Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Musings on Einstein

One of the problems with accepting only “peer-reviewed” published articles as having validity is that people of similar training will tend towards similar prejudices. It’s like believing only cops can judge cops, politicians politicians, accountants accountants. Another problem is that “peers” can end up chasing blind down a dead-end path, as has happened in psychology, anthropology, sociology, genetics, “political science” and economics. A third is that we had best recognize more completely that the insights of folk from different backgrounds and perspectives can have great value. Not only does “peer review” limit ‘thinking outside the box’ but it also ignores the insular problems prevalent in publishing. Only some can get published, but that set of course does not contain all that is good or of value. Adherence to a single standard hardly expands horizons.
That’s one way of justifying these musings. I’m sure there are others. They have not been for naught.
There’s something suspicious, in seeming somewhat contrived and more than just a bit artificial, about Einstein’s celebrity and hero status. We don’t really know what genius is, but have reason to see that strengths often come in close association with weaknesses. Newton, Tesla and Gödel were geniuses, but they were also crazy. His hairstyle notwithstanding, was Einstein? Not really. A bit, maybe, sure, but aren’t we all?
Nikola Tesla, one of our greatest inventors, deserves credit for much modern technology. Critical of Einstein's relativity work, he said, “General Relativity is a magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king..., its exponents are brilliant men but they are metaphysicists rather than scientists...” (New York Times, 11 July, 1935). Tesla also said, “I hold that space cannot be curved, for the simple reason that it can have no properties. It might as well be said that God has properties. He has not, but only attributes and these are of our own making. Of properties we can only speak when dealing with matter filling the space. To say that in the presence of large bodies space becomes curved is equivalent to stating that something can act upon nothing. I, for one, refuse to subscribe to such a view.” (New York Herald Tribune, 11 Sept., 1932). He claimed that much of Einstein’s relativity theory had been proposed by Ruder Boskovic: “...the relativity theory, by the way, is much older than its present proponents. It was advanced over 200 years ago by my illustrious countryman Ruđer Bošković, the great philosopher, who, notwithstanding other and multifold obligations, wrote a thousand volumes of excellent literature on a vast variety of subjects. Bošković dealt with relativity, including the so-called time-space continuum ...” (from a 1936 unpublished interview, quoted in Anderson, L, ed. Nikola Tesla: Lecture Before the New York Academy of Sciences. 6 April 1897 : The Streams of Lenard and Roentgen and Novel Apparatus for Their Production, reconstructed 1994). Boscovich claimed that the observer can never observe the world as it is; he can only describe the interface (or “difference”) between himself and the world. A logical deduction from this is that a state of motion of the whole world relative to a stationary observer is equivalent to a state of external motion of the observer relative to the world.
Tesla, in 1936, said that he’d figured out how the universe and gravity worked, and wrote a book titled The Dynamic Theory of Gravity. But the book was never published and upon his death in 1943, the FBI raided his home and confiscated all of his research and notes. Tesla’s papers and other property were reportedly impounded by the United States’ Alien Property Custodian office.
A PBS special on Einstein’s wife stated that he did a lot of his early work with her; then, after their break up, his work wasn’t as good. Others credited with developing SR include, apart from Fitzgerald, Lorentz, Minkowski and Poincare. Although most historians of science don’t credit him with the discovery, some say Poincaré invented at least 90% of special relativity (light synchronization, the relativity principle, philosophical relativity of time, etc.) before Einstein. Einstein tried to mechanistically explain the universe, and failed. Many of his ideas may have come from patents that he had access to through his Swiss Patent Office job… Tesla may have understood the universe better than Einstein, or perhaps not - his ideas just came to him, he claimed. Tesla’s good friend Mark Twain summed things up nicely: “Nothing exists except empty space and you - and you are but a thought.”

How much did Einstein really contribute at Princeton? Or, for that matter, Gödel, who was also there (at the same time)? Was Gödel's genius a kind-of one-time thing? At least you can point to his great contribution, and know it to have been truly his.
Would we have had the idea of relativity without Einstein? It seems likely. In fact, we already did, before he announced it. And had there been no Einstein, special relativity would have emerged at about the same time. To learn more about this, look up Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, James Clerk Maxwell, Max von Laue, Fritz Hasmörhl ("E=3/8mc²"), Max Abraham ("EO=3/4mc²"), S. Toliver Preston, Jules Herni Poincaré, and Olinto De Pretto.
It seems likely too that the atom bomb and nuclear energy would have developed similarly.
Many important innovators, great thinkers, powerful mystics and others destined (determined, or unavoidably inclined) to lead have not, and could not, live quite as do others. Often, as Albert Einstein knew well vis-à-vis Nikola Tesla and Kurt Gödel, they can rightly be regarded as crazy. Tesla preferred the company of urban pigeons to that of humans. Even Einstein is suspect: on the one hand he proclaimed that if you can’t explain something to a 3-year-old, you likely don’t understand it all that well yourself, while on the other, he quite failed to clearly explain relativity, his famous equation, where and how he got his ideas, or even how to approach comprehending the relationship between mass (inertia) and the speed of light (never-mind his somewhat loopy ideas about time). Much has been made of Einstein’s brain, and not only the abnormally high amount of lecithin it contained, but that might just be people deluding themselves, as they so often have done.
Consider: people still crow about finding a wooden vessel on a mountain in Turkey, as somehow proving the truth of the Bible. But even if characters for the names of Noah and his family, with details regarding feed and care of many, many animals, were found carved in the wood, with even a model of the ark with some tiny animals, nothing would be proved. How can people believe that story, with its internal contradictions, impossibilities and absurdities? Throughout the Bible we see a ‘God’ of purportedly unlimited powers showing limitations (he presents himself to Moses, but won’t to his people, and to Pharaoh will only through plagues… Mark Twain, one of Tesla’s few friends, wrote of these Biblical problems over a century ago, but to what effect?).
We’re often both gullible, and unsure of the nature of proof.

At the time Einstein first presented a grand theory, educated, otherwise intelligent Brits were claiming that we already know 90% of all that can be known. And today, huge money goes into ‘re-creating’ the ‘Big Bang’ – as if that could make any logical sense, at all.
Clearly, we find often comfort in delusion, and little problem contradicting ourselves. That may closely relate to the nature of the world; to me, the ‘chaos’ resultant of entropy is clearly the height of order (everything evenly distributed and all)! And I expect releases of energy have never been fully, even adequately, measured (and that that isn’t just a problem with the nature of measuring). Can I say, we’ve put too much faith in the magic of words?
A cartoon I saw depicted a puzzled looking Einstein pondering an equation written on a blackboard: e=mc³. But might that not be the case? After all, light always disseminates going along, and between, three directional axes, and the actions of electrons as explained in quantum theory physics DO seem to require energy yet unaccounted for...
After writing on all this for a while, my final take on the relativity issue is that Einstein likely stole at least some of his relativity idea from Nikola Tesla, &/or things he saw on a patent application when working in the Swiss patent office. His wife, Mileva Marić, helped him with the idea, but much of his work was riddled with mathematical errors, indicating he knew more of where he wanted to go, than what would take one there. Maybe Tesla understood things I don’t (hardly unlikely), but to me it hardly seems inertia (mass) is simply potential energy divided by speed of light squared. At least I see no reason to suspect it might be so (or potential energy equal to initial mass times speed of light cubed either, or even any more or less so).
That it’s all made up to impress us that we have bettors we should humble ourselves before because they know more, sometimes seems a possibility! Like as if the activities of the rich are good for the “economy”(any who don’t yet know they aren’t good for the personal economies of those unable to be investors, too, simply isn’t looking).
For those willing to follow fairly academic arguments about physics, here’s some of my reasoning:
Objectivity as a foundation of knowledge is essential for scientific method - without objectivity science seems pointless, or arbitrary; still, no true and unambiguous reality at the bottom of everything has been shown, not even speed of light as an absolute (despite figures like 299,792,458 meters per second, a second defined by the frequency of electromagnetic radiation emitted by a cesium-133 atom); unfortunately, there is no real, true absolute vacuum for light to travel through, and who knows how radiation would be emitted on the Moon or Jupiter!).
Light is considered a kind of radiation; James Clerk Maxwell published on this in 1873. The speed of light was first determined experimentally in 1675; in one of the imaginary vacuums nature so abhors, it travels ‘exactly’ 299,792,458 meters per second (approximately 186,282 miles per second, or .000162 knots per nanosecond, if you will); and there’s no generally accepted support for the notion that this value has ever changed over time (although, if Big Bang theories are at all correct, very early on it must have). João Magueijo, once on faculty at Princeton and Cambridge, and now a professor at Imperial College, London, claims that very early on, in universal terms, light traveled faster. His varying speed of light (VSL) theory of cosmology - an alternative to more mainstream theories of cosmic inflation - proposes that the speed of light in the early universe was of 60 orders of magnitude faster than its present value. And it may be so, (if the universe actually had a beginning). But if light were faster, distances were smaller (expanding universe and all)… time for some ‘duration’ immediately after a Big Bang had no meaning (no way to be measured – no clocks, cesium-133 or anything like that)… and for all we can expect, even gravity acted differently.
But if light were faster, distances were smaller (expanding universe and all)… time for some ‘duration’ immediately after a Big Bang had no meaning (no way to be measured - no clocks, cesium-133 or anything like that)… and for all we can expect, even gravity acted differently. Conjecture on string theory, and about a Big Bang too, can not even be called wrong, but only, and quite simply, meaningless. There’s nothing referential about everything coming from nothing, the “first second” or, despite mystical experiences (which even I have had), some larger, meta-universe. All that’s no better than talk of orders of infinity, the square root of negative numbers, or angels dancing on the head, or tip, of a pin. If anything at all can be said of those matters, well, then, anything at all can be said of them. An important idea here, usually lost sight of, is that there can be no 1:1 mapping, no complete description of anything, no explanation that takes into account everything. Like it or not, we are limited. What modern physics has presented us with has largely been but elaborate mathematics - little better than theology. It has not only presumed, but ignored, too much… and been used, perhaps, mostly, as propaganda to prop up political and economic power. But scientists seem to ignore these matters, perhaps clarifying how some of them can believe in the ‘literal truth’ of the Bible.

The speed of light, or, better said (perhaps), of electromagnetic radiation (light is considered a kind of radiation), in a vacuum, has come to define the meter (a meter’s now defined in terms of the speed of light – anyone out there see a problem with that? Hint – think pragmatic, functional viability). The speed of light was first determined experimentally in 1675; James Clerk Maxwell published on light-radiation-speed in 1873. In one of those vacuums nature so abhors, light travels ‘exactly’ 299,792,458 meters per second (approx. 186,282 miles per second). Light travels slower in water, but somehow also at a constant speed. Light, an oscillating form of energy, moves from side to side between two limits (motion doubtless not taken into account in measuring light speed). It can convey information from one place to another; our eyes provide us with but a minute fraction of the information imprinted on light entering them. Light travels in waves, waves which sometimes behave as particles (photons). It travels slower in glass or going through the gravity of a star (but at a constant speed), going between the particles of any substance through which it is shining. Its photons excite adjoining particles which in turn transfer on energy, which may appear to slow the beam down, or something like that…; one web entry has it, “time lost between entry and exit results from displacement of energy through the substance between each particle that is excited.” Light doesn’t slow down, energy just gets displaced, like.
All recognized forms of electromagnetic radiation, in a spectrum ranging from very low frequencies (radio and television waves, microwaves, infrared) to visible light and on to ultraviolet light, X rays and gamma rays, have the same speed in vacuo, and show wavelike nature (with interference, diffraction, and polarization). Light, radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays are all the same type of thing: streams of photons. The only difference among them is the amount of energy in the photons. In the waves, electric and magnetic fields change their magnitude and direction each second, a rate of change (frequency) measured in hertz cycles. The electric and magnetic fields are always perpendicular to one another and at right angles to the direction of propagation. There’s as much energy carried by the electric component of the wave as by the magnetic component.
Matter can’t reach the speed of light - to do so would result in the matter acquiring an infinite amount of mass! Photons have no mass, but do have energy (again, anyone see a problem? e=mc²? If m=0, e=what? not much, but photons are very little? Well, there’s no nothing, except maybe far, far off, perpendicular to our perceptible galaxies…).
Radiant-heat energy is emitted only in finite quanta (photons); Einstein asserted that the energy of a photon is proportional to its frequency. Everything has both a particle nature and a wave nature, and various experiments can be done to bring out one or the other. The particle nature is more easily discerned if an object has significant mass.
Electromagnetic (EM) radiation is somehow said to have no mass and travel in waves. The photon, something like a tiny packet of energy, always in motion, is the base particle for all forms of EM radiation. The amount of energy a photon carries makes it sometimes behave like a wave and sometimes like a particle; low-energy photons (like radio) behave like waves, while high-energy photons (X-rays) behave more like particles. EM radiation can travel through empty space, which differentiates it from other types of waves, like sound waves, which need a medium to move through.
Problems with speed of light are many – not the least of which is the problem of time itself, by which speed is measured. If, at close to the speed of light, matter becomes denser, and chronometers work slower, has time slowed? When your watch is slow, you don’t assume time’s changed speed!
Except when influenced by intense gravity, light travels in a straight line, it’s claimed. But what’s straight? Straight is a mathematical formulation, like number, or parallels. Fine in Euclid’s Geometry, but maybe not in the experiential world, where all, everything, curves, if only just slightly. For a while it was assumed gravity had no effect on the path of light, but then it was shown that it does. It bends around planets, and can’t escape “Black Holes”!

Light travels at the same speed regardless of the speed of its point of origin – well, at least as far as we can determine. So much depends on context; we don’t know what speed we’re “really” traveling at, because there’s no absolute point of reference! And what is speed, anyway? Is something going quickly in a small orbit going fast? Maybe so, but what about something spinning? If you spin in a tiny orbit, really, really quickly, will you age slower? I suspect not!
Sound travels in waves but not quantum bursts or particles (quantum theory has electromagnetic radiation flowing through space in photons, also called light quanta, and thought of as packets of energy). Better experiments have been done with sound than can be with light, and people have exceeded its speed. But any measurement of velocity requires a definition of the measure of length and of time, and though great advances in measurement are claimed, all remains relative.
Scientists now say clocks run slower in strong gravitational fields, as well as at great speeds (Earth goes around the sun at 20 miles per second, but the sun, and the galaxy move too… so total speed is more than that, relative to what, we don’t know, except that, maybe, we’re going at only about 1/9000th the speed of light…). Atomic clocks, used since 1972, are pretty good, but we simply haven’t adequate data on atomic (cesium) emissions (or better, oscillations) under (greatly) varying conditions… for instance, in a much stronger gravitational field. Theory holds that if a cesium atom is totally unperturbed - not affected by any magnetic fields, no light shining on it - then its resonant frequency is stable; in reality, the resonant frequency changes all the time, and we’ve no absolute clock (much as we’ve no absolute measure of anything). It’s not really whether cesium activity is regular, but that rates of change can vary, and that ‘scientific’ data, and with all statistics, can be, and often are, manipulated for political (as well as economic) ends. Too much science is underpinned by questionable assumptions, and will surely again be re-writ (given human survival).

Why, I wonder, would energy and mass be functions of the speed of light? What kind of relation is that? OK, just maybe, gold involves a lot of stored energy – but, I suspect, in a very different manner than radioactive uranium or plutonium. Why, I wonder, are energy and mass functions of the speed of light? The more I think about it, the more absurd it all seems. Since speed of light isn’t as precise as many like to pretend, or assume, squaring it could lead to a not very spot-on answer. Mass, too, is not as precise a quantity as we might like to imagine: for one thing, separate the parts of a molecule, and somehow you end up with more mass. If you multiply the horsepower of a car by its weight, you get a figure which could help compare its efficiency to other cars – although matters like accelerative capacity, oil use, exhaust production and expectancy for replacement part necessity aren’t included. A lump of granite can do “work” as a doorstop or weight, and copper (gold and silver too) as an electrical conductor, but I’m not at all sure that’s quite the same concept.
So, what is this “energy” quantity? Certainly not just the potential explosive power which could be produced. Energy is defined as the capacity for doing work. We burn wood or coal for energy (heat) produced, but certainly not gold, nor granite. Nor do we make nuclear energy from granite. Maybe it could be done from gold, but I won’t be expecting that. We use things already emitting energy, radioactive energy.
Is much of what’s taught in schools just baffling us with “science” or something like the neo-con republican think-tank verbal cons? I hardly know, but grow increasingly suspicious.
What I do know is that our conceptual framework isn’t all we like to believe it to be, and humanity seems to be losing capacity to interact cooperatively, working toward a shared goal. Hunters had to, and rice growers still do, but sense of common goal seems to be dissipating, diminishing or at least in decline. And, since speed of light isn’t as precise as many like to pretend, or assume, squaring it magnifies the discrepancies... And as for mass, well, gold may involve a lot of stored energy – but, I suspect, in a very different manner than radioactive uranium or plutonium.
An even bigger problem is that mass (inertia) and speed are incommensurates; multiplying them seems to me like multiplying height by an interest rate. Mass – according to what unit of measure (International Prototype Kilogram, avoirdupois pound, or the one used by engineers, nicely named the slug)? Speed – in miles or kilometers? And per second, at what rate of relative speed, someone else (but certainly not me) might even wonder.
The problems Schrödinger and others had with wave/particle duality (one set of experiments shows electrons to be waves, while others prove them particles - so they must be something else – “wave functions” maybe) and Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty, or Indeterminacy, Principle (the position and velocity of an object cannot both be measured at the same time, as the concept of exact position with exact velocity is meaningless: there can be well defined position, or well-defined velocity, never both) relate to Gödel’s Proof that mathematics is inconsistent, incomplete or both. Measurement of atomic-particle velocity disrupts the particle’s activity, dramatically and unpredictably upsetting simultaneous measurement of position (and vice-versa). This isn’t about instrument, technique, or observer inadequacies, but pertains to the impact of observation on what is observed... Theorists seem not to deal very well with the reality that all is in flux, spinning, rotating - with no constant or fixed reference; that high speeds affect time-flow (in relativity theory anyway)… and that all measures are but social conventions. There is never any fixed position, only appearance of it. Measurement is but comparison, and life in accord the best rule – accommodation, not domination.

Any discussion of all this is not complete, of course, without a word problem:
Twin brothers clock their baseball pitches at an equal rate of 90 miles an hour. One stands atop a train going 90 mph; at point A he passes his brother standing on the ground, and both, simultaneously, throw a pitch at a signaling device over the tracks 120 feet distant. The ball thrown from the train will hit in half the time as the other (about a second beforehand). But, if instead they point flashlights, and turn them on simultaneously as the train passes point A, the light arrives simultaneously. The speed of the train affects the speed of a ball thrown from it, but not the speed of light which starts from a similarly moving place atop of it.
Thus we can see that speed of light and other speeds are not really commensurate. And nothing we know of, except perhaps for sub-atomic particles (if they are that, and not forces or something else), travels at even a significant percentage of light’s rate. To speculate about how speed affects time may be meaningless. A thrown ball flying above a planet spinning while orbiting a star in a galaxy also in motion is really going how fast? Light may bend, but certainly doesn’t move in several ways at once, like that, and the full extent of other motions than that of light may be unknowable. Speed relates only to relative positions of objects, and something spinning in a very tiny orbit, very quickly, has no speed relative to another object which remains nearby. This is contrary to common-sense. The speeding object is moving, just not in relation to the other object.
When Einstein speculated that time slows down as speed approaches that of light, he must have been thinking of absolutes: straight lines, a constant speed for light, and about absolute, definitably measurable, standards. But, apparently we can’t have anything quite exact like that. There’re no straight lines - not outside of geometry, anyway; light curves sometimes and there is no absolute vacuum through which it might move at standard speed. Indeed, there is no fulcrum for our intellectual lever – nothing at rest, from which to judge the absolute speed, or real movement, of anything else.
I’m not interested in disparaging Einstein here – it’s easier to believe that he figured some significant things out, than that he didn’t! And he did – unlike so many – admit his limitations, the limitations of mathematics and of his theories. The rest of us would do well to learn to do likewise. Not only does everything in Nature curve, but there are reflections, and looking into the extremes of space might have parallels to looking into a mirror with another mirror directly behind. And, with light traveling in curves, there are also other ways we might see something many times, simultaneously.

Gravity remains (like life itself) but imperfectly explained, and even cause and effect are now held but consequences of collective behavior in large quantum systems... There’s certainly never been any absolute measure of money, despite many wishing for one! Value depends on context, so values change! Whether constructs are real or not is mostly about perception: does a tree falling with no-one near enough to hear make any sound? Not if sound is what one hears, but by any other definition, well, yes, of course.
Einstein not only couldn’t explain his theories to a 3-year-old - what I’ve explained above took decades to become understood even by academics willing to pay attention (and most still don’t have a clue, but only parrot). Theories of photons, quarks, Black Holes, of light going in straight lines or sometimes bending, aren’t really understood by anybody. Scientists report that the universe is 25% helium and 73% hydrogen but also that 90% of it is “unaccounted for” – as if no-one would notice the conflict inherent in the two statements!
The famous equation works fine for relatively slow-moving bodies within our normal conceptual reference frame, where mass is a measure of inertia of a body. But for fast-moving particles, especially within fast-moving reference frames, we can't be certain. Nor, perhaps, do we know that inertia is, as it were, a limiting factor; stress can be said to have mass (a concept I admit to not knowing the exact meaning of). Remember the problem of "dark matter" and the amount o total energy and matter extant? What I'm suggesting could have bearing on that; I'm hardly a physicist though, just a casually interested part-time observer.
We undoubtedly over-value evidence for Einstein’s theories. Which hardly means we should totally discard them… We should simply be more cautious, respectful and humble - like Hopi Indians who disapprove of mining yet dig some coal, as they have as far back as is known about, but only a little, never wastefully, never over-much. Spinning bodies may produce newly posited forces: gravito-magnetism, maybe gravitational or gravity waves, gravitational radiation which may or may not carry, or impart, energy, but seems to have only a small amount of it... or at least of any energy-like character… Einstein’s General Relativity posits rotating bodies bending space and time, but ‘quasiforces’, ‘worm-holes’, ‘ripples in space-time’ and even space-time curvature are just sci-fi… wow, gee whiz and tell me more! Extended lines must all curve - Euclid’s wonderful geometry applies to our wonderful physical world, somewhat, and no more… Why two masses separated in space have a gravitational attraction to one another remains unknown, and there is no current prospect of identifying a mediator of gravity. Current scientific thinking holds that any mass in the universe modifies the rate of time in its vicinity; well, suppose the mass of our Earth had changed, or its proximity to the sun, or even the sun’s mass… all are possible, and all would somehow change not only ‘time’, but extent of inertia!
Best, in my humble opinion, to look for new, or old, formats for understanding, and to not assume we’ve delineated what is what quite rightly.

Einstein’s famous 1905 paper used as an axiomatic postulate an idea that wasn’t true, to produce a wrong result which wasn’t an improvement upon standard practice (except to use a purported “speed of light” instead of speed of electricity - see “Einstein's Mistakes” by Hans C. Ohanian, 2008, Chapter 4). He didn’t consider variants to light’s speed, many of which, though minuscule, are significant. Recently it’s been claimed that light-speed has been slowed so much as to make “light cubes” (at extremely low temperature? I know little about this except that the claim has been made). Only well after getting his paper published did Einstein become truly scientific, willing to acknowledge the “shoulders” he “stood on,” and mathematically tenable.
We cite Albert Einstein as a high-water mark of genius, knowing, intellectual capacity, brilliance and scientific achievement, but can't really say, correctly anyway (usually) what he did that was so important. Do we really know anything about time contracting at great speeds? No, we don't, despite assertions to the contrary. We no more know what time is that we know what gravity is. We don't even really know what energy or mass are.
His own ego, amply assisted by the Western media, created out image of Einstein. My big question is WHY? Because of a need for heroes? To personalize ideas for the sake of sales? To help convince ourselves that we really have accomplishments, and truly know how to do something besides foul our own nest? I wonder. Einstein has been mythologized, much as have been Shakespeare, Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe. Offerings are frequently left on the grave of Jim Morrison, and there are people who still wear Mao buttons.

The more I think about Einstein, and especially about the equation e=mc², the more absurd it all seems. OK, maybe, just maybe, gold involves a lot of stored energy – but, I suspect, in a very different manner than radioactive uranium or plutonium. But why, I wonder, are energy and mass functions of the speed of light? What kind of relation is that? And, since speed of light isn’t as precise as many like to pretend, or assume, squaring it could lead to a not very spot-on answer. Mass, too, is not as precise a quantity as we might like to imagine: for one thing, separate the parts of a molecule, and somehow you end up with more mass. An even bigger problem is that mass (inertia) and speed are incommensurates; multiplying them seems to me like multiplying height by an interest rate. Mass – according to what unit of measure (International Prototype Kilogram, avoirdupois pound, or the one used by engineers, nicely named the slug)? Speed – in miles or kilometers? And per second, at what rate of relative speed, someone else (but certainly not me) might even wonder.
If you multiply the horsepower of a car by its weight, you get a figure which could help compare its efficiency to other cars – although matters like accelerative capacity, oil use, exhaust production and expectancy for replacement part necessity aren’t included.

If e=mc², is that in BTU? What’s 4 lbs x 50 mph? Can we extract more energy from gold than lead? Even a small variance in as large a number as light speed (no matter what unit of time used), squared, becomes a rather large variance, perhaps too large to be dismissed as easily as has been done. And even now, can we be sure we know of ALL the energy in an atom? How exactly can we even determine mass, a function of inertia and gravity (a yet poorly understood concept)? Aside from suggesting that a lot of energy can be released from atoms bombarded so as to split, how useful has that formula been? Has it really made our world, our lives, more comprehensible? Did it really advance our understanding? How many aspects of the “Trinity” dance on the point of my pen?
If e=mc², there must be presumed units of energy and matter. What are these units of energy, or matter? 1000e or 10,000m is, precisely, what? Did Einstein say? If not, was he only saying that the speed of light has other importance as an integer, a constant, a building-block of reality? Can we release the energy in gold, or titanium? If time changes according to speed, even if light speed changes not one iota commensurately, wouldn't measurement of it change? I don’t recall seeing these matters discussed. If time slows down at extreme speeds, how does that affect synchronicity between frameworks moving at vastly different speeds? I haven’t seen that one addressed (not that what I personally have seen means much) and doubt whether it even can be.
Since the time physicists developed our ideas of neutrons, protons and electrons, the basic axioms (posits, tenets) of most academic disciplines have been refined, if not replaced, I wish to submit that those concepts should be, too. If atoms can give off electrons without changing from being of one element to being of another, perhaps we should cease thinking of electrons as units. Waves of influence, with focal points, perhaps, but certainly not things, not even wavicles. Nor should we think of there being “space” inside an atom. In atomic particles, mass isn’t density, but momentum, power, resistance capacity, an affect. Beyond what we can sense, our sensory terminology no longer applies! We need not stay boxed in by thinking from a century ago.

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