I saw Luboš Motl’s blog post Most laymen completely misunderstand what a black hole is. When I read the title my irony meter skipped a beat, so I thought I’d take a closer look. Especially since he said this in his opening paragraph:
One of those invalid memes that I want to discuss… is the idea that the point of the black hole is the singularity. That is what makes a black hole a black hole and that’s also where the mysteries of black holes hide.
Ohhh Kaaay. I’m interested. Motl then talks about the density of air, water, iron, and neutron stars, and says this:
In this sequence of material densities, the “black hole” is incorrectly understood to be the final step, bringing you to ρ = ∞, the infinite density. All the matter is concentrated to the point, the layman thinks, and the point is the “singularity”.
Actually, that’s good to hear. I hate point singularities myself. Motl then says black holes have nothing to do with infinite density, and the density isn’t infinite anyway. Hey, this is great stuff. Motl is talking my language. Or is he? Because then he says this:
Instead, black holes aren’t “materials” at all. They are objects in which the whole Newtonian way of thinking about celestial bodies completely breaks down. If you continue to use it, you are bound to produce gibberish.
At this point my eyes narrow, because I’m a big fan of Newton, and because Newton’s description of gravity in query 20 was pretty similar to Einstein’s. But no matter. Motl says when a neutron star merges with another, it collapses, and the resulting object develops a new surface, the event horizon. He also says it’s as finite and spherical as the neutron star’s surface used to be. I can’t argue with that. What’s not to like? And what’s next?
Is the event horizon very different from the surface of a neutron star? Yes, it is very different. The neutron star’s surface is dim; but the black hole’s event horizon is perfectly dark. It can’t radiate at all.
That’s good. Can’t radiate at all means no Hawking radiation. Great stuff! But hang on, then comes this:
Also, the neutron star’s surface is extremely hard, you don’t want to hit it with your skull. On the other hand, the event horizon of a black hole is super soft. In fact, nothing is there at all. You may penetrate it completely smoothly to enter the black hole interior. Unlike the neutron star, the black hole (interior) may be a basically empty volume.
The black hole may be a basically empty volume? Huh? So what’s causing the black hole’s gravity then? Methinks Motl is confusing himself here. Especially since he says this:
So which of the two surfaces, the neutron star’s surface or the black hole’s event horizon, is “more grave”, a bigger separator between two regions? That is a great question (sadly, it is mine). The funny answer is that it depends on the “timescale” in which we observe the effect of the surface.
No, it isn’t a great question, and it doesn’t depend on the timescale. But let’s cut the guy some slack, English isn’t his first language. Moving swiftly on:
In the short term, the neutron star’s surface is a big thing while the event horizon is non-existent. Your head hurts from the former but gets through the latter. In the long run, however, your head may recover from the neutron star collision. But it can’t recover from falling beneath the event horizon.
What? How can you fall beneath the event horizon when a) a gravitational field is a place where there’s a vertical gradient in the speed of light and b) the event horizon is a place where the speed of light is zero? Hasn’t Motl read what Einstein said? You know, stuff like this from 1920: “the curvature of light rays occurs only in spaces where the speed of light is spatially variable”. And stuff like this from 1939: “a clock kept at this place would go at the rate zero”. That is, of course, a light clock. So it sounds as if Motl has forgotten about the infinite gravitational time dilation which is really a c=0. What else is he saying?
The event horizon is what actually defines a black hole. It is the surface of no return.
OK, I don’t have a problem with that. But note that Einstein said the event horizon was the singularity. He said “In this sense the sphere r = μ/2 constitutes a place where the field is singular”. However modern physicists tend to dismiss that as a mere “coordinate artifact”, which has to be incorrect because you cannot turn a c=0 into a c≠0 location. People do try to do this, but they’re making a schoolboy error by saying a stopped observer sees a stopped clock ticking normally “in his reference frame”. That’s wrong. The stopped observer doesn’t see a stopped clock ticking normally. He sees nothing, ever. Saying he sees nothing unusual is like a dead parrot sketch, where the shopkeeper insists that a dead customer sees the dead parrot squawking on its perch. Next:
Once you fall beneath that surface, i.e. into the black hole interior, there is no way back. The way back is prohibited by the most universal laws of physics. In particular, it is banned by the condition that material objects never move faster than light because locally, the escape from a black hole is the same thing as a superluminal notion!
I don’t have much of a problem with that either. It’s a pity Motl didn’t spend a little time talking about how gravity works. Or explain that the vertical light beam doesn’t escape from the black hole’s event horizon because that’s a place where the speed of light is zero. But never mind. Like I said, let’s cut the guy some slack because English isn’t his first language.
At some level, it is extraordinarily surprising and disappointing that almost no one gets this basic point. This point is by no means being hidden from the public.
I get it, Luboš. But do you? Let’s see.
A black hole is defined as a region (the black hole interior) from which nothing can escape. Whether there is also a “singularity” somewhere in the region is irrelevant for the black hole’s being a black hole.
That doesn’t square with what Einstein said about “a place where the field is singular”. What else don’t you get?
OK, the event horizon is a characteristic concept that requires general relativity. How should you imagine it? In the Newtonian picture (and in the Schwarzschild-like coordinates), you are probably imagining the event horizon as the spherical surface R=a that is stationary in time, just like the surface of a neutron star. But that is a totally wrong way to think about the event horizon if you want to describe the experiments that are done in the vicinity of that surface.
Oh here we go. Here’s come the physics lesson that’s total garbage. He’s going to tell us about a surface that isn’t stationary in time, forgetting about that infinite gravitational time dilation that’s really a c=0.
To study the local phenomena easily, you should better use very different spacetime coordinates for that vicinity of a point at the event horizon. And indeed, it’s one of the repeating wisdoms of general relativity: you should choose many different coordinates and switch between them all the time.
No, it isn’t wisdom. It’s a schoolboy error and a dead parrot sketch, and it contradicts what Einstein said about “a clock kept at this place would go at the rate zero”. You can’t make a stopped clock tick by switching to “tortoise” seconds that last forever.
That’s not something that you do in Newtonian physics where the Cartesian coordinates are really pretty much great at all times, you know. But this viewpoint assuming “one natural set of coordinates for all situations” is as wrong in general relativity as you can get.
No Lub, it isn’t wrong, because when c=0 light doesn’t move, and nor do you. Nor do your rods and clocks. So there is no coordinate system. This is the crucial point about the event horizon. It’s the end of events, and the end of your coordinate system:
Image from Ethan Siegel’s blog starts with a bang
The vertical light beam cannot escape because it’s at a place where the speed of light is zero, and you can’t change that by changing your coordinate system. Does Motl know this? Actually, I think one of his brain cells does, because he then quickly changes tack, and goes off on one talking about a large black hole where the spacetime curvature is zero:
So when the black hole is large and has characteristic dimensions a, e.g. if the event horizon is a sphere of area 4πa², then the Riemann curvature tensor has components |Rαβγδ|∼C/a².The curvature is inversely proportional to the squared distance scale (squared black hole radius, as measured from the area of the sphere). This scaling follows from the dimensional analysis; the Riemann tensor (which involves second derivatives of the dimensionless metric tensor) has the same units as 1/a² and there is no other dimensionful parameter you could insert here (the “density of the singularity”, even if it could be made meaningful, is infinite so the manifestly finite curvature cannot depend on it!). You may see that if the black hole radius is astrophysical in dimensions, the curvature goes to zero.
That’s totally irrelevant, because spacetime curvature relates to the tidal force, not the force of gravity. More smoke-and-mirrors irrelevance follows:
Because the curvature goes to zero, it becomes increasingly accurate to choose a local Lorentz frame, to describe the spacetime in a vicinity of the event horizon’s point as a region in the Minkowski space.
LOL! Minkowski space does not exist. We live in a world of space and motion. Spacetime models space at all times, and thus there is no motion in spacetime. The map is not the territory. But Motl is treating it like it is, whilst missing the bleeding obvious. He was getting warm when he said locally, the escape from a black hole is the same thing as a superluminal motion. But then he missed the trick with the infinite gravitational time dilation and the zero coordinate speed of light. Which is really the speed of light. Having missed the trick, he attempts to pull a rabbit out of the hat:
It simply has to be the case. So fine, there is some almost flat spacetime with the usual coordinates t,x,y,z over there. What does the event horizon look like? The Newtonian thinking would lead you to think that at the North Pole of the event horizon, the event horizon would look like a z=const surface in the spacetime that is just stationary in time t. But that’s completely wrong.
No, Lub, it doesn’t look like anything because it’s a place where the speed of light is zero. Duh! And because spacetime is an abstract thing that doesn’t actually exist. Duh! And because in chapter 20 of Relativity: The Special and General Theory Einstein said it’s “impossible to choose a body of reference such that, as judged from it, the gravitational field of the Earth (in its entirety) vanishes”. You cannot “transform away” a gravitational field. So it simply doesn’t have to be the case, now does it? Duh!
Instead, the black hole event horizon is (in the local Lorentz coordinates) something like z=ct. Cool. The spatial coordinate is proportional to time, the speed of light (in the vacuum) is the constant of proportionality. Locally, it looks like a surface in the Minkowski space that is moving by the speed of light…
Er no, The speed of light is zero, remember? That’s why the vertical light beam doesn’t get out. Your constant of proportionality went out of the window when Einstein said: “a clock kept at this place would go at the rate zero”. Motl’s article is going seriously downhill now. See how he clutches at straws:
Maybe it’s more pedagogic to describe the black hole event horizon as R=ct. The surface of the black hole seems to grow by the speed of light in the local Lorentz coordinates.
Pedagogic? You wouldn’t know about pedagogic if it jumped up and bit you on the arse. The surface of the black hole doesn’t grow at the speed of light. Here’s pedagogic for you: the speed of light in the local Lorentz coordinates is supposed to be 299,792,458 m/s. Only that’s because those coordinates are defined such that the local motion of light defines your second and your metre, which you then use to measure the local motion of light. It’s a tautology. Only when the local motion of light is zero, it no longer applies. See what Sabine Hossenfelder was saying a couple of weeks back about singular limits.
That’s why you can’t return outside once you are inside. To try to escape is equivalent to chasing a surface that is running away by the speed of light.
Bollocks. That surface isn’t moving at all, and nor are you. Nor is your vertical light beam. Have you never read Oppenheimer and Snyder’s 1929 “frozen star” paper on continued gravitational contraction. Or the 1971 Physics Today article introducing the black hole by Remo Ruffini and John Wheeler? Who said “in this sense the system is a frozen star”.
You have no chance to win. The amazing ability of the spacetime curvature (a basic ingredient or consequence of general relativity) is that this sphere that looks like it is running away by the speed of light (which is highly time-dependent) looks time-independent in other, Schwarzschild (or similar) coordinates.
Now your’e really winging it, Motl. It’s nothing to do with spacetime curvature. Like I said, spacetime curvature relates to the tidal force, not the “force” of gravity.
Yes, the proper area of the event horizon (I mean its 2D section at one moment in this sentence) is constant in time. But the event horizon is still like something that “moves at the speed of light” in all locally pleasant coordinate systems.
Lub, you are lost in maths. Have you never read the Einstein digital papers? Don’t you know that the speed of light is not constant. Don’t you know how gravity works? No, and yet here you are sneering at laymen saying they don’t understand gravity, when you don’t understand it yourself. Buddy, this is horseshit:
The black hole may be imagined as a stationary object similar to stars if you are an observer who is outside the black hole and far enough from the black hole. But for the infalling observer, it is the interior bounded by a surface that runs at the speed of light (and there are no coordinates that allow you to describe the black hole interior as stationary in time; instead, R and t get interchanged so the black hole interior is translationally invariant in a spatial direction). These two pictures may look extremely incompatible within the Euclid-Newton framework but they are totally compatible with one another within the Riemann-Einstein curved framework. To understand why these two perspectives are not only compatible but “derivable from each other” within GR is one of the first tasks you need to solve once you really start to learn GR (and black holes) seriously.
You haven’t got a clue, Motl. Especially since you then pontificate saying “it is completely silly and pretentious to discuss deep problems of quantum gravity… before you understand basic classical general relativity”. Especially since you parrot on about “the information loss puzzle” and AdS/CFT and stringy descriptions, whilst repeating the old canard that “the singularity at the event horizon is just a coordinate singularity”. Then you claim that “there is a quasi-continuous (gradual yet quantized) transition between the light elementary particle species and macroscopic black holes”. Really? And for the cherry on top, you say this:
The main message is “Please don’t send me would-be deep e-mails about black holes if you still believe that the singularity is what is important in a black hole.” Everyone who believes in this misconception is a 100% layman who hasn’t started to understand general relativity (let alone quantum gravity) at all. And that’s the memo.
FFS, you charlatan. You don’t have a f*cking clue. You don’t understand general relativity at all, because you’ve never read Einstein saying the speed of light is not constant, and instead varies with gravitational potential. Einstein said it 1913, in 1914, in 1915, in 1916, and never stopped saying it. Irwin Shapiro said it in 1964, and guys like Don Koks the PhysicsFAQ editor keep saying it: “light travels faster near the ceiling than near the floor”. And yet you have the arrogance to say most laymen completely misunderstand what a black hole is. And the hubris to come out with fairy tales about event horizons moving at the speed of light. Jesus H Christ. To think that we’ve been paying people like you to peddle such nonsense. It fair takes the breath away.
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I was pondering this after reading your other blog entries about the speed of light stopping at a black hole’s event horizon. I mean, I can totally see the logic in the coordinate speed of light slowing down in a gravitational field and clocks moving slower when they are lower. I also understand from this that a local observer sees everything normal, because her or his ruler and clock is defined by her or his local speed of light which always measures at “c.” But then I wondered what it feels like to be a local observer watching a local clock as the speed of light approaches zero. So I have a question: could it really be zero? Or could it be an asymptotic thing, where the speed of light gets SO SLOW that it would take longer than the age of the universe (or light from, say, 1000 light years away, to reach us if we were trying to observe it if it was at that distance)? But still non zero? Similar to how the cosmic background temperature of the universe reaches zero exactly but damn close? Like, what if instead of stopping entirely, light reaches a point where it would take 14 billion years to speed up and escape? I hope this doesn’t annoy you; it’s been nagging at my mind since reading the blogs earlier. Because of the conservation of energy. I understand any matter before reaching the black hole would get straightened out back into a photon again like you were saying and so you would get gamma ray bursts. But there had to be some crossover point where the black hole was still attracting mass into it before it got to the point where mass couldn’t cross without getting turned back into light again. Does that then become an event horizon in and of itself, that point in time when the last proton makes it through the event horizon before every subsequent proton gets stretched into a gamma ray?
Rick: I don’t think the local observer sees anything at all. If that black hole is black, it’s because light can’t get out, because the speed of light is zero. And when the speed of light is zero, so is the speed of electrochemical signals. So the local observer can’t see, and he can’t think either. He’s a popsicle. He doesn’t see anything unusual because he doesn’t see anything at all.
Could it really be zero? Yes, I think so. There’s a similarity between SR, where infinite time dilation occurs at speed c, and GR, where infinite time dilation occurs at c = zero. Don’t forget that the black hole was originally called a frozen star. Now ask yourself this: how fast can a fish swim through ice? However I can’t prove that it’s absolutely zero. For all I know it could be very very slow. Let’s not forget that the whole universe has been likened to a black hole, and maybe something happened 13.8 billion years ago because the speed of light started off very very slow, but then became a little less slow, then a little less slow, until the whole universe went pop like some kind of cosmic jumping popper. I just don’t know Rick.
By the by, I don’t think a proton gets stretched into a gamma ray. Go back to the electron, which is like two loops, where each loop keeps the other loop confined. Fold your arms down tight to your chest, then pull to get a feel for it. When the electron falls into a black hole, it’s like you’re stretching a two-coil helical spring, such that the two loops get separated. Then they don’t confine each other any more. So the electron stops being an electron. As to whether it becomes two or more gamma photons or two or more neutrinos, or some combination thereof, I’m not sure. I don’t think it can become one photon or one neutrino though. However I do think if you dropped electrons and positrons into a black hole you’d see the gamma photons / neutrinos departing in different directions. Stick your fingers out to emulate the right hand rule and the left hand rule to know what I mean.
Interesting. Thanks for the reply. Now I have another issue I would like to bring up and this is going to seem strange. One of your blogs mentioned Hal Puthoff and the Polarizable Vacuum model of relativity. I started looking into Hal Puthoff, reading some of his papers, and ended up on his CIA biography page. In one of these rabbit holes of research I often get into, I found a library from the CIA FOIA page. In their search field, I started typing in stuff like “propulsion” and “gravitation” and “antigravity” etc. I stumbled across one really strange document from 1992 entitled “Flight to Alpha Centaurus” and it was a transcript from a conversation by Russians, written by one Vladimir Langovskiy and it was about energy. (You’ll see in a minute why this pertains to the electron and positron and unknotting it/annihilating it back into photons in a minute.) In this paper, one interviewer brings up cold fusion and LENR.
“22. And Almost With a Perpetual Motor.
23. “Will you place a nuclear reactor or a thermonuclear reactor on the ship? Or perhaps you will return to the energy of a vacuum?”
25. “Neither of the three,” answers Vasiliy Dmitriyevich. “Do you recall yet another sensation which was trumpeted roughly at the same time as high-temperature superconductivity? It was reported that the so called “cold fusion” was discovered in the United States. Then this phenomenon was replicated in many laboratories throughout the world. That it was replicated yet again could not be explained. And why? Simply because they were trying to find the features of fusion reactors where they couldn’t be found.
25. “I remember these experiments vividly. I even observed one of those at Moscow State University. A jar with heavy water, two live electrodes, and all of a sudden, additional heat, as if from nowhere. And if its source is not ‘cold fusion,’ then what was it?
26. “We call this phenomenon ‘energy conversion.’ And the jar itself is a primitive converter model. Water boils in it. Using the scientific language, we are dealing with a phase transition. Yet in this case the water particles are moving in an orderly fashion due to an electric field. And in such cases, according to our theory, phase transitions result in an increase in the energy release. The gain is some 2.12-4.2 times greater than the work spent.
27. “Wait a second, wait a second,” I am trying to interrupt what I have just heard. “Are you talking about perpetual motion?”
28. “No, we are talking about extracting the inner energy of the matter.” END OF QUOTE.
This got me to thinking back to what you said: Mass is a measure of its energy content. And quarks and gluons and the strong nuclear forces don’t exist. All it is is just light twisted up into different knots, and the neutron has neutral charge but non-neutral in various parts over its surface, so it acts analogously to water as a polar molecule with Van Der Waals forces, and charge is just chirality, cyclone-like vortices rotating in the same direction or in opposite directions. And this is what causes electrons and positrons to “annihilate one another.” But after reading this CIA document from this Russian guy, I started thinking, “Holy Mackerel! What if you DIDN’T need to create a bunch of positrons or scoop up a bunch of antimatter particles from the Van Allen Belts in order to “annihilate” annihilate ordinary matter on Earth and extract energy from it?” What if you could…just…I don’t know…with the right resonances of electromagnetic and electric fields, and the right metals, “untwist” the spinning photons in the different knots? What if you could annihilate normal matter, by doing the same thing that antimatter does, but without antimatter? Simulate antimatter, in other words? The results would be mind blowing. This Russian guy says later in this paper that something like 1 kg of iron, that you could hold in your hand, –just an ordinary hunk of iron– would be enough fuel to propel you all the way to Alpha Centauri and back. He says within 12 years!
Can something like this possibly be done? Convert matter back into energy by SIMULATING antimatter with just the right vortices of electromagnetic and electric fields? converting matter back into energy?
Rick: I think it can be done, but not that way. The trouble is, is that if somebody were to do this, they wouldn’t just have an energy source, They would have a weapon. A weapon of devastating power. Go find a penny. Or a one cent coin. Weigh it in your hand. That’s about how much matter was converted into energy by the Hiroshima bomb.
Exactly: Yes, they would have a weapon that could destroy the entire planet. And if it were to get into the hands of someone altruistic enough, they might just decide to blow away the planet “for some greater good.” (By my referring to “Altruism” as evil, see Ayn Rand’s critique of Kant, her critique of denigrating good if it has ANY selfish pleasure in it at all, even spiritual gratification of having done something good. That alone is selfish. Or refer to Slavoj Zizek’s statement “Evil is more spiritual than good,” in which Slavoj illustrates that, by diverting precious resources that could be used for defeating the Allies into killing Jews, it cost Hitler the war. But Hitler was MORE concerned with getting revenge on his enemies than benefiting off of a better military strategy that DIDN’T involve killing Jews. Or, take for another example those two black women at a protest when a white Libertarian said that if there weren’t so many laws, maybe these cop stop and frisk and incarceration rates wouldn’t be nearly as bad. “Wouldn’t you like that?” he asked. They responded with: “No! We want to see White guys get prosecuted as much as Blacks are.” Evil is more spiritual than good because good has self interest built in whereas evil self sacrifices itself (and many innocent along with it) for some abstract purpose or for some “greater good.” )
If someone altruistic enough to think that all humanity would reincarnate to a better place and ascend beyond this “base physical world” of matter, then such a person might conclude that the best thing to do would be to “press the button” and “free all these humans from the prison of their physical bodies.”
But governments, and the top 1%, as mean and as sons-of-bitches as they are, are still selfish and therefore pragmatic at the end of the day: they realize they have to live on this earth just as much as anyone else. (At least I hope.) They are not nuts.
Therefore, one can see why some of this technology, and maybe UFO technology too, is kept secret and suppressed. Perhaps this is also plays into one of the reasons physics is stalled, or ideas that could advance society or get us to the stars is kept back.
But also the day is coming when those who hold the secrets are going to have no choice, because to keep going as we are is also going to mean certain death and extinction at some point. Much as I am NOT a climate doomsdayer, carbon emissions IS a problem and has to be solved at any rate. And we do need new energy and we ARE going to have to get off this planet if we are to keep going as a species, for new resources for computing and technology, new rare earth metals, and new non-polluting manufacturing and industry in space. So its going to get down to between a rock and a hard place. Either let this technology get out and risk some nut blowing us all up or keep it locked away and face the threat of over-extraction and scarcity and even death anyway. The Powers’ that Be’s hand is going to be forced. Our hand is going to be forced.
Rick: what if the powers that be ain’t from round here? If you catch my drift.
Hmm…Interesting thing you say that. That opens up a WHOLE can of worms, which I have thought about LONG AND HARD for a long time…
To the point where I even have a hypothesis which I have worked out. Maybe later I will go into it, but the gist of it is this: There is a federation of “good” aliens out there and then there’s a renegade faction of “bad” ones. What do I mean by “good?” Well, suppose you have two or more star faring civilizations. And suppose they are somewhat like us: oxygen-breathing, carbon based, land-dwelling, and water-as-a-solvent. There are good reasons to believe these kinds of life may be abundant for energetic reasons: water is a polar molecule, oxygen is super energetic and delivers lots of energy for reactions, and carbon is versatile in bonds. And these elements are the most abundant. For other life forms, based on Ammonia or methane as a solvent, hydrogen-breathing, or some other type it gets more complicated. Same with undersea. Because then it presents a problem as far as getting use of fire in such situations. Which requires a far higher intelligence to evolve to get to the same civilizational state as we are, because first before you make fire you have to evacuate a chamber and fill it with oxygen. (underwater) Additional hurdles require greater intelligence to overcome. There is good reason scientists are “chauvinistic” toward oxygen/carbon/water life but that doesn’t rule out other forms of life. So, assuming you have two alien civilizations similar to our chemistry. Then it follows that Darwinian evolution, natural selection, predator-prey dynamics will place similar selective pressures toward intelligence to what we were under. It also follows that, as a starting base of biology itself, such civilizations are probably going to be equal in IQ to Humans, more or less, because the time to evolve up from primates or whatever other primordial form these aliens had to the first use of fire to make tools is far greater than the time before the first bronze and warp drive or interstellar travel. Thus IQ doesn’t have much further to go to evolve after first bronze to get to where we are. As tech evolves on an exponential curve.
So we’ve established the idea from basic common sense logic that they are going to be somewhat like us: having aggession, tribalism, competition, etc. But then they come up against the Great Filter, which is MAD, Detente…the point where their weapons are great enough to destroy themselves. And so therefore have to rein in their aggression through peace agreements, confederations, etc. And have to move toward a more “Liberal,” “Humanistic,” “cooperative” type society…their equivalent of that.
But such an order always invites reaction from the more primitivistic, base, tribalistic type programming. Hence the Lucifer Principle: that there are alien renegades, non state, organized crime syndicate type operations who refuse to reign in their aggression. And there have to be Alien Cops from Alien Government Central United Nations of the Galaxy to to chase after and hunt these down. Such alien renegade syndicates may then hide out on fringe outer rim worlds. Think Tatooine in Star Wars. Hive of villainry on the edge of the Republic/Empire. Criminal gangs hiding out on backwater worlds. I think Earth may be such a world, with criminal gangs hiding out and using Humans shields as a cover…I.e., the Central Liberal Galactic Order government, whatever peaceful federation there must be out there, can’t attack Earth because Humans would be harmed and they don’t want to hurt these innocent humans…it would go against their dictats and treaties. So therefore bad alien overlords hide out on Earth. It kind of goes with the Lucifer idea in the Bible and other texts, about a cosmic “bad guy” who was “kicked out of Heaven” and has been “cast down.” Lucifer is basically a Hutt, metaphorically and symbolically speaking.
Rick: you have a fertile imagination. You should be writing science fiction stories. I used to write science fiction stories. One was called Snoctopus. It was about a reptilian shape-shifter alien who did not like The Greys.
As for planet Earth, I fear things might not be as you see them. Imagine you live on a paradise planet, where intelligent life is in tune with nature. But not completely, because on one remote little island there lives a whole bunch of cockroaches. These cockroaches have destroyed their once-verdant tropical paradise, and eaten every leaf, every blade of grass, and every other animal that once lived there. They now number in their billions, teeming, hungry, and looking for new lands. This remote little island island, is, of course, called Earth.
Thank you. I HAVE written science fiction. Six books, to be exact, all related to each other in a series. But I have not published them yet because I kind of get obsessive with editing and details. But I pretty much finished all six. I have four more to write in the series too.
John, have you read The Daily Galaxy article dated September 21st, 2020 on black holes/event horizons/firewalls ? It appears to tie in very nicely to your most recent eassay.
Greg: no. Is this it?
It doesn’t say much. Am I looking at the right thing? There’s a bit more here: file:///C:/Users/Corella/Downloads/2020-09-cosmic-x-rays-reveal-distinct-signature.pdf. However the paper doesn’t appear to be published yet. I don’t doubt the existence of stellar mass black holes, but I don’t think this proves much:
“In order to prove the existence of stellar-mass black holes, one needs to distinguish them from such neutron stars. The authors of this research have done exactly that. Using the archival X-ray data from the now decommissioned astronomy satellite Rossi X Ray Timing Explorer, they have identified the effect of the lack of hard surface on the observed X-ray emission, and thus have found an extremely strong signature of accreting stellar-mass black holes”.
Yes, that would be it. Sorry it it turned out to be not much of anything pertinent. But you your last blog was great as always !
No probs Greg. Maybe I’ll change my tune when I read the paper. (It wasn’t on Sci-Hub, which I think is getting censored again – it was hard to find, and maybe that will affect a lot of my hyperlinks). Meanwhile I note that Jupiter doesn’t have a hard surface. Nor does the Sun. There’s lots of things out there that don’t. And since I can see no way by which you can fall through an event horizon, maybe the guys who wrote this paper have missed a trick somewhere.
I am trying to understand your view of black holes so I’d like to refer to an older discussion, on your article about black holes:
“I have no issue with the translational motion. But I start frowning when I hear about a black hole rotating at half the speed of light when a black hole is a place where the coordinate speed of light is zero.”
As far as understand you think that what we call “space” is a kind of elastic solid. No object moves through space like a bullet through a jelly, by “ripping” the “jelly” apart. A moving object is just a wave in space. Space does not move, only waves move. So, if a black hole moves it must be a wave in space, right? Because the waves we call “light” or normal “matter”, like electrons cannot move at the black hole horizon (the speed of light is 0) we need to conclude that the black hole material must be a wave different from light, a wave that has a non-zero speed even inside the black hole. Otherwise, a black hole could not move at all, and we have evidence that black holes move (together with their galaxies). But if a black hole is a wave that has a non-zero speed it can also rotate, accelerate, and so on.
Sorry Andrei, I found your post in my spam folder. I can’t see why it should have been put there. In reply to your points:
As far as understand you think that what we call “space” is a kind of elastic solid. No object moves through space like a bullet through a jelly, by “ripping” the “jelly” apart. A moving object is just a wave in space.
Not quite. I’ve described the photon as a “pulse”. Imagine a star emitting a long line of photons which we catch in a mirror box. Eventually we notice that the mass-energy of the star decreases, whilst the mass-energy of the mirror-box system increases. This is measurable via its gravitational field, which I’ve described as a pressure-gradient in space. I’ve also described energy as the same thing as space. So I think of a photon as a pulse of space propagating through space.
So, if a black hole moves it must be a wave in space, right?
I think of it as something like a super-dense lump of “frozen star” space moving through space. Note that a gravitational field is a region of inhomogeneous space where the wave speed is “spatially variable”. It makes waves through space curve, but it doesn’t make space fall down.
Because the waves we call “light” or normal “matter”, like electrons cannot move at the black hole horizon (the speed of light is 0) we need to conclude that the black hole material must be a wave different from light, a wave that has a non-zero speed even inside the black hole.
I’m sorry Andrei, I’m just not getting this. I think it’s reasonable to say the black hole material must be something different to what we’re accustomed to. But I don’t see how you can conclude that it’s a wave with a non-zero speed inside the event horizon.
Otherwise, a black hole could not move at all, and we have evidence that black holes move (together with their galaxies). But if a black hole is a wave that has a non-zero speed it can also rotate, accelerate, and so on.
I just think of it as something like an iceberg. If you’re a fish, you can swim through the sea, and feel the waves passing you by. But if you’re in the middle of the iceberg, you’re a frozen popsicle and there are no waves passing you by. But the iceberg can still move through the sea.
Question: What is the gravitational force at the center of the earth? the sun? a neutron star? a black hole?
Because it’s a place where there’s no gradient in the “coordinate” speed of light, which Einstein called the speed of light. At the event horizon of a black hole, the “coordinate” speed of light is zero, and it can’t go lower than that, Light can’t go slower than stopped. Thar means that at the event horizon, there is no gravitational force.
There is never any measurable gravitational force until you hit the wall. The point is that it seems that everybody misunderstands gravity. We are so steeped in the “shortcut” that assumes that the mass of an object is concentrated at the center (f=G*m1*m2/r^2) that we misconceive what happens when two objects merge. This leads to absurdities such as “neutronium” and “black holes”.
Consider: In order for matter to become denser than, say, depleted uranium the atoms must be subject to a force that exceeds the electromagnetic repulsion between the positive nuclei. This repulsive force is some 40 orders of magnitude stronger than gravity. Placing any arbitrarily number of atoms pulling 2 nuclei together doesn’t work because the repulsive forces of all of them are additive.
Cosmologists and astrophysicists have their own cozy little world. Unfortunately it doesn’t look much like our world. Our world where Maxwell’s Equations seem fairly robust. Magnetic monopoles and “magnetic reconnection” don’t quite square with laboratory physics.
Another example, if you will. Have you ever noticed that everything in the Universe is spinning? Stars, planets, galaxies, electrons, protons, the ceiling on Saturday night? Where does all this angular momentum come from? There is nothing in Newton or Einstein that says spin. Only electromagnetism does.
I don’t think black holes are absurdities, Roy. We have good scientific evidence that there’s something very massive at the centre of our galaxy. So very massive that there’s only one thing it can be. What I think is absurd is that physicists and cosmologists don’t understand how gravity works because they’ve never read the Einstein digital papers. As a result of that, we see fairy tale physics, and articles like this: Physics is stuck – and needs another Einstein to revolutionize it, physicist Avi Loeb says. I don’t think we need another Einstein. I think we need physicists and cosmologists to pay attention to what Einstein said, and then appreciate that people like Misner Thorne and Wheeler taught them an ersatz version of general relativity, that in some important respects, flatly contradicted what Einstein said. When you understand that a gravitational field is not curved space, you start paying attention to the old electromagnetism papers, and then you realise what is. Et cetera. One thing leads to another.
“We have good scientific evidence that there’s something very massive at the centre of our galaxy.”
What we have is evidence that there is a strong force affecting the motion of stars near the core. The Big Bang guys say it’s got to be gravity and thus a black hole. Why? Because that’s what the theory says.
Another theory, The Electric Universe, says that galaxies are electrical circuits, specifically homopolar motors. For a taste see:
For a more complete examination I recommend:
John, I have been reading and thinking about cosmology since the early 1950s upon reading Gamow’s “One Two Three . . . Infinity”. The electric universe makes far more sense than an expanding gravitational universe. It is simpler by at least two orders of magnitude. The mathematics are no more complicated than lower division calculus and many of the phenomena we see in the sky have been demonstrated in laboratories.
Roy: I don’t know of anything other than gravity that makes stars go round in circles. At Sagittarius A* they’re tight circles, caused by something very small and very very massive, but we can’t see it. Ig you haven’t already, make sure you read this: https://physicsdetective.com/black-holes/
I had a look at https://www.holoscience.com/wp/synopsis/synopsis-5-electric-galaxies/ but it didn’t say much. I searched the website on gravity hoping to see an article on “how gravity works”, but couldn’t find anything. It seems to be saying that’s all wrong without giving any useful explanations of what’s right. There was some interesting stuff in this: https://thesecularheretic.com/the-electric-universe-heresy/ . I liked what he said about neutrons being a transient coupling of an electron and proton, and about the electron not being a point particle. But this is wrong: there must be orbital motion of charges within the electron. Thornhill doesn’t understand the wave nature of matter. So he doesn’t understand how gravity works. So he comes out with bollocks like this: “The repulsive gravitational force on the Earth from the rest of the universe”.
I couldn’t see much inside the book, so I can’t really comment. But as for the electric universe, don’t forget that gravity has a secret electromagnetic nature, and it’s the electromagnetic field, not the electric field and the magnetic field. I wonder if those electric universe guys know this. By the way, I’ve posted on the Thunderbolts forum in the past, see this:
I have some sympathy, but some of the guys seems to reject just about everything, and are hard to talk to.
I’m going to get back to you on this but it might take a couple of days. I’ve got quite a bit to say but to date I haven’t put it together properly. Watch this space.
No probs Roy. It would be a shame if we all agreed about everything. We’d have nothing to talk about. By the by, I was watching Brian Cox talking about gravity on the Eden channel last night. What a load of old cobblers!
John, I think I bit off more than I can chew. I started then estimated it would take a lot of work, more than it’s worth. You are worth it but I’m a creaky old man and don’t have enough energy left. But I do have some thoughts.
You wrote “Roy: I don’t know of anything other than gravity that makes stars go round in circles.”. Examples abound. How about the ubiquitous watt-hour meter?
It is nothing more than a flat ferrous plate wrapped around the electrical main. Plasma cosmology posits that galaxies form around electrical currents flowing through the universe. Sounds absurd? How about this?:
The caption reads “The finding suggests large structures in the cosmic web are magnetized”, which is typically totally wrong. What it really suggests is that a large electrical current is flowing between the clusters. Ya can’t separate the E from the M in EM.
As for the black hole, Sag A*, it looks exactly like a plasmoid. Here is Eric Lerner, the author of “The Big Bang Never Happened”, on the photo of the Black Hole in M87.
John, Big Bang cosmology is to laugh at. It looks like a collaboration between Rube Goldberg and M.C. Escher:
It’s time to consider alternatives to The Cult of the Big Bang.
Roy, apologies, this comment was “awaiting approval” because there were so many hyperlinks. And apologies again because I have to go now. I’ll get back to you. Yes, ya can’t separate the E from the M in EM. Did you read what I said in https://physicsdetective.com/the-big-bang/ ? Personally I don’t think anything went bang, but I do think space is expanding.
John, it’s the “space expanding” thing that has stuck in my craw for going on 70 years. I have no problem with multi-dimensional constructs. I spent 50 years navigating data structures including networks and variable dimension tensors. It’s just that they ain’t real. There are three physical dimensions (they need not be orthogonal) and the relationship of objects within the physical domain from time to time. Time is not “real”. For the physical dimensions you can count the atoms along each axis. For time you need three independent cyclical systems – you go to sea with one clock or three.
So, where did the expanding thing come from? The Hubble red shift. It came down to a choice between a Doppler shift (expansion) and “tired light” as suggested by Fritz Zwicky. At the time of deciding space was assumed to be Einstein’s perfect vacuum with gravity the only long range force, EM being strictly local. Since then we have discovered that electrically conducting plasma pervades the universe, that vast electrical currents and magnetic fields connect the galaxies, that our own solar system is electrically active (solar wind), and that the interstellar and intergalactic mediums have an index of refraction greater than unity (pulsars and FRBs).
The “Big Bang” seemed somewhat plausible until they actually ran the numbers and they didn’t add up (or subtract) properly. Alan Guth proposed “inflation” to balance the books. The original theory had the universe (the strongest, heaviest black hole imaginable) expanding to a sphere the size of the orbit of Venus in about a second. Currently the theory says that the original singularity(?) expanded to a sphere of around 40 billion light years in about 1/10^39 ths of a second. Then it put on the brakes and reduced the velocity of the expansion by about 45 orders of magnitude. John, we’re talking Unicorns and the Ancient Gods here.
Then, if you buy that movie, you have to account for the density anomaly in the early universe (should be denser) and the square/cube relationship. And you know what the answer is? It’s not 42. The answer is that space itself expands. Space, which is nothing, itself expands. Nothing itself expands.
Here’s the fix: If you assume that the red shift is caused by a medium denser than a perfect vacuum and that EM is the dominant force in the universe then we can demonstrate almost all of the phenomena we see in the sky in earthly laboratories. The mathematics becomes much, much simpler – first year calculus to deal with Maxwell’s equations.
The Big Bang cultists have it all locked up. It’s academia, where politics prevail. Peer review and control over the issuing of credentials ensure that no dissenting views will be heard.
Roy, in reply to your points:
John, it’s the “space expanding” thing that has stuck in my craw for going on 70 years.
It shouldn’t do, Roy. Space is like some kind of gin-clear ghostly elastic, and a gravitational field is like a pressure-gradient in space. Only if you get rid of all the gradients, you’re still left with pressure. Things that are under pressure expand if there’s nothing to confine them. And I can’t think of anything that confines space.
I have no problem with multi-dimensional constructs. I spent 50 years navigating data structures including networks and variable dimension tensors. It’s just that they ain’t real. There are three physical dimensions (they need not be orthogonal) and the relationship of objects within the physical domain from time to time. Time is not “real”. For the physical dimensions you can count the atoms along each axis. For time you need three independent cyclical systems – you go to sea with one clock or three.
So, where did the expanding thing come from? The Hubble red shift.
The expanding thing came from Schrödinger, who talked about “cosmic pressure”. Funnily enough, Hubble didn’t believe in the expanding universe. See this: Hubble’s opinion about redshift. I do. Even if I was some creature that lived under the mud under the sea under a cloudy sky, a creature that had never seen a star, or measured galactic redshift, I would believe that the universe just had to expand. Because space is what it is.
It came down to a choice between a Doppler shift (expansion) and “tired light” as suggested by Fritz Zwicky. At the time of deciding space was assumed to be Einstein’s perfect vacuum with gravity the only long range force, EM being strictly local. Since then we have discovered that electrically conducting plasma pervades the universe, that vast electrical currents and magnetic fields connect the galaxies, that our own solar system is electrically active (solar wind), and that the interstellar and intergalactic mediums have an index of refraction greater than unity (pulsars and FRBs).
Sure thing. But IMHO space and energy are the same thing, a photon is a pressure-pulse in space propagating through space at the speed of light, and an electron is just a photon going round and round. So electrical currents and their associated magnetic fields aren’t as fundamental as spatial pressure, and like I was saying, if that pressure isn’t confined, space is going to expand. Besides, gravity has a secret electromagnetic nature anyway, because c = 1/√(ε0μ0) and the speed of light varies.
The “Big Bang” seemed somewhat plausible until they actually ran the numbers and they didn’t add up (or subtract) properly.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Big Bang ignores the time dilation which is surely associated with high-pressure energy-dense space. So maybe it took a very very long time to go bang, like I was saying in https://physicsdetective.com/the-big-bang/
Alan Guth proposed “inflation” to balance the books. The original theory had the universe (the strongest, heaviest black hole imaginable) expanding to a sphere the size of the orbit of Venus in about a second. Currently the theory says that the original singularity(?) expanded to a sphere of around 40 billion light years in about 1/10^39 ths of a second. Then it put on the brakes and reduced the velocity of the expansion by about 45 orders of magnitude. John, we’re talking Unicorns and the Ancient Gods here.
IMHO inflation is garbage. You must read what I said about it: https://physicsdetective.com/inflation/ . Guth didn’t have a clue, he was making it up as he went along. He still doesn’t.
Then, if you buy that movie, you have to account for the density anomaly in the early universe (should be denser) and the square/cube relationship. And you know what the answer is? It’s not 42. The answer is that space itself expands. Space, which is nothing, itself expands. Nothing itself expands.
Space isn’t nothing, Roy. You know what they say about atoms being 99% empty space? That figure is wrong. By 1%.
Here’s the fix: If you assume that the red shift is caused by a medium denser than a perfect vacuum and that EM is the dominant force in the universe then we can demonstrate almost all of the phenomena we see in the sky in earthly laboratories. The mathematics becomes much, much simpler – first year calculus to deal with Maxwell’s equations. The Big Bang cultists have it all locked up. It’s academia, where politics prevail. Peer review and control over the issuing of credentials ensure that no dissenting views will be heard.
There’s certainly some issues with academia. But that doesn’t mean the electric universe is right. Especially when guys like Thornhill don’t understand electromagnetism.
PS: I changed your million to a billion.
O.K. John, what are your thoughts about this year’s Nobel Dyn-O-Myte award in physics? The only thing I can comment on with authority is once again no theorists won. Me wonders why?
Or after doing more reading, I might have made an erroneous assumption about the weiners…er…winners ? I naturally assumed they were cosmologists/astrophysicists. Please straighted me out on this.
Hi Greg. OK, I see it, here’s an article on it: Three scientists share Nobel prize in physics for work on black holes. Let’s see now, Reinhard Genzel is a good egg. I mention him a few times in my article on black holes. And Andrea Ghez. She and others did the famous animations of the stars orbiting Sagittarius A*. I’m happy for them. But I think Roger Penrose is a quack and a charlatan who deserves a kick up the backside, not a share of the Nobel prize. IMHO he is responsible for so much misunderstanding because he did his own thing and appealed to Einstein’s authority whilst flatly contradicting the guy.
Hmmn. I bumped into this article. It says the prize “is worth 10 million Swedish kronor (£870,000), which will be shared among the winners, with half going to Sir Roger and the other half shared between Professor Genzel and Dr Ghez”. Tsk. “Sir Roger is credited with making a huge breakthrough in allowing astronomers to identify how black holes can form”. What a pity his singularity theorem flatly contradicts general relativity, and is totally wrong. See this: Gravitational collapse and space-time singularities. And what a pity it’s now concreted into cosmology by a Nobel prize. The irony of course, is that Alfred’s Nobel’s prizes have done far more harm than his dynamite ever did. But on another note, note how rhe article talks about wandering black holes. They’re wandering because the normal mechanism by which gravity works does not apply to black holes,
At least they didn’t credit him with “Hawking radiation”… I hope it never will be considered, after all it’s so ridiculous it can’t be proven by experiment.
I think it’s ridiculous when you read Hawking’s actual papers. I wrote about them here. I think they are jaw-droppingly dire. People don’t know how bad they are because they’ve never read them, because they’re behind a paywall. However Sci-Hub enabled me to read them. Unfortunately scientific publishers (and perhaps others) are trying to censor Sci-Hub, so my URLs to the papers on Sci-Hub don’t work now. But you can find the current URL for Sci Hub and then use the latter portion of one of my URLs to access a particular paper. For example here’s my URL for Hawking’s 1966 paper Singularities and the geometry of spacetime:
Google on “where is Sci Hub?” and then you can replace the tw with an se to read the paper:
It’s like whack-a-mole. I’m with Sci-Hub on this. Papers from the 1960s shouldn’t be behind a paywall. Joe Public has paid a lot of money for physics research. The results of that research should not be hidden from Joe Public. Especially when it’s crap.
So, Ghez and Genzel did turn out to be well respected astrophysicist/cosmoligists and much deserved winners afterall, great !
I do remember you mentioning the charlatan Penrose numerous times, and he is now a big time wiener(hot dog in the USA). Makes me wonder how much back room politicking and open air butt kissing he did to sway the judges? Which brings me to a most famous quote from the infamous American shyster P.T. Barnum : ” There is a Sucker born every minute ! “.
I don’t think Penrose would have done any politicking or buttkissing, Greg. He’s 89. I think others at Oxford and Cambridge might have done that, because he’s 89. And because he was an asscociate of Stephen Hawking, who didn’t get a Nobel prize. Nobel prizes are only awarded to living recipients.
1.The correct theory of a black hole is given by Sommerfeld “Electrodynamik” on page 321,equation 31a, where the radial velocity at the event horizon is zero.
2. Lubos Motl still believes in the Copenhagen interpretation based on an error by von Neumann, first discovered by Grete Hermann, decades later rediscovered by John Bell.
3. The 1/2 physics Nobel prize seems to have ignored the absence of Hawking radiation at the event horizon.
Hi Friedwardt. I’m just writing about that. Here’s an excerpt:
Something has got to give. As for what, see the 2013 AMPS paper an apologia for firewalls, and follow reference 87 to Friedwardt Winterberg’s 2001 paper gamma ray bursters and Lorentzian relativity. Winterberg said this: “if the balance of forces holding together elementary particles is destroyed near the event horizon, all matter would be converted into zero rest mass particles which could explain the large energy release of gamma ray bursters”. Penrose missed all this, and said this instead: “for a sufficiently great mass, there is no final equilibrium state”. He also said “the body contracts and continues to contract until a physical singularity is encountered at r = 0”.
I don’t see the names “Duffield” or “farsight” in the comments on the Lubos Motl post in question here. Is that because you didn’t leave one (or several) or because he didn’t allow them to appear? Either way it makes you look bad. If you didn’t post there it’s either because you’re afraid to, or because he banned you as a crank. And if Motl deleted your responses and you didn’t call him out for it here it’s because you’re a coward who doesn’t want his readers to know that. So which is it?
Robert: it’s because he censors my comments. I thought everybody knew that. Google on Duffield site:motls.blogspot.com to see his ad-hominems. He wouldn’t dare take me on in a physics debate, because he knows I’d wipe the floor with him. See Propaganda and censorship in physics where I said being censored by Motl is so well known it’s now a badge of honour to be worn with pride. The guy is notorious for censoring anybody who begs to differ.