Posts Tagged ‘theory’

OUU Podcast #3: Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

Friday, October 3rd, 2008 by Aridian PR
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OUU Podcast #3: Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

Welcome to the third in a series of podcasts that explore Null Physics as presented in the book, Our Undiscovered Universe, written by Scientist and Engineer, Terence Witt.

The topics of discussion today include the overview of Einstein’s general relativity and its relation to quantum mechanics and Null theory.

Also in Episode 3:

  • What type of research activities can be performed to support Null physics assertion that photons, particles and space are real?
  • Why does OUU refer to quantum reality as “a form of mysticism?”
  • How does the OUU description of quantum phenomena differ from that of contemporary physics?
  • What type of research activities can be performed to support Null physics assertion that photons, particles and space are real?
  • Also available on iTunes! Search “Null Physics” and Subscribe Now!

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    Small Plane, Part I

    Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 by Terence Witt

    Most of the time, my struggles with Mother Nature occur on a purely theoretical level of foundational physics. On rare occasions, however, the struggle becomes far more personal and visceral .

    I started flying a few years ago as a result of two related circumstances. First, we were routinely driving 4 or 5 hours to the Florida Keys to go scuba diving, which required transiting the Miami area. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s probably safer to fly over Miami in a poorly maintained gyrocopter than to actually drive through it. The second data point was a good friend who became a pilot. Since he is the most accident prone person imaginable, I didn’t think his becoming a pilot was a good idea. Yet he was still alive after several years of flying. The only reasonable conclusion was that flying wasn’t as dangerous as it seemed.

    Since I tend to do things in reverse of their customary order (you know, like releasing a new theory in book form and then publishing scientific papers), I started my flying experience by purchasing a new high-performance airplane (310 HP) prior to receiving even a hint of flight instruction. In my defense, the Cirrus salesperson had a great pitch and an incredible product. Go up, let the customer with zero flight time do a few turns at altitude, impress them with all of the cool, state-of-the-art technology, and then close the deal shortly after landing. I was hooked, and fell in love with the plane at first flight. On the drive home, however, it slowly dawned on me that I really would have to get a license to fly this thing. Oh, that. I flew about three times a week and got my license about two weeks before I picked up my plane in Duluth, Minnesota.

    Florida is a strangely shaped state, and although its road system is superb, we have a lot of swamp here, and its highways take circuitous routes around many regions that, if you were unlucky enough to drive off the road, would never be found again. I’m not talking quicksand, exactly, but you get my meaning. So, for instance, if you wanted to drive from south central Florida to its panhandle, it might take 10 or 12 hours, depending on where you need to go. Or about an hour or so in my plane, regardless of where you need to go. So, as a result of Florida’s tortured and steaming geography, I have become somewhat of an air taxi for friends and family as the need arises.

    The need arose last week when Lauren’s (not her real name) mother, who lives far out in Florida’s panhandle, found herself in the hospital with a sudden illness. I have made this trip before for similar reasons, and Lauren is a fairly nervous passenger, where ‘fairly nervous’ is defined as ‘afraid of one’s own shadow’. Because of this, I only fly Lauren when the weather is picture perfect. Unfortunately, on the day in question, the weather didn’t even come close to perfect. I told her there would be some ‘rough patches’ and received repeated confirmation that she needed to go and would deal with it.

    The beginning of the 90 minute west-bound flight was uneventful. I had filed a flight plan and was discussing the deteriorating weather conditions with Jacksonville Center, trying to find the smoothest way through so as to minimize Lauren’s trauma. My first hint that Lauren was going to have a life-altering experience was when we hit some barely perceptible turbulence and she grabbed the overhead support handle. Hmm. The storm was big, dark, and we were about 25 miles offshore over the Gulf of Mexico, cutting across Florida’s ‘armpit’. Unfortunately for Lauren, there was an occasional break in the clouds, and she could see the roiling sea below us. There was a solid wall of moderate rain from Atlanta to well into the Gulf, and I was looking for the quickest, smoothest way through it. My plane is equipped with satellite weather, so I can see almost everything that the ground controllers can see. Unfortunately, nothing either of us saw looked calm.

    Soon enough, we were ‘in it’. The plane started bucking, the rain drummed on the windshield, and it got very dark in the cockpit. I kept trying to reassure Lauren, talking her through it, and I thought I was doing ok until I noticed that one of her pant legs was ‘fluttering’. I thought this was caused by flow from her air vent, but then noticed that the vent was off and she was literally quaking in her seat. Poor lady. Moments later we broke out into the blue, and were on our way to our destination. Sadly, Lauren’s trauma wasn’t quite over yet, because the storm was waiting for us.

    I was watching it come in as we approached our destination airport, and I knew it was going to be close. I had managed to calm Lauren somewhat at this point, but alas, there was a flight ahead of us, and this delayed our landing just enough so that the storm arrived at the same time. I was about two feet off the runway, already flared for landing, when a 20 knot wind shear hit and literally ‘pulled the air out from under my wings’, causing, in spite of my immediate countermeasures, the plane to drop onto the runway and bounce (at 90 mph). Actually, it was more of a splash-bounce, since there was at least two inches of standing water on the runway.

    This of course, was the last thing Lauren needed, and she was preternaturally silent as I taxied through torrential rain to the terminal. We talked in the terminal for a while, and she was surprised when I told her that she was probably the bravest passenger that I’ve ever had. “No way”, she exclaimed, “I was terrified the whole time!”. Yes, and that’s the point. Getting in a small plane and flying through bad weather to check on your sick mom isn’t brave if you aren’t afraid of flying. But she did it anyway, and she’s afraid of almost everything . That’s bravery.

    Tune in next week for my report on my return flight. After I dropped Lauren off and headed back to my home base, the weather got bad .

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    Is the Big Bang ‘falsifiable’? (Part II)

    Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 by Terence Witt

    There is a catch-22 to the ‘falsifiable rule’; a large hubris-filled quagmire that has trapped so many in the past, and to which our current crop of cosmologists have fallen prey. Falsifiability is the acid test for the conceptual health of a scientific theory, but doesn’t really apply to a scientific fact. The flat Earth concept is an (unfortunately too appropriate) example of this. The idea that the Earth is approximately spherical (or at least far more spherical than it is planar) is not a theory. It is a fact, and one of the ways to recognize the difference between the two terms is to try to imagine a test for which the ‘mostly spherical Earth’ concept would fail. We could say, for instance, that the Earth is really flat with a center at some special location (say New York), but that when we travel away from it, say from New York to New Zealand, we are actually beneath its ‘real’ surface, and for some unknown reason on this part of the globe its structure is transparent and very low density. Since this explanation is (on its best day) utterly ludicrous, along with any other ‘explanations’ for why the Earth is actually flat, we correctly deduce that the Earth is to a large extent spherical, and we are held to its surface by the same force that gives it this shape, the magical force of gravity.

    I’m sometimes asked if I believe in the theory of evolution. To this I respond that evolution is a theory in the same way that our basic composition of atoms is a theory. You can’t look right at it and see it happen (like seeing our beautiful mostly spherical Earth from space), but you can actually see evolution happen rapidly on a small scale with viruses and bacteria, just like an atomic force microscope will give you a glimpse of atoms. So in the same way as the term fact is often misused for nefarious purposes, so too is theory used as a label to denegrate perfectly respectable facts.

    Which bring us back to the Big Bang. The most arrogant answer to our question of its falsifiability is that it is a scientific fact, and as such should not be falsifiable, any more than the mostly spherical Earth fact. Well, ahem, pardon me for asking… Since there are no strict rules for when a theory becomes a fact, there is no quick retort for this defense, other then perhaps, the time-honored ‘IS NOT!’. And unfortunately, Big Bang proponents have upped the ante by segragating (think of the many headed Hydra here) portions of the Big Bang into distinct buckets of fact and theory. Under fact we have things like the expansion of the universe and the idea that it ‘did happen!’. Under theory we have wrangling about various details, such as early galaxy and star formation. So let’s just look in the Big Bang fact bucket, and see if there’s really anything in it, at least on par with much venerated scientific facts; facts that are so solid that you could trip over them whilst descending the stairs, for instance.

    After a careful inspection, we note that the Big Bang fact bucket is pristinely empty, because every single piece of evidence that exists for the Big Bang is, by definition, indirect. We can measure the CMB directly, but have to presume that it is relic radiation. We can measure the intergalactic redshift, but not in the lab. We can praise the few predictions the Big Bang has made, as long as we ignore the many more that it has failed (shouldn’t the universe, full of all of this matter, be decelerating right about now??). The only reason the Big Bang is considered a fact at all (or at least its basic premise) is because there is a general concensus as to the weight of a great many retrospective and circumstantial bits of evidence. This is a murder trial without a body, a murder weapon, and whose witnesses were at a great distance looking into a dark alley. So just as absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence, a large pile of weak evidence does not constitute strong evidence, and evidence does not become stronger by winning a popularity contest.

    So for those who have been able to convince themselves that the Big Bang is fact, by peer pressure or justing wanting it to be so, I say two things. First, you have done a horrible disservice to the status of scientific fact, and two, I’ve got some prime Florida swampland for sale…

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