From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Feeling Cranky?

crank |kraNGk|
an eccentric person, esp. one who is obsessed by a particular subject or theory [New Oxford American Dictionary]

I present three people I have come across in my journey through the World Wide Web. I'll let you be the judge as to their eccentricity.

1. John Stojanowski

Back in February, I wrote a post about former Oakland A star Jose Canseco and his musings on the strength of gravity and the size of the dinosaurs. One month later, someone left a comment:
Mr. Canseco apparently has read my theory, 'The Gravity Theory of Mass Extinction', which explains how surface gravity changed. The theory posits that when a supercontinent such as Pangea moves latitudinally, the core elements move off-center to maintain the Earth's conservation of angular momentum.

Therefore, Mr. Canseco cannot claim that this is his theory.

If interested, visit a summary of the theory: http://www.dinoextinct.com/page13.pdf.

While I can't be sure Mr. Stojanowski left the comment, the person does write "my theory."

Let's examine his speculations.
The Gravity Theory of Mass Extinction (GTME) [1] is a theory that explains the causation of mass extinction events throughout the history of the Earth. It also posits the reason for dinosaur gigantism, flood basalt volcanism, rapid changes in marine eustatic sea level, the Earth’s geomagnetic reversals and geomagnetic secular variation. The theory asserts that all of these phenomena are linked together. The foundation of the theory is the assertion that the Earth’s core elements (i.e., inner core, outer core and the densest part of the lower mantle), under certain conditions, can be displaced from their current Earth-centric position. [emphasis in the original]
CREDIT: John Stojanowski
Here's the crux of his thoughts.  As Pangaea split, the core of the core shifted from a off-center position to where it is today - at the center of the Earth.  The initial displacement of the core, he claims, would result in a smaller gravitational field on the supercontinent and allowing the evolution of gigantism among certain reptilian species. He further posits that the motion of the core to the center with the resulting increase in the gravitational field is the major cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs.

How does Mr. Stojanowski explain the core shift? He thinks that it was produced by the accumulation of the continental crust on one side of the planet. I won't go into all the gory details, but this situation is why your car tires must be balanced.  If the mass of the tire and wheel is not uniformly distributed, the tire will wobble. Your mechanic adds small weights to the rim to prevent this. I'll omit the physical and the mathematical details, and simply state that the largest possible change to the gravitation field is about 1%.  On a side note, the astronauts in the International Space Station orbit 200 miles above the Earth and experience a gravitation field that is only 2.5% smaller.

2. Steven Christ
Oh, where do I begin with Steven Christ. He is a proponent of the Hollow Earth. The Earth is hollow, and we live on the inside. You have to see for yourselves.
The Earth You Live IN...prt 1

If this video is not enough, just go to YouTube and search for his name. Want more after that. Visit his website missteribabylonestar.

3. Louis Savain
I ran across Louis on the creationist website Darwin's God. I commented on Photosynthesis Relies on Quantum Coherence: When Will They Cry Uncle?
Louis replied with typical creationist flair.
So I became intrigued.  A quick Google and I found his blog Rebel Science. Wow!  Louis is some sort of computer guy who has dreams of revolutionizing computer science.  In his ebook How to Solve the Parallel Program Crisis, he claims the the problem with the computer industry is using "the Turing Machine as the de facto computing model in the last century." His answer is "to switch to a non-threaded, non-algorithmic, synchronous (deterministic), reactive and implicitly parallel model."

However, I am not going to take issue with his programming; it's his physics that is… Hmmm, how do I put this politely? Oh, yes. Eccentric.

Louis takes issue with Newton's 1st law of motion, "an object at rest stays at rest and an object traveling in a straight line at a constant speed will continue in that uniform motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced, external force." Newton's 1st law is superstition according to Louis. 

Then he takes on the entire physics community. "I claimed that the physics community’s understanding of motion is fundamentally flawed, on a par with the flat earth hypothesis."

What truly lifts Louis above the rest is his insistence that motion is impossible, and he proves it.
Why is motion in spacetime impossible? It has to do with the definitions of space and time and the equation of velocity v = dx/dt. What the equation is saying is that, if an object moves over any distance d x, there is an elapsed time d t. Since time is defined in physics as a parameter for denoting change (evolution), the equation for velocity along the time axis must be given as v = dt/dt which is self-referential. The self-reference comes from having to divide dt by itself. dt/dt always equals 1 because the units cancel out. This is of course meaningless as far as velocity is concerned.
It is not only not right, it is not even wrong.*

The velocity is defined to be the rate of change of an object's position, but Louis makes a mistake here that I have never seen a student make in my 24 years as a professional physicist. He is seriously confused about what a variable is and what an axis on a graph represents. The equation for velocity along the time axis? Louis doesn't seem to realize that motion along the time axis is simply an object at rest at the origin, that is dx = 0.  0/dt = 0. 

I bet if Louis runs across this blog, he'll call me stupid. Or worse.
Reply to stereox112.
CREDIT: Louis Savain

*For an interesting physics anecdote, see the Wikipedia entry.


  1. Vann Priest,

    If you are a physicist you should know how angular momentum works, specifically the conservation of angular momentum (AM).

    You should know that if a supercontinent, such as Pangea, moves latitudinally which Pangea did significantly, there must be a compensating action to conserve AM.

    Can you explain what that action was?

  2. Mr. Priest wrote, regarding the Gravity Theory of Mass Extinction:

    "He thinks that it was produced by the accumulation of the continental crust on one side of the planet. I won't go into all the gory details, but this situation is why your car tires must be balanced."

    He then mentions the minor change in the weight of astronauts 200 miles above the Earth.

    He makes the error that most people make. He would be correct if the Earth did not spin or did spin at a very low rotational rate. Rotational physics is much different from non-rotational physics.

    If the current continental structure were to move to a Pangea structure, there would be a slight decrease in surface gravity because some mass would move further away from the equator. Assuming Pangea's center of mass were on the equator, this would change the Earth's angular momentum slightly but the core elements would move off-center to offset this small change in AM enough to lower gravity somewhat.

    However, if Pangea's center of mass moved either north or south of the equator this would LOWER THE SURFACE GRAVITY ON PANGEA commensurate with the latitudinal movement. This is why some dinosaurs reached their gigantic proportions.

    1. My reply is here - http://oenobareus.blogspot.com/2013/07/getting-crankier.html