Let's start big-picture! Gravity. It operates across vast distances. Recent theory
tells us that massive objects actually warp the fabric of space, like a bowling ball resting
on a trampoline. Other objects placed in proximity will move toward the depression made by
the heaviest object (and may cause the heavy one to move slightly toward them, as well).
All objects resting on the trampoline, exert their influence on each other.|
We are told that space is a vacuum, an empty void, and that mass attracts mass. But wait, scientists are just lately talking a lot about "dark matter" in the universe. I think it makes a lot of sense that gravity would operate through a medium, a substrate, some ambient matter. Way back in the 17th Century when scientists hypothesized about something called the Æther, they may possibly have been on the right track.
Does the action of gravity follow any observable pattern? Of course! We see circular and elliptical orbits, and spiral galaxies with giant sweeping arms made up of millions of stars, all flowing in a nice vortex pattern like water down a drain. Like objects suspended in a fluid. Our forefathers may have thought the Earth was flat, but they did have a certain knack for noticing the very obvious.
Similar in principle to gravity, we have seen the behavior of surface tension in a liquid: Disruptions such as bubbles, will attract one another to form clusters. They merge because their sharing of boundaries is more efficient, having lower energy when bundled together than when standing individually. But how do they "know" which direction they ought to travel, in order to combine? What mechanical force moves them across the surface? The water itself is the medium by which their attraction is expressed and facilitated. Because the water flows, and seeks to be "level" or uniform across its surface, it naturally tends to align these disruptive features.
We know of several other phenomena which operate across distance. For some, such as transmission of sound, the mechanism and medium is well understood: We know that there is a "speed of sound" because sound is conveyed by compressions and rarefactions between gas molecules in the air; and there is a limit on how rapidly air can flow back in to fill the emptiness of a vacuum. When an aircraft passes through the air at speeds exceeding Mach 1, there is essentially a
Lightning creates thunder in similar ways. The bolt of lightning makes a thin column of air superheated. The heat causes sudden expansion. The outward expansion leaves a rarefaction (partial vacuum) of air molecules. Matter remaining in the lightning's path may be heated enough to lose its structure, becoming plasma. This creates a brilliant flash of light, and additional vacuum along the path of the lightning bolt, where matter has been both scattered and splattered. Subsequently, air collapses back together to fill the void, as it did behind the Mach 1 aircraft. From that expansion, then collapse, and turbulence, we get the explosive sounds of thunder. Compressions and rarefactions of a medium.
Resonance takes the notion one step further. You can pluck one guitar string, and see that the adjacent strings begin to vibrate in harmony with the one you plucked. This is explained by the fact that the compressions and rarefactions of the sound wave in the air, work upon the nearby strings and cause them to be moved. A lump of clay would not be moved, so much. The object that exhibits this resonance must be susceptible, or physically similar to the vibrating primary object.
I'd like to see an experiment demonstrating whether or not two resonating strings have any "pull" toward one another, in the same way that bubbles on the water's surface will migrate to combine. I don't know that the phemomena are linked, but I'm just curious. My hunch is that the two strings would not be perfectly in phase with one another, since one is driving the resonance and the other is reacting (with some time lag across the intervening medium). As they moved toward one another some phase shift would occur, defeating the effect.
A similar experiment would be to determine whether resonance works at all in a vacuum. I'm thinking not. Not enough to be measurable, in any case.
After gravity and resonance, I think of electricity and magnetism. This is where things get quite weird, and less is understood. You can run electricity through a coil of wire, and it will cause a similar current to flow in a nearby coil of wire, by a principle known as induction. It works like resonance upon any susceptible electronic circuit nearby, but with one major difference: You can do this experiment in a total vacuum, and the result is unchanged. Since they can't identify any medium that's instrumental in this transfer of energy, science has assigned what they call a "field" effect. They derived some cool formulas to describe the unseen electrical and magnetic fields. If electricity passes in a uniform direction (along a line) then you'll find a magnetic field swirling `round that central line, in a vortex. Kinda like a swirl going down a drain, or an eddy current in a river, or a galaxy. Again this suggests a fluid. I suspect that the aether may have a role in this. But that's just some old superstition.
So my thoughts start rolling around to the various things that defeat our established notion of balance. What I mean is, we have opposites everywhere: Positive and negative charges, matter and antimatter, action and reaction, male and female, yin and yang, life and death... But certain concepts in our universe don't have any known inverse. We haven't discovered the antigravity for gravity. It's only in science fiction. Likewise we cannot reverse time, nor entropy. Then there are other time-dependent processes which we can't reverse, such as aging, the decay of radioactive isotopes, etc. These are really a subset beneath the reversal of time itself. What could all of these have in common? What is the key that connects them?
The best we can do for antigravity is the special case of a superconductor being frozen to a super low temperature. It is then able to levitate just a short distance apart from a magnet. The superconductor material is not magnetic at room temperature. But when chilled it can maintain stable magnetic properties, with no voltage applied. Spontaneous magnetism without any energy input, sounds kinda' like a perpetual motion machine... until you take into account the huge thermal transfer necessary to keep this thing supercooled. It represents an artificial and very localized energy sink. The rapid flux of ambient heat energy into the superconductor might be the "power source" to enable its
My own opinion is that (1.) the superconductor starts off magnetically amorphous or elastic, able to shift polarities as necessary, facing off against whatever magnetism is incident. Positive makes it positive, and it repels. Negative makes it negative, and it still repels. It acts as a barrier, a mirror, a magnetic shield. (2.) Pressing a strong magnet near the superconductor alters something by a plastic deformation; imposing structure to align it nose-to-tail with the polarity of the strong magnet so that they should attract. But it does not fully yield its innate properties. It is still more superconductor than magnet. (3.) Now the limited "plastic" magnetism attracts the magnet until it draws too close, at which point the more powerful "mirroring" effect takes over. The magnet is hung at an equilibrium distance from the superconductor. This behavior looks much like a ping-pong ball captured in a jet of air. Textbooks describe this as a "flux trapping effect". I think they were inspired by the "flux capacitor" from the movie Back to The Future. But they got one thing right. Flux. They are describing a complex magnetic field with directional currents, which could not reasonably exist without some fluid medium such as ...yeah right, the aether.
If one supposes that the aether is real, then what is it? What are its properties? How does it behave and how can we manipulate or measure it?
My instincts point toward the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory [SNO]. Please read carefully the first paragraph of this linked page. I contend that Neutrinos *ARE* the legendary aether, the dark matter of our universe, and possibly a key to Grand Unification Theory in the realm of Physics.
They permeate everything, and flow through matter with minimal interaction. Billions and billions of them flow through us in a lifetime. Their flow cannot be captured or reversed, imparting a "directional" component to our physical universe through time. And they could well be instrumental in the propagation of light, the conductance of magnetic forces across a "vacuum", the working of gravity in ways that resemble surface tension, and the dissipation of energy from physical systems into "chaos" or entropy. They could be the reason for the "uncertainty" found by Heisenberg, for quantum behaviors at the atomic level, and for the wave/particle duality of light.
Neutrinos would be a source of constant buffeting and agitation, yet seldom changing what they touch. They just flow past like wind through a tree, or jello through a fork. These currents may cause the occasional proton to dislodge from an atom (decay of isotopes). Over a long period of time their flow could cause surface erosion on atomic and subatomic matter, and might impair the internal workings of complex molecules like DNA. This could account for "aging". So I find time, gravity, aging, entropy, radioactive decay, and several other one-sided irreversible phenomena in Physics, all too neatly accounted for by a single postulate. The aether, A.K.A. Neutrinos. I must be oversimplifying. But when this idea clicked into my mind, it was so patently obvious that I thought WOW we've been arrogantly denying the existence of the aether for over a century, as one of those "Earth is flat" theories from our forefathers, and maybe our ancestors were right all along. How radically different science might be!!!
Neutrinos would account for a threshold, the speed of light, beyond which any traveling object would tend to pull an absolute vacuum behind itself because it has exceeded the speed at which Neutrinos are able to flow in and fill the gap. And why is this the speed of light? Because (in my model) a "photon" materializes from a disturbance or gap, in the spacing of the Neutrinos. This spacing is filled by adjacent Neutrinos, and the gap will propagate in a linear fashion like the transfer of energy in that old hanging-ball toy called Newton's cradle.
Because the only interaction between matter and Neutrinos is the weak atomic force, light is not so much "bumped" along its path as Newton's Cradle would demonstrate, but its momentum is carried forward by aggregate movements. As the Neutrinos shuffle in a quantized cascade to fill the gap, the location of that gap is merely shifted along a roughly linear path. The "photon" therefore relays energy in a linear direction; we receive it as an infinitesimal mass, propagating along with a wavelike electromagnetic jostling of Neutrinos around the centerline of the motion because not every displaced Neutrino is perfectly aligned to the path of motion. Imagine drawing a line at an angle on your computer screen, so that the pixels appear jagged and there is a steady pattern of four pixels, step, four pixels, step, four pixels... of course a computer screen is a planar simplification of a 3-dimensional model. In actuality the Neutrinos would be offset at diverse orientations surrounding the line of motion. So in summary, whenever we say "releases a photon" we could substitute "consumes a Neutrino and disrupts the aether".
A bigger bubble in the aether, results in millions of Neutrinos rushing inward to fill the void, and a cascade of light in all directions. Which brings me to my next interesting point of conjecture...
The SNO experiments are measuring the quantity of Neutrinos passing through the earth. I don't think they have any indication about the direction of movement, for the Neutrinos they detect.
I don't think Neutrinos flow outward from the sun, but cascade inward. Stars could be engines which convert Neutrinos to matter. Light emanates as the Neutrinos are consumed and the cascading gaps propel protons outward. Stars consume the aether! And from the most simple building blocks, at incredible temperatures (with incredible randomness, chaos and energy) matter is combined to build more complex atoms. So infant solar systems can only make plasma. A young sun has Hydrogen and Helium, but hasn't matured enough to build any of the bigger atoms requiring more components. Old suns have got the total erector set, and can build exotic stuff like Platinum and Uranium.
As matter is cast out from the sun, we get space dust and charged particles and all sorts of cosmic bits flying across space. Planets are just bits that randomly collided with intersecting bits, flung from some other star, and by happenstance ended up in a stationary orbit. There they snowballed, collecting more and more incident matter from the constant outflux of the sun. Planets are secured in their orbits, mostly by gravity; as well as the fact that while matter is streaming out from the sun there is a steady flow of the almost imperceptible Neutrinos oozing inward toward the sun, consumed at the same pace matter is thrown out. A balanced equation.
Ever wonder how, considering the rules for conservation of kinetic energy, our planet could keep rotating around and is not slowed by surface effects like the tides, coriolis forces, winds and storms? It is because we are caught between the currents of these outward and inward movements, and spun like a top. The energy to feed this system is abundant.
This being the mechanism for sustained accumulation of matter, makes sense of the spiral arms on huge rotating galaxies.
Some suns don't burn steady and bright like a candle flame. Some are like a flickering candle, or more akin to a series of explosions and collapses. Quasars, Pulsars... Maybe some of them have got a toroid ring of matter built up around them, to channel the outflux of light and matter in such a way that we see them flashing as they rotate. Some of them may be shielded inside a mantle or a crust of matter, through which the Neutrino fuel could flow in any case, until the crust became stupendously dense and thick, impenetrable. Gradually this shielding would block all except the most penetrating rays of the sun; so we have stars that emit chiefly X-rays and Gamma radiation... the possibilities are truly endless. We get Red Giants and all the other flavors of stars from one simple mechanism. Neutrinos in, random matter out.
Black holes would be the inverse of suns. Doesn't it make sense? They don't take matter and channel it off through a wormhole to some odd discontinuity point in the space/time continuum. They are an engine to consume matter and generate Neutrinos. They eat matter and light. They also represent a balanced equation. Black holes and suns, are sinks and sources for matter. Yin and yang.
Atomic fission and fusion then, are not technically the source of our sun's power, although they do occur there in a spectacular display of energy. These reactions are merely rearrangements of matter that ALREADY exists, and conversions of matter to light and heat energy. But they are not a sustainable reaction of building blocks-to-matter, or matter-to-building blocks, as one would find within the sun or a black hole. So while the atomic scientists may have feared that we would accidentally ignite a new Sun when we set off the first atomic tests, it was not a risk. We do not yet understand the real mechanism that creates a Sun, or how to ignite it, or how to snuff it out, or how to contain or channel such an energy source. When we have learned that, we will really be in a position to drive some light speed ships.
Stepping way far out on a limb, this theory could explain the strong nuclear force within an atom. Supposing you placed two bits of matter so close that the flow of Neutrinos could not slip between, they might bind together. The "pressure" of the surrounding aether, and the reluctance to form a vacuum between themselves by separating, could bind even particles with like charges (which would otherwise repel). The strong force then, indicates the density or pressure of the Neutrinos in the aether.
And as for Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, it is difficult to find the exact position of something when your measurement might be off by the width of a passing stream of Neutrinos, or to know its exact momentum when it's being buffeted by that stream. Neutrinos would make atoms vibrate in the same way that violin strings are affected by the bow. Thus the atomic electron "probability cloud" model. It all fits together so nicely!
Going back to magnetic and electric fields, I believe that these represent formations of Neutrinos. I think electric fields polarize their orientation, while magnetic fields either guide or arise from their flow. My scientific proof for this hunch is absolutely nil. But it just seems fitting.
Now you will really think I am daft: Supposing that Neutrinos are interactive with electricity and magnetism, they could provide a mechanism for the projection of thought. By resonance or induction, we have the possibility of telepathy to a susceptible mind, including such notions as instinct, and hive mentality.
Whereas mechanical systems tend to lose energy into chaos, feeding the entropy of the universe; biological systems tend to create structure from chaos, offsetting entropy. Again there is balance. And just as the body is a physical manifestation of life's potent structure, thoughts are an ethereal (literally: in the aether) representation of the structure of life. Motivational posters say, "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it." But in fact, if you have imagined it you have already broadcast the blueprint of your idea. The more clearly this mental model is rendered, the better supported your concept will become among likeminded peers. Unfortunately there is the risk that some other person will be struck by inspiration and rush to bring your idea to market before you can do so. This is a hazard of life in our competitive world.
And haven't we all wondered why our time sense seems to expand and contract? I think that if the electrochemical processes of our mind can alter the local flow and patterning of Neutrinos, we might very well modify the instant experience of time passing, by either shielding or opening our minds to this channel of awareness. Time flies when you're having fun. Time stands still in a crisis.
I imagine that persons traveling at superfast speeds would not age more slowly, but more rapidly due to their passing through many trillions more Neutrinos than their motionless counterparts. This is an important point where my ideas would differ from the Theory of Relativity. Our time perception might be a sixth sense which measures Neutrino flux. (Similarly, migratory patterns and spatial orientation may be impressed on our minds by the volume and direction of that flux; as they are magnetic phenomena in the context of our Earth's magnetic poles.) By passing through an onslaught of Neutrinos we get fatigue phenomena like Jet Lag, no matter how deliberately we relax and sleep on the plane.
The only way to protect passengers from instant aging on a lightspeed voyage, would be to tuck them into the pocket or "void" behind a superconducting barrier, where Neutrinos would be unable to converge. By this their thoughts would be suspended, their bodies would not decay, and they would feel a perfect stasis; an interruption of the effects of time.
Time, gravity, aging, decay, and other
I think I've come full circle to my starting point now, and have fully discussed all the
As footnotes, find here a link to Einstein's discussion of the aether, and a really cool article describing an Egyptian student's contribution to space propulsion systems.
November 20, 2010