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"The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work." - Anonymous Wikipedia defender

I think Wikipedia should be called "peer corrected" in contrast to "peer reviewed".

Vince Cate and his Beliefs[edit]

I have a web page. [1] Below are some of my beliefs, in particular the more non-standard ones.

Space Tethers[edit]

I think that space tethers are a very promising way to reduce the cost of getting off our planet and around our solar system. In particular I like "single stage to tether" where a rocket provides half the delta-V to get to orbital speed and a tether provides the rest. I also like the idea of a couple more tethers so that 2-way traffic to the moon could be done mostly with tethers.

Black Holes, Big Bangs, Universes and Space[edit]

I think that the known universe is the result of one big bang but that further away in space there are remnants of an infinite number of other big-bangs which I call "other universes". I believe that space is infinite. I also believe that black holes suck up matter/energy/black-holes till they get to about the mass of our universe, then they blow up making a big bang. So black holes and big-bangs is how matter/energy is recycled in space. I believe that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply to black holes and big bangs so that space can be infinitely old and not have reached a disordered state.

So this is my own non-standard cosmology.

There are at least a few scientists that think there have been multiple big bangs. For example, Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok have a theory of multiple big bangs. [2] But this is a cyclic model[3] with big bangs and "big crunches" of the same matter, not multiple different big bangs in different parts of space. [4] [5]

Energy and Matter[edit]

I think particles are standing waves of energy. So converting from energy to matter is just making or breaking the standing wave, which would explain Mass–energy equivalence. This also fits with the wave-particle duality where things act like both particles and waves. And it makes sense that there would be Quantum both in their sizes and in things like stable orbits for electrons.


So I think matter is standing waves of electromagnetic energy. Gravity is a result of how standing waves of energy interact. But regular electromagnetic waves and standing waves also attract each other.

Troubled by those who would pull a universe out of their hat[edit]

I believe that it is non-scientific for people to say things like "space and time did not exist before the big bang". This is no better than saying "God made it". Or another one is, "the laws of physics were different back then." Conservation of energy/matter is science. Saying the whole universe came from nothing is not science, it is a cop-out. Such answers should not be tolerated.

Has to be something better than General Relativity[edit]

A photon has to follow the rules, and the math for General Relativity is just to complicated for a photon to figure out in real time. There must be something simpler.

If particles are really standing waves (as I think) then they will be affected by their speed through space. So atomic clocks would slow down, etc.

The complexity of general relativity reminds me of the complexity of the Ptolemaic system. It may be getting the right answers, but like epicycles, not explaining the underlying mechanism. I think when we really understand what is going on the math will be easier, like when the Heliocentric model came along and the math got simpler.

Most cases it is good to think of EM waves as propagated by electrons[edit]

With sound waves whole atoms move back and forth to propagate the energy of the wave. With electromagnetic waves, the heavy atomic nucleus stays still but the electrons move to propagate the wave. The electrons have much higher Electric charge to mass ratios than whole atoms, so they can react to and propagate electromagnetic waves far faster than atoms propagate sound waves.

If you think in terms of waves of electrons, then radio propagation and transmittance or opacity of media at different radio frequencies is easier to understand. For example, think of an Extremely low frequency signal, say 3 HZ. To generate such a signal you want electrons moving one way and then the other 3 times per second. This causes other electrons to move a bit, which causes others to move a bit, etc. and so propagating the wave all around the world. The positions of every electron on every atom on the whole planet may be changed very very slightly by the propagation of such a signal.

The speed of light in air, glass, water, etc is different in each media because how free the electrons are to move is different. If light is moving at different speeds in different media, then it follows that it will also be moving at some speed relative to that media.

I think this is a very good way to think about electromagnetic waves (light) when there is a media that it is going through. However, there are still a couple problems.

Problem-1) I think EM waves can make standing waves, which we call matter. So even an electron is a standing wave. So in this case the EM wave is clearly not propagating through electrons.

Problem-2) Thinking that EM waves propagate through electrons does not work so well for the case of free space where there is nothing at all. There are a couple possible answers to this problem. First, to have totally empty space we would have nothing to generate or check for the light. This reminds me of, the question, If a tree falls in a forest and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?. While there must be stuff to generate or detect light, could it propagate through really empty space? Maybe we have never really had empty space to try things out with. Even the vacuum of space still has some matter.

But my real answer for now is, maybe we should not think about light as propagated by electrons all the time.

Quantization of photons is due to limitations of sensors[edit]

The way we detect light is by having electrons change energy states. Since electron energy states are quantized, then any time we measure light we measure quantized amounts, light quantum.

I think that the natural heat and motion of atoms combined with light is what causes electrons to jump. It is common for satellite dishes to cool the receiver electronics to cut down on the amount of thermal noise. I think electron are jumping partly due to thermal energy and partly due to light energy. So it is wrong to always attribute all the energy of the jump to a photon and say that the photons are quantized. In fact, the idea of light as particles may just be due to limitations of our sensors, and wrong.

Anthropogenic Global Warming is Probably Wrong[edit]

The documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle rings true to me. I think it will become more and more clear that humans are not the main cause of the current warming.


I mostly agree with the Objectivist, Libertarian, and Laissez-faire types.

Next 50 years is critical time for life in our galaxy[edit]

As the Fermi paradox says, if there was other space capable life in our galaxy they could populate the galaxy in less than a million years. Since we don't see anyone else here, then with the possible exception of the last million years, it seems that in the past 10 billion years we are the only intelligent life in the galaxy. This makes human life rather special.

Once space colonization has started, it would not be easy for humans to kill off all human life. I believe we will get orbital colonies, lunar colonies, asteroid colonies, and see the colonization of mars within the next 50 years. At that point I think we will have a very good chance of colonizing the galaxy over the next million years.

So the question is if humans will survive for the next 50 years. I think we will. I don't believe that all out nuclear war, engineered viruses, or the chaos that would follow such things would kill off 99% of the humans. I could see things getting so bad that civilization was no longer making microchips and a few other important things. But in less than 1000 years things could be back to where they are now. Compared to the 4 billion years life has been on this planet, that 1000 years is not much. So while I can imagine scenarios with a slight delay in getting out into the galaxy, I don't see how it could be stopped altogether.

Still, the Fermi paradox puzzles me. From what I understand, it really seems like there should be other life in the galaxy. It also seems like we should be able to survive and colonize the galaxy. And yet, it seems others should have done it long ago and we should see evidence of them.

Not worried about nanotech[edit]

Some people worry that nanotech could result in a grey goo scenario that consumed all living matter on Earth. I don't worry about this for 2 reasons.

First, I think it will be very hard to design something more effective and powerful than bacteria at eating up stuff. Nature has been optimizing for a long time. I just don't think humans will be able to design something more dangerous than bacteria for many many years.

Second, I think that if we can manipulate matter on that level we will be able to make computers that are more intelligent than humans long before we can make smart nano sized robots. After this, the computers will design more powerful computers and in very short time we have a Technological singularity. In other words, I don't think we get nanotech without the singularity, so the dangers of nanotech will be a problem for our very smart descendants to worry about, not us.

Heisenberg uncertainty principle / Quantum mechanics[edit]

I believe that the Heisenberg uncertainty principle means we can't both know the position and velocity of tiny particles at the same time, but that the particles do have particular properties at any given time. I do not agree with the quantum view that these properties are just a probability field (even though that may be as much as we can know). I think that if the Hidden variable theory had come up with a cool name like Quantum mechanics that it could have won out. As Einstein said, God does not play dice.

Extinction of Dinosaurs[edit]

The standard explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs is that the meteor impact of the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event killed them. My theory is that some small animals that ate eggs are responsible. Today rats that get onto a new island can devastate the bird population if they nest on the ground. [6] There were flying dinosaurs that survived the K-T boundary and evolved into birds. They may have laid their eggs on cliffs or trees or taken turns sitting on them and defending them from small animals like modern birds do. It could have been a combination of birds and small mammals that ate the dinosaur eggs. Seems like the big dinosaurs would have a hard time protecting their eggs from rats or other mammals that can dig in the ground. Alligator mothers defend their nests and provide protection for about one year after birth. Sea turtles lay their eggs on islands without a mammal that can dig them up and with many turtles laying at the same time so that when the eggs hatch they do so in such large numbers that the birds and sea predators do not eat them all. My theory is that large dinosaurs did not have an evolutionarily successful strategy for protecting their eggs and young from smaller animals that ate eggs or young dinosaurs. The meteor was probably not related, except that on a geological timescale it happened shortly after.

Humans descendants of virus and single cell[edit]

I think ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny shows that we came from a single cell organism that a virus infected. The sperm being the current version of the virus and the human egg like the original cell. So I think sexual reproduction is the result of a virus infection gone bad.

Windpower contribution to global warming[edit]

If you put up lots of windpower towers, it slows down air circulation. The air currents are trying to move cold air to warm places and hot air to cold places (North and South pole). If you slow down air circulation then the hot places will get hotter. So some day I think windpower will become an environmental problem.

(Note from a passing reader: These would have to be some pretty massive wind turbines. The atmosphere is about 20-30 miles thick, so to have a significant effect on air circulation, wind turbines would need to be densely packed at at least several miles high. This seems pretty unlikely in the medium term future)