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Magnificent Desolation
2002-Mar-05, 11:29 PM
Check out this neat little piece on Ralph Rene.

It´s entitled "Inside a conspiracy theorist: the writings of Ralph René", is written by Tom Napier and you can read it at:

http://www.phact.org/phact/rene.html

Just a brief quote from the piece:

"Unfortunately, René's self-education in science included such pearls of scientific wisdom as the works of Immanuel Velikovsky. When I first met René in the early 1980s he was evincing a serious mistrust of government, science and scientists. He had a remarkable ability to suppose that he alone, a self-described basement inventor, had discovered flaws in the laws of nature which had been missed by all the professionals. Even back then he tried to convince me that there had never been a manned Moon landing, at least he is consistent."

You can read the piece in it´s entirety at:

http://www.phact.org/phact/rene.html

"Magnificent Desolation"

AstroMike
2002-Mar-06, 12:19 AM
When you look at that, I think it's pretty easy to figure out why Rene doesn't believe the Moon Landings happened.

NASA research has vindicated Velikovsky. (Aug 85)

Conjecture. Does Rene have any proof?

Droughts are government frauds. (Oct 85)

What does he mean exactly by "droughts"?

He is 99% sure that Joe Newman's energy machine works. (May 86)

Never heard of Joe Newman's energy machine.

He assisted in the development of a perpetual motion machine. (May 86)

Proof?

Men and dinosaurs coexisted and dragons were real. (Sep 86)

Yeah. And gods from Greek mythology are real.

Scientists claim huge tidal waves are impossible. (Oct 86)

Whatever.

Distant galaxies don't recede, their light gets tired. (Nov 86)

What he does mean by "tired"?

Stars cannot pulsate without exceeding the speed of light. (Jan 87)

Rene doesn't undertand pulsation.

The Earth rotates on bearings. (Feb 87)

Yeah. And Saturn's rings are a cardboard cutout.

The equatorial bulge is impossible. (May 87)

Rene doesn't understand why rotation can cause a planet to bulge.

If Newton was right about gravity the Moon would fall into the Sun.

Rene doesn't understand gravity.

Ice ages couldn't happen. (Aug 87)

Rene doesn't understand the science of glaciology.

Coulomb's Law is wrong. (Nov 87)

Has Rene read Coulomb's Law?

Looking at all of that, Rene's ideas are no more science fiction than Star Trek.

_________________
"The contemplation of celestial things will make man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs." -Marcus Cicero

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: AstroMike on 2002-03-05 19:34 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 12:54 AM
Another piece of the puzzle drops into place. The major hoax theorists -- Kaysing, Sibrel, Collier, Percy, Hoagland -- have all expressed some hatred, distrust, or other negative feelings toward government and also toward mainstream science. Until now no such connection had been made for Rene.

The hoax theory seems to revolve around anti-government, anti-Establishment feelings and have little or nothing actually to do with photographic anomalies or Van Allen radiation. All the Big Players and the lesser proponents who buy their books seem to be bent on finding something amiss with the government.

Jigsaw
2002-Mar-06, 01:46 AM
Joe Newman's Energy Machine.
http://www.josephnewman.com/

What's wrong with this picture? I don't know enough about it all, personally, to be able to tell, but as an Alert Consumer I do know that it's not a good sign that you can get a copy of his demonstration video for *only* $25 (includes shipping and handling).

The following simple experiment clearly shows - even to the nontechnical individual - that it is possible to run a motor free of costs:

1) A 40-lb motor is connected to a small battery pack.
2) Meters read the volts and amps to provide the total wattage the motor draws.

3) The batteries are then disconnected and attached to Newman's 350-lb. motor.

4) The first motor is then connected to Mr. Newman's new 350-lb motor, such that both motors are now in line with the same battery pack.

5) The meters read volts and amps to get the total wattage drawn to run both motors.

6) The total wattage to run BOTH motors is less than the total wattage required to run the single motor. One of the motors is now running for free.

7) The 40-lb. motor also runs FASTER when connected to the Newman System.

Normally, the above experiment would be impossible as the load of the two motors would always be much greater than the load of a single motor. However, Mr. Newman's revolutionary design allows his new motors to simultaneously produce mechanical work, i.e., turn a shaft, and ALSO to produce additional electrical energy. That additional electrical energy can be used to run motors or recharge batteries. That has never been accomplished before.

< snip >

It is this new understanding of magnetism that enables Mr. Newman to build these ultra-efficient motors. They are literally the solution to pollution and our energy crisis. They can bring the cost of energy down by 50% or more. Power plants can be retrofitted with these motors and homes and businesses can install on-site motor/generators to obtain cheap, non-polluting energy.

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 01:58 AM
(Some quotes from AstroMike, some from the quoted article.)

NASA research has vindicated Velikovsky.

What this usually means is that some subset of data torn bleeding from its context supports some minor point of a controversial scientist's case. We'd have to go read the precise article to see.

Droughts are government frauds.

All I know is that I live in Utah, and if those droughts are government frauds, they're superlatively convincing.

He is 99% sure that Joe Newman's energy machine works.

The Newman coil is one of several alleged "free energy" machines whose output is alleged to exceed its input.

Pons and Fleischman, working less than a mile from where I'm sitting as I write this, were both sure their energy machine worked. There was no intent to deceive on their part, and they were not applying any "free energy" mumbo jumbo. Yet it took them considerable study to admit defeat and retract their claims.

Since Mr. Rene has demonstrated himself to be almost totally ignorant of some basic principles of science, it is reasonable to conclude that he would be unable to devise and execute a methodology for analyzing the Newman machine, and thus unable to determine either by synthetic or analytic means whether such a machine is possible.

But since a large percentage of lunar hoax theorists also buy into so-called new age science, and "free energy" is one of those new age topics, it is reasonable to conclude that Rene believes in the Newman machine because it is part and parcel of the standard belief system to which he appears to subscribe.

More information on the Newman machine:

http://www.syc.org/e/skeptic/newman.htm

To paraphrase: Newman acts like the typical charlatan, not unlike Rene himself. He has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars and given nothing in return. The existing laws of electromagnetism and thermodynamics have satisfactorily served science for more than 100 years. There is no reason to suppose they are radically wrong.

"Lisa! In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" (You know that was coming.)

Men and dinosaurs coexisted and dragons were real.

My favorite Gary Larson cartoon shows a cave-man instructor indicating the tail of a stegosaurus: "This is called the Thagomizer, after the late Thag Stevens." The joke is that it's really called a thagomizer.

Creationists are quite fond of trying to cast doubt on various scientific methods of measuring or estimating age. You get similar arguments from them. They're just as hypothetical and conjectural as most of the moon hoax arguments. If Rene wishes to dispute the common methods of dating, let him offer a validated, predictive method of his own.

Saying that dragons are real is simply a matter of trying to decide what was meant by a dragon. Immense, fire-breathing, flying creatures may be what we romanticize today, but the "dragons" that appear in medieval literature may refer to animals that actually existed but were exaggerated in the accounts. The kraken and mermaid are attributed to existing creatures.

Scientists claim huge tidal waves are impossible.

The scientists I know certainly don't claim this. Hydrodynamics is hardly a black art.

Distant galaxies don't recede, their light gets tired.

This is a reference to Rene's arguments that neither Newton nor Einstein had sufficient grasp of physics. (Whereas Rene presumably does.)

Einstein's theories are based on the constancy and inexessibility of the speed of light in a vacuum. The red shift and blue shift are thus measurements of relative velocity, manifested as a shift in wavelenth. Rene claims this is all horse pucky. The light gets "lazy", slows down, and thus effectively lengthens the wavelength.

The Earth rotates on bearings.

So who greases the bearings? Some huge, orbital McCoy? Sheesh, the Easter Bunny is more credible than this.

The equatorial bulge is impossible.

If anyone should understand equatorial bulges, it's Rene. His personal equator bulges obscenely.

Seriously, the whole theory of accretion predicts equatorial bulging. We tend to think of planets as solid entities, but on that scale they're remarkably elastic, much as Rene's waistbands must be.

If Newton was right about gravity the Moon would fall into the Sun.

No, the science of orbital mechanics is quite sufficiently grounded in Newton. The sun-earth-moon system comprises a three-body problem, which has no closed form and therefore requires some serious math in order to fathom, and some serious CPUs to compute.

Let me just say that orbital mechanics, or astrodynamics as it's sometimes called, is not for those who are susceptible to math anxiety. As the Bad Astronomer can attest, most people start to get a bit anxious on about page 5 of the 200-page text.

Rene's attempt at dismissing Newton and Einstein comprises an entire book, published (as usual) on a vanity press and sold from his thrown-together website.

Coulomb's Law is wrong.

This is how this sort of claim usually works. Some other line of reasoning, based on poor understanding, leads to some certain conclusion. And the implication of that conclusion is that some other rule of science -- in this case Coulomb's Law -- must be wrong because it contradicts the newly derived conclusion. Since the new conclusion can't be rejected for ideological reasons, it is then argued that the new conclusion is proof that the established consequent is false.

It's the classic case of reductio ad abusrdum. In the science of reasoning, this technique is used to refute a conclusion. You show that a line of reasoning leads to absurdity, and this shows that the line of reasoning is incorrect. In the normal pattern of reasoning, a conclusion that contradicts Coulomb's Law would be summarily rejected because Coulomb's Law is known to be true according to synthetic proofs and empirical proofs.

Coulomb's Law is to electrostatics what Newton's law is to gravitation. The force of attraction is proportional to the strength of the charge, mitigated by the square of the distance between them. Each is quite easily verified empirically.

Now we might discover down the road that Coulomb's Law is incomplete, much as many of Newton's laws don't fully describe things that Einstein and Lorentz discovered about motion. But that's different than being wrong. Newton is fully predictive within a certain domain of velocities.

Looking at all of that, Rene's ideas are no more science fiction than Star Trek.

I assume you mean no more science than Star Trek. True, with a qualification.

Rick Sternbach, who invented most of Star Trek's speculative science, is very intelligent, very well versed in the conventional sciences, and an avid Apollo fan. Though obviously fabricated, Star Trek's "science" is actually more credible than anything coming out of the pseudo-science camp.

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 02:20 AM
as an Alert Consumer I do know that it's not a good sign that you can get a copy of his demonstration video for *only* $25 (includes shipping and handling).

In fact Joe Newman's enterprise is simply a scam to make money by duping investors into donating large sums of money to him, which he then spends on more color brochures to attract more investors, etc.

There are legitimate "free energy" researchers, but they will not ask you for money. They may talk your ear off, but they won't try to bilk you.

It is this new understanding of magnetism that enables Mr. Newman to build these ultra-efficient motors.

Unfortunately Mr. Newman doesn't seem to be able to demonstrate any knowledge of magenetism that makes sense to people who have spent their lives studying magnetism and building mechanisms that are designed according to prevailing theories.

Mr. Newman's machine appears to produce more energy than it consumes only when built and tested by Mr. Newman. The National Bureau of Standards tested the Newman engine and found it to be 30-65% efficient. "Energy" and "power" are difficult to measure. It would be child's play to rig up something that simply measured the wrong thing.

Mr. Newman will no longer release his machines for independent testing.

When Mr. Newman's attempts to construct a motor are supervised, he demonstrates complete incompetence.

Mr. Newman claims that 30 or more qualified persons have affirmed that his engine has greater than 100% efficiency, but none of them seems willing to be located and questioned.

Mr. Newman himself has little formal education in science.

Evasion, obfuscation -- these are signs of fraud.

David Hall
2002-Mar-06, 02:32 AM
Nice post Jay. The Thagomizer thing caught my interest. I checked it out on the web, and it seems that it's actually the other way around. Those spikes are now called Thagomizers because of the Far Side cartoon.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/dinos/Stegosaurus.shtml

Kinda neat, huh?

AstroMike
2002-Mar-06, 02:59 AM
On 2002-03-05 20:58, JayUtah wrote:
I assume you mean no more science than Star Trek.


Right. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif



On 2002-03-05 21:20, JayUtah wrote:
In fact Joe Newman's enterprise is simply a scam


If anybody running a scam, I think it's Bill Kaysing and the major conspiracy theorists.

Look at this (http://www.weirdvideos.com/kaysing.html).
_________________
"The contemplation of celestial things will make man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs." -Marcus Cicero

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: AstroMike on 2002-03-05 22:09 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 03:27 AM
Those spikes are now called Thagomizers because of the Far Side cartoon.

ROTFLMAO!

I love science.

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 03:39 AM
If anybody running a scam, I think it's Bill Kaysing and the major conspiracy theorists.

Absolutely no question about it.

Kaysing is pretty much a hired gun for any anti-government conspiracy you can name. He tried to sue Jim Lovell for something like $10 million for calling him a kook. The suit was obviously dismissed.

Bart Sibrel vigorously defends the copyright on his video, even though it's been hacked up solely for the purpose of establishing a copyright claim. You can't see the footage without paying him for it.

David Percy advertises that he's willing to answer questions about his charges, but his answer to all of them is, "You must buy my book and video in order to get your answer."

Collier is dead, but there are plenty of people willing to reap profits from his video.

Ironically I don't think money is necessarily the object. Books are fantastically expensive to produce. That's why vanity presses require so much up-front money. And so these conspiracy-type authors have to hard-sell the books in order to recoup the investment.

But I think it's mostly notoriety. They like to be famous, not necessarily rich. Sibrel, in fact, laments that he's forked out half a million dollars of his own money. As Oscar Wilde said, "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

Bill Kaysing the nondescript technical writer would have died in obscurity. But now he'll die a martyr with a following. Some people are happy selling their souls for a bit of immortality.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-06, 01:41 PM
Ralph Rene also believes that pi = 3.146264. (http://www.rene-r.com/reward.htm)

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 03:00 PM
Too bad you have to pay Mr. Rene some money just to see the proof. What happens if you find that the proof is in error (as it certainly is)? Do you get your money back?

Until about six years ago I worked with machines that could mill metal to a tolerance of one ten-thousandth of an inch, or about 1/30 the diameter of a human hair. We can already design machines so sensitive to the size and shape of their components that they have to be assembled in clean rooms because dust specks are mechanically large enough to wreck them.

Now imagine what would happen if the software we use to design these machines, which uses the common definition of pi, were actually wrong. See, if pi is wrong in the third decimal place, that's a very significant error in terms of engineering. Our machines wouldn't work. But they do.

Mr. Gaddy's claim, which Mr. Rene has seen fit to profit from, is dismissed on empirical grounds. Mr. Rene fancies himself an engineer, but he's obviously never had to deal with the degree of precision that engineering requires.

Let me tell you the standard story.

The SRM casing on the space shuttle is 12 feet in diameter, say equal to a small bedroom. The pieces fit together (through that infamous joint) with a tolerance of some 0.012 inch. During operation that joint rotates to open to about 0.030 inch. The rotation estimated to have occurred on the ill-fated Challenger flight was 0.065 inch.

How small is that? A human hair and a sheet of copier paper are each about 0.03 inch thick. The difference between life and death for the Challenger crew was -- quite literallky -- a human hair. This is what we mean by "aerospace tolerances".

The circumference of an SRM according to the classic method is 452.389 inches, a figure well known to those who make the O-rings and other joint paraphernalia. The circumference of that same SRM according to Gaddy's proof would be 453.062 inches, a difference of nearly 3/4 inch.

Do you honestly expect people who build large machines to a tolerance of fractions of a human hair to just shrug off a thumb's-breadth difference between what's computed and what's measured?

No, I don't need to pay Mr. Rene $6 to learn about a proof I already know is incorrect. I know it's incorrect because it has arrived at the wrong answer. The right answer has served science well for 2,000 years or more.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JayUtah on 2002-03-06 10:02 ]</font>

Silas
2002-Mar-06, 03:58 PM
On 2002-03-05 20:58, JayUtah wrote:
Let me just say that orbital mechanics, or astrodynamics as it's sometimes called, is not for those who are susceptible to math anxiety. As the Bad Astronomer can attest, most people start to get a bit anxious on about page 5 of the 200-page text.


Which text? I've got the "Fundamentals of Astrodynamics" by Bate, White, & Mueller. Lovely book! It was my introduction to solving intractable math problems by iteration. I followed along with no problem, even though (in those halcyon days) I didn't have a computer, just a calculator. Ah, math!

If you're thinking of another text, please tell me! I wants it, me precious!

I'm still giggling over the Thagomizer, and the notion of the earth rotating upon bearings. (But, then, I'm still giggling over the Flat Earth Society...)

Silas

Wiley
2002-Mar-06, 04:56 PM
On 2002-03-06 08:41, ToSeek wrote:
Ralph Rene also believes that pi = 3.146264. (http://www.rene-r.com/reward.htm)



It's about time that pesky circle has been squared.
/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Wiley
2002-Mar-06, 04:57 PM
On 2002-03-05 21:32, David Hall wrote:
Nice post Jay. The Thagomizer thing caught my interest. I checked it out on the web, and it seems that it's actually the other way around. Those spikes are now called Thagomizers because of the Far Side cartoon.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/dinos/Stegosaurus.shtml

Kinda neat, huh?



Hee hee! That's great. I gonna be chuckling about that all day.

Kaptain K
2002-Mar-06, 06:25 PM
...even though (in those halcyon days) I didn't have a computer, just a calculator...
Whippersnapper! We had (and knew how to use) slide rules.

BTW I still have mine (a K&E Decilon 10 in a real leather case).

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 06:29 PM
Which text?

Szebehely's Theory of Orbits. Check the Clavius bibliography for more info:

http://www.clavius.org/bibbooks.html

It goes into great depth regarding translunar trajectories. Some people still teach out of Moulton.

I took those courses because I had to, not because any of them was anything I particularly thought I cared about.

I've got the "Fundamentals of Astrodynamics" by Bate, White, & Mueller.
Lovely book!

Yes. Fundamentals is the only book I would recommend to the non-practitioner.

It was my introduction to solving intractable math problems by iteration.

Szebehely treats the treats the translunar trajectory as a special case of the restricted three-body problem, which has an analytical solution. However I prefer to burn CPU cycles instead of neurons, so I opt for the computational methods.

If you're thinking of another text, please tell me! I wants it, me precious!

There's a sort of "diet Szebehely" text out there, Adventures in Celestial Mechanics, that is more along the lines of what people want who aren't planning to do this for a living.

But, then, I'm still giggling over the Flat Earth Society

So if the earth is flat, does it still spin on bearings? If so, what keeps us from sliding off the rim? Oh, right, Mr. Rene doesn't believe in centripetal force either.

SpacedOut
2002-Mar-06, 07:39 PM
Kaptain K - I still have my 2 slide-rules as well - but could you solve a problem with it???

To be honest I know I couldn't - I forgot how to use one the day after I got my SR50!

P.S. - My kids can't believe we could solve "real" problems with the things!!!


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: SpacedOut on 2002-03-06 14:40 ]</font>

Kaptain K
2002-Mar-06, 09:36 PM
...could you solve a problem with it???
Yup! Just the other day, I dropped a fork between the stove and the counter. Fortunately, I was able to work it out with my slide rule. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Wiley
2002-Mar-06, 09:53 PM
On 2002-03-06 16:36, Kaptain K wrote:

...could you solve a problem with it???
Yup! Just the other day, I dropped a fork between the stove and the counter. Fortunately, I was able to work it out with my slide rule. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif



Here's a site (http://www.sliderule.ca/) y'all might be interested in. It's got scanned instruction manuals, to refresh your memory on slide rule usage.

Impress your friends with slide rule ability. And yes I do have one.

The Curtmudgeon
2002-Mar-06, 10:04 PM
On 2002-03-06 08:41, ToSeek wrote:
Ralph Rene also believes that pi = 3.146264. (http://www.rene-r.com/reward.htm)

And from that page:


Are You going to let me insult 2,000 years of mathematics?

Yep, I think the science can stand it.

The (throwing spitballs at a battleship, my friend) Curtmudgeon

JayUtah
2002-Mar-06, 11:14 PM
P.S. - My kids can't believe we could solve "real" problems with the things!!!

Some of us got so good with them we could even launch spit wads with them. (Requires rubber band. Think ballista.)

Wiley
2002-Mar-06, 11:53 PM
On 2002-03-06 17:04, The Curtmudgeon wrote:


On 2002-03-06 08:41, ToSeek wrote:
Ralph Rene also believes that pi = 3.146264. (http://www.rene-r.com/reward.htm)

And from that page:


Are You going to let me insult 2,000 years of mathematics?

Yep, I think the science can stand it.

The (throwing spitballs at a battleship, my friend) Curtmudgeon


And it's really more like 2,300 years since Archimedes developed a method to approximate pi more accurately than Rene's value. He showed pi was between 3 10/71 and 3 1/7 (3.1408 and 3.1428). One would think that after 2,300 years that one should be able to best Archimedes.