Bullets and Shells, Book Review

Bullet and Shell, the Civil War as the Soldier saw it is an inexpensive book at Amazon and a good read. The mild fighting as the Arab regions shake off old dictators gives me a reason to write a book review for it: it’s a lesson on why civil war should be avoided.

The book was written in 1884 by George F. Williams, an author with a very common name and possibly several other books. The book is a fictionalized memoir of the U.S. Civil War, 1861-1865, and follows the experiences of a young college graduate who enlists in the union side.

Cover of Bullet and Shell

Continue reading


Filed under book review, History

“Spin Path Integral” paper proofs sent off.

The “Spin Path Integrals and Generations” paper got accepted at Foundations of Physics. This initiates a series of emails that make you feel like a real researcher. I’m at the stage where they’ve sent the first cut proofs and asked me to make changes.

I screwed up some of the section titles (when I cut out the section on the mixing angles and inserted a section deriving spin-1/2) and so I fixed those things and clicked them into the online proof correction system. And this is the message you get:

Next thing is to finish up the 1st revision to the paper on unitary matrix parameterizations at Phys. Lett. B. I need some more calculations for the CKM and MNS matrices in magic form. I’m hoping this will finish up this week, I’ll get a week of feedback from my peeps, and then send it back to the reviewers there. And then Marni and I are working on improvements to our joint paper.


Filed under physics

Progress in Publishing the New Physics.

Doing physics is fun. Writing papers is boring. Publishing them is quite painful. This year I’ve been concentrating on getting stuff published; I haven’t updated this blog. But with March madness receding into the past I’ve got some time and I’ll update what’s going on.

Marni Sheppeard has a new blog, Arcadian Pseudofunctor. She and I have submissions to the FFP10 conference proceedings. I still haven’t heard whether mine was accepted. I would think it’s getting kind of late. Of course Marni and I are writing papers; I expect to see another half dozen between the two of us by the end of the year. Right now I’ve got three more papers in the peer review process:

Spin Path Integrals and Generations

The Spin Path Integrals and Generations paper at Foundations of Physics got 2 of 3 reviews recommending publication with major revisions. I revised it on March 15th. Presumably the editor sent it out for review as it showed “under review” until March 27th. Since then it’s shown “Reviews Completed”. I imagine the editors are arguing over whether or not it should be published. I can understand this; the paper is radical in that it purports to give an explanation of the generation structure of the fermions from first principles. This is a major problem in elementary particles so it’s a serious step to publish it in your journal. It would be embarrassing, especially given the history Foundations of Physics has for publishing junk physics.

The third reviewer on “Spin Path Integrals and Generations” asked that I remove the sections on mixing angles and hadrons. This gave me more room in the paper so I added a section showing how spin-1/2 shows up in the long time limit.

Continue reading


Filed under physics

ArXiv and the Wolfenstein Parameterization

A paper appeared on arXiv last week, “On one parametrization of Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix” 0912.0711 by Petre Dita. The abstract:

An analysis of Wolfenstein parametrization for the Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix shows that it has a serious flaw: it depends on three independent parameters instead of four as it should be. Because this approximation is currently used in phenomenological analyzes from the quark sector, the reliability of almost all phenomenological results is called in question. Such an example is the latest PDG fit from \cite{CA}, p. 150. The parametrization cannot be fixed since even when it is brought to an exact form it has the same flaw and its use lead to many inconsistencies.

Among phenomenologists, this is a pretty serious accusation. There are hundreds of papers on arXiv alone that use the Wolfenstein parameterization. It’s the basis for the PDG estimates on the CKM matrix. If it’s true this is really big news in elementary particles.

The Dita paper claims that the Wolfenstein parameterization is defective because its apparent four real degrees of freedom are redundant; instead there are only three. Such a defect would prevent the parameterization from exploring “almost all” of the space of possible 3×3 unitary matrices. Instead of the whole 4-dimensional real manifold of 3×3 unitary matrices (up to multiplication of rows and columns by complex phases), one would obtain only a 3-dimensional submanifold.

In particular, the paper claims that it is impossible to use the Wolfenstein parameterization to obtain a unitary 3×3 matrix with the magnitude of all amplitudes the same (and equal to sqrt(1/3) ). This is the “democratic unitary 3×3 matrix”, a subject Marni Sheppeard and I have explored at length. It took me a few minutes to verify that it is possible to set these parameters (lambda, A, rho, and eta) to obtain a unitary matrix with all magnitudes equal.
Continue reading


Filed under heresy, physics

Quantization of event horizon radius and Quasar Redshifts

I’m getting ready for the FFP10 meeting later this month. In reading the abstracts of those who will be giving talks or posters, I came upon “Analyses of the 2dF deep field” by Chris Fulton, Halton Arp and John G. Hartnett. The abstract is about the relationship between low redshift and high redshift astronomical objects. The claim is that some quasars have redshifts that do not give their true distance; instead, they are much closer. Looking on arXiv finds: The 2dF Redshift Survey II: UGC 8584 – Redshift Periodicity and Rings by Arp and Fulton.

If these high and low redshift objects actually are related, this places doubt on the Hubble relation. In addition, when low and high redshift objects appear to be related, their redshifts are related by quantum values . From observations, Arp has proposed that quasars evolve from high to low redshift, and finally become regular galaxies.

Now for quasars to have redshifts that differ from their true distances implies that their redshifts are determined gravitationally; that is, what we are seeing is partly the redshift of light climbing out of a gravitational potential. And if these redshifts are quantized, this gives a clue that the structure inside the event horizon of a black hole is not a simple central singularity but instead there must be repetitive structure.

In a classical black hole, the region inside the event horizon can only be temporarily visited by regular matter. Even light cannot be directed so as to increase its radius in this region. Let’s refer to this region as the “forbidden region” of the black hole as it is near the central singularity. For the classical black hole, this includes everything inside the event horizon. We will be considering the possibility that the forbidden regions of a black hole occur as infinitesimally thin shells, and that between these shells, light can still propagate outwards:


Forbidden regions shown in red.

Event Horizons as Quantum amplitudes

If we were looking for a quantum mechanical definition of the inside of a black hole, we could define it as the region where particles have a zero probability of moving outwards. We could say that the transition probability for the particle moving outwards is zero. However, in quantum mechanics probabilities are defined as the squared magnitudes of complex amplitudes. The way we compute transition probabilities is from complex transition amplitudes. If the transition amplitude between two states is zero, we say that they are “orthogonal”. Zero transition amplitudes correspond to points where a sine wave is zero; at these points, deviations to either side give nonzero transition amplitudes:


How to get zero probabilities from nonzero in QM.

Continue reading


Filed under gravity, particle physics, physics

My Gravity paper accepted for publication

I’ve just got notice that my gravity paper, titled The force of gravity in Schwarzschild and Gullstrand-Painleve coordinates has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Modern Physics D, with only a very minor modification.

I’m kind of surprised by this, given that the paper proposes a new theory of gravity. I was expecting to have that portion excised.

And to help make a week more perfect, my paper for Foundations of Physics, titled Spin Path Integrals and Generations, got a good review along with a nasty one (and much good advice from both), and the editor has asked for me to revise the manuscript and resubmit. So I suppose this paper will also eventually be published. I’m a little over half finished with the rewrite. This paper is, if anything, even more radical than the gravity paper.

Finally, the Frontiers of Fundamental and Computational Physics conference organizers have chosen my abstract (based on the Foundations of Physics paper) for a 15 minute talk. The title is Position, Momentum, and the Standard Model Fermions. Marni Sheppeard (my coauthor for a third paper, “The discrete Fourier transform and the particle mixing matrices” which so far is having some difficulty getting published), is giving a related talk, Ternary logic in lepton mass quantum numbers immediately following mine.

So all in all, I am a very lucky amateur physicist


Filed under gravity, heresy, particle physics, physics

The Young Headhunter Returns

I visited the University of Washington bookstore a week ago and they had a copy of the new translation of Táin_Bó_Cúailnge (The Tain) by Ciaran Carson on sale for $5.98 in hardback, so of course I bought it.

If you’re unaware of this classic, I’ll type in a page. For context, Cu Chulainn is returning to his own village after killing three of the village’s enemies. Perhaps due to post-traumatic stress disorder, or maybe blood-lust, he’s now a bit berserk and needs psychiatric attention.

“There’s a man approaching us in a chariot,” cried the look-out in Emain Macha. “He’s got the bloody heads of his enemies in his chariot, and a flock of wild birds overhead, and a wild stag hitched behind. He’ll spill the blood of every soldier in the fort unless you act quickly and send the naked women out to meet him.”

Cu Chulainn turned the left board of his chariot towards Emain to show his disrespect, and he said:
“I swear by the god of Ulster, that unless a man is sent to fight me, I’ll spill the blood of everybody in the fort.”

“Bring on the naked women!” said Conchobar.

The women of Emain came out to meet him, led by Mugain, the wife of Conchobar Mac Nessa, and they bared their breasts at him.

“These are the warriors you must take on today,” said Mugain.

He hid his face. The warriors of Emain grabbed him and threw him into a barrel of cold water. The barrel burst to bits about him. They threw him into another barrel and the water boiled up till it seemed it was boiling with fists. By the the time they’d put him into a third barrel, he’d cooled down enough just to warm the water through. Then he got out and Mugain the queen wrapped him in a blue cloak with a silver broach in it, and a hooded tunic. She brought him to sit on Conchobar’s knee, and that was where he sat from then on.

“Is it any wonder,” said Fiacha Mac Fir Febe, “that someone [Cu Chulainn] who did all this when he was seven should triumph against all odds and beat all comers in fair fight, now that he’s reached seventeen?”

Some notes
Cu Chulainn is a national hero to both sides of the border in Ireland. The famous statue of his death appears on the 1966 10 shilling coin:

Chariots appear prominently in The Tain but there’s at least some argument about whether these existed in Ireland. I have little doubt, see this page for a discussion and illustration. For the wealthy, imagine a chariot hooded with expensive colorful cloth. For the very wealthy, imagine the cloth covered further with bird feathers. The warrior is right handed and stands on the right side of a chariot, so the left side is the unarmed side. Hence the disrespect. Perhaps this has something to do with why the British drive on the left side of the road; they’re showing respect from the days of chariots.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under physics