Monthly Archives: April 2007

Magnetic Anomaly

On a mailing list that I am on someone described an experiment in which they made a transformer where the primary consisted of a normal winding of insulted copper wire. The transformer was one designed to be easily disassembled for demonstrations.

They made a secondary of 15 turns of 1mm PVC insulated wire and measured the output, both open, and under load. Then they made an identical secondary except that it was encased in a ring of steel pipe with the ends not quite touching.

When the primary was powered up, the output voltage induced in the 15 turn secondary was the same whether it was unshielded or inside the ring of steel pipe. Open circuit voltage or voltage measured with a lamp load were not affected by the presence of the pipe.

The experimenters question was, if voltage induced in the secondary involves the coil cutting the flux as they referred to it, why was voltage not reduced when shielded inside the steel pipe. And a secondary question was, in a transformer design where flux is designed to stay in the core, how does it cut the coil and induce a voltage. Any flux which does escape the core is considered “leakage flux” and generally transformer cores are designed to minimize that. I’d add to that, a toroidal transformer where there is essentially no leakage flux is as efficient as you can get.

The whole cutting lines of flux concept is one I’ve never been comfortable with, I think it derives from the old iron filings experiments where they filings lined themselves up in lines that people assumed to be magnetic lines of force, but I think that assumption was incorrect; without the filings there is just a magnetic field gradient, not “lines”, the lines form because when one filing aligns with the gradient, it essentially short-circuits that magnetic field gradient over it’s length and so the magnetic gradient potential is higher near it’s ends attracting other filings, they in turn do the same thing and so the end result is filings self-organizing themselves into lines.

The questions are of interest. Working in various fields involving transmission of audio signals in shielded coaxial cables, I’ve always noted the lack of 100% effective shielding and attributed that to the fact that the shielding materials had electrical resistance and where therefore unable to completely exclude magnetic fields. I wouldn’t have been surprised that some field is induced in the secondary, after all the shield was incomplete, there was a gap, and steel is not a particularly good conductor and therefore shield.

That no difference in output was observed, that is surprising, and then the whole question about transformer theory and flux being contained within the core is also interesting. Please feel free to use comments or e-mail to add your thoughts on this subject.

Crackpots and Geniuses

Crackpots and Geniuses seem to be equally excluded from mainstream science. It presents a dilemma when it comes to including numerous alternative or fringe science sites and concepts. Mainstream science has become frustratingly dogmatic. The more we insist we know all there is to know, the more difficult it becomes to discover. We should not confuse science with truth. A theory, even if it makes successful predictions, is still a theory. The success of those predictions doesn’t prove the theory is truth, it only proves that it makes accurate predictions in a set of circumstances.

Newtons law of gravity made wonderfully accurate predictions under most ordinary circumstances. Nature being what it is provided us with one example where Newtons law of gravity failed, in the motion of Mercury. For the motion of Mercury to be fully explained, relativity had to be invoked. General relativity makes accurate predictions under a broader set of circumstances than does Newtonian physics. But it fails under some circumstances also. It fails to properly describe the rate of deceleration of the Pioneer spacecraft. This has become known as the Pioneer Anomaly. The anomaly hasn’t been limited to Pioneer, other spacecraft near the edge of the solar system have demonstrated similar anomalous deceleration.

It is clear to me that we don’t understand the force of gravity to the degree we think we do. Gravity waves have been predicted by physicists for decades. Numerous gravity wave experiments, Australia has ACIGA, The German-British project GEO 600, NASA LISA spaced base interferometry experiment, LIGO at CalTech, the Japanese projects LIGM and Tama 300, the French/Italian project VIRGO and the Italian project AURIGA, have all failed to definitively detect gravity waves.

A weak but existent connection between gravity and electromagnetism was predicted by Einstein. An effect still very weak but orders of magnitude stronger than predicted. Such a force has been measured around rotating superconductive rings. Gravitational forces emanating from rotating superconductors have been measured at various laboratories. They have fallen far short of those claimed by Eugene Podkletnov, a Russian scientists, who claims to have seen gravity reduction up to 2%, but still several orders of magnitude greater than predicted by Einstein.

These things and more convince me that there is still much to learn, and so I have included some sites which I am confident contain crackpot material because I believe within them from time to time also will be found some genuine science that will not make it’s way into mainstream journals anytime soon.


The ingenuity of some people is beyond belief. Take a look at this article in the New Scientist.

I’ve heard of people spying on computer data by detecting the radio frequency emissions from the monitor and it is not real difficult for me to understand how that might be done.

But this one never occurred to me. It is possible to see what’s on someone’s computer monitor by just the light reflected off the wall or diffused through curtains, and this can even be done from a great distance via a telescope.

That this was possible never occurred to me before. The article did not elaborate on HOW this was done. Being familiar with how CRT displays work, after reading that was possible, it was immediately obvious to me how it was possible.

On a CRT display, an electron beam is swept from left to right and top to bottom. Thus the light hitting the wall, which appears to be a diffuse flickering glow, is actually rapidly modulating as the electron beams trace out the image on the monitors phosphors.

with a sensitive light detector at the focal point of a telescope, one need only determine the horizontal and vertical sweep rates, and this can be determined by the regular dimming during the fly back and vertical retrace periods, in order to reconstruct the image. The electron beam is swept from left to right, each successive line lower than the one before. When it gets all the way to the right, it rapidly “flys back”, and during this time it is turned off so it doesn’t make lines backwards across the display. That off period should be recognizable and usable as a sync period. A similar thing happens when the beam reaches the bottom of the screen and has to return to the top.

Essentially what you have is a three channel optical link. You need filters to separate red/green/blue, but for each channel the data is basically a serial optical link.

Gravitoelectric Force

After an UFO encounter which I had 38 years ago, I’ve been convinced there is some coupling between the electromagnetic force, space, time, and gravity.

There has been much anecdotal evidence. Magnetic effects and materials seem to be strongly associated with UFOs. Spend a half hour with Google and you’ll find examples of engines stalling, instruments reading strangely, even power grid outages associated with UFOs. Arts Parts, layers of bismuth, a strongly diamagnetic metal, and an aluminum-magnesium alloy (structurally strong). The workings of the vehicle that I saw, a glass ring filled with mercury with two coils of copper wire wound around it. As with bismuth, mercury is strongly diamagnetic.

Einsteins’ general theory of relativity did suggest a relationship between gravity and electromagnetism but it was an extremely weak relationship. One that should not be noticeable.

A Russian scientist working in Tampere Finland, Dr. Podkeltnov, discovered that a rotating superconductor resulted in a reduction in gravity directly above it. The amount of reduction was small but still significant. This happened in 1996, and I’ve read that a number of aerospace companies were investigating the effect but I have not heard any formal announcements from any of them.

Boyd Bushman of Lockheed Martin has mentioned on video that a relationship between a magnetic plane created by opposing magnets and gravity exists.

See this article in Science Daily. It is describing a non-Newtonian gravity field being setup by rotating superconductors that is much larger than predicted by general relativity.

I have frightening dreams surrounding the development of this technology. In my dreams, the government gets it and uses it to terrorize civilians into being good slaves.

For this reason I want to understand the principal behind this technology and find a way to make it available to the public.

I would very much like to hear from people actively researching this area.

Absolute Zero and Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal

I was reading a physics forum archive in which someone asked the question of whether absolute zero was obtainable because there would be no molecular motion and thus, they felt, by extension the Heisenberg uncertainty principal would break down.

I don’t see any reason the Heisenberg uncertainty principal should break down. Since the velocity is known exactly (zero), the position of the atom wouldn’t be known. Bose Einstein condensate, a state of matter when brought close to absolute zero and the individual atoms act as if they were one, is evidence of exactly that happening.

The Krone Experiment

Normally I would be disinclined to mention a movie on a science and technology blog, however, The Krone Experiment plays on a particular fear that I have.

Scientists are attempting to create black holes in an accelerator. The idea being that if you can concentrate enough energy in a small enough space, a black hole will come into existence fleetingly.

That it will be a fleeting existence for the black hole is posited on a posited phenomena of Hawkings radiation. The idea is that virtual particles that come into existence right at the event horizon will become real because one will be sucked in and the other will escape and their inability to re-unite makes them real.

Now, because a particle escaped, conservation of mass it is theorized will require that the other particle going into the black hole will some how cause it to decrease in mass rather than increasing in mass.

This is placing way too much faith in a theory for my comfort. Usually, when you add mass to mass, it makes more mass not less. When you consider that the particle external to the event horizon became real because it couldn’t re-united with it’s virtual particle mate within the time allowed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principal, why wouldn’t the particle inside the black hole also become real and add to the mass?

If the conservation of mass applies in all circumstances then how is it the universe exists? It seems to me that gambling the fate of the entire planet and everyone on it on an untested theory is more than foolhardy.

If we don’t all blink out of existence first, it might be worth seeing.

China’s EAST Fusion Reactor

There is a lot of confusion regarding China’s new EAST fusion reactor. I can clarify things a bit.

All Tokamak fusion reactors build to date, including EAST, have been test reactors. They are not reactors intended for commercial power production. They are intended to study things like plasma characteristics, scaling laws, and to solve various problems inherent in creating and sustaining a controlled fusion reaction here on earth.

With the exception of EAST, all tokamak fusion test reactors built thus far have had copper coils for the magnets that confine the plasma. Because very high currents are required to produce the necessary magnetic fields, huge currents must flow through these coils which causes them to overheat in sixty seconds or less. Thus existing reactors have not been able to do research on things that involve long term operation. In addition, existing reactors dissipate a huge amount of heat from those coils and require a huge amount of refrigeration to remove it.

A commercial reactor will need to operate for months not seconds. To be practical, a commercial reactor will need to rely on superconductive coils for magnetic confinement. This will eliminate the energy lost to copper resistance and the heat associated with it, allowing long operations. Building coils from superconductors is a non-trivial engineering problem because most superconductors are brittle ceramic materials.

EAST is the worlds very first fusion reactor to use superconductive magnets for plasma confinement. This will allow it to do longer experiments maintaining a plasma for more than 15 minutes. ITER was to serve this purpose but the Chinese energy crises is too severe to wait twelve years to start answering questions pertaining to continuous operation. China assembled their own superconductive Tokamak reactor in seven months. Between engineering and fabrication of components the project has been in the works for about eight years. They are also participating in ITER but I believe they will be feeding fusion generated power to their power grid before ITER sees first plasma.

The western media has gotten the idea that China has already succeeded in creating 100 million degree plasmas of deuterium and tritium and controlled fusion. This is a misunderstanding which I suspect relates to the fact that the Chinese language does not have verb tense. The verb is the same for past, present, and future. China releases a news press release that states that the reactor had seen first plasma and that it will fuse deuterium and tritium in a 100 million degree plasma to produce energy and given the lack of tense in the Chinese verb took that to mean already had rather than will.

EAST saw first plasma in September, only seven months after construction began. This is a major milestone because it proved that the superconductive coils worked as designed, and since this had never been done before, that’s a major advancement towards commercial fusion power generation. First plasma and subsequent tests used ordinary hydrogen and not deuterium or tritium.

EAST has not produced any fusion power yet because it has not been fueled with the deuterium – tritium mixture that will fuse at the temperatures obtainable in a Tokamak reactor design. However, the accomplishments thus far is nothing to be sneezed at. The Chinese, in constructing EAST, tackled one of the largest engineering problems surrounding the construction of a commercial power generating fusion reactor by solving the superconducting magnetic confinement problem.

EAST is not a commercial power generation reactor. Commercial reactors will have a lithium blanket which will both capture neutrons preventing their escape and breed tritium from lithium. EAST will not have a lithium blanket. Commercial reactors will be have a capacity of around 600 MW but EAST will only operate at 15-20 MW power levels. Commercial reactors will be constructed to remove the heat (and use it to make electricity) continuously. EAST will only have sufficient cooling for about 15-20minutes of operation.

I do not know if EAST will be capable of scientific break even or not. Plasma confinement efficiency improves with the size of the device. My understanding is that it improves with the cube of the size, so a machine twice as large can confine plasma 8x better. EAST may not be large enough to achieve break even, but improvements in confinement technology have been reducing the minimum size of a machine capable of producing break-even.

Whether or not it achieves break-even it will answer many of the questions necessary towards engineering a commercial power reactor and it deserves to be recognized for the tremendous accomplishment that it represents.

Wayward Star

There is something strangely satisfying when nature thumbs her nose at our scientific theories. This article in describes a star gone super-nova too soon, just hours after a major star eruption.

I’ve never been completely comfortable with the theories of stellar evolution. The theories say that while a star is on it’s main sequence, hydrogen burning, it will increase in diameter by between 40% and 100%.

The sun is said to have increased in both size and temperature to the point where it’ s current luminosity is 25-30% more than it was four billion years ago. This would imply an increase of around 5% in the last 500 million years but there is no evidence of that.

By most accounts while our Sun won’t run out of hydrogen for another five billion years or so, they say it will swell and boil off the oceans in the next 500 million to one billion years. But given that the last 500 million years doesn’t seem to fit the models I don’t have a lot of faith that the next 500 million will. I’d hang around to check it out if I had the option but I don’t think I will.

Enter Alpha Centauri, 1.09 solar masses, 1.5 times the luminosity of the sun. I’m puzzled by this because a stars lifetime is normally estimated as 1/M2.5, in other words Alpha Centauri will only live about .81 as long as our Sun owing to the higher rate of hydrogen consumption. What I find interesting about this is that in spite of the higher mass, in spite of the higher age, Alpha Centauri’s spectral temperature is identical to our own Sun’s.

I tried to find a model that would show what to expect of our own Sun in terms of diameter and temperature throughout the main sequence. What I found, to my dismay, is that there are four or five and none of them seem to agree with observation. I also found estimations of core temperatures and density varied radically from one model to the next. I hope that this surprise stellar explosion may lead to a new and improved model.

Science Toys

Ran across a site called ““, Science Toys. This site has a plethora of simple science toys you can build. For example, look at this article on building a three penny radio. I wonder if Bill knows about this site.

I’ve added it to the side bar. Lots of neat things you can build, magnetic heat engines, high voltage motors (different than Bills contraption, this one is not a Mazda), and much more.

Photon’s Presence Changes Atoms Transition Energy?

I read this article in Science Daily and kind of shook my head. I’m hoping a kind and informed reader can explain this to me.

The jest of it is this; scientists have found a way to observe the creation, life, and death of a single photon. Prior to reading this article, I was under the impression that the only way to detect a photon involved it’s being absorbed by an atom raising that atoms energy state (causing an electron to leap to a higher orbit). This article suggests that the mere presence of a photon changes, very slightly, the transition energy of atoms.

I was of the belief that electrons had fixed energy levels and could only jump between them because the “orbit” had to be an integral multiple of the electrons wavelength.

So clearly either this article is bogus, and with yesterday being April Fools, that’s always a possibility; or there is yet another thing about quantum mechanics I was unaware of or failed to grasp.

So, Dear Readers, if you understand how this can happen, please leave a comment with a brief explanation or a pointer to one.

Thank you!