Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Science Shrugs

Boris Johnson
The Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887 disproved the ether, a hypothetical medium that permeates the universe. By using an interferometer with perpendicular arms, Michelson and Morley demonstrated that the speed of light is the same regardless of how the direction of the light is oriented relative to our motion through the supposed ether. Their null result set the stage for Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity and is often lauded for heralding the new age of physics. At least that’s how the story goes. In reality, it was more complicated.

Thing is, Morley himself was not convinced of the results of his seminal experiment. Together with a new collaborator, Dayton Miller, he repeated the measurement a few years later. The two again got a negative result.

This seems to have settled the case for Morley, but Miller went on to build larger interferometers to achieve better precision.

Indeed, in the 1920s, Miller reported seeing an effect consistent with Earth passing through the ether! Though the velocity which he inferred from the data didn’t match expectations he remained convinced to have measured a partial drag caused by the ether.

Miller’s detection could never be reproduced by other experiments. It is today widely considered to be wrong, but just what exactly he measured has remained unclear.

And Miller’s isn’t the only measurement mystery.

In the 1960s, Joseph Weber built the first gravitational wave detectors. At a conference in 1969, he announced that he had measured two dozen gravitational wave events, and swiftly published his results in the Physical Review Letters.

It is clear now that Weber did not measure gravitational waves – those are much harder to detect than anyone anticipated back then. So what then did he measure?

Some have argued that Weber’s equipment was faulty, his data analysis flawed, or that he simply succumbed to wishful thinking. But just what happened? We may never know.

Then, 40 years ago, physicists at the Heavy Ion Society (GSI) in Germany bombarded uranium nuclei with curium. They saw an excess emission of positrons that they couldn’t explain. In a 1983 paper, the group wrote that the observation “cannot be associated with established dynamic mechanisms of positron production” and that known physics is “unlikely match to the data at a confidence level of better than 98%”.

This observation was never reproduced. We still have no idea if this was a real effect, caused by an odd experimental setup, or whether it was a statistical fluke.

Around the same time, in 1975, we saw the first detection of a magnetic monopole. Magnetic monopoles are hypothetical quasi-particles that should have been created in the early universe if the fundamental forces were once unified. The event in case was a track left in a detector sent to the upper atmosphere with a balloon. Some have suspected that the supposed monopole track was instead caused by a nuclear decay. But really, with only one event, who can tell? In 1982, a second monopole event was reported. It remained the last.*

Today we have a similar situation with the ANITA events. ANITA is the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, and its collaboration announced last year (to much press attention) that they have measured two upward-going cosmic ray events at high energy. Trouble is, according to the currently established theories, such events shouldn’t happen.

ANITA’s two events are statistically significant, and I have no doubt they actually measured something. But it’s so little data there’s a high risk this will remain yet another oddity, eternally unresolved. Though physicists certainly try to get something out of it.

In all of these cases it’s quite possible the observations had distinct causes, just that we do not know the circumstances sufficiently well and do not have enough data to make a sober inference. Science is limited in this regard: It cannot reliably explain rare events that do not reproduce, and in these cases we are left with speculation and story-telling.

How did the world end up with Donald Trump as President of the United States and Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom? In politics as in physics, some things defy explanation.

* Rewrote this paragraph after readers pointed out the second reference, see comments.


  1. Tiny correction - the name was was Michelson, not Michaelson.

  2. On Weber: "We may never now." == We may never know.

    1. Oops, thanks for spotting, I have corrected this!

  3. "sent to the other atmosphere" = sent to the upper atmosphere

    1. Jeez, clear evidence I wrote this in a hurry. Thanks for your patience!

  4. Trump got elected because the left deranged in political correctness and become hostile to its own traditional electorate. Workers were ready to accept a political alternative. Trump offered it. Others followed.

    1. Bullshit. More people voted for Clinton than for Trump. The problem is the non-linear, non-democratic U.S. election system based on the electoral college. Admit it: any third-world dictator who came up with a "democratic" system along the lines of the U.S. system would be a laughing stock.

      I'm not saying that the Democrats did everything right, and now they are playing into Trump's hands by expressing solidarity with "the squad", which is just what he wants. It should be possible to criticize Trump's racial slurs and still disagree with the anti-semitism of some of the "squad" members.

      But with regard to Trump "winning" over Clinton: that was due to the stupid electoral system. (All the same, Clinton could have won despite the bad system if the "Bernie or bust" jerks understood the concept of "lesser of two evils". Personally, I like Bernie (though he would be considered middle-of-the-road in Europe), at least compared to the other possibilities. But with a two-party system (mathematicians will confirm that this is only slightly better than a one-party system), one has to get votes from those in the middle to become president. In other words, if the Democrats really want someone other than Trump in 2020, they should go for Biden.

    2. What worries me about t’Rump is not so much him, but the American people. Donald t’Rump is the most appallingly venal and banal president in history. However, what has stoked his fire is the panic on the part of white people, about 50% of them in fact, that they are losing majority power. Another way to think of it is racism. It really is horrid and nasty at the core. Britain and the brexit thing is similar I think. It appears to reflect a nativist movement against “others.” Boris Johnson does appear to be a bit like t’Rump, but able to articulate thing a bit better.

    3. The more we're confrontated with climate and other alarmist's prophecies in the style of of "Repent - The End is near!" - the more the average voter will defiantly tend to elect creatures like Trump, Johnson, LePen and et al.! The climate alarmists seem to have the worst conceivable media consultants ever and therefore all their efforts will turn out to the wrong end! Nobody likes to be scared! However: where ist the relation to physics...?

    4. @Phillip Helbig: Although I agree 100% the electoral college is bullshit, it doesn't explain why the vote was so close in the first place.

      Corruption explains that; including the nomination of Hillary Clinton. If it weren't for corruption in the Democratic Party Leadership doing everything they could to force Clinton as the nominee, the Bernie or Bust crowd would have won and Trump would have been defeated. Likewise if it weren't for corruption in gerrymandering districts and Republicans passing voter suppression laws and defeating fair election laws in states they dominate.

      As far as Democrats "not doing everything right", they seldom do anything right.

      As far as solidarity with the Squad, I'm in -- They aren't proposing anything other countries haven't already proven successful.

      Further, although I am fine with condemning actual anti-semitism, you are not getting any from the Squad; it's a myth:

      it is not "anti-semitism" to note that Israel is committing war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, and supporting the corresponding Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign against Israel for their brutality there is not "anti-semitism".

      Trump won over Clinton because just like Al Gore and John Kerry before him, Clinton was a lousy candidate and people hated her, but the anti-democratic party leadership engineered the primaries and debates to defeat Bernie.

      They will likely do the same thing with Biden, and we'll get another four years of Trump for it.

      As for "Bernie or Bust," it is the right call, the "lesser of two evils" choice is the bullshit, and the exact ratchet that results in ever-greater evil. By letting Trump get elected, we get exactly the dose of pain necessary (and I do mean the pain is necessary) to motivate people to change the system. If they don't, and stupidly put up Biden who will not work to change a damn thing, then perhaps another round of motivating pain is the right prescription. It is heart-breaking, but not as heart-breaking as the extended forecast if we continue on the track of the lesser of two evils + ever-increasing corruption, which includes favoring corporations over literally everything, including human rights, worker rights, the environment, justice, people's health and health care ... even giving them a pass on the use of slavery. Everything.

      Trump is the harbinger of what is to come. Corruption end-to-end, with both parties complicit in getting their share of the $3 billion spent on "lobbying" each year (not including the dark money PACS) because they manage a $5 trillion dollar federal budget.

      For me, Social Democracy or bust; because if we don't have that, I think the country is busted anyway, it is going down the toilet, be it fast or be it slow. Might as well get it over with.

      I won't vote for the racketeers, and I won't vote for another click on the ratchet of "the lesser of two evils."

    5. Information is there on the anti-semitism of Omar: take it from one who should know because she has a very similar background". Don't make the the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend mistake. With regard to BDS, the problem is not so much criticism of Israeli politics (much of which---the criticism, I mean---I agree with), but it's one-sidedness. There are many worse countries in the world, including the Hamas-ruled parts of Palestine, compared to which Israel has a much better record regarding human rights, tolerance, and so on. Why single out Israel for criticism and not, say, Saudi Arabia?

      Personally, I would never live anywhere in the near or middle east (the terminology varies depending on where one is, but you know what I mean), but if I had to make a choice, it would be Israel---the least of several evils in this case.

      Yes, the I agree that there are multiple problems with the so-called democracy in the States. But it is incredibly naive to think that intentionally allowing Trump to win (as the Bernie-or-bust crowd did) will improve things one iota, even in the long term.

      Oppression is always bad. But that does not mean that the oppressed is ipso facto morally superior to the oppressor.

    6. @Phillip Helbig: Information is there on the anti-semitism of Omar:

      Then produce (reliable) links to what she actually said! For the link you have, the author says: Perhaps—I do not know—this is what happened to Ms. Omar [saying] "It's all about the benjamins, baby" when discussing the influence of Jewish lobbying. The author freely admits she doesn't know crap about Omar or any anti-semitism in Omar's opinions.

      It is not anti-semitic to accuse politicians of taking bribes from lobbyists. Nor is it surprising or anti-semitic to understand why a Muslim is concerned with Muslim oppression; just as it isn't surprising or racist when Black politicians are concerned with racism and disparate law enforcement outcomes for Blacks and Caucasians.

      If you investigate, I think you will find out Omar's anti-semitism is a myth, she hasn't said anything of the sort.

      Phillip: Why single out Israel for criticism and not, say, Saudi Arabia?

      Should all politicians limit their criticism to the one and only country upon which there is a consensus? I presume Israel is singled out because in Omar's view it is the #1 problem for Muslims, AND there is a Jewish lobby promoting Israel, which is what she was talking about.

      As for Trump, no, it is not incredibly naive to refuse to vote for somebody that isn't going to do one iota of work to prevent another Trump from coming to power, because in the long run that IS what will happen, and next time, because Trump paved the way in terms of blatant law breaking, lying, taking the aid of foreign governments, self-dealing and blatant obstruction of justice, all with zero consequences, the next Trumpish will be even worse.

      People are motivated by pain, metaphorical and actual. That is why it evolved. Biden is going to be as ineffectual as Obama, and as much of a doormat as Al Gore and John Kerry. If he wins he may relieve the pain of Trump, but he won't prevent the next Trump, because he is a just another run of the mill incompetent corporate Democrat, and when he leaves another Trumpish will take office, perhaps smarter than the current idiot but just as vile, and that will be the death of America.

      The cost will be high but we could survive another four years of this Trump, and I can at least hope that people will have felt enough pain from THAT to wake up and elect an actual transformative President and Congress that will prevent any future Trump from ever taking office again.

      If Biden is the nominee, I won't vote for President. I always go to the polls, I'll write someone in, and I'll vote the down ticket.

      Greedy Algorithms do not always work, the lesser of two evils is not always the right choice, avoiding pain is not always the healthy choice.

    7. One of the factors that led to the Trump presidency (I don't know enough about how Boris Johnson ended up as prime minister) is in the mathematics of voting. People find the "plurality" voting method (on each ballot, mark exactly one candidate) is very intuitive and leap to the conclusion that this then must represent the will of the people in some meaningful way. This intuition is wrong.

      Of the many problems with plurality voting, two were prominent in the Trump election. One is a third-party-spoiler effect whereby less-hopeful candidates (Jill Stein and Gary Johnson among others) inevitably hurt their own cause. This also leads to a two-party equilibrium. The other problem is a center-squeeze effect. I'll try to be brief but want to highlight the center-squeeze effect here because of the 2020 primaries.

      In elections with many candidates, such as the democratic and republican presidential primaries in the US, there can be a cluster of "centrist" candidates all splitting the majority of votes between themselves. This effect makes it more likely to elect a candidate closer to some political fringe, where they can monopolize on votes from some a smaller fraction of voters. This is how Trump won the republican primary. It's how David Duke (KKK grand wizard) nearly became governor of Louisiana in 1991. And I'm very concerned about how the 2020 democratic primary is going to turn out.

      These issues could be greatly alleviated by moving to a better voting system. Approval voting is a good choice. My favorite at the moment is STAR voting.

      Plurality voting, in many simulations and according to certain measures, lies about halfway between electing a random candidate and choosing the "ideal" candidate (who maximizes utility). By this you could say it gives us about a 50% democracy. But really I think it's less than that. Because the outcome of a plurality election is, I believe, *more dependent* on the relationships of the candidates with each other in some political space than it is about the relationship of the candidates with the voters. These relationships are much easier to manipulate, especially in presidential primaries. So there goes democracy in the US executive branch. The judicial branch is also now highly partisan. And the legislative branch is controlled by party leaders (the whip, block voting), which is in turn controlled by lobbyists and corporate interests. So much for America's experiment in democracy.

      Of the many resources on this topic, here's a personal favorite:

    8. Alessandro,

      Hillary was a centrist Democrat (although she was a really poor campaigner).

      The 2016 campaign was not so much Left vs. Right (Trump himself used to be a centrist Democrat and a friend of the Clintons) as a revolt against the elite.

      The bailout of the crooked "too-big-to-fail" bankers after the 2008 Crash is a good example. Ordinary people, especially working-class whites, were left feeling that the system rewards those with connections or credentials and stomps on the ordinary people who actually make the country run.

      They have a point (see the response of Sabine and my colleagues to her claims that the FCC is a waster of taxpayers' money).

      No one thinks Trump is the perfect solution to the problem (not even Trump, I suspect). But a lot of Americans thought that a vote for Trump might induce a "reset" of the system.

      I'd guess much the same is true of Brexit and BoJo.

    9. Just came across this blog and it's a hoot, especially the elitist "Lost in Math" no-nothings lamenting and ignorantly lambasting the American Electoral College System that makes each individual State have some importance to prevent candidates and parties from concentrating too much power in a few larger States.

      Moreover, the American system is a republic, not a democracy as both Americans and others frequently misstate. As such, the electoral college is a fairer system than a nationwide popular voting system would be by, once again, concentrating too much power into a few larger States at the expense of smaller States. This is also why each State has equal representation in the American Senate of 2 Senators per State, while the American House of Representatives' membership is based on the populations of each State.

      And as for Hillary Clinton winning the overall popular vote, many people fail to keep in mind that because of the nature of the electoral college, candidates have to focus on winning a majority of electoral votes spread throughout the States, and some States like super left wing California would have been a waste of time for Trump when that State could not be won. As such, there was no desire to chip away at the popular vote margin in California, etc. in a silly effort to win the nationwide popular vote when only the electoral vote matters, and which was clearly understood by Hillary Clinton as well.

      To also obtain a better picture of how the electoral college works as opposed to a nationwide popular vote, think of the 2016 American presidential election like a 5-set tennis match. Trump lost the first set (California) by a score of 6-1, but he then went on to win the next 3 out of 4 sets 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. It is useless to whine that "Clinton won more games (votes) than Trump did (25 - 23), so the scoring is unfair, and Clinton really won the match."

      And when it comes to the all-important individual State contests, Trump won 30 states to Clinton's 20 States.

      QED :-)

    10. The structural basis of American government is a Republic. In fact at the start only property owning, say owning land, citizens could vote. The historical trend until the last few decades has been to make the Republic more democratic. However, since the 1980s the trend has reversed and the Republic has become more plutocratic, which means in effect a Republic of the wealthy or the corporate vested. That is now shifting from just plutocratic to outright autocratic.

      Remember that Iran is a Republic, but it is a Republic dominated by a theocratic and autocratic clique. We can do the same, and in fact with t'Rump and his theonomic sidekick as Pence we could see an autocracy here with a theocratic wing.

      I read an article recently, and this video makes a similar point, that Germans perceive the US and Russia as threats. Curious, for in WWII Germany was the bad guys with the good guys as the Brits and US coming from the west and the, well sort of good guys, as the USSR coming from the east. Now it looks like a replay, but now the Germans are the good guys, while the erstwhile WWII allies are all bad guys.

      About ever century there is some sort of social mania that kicks in, and we are due for this and we seem to be seeing a replay. History does not repeat exactly, but because the essential unit of history are humans who are much the same it can be said that history sort of rhymes.

    11. Hi, Sabine: Actually, Ben Franklin made it quite clear in a famous line upon being questioned about the new American system. He stated that he and others gave the people..."a republic, if you can keep it." If it were both a republic and a democracy, don't you think he would have said so?

      Democratic elements exist within the American republic, but this does not also make it a democracy. If you want to keep 'democratic' involved, you can refer to it as a democratic republic, but it is not a democracy unless majority rule would be more widespread involving basically all issues.

    12. To Lawrence: Adding democratic elements does not change the basic structure which remains a constitutional republic based on the United States Constitution.

      The claim you make about plutocracy is just a bias you have that coincides with people like multi-millionaires B. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but the country itself remains a constitutional republic. It is also nowhere near being autocratic at this time, but trends toward socialism that America is experiencing of late could eventually lead to it becoming more autocratic as more power would be vested in the government as a result if socialism eventually gains more power in the government.

      You also reveal your bias and lack of objective assessment by referring to US President Trump and his vice president in the manner you have, which is unfortunate, but so be it.

      And the fact that Iran is a republic is meaningless and a false comparison with the United States. Iran does not respect natural rights and natural law that is also at the heart of the US constitutional system, so you might as well claim that Iran is a country and so, too, is the United States. Irrelevant.

      My primary point in my first post was to explain to many in this combox why the American Electoral College System is indeed a fair system, and that winning only the overall popular vote while losing the all-important electoral vote does not mean the person got ripped off and the system is unjust as many silly individuals claim based on flawed assumptions.

    13. Here is a much more scholarly article on why the US is a Republic and not a Democracy or a hybrid of both:

    14. DB,

      I don't care what Franklin said or what you think it means, please go and look it up. It is both a republic and a democracy. There is nothing to discuss here.

    15. That article you refer to is just wrong. Take the sentence "In a democracy citizens exercise power directly." Nope. This isn't so. Almost all democracies on the planet are representative like the US. And in the cases where "citizens exercise power directly" it can go badly wrong, see Brexit.

    16. We'll have to agree to disagree. The article I set forth makes specific references to the United States Constitution and the specific writing within it. The one you highlight does not make reference to the actual writing that declares the government to be a republic. As such, since the primary source clearly reveals and states that the government is a republic, and it does not state it is a democracy, I will now quote you and declare "there is nothing to discuss here" regarding the United States Constitution itself. It says the government is a republic, and it is authoritative. QED.

      Now, I like what I have seen on your blog, but when it comes to who would know better about the kind of government the United States has, as a major participant in the definitive creation of the United States government, Ben Franklin's view is much stronger than yours by far, and as an objective scientist, you should care what he says since he would also qualify as an observer of the government-creation events (see varieties of the scientific method) as they unfolded...unless you believe and have any kind of evidence to support a claim that he was ignorant of what is actually set forth in the United States Constitution he helped draft. This would be like saying you don't care what Einstein wrote about General Relativity, because somehow you know better than he did about what he wrote and what it means.

      Bottom line: the United States government is a republic with many democratic elements. This accounts for many people inaccurately but not maliciously referring to it as a democracy, and so like many inaccurate terms/misunderstandings that become commonplace through widespread usage, this is just another one that survives to this day.

    17. I am not talking about what Franklin said, I am talking about what is as a matter of fact reality today.

    18. @DB: I fail to see how it makes a difference what the Founding Fathers believed, they also believed in slavery, the subjugation of women, white privilege and plutocracy. Why should I let a bunch of dead misguided individuals determine the rules of how to run a country?

      I have no problem admitting a few of the Rights they protected are valuable, but the system of government they designed is filled with echoes of the system of Royalty they were raised in, with all kinds of "kings" at every level possessing unilateral power within their little domains, and the result is what we see today; a corrupt system at every level both parties guilty, and breaking the law and violating the Constitution with impunity, because they can just pass laws making whatever they do legal. And like Kings, they do, for self-enrichment or selfish ideology.

      The argument about what the Founding Fathers meant is appealing to authority that is clearly wrong.

      The argument for Democracy, representative or direct, is also clearly wrong, e.g. no majority or super majority should be able to put people to death for their religion, or lack thereof, or skin color, or sexual orientation.

      If you do not believe the popular vote matters, then you perforce believe that the consent of the majority does not matter, and by induction you must believe that the consent of 99.999% of the people does not matter and the equivalent of a royal system of rule by the richest few families is just fine.

      If you believe the electoral college is fair, you perforce believe each citizen in Wyoming should have 73 times as much influence in the Senate as each citizen of California. (population ratio of California vs. Wyoming).

      By what reasoning should that be true today? Some mystical notion of States Rights, or State sovereignty? It's ludicrous on the face of it to make people this unequal (or unequal at all) in influencing the rules by which society is governed.

      Just like slavery and the subjugation of women in the 1700's, the electoral college is an obsolete artifact of misguided prejudices and the misguided subscription to royal hierarchy pervasive in our religions, our corporations, our justice systems, and our governments.

      Reverence for the Founding Fathers or the Constitution that overrides common sense is also misguided.

      But reverence for bits of well-reasoned thinking is fine by me: Here are a few thoughts from Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence:

      Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

      Also this:

      ... It is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish [their government], and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them [The People, collectively] shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      The implication of Jefferson's statement here may not be clear, so let me lay it out: It doesn't make a difference what people of the past wanted. They are dead and incapable of wanting anything, only The People that are living matter.

      And in the USA that directly implies a popular vote, not minority rule. And as far as socialism is concerned, if that's what The People want (and it is, Social Security and Medicare are wildly popular), that's what they should get. If they then think socialism oversteps its bounds, they should then institute rules to constrain it.

    19. James Madison was probably the main founder of the Constitution with his Federalist Papers. Madison made a number of cases, one of which was to have a system of laws that protected a minority from the majority. The minority can be any group, but what Madison had in mind was the landowning wealthy. Madison was also a slave owner and trader.

      It has to be also mentioned in this time of NRA second Amendment fury that the part about a well organized militia was not really about the militia in the Revolutionary War, which only saw small battles at the start such as Concord and Lexington. The Revolutionary War was won because Washington built the Continental Army and won big battles such as Monmoth, well barely won that one. The organized militia mentioned in the second Amendment was about suppressing slave rebellions. Patrick Henry and Hamilton wrote various letters illustrating this, and the pointing to the minutemen and militia in the Revolutionary War was basically propaganda.

      Madison also made point about organizing government in a way that would not be hijacked by demagogues or mobs. Remember the Athenian Assembly was hoodwinked into the Syracuse war by Alcibiades and Creon, and Madison frowned on this sort of mob majority rule. He favored more the Roman Republic model, but with laws that upheld rights.

      So is this a democracy? If one means direct rule by the "demos," or the people, no it is not. Does this have aspects of democracy? It clearly has with the idea of a government of laws and not men an admonition against oligarchic or authoritarian power. So there are democratic aspects to this.

      The American Constitution kicked off a huge project in not just the American nation but the world. This Constitution is framed not in stone, but as something that can be amended and where laws that do not egregiously violate the articles of the Constitution can be passed and upheld by the Supreme Court. It also invokes language such as the "general welfare." So there are democratic elements to this.

    20. Lawrence Crowell: I'm not a fan of direct rule by the people, no majority vote should be able to change the law in a way that exploits a minority.

      That said, at some point I see no way around at least super-majority rule, because there is a constant supply of sociopaths and psychopaths that will never vote for any constraints on their behavior. There is also a constant supply of the mentally disabled, by birth or accident or age-related disease, that just can't think well enough to vote for their own self-interest. IMO unanimity in voting is inherently impossible once we reach some critical sizes; and below those sizes we increase the risk of cults of personality and effective monarchies.

      Thus for a lot of people to band together and achieve the economies of scale necessary for self-defense and the common welfare, there must be created a form of consensus that doesn't demand unanimous agreement.

      That is the difficult part. The Founding Fathers did not get it right. As you note for Madison, the influences of greed and preservation of existing power and property and white male privilege gave us a distorted system that has all but collapsed under the pressure of post-WWII fantastic inflows of money much greater world power and influence.

      It has become even more corrupt than Madison designed it to be, with even greater influence from the rich (individuals and corporations and in some cases rich countries like Saudi Arabia).

      They put restrictions on what government can do, but they are toothless when the President and his minions simply refuse to obey court orders. Or too corrupt and greed-driven to do their job.

      Reverence for the Founding Fathers and the Constitution is misguided, it is a machine that doesn't work. It certainly is not grounded in any science of finding a minimax balance between the burdens and benefits of government.

    21. Excellent points, Lawrence Crowell, and I especially like and concur with your third and fourth paragraphs which illustrate the reality of the US government remaining to this day a republic. It has not changed into a democracy even though it has incorporated more democratic elements over time, which is quite possible in a republic without changing its underlying foundation.

      Also note that Madison was joined by Alexander Hamilton and a little bit by John Jay in drafting the Federalist. Indeed the Federalist also makes it clear that the foundation is a republic, and in the famous Federalist 10 (written by Madison, and which has been repeatedly referred to throughout time as definitive) points out the need for a republic in order to protect against the dangers of democracy that you also reference in your comment mentioning Madison's warning and fears about the dangers of mobs and demagogues, and so on that arise from a democracy.

      Now, anyone who claims that reverencing the Founding Fathers in the drafting of the Constitution is misguided because of the Founding Fathers' personal flaws and other errors are themselves misguided in their ad hominem and straw man approach that ignores or diminishes the timeless principles used by these imperfect men. In addition, the document does not need to be grounded in any science which would be absurd based on the nature of what it is and the nature of what people are.

      And of course, those who like to point out the flaws of people in the past while claiming greater wisdom and moral authority in the present are often enough employing the arrogant fallacy of presentism. Certainly the past and people of the past can be honorably and objectively criticized for this or that, but the error comes from dismissing the thoughts of people from the past (basically, "why should I care what so and so thought in the past?" is the modus operandi) as if they have nothing to say that is applicable to the present. Might as well throw out what past scientists have said about the way the world works as well, even if what they set forth is still true or "works" today, because those past scientists made numerous mistakes in some of their other scientific endeavors. I mean, if they were wrong about so many other things, why should I care about what they may have been right about? In fact, I will make a further leap and now declare that because they were wrong about X, they were probably also wrong about Y despite the sound logic and reason of Y that I don't like anyway.

      But I and many other fair-minded thinkers do care about what people have said from all eras, and we recognize that some of their wisdom is correct and applicable today and perhaps even timeless. Even more, some of what was said yesterday might be wiser than some of what is said today.

      Many thanks, Lawrence, for your insightful comments that also refreshed my memory of the Federalist that still remains the best and timeless explication of the United States Constitution and the manner of government still in effect in the United States.

    22. DB: o protect against the dangers of democracy ... Madison's warning and fears about the dangers of mobs and demagogues, and so on that arise from a democracy.

      Madison's fears don't make those actual dangers of democracy, Madison was mistaken. As my reply stated, I am not a fan of mob rule or majority rule, other mechanisms have to be in place, but these do not rule out Democracy, and Federalism fails to provide those mechanisms.

      DB: those who point out the flaws of people in the past while claiming greater wisdom and moral authority in the present are often enough employing the arrogant fallacy of presentism.

      Which is not what I did. The idea that four elements – earth, water, air, and fire – made up all matter was the cornerstone of philosophy, science, and medicine for over two thousand years (since 450BC). Aristotle was committed to this idea.

      If I reject it now, am I engaging in "presentism"? Hell no! I am engaged in logic and science, and I can dismiss 2000+ years of blather and anti-logic idiocy because I know better, and know what is wrong with their fool ideas. Is that arrogant? I don't think so, but I also don't care. They were completely wrong. We are mostly and provably right.

      The same thing goes for criticizing the Founding Fathers. Racism was wrong, slavery was wrong, misogyny was wrong, homophobia was wrong, white male privilege was wrong. Not just morally, but every pretend-science excuse they used to justify their bigoted practices was logically and biologically wrong. Even their notion of "honor" was wrong, it was an explicitly stated belief of the Founders that members of Congress had to follow fair rules or lose their honor and be shunned by their constituents when they returned home. Ha! Someone tell Moscow Mitch.

      I recognize that thinking in the past is wrong. I see it led to a terribly flawed system of government that supported the bigotries and self-interest that was wrong. I see that, despite some corrections, it remains terribly flawed and FAPP is incapable of preventing what it was supposed to prevent, autocracy.

      That is not engaging in presentism, that is recognizing a logically flawed argument from the past given my current scientific knowledge of biology, genetics, brain science, psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

      The Republic doesn't work. It isn't even logically consistent, if majority selection of a representative within a city, county, district or state is acceptable, it makes no sense to elect the President any differently, or engage in unequal representation of citizens in that selection. I elect the mayor of my city directly, I don't turn the decision over to my city councilman. And certainly my vote for mayor should not count 73 times as much as my neighbor's vote just because they live on the next street.

      The Senate and Electoral college are ludicrous, they exchange majority rule for minority rule, which is in direct opposition to the modern beliefs in equality. Equal justice, equal representation and equal rights.

      And for a concrete example of this, Madison specifically endorsed popular election of the president ("The people at large was in his [Madison's] opinion the fittest in itself"), but endorsed the Electoral College because of Slavery in the South and the issue of counting Slaves in determining representation. You will find the original minutes of that debate at the following link, on pages 56 and 57 (the link takes you to page 56, see last four lines on the page). Madison's reservations about direct election appear on page 57, directly related to the slave population.

      So, if you DO revere Madison, then since Slavery and the 3/5 compromise are gone and things of the past, you should also revere the abolishment of the Electoral College because it no longer serves any purpose, and Madison himself preferred direct election of the Executive by the people. Read it for yourself.

    23. AM C: Madison and other founding fathers were right on many things, and you are wrong on many things in your presentism that shines through clearly in your dismissal of ideas of the past and the people of the past that you believe yourself superior to in many ways. Fine.

      However, the electoral college system is a much better and fairer system than direct popular vote for reasons already set forth by yours truly, and it is not something that needs to be changed. You and I disagree, but, thankfully, the American system has wisely maintained the electoral college system to prevent a concentration of popular vote from ruling over the other 45 or 50 states.

      Interestingly, your last paragraph falls right into the illustration I provided at the end of my last post. You have wrongly concluded that because X was wrong about Y, he must also be wrong about Z, which is not rational or objective. The electoral college serves a fine purpose that you simply don't like and declare it to be dated (more presentism) even though the arguments in favor of maintaining it have been set forth ever since it was put into operation. Do you even believe yourself vastly superior to all pro-electoral college thinkers of 2 years ago, 10 years ago, 25 years ago, and so on? Were they all completely without merit in supporting the electoral college, or did something happen in 2016 that you hate, and so objectively assessing the electoral college is not possible for you? At the very least, the arguments pro and con for maintaining the system should be discussed objectively, but this cannot be done by simply declaring one side to be dated, no longer valid, and so on when there are arguments in favor of maintaining the system that are valid and not dated. You won't even grant that. Again, presentism on display.

      Thanks for the website reference. It doesn't do what you claim it does in recounting some aspects of the debates about electing the president, but it does demonstrate more presumption on your part to claim to know something about the past that you actually don't know, yet you judge it anyway based on the false narrative you and others glibly accept because it supports your position. However, here's an article that debunks a major aspect of your position, and it is written by a person who wants to change the electoral college due to the 2016 election of Trump who he refers to as a demagogue. At least he is honest enough to demonstrate that his earlier viewpoint that is similar to yours in many respects is based on erroneous assumptions that you also accept and proudly declare to be true. Read it for yourself at


    24. DB: QED? You proved nothing, that article proves nothing, it cites the damning evidence, agrees that the record I provided demonstrates exactly what I said it did, then cites ridiculous circumstantial evidence to claim it had nothing to do with slavery.

      There are myriad reasons a few slave-owning states might vote against the electoral college; for example if they wanted something giving them more power than the electoral college offered them.

      For a modern analogy, if some Republicans vote against a Bill that is certain to pass regardless, they are often going on record to assure the public or their constituents or their donors that they were dutifully opposed to something those people do not like. The same goes in reverse in voting FOR a Bill that is certain to fail.

      DB says: the electoral college system is a much better and fairer system than direct popular vote

      Fairer to whom? The States? Who cares? States are not individuals, and selecting arbitrary geographic boundaries to give some citizens tens of times as much power as others in electing their representatives is patently unfair.

      There is in modern times absolutely zero reason to give "States" any preferences in voting whatsoever, at best they could be geographical subunits that cut law enforcement into more manageable chunks, or allowed devoted departments peculiar to certain geographical specificities, but even that is ridiculous with some states covering hundreds of times more area than others, or having tens of times more population.

      The only reason States were favored over people is because some States allowed slavery by law, along with other forms of bigotry and white male privilege and privileges of wealth. Those are notions we have largely discarded and should completely discard, and that leaves zero reason to respect the "sovereignty" of States other than the elements I mentioned.

      DB says: You have wrongly concluded that because X was wrong about Y, he must also be wrong about Z

      That would be wrong, but it is a lie to claim I have done that when I already explained your error once.

      I have claimed and demonstrated that the biases and prejudices of the Founding Fathers contributed to their production of a flawed political system, and like any exercise in logic, beginning with a false premise, when it is relied upon in the logic of argument, will almost certainly produce a wrong conclusion.

      It is not "presentism" to argue against bad logic in the past. What the Founders believed about God Given or "Natural" inequalities in 1775 influenced their decisions on designing a government. The large majority of us no longer believe in those inequalities, we have amended the Constitution to reflect that, but not enough because the design, by modern lights, is fundamentally flawed and designed to support their beliefs in Natural inequality. By modern lights those are wrong, racist and misogynistic and bigoted beliefs, therefore by modern lights the Constitution and our system of government no longer fits us; we have outgrown it.

      Judging the Founding Fathers wrong is not a necessary component of this argument; I am judging the current population, including you, that reveres a Constitution and Electoral System that embodies Inequalities that no longer reflects our beliefs.

      To prove the Electoral College is "more fair", you must produce a clear argument, not just an assertion, that there is any reason to be fair to States at the expense of People. You haven't done that. Without Slavery and the racist logic of the 3/5 Compromise, both roundly rejected, all arguments for the Electoral College or State sovereignty are weak tea. In the modern world, fairness to People takes precedence over fairness to the States. It is unfair to make any person's vote more or less influential than any other person's vote.

      That is what should be enshrined in the Constitution.

    25. To DAMC: Actually I should have written Definitive QED.

      My citations, arguments, and references are demonstrably stronger than yours, and you must look at ALL of my previous comments combined to see why. Additionally, my references include the actual US Constitution (devastating to your claims since it repeatedly refers to the US as a republic, and never as a democracy), the Federalist (also explains the superiority of a republic over a democracy), and so on. Yours don't even come close, and so you continue to dismiss the past via the fallacy of presentism.

      Again, you want majority rule to prevail, but what you claim I have done is actually what you do. You proudly declare majority rule/popular vote to be superior while continuing to dismiss the arguments in favor of the electoral college because of some errors of the people of the past, even though this does not mean they made errors in setting up the electoral college. You claim they did make errors but without compelling evidence, and despite the strongest evidence that is in favor of them not doing what you claim they did (as clearly set forth in the NY Times article I recently provided). It's the argument-squelching "racist" narrative you continue to push, and so you simply cannot get past this significant flaw in your approach that prevents you from seeing the objective nature of the arguments in favor of the electoral college that have been set forth for the past 230 years, and then perhaps objectively argue against those. Nope. Just keep pounding away at the straw man version of the electoral college and applaud yourself for knocking down a hollow man of your own making. The arguments in favor of the electoral college did not end at the time the Constitution was written, yet you won't engage current arguments either. It's always "the founding fathers were racist morons, so there is no way the electoral college could be fair. I am Castaldo, master of Presentism, and if I can't see any value in the arguments in favor of the electoral college, they must not exist. And don't forget that those horrible, morally inferior men known as the Founding Fathers were nothing but racists, so why should I even consider they may have been right on a few other things?"

      But still the article I provided demonstrates that the charge of racism you rely upon is nonsense, yet you dismiss the demonstration that contains numerous citations and facts by referring to it as circumstantial only. Once again, no willingness to objectively engage arguments if they simply go against your "it must be racist" narrative.

      Wrapping up this exchange, the timeless principles of the US Constitution continue to reflect the beliefs of many (I do not presume to speak for all as you do. See your declaration of "our beliefs." Nice reveal.) regarding both individual and states rights that you do not accept. Many people who believe in the timeless principles of the electoral college do not simultaneously believe in inequalities that you merely assert are built into the electoral college system.

      News Flash: States are comprised of individuals, and there is such a thing as states rights. The electoral college protects and champions both individual and states rights. Direct democracy/nationwide popular vote does not protect states rights. This is not a racist statement.

      Definitive QED

    26. DB: No, definitive irrelevancy and misdirection.

      As I suspected, you fail to make any convincing argument as to why States should have any rights at all, much less why fairness to States should be more important than fairness to people.

      Nor do you resolve the obvious logical inconsistency of letting a State executive (a governor) be elected by majority vote, but not the President, when we have 70% of States with more people than the entire 13 colonies (2.4M). California alone has 16x the population of the original colonies, what makes giving the 13 colonies an Electoral College and California direct election of their Governor logically consistent? Nothing.

      Nor are your references "stronger" than mine, I refer to the original minutes and claims of the founders in the first debate, and they clearly state the issue was the slave population and the Electoral College was proposed on that basis. Also, to claim they were not racist, and therefore made racist errors in their thinking, should not be controversial in the least. Any later "justifications" pale beside their original arguments, and Madison's original argument, based on what we now understand and believe were mistaken reasons, namely to prevent the disenfranchisement of white male slave-owning privilege.

      You fail to address a single one of my arguments, you are just restating your mistaken position.

      In light of your failure to actually provide any compelling reason for modern States to take precedence over people, for people to be disenfranchised and given unequal voices in their government, I stand by my original assessment. The Electoral College is a result of slavery, had it not been for slavery Madison would have gone with what he considered his "fittest" solution, direct election by eligible voters.

      Unless you are able to provide some compelling modern reasons to give voters in small states a disproportionate influence in the daily government, I have no interest in discussing this further; without any valid reasoning, you are just an ideologue pounding the podium and appealing to authorities doing the same.

    27. Correction: I meant to say, to claim they were racist and therefore made racist errors in their thinking, should not be controversial in the least.

    28. DAMC: Promise you will no longer respond? Excellent.

      " are just an ideologue pounding the podium and appealing to authorities doing the same."

      You got it! That's all I did...if you failed to read what I set forth in all of my previous comments, and/or you just can't honestly engage what I wrote. So be it.

      I am most content to stand by my previous comments, superior references (especially the NY Times article that completely obliterates your bogus racist charge -- LOL), and honorable arguments on behalf of the reasonableness and fairness of the electoral college that has existed and served the United States quite well during these past 230-plus years. You stick with your modern heroes of platitudes, political correctness, and presentism proudly manifested by an alleged moral superiority to the people of the past despite the many immoral atrocities championed by people of the present and their overall disrespect for human life, which also includes the abuse of science whenever it doesn't fit their ideological narratives that really do try to enslave people in their "moral superiority" groupthink mentality.

      Most Definitive and Conclusive QED. :-)

    29. @DB: Promise you will no longer respond?

      I promised no such thing. I said you are an ideologue; incapable of providing logic that would be central to your claim that fairness to States deserves precedence over fairness to people; thus rendering the debate uninteresting to me. Your repetition of chest pounding without addressing that issue only reinforces my assessment; you make false accusations, engage in ad hominem attack, and cite ideologues just like yourself to support them.

      If you can't answer to the central issue of deferring to States at the expense of people, your arguments are repetitive and uninteresting. If you think that means I won't defend myself against lies, you are mistaken.

    30. LOL. Lighten up, DAMC. Note that I put the overture (please look up the meaning) in the form of a question that is close to being rhetorical. And "Excellent" was anticipatory if you would have made such a promise that I figured was beyond you. It was merely a hope on my part. Try to understand context.

      However, you did claim that you had no interest in discussing this matter further if I continued on the path you have wrongly judged to be immoral in your ongoing presumption of moral superiority that you clearly do not possess. Obviously by way of your last post wherein you mischaracterized my position yet again (so intellectually dishonest), you must have changed your mind about discussing the matter further, even a little bit.

      "Lies"? Who wrote the following falsehood and mischaracterization regarding my position?

      "If you can't answer to the central issue of deferring to States at the expense of people..."

      This is a flat out dishonest straw man based on a false characterization of what my position has been from the get-go, and here is just one quote from a previous post by yours truly that demonstrates your abject dishonesty in purposely misrepresenting my position:

      DB: "States are comprised of individuals, and there is such a thing as states rights. The electoral college protects and champions both individual and states rights. Direct democracy/nationwide popular vote does not protect states rights."

      Unassailable QED :-)

      Goodbye and good luck,...and thank you for helping me appreciate the excellence of the electoral college even more so than I did previously since the arguments you pose against it have actually been discussed by many over the years (they are not a recent/modern discovery; ha ha!), and in reviewing them again, I take great joy in appreciating that they have been wisely refuted and rejected each time they have been trotted out after unwise people get upset over a particular election's result wherein all candidates know and play by the same rules.

    31. DB: This is a flat out dishonest straw man based on a false characterization ...

      In self-defense, no it isn't. You said "States are comprised of individuals, and there is such a thing as states rights. The electoral college protects and champions both individual and states rights."

      And the central question is, why should the States have rights at the expense of equality for individuals?

      I'm not claiming States don't have rights, I'm claiming there is no logic in modern times for them having rights. If you cannot provide a logical reason for States to have rights, other than appealing to the authority of Founding Fathers or modern scholars, then you don't have an argument.

      I am a scientist (it is literally in my job title!), and Appeal to Authority is a fallacy, it is not logic. Here is how real scientists are supposed to work: We are free to cite and repeat the logic that others have published. We give credit to the originator of the logic, but their stature in the community is not supposed to matter, only their reasoning matters, and here's the rub: If you cannot defeat their reasoning with logic, the rules of the game are you cannot deny their conclusion; at least not without tangible evidence by experiment or counter-example that their conclusion is false.

      In this case, you are asserting States have rights and those should be more important than giving individuals an equal voice in determining their government.

      I want to know by what logic that makes sense.

      Claiming the Founding Fathers wanted it that way is not logic. I claim it was due directly to slavery, Madison himself said so.

      You cite an author that claims it wasn't about slavery, using logical fallacies to "prove" his point, and I pointed out WHY they are fallacies.

      No, I don't accept fallacious arguments, and they don't count for beans against Madison's own words in the first debate on this topic saying explicitly taht direct election of the President is the Fittest Proposal, and the one he preferred, except that Slave States wouldn't accept it because it would leave them with too little power.

      Provide logic, or you are just an ideologue repeatedly asserting the same thing over and over. The 3/5 compromise is gone, Slavery is gone, The Electoral College was a compromise born of slavery, and you need to provide compelling modern logic as to why populous States have their voices diluted in choosing their leadership, and why States should have any rights at all. Without appealing to authority, or the definition of a Republic. You are free to crib actual logic from somebody smarter than you, we scientists do that all the time. But it will not make a whit of difference to me if it is just another assertion by Einstein, Jefferson, or Ed Witten or Santa Claus. Give me logic, or you have nothing interesting to communicate.

  5. In addition to the balloon based experiment you mentioned, a second experiment also saw a single event consistent with a magnetic monopole passing through their detector. See:

    1. Roger,

      Thanks for mentioning! I didn't know about this.

    2. The balloon event was in 1975. The 1982 event was in Cabrera's lab.

    3. In searching around for Cabrera's magnetic monopole I reacquainted myself with this fairly recent and interesting Physics Today review article that is interesting

      The measurement of this claimed magnetic monopole does not seem to have been repeated. This does not mean Cabrera did not measure a magnetic monopole, but it is hard to support the claim however. The ANITA data is similarly in need up repeated results, which if they do not come soon will lead to doubts about it.

      This article I cite works with the Dirac monopole, which is a solenoid of great length. The solenoid defines a magnetic field of constant strength. The integration of a path integral that encloses this solenoid results in a phase term exp(ie/ħ∮A·dr), for A the vector potential and the integration around the circumference of the solenoid. This phase must be zero in order for the solenoid to have no physical influence and therefore e/ħ∮A·dr = 2nπ. Stokes's rule tells us that

      A·dr = ∫∫∇×A·da = ∫∫B·da,

      for B the magnetic field. Here the area of integration would be in effect the area of the solenoid opening, Now putting this all together and setting this integral of the field over the area as a flux which determines a magnetic charge g you get g = 2πħ/e, which is a Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization rule and an elementary form of S-duality. The Polyakov-t'Hooft magnetic monopole is a bit cleaner in that the solenoid is “clipped off” and the monopole is a purely topological object. The basic idea though is contained here. The magnetic charge is extremely large g = 2πħ/e ≈ 4×10^{-9}j/amp, which means there is a huge cloud of virtual monopoles around any given monopole. This then means the renormalized mass of the magnetic monopole is quite large. The Polyakov-t'Hooft magnetic monopole puts this mass near the GUT scale. If these are stable, which to a degree makes sense if this magnetic charge is conserved, then these would be enormous quantum objects in the universe.

      I would love it if the magnetic monopole were really found. BTW, it is very unlikely these are dark matter, for a gas of both N and S magnetic monopoles would have signatures of very large photon energies from annihilations. I remember in high school hearing an NPR radio report of a possible detection of a magnetic monopole. I remember being somewhat boggled by the very idea, and ever since there have been a series of such possible measurements, but nothing seems consistently repeated.

  6. In politics as in physics, some things defy explanation.

    Not always! I think the problem, before these assholes came along, is simple corruption. Politicians promise to fight on our side, then the rich get richer, the rest of us get poorer. Rinse and repeat until you give up on voting. Then they can appeal to racism or misogyny or religious bigotry and those people come out to vote. In the next election the opposition comes out to vote, but then it is too late, and we end up electing either another politician beholden to the sociopathic rich that funded their campaign, or we elect an idealist that can't seem to get anything done because they can't get the help of politicians that are corrupt and representing the corporations that want zero taxes and zero regulation and zero liability for any harm they cause in the pursuit of profits.

  7. I guess that the USA electorate, from a population of >320 million, elected their President while a 2 to 1 majority, from a population of 140,000 members of the Conservative and Unionist Party, largely from the Home Counties of England elected Boris Johnson. It's a temporary pertubation perhaps,designed to test our patience and unlikely to happen often.

  8. Thanks for appropriate context. I suspect sufficient replication lies ahead but hope I'm wrong.

  9. With respect to Miller and Morley experiments, Reg Cahill has put together some interesting papers suggesting that M-M (1892) didn't actually return a null result after all, as their own data show, and that Miller was on to something. Here's a link: And:

    1. Give us a break. Please. That paper, and most (all? I have better things to do than check them all) of the other Cahill papers, are in the "physics" category at arXiv. Everyone knows that this is a euphemism for "almost crackpot". Most (all?) appeared in a journal which appears to have been especially created for fringe theories and/or for people not allowed to post to arXiv because of crackpot tendencies.

    2. Here is a random sample (yes, really) of something from that "journal":

      Dividing the angular frequency of the electron 48 times by Euler’s number, we get the average adult human heart rate:

      In fact, the natural logarithm of the ratio of the average adult human heart rate 67/min to the electron angular frequency (tab. 1) equals -48:

      In a similar way, dividing the angular frequency of the proton 57 times by Euler’s number, we get the average adult human respiratory rate:

      In fact, the natural logarithm of the ratio of the average adult human resting respiratory rate 15/min to the proton angular frequency (tab. 1) equals -57:

    3. The above links are just specific examples of a problem: one should link to the abstract and not to the PDF, as noted here and here. (It's also a good idea to insert actual links, rather than just the text of the URL; some blogs automatically convert them, but this one doesn't.)

    4. Reply to Phillip Helbig and his damn of

      What can be wrong with the demand after better experiments?

      What can be wrong with

      "Despite the enormous significance of this postulate there has never been a reliable direct experimental
      test, that is, in which the one-way travel time of light in vacuum over a set distance has been measured, and
      repeated for different directions. So how could a science as fundamental and important as physics permit
      such a key idea to go untested?"


      What can even be wrong in general with the stipulation that basic physical theories should be tested again and again with the current technique and with open-minded approach?

    5. arxiv vs. snarkiv demonstrates all of the categories are mostly filled with nonsense.

      Plus, it's fun!

    6. Philip, why don't you respond to the substance of Cahill's papers? I'm always suspicious when people seek to dismiss research entirely simply casting aspersions on the publication or other things and not address the substance at all. As Sabine made clear in her post there is a lot of legitimate debate about what Miller actually found. Cahill simply explores Miller's and related work. Jim Khalili states clearly and boldly in his recent book Life on the Edge that Einstein was simply wrong in postulating that the speed of light is an absolute limit b/c we have abundant empirical support for quantum entanglement breaking this limit, among other empirical issues.

    7. Exactly! For some people anybody deviating from the herd is a crackpot, curiously many string theorists considered anybody questioning their cult-like thinking to be a crackpot. Immutable and unquestionable dogmas are the domain of cults and religions but not Science but it seems that dogmatism is pervasive in today's mainstream thinking.

    8. If he has something credible to say, why does he publish in a crackpot journal?

    9. A cursory review of the History of Science shows that the complacency trap had been almost unavoidable to "experts"/orthodoxy through time, it is an universal constant.

      Lavoisier claimed: Rocks can't fall from the sky because there are no rocks in the sky! The herd followed this expert ignorance and the scientific reality of Meteorites was delayed by many years; anybody trying to publish anything at that time about meteorites in any "serious" journal would had been rejected and labeled as a crackpot.

      There are many more examples of this kind showing that scientific xenophobia had been and continue to be pervasive in scientific practice even today. It is not really surprising that Reg Cahill published his work in this "crackpot" journal as "serious" journals are reviewed by "experts" with very narrow worldviews and deeply compromised in orthodoxy.

      The emperor has no clothes but none of his servants is brave enough to say it out loud.

    10. to Phillip Helbig:

      a "crackpot journal" which is referenced by INSPEC?

    11. Truly new facts appearing to contradict orthodoxy will suffer the same fate as meteorites, there are many active "Lavoisiers" in scientific practice and academia today.

      Many participants in this blog, if not all, are unaware of the presence of morphing anomalous objects in the atmosphere that respond to direct signals by flaring but sometimes by morphing into shapes that appear to be correlated to the signals sent to them, as digit shapes, these are not UFOs but something else.

      Making this claim anywhere in academia will have the same irrational responses, crackpot will be the nicest label. This is an observational claim that only can be validated by independent and systematic observations like the reality of meteorites, but this observational claim is so far removed from the narrow and complacent worldviews of active academicians/scientists that it will take a very long time to be accepted with all its far reaching implications.

    12. weristdas: "What can be wrong with the demand after better experiments?"

      Did you actually read that Cahill paper ( What do you feel about this, from that paper:'
      "However at Flinders University a major breakthrough for this problem was made when it was discovered that unlike coaxial cables, the movement of optical fibres through space does not affect the propagation speed of light through them. This is a very strange effect and at present there is no explanation for it."

  10. There is also Cabrera's monopole

    1. Thanks for pointing out. I think I mixed up the references. I have now fixed that.

  11. Love this article! Thanks for writing it!

  12. Maybe during those periods of time we were living in a branch of the universal wave function in which the statistics were whacky haha

  13. I am not qualified to delve deeply into theoretical physics, but I do have explanations for the unexplainable in American politics. Allow me to venture a guess that you do as well, and that your last sentence above was a figure of speech.

  14. My modem has 3 yellow Ethernet ports for internet connections. Maybe Trump and Johnson can do something about this stupid name.

  15. Well, I don't think the Aether has been disproved.
    The exact value and direction of our speed through the "Aether" is not simple. We carried out the MM experiment on the surface of the Earth. The Earth's surface rotates about its centre. the Earth itself orbits the Sun. The Sun orbits the galactic centre and who knows what the local group is doing relative to what might be the Aether in intergalactic space. It is impossible to quantify.

    So any vector assumed on the Earth's surface will likely not bear any resemblance, in magnitude or direction, to the combined motion through any Aether. Of course there might be some measurable effect but that would be due to a slight change in the vector, not necessarily, or likely, to be in any expected speed (or direction). Funny that?

    If we analyse how inertial time dilation might be caused by motion through some Aether, we might deduce that to produce a Lorentz like variation with speed, a circular function, then motion would have to be through some wavelike field in order to produce that effect. (A bit like simple harmonic motion in reverse).

    Also, since we know that time itself red shifts with increasing speed, then we might associate this Aether field with the phenomenon of time. Certainly time varies with position in gravitational fields, again, red shifting at lower elevations. One might then say there is a "Time Rate Field" throughout space which varies in energy with proximity to larges masses and which also might similarly vary with motion through it.

    These two effects, gravitational and inertial time dilation, both allude to some wavelike field of energy that we experience as time.

    "Not science" I hear you say? Well, ideas are the start of scientific discovery aren't they? If they also fit the mathematics and known physical effects then surely, in the absence of any alternative explanations (which today are still absent), for the detailed causality of inertial and gravitational time dilation, then surely the idea is worth considering.

    1. ken,

      I didn't say the ether has been disproved. I said that's how the story is told but that reality is more complicated. Needless to say, science can neither prove nor disprove anything.

    2. The question of the ether and the Michelson Morley experiment is indeed an important point as it is also taught in university lessons again and again that ether was disproved by MM. Lorentz has in 1889 shown and argued (together with Oliver Heaviside) that it is the consequence of Maxwell's theory that electric fields contract at motion. As a consequence the MM experiment also has to contract at motion (with respect to a fixed frame) and so the null result is fully explained.

      Einstein himself has never argued (to my knowledge) that the MM disproves the ether. But Einstein argued (in a letter to Lorentz in 1916) that he sees on the one hand a necessity for ether (to understand rotation) but on the other hand does not like it because it conflicts with the principles of his theory. - And I think he meant the "beauty" of his theory.

    3. The Michelson-Morey experiment is meant to measure the change in the Earth’s velocity with respect to a putative aether. So it does not matter so much what the frame of the aether is. It respects Galilean relativity.
      Lorentz did invent the length contraction formula in order to account for the MM null result. This has some echoes with recent theories. History may not repeat, but it does sort of rhyme.

    4. I like your comment. I even think it's Planck's constant not that constant. What if such a "constant" varies in space only?

    5. Bee, I would suggest that science can indeed disprove things, but not prove them. Do you disagree?

    6. antooneo, this complex history is documented well in the book, Einstein and the Ether, by Ludwik Kostro. Short answer is that Einstein did dismiss ether as "superfluous" in his famous 1905 paper on SR, but then in his later work on GR came to realize that some notion of the ether, the idea that space or spacetime itself has certain properties, is necessary to explain acceleration and inertia.

    7. Tam,

      Yes, I disagree. You'll never reach 100% confidence level.

    8. Tam,
      the mentioned book of Ludwik Kostro has a very interesting letter exchange between Lorentz and Einstein. Lorentz convinced Einstein successfully that rotation cannot be physically understood without the existence of an ether as an absolute frame. But then Einstein continued: I can anyway not accept the ether as it is in conflict with my principles.
      A compelling argument of Einstein, isn't it?

    9. @Eliel. The two constants which may be absolutely constant are the speed of light and the Planck constant or ħ = h/2π = 1.05×10^{-34}J-sec. The speed of light is just a conversion factor between distance in space and time units. Think of the speed of light as c = 1 light year/year., rather than the standard c = 3.0×10^8m/sec. In this way we can see that in proportional units, or natural units, the speed of light is one unit of distance divided by a proportional unit of time. Similarly the Planck constant with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle ΔpΔx ≥ ħ/2 correlates a spread in momentum with a spread in its conjugate variable called position. So we can think of momentum as a reciprocal length p = ħk and in natural units ħ = length/length. So in a natural or rational set of units we really can say c = 1 and ħ = 1. In a time vs frequency setting we can again think of the Planck constant as an intertwiner between some interval of time and its reciprocal that is frequency.

      Now to make things a bit weird there is a Schwarschild radius r = 2GM/c^2, where the 2G/c^2, is a product of the Newton gravitational constant G = 6.67×10^{-11}Nm^2/kg^2 and the reciprocal of the speed of light squared. This 2G/c^2 is then a constant that related a mass, which is by E = mc^2 equivalent to energy, to a distance. The Planck constant tells us that energy is reciprocal of time, and this is equivalent by the speed of light to the reciprocal of distance. So we have an intertwining between a distance and a momentum, or energy if you prefer, that is a reciprocal of how the Planck constant relates momentum and position. Odd indeed, if you think about it.

      We live in a world where we can listen to a piece of music in time and frequency. If we lived in a perfectly quantum world a piece of music would be perceived as a Fourier transform with a bunch of frequencies or as something occurring in time with no frequencies, or a complete uncertainty spread in frequencies. Gravity tells us we can as well do both. Now there is a funny matter with quantum gravitation in that the hyperbolic groups lead to negative probabilities. This is seen as a serious pathology. However, one way of thinking about quantum mechanics is the Wigner quasi-probability distribution that because of nonparametric amplification does allow a quantum wave to have both time and frequency distributions. The price is there can be negative probabilities. Coherent quantum states, condensates, Laughlin states (Landau levels with fractional statistics), and so forth define a subspace of the Hilbert space of states that have a classical-like property. So we have these three constants c, ħ and G, which also define the Planck unit of length ℓ_p = √Għ/c^3, that share some very interesting properties where these may be constants, constants that in standard units have dimensional values, that we might want to treat with some respect as maybe absolute.

  16. U.S. Election system is a popular vote democratic system. There are 51 popular vote elections every cycle. Fifty states and D.C.Trump won more of these popular vote elections than Clinton. The national popular vote is a meaningless. Responding to your question please see Daniel Chater 2 v. 21...he removeth kings, and setteh up kings....

    1. Right, God wanted Trump to be President. Got it.

    2. Trump 2020.
      Bolsonaro 2022.
      Out world left!

  17. "The Michelson-Morley experiment of 1897 disproved the ether, a hypothetical medium that permeates the universe.... At least that’s how the story goes." - an early example of "fake news", there were various types of ether theory and a blanket statement that seems to be saying there is no ether of any type, without giving further explanation just confuses things.
    "In reality, it was more complicated."- correct, but "fake news" is about missing out the complications.

    1. I think so too. We can consider ether as the quantum vacuum, for example.

  18. Why didn't the Michelson-Morley experiment (or newer remakes) prove or unprove the Lense–Thirring effect?

    And where is the significant difference between an (only little specified) ether theory and a theory which claims, there is an all underlying structure, called space-time?

    ... if both, ether and space-time, could be moved with by mass or energy?

    1. weristdas hat recht. Wie immer!

    2. Where is the significant difference between ether and space-time? I think you answer your own question. The revolutionary concept was the combining space and time into a single geometric construct. Ether, no-matter how open one's interpretation, whether considered as a substance or as a field, was only ever postulated as a 3 dimensional construct. And as such it was never going to fit the bill.

    3. The Lense-Thirring effect has magnitude that is of order G/c^2 times the Newtonian gravity term. That makes it notoriously difficult to measure. Leonard Schiff proposed a satellite based gyroscopic detection in the early 1960s, and the Gravity-B probe finally detected this frame dragging last decade.

    4. Pardon, but the Gravity-B Probe detected nothing than noise. It's the same as with "detection of gravitational waves": nothing as a sort of hearing of "paranormale Radiostimmen" found in noise.

    5. @weristdas: You are wrong in your assessment of Gravity-B and LIGO. I wrote a more strongly worded retort that did not show up here. Yet you are clearly wrong.

  19. On page 140 of Paul Davies book "Superforce" (1984), he states that up to 200 monopoles could be passing through each square kilometer of Earth's surface every year. Blas Cabrera's superconducting ring, monopole detector, enclosed an area of 20 cm. squared. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that a detector this size (assuming Davies estimate is still considered valid) would have one chance in 500 million of detecting one of these monopoles. If Cabrera's detection was genuine, then it was an incredibly lucky strike. The fact that the change in magnetic flux matched the amount predicted in P.A.M. Dirac's monopole theory certainly seems to favor a real detection.

    1. Magnetic monopoles would solve some interesting problems. It would for instance connect the gauge principle of the standard model or GUTs with homotopy or topology. This could absorb a lot of gauge redundancy. From a technology perspective I can’t think of a better way to confine plasma for fusion power than to use magnetic monopoles.

      Claims of magnetic monopoles have a history of nullity. I tend to not hold my breath over this, even though the experimental finding of monopoles would be fantastic. I should not use the word fantastic any more since t’Rump uses it a lot.

    2. In Paul Davies wonderfully written, and fascinating, book he points out that the grand unified monopoles, (independently developed by t'hooft and Polyakov), would possess something like 10^16 proton masses. With such an enormous concentration of mass/energy only a few dozen would be required to meet the daily energy requirements of an average home. To release this energy it would be necessary to bring monopole and anti-monopole together, or in this case a north and a south monopole. Davies even relates some speculations of geophysicists that the constant bombardment of Earth by monopoles may have resulted in their being trapped in the core. If so, the north and south monopoles would tend to be separated by the geomagnetic field. And mostly during geomagnetic reversals the two opposing polarities might mix releasing significant energy. Although he doesn't say it in the book maybe volcanic activity increases above a baseline average during magnetic reversals.

    3. What if the monopoles were quasiparticles that were metastable with a possible indefinite lifespan of years. Would such a particle be useful in theory and in application?

    4. I guess I was not thinking of using magnetic monopole annihilating magnetic anti-monopoles exactly. Though that would work. If we could “catch” these, say with some magnetic “net” we could use them in a variety of ways. Their masses have been placed at the GUT scale, 10^{15} to 10^{16}Gev. If they are stable we might be able to use them to confine plasmas. The magnetic charge by S-duality is g ~ 2πħ/e ≈ 4×10^{-9}j/amp. That may not sound like much, but it is about a billion times more charge than the standard electric charge in comparable units. So with powerful magnets we might be able to “scoop them up” if they are prevalent. A large solenoid in space might be able to capture these as they would tend to orbit around the magnetic field, following the lines of magnetic flux, of the solenoid. Alternatively a capacitor type of device with a large electric field might trap them.

      However, I again would not bet the farm on this. If they exist it could be there are only two magnetic monopoles in the entire universe. Chances are really good they are not hanging around here.

    5. Lawrence, you mentioned a ramification of the existence of monopoles would be to connect the gauge principle of the SM with topology or homotopy. Would this still be true if only a single north and south pair of magnetic monopoles existed in the entire Universe? I seem to recall Dirac's linking the quantization of electric charge with the existence of monopoles, as needing only a single one, though of course for magnetic charge conservation a north/south pair would be needed. I might be wrong on that appreciation.

    6. The one thing that would happen if there is one magnetic monopole is it would demand the spatial region of the universe be infinite. If it were finite, say a sphere S^3 then the lines of magnetic force would wind around with nowhere to terminate. The space would be dense with magnetic field, which is a divergence. One might think of a sphere S^3 with two magnetic monopoles where one of them is removed with the topological consequence the spatial manifold is infinite. Then the other magnetic monopole is “at infinity.”

      The topological role can be seen with the projective space. In R^3 we can form {R^3 - pt}/Z_2 = RP^2 and the first homotopy is π_1(RP^2) = Z_2. This is similar to the idea in my last paragraph. This result is closely connected to why quantum statistics has commutator [φ, φ^†]_± = 1, - for bosons and + for fermion, statistics. Interestingly for R^2 we have {R^2 - pt}/Z_2 = RP^1 and π_1(RP^1) = Z, which is why there are anyons in 2 dimensions. The gauge group G may have a subgroup H and if we consider G such that we ignore the action of H, which is a quotient group G/H, the second fundamental form π_2(G/H) defines a topological charge of a vacuum state that is the Polyakov-t'Hooft monopole. One might think of this as saying given a group G that decomposes by symmetry breaking into H the second homotopy defines the remaining vacuum symmetry, and if this has some structure or a topological cycle there is then some “charge,” or in this case a magnetic charge.

      Suppose we consider the standard SU(5) theory. It decomposes into G_{sm} = SU(3)×SU(2)×U(1) and we can look at π_2(SU(5)/G_{sm}) = 0. There are no monopoles. However, for SO(10) we have an additional cycle due to the double covering and so π_2(SO(10)/G_{sm}) = Z and there then should be magnetic monopoles.

    7. Based on the estimate of upwards of 200 monopoles passing through each square kilometer of Earth's surface in a year, mentioned above, a superconducting ring of about 80 meters diameter would have a unitary chance of intercepting a monopole per annum. I'm not sure of the efficacy of such a large ring being able to detect a monopole, but having dabbled with small, hobbyist YBCO chips I became aware that flexible YBCO ribbon is also manufactured. A length of garden hose, suitably insulated, encasing a continuous loop of YBCO ribbon could be the basic setup. Provision for nitrogen outgassing could be achieved by having the hose undulate up and down slightly around the periphery of the loop, with vents at the high points, and replacement liquid nitrogen introduced as needed (or just continuously pump fresh LN2 in, removing gas bubbles in the process). I used to pay 5 dollars per liter of liquid nitrogen at a local supplier, so an experiment of this kind might be relatively inexpensive. Of course the experiment could go whole hog with a 1.128 kilometer diameter loop enclosing a square kilometer, if funds were available. Then, assuming the flux of monopoles mentioned in Paul Davies book is valid, a detection every several days could be anticipated.

    8. Your idea is a sort of SQUID, which would work in principle. However, I think that rather than a single loop you would need a sort of lattice, similar to the threading of a tennis racket, so the Yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) loops can detect a magnetic flux change in a local region. This would cost money of course, and if this were to take up a square kilometer of area it would be a major project. That would require a lot of YCBO. It could though be a part of a cosmic ray detector array, such as the Pierre Auger Observatory.

  20. Some Russian scientists (Leonid Urutskoev) claim they made reproducible experiments that they attribute to magnetic monopoles. Is this considered a mistake / a revolutionary discovery / crackpot science?

  21. The Michelson-Morley experiment did not disprove the ether. What it did was remove the need to postulate an ether. Because it proved that the speed of light was a constant, not relative to some fixed 0,0,0 universal reference, but relative to the observer. However what that then did was create a geometric paradox between different observers travelling at different speeds. We then had to wait for Einstein to reveal this logical impossibility was not so much mind-bending as space-time bending.

    1. MikeS,

      That's right, it did not disprove the ether. As I said, in reality it's more complicated. Science neither proves nor disproves anything.

    2. Sabine,

      Yes your point was fully understood. My comment was aimed more at those who would try and drag ether back into existence based on what may most charitably be described as "minority" evidence and contrary to any need for it.

  22. Dear Dr H, U.K., and World,

    My own reasons for voting for Trump were based on his campaign analysis of issues that are tearing our country apart: Constitutional law, effective immigration processes, fairer trade agreements, improving content and quality in education, among others.

    These issues, and their interdependence, can be understood,with objective research, but probably not by political views.

    Good Karma to you all.

    1. Objectively speaking, has the current administration advanced the issues that you care about to this point?

      Is the country less torn apart as a result of the efforts put forth by the current administration?

  23. "How did the world end up with Donald Trump as President of the United States and Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom? In politics as in physics, some things defy explanation."
    Or how Bolsonaro was elected in Brazil fending off the red danger of URSAL!
    What is strange is that the left does not believe in its failure before the conservative wave!
    As for physics, the only thing wrong is with the superb elite of physicists.
    Long and prosperous life \ II /

  24. On the GSI positrons:
    There was a lot of excitement at that time and the talk was about Nobel Prizes. Two independent, competing groups Heidelberg,Yale) and Munich saw dilepton lines, at very close, but not identical energies. Another (much smaller) group at Darmstadt saw nothing. The latter, of course, was discredited by the others. And then then the theorists: On a German Physical Society Meeting at that time he gave a talk on these lines being indications of the decay of the axion condensate"
    Finally, the whole thing came to an end when a very independent experiment at Argonne didn't see anything.
    Stil: there is a positive message in this: competition is good for the advance of science!

    1. Yes, the axion condensate! I was looking for a reference on that, but couldn't find one.

    2. Here is one ref:
      Constraints On Variant Axion Models
      William A. Bardeen (Munich, Max Planck Inst.), R.D. Peccei, T. Yanagida (DESY). May 1986. 28 pp.
      Published in Nucl.Phys. B279 (1987) 401-428

  25. In politics, as in physics, there are many things of “hidden variable theories''

  26. Hi Axil, thanks for your questions.

    On balance, issues I most care about are being advanced:
    Our judicial system (Supreme Court and Federal appointees);
    The economy (investment, small business and employment opportunities);
    National defense and support for veterans.
    Politically, the country seems more divided (objective dialog on issues is rare).
    Individual interactions may be less confrontational (at the working level, the basics may become more important than opinion).

    It's a work in progress.

  27. In software, you just say it was a bug. In most cases, there is hardly anything to learn from software bugs.

  28. Michelson collaborated with Simon Newcomb, a serious good scientist who argued that heavier than air flying machines would not work unless some discoveries are made. But that's an other story, the one I would like to remind is about cold fusion. Claims that Fleishmann and Pons result has been replicated came from dozens of places. Next from even more places refutations were produced. The topic has been renamed to Lenr but it is still hot. History remains to be (re)written.

  29. @Phillip Helbig
    "Why single out Israel for criticism and not, say, Saudi Arabia?"
    The US Senate just voted to block arms sales to SA (Trump vetoed). If anything, Israel is singled out for lack of criticism.

  30. The Michelson-Morley experiment took place in 1887, not 1897.

  31. Hi Eliel, would you summarize why you evaluate our embattled conservative movement as a "Wave?"


    The first step to Hack Non-Locality is cognitive.

    In Primates, It begins by excluding all the 'First Person Singular Pronouns' from their speech and communication exchanges ...

    Then, The Apes will understand what Non-Local Means ... Once, They understand Non-Local, then, to deploy non-local technologies becomes easier ... and the only way to control inertial entropy decays is through Non-Local Systems ...

    Sims, while you are trapped in a Local Condition, You are stuck as a fragmented part/iteration into the Overall Inertia from the Non-Local System that contains 'Your' Contingent Manifestation ...

    Then, Begin by - real - understanding about ... What The Fuck is a Non-Local System? ...

    ... ...

    'Go and Do Your Homework '

  33. Boris Johnson looks like Griff Rhys Jones doing an impression of Donald Trump.

  34. Our interpretations of the MM experiment are based on assumptions : Light travels from a to b, so we assume there is the light, and there is the surroundings (not specifying what that entails).

    If there is no aether in the classical sense - and I agree - then how does light travel ? Because it can't be bulletlike, strangely enough it has no rest mass, but it has momentum. Nor is it a classical wave.

    Can this weirdness be overcome by changing our assumptions ?

    Start by assuming that 'the surroundings' (space, the vacuum) and light are one and the same. Digitalize the surroundings (no infinitesimal calculus) as a field of quanta which do not move themselves from a to be, but with an impulse, you can create a momentum transfer, like Newton's cradle : Nothing goes from a to be, so no rest mass needed, but there is momentum transfer from one quantum to the next, simulating a motion from a to b, while in fact the field and its constituents are stationary. And obviously you can't slow this ' motion' down because there is no motion through anything (referring to MM null result).

    I've spent a lot of time quantifying the effects of this assumption while combining it with a physical causal principle for gravity, it yields results.

    A.o. it shows how the bending angle of light ( past e.g the sun) exactly doubles (twice the Newton's angle) when you apply the effects of curvage to that field of quanta, curvage that is as caused by the physical curvedness of the gravitational well placed in that field.

    In an attempt towards unification, I also found that the exact same field of quanta, yields the ratios of the discrete energy levels of hydrogen excited states as you increase the density, without any curve fitting of any sort.

    We must never start accepting paradoxes and strangeness, weirdness in science, there is a logical explanation for everything, without the need for bolt-on design
    (epicycles) or a loads of extra parameters, history tells us this.

    But that doesn't mean we will find it any time soon.

    Best, Koenraad

    1. Why should the angle of light not bend just by refraction at the gaseous outer zones of the sun?

      If we take Ockham, that will better explain the virtual displacement of star positions near the sun silhouette.

      We don’t need Einstein nor quanta curvage for that. But I fear, this all too easy explanation don't fit the Zeitgeist - so have to dismissed.

    2. weristdas: "Why should the angle of light not bend just by refraction at the gaseous outer zones of the sun?" Yes, refraction can bend light.

      "If we take Ockham, that will better explain the virtual displacement of star positions near the sun silhouette." Indeed.

      Except that the degree of bending, by refraction, depends on the wavelength of the light; gravitational lensing is achromatic. And when one checks for this wavelength dependence one finds the observed bending is indeed achromatic (e.g optical vs radio). Besides, the degree of bending has now been reliably measured over the whole sky (HIPPARCOS, radio astronomy, GAIA) and found to be consistent with gravitational lensing. If you'd like to download the relevant data (most of it is in the public domain), create your own models of plasma refraction (or whatever), match data to your model, write up your results, and submit to a relevant peer-reviewed journal, why not have at it?

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. John Oliver on Boris Johnson --- hilarious

  37. Two more examples: fractional charges. One comes from a study of a bazillion cloud chamber photographs (no CCDs back then!); the other a version of the Millikan oil drop experiment, using niobium spheres (sorry, I've been unable to find relevant papers). The first was likely just a many-sigma deviation of an otherwise well-understood result. The latter? Not so much ... never replicated (as far as I know), though there were several attempts, but also no plausible explanation for the anomalies ...

  38. History line of events is wrongly represented here, so far as I know. After null result of MM experiment, an attempt has been made to explain this - an this was the aether. After all, this was a logic way of thinking in those times, when you look at it.

  39. "How did the world end up with Donald Trump as President of the United States and Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom? In politics as in physics, some things defy explanation."

    Not really. But I know many academics (Not you necessarily) who are naive to how world really works so of course they are oblivious to it. And this is why they cause problems when dealing with "real world". This is all from personal observation.


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