Physics Crazies

Imagine you had never learned to play an instrument. Would your lack of training or experience give you an “open mind” that made you uniquely qualified to give violin lessons?

Imagine you had never seen an episode of Star Trek, but you’d seen a few clips once during an advertisement. Would you go to a convention full of Star Trek nerds and say “I think that tall guy with the pointy ears is secretly an agent for the bad guys, who I’ve named ‘Dark Centaurs’ because Alpha Centauri might be where they come from.”

Imagine you were arrested, and your lawyer told you he had never read any law books, but he’d come up with his own theory on how the law probably works?

Absurd, right? But! there is a field where people do feel confident making up wild-ass theories off the top of their head without actually learning what anyone else has done in that field. Physics.

We Fight Gravity

we_fight_gravity_01
This man saw a television special about gravity. And decided he wanted to do important work in this field.
Instead of the very hard research, study, and mathematics that would require, he just made stuff up based entirely on “pop science” sources like TV documentaries. Suffice it to say his “theories” are high-school level insights and misunderstandings dressed up in a bunch of made up terminology. The “problems” he thinks he’s solving were resolved almost a century ago, but he’s not educated enough to understand the solutions.
Of course, no effort has been made to test his theories.

BLINK: The Quadrature Theory of Everything!

quad_physics_01
This man is even further from reality. “Quadrature ” is the word for any one of several out-of-date methods for determining the area under a curve. It’s what the ancient Greeks had instead of calculus.
I don’t think this man knows that, though. Apparently Quadrature is the God of the old testimate, but it’s also a new form of physics that will bring about world peace.
Of course, no effort has been made to test his theories.

Common Ground

Interesting thing, BOTH of these projects seem to think that modern physics are “proved” to be wrong because speed is measured as a factor of time, and special relativity tells us that time is not constant. Therefore how can the Speed of Light possibly be constant? Checkmate, scientists!

If these guys were better educated, they’d know that they are not the first person to think of this. Einstein worked this out before he even published his theories back in 1905. Furthermore, since then the solutions he figured out are actually well tested.

Conclusion

These people have always existed. Ask any physics professor, they’ll tell you that they get hundreds of “manuscripts” from people who are uneducated and have just the right kind of brain problem to think that doesn’t matter. I don’t know why Physics attracts these people so much, but it’s kind of sad that instead of pestering some hapless professor, nowadays they make a fool of themselves in public

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  • KickFailure

    This article was accidentally posted early. I took it down about 30 seconds later, but if you’re on the email delivery list you may have already seen a rough draft. Sorry about that.

  • neeneko

    While not really represented on kickstarter, if you want to see an example of ‘lawyers who have never read a book on law’, check out the antics of Sovereign Citizens in court. So physics is not the only field.. sadly.

    • KickFailure

      I actually did think of them when I wrote that line. But they’re not real lawyers.

      They’re all either suckers or con-men, depending on which way the money flowed.

      I keep hoping they’ll show up on Kickstarter for something, but so far I haven’t spotted any. (Occasionally a “Defense fund” for some poor fool pops up on goFundMe, but that’s no fun. I want an actual project of some sort.)

      • neeneko

        I am actually a little surprised they do not have much of a Kickstarter presence in the publication section or something. Various ‘constitutional XYZ’ or ‘admiralty XYZ’ seem to be constantly publishing guides to their special laws.

        Though just today I encountered another example of group of people who take pride in their ignorance and use it as a selling point for their products… computer science! I originally thought this was an april fools joke, but then I looked at the person’s blog…

        https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1784334872/4-dimensional-operating-system

        • JoDa

          This is probably also fed by the “anyone can code” thing going on now. I do a specialized type of programming (SO not a generalist, don’t ask me to develop an app, I won’t be able to), and I love it when people tell me they could easily “do my job for half the money” because they took a 3-day coding bootcamp on Python or something. Like, sure…here’s the several gigs of input data we have, which need to blow up to over 10 TB (thankfully temporary and not simultaneous) to calculate what we’re going for (cross correlation is a BITCH). Good luck even understanding what I/O is, much less how to manage it (forget optimization…), with your 3 days of training! Do you even know the *specs* of our server? What *is* a core? And I’m not on the hardware side…I just know I have to know enough about the hardware to code it properly (just how many cores can I commandeer for parallel processing before my coworkers can’t get *their* work done…er…before I lose efficiency (usually the former comes before the latter, so it’s a bit of a balancing act, whereby I know I’ve gone too far when a tennis ball comes flying over my cube wall with a “hey, my program is lagging, back OFF or set it to run overnight!”)?) to get the result efficiently…

          • JoDa

            And that’s not to say that those coding bootcamps have no value. Many people now handle a little data here and there in their professional lives and R or Python are going to be faster and more reliable ways to suss some simple answers out of the data with less time and effort than trying to do it in Excel. But a 10,000 line spreadsheet with 20 variables where you want to get a handful of basic statistics ain’t what the pros are dealing with. I’m sure the pros in graphics would have come up with a way to “add a two” to binary if it were that easy…

          • neeneko

            Yeah. It does not help that even within professional programming there is a bit of a fetish for ignorance and a lot of highly paid and experienced people taking pride in NOT knowing what lessons were learned in the past.

          • JoDa

            Honestly, I think it will come back around. Most of my company uses the “freeware” solutions to do their things that have no firm deadlines and no consequences, while our small group (with firm deadlines and *serious* consequences for mistakes) uses expensive solutions that get us results when we need them, reliably, with support when we need it. Somewhere, sometime, the “rest of” is going to slam up against a hard deadline and have to tell their bosses they don’t know how to do it and everyone on SO is laughing at them rather than helping them, and they have no one to turn to for professional help. They even admit this, with one of them telling me “Stack Overflow is the most hostile environment on the internet…even more so than Reddit. I always hope that someone has asked my question before so that I don’t have to originate a question. I don’t think I would get a reliable answer if I originated a question, and believe I would be trollled more than helped.”

          • neeneko

            Huh. I have actually found Stack Overflow to be pretty helpful when I need help on something that I do not have any experience in. At worst I get no real response, but so far every answer I have gotten at least sent me in a useful direction. Same with Reddit. I work on a small team (with a small budget) so I frequently have to handle things that are both outside my speciality AND not within the domain of any of my coworkers, and while not fantastic, both resources can be useful in such situations.

          • JoDa

            That’s exactly why I’m there. We have one thing in VB that I have to maintain (fortunately it doesn’t need much updating), and the only two coworkers I knew with substantial VB experience left years ago. It’s hit or miss, but I’ve seen enough responses that boil down to “do some googling, n00b” that it turns me off. At least when I send our more experienced/astute users links to function documentation so that they can learn rather than just having someone do it for them, I provide some explanation/commentary/point out the useful parts of the documentation along with the link.

  • http://www.mrericsir.com/ MrEricSir

    Unfortunately this is nothing compared to the similar scams on less scrupulous sites like Indiegogo. If you want to waste a couple hours sometime, search Google for “Hope Girl” and her QEG machine that allegedly generates energy out of nothing. After numerous crowdfunding rounds she raised well over $100,000 before fleeing to a country with no extradition treaty.

    • neeneko

      She appeared on Kickstarter a number of times too. I can recall reporting at least one of her projects.

    • KickFailure

      Ah yes, Hope Moore. (Good name if its real.)

      She was featured on this site once.
      http://kickfailure.com/2014/06/26/free-energy-scam/