An Investigation of Modern Physics by Brian Williams
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  • Strange Wasp Behaviour.

    Posted on August 28th, 2010 Brian 7 comments

    Head Hunting Wasps.

    Many years ago, (here he goes again), we became plagued by wasps, and my wife forced me into the bathroom, (which was the worst effected) with a rolled up newspaper. After about 10 minutes of valiant efforts, I emerged triumphantly, having killed about 20 wasps. About halve an hour later, I re-entered the bathroom to clear away the bodies.

    On arriving at the window area where most of the dead wasps were, I noticed about 6 more active wasps which seemed to be foraging amongst the dead ones. Closer scrutiny showed that these wasps were cutting off the heads of the dead ones and carrying them away, leaving the bodies behind for me to clear away. On the assumption that the wasps were not carrying out head transplantation, has anyone come across this behaviour and has a more logical explanation?

    Wasp Survival.

    This happened not 8 feet away from my above battle with the wasps, and happened about the same period. My first ever vehicle was a WW2 Ford Jeep. This had been fitted with a van body. After a few years I decided to strip off the van body and put the jeep back into its original condition. After stripping off the body I detached the windscreen assembly. Underneath the this assembly I found a wasp, apparently dead, that had been trapped beneath the Sorbo rubber seal.  I left the wasp where it was and carried on working.

    After about an hour and a half I noticed that the wasp was twitching. Some three hours later the wasp was capable of flying away.

    I did some checks on the jeep assembly to see if the wasp could have got into its position after the van body had been fitted, but there was no possible access. This meant that the wasp had been trapped under the seal for just under 5 years!

    No water, no light, no food!  High temperatures from the sun and engine in summer and freezing temperatures in winter.

    For 5 years! Tough eh.

  • Understanding Stress and Strain

    Posted on August 22nd, 2010 Brian 11 comments

    Understanding mechanics is nothing to do with mathematics, it is the reality of what is actually happening and why it is happening.

    Stress and strain

    A lot of confusion with these, even with engineers. Basically, stress can be considered in relation to a car spring. Once the spring is fitted to the car it is in a state of stress, but even after years of going over bumpy roads and constantly being in  a state of stress, if you take it off the car it should retain its original length. However, if its length has reduced, then strain has taken place.

    Strain is damage caused by too much stress.

    A stress fracture is a strain caused by too much stress.  The stress applied has exceeded the design stress of the bone structure.

    A pulled ligament is a strain caused by too much stress. The stress applied has exceeded the design stress of the ligaments.

    All mechanisms whether in engineering or biology are designed to operate within certain stress levels. As long as we stay within these ‘design’ parameters the mechanism should operate quite happily. If we exceed these parameters then strain is likely to occur.

    Note that both strain and sprain have basically the same meaning.

    Note: You would think that the people who made shock absorbers and dampers should know the difference. The shock absorbers on a car are the springs. What are sold to the public as ‘shock absorbers’ are in fact dampers, they dampen the oscillations that are created by the springs. Without the dampers your car would bounce along the road like a kangaroo. This is why DAMPERS are so important on a car. A spring absorbs the energy of a wheel passing over a bump in the road and temporarily stores it as stress in the spring. Immediately after passing over the bump the spring attempts  to release this stored energy as quickly as possible, (which would cause the car to bounce). The damper prevents this happening by slowing down the rate at which the stored energy is released. In biology numerous muscles are used to act as dampers, acting as controls to prevent excess body movements that would be dangerous or inconvenient.

    The kangaroo utilises a good example of the same basic principles, its legs storing energy in the form of stress in the leg muscles, the stored energy being used to help to power its next jump.

    Author – Brian Williams.









  • Understanding Speed & Velocity

    Posted on August 17th, 2010 Brian 2 comments

    Understanding mechanics is nothing to do with mathematics, it is the reality of what is actually happening and why it is happening.

    Speed and velocity

    In practice speed and velocity have exactly the same meaning. Speed comes from the  Anglo-Saxon/Dutch/German, and Velocity comes from Latin.  Both derivations mean speed in the sense that the public understand it. However the physics establishment has decreed that velocity now means speed in a particular direction.  Unfortunately, having confused the public with the change in meaning, they now appear to just as confused themselves, because they are constantly referring to  cases that are  clearly ‘speed’ and calling it velocity.

    A typical situation is where they refer to the ‘velocity’ of a wheel. No point on a rotating wheel has velocity.  All points on a rotating wheel have speed.

    Obviously the above statements only apply in a situation where the centre of rotation is fixed. If we consider the wheel of a car travelling at 50 feet/sec along a perfectly flat road then the velocity of the wheel is 50 feet/sec. This refers to velocity of the centre of the wheel. Ignoring the resilience of the tyre, the speed of the wheel’s outer edge is 50 feet per second. ( Due to the resilience of the tyre the speed must be greater than this). The outer edge of the wheel does not have any velocity because it is never travels in a straight line.

    Note: Newton was aware of this problem when he created his calculus but the physicists ignored it, and used Leibniz’s version of the calculus instead, in fact Newton’s calculus is almost never used and the modern calculus is the simpler Leibniz version.

    Although this may seem a minor point it does present major logic problems in understanding the mechanics of rotary motion. The mathematics of rotary motion work but are completely illogical regarding the reality of rotary motion. This was evident even in school when much protestation was made about the lack of logic in the maths. Eventually the teachers agreed with us but argued that as it worked we should ignore the logic.

    Note the following statement attributed to Einstein

    “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain: and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”

    Brian Williams


  • Understanding Momentum

    Posted on August 17th, 2010 Brian 8 comments

    Understanding mechanics is nothing to do with mathematics, it is the reality of what is actually happening and why it is happening.


    Momentum is the oldest scientific principle. Virtually all living creatures are both actively aware of it, and both consciously and unconsciously make use of it in their everyday lives.

    Its use and the understanding of it preceded the emergence of man from the primeval chaos, and billions of years before the first glimmering of ‘scientific’ thought.

    Consider a grizzly bear. It will give its young cub a gentle ‘pat’ of affection, or it will give a more vigorous smack to warn it to behave itself. Later, it may (with the same arm and paw) give a killing blow to an enemy.

    The bear is demonstrating a clear knowledge and understanding of momentum. All animal life demonstrates this understanding, from the amoeba through to the dinosaurs, fish, reptiles etc and mankind, a very late starter.

    This knowledge of momentum is gained very early in an animals life because its survival depends on it. It learns about it whilst attempting its first steps, because walking depends on control of momentum. Early on it constantly falls, but with practice it learns to control it and starts to walk with more confidence. The adult stage really begins when the animal can control its momentum and gains survival capabilities, not by the strength of its parents but with the speed and agility to escape danger.

    So, what is momentum? It is not a mathematical formula. Momentum is the effect of mass and speed and is real. When someone refers to momentum being mass x speed this is a means of relating the reality of momentum into a mathematical context. Mathematics is not reality, and the reality of any subject should be constantly in your mind when manipulating mathematics.

    Mathematics is not a science, it is a tool. In many cases maths does not work, or only works by cheating. A term constantly used in engineering is ‘Moment of Inertia, (and I must have used this myself a thousand times or more) which is used in bending and stress calculations, but is purely a fiddle factor and is used to make the maths work out. The square root of -1 is still argued about in physics calculations, yet it has no real meaning due to mathematicians incorrectly applying normal mathematical rules to graphs.

    Millions of hours have been spent trying to out a ‘true’ value for Pi in relation to circles, without mathematicians understanding that it is an impossible task. Each step closer changes the parameters, which means that the numbers after the decimal point will go on forever. I have no doubt that somewhere in the universe there is a mathematical system that will solve many of our problems, but it will not be our current system.

  • Why Stereo?

    Posted on August 3rd, 2010 Brian 14 comments

    I have over 3000 recordings on records, CDs, tapes including reel to reel.  Out of all there is only one track that benefits by being played in stereo. This track is Duelling Banjos, in which the audible separation of the two banjos is crucial. This leaves 2999 tracks for which stereo recording and playback is of no benefit. Stereo was (and still is) a gimmick without any logic

    Are we claiming that all the musicians from orchestras to the Beatles have been getting it all wrong over the last 200-300 years? Should they scatter themselves around the various venues so that we can get a stereo effect? Should the opera singer stand at the opposite end of the concert hall to the orchestra? If they did I think you would find it very aggravating.

    For over 20 years I used a KT 66 push-pull mono amplifier for parties, general get-togethers etc, and my guests included many stereo enthusiasts. yet I was never asked why I was only using mono. This was not because my guests were too polite to say anything, it was because they were listening to the music, or criticising the music or oblivious to the music. Whether it was in stereo or mono was irrelevant.

    For those of you old enough to remember the introduction of stereo players will also remember the demonstration records in which you heard all sorts of unusual effects like footsteps walking across your room etc. Did you ever buy a recording with this type of effects on it? Apart from the original demonstration records very few were ever made.

    A few years ago the BBC ran a demonstration of quadraphonic radio broadcasting and it was quite impressive, with people apparently walking and talking behind you. However, clever as it is, it really has no practical application to the public. Possibly about once a year some program could be broadcast that would benefit from this, but for 99.9% of the time it would be useless.

    Stereo and quadraphonics in television are actually aggravating because they distract you from the program because if a parrot apparently speaks behind you, you have a natural tendency to look towards it, thus missing something more important on the screen.

    It really is time we got back to common sense in general as well as physics.