Nov 09

Arcs and Sparks from Marx

On that page I stumbled across the Marx generator. The Marx generator is a method of generating a high voltage pulse. It works by charging a number of capacitors in parallel (through resistors) and discharging them in series (through spark gaps).

This page from Penguins Lab has a good description and photos. Unfortunately, he does not specify where he obtained the capacitors from. A cursory search with Google didn’t yield positive results. I think it would be interesting to build one of these with a couple of hundred stages instead of twenty.

14 cm spark from Marx generator

The question becomes one of where to get the necessary components, and what to use as a support to build it on because few things are effective insulators when you’re talking several megavolts.

Also, this unit used 1 NF 20 KV capacitors:

1 nanofarad 20 kilovolt capacitors

The resulting unit takes approximately two seconds to charge and produces a relatively weak spark. I think I would like to use larger capacitor values so the resulting spark would be higher current and not so weak, lower value resistors and a higher current source so the charging of someone larger capacitors wouldn’t take forever.

Dealing with higher currents on the input side of coarse means you need to be real cautious. The amount of current you’re going to get from a computer monitor flyback like the setup shown on the Penguins Lab page is trivial and while capable of providing some physical pain, is not sufficient to be lethal and the only real injury threat is what you might smack when you rapidly withdraw your hand after getting zapped. Neither does the amount of energy stored in a 1NF capacitor represent a significant hazard but upscaling would change that.

Still, to scale this up to the megavolt range and use larger capacitors, if they could be afforded, is hard to resist.

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Aug 26

Nasa Tether Experiment Video Follow-up

This is a follow-up regarding a NASA tether video I had posted earlier.

After the tether broke, this video gives the impression of living things swarming the tether. They seem to have internal structure, and they appear to be huge, given that the kilometer long tether is 88 nautical miles away by this time.

However, this video, which is widely distributed, is an excerpt of a longer video and in that longer video there is a point where the focus shifts from the tether far away to up close, at which point the dust particles come into focus and can be seen for what they are, then it shifts back to the tether.

The video when seen in full proves that NASA’s rather mundane explanation for these objects, that they are simply out of focus dust particles, is the correct one.

I am curious as to the nature of the cameras they use on the shuttle. I haven’t seen artifacts like that created by any camera I have ever used.

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Jul 27

Earth’s Ionosphere, Magnetosphere, Auroras, LDE’s

I’ve been fascinated by radio since I was a young child. Radio seems to be a connection between our physical world and some sort of ether world outside of physical existence.

Speak into a microphone, modulate a transmitter, and if the signal is a high enough frequency to make it through the ionosphere, it goes out into space forever. Millennia after I’m gone from this worldly plain, signals, modulated with my voice, will still be traveling through space.

If the frequency isn’t high enough to make it through the ionosphere, well there is where some truly interesting stuff happens. There the signal may be absorbed, and since we know energy can neither be created nor destroyed, that means the signal is simply converted into some other form of energy. Or, the signal may be refracted back to Earth.

People commonly say the ionosphere “reflects” signals, but more properly it “refracts” them. The actual mechanics involve the interaction of an electromagnetic wave with free electrons in the ionosphere. In real terms the difference is that above a certain critical angle, the electromagnetic wave will not be directed back towards the Earth’s surface and there is phase shift and absorption. In the simplest of terms though it acts like a reflection if the frequency isn’t too high or the angle isn’t too steep.

There was a certain sense of immortality involved in radio. My voice will live on after I am long gone. There are phenomena involved that seemed to me, still seem to me, mystical and magical. One such phenomena that I occasionally encountered was something known as long delayed echo. Basically, one here’s an echo of the transmission delayed more than a simple reflection from the ionosphere can account for.

When I was operating my pirate radio station back in the mid 1970s, the frequency we normally ran on was 1200 Khz. At that time, there were a number of clear channel assignments, AM frequencies that only one station was permitted to transmit on at night, allowing reception of that station pretty much anywhere in the country (and many areas outside of the United States borders).

The only other station on 1200 Khz at the time was WOAI in San Antonio, Texas. We chose that frequency because WOAI’s signal was extremely weak in the Seattle area allowing our 100 watt signal to be heard over a fairly substantial distance. I never did receive any reports of it being received via skip however.

LDE, the phenomena of long delayed echoes is a truly strange one. When we operated our bootleg radio station, we had an off-the-air monitor (radio) to monitor our broadcast and make sure things were sounding good. When we’d turn the transmitter off, the AGC on the receiver would bring the gain up and you’d then here whatever noise was present on the frequency. Occasionally, I’d hear the last fraction of a second of our own broadcast repeat.

What made this possible? I don’t know but the ionosphere, magnetosphere, their interaction with each other, and with the solar wind, are all much stranger than commonly though. However, I do know that we received no reports of skip. Even if the signal had been strong enough to be reflected back to us, a trip around the Earth only takes about 1/7th of a second, the ionosphere and back only a few milliseconds, not long enough to account for the phenomena.

If not ionospheric, then what else could it be? One theory of LDE‘s is that, under the right conditions, a signal is converted into acoustic energy in the plasma of the ionosphere, travels some distance as an acoustic wave (which travels at the speed of sound in the ionosphere), and then is converted back to an electromagnetic wave. Mmm, maybe…

I should add all of this was happening before we had HAARP muddying the waters further. A funny thing about HAARP, I have heard and read all sorts of rumors about it’s capabilities being far greater than originally documented. Originally, HAARP was looking at using RF “heating” of the ionosphere, to intensify ionization in a region, to allow the bouncing of VHF and UHF signals that normally would not be reflected, back to the Earth’s surface. This would allow things like over the horizon radar and military communications over the horizon.

Recently, it was discovered that acoustic waves, sound, within the Sun, is coupled into the Sun’s magnetic field lines. It is these sound waves propagating in the magnetic field lines heat the chromosphere to 20,000 °C, and the corona one to two million °K, and during extreme activity as high as 3.6 million °K.

Many of the Suns magnetic field lines loop back upon themselves, but some do not and travel out into space and past our planet. They interact with the Earth’s magnetic field lines, and charged particles of the solar wind traveling along the Sun’s magnetic field lines couple into the Earth’s and travel along the Earth’s magnetic field lines, entering the atmosphere near the poles, exciting atoms in the upper atmosphere causing them to glow which is the phenomena we know as the Auroras.

I believe this system allows the coupling of the acoustic waves into the Sun all the way into the Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere, and atmosphere, and even into the planet itself.

Image from Wikipedia Commons
This image is in the public domain.
Derived from an image created by NASA.

Because protons and electrons in the solar wind have the same magnitude of charge (opposite polarity) but differ in mass by a factor of 2,000, the electrons spiral along magnetic field lines more tightly than protons. I believe this creates a separation of charge that is the root of the charge between the ionosphere and the Earth rather than lighting. Lightning, I believe, is actually discharging this potential not charging it. That is evidenced by the increase in lightning activity during solar maximums.

What all this is leading up to is that I believe the Earth’s magnetosphere and the Sun’s are intimately
connected, and that coupling adds energy to the planetary system that results in climate changes as well as internal activity. I believe it is probably the this complex system that somehow accounts for LDE’s.

Some of the things I’ve seen on the net, like a proposal to alter the ionosphere to protect low Earth orbiting satellites during a high altitude nuclear explosion or a extreme solar event, suggest that our military knows a lot more about the workings of the ionosphere and it’s interaction with the Sun than the civilian sector.

Because the ionosphere is a non-linear medium, it is possible to transmit to high frequency signals, the difference of which is the desired frequency to be created, and by doing so create signals in the ELF range. The military sees this as a possible method of communicating with submerged submarines since ELF penetrates the oceans. It also penetrates land, and is a potential method of seeing underground structures.

The most interesting low frequencies are near the Schumann resonance where the resonant cavity formed by the ionosphere and Earth tend to amplify certain frequencies.

An interesting aspect of frequencies near the Schumann resonance is that these are also frequencies close to those of human brain waves, and it has already been shown that external fields will entrain the brain and by extension affect states of consciousness. It is possible to entrain the brain to a low frequency and induce relaxation, lethargy, or sleep, or to higher frequencies, and induce alertness, anxiety, excitation, and irritation.

The creation of these low frequency signals of high amplitude can also effect the Earth’s magnetic field lines, and in turn steer where particles from the solar wind penetrate the atmosphere. This has the potential to be used as an extremely destructive weapon.

Another potential use, and I can’t help but wonder if the military isn’t exploring this although I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, is the potential to extract huge quantities of energy from the ionosphere in the form of a DC electric current.

In short, the ionosphere is conductive, the Earth is conductive. A charge of between 100 v/meter and
300 v/meter exists between the ionosphere and ground. The interesting thing here is that it is also claimed that the ionosphere has a potential to ground of about 300KV. The problem here is if this were true then the ionosphere would only be 1-3 kilometers above the Earth, so something is wrong with one of those figures. Either the field strength has to be lower, or the total potential higher. If one could create an ionized column from the ground to the ionosphere, a huge current would discharge through that ionized column. The amount of energy involved would be unimaginably huge.

Well, just a few thoughts, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this subject. There is so much more I could say about this subject, and will say in the future, but I’ve got to do some work so can’t spend all night writing.

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Jul 26

The Scientific Method

The Scientific method does not lend itself well to the examination of phenomena which are transient in nature are are not repeatable upon demand or perhaps at all.

It annoys me that mainstream science dismisses out of hand anything which it can not address. Mainstream science can’t make an extraterrestrial space craft appear, nor can it make a predictive vision or dream happen on demand. Cold fusion can’t be reproduced with 100% success. Gravity shielding can’t be reproduced at the same level that Podklenov claimed.

There are phenomena in nature that just don’t lend themselves to production on demand, either because we don’t understand all the circumstances necessary for their production or because we can not produce the circumstances necessary for their production.

If you’ve experienced one or more of these phenomena then, to the degree you trust your own sanity, you know they are real, but a third party will tend to have less faith in your sanity than you. Until and unless enough people experience a phenomena for it to become part of our consensus reality it won’t be accepted by the scientific community unless it can become scientifically proven, which again phenomena which are not repeatable upon demand do not lend themselves to.

I think in part this is due to arrogance in the mainstream scientific community who are largely under the mistaken belief that they already know 99% of everything there is to know. I don’t think we, as a species, are anywhere close to understanding ourselves or the universe of which we are apart. I believe there is still much to be learned, and that the best position from which to learn is one of not assuming what we think we know is absolute truth.

I try to look at all of our existing knowledge as models that make useful predictions about reality not as an absolute explanation of reality. I think this is a healthier approach that leaves more open to learning and discovery than the more common dogmatic approach.

I try to gather the data that doesn’t fit, hoping enough data might eventually point to a new better theory that makes more accurate and complete predictions about our reality.

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Jul 22

NASA Tether Video

This has been out for a while but I still don’t know what to make of it. I’d post on the forum but haven’t figured out how to make phpbb3 allow html yet.

The tether is supposed to be eighty miles away at the time this is filmed. These circular objects are dismissed by NASA as being ice crystals. Yet, you can see them pass behind the tether in the video which would make them several miles in diameter.

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Jul 22

Viewzone Magazine

I added a new site, Viewzone Magazine.

There is a difficulty in the field of science. On the one hand, there are 6.4 billion individuals on this planet, many of them have very active imaginations, and many of those have access to the Internet. You can’t believe everything you read, a very large percentage is bogus.

On the other hand, if you stick to peer reviewed journals like Nature, you’ll only rarely find anything printed which contradicts established theories and thus very little progress is possible.

Viewzone has a lot of questionable material, but they also have a lot of leading edge, you won’t hear about it elsewhere, material. As fringe science sites go I think this site has quite a lot of good information in the mix. But you have to exercise some critical thinking and responsibility when you read this site.

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May 20

Sidebar Additions

I’ve added a several sites to the side bar. Space Flight Now which deals with space flight, space exploration, cosmology and astrophysics. The Space Review seems to be focused on manned space flight. Exploratorium offers down to Earth experiments and demonstrations educators and science hobbyists can use to teach and learn science.

These links will live on in the sidebar even after this post has scrolled.

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May 15

Problem with Singularities

Black Holes are an interesting topic, I’m not convince they exist in their originally conceived form, that of a singularity. Problem with quantum physics aside, there is also the problem of angular momentum and relativity.

Everything in the universe possesses angular momentum, whether it be a collapsing star or space dust or whatever, it spins. To conserve angular momentum, as something collapses it spins faster, just as a ballerina spins faster when she brings her arms near her body.

Material collapsing will approach relativistic velocities at some point. It can not go faster than the speed of light but it can get closer and closer, and as it does, it will acquire more and more relativistic mass. The fact that it can’t spin infinitely fast means it can never collapse entirely into a singularity.

Even if the material only approaches the speed of light, we should see the effect of relativistic mass on the gravity signature of black holes and the effect that it has on the surrounding space. We don’t seem to see this so something must prevent the collapse from continuing past some stable point, otherwise we’d keep seeing the relativistic mass continue to rise towards infinity swallowing the entire universe. We are still here to contemplate this so I think it’s safe to assume this has not yet happened, in at least 13.7 billion years, this has not yet happened in our universe.

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