SPECIAL SECTION: Message For Our “Friends” In The Middle Kingdom
I normally save this for near the end, but…basically…up your shit-kicking barbarian asses. Yes, barbarian! It took a bunch of sailors in Western Asia to invent a real alphabet instead of badly drawn cartoons to write with. So much for your “civilization.”
Yeah, the WORLD noticed you had to borrow the Latin alphabet to make Pinyin. Like with every other idea you had to steal from us “Foreign Devils” since you rammed your heads up your asses five centuries ago, you sure managed to bastardize it badly in the process.
Have you stopped eating bats yet? Are you shit-kickers still sleeping with farm animals?
Or maybe even just had the slightest inkling of treating lives as something you don’t just casually dispose of?
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!
And here’s my response to barbarian “asshoes” like you:
OK, with that rant out of my system…
Biden Gives Us Too Much Credit
…we can move on to the next one.
Apparently Biden (or his puppeteer) has decided we’re to blame for all of the fail in the United States today.
Sorry to disappoint you Joe (or whoever), but you managed to do that all on your own; not only that, you wouldn’t let us NOT give you the chance because you insisted on cheating your way into power.
Yep, you-all are incompetent, and so proud of it you expect our applause for your sincerity. Fuck that!!
It wouldn’t be so bad, but you insist that everyone else have to share in your misery. Nope, can’t have anyone get out from under it. Somehow your grand vision only works if every single other person on earth is forced to go along. So much as ONE PERSON not going along is enough to make it all fail, apparently.
In engineering school we’re taught that a design that has seven to eight billion single points of failure…sucks.
Actually, we weren’t taught that. Because it would never have occurred to the professors to use such a ridiculous example.
Justice Must Be Done.
The prior election must be acknowledged as fraudulent, and steps must be taken to prosecute the fraudsters and restore integrity to the system.
Sedate. The adagio (2nd movement) from his clarinet concerto.
And a bit…less sedate. Last movement of his Symphony #41 which is the last one he wrote.
(Don’t be fooled by the fact that there’s a Symphony #42, or 43, or…well up to #55 at least…as I explained last time the numbering isn’t really chronological. To the best of my knowledge he’s got at least 51 symphonies under his belt (though some are disputed), so if we were ever to renumber them, this one would be #51. But we never will renumber them; that would cause confusion for centuries.)
By the way, that sucker ends in a five part fugue. Not easy to write!
Lawyer Appeasement Section
OK now for the fine print.
This is the WQTH Daily Thread. You know the drill. There’s no Poltical correctness, but civility is a requirement. There are Important Guidelines, here, with an addendum on 20191110.
We have a new board – called The U Tree – where people can take each other to the woodshed without fear of censorship or moderation.
And remember Wheatie’s Rules:
1. No food fights
2. No running with scissors.
3. If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
4. Zeroth rule of gun safety: Don’t let the government get your guns.
5. Rule one of gun safety: The gun is always loaded.
5a. If you actually want the gun to be loaded, like because you’re checking out a bump in the night, then it’s empty.
6. Rule two of gun safety: Never point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
7. Rule three: Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
8. Rule the fourth: Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
(Hmm a few extras seem to have crept in.)
All prices are Kitco Ask, 3PM MT Friday (at that time the markets close for the weekend).
Gold seems to be see-sawing around the $1900 mark. This is what we’ve been seeing for months now. No…wait. Until just a couple of weeks ago it was see-sawing around the $1800 mark.
I start these posts by copying the one from five weeks ago. That way I get to keep the eagle from back then. One of my chores is to go in and modify the precious metals prices (which otherwise would be, respectively, six and five weeks out of date on publication).
But this time I’m going to keep them, just to show you.
January 15 (“last week” for January 22):
I then asked if this was a break out. But the prices went right back down again! Here’s January 29 (four weeks ago):
Now I’ve been watching gold bounce around just under, just over 1900 bucks (at least through Wednesday).
OK, so here’s what I’d normally put in this spot:
Gold actually crossed the 1900 line briefly last week. Now it has been above and below it; it is at $1908.50 right this second (12:14 PM Wednesday). Thursday, it touched $1980.10 briefly in overnight trading.
Wow! That’s not an all time high but it’s within sight of it (I believe the all time high was about $2025.)
So here it is, Friday after markets closed and we see:
Friday, 3PM MT close:
Gold has been shoved down ninety dollars from its midweek high.
Webb has made a lot of progress just in the last couple of days. There have been two entries to the blog. The first was basically explaining in a great deal of technical detail how it’s going to search for very early galaxies. This is to try to shed some light (so to speak) on how galaxies formed in the first place. This happened at a time before the maximum look-back time Hubble could see. https://blogs.nasa.gov/webb/2022/02/24/to-find-the-first-galaxies-webb-pays-attention-to-detail-and-theory/
But today I checked again, and it looks like HUGE progress has been made on the mirror alignment. They’re still looking at HD 84406, a star in Ursa Major that’s fairly bright (but still not bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye) but more importantly relatively isolated on the celestial sphere.
Here’s the blog entry: https://blogs.nasa.gov/webb/2022/02/25/webb-mirror-alignment-continues-successfully/ I will summarize below.
Last week they had swiveled all of the segments so that the light from each segment landed in a certain place, forming a pattern that matched up with the actual layout of the mirrors.
This week they tried to focus each individual mirror, and it appears they have largely succeeded. Here is a GIF showing “before” and “after”
Not only did they complete that step (which is step 2 of the mirror work), but then they swiveled the mirrors some more, and put all 18 images in the same place, completing step 3! (They weren’t even scheduled to start work on it for another week or so!)
Now, you’ll notice six spikes coming off the star, and they are showing diffraction (they look dotted). That’s because the mirrors are not in phase with each other–in other words the distance the light must travel from each mirror to the sensor is not quite the same. If the difference is a full wavelength, it doesn’t matter, but if the difference is a partial wavelength, it will. (And different colors of light will have different wavelengths, so some light is in phase, and others going through the same two mirrors, is not–unless the length of the path through each mirror is exactly the same.) So now they are going to do Step 4, “coarse phasing” as the first part of sharpening the image. (Step 5 is “fine phasing,” Step 6 “Telescope Alignment” and Step 7, “Final Correction.”
According to the Where’s Webb page, four of the five sensors are at temperatures ranging from 38-48 K (-392 to -373 F), but one, MIRI (which is being used for most of this alignment work) is at 112 K (-258 F).
Round, Comma Dammit!
I shouldn’t even have to write this. It has been just about 2,500 years since people figured out Earth is round. In other words this was Old News when Jesus was preaching. But such is the abysmal state of science education today, that many are taken in by hucksters and outright bullshitters who can slip subtle lies into their arguments, and be convinced the earth is flat.
OK, I’m going to deal with some terminology. I don’t want to say “Earth has a spherical shape” because a sphere is a precisely defined mathematical concept (the set of all points that are at the same distance, r, from a given point in three dimensional space). Which means that, technically, a bump the size of a coronavirus on the surface of the earth is enough to make it not-a-sphere. Of course, there are much bigger bumps on the earth, anything from a fire ant hill in southern Louisiana, to big mountains like the rather famous one to my west.
But then, on the other hand, all of that isn’t enough to make the earth (proportionally) less spherical than a cue ball.
Even the fact that the earth is slightly oblate (thicker through the equator) and that deviation from a perfect sphere is greater than that caused by mountains, isn’t enough to make the earth less spherical than a cue ball.
But Earth is better described as an oblate ellipsoid, than as a sphere. But terrain, and a few bulges caused by the fact that the earth’s interior is not perfectly uniform, mean it’s not quite an oblate ellipsoid, either.
So to avoid nitpickers, I’m just going to say it’s round. Or if I need a noun, I’ll say “ellipsoid.” Rounder than a cue ball, but not quite a perfect sphere or even oblate ellipsoid.
Round, comma dammit.
What Does It Take to Replace an Accepted Theory?
I could just as easily have titled this section “What Does It Take to Revise an Accepted Theory,” too.
And another note on terminology. A theory to a scientist is something that is actually pretty solid. It’s almost settled. (Nothing is absolutely settled.) They’d be greatly surprised to find it wasn’t true. (But they are quite conscious of the fact that surprises do happen!) In popular parlance “theory” is a much weaker word. [Hence the (ignorant) argument that goes “It’s just a theory…”] We have the theory of gravitation, atomic theory, and so forth; these are all pretty “solid” right now.
When a scientist is spitballing, speculating, or has something he believes is supported well enough by the evidence to be worth considering and testing, that is a hypothesis. In writing the physics series I tried to avoid explanations that are currently at the level of speculation, though I included one very strong one, cosmic inflation (there’s little doubt it happened; the problem is they don’t have any clue why or how, so they don’t claim it’s a full-on theory–yet).
Basically it takes three things to get scientists to the point where they will reject an old theory.
- There must be something the accepted theory doesn’t explain very well (or at all); the more the better. One or two anomalies will make scientists wonder what they’re doing wrong or if there’s some subtlety in the current theory that they’re missing, lots of anomalies will make them question the theory itself.
- There must be a proposed replacement theory that explains those things, and also explains the stuff the prior theory DID explain well. That’s key. If you chuck out theory A for theory B because theory A didn’t explain phenomenon 27 (but does explain 1-26), then even if B explains phenomenon 27 perfectly, it is no good unless it explains 1-26 as least as well is A did. Otherwise you’re just trading one problem for another.
- The proposed replacement has to make some sort of prediction of a phenomenon never seen before, that the old theory does not. And then this phenomenon must be found by observation or experiment.
To take an example, Einstein’s General Relativity replaced Newtonian gravitation. How did it do it? Let’s step through the list above.
- Mercury’s orbital semimajor axis was precessing around the Sun, and only part of the motion could be explained as perturbations from other planets. This wasn’t enough to junk Newtonian gravity, or even seriously call it into question, however, because there’s always the chance of an unseen body accounting for the difference. Astronomers looked for it but couldn’t find it. But that just left an irritating question mark especially since such an object would be very hard to see.
- The proposed replacement theory would explain Mercury’s precession perfectly. (It was one of the highlights of Einstein’s life when he did the computation and it matched.) But it also correctly explained every other planetary motion as well as the old Newtonian theory did, because further away from the sun, the math of General Relativity reduces to Newton’s Law of gravitation; the additional terms fade to insignificance.
- General Relativity predicted that strong gravity would bend light. This was totally outside of anything Newtonian gravity would do, and was a phenomenon not directly connected to Mercury’s orbit. So if someone looked and it turned out gravity bends light, this criterion is satisfied. And indeed only four years after GR was published as a hypothesis, Arthur Eddington observed the Sun bending light from stars near it in the sky during a total solar eclipse.
Another example is plate tectonics (a/k/a “continental drift”), which was initially laughed at, largely because no one could explain how the continents could possibly move, but then it turned out to explain things that hadn’t been noticed yet and the explanation for how it could happen, was uncovered. That’s a fantastic story, and it happened largely in the 1960s. There are still geologists alive who remember that; when their whole subject got upended, and things they had no understanding of (such as why volcanoes and earthquakes happened in some places but not others) began to make sense. And now, of course, geology simply doesn’t make any sense without it. What a thrilling time to live through! [I could maybe do a post on this–or maybe a short series of them–but geology is even less my bailiwick than chemistry is.]
Returning to today’s topic, we have an accepted theory, Round Earth. More specifically we have “Round Earth that rotates on an axis, and orbits the sun in an elliptical path, and the axis is tilted with respect to the plane of the orbit around the sun.” Round Earth isn’t the only component that matters, the rest does too. But I’m going to refer to the grouping as “Round Earth” for convenience.
There is a proposed replacement hypothesis (though I hesitate to dignify it with that term), “Flat Earth.” The idea is that the earth is actually a disk, laid out much like the UN flag. Everything we see on earth is on one of the two faces of the disk, which you can think of as facing “up.” The sun and moon move around entirely above this disc, in circular paths centered on the “north pole” (i.e., the center of the disk). Antarctica is a raised rim around the edge of the disk. Different suggestions are made for how the sun and moon move.
How does it fare with the three criteria?
- Round Earth explains the (apparent) motion of the sun across the sky, the length of a day, the seasons, the year, and the (apparent) motion of the celestial sphere. It also explains sunsets, lunar eclipses and solar eclipses. So far as I know, there’s nothing relevant that a good theory of this type should explain, that Round Earth doesn’t explain. (I qualify like this because of course Round Earth can’t explain such inexplicable phenomena as more than three people actually voting for His Fraudulency–because they are totally unrelated phenomena. It doesn’t explain everything; just everything that it ought to be able to explain.)
One putative example that was brought to my attention turned out to be a conflation of the sidereal day (rotation of the earth relative to the stars) with the mean solar day (rotation of the earth relative to the sun). Unfortunately, when elementary school teachers explain Round Earth to their students, they simplify it to the point where it’s possible to confuse these concepts, and I don’t blame them; explaining the difference would treble the length of the lesson. But unfortunately, that confusion sticks around in many people’s minds, ready to be exploited by charlatans.
Another “proof” that the earth cannot be round was brought up in that intercontinental aircraft flights from the southern hemisphere always go to the northern hemisphere, rather than to another southern continent. E.g., no flights from Australia to South America. This is supposedly because the distance is actually much, much greater than it would be if the earth were round. Unfortunately this claim is simply a LIE, as such flights do exist.
- Flat earth not only doesn’t explain anything that Round Earth cannot, it utterly fails to explain things that Round Earth does explain. This is a huge failure. It’s masked to some extent because as it turns out there isn’t a flat earth theory. There are several of them, and they’re inconsistent with each other. Usually a flat earth theory can explain something we can see, but not anything else. For that you need a different flat earth theory. As long as they can drag one of these out of the closet to answer an objection, hopefully no one will notice it contradicts the one brought up five minutes before for the prior objection.
- It can’t even make a prediction. That’s because it’s multiple theories with multiple models. Nevertheless, some predictions are made, but turn out to be false. For instance, according to Flat Earth, Antarctica is actually an icy fringe around the edge of the earth, and to protect the Flat Earth secret, people aren’t allowed to go there. This fails, of course, because people do go there.
Let’s look at #2 some more. Here’s a list of things Flat Earth cannot explain, at least not without switching through various variants of the model(s).
- No Flat Earth map ever includes a scale that lets you determine the distance between any two points. A globe, of course, can and does.
- Flat Earth cannot explain differing day lengths, in the Southern hemisphere, or rather, in the continents closer to the edge. According to the Flat Earth model, during the (northern) summer, the sun is running in a circle around the center point (which is the north pole to Round Earthers), fairly close to the center. But then in (northern) winter, the sun recedes further from the center and makes a larger circle around the center point. Since it’s further away from the continents clustered near the center point, those continents are colder at this time of year. The problem is, when the sun is over south America, for instance, in January, it illuminates all of Antarctica (even the parts on the opposite edge of the disk) while NOT illuminating the Arctic Ocean at all (even though the arctic is between the sun and that part of Antarctica.
Because this is such a huge fail, Flat Earthers have to assert that we’re not allowed to go to Antarctica, or we’d see the problem.
- Make any sort of astronomical prediction. Given the Flat Earth model, you should be able to tell me where any object “up there” will be at any time. You should be able to predict solar and lunar eclipses, for instance. Round Earth can do this, with great precision, certainly good enough I could go see the total solar eclipse of 2017. More mundanely it can tell you how high in the sky the sun will be at any given time, at any given location. Flat Earth cannot. If they were to try, they might be right some small fraction of the times and places, but the geometry won’t allow it to be simultaneously right for a number of places all at the same time, or for the same place at multiple times. (And if you cannot make a prediction, your theory is useless.)
- If the earth is flat, it should be possible to see (say) Pikes Peak from St. Louis. There’s nothing in between tall enough to get in the way. If you’re worried there might be some hill I am forgetting about, go up into the Gateway Arch and look out the windows on the west side. (Note that Flat Earth adherents do post photos claiming “you shouldn’t be able to see this” but it’s generally over water, and a city skyline that’s quite a lot closer.)
- Instead of just taking a picture of a far away boat over water, how about watching it as it moves away? If the earth is flat, it should just get smaller and smaller. Instead, it will disappear bottom-up, sort of as if it was curving down over the horizon.
- Sunsets. If the sun and moon stay above the disc, how do you explain sunsets?
Ironically, the believers in Flat Earth from centuries ago would have no problem with this; the sun drops down through the plane of the disk, travels under the disk and rises on the other side. But that old idea can’t explain why it’s daytime in Tokyo when it’s midnight in the US, so it had to be discarded. But now it can’t explain sunset. What you would expect to see is the sun getting smaller and smaller as it moves further away, then eventually you can’t see it at all and it’s nighttime. That’s not what we see; the sun does not change apparent size in any appreciable way over the course of the day.
- Lunar eclipses are impossible with this theory. What shadow can be cast upon the moon when the sun and moon are always above the disk of the earth? Instead, we see the shadow of something ROUND cross the face of the moon. Always round, always with the same radius, no matter where the moon appears in the sky. Almost as if something nearly spherical were casting a shadow on the moon (since a sphere is the only thing that would do this without fail regardless of the orientation), eh?
- What would you see if you attached a camera to a weather balloon and sent it up there to where the Sun and Moon (which according to Flat Earth are small and close to the earth) are?
Flat Earth fails on all of these.
I watched a series of videos on this and it added to my list of objections to the flat earth theory. The background is the channel owner took on Flat Earth, then caught a ton of flak from the Flat Earthers. He then published a second video, and a third, and a fourth (actually a four parter), over the space of a few years. The last quadruplet is most useful because it tells you about things you can do to validate round earth and disprove flat earth, without having to do a lot of math and physics.
He is very snarky (meaning he insults the other side routinely and IMHO quite unnecessarily) but his actual arguments are solid. I’m going to paste in the four parter here. If you want to see the earlier videos (which are much longer), he links to them in the descriptions.
If this guy is so obnoxious, why am I using his videos? Because he has a lot of graphics that makes the point clear, and I haven’t the time to duplicate them. So please, ignore the insults.
As it happens, Flat Earth comes with a conspiracy theory. Apparently, lots of people conspire to suppress the “truth.” But there are problems with that…it’s too many people.
Now here’s the absolute best part.
There is a flat earther by the name of Bob Knodel. He at one point claimed to be a commercial pilot (and therefore could put the lie to Round Earth, if it were in fact a lie), but was exposed as lying about that.
He then actually did something responsible and ran an experiment to try to prove Round Earth wrong. Since, according to Round Earth, any point on the surface of the earth is rotating every 24 hours, a gyroscope ought to pick that up, since it will not rotate. So if the gyroscope appears to be turning 15 degrees every hour, it’s a sign the earth is rotating once every 24 hours. If it isn’t, though…then Round Earth is bunk.
I’ll give him credit for running the test.
Well, he performed the experiment, and saw the 15 degree per hour turn.
Flat Earthers love to claim Round Earthers are dogmatic and only repeating what they’ve been told in school, but that is exactly what Bob is doing here. He is ignoring and trying to explain away a result that supports the theory he claims is wrong. Evidence is staring him in the face, but he’s sticking to HIS damned dogma. Further experiments trying to eliminate other possible effects lead to the same result. But will he consider for a moment his bullshit flat earth theory might be wrong? Nope.
As I said, I give him credit for running the test, and then trying to control for other things.
But no credit for refusing to believe what it was telling him.
Obligatory PSAs and Reminders
China is Lower than Whale Shit
Remember Hong Kong!!!
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!
China is in the White House
Since Wednesday, January 20 at Noon EST, the bought-and-paid for His Fraudulency Joseph Biden has been in the White House. It’s as good as having China in the Oval Office.
Joe Biden is Asshoe
China is in the White House, because Joe Biden is in the White House, and Joe Biden is identically equal to China. China is Asshoe. Therefore, Joe Biden is Asshoe.
But of course the much more important thing to realize:
Joe Biden Didn’t Win
Qiáo Bài dēng méi yíng !!!
Joe Biden didn’t win !!!