Sunday, April 26, 2009

Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. III

I've encountered a few of complaints from EU advocates on my analysis of their models, i.e.

Electric Cosmos: The Solar Resistor Model
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. I.
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. II.

The major complaint seems to be that I haven't included the claim that the electrons are actually moving at very slow velocities in these models. They claim that these electrons will not be relativistic.

But they never answer the issue of how electrons traveling through a 1e9 (1 billion) volt potential drop, in free space, do not become relativistic!

If the electrons don't carry the full energy (all 4e17 amps worth) when they strike the solar surface, then you don't have enough energy to explain the solar luminosity:
1e9 volts* 4e17 amps = 4e26 watts.
The electrons in this model are only carrying kinetic energy to the solar surface.

If you still want to power the Sun with electrons striking the surface at a few cm per second (I believe that was the approximate value from an earlier message), then you have a host of other problems.

The “Drift electrons”
Let the electron velocity be 10 cm/sec = 0.1 m/s. Then each electron has a kinetic energy of

KE=0.5*(9.11e-31 kg)*(0.1 m/s)^2 = 4.56e-33 joules.

which it can release when it hits the solar surface.

To explain the solar luminosity of about 4e26 watts, you now need a current of

4e26 watts/4.56e-33 joules = 8.78e58 electrons/s = 1.40e40 amps

This is 3.5e22 (over a billion billion) times more electrons than you started with at the heliopause, as computed in Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. I.!

Where do all these extra electrons come from?

Your only other choice would be to install another 1e9 volt drop in potential between the orbit of the Earth and the solar photosphere. If so, where is it?

Problems keeping charge neutrality

Do you want to keep the heliospheric region electrically neutral?

To cancel the charge of the inbound electrons, you need the same number, 8.78e58, of protons passing through the same region at the same speed in the opposite direction. Therefore, at the orbit of the Earth, these 8.78e58 protons are spread out in a spherical shell 150e9 meters in radius and a thickness of 0.1m. This a volume of

4*pi*(150e9 m)^2 * 0.1m = 2.83e22 m^3 = 2.83 e28 cm^3.

This corresponds to a proton density of

8.58e58 protons/2.83e28cm^3 = 3.03e30 protons/cm^3.

The measured particle density of the solar wind is a few protons/cm^3 (see left banner on You clearly don't match the observations.

In addition, 3.03e30 protons/cm^3 has a mass density of
(3.03e30 protons/cm^3)*(1.67e-24gm) = 5.06e6 gm/cm^3.

Note that the density of lead = 11.35 gm/cm^3! So your solar wind is thousands of time denser than lead!

Okay, let's not keep the solar wind electrically neutral...

Don't want to insist on charge neutralization? You've still got 8.78e58 electrons per second building up on the surface of the sun. Shall I compute how much energy it will take to keep them there? After all, I've yet to see the circuit complete on this Electric Sun model to take them away.

Most of the math errors I found didn't improve things for ES. I suspect any remaining ones won't help that much either.

So which law of physics do the EU advocates insist on violating? Conservation of charge or conservation of mass/energy?

And don't hide behind the standard whines:
  1. you can't treat it electrostatically (actually, I haven't - it's a straight energy transfer problem, conserving matter and energy)
  2. you haven't included the nonlinearities (have yet to hear these nonlinearities actually specified)
  3. whatever new excuse du jour you have
Unless you can show, or point me to where someone has actually DEMONSTRATED mathematically, that these solve the ES problems.

And if you can't ensure that your models generate reliable predictions for the Earth-Sun particle environment, how do you know how safe astronauts will be on their way to the Moon or Mars? Even the worst estimates for astronaut radiation exposure pales to the particle environment predicted by ES.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scott Rebuttal. I. GPS & Relativity

This will be the first of a number of entries dealing with Donald Scott's rebuttal [7] to my critique [6] of Dr. Scott's book, “The Electric Sky”. Many of Scott's rebuttal comments deal with material that I had already collected but did not make it into my initial critique because I felt it was getting too long. I guess this means that much of this will be incorporated into the final version after all.

Let me first deal with Scott's response under his caption of “THE (NON)USEFUL PRODUCTS OF ASTROPHYSICS “ [7, pg 1-2] to my mention that the accuracy of the Global Positioning System depends on the inclusion of relativistic effects[6, pg 4]. Dr. Scott dug up a reference from 1995, Henry F. Fliegel and Raymond S. DeEsposti. Gps and relativity: An engineering overview [2]. Here's the part Dr. Scott quotes:
Except for the leading γ [gamma] factor [in their final equation], it is the same formula derived in classical physics for the signal travel time from the GPS satellite to the ground station. As we have shown, introducing the γ factor makes a change of only 2 or 3 millimeters to the classical result. In short there are no “missing relativity terms.” They cancel out.
Now this might look like an impressive response from Dr. Scott. Here was what appeared to be a legitimate official source claiming that relativistic corrections in the GPS system were negligible. The paper itself is available at the archive site for the 28th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI) meetings. An examination of the paper reveals that the authors treated some relativistic contributions as separate additive components when in fact they were really the same effect measured from the two observers. This causes a number of their contributions to cancel.

But Dr. Scott apparently failed to follow-up on this source. The systematic approach is to discover who else has referenced this paper. Those papers will tell you if this paper was erroneous or legitimate.

Ashby responded to Fliegel and DeEsposti shortly thereafter[8]. Fliegel and DeEsposti are also referenced in Ashby's 2003 article I referenced on the GPS system[1]. In Section 6 of Ashby[1], “TOPEX/POSEIDON Relativity Experiment”, Ashby references Fliegel and DeEsposti and the confusion it caused being from an apparent official source. The controversy was sufficient that an additional experiment, using the TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite, was developed to test the situation. And relativity won again.

But there is another source we can investigate, one that should be OBVIOUS.

The GPS is an implemented system, publicly available to a wide variety of users who may wish to develop new products utilizing the position and timing accuracy provided by the system. NASA and commercial satellite operators use the system for synchronizing the clocks of other satellites[3, pg 13-14, 657]. Work is already under way to standardize clock synchronization for interplanetary missions and the inclusion of relativistic effects between planets is explicitly mentioned for the standard [9,10].

The developers of GPS need to get the correct information to satellite and product developers on how to read the GPS signals and properly convert them to positions and times. There are TEXTBOOKS on how interpret and utilize the GPS signals. Here's just three that I was able to find (links are to
In each one of these books, there is at least mention of the relativistic corrections, and in some, details on their proper computation and the size of errors created by not including them[3, pg 306-308; 4, pg 118-124; 5, pg 60-62].

If it that isn't enough for you, I suggest you RTFM. It's available at the Navigation Center under the U.S. Coast Guard. Under GPS Related Technical documents, see Interface Specification, IS-GPS-200D. The relativistic corrections are described in Sections and

This invites a number of questions for Dr. Scott (and other GPS/relativity deniers):
  • If, as Dr. Scott claims, these relativistic corrections are unnecessary, why are they documented in what are basically the TEXTBOOKS and the SPEC for developing products that read the GPS signals? Are the authors of the textbooks lying?
  • If the textbooks are teaching it wrong, why does the system work at all?
  • If the textbooks are teaching it wrong, how do other users develop working GPS products? Is there some hidden (occult?) knowledge related to the GPS system that the textbooks are hiding?
  • What happens to engineers who don't read the spec?
There are a number of individuals calling themselves engineers who inhabit the sci.astro and sci.physics USENET groups and claim that modern astronomy and cosmology is bunk. Many of them also deny the reality of relativity and its need in the GPS system. Can any of them build a working GPS receiver that is certifiably Relativity-Free?

  1. Neil Ashby. Relativity in the global positioning system. Living Reviews in Relativity, 6(1), 2003.
  2. Henry F. Fliegel and Raymond S. DeEsposti. Gps and relativity: An engineering overview. Technical Report. ATR-97(3389)-1, The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, U.S.A., 1996.
  3. Elliott D. Kaplan, Christopher Hegarty (Eds). Understanding GPS: Principles and Applications, Second Edition (Hardcover). Artech House Publishers. 2006
  4. B. Hofmann-Wellenhof, H. Lichtenegger, J. Collins. Global Positioning System: Theory and Practice Springer. 2001.
  5. Guochang Xu. GPS: Theory, Algorithms and Applications. Springer, 2003.
  6. W.T. Bridgman, “The Electric Sky: Short-Circuited” Draft 2008-Mar-22.
  7. D.E. Scott. “D.E. Scott Rebuts T. Bridgman”. April 2009. PDF
  8. Marc Weiss and Neil Ashby. Gps receivers and relativity. In The 29th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI) Applications and Planning Meeting, pages 69–84, 1998.
  9. Al Gifford, Robert A. Nelson, Richard S. Orr, A.J. Oria, and Beryl L. Brodsky. Time dissemination alternatives for the nasa space exploration program. In The 38th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI) Applications and Planning Meeting, pages 319–328, 2006.
  10. Robert A. Nelson and Todd A. Ely. Relativistic transformations for time synchronization and dissemination in the solar system. In The 38th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI) Applications and Planning Meeting, pages 305–317, 2006.
Other Useful Resources
Sam Wormley's GPS-related Books & Publications
Wikipedia: Global Positioning System
Edwin Taylor GPS exercise: Project A. Illustrates the proper way to do the relative time calculation between the orbiting satellite and an observer on the Earth.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Behind the Scenes...or, Why is it so quiet here?

A recently published comment in an earlier post has tried to make an issue of my recent 'silence' in responding to various comments. They obviously didn't bother to read my post of March 29 where I remarked that several commenters have basically written tomes highly divergent from the original topic. A number of them touch into areas where a separate post would be appropriate (and they get added to my topics list) or where a separate post is already under development. If they raise an interesting question which applies to a subject under development, I usually include a flag in the topic.

For reference, I currently have 22 entries in my “Drafts” folder, at various stages of completion, and 51 entries under “Topics”, needing some to significant research. Most of these topics have accumulated over the years based on discussions by e-mail, the USENET forum, and similar sources.

But perhaps I should describe just what it takes to maintain this project. First, I am not paid to do this. It is a hobby and connected to my science education interests. I will occasionally browse comments at during lunchtime at work, to begin mulling over responses to those where a response can be quick, but I don't participate from the workplace. With a full-time+ job, and home and family responsibilities, I get, if I'm lucky, two hours MAXIMUM to work on this project on any given weekday. Weekends I can occasionally spend more time. Those needy individuals who think I owe them a response on a daily, or even weekly timescale, are in for some disappointment.

So what do I do with that time that I spend on this project?

I try to assemble my responses as a SCIENTIFIC research project. This is more than mining papers for quotes that support my position. A huge number of the comments are rehashes of material I've seen many times before, and they are generally ignored. Of those comments that actually have some novelty, most of the queries I investigate cover topics where I already have access to a fair amount of information. Very few topics initiate a line of inquiry where I have little to no information to start with.

1) So some of this time might involve reading or re-reading research papers or chapters of textbooks and digesting the content. Sometimes it involves tracking down new references. My primary BibTeX database used for this project has accumulated over 4100 entries, of which only about 600 have actually been read to date.

2) Because science depends on building mathematical models, I will make attempts to build appropriate models for either a research paper, or a crank claim. In the simplest cases, a few simple computations, I try to let the work sit for a day and come back to double-check the math. In more complex cases, I'll actually write code to do the calculations. In the more elaborate cases, this can involve considerable effort. This code is usually written in Python, using the numpy and scipy libraries for array processing and differential equations, and PyX, matplotlib, or VisIt for plotting and displaying the output. These are legitimate scientific tools of professional quality.

3) Because science depends on comparing model predictions to data and/or observations, I'll sometimes retrieve data from a number of public data archives. Some of those I've used in this project are SOHO Data Archive, Virtual Solar Observatory, The Astronomer's Bazaar, HST data archive, Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and even Google Sky. Sometimes this involves downloading or writing software to read some obscure data format. Fortunately, most of the data archives I've used provide their data as flat text files or one of the many standardized scientific formats.

4) In some cases, I've sent inquiries for clarification of some research to the scientists involved, and even contacted former professors when I encountered issues that had been explored as part of my graduate studies.

BTW, this process rarely progresses on one topic at a time. It is multi-tasked and often the topic that finally appears is determined more by which one makes it to a state of completion first than when someone originally raised the subject.

Between the 'hard science' posts, which take the most time, I'll occasionally do some science philosophy or science history posts, in cases where I have a lot of material handy and would like to take a break.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Setterfield Again...

(I was informed earlier this week that Setterfield had posted an additional revision to his work dealing with some of my complaints. Unfortunately, his site currently appears to be offline. Since this post has been sitting for several months now, waiting for these updates, I've decided to go ahead and post this material and revise as necessary when Setterfield's site returns.)

Some months ago, I wrote a couple of posts following up on some activity by creationist Barry Setterfield.
In December, I was informed that Setterfield had responded to my posts, ANSWER TO TOM BRIDGMAN – Part 1. More recently, I was informed that Setterfield had also responded to some of the work by my occasional collaborator, physicist Jerry Jellision, Response concerning Jellison's criticisms,

A Professional Nitpick

Note Setterfield still doesn't link to my site, while I link to his. Is he afraid to let his readers compare what I'm saying to what he wants to claim I'm saying? For example:
Setterfield: “Then he states he is criticizing a recently published paper of mine, “Reviewing a Plasma Universe with Zero Point Energy.“ He seems to be implying the following graphs are part of the Plasma paper. They are not.”
I explicitly state these are my plots of Setterfield's data, relevant only because Setterfield includes a very selective set of data in his paper, showing you the data he wants you to see.
Me: “For example, my Figures 1 & 2 below are plots of measurements of the speed of light (points with error bars) compared with plots of the various models for a changing speed of light which Setterfield has proposed over the years (lines). The data plotted here are collected from Setterfield's own site”.
I even include a link to Setterfield's site with the data tables I used. This is the custom among professional scientists. Raw data and data selection criteria are regarded as freely available for use with proper credit. From this data, a researcher can produce or reproduce any graphic they desire. I have had the practice of reproducing graphics from raw data or formulae rather than copying the graphic itself. This provides a cross-check on the work. Reproducibility is important in science.

However, I then became rather annoyed as I noticed that Setterfield lifted graphs I had generated without even giving me proper credit. He didn't even include a link to my site where he obtained them!

That is very unprofessional (and un-Christian) behavior, violating the Code of Conduct in many professional societies and can be a cause for disciplinary action in academic organizations. He could have generated his own equivalent plot without using my graphic or just had a link to my site. I may start watermarking my graphics.

My main site is under Creative Commons. I have no problem with others reusing my material for non-profit educational uses provided proper credit is given, at the very least a link to the web page containing the info.

Setterfield's Mysterious Data Points

Next there was this, in describing a new graphic, with yet another subset of data:
Setterfield: “The observations done at Pulkovo were all performed on the same equipment over a period of more than a century, and many were done by the same observers.”
The more I examined this statement, the stranger it got. Note that the actual data values in Setterfield's graph runs from about 1740 to 1940, about 200 years.

Is Setterfield saying that this observatory didn't update their equipment for 200 years!? In 1940 they were using the same equipment as in 1740?! Are we to believe that 200 year old equipment, or even 100 year old equipment, is as precise as the day it was built? I find that extremely unlikely. I'm also very curious about the life expectancy of some of these 'same observers'. At best, a scientific career might last about 50 years.

But even funnier is that I eventually searched for the observatory's web site, where they clearly indicate they opened in 1839!
Pulkovo Observatory Web Site
Pulkovo Observatory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So who actually made those observations back in the 1700s!?

Setterfield's Mysterious 'Oscillation'

Note that I include the many different c-decay function fits which Setterfield's derived from the exact same data. Yet Setterfield can't seem to settle down on any firm variation of the speed of light with time.
Setterfield: “In actual fact it is a sign that we want to see exactly where the data are leading before any definitive form for the universal oscillation is proposed.”

Setterfield: “We have just pointed out that the precise form of the oscillation has not yet been determined, so that Bridgman’s curves, which have been gratuitously imposed on the data, have nothing to do with any model currently under consideration.”
That this oscillation is undetermined seems to have been true for quite some time now, as I make note of it in my 2001 analysis of Setterfield's work. If such an oscillation in the data were real, it should be easy to make a reasonable approximation to produce it. I even attempt to identify this oscillation in my 2006 update.

Hopefully I'll get to access Setterfield's latest update soon!