waters tantalizingly glow with Bremsstrahlung as well.

I guess we should leave interplanetary missions and accelerator technology alone. We wouldn't want to confuse such esoteric activities with, you know, what engineers do.

It doesn't matter whether they're based on cesium atoms

And you can make a very simple gedanken experiment clock by bouncing a photon between two parallel perfect mirrors. How can they when get a difference between time slowing down (the photon bouncing less frequently) and the clock slowing down (less frequent bounces recorded)?

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

less frequent bounces recorded

Relativistically speaking, of course. :-)

David Marjanović, OM:

You might want to use <br /&gt on The Panda's Thumb for the same function. (I guess we are all slowly drifting towards XHTML specs.)

test
test
test

The spec standard space between b and / is needed here. But not on PT. So much for standards.

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Heh! David de Hilster. Look, y'all, Nostradamus only missed his name by two letters!

I thought Nostradamus wrote "Hister", so one letter? Or is Nostradamus's handwriting illegible as usual?

I officially love you now!

Just to generate some jealousy: I have the elitism quote in my quotation collection, dated from March 19th this year. Somehow I forgot to add an author attribution, though.

There definitely is a crank law of attraction. The ability to overestimate your ability and understanding in one field predicts with extremely high precision the probability that you are a crank in a completely different field.

Of course. Entirely logical. If the Evil Mad Scientists Conspiracy can cover up the Truth in one field, what stops them from doing the same in all others?

You might want to use <br /> on The Panda's Thumb for the same function.

What for? It's the same function. Right?

is needed here. But not on PT. So much for standards.

I learned the hard way that Scienceblogs requires <s> while the PhyloCode forum requires <strike> -- in each, the alternative does not work.

Bremsstrahlung

You keep that in German? Interesting. Would "braking radiation" be too ambiguous when said aloud?

BTW, Gedankenexperiment is a single word, too. :-)

Also, almost EVERY documentary is done by people who are not experts in the field.

That's why we cringe at them so much. Go over to the Dinosaur Mailing List archives, search for any documentary about dinosaurs or any other extinct animals, and watch people cringe. The errors number in the hundreds.

without even considering the possibility that he could be wrong.

Dude... we've all contemplated the possibility long and often. It just happened to turn out to be wrong in each case. Look at a photo of a Hubble Deep Field and behold the Einstein Cross, the Einstein Ring, and lots and lots of Einstein Arcs. Look with your own eyes. And then try to explain what you see by any other way than the theory of relativity. Have fun!

Einstein's theory of relativity where mass is "Supposed" to increase, time is "supposed" to slow down, and lenght is "supposed" to contract

All these effects have been observed again and again.

Just because you haven't seen the research doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

another side of a story where Einstein and relativity are not what they seem

So what do we care if Einstein wasn't what he seems if the theory has passed all current tests? You are like the creationists who thinks painting Darwin in a different color would affect the science he originated.

But hey, dogmatists think alike.

Bremsstrahlung

You keep that in German?

So? Do you want to say lumen desiit in biology? :-P

although the eerie blue glow of a nuclear reactor is cherenkov radiation.

D'oh! Thanks, I felt I missed something. Maybe I should try to get my own reactor someday. :-)

Ironically it makes my point stronger, as cherenkov radiation is a direct relativistic effect.

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

I see that Alexander Abian has risen from his grave to pay us a visit. Or was it Archimedes Plutonium who died when he tripped on his broom? It isn't easy to separate the nuts. :-)

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink