Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Right twice a day.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Alternating Response Times Radiate Reaction

The title is the summary. The acronym ARTRR is intended for use as a name for any gadget that can work per that description.
  (+1, -9)(+1, -9)
(+1, -9)
  [vote for,

Copyright (C) 2004 by Vernon Nemitz, shared with all who include this notice.

Note: I've previously posted this text elsewhere on the Internet, but I have re-ordered it here for the HalfBakery, which prefers gadgetry over hypothesis. Certain relevant background information (in addition to the Part One stuff at the bottom here) can be found at the "Gravity Waves" link; the "associated sketch" referenced in this text is also provided at a link below.

This synopsis was not part of the original text:
Part Two: A device is described which should exhibit unusual movement when activated. It would RESEMBLE that impossible type of device known as a "reactionless drive", but its operating principle allows for Conservation of Momentum, via emission of gravity waves. Other developers of "reactionless drives" may be employing the same fundamental operating principle without realizing it, but at purely mechanical speeds (like 1500RPM), the degree to which Action and Reaction might become unbalanced ("out of phase") is barely notice-able. Therefore much controversy exists regarding those devices; I'll post a couple of links so you can see for yourself. On the other hand, this proof-of-principle device should be run at about 100 times the frequency of any purely-mechanical "reactionless drive", and as a result any associated "phase angle" should be so much greater as to leave no doubt about whether or not its operating principle is valid.
Part One: A hypothesis and thought-experiment are offered, describing the weird and usually-ignored aspect of Nature that should permit the device to work. Basically, the way ANY object responds to an applied force depends upon the details of how it is applied. It is perfectly possible for one arrangement of forces to cause an object to move almost immediately, and for another arrangement of forces to cause only PART of it to move almost immediately (the rest of the object waits for the forces to arrive). This fact is exploitable by the design of the Part Two device, simply because the speed of electricity is enormously faster than the speed of sound; when raced against each other, there is little doubt that forces can be applied to an object faster than some responses can occur. End of synopsis.

IS IT POSSIBLE? Can Action and Reaction really get out of phase with each other, radiating Momentum and causing unidirectional motion? Well, the reference cited below describes multiple repeated observations of a 3-degree phase angle in two different purely mechanical systems, that ran at 1500RPM (a mere 25Hertz). But they weren't trying to use the phenomenon for propulsion; they were simply trying to verify someone else's claim of achieving a 45-degree phase angle. I suppose as soon as somebody can afford to build this proof-of-principle device (not I, alas!), then we will find out whether or not Alternating Response Times can usefully "Radiate" at least some of the Reaction.

Reference Tree Root: "Detesters, Phasers, and Dean Drives" by G. Harry Stine, "ANALOG Science Fiction/Science Fact", June 1976


Part Two - Physical Experiment

The acronym ARTRR was created so that it could be used, like LASER, to become the name for any device that incorporates the operating principle specified in the source-phrase. --IF there actually is anything "to" that operating principle, of course! In pronunciation -- should it ever be worth pronouncing, of course -- it most simply can rhyme with "barter".

There IS a Problem with respect to constructing a stand-alone artrr, that we might want to propel our spaceships. The Problem starts off with the fact at an artrr must consist of at least two component parts that interact with each other -- as do, for example, the stator and rotor of an electric motor. Well, we want those two components to interact in a very special way, more-or-less as in this Operation Description:

1) Forces are brought into existence between the two Components. I'll assume they are caused by electromagnets, since we know all about those, and they are commonly available and very versatile.

2) Suppose Component "A", as a result of the applied forces, is supposed to move this way -->. In accordance with Action and Reaction, Component "B" would start to move <--.

3) In the course of that simple event, one of those two parts -- I'll pick "A" -- must experience a comparatively long Response Time, while "B" must experience a comparatively short Response Time. (NOTE: For details behind this "Response Time" stuff, see Part One below.)

4) A minimal duration of time passes (remember we want quite high frequencies here!), and a new set of electromagnets are activated.

5) Component "A" now moves this way <-- with a short response time, while "B" is supposed to move --> with a long response time.

6) Repeat the alternating energizings of the electromagnets, at some thousands of Hertz. Ferrofluid-core electromagnets, with zero hysteresis, will likely be required.

7) Notice that both short-response motions, of the two parts, are in the same direction. We want each of them to act similarly to the battering-ram experiment. If Rectified Reaction occurs, then one way to describe what's going on is to say that each part "holds still" due to its inertia, for some fraction of a second (or long response time), while the other's inertia is quickly overcome (due to short response time). Resulting motion might be inch-worm fashion -- but small fractions of an inch, thousands of times per second.

So, do you see the Problem? If Component "B" experiences a short response time, then presumably forces are being applied to it at many places. MEANWHILE, "A" must have the same total force applied to it -- presumably at just one location -- such that it experiences a long response time. HOW DO WE MAP a multitude of force-application-points on "B" to a single point on "A" (AND vice-versa, for the other half of the cycle)?!?!?!

Well, believe it or not, this is a solvable design problem. Please see the associated sketch. It IS just a sketch, and not a blueprint, of the simplest way I know to apply the artrr principle. If it works, it will be a "proof of principle" device. It will not be efficient enough for much use as anything more than a toy or learning tool, except maybe in the zero-G space environment. To accomplish significant tasks with an artrr (like lifting itself and a payload against Earth's gravity) will require much higher efficiency.

The sketch is plainly marked to show the necessary interacting identical Components "A" and "B". Each circular ring has an interior region with six interaction sites. Each ring also has, at a single point on the ring, six spokes for additional interaction sites. The relative orientations are such that if either ring is placed in the X&Y plane, then those six connected spokes can occupy the X&Z plane (as portrayed). The two rings must be constructed together, so that they resemble two links in a heavy chain. Note the interaction site marked "C"; this is an edge-on view of an interaction AREA, perhaps two pancake-shaped electromagnets. Also, one interaction site does double-duty inside both rings -- it is shared between them -- so that there is a total of only eleven interaction sites.

Now, with respect to the preceding Operation Description, item (1) involves activating the six interaction sites inside the "B" ring. Every part of that Component will experience part of the total applied force in a short time, as required by item (3). Yes, I know there is a complication regarding all those spokes attached at one point of "B". The unequal-response-time aspect can be resolved by making them a little shorter (and the interior-ring spokes a little longer) than portrayed in the SKETCH (and each ring won't actually pass through the center of the other, which is also different from the portrayal). The unequal-mass aspect will require a greater force to be applied at the shared central interaction site, than at the other five sites inside the "B" ring. OK?

Next, in order for Component "A" to move --> and "B" to move <-- as specified in item (2) above, three of the interaction sites inside the "B" ring should experience Attraction, and the other three should experience Repulsion. Then, in accordance with item (4), the six interaction sites inside "B" are turned off, and the six inside "A" are activated. Of course, one of those six is the shared interaction site, that had just been switched off. That's OK; now we want that particular site to experience Attraction instead of the former Repulsion, to help cause the motions specified in item (5).

(Another finicky detail rears its ugly head. If before we turned this putative artrr on, all the interaction-site gaps between the two Components were equal-sized, then after the first group of sites were activated, some of those gaps will have shrunk, and some will have grown. This means when the alternate group of sites is activated, the Inverse-Square Law will affect the electromagnetic forces that we want to use to create Attractions and Repulsions. The solution, of course, is to implement some feedback controls, so that we can energize the electromagnets appropriately less when the gap has shrunk, and appropriately more when the gap has grown.)

To review the Operation Description in item (7) would be a bit redundant, now that we've seen how the sketch accommodates the requirements. So let's focus a little more on how this design solves the specified Problem: As the initial group of forces start to spread out from the interaction sites (items 1-3), note that six separate regions of Component "B" receive portions of the overall Force of Action. But for Component "A", the total Force of Reaction consists of six parts that all converge at one location on its ring, AFTER which that total has to spread all around the ring. This obviously means that "A" will indeed have a rather longer Response Time than "B", when the first group of forces is applied. Likewise, when the Alternate group of forces (items 4-5) do their thing, then inside "A" there will be six regions simultaneously affected with Action (short Response Time), while the Reaction can only affect "B" after converging through a single point (long Response Time).

Finally, regarding the appropriate operating frequency of an artrr: This should be just less than whatever value would be too high for the shorter Response Time. That is, if the fast Response occurs in one ten-thousandth of a second, then the maximum operating frequency would be almost ten thousand cycles per second, or 10KHz. Think of the device as having three "behavior modes", depending on frequency. At the lowest possible frequencies it would simply oscillate in ordinary Newtonian fashion, and go nowhere. At too-high frequencies it will also go nowhere, and may barely even vibrate. Only in some middle range of frequencies, too fast for the long Response Time and not too fast for the short Response Time, can the preceding Operation Description apply, for an artrr to do its thing. And the most efficient frequency is always at the high end of that middle range.


Part One - Hypothesis and Thought-Experiment

Consider an old-fashioned battering ram. This is basically a big tree trunk with a lot of handles attached. Laying on the ground, a gang of guys divides into two groups, one on each side of the tree trunk, then picks it up by the handles, and carries it to a door that needs to be battered. A fancier version has the ram suspended from a framework, so that once the whole framework (on wheels) is moved to the door, all the guys have to do is swing the ram so its end moves toward and away-from the door. They don't have to lift its weight. OK now, let's imagine a modest contest involving a very special battering ram, not too thick, but so long that it has two thousand handles, needing a thousand guys on each side of the thing -- and Superman. We'll assume he's plenty strong enough to pick this battering ram up by himself, and tough enough so that the thing would shiver into pieces if it was actually aimed at his chest, but neither of those is the contest here....

All we are going to do is SWING this ultra-long battering ram, back and forth, as fast as possible. Yes, this is in defiance of the natural swing of the suspended thing, but I'm not saying we have to swing it very far in each direction. A centimeter or two will be fine. SO, let's see the two thousand men try this first. Due to the length of this battering ram, and the speed of sound, we first need to rig up a speaker system, say, every three meters. The Team Leader speaks into the microphone, "Forth! Back! Forth! Back!..." Now all the men can hear those words coming from the speakers at pretty much the same time, and can apply their efforts pretty much in unison (especially after getting into the swing of things, pun not particularly intended).

Do you have any doubts that the two thousand men can quickly move this battering ram back and forth? Each one, after all, is only applying effort to a small part of the whole thing, and we didn't specify a Sequoia-thick trunk!

OK, Superman, it's your turn; please stand at one END of the ram, and do your thing. What's that? You say the contest is rigged? The far end isn't going to budge when you push and pull on the near end -- at least not immediately? The speed of sound INSIDE THE BATTERING RAM is the problem? Yes! You're right, Superman; we suspected you were knowledgeable enough to realize that. Thanks, anyway! Oh -- please don't leave yet! There is one more thing to try, not a contest but an experiment, in a few minutes.... Thanks again!

What Superman (and any decent physicist) knows is that mechanical forces travel at the speed of sound within the substances of whatever experiences those forces. The shock wave from a depth charge IS a high-intensity sound wave, and travels at the speed of sound in water, from the explosion to a submarine, for example. Two thousand separate impulses, applied in unison all along the length of the super-long battering ram, are plenty to move it quickly. But one huge impulse applied at one end of the thing -- that impulse has to travel the whole length, at the speed of sound inside the ram, while the far end simply waits, before that end can experience any iota of that impulse, no matter how Super. It is simply impossible to apply a force at just one point, and cause that battering ram to move as a whole faster than the limitation enforced by the speed of sound. The thing would probably shiver into pieces first.

Now it happens that that simple fact, regarding the speed of mechanical forces inside various substances, can almost entirely be ignored in everyday activities. Such activities usually involve short distances, modest forces, and less than a millisecond of "waiting" time, as mechanical forces propagate through ordinary objects. Introductory Newtonian Mechanics doesn't even bother to mention this aspect of Nature. The Advanced stuff goes into some of what I am describing here, but the Physics Community has a whole has, so far as I know, never really examined the wider consequences of the experiment described below. (A FEW individual physicists did, but they were ignored. More on that later.)

Now we're almost ready for the experiment. First, though, please recall that the battering ram was described as being "very special". The only special thing we want here is that it be as unbreakable as possible. It must NOT "shiver into pieces", no matter what. So, physicists, don't worry about that aspect of Reality here; just concentrate on the Equation of Motion for the battering ram, in this experiment. Thanks!

OK, Superman, please stand near that end, there, as before. All the rest of you guys, here's what we want you to do: When you hear the word "Forth", you will each apply a short, sharp, jerk to your battering ram handle, toward Superman, and then let it coast. Superman, let it coast toward you until you hear the word "Back" -- then apply a powerful force to that end of the battering ram, to push it back. That's all. We just want a simple oscillation, with equal-magnitude forces being applied, pushing it forth and back. Only the WAY those forces are applied will be different...get ready!

For the sake of simplicity, let's assume that when Superman applies his Super force to the end of the battering ram, it takes exactly one whole second for that mechanical force to reach the far end. Also, we are going to say, "Forth! Back! Forth! Back!..." at the rate of four words per second. Physicists, what IS the Equation of Motion for the battering ram?

I mentioned earlier that some of this has been studied before, but the results were ignored. The equations are not pretty to anyone who hates math, but if they actually describe Real Physics -- and I am NOT claiming that they must! -- then here is the gist of what they have to say, as applied here: The battering ram will experience some overall and inexorable motion toward Superman (who is not expected to remain in place). But how can that be, if the applied forces are equal and opposite (regardless of how-applied)? The Law of Conservation of Momentum offers strong objection to any such scenario. Well, for the moment, please accept my assurances that there is no desire here to violate that Law (details in due course).

The key factor is that one-second delay, between Superman's effort and any motion of the far end of the battering ram. We could say, "The ram as a whole exhibits a long response time to the applied force." When the two thousand men apply their small forces, the whole battering ram experiences the sum in the usual millisecond or so. "The ram exhibits a short response time to the applied force." Since we are Alternating the application of the forces, the differing Response Times cannot help but have some effect on this system. After all, the two thousand men are applying forces that almost-immediately cause the ram to move toward Superman, twice per second, while every time Superman shoves the ram, one whole second must pass before it can fully respond! Years ago, when I first thought of this experiment, I considered that the word "rectify" (as in the electronic device called a "rectifier", which lets current flow through it in only one direction) might be a relevant way of describing the logical result here, that the battering ram should still be able to move toward Superman while not being able to fully respond to Superman's effort to push it the other way. However, that word "rectify" is an all-or-nothing notion, and in this situation we need to keep in mind that while the battering ram might not fully respond immediately to a just-applied force by Superman, it is still in the act of responding at least partially to a previous push by Superman. There are conflicting waves of mechanical force propagating in both directions through the body of the battering ram. And there are various hypotheses out there that have associated severely stressed masses with the radiation of SOME Momentum (see the Gravity Waves and Propulsion link, for one).

In more detail, the not-pretty equations I mentioned describe Action and Reaction getting "out of phase" with each other, as a result of including the response times. For the nonphysicist reading this, a simple way to picture that is to first think of an old-fashioned analog clock, with its moving hands. Now throw out the mechanism, and put two identical-length hands on the face of that clock. Set them so that one points at the 12 and one points at the 6. Thus they are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction, just like ordinary Action and Reaction. Well, to whatever extent it MIGHT be possible for Action and Reaction to get out-of-phase with each other, that is the extent to which those two clock hands can manage to no-longer point in exactly opposite directions.

Continuing this phase stuff for the nonphysicist, please refer to the clock-like circles in the associated sketch. Each [A] arrow represents an amount of Action, and each [R] arrow represents an equal amount of Reaction. Now suppose [R] could be affected so it points at the 5 on a clock-face. In terms of geometry, that adjustment is a 30-degree change, or "phase angle", from its original alignment. Pretend that new alignment for [R] is the long side (hypotenuse) of a right-angle triangle. Well, that triangle will have its medium-length side -- marked on the sketch as [R'] -- still aligned to point toward the 6. The length of [R'], for a 30-degree angle, is about 87% of the length of [R]. In Physics, when an arrow is used to represent a Force, the length of that arrow -- or "vector" -- indicates its magnitude. If we were describing something that really could happen to Action and Reaction, then our 100% Action of the [A] arrow is now only about 87% balanced by the Reaction represented by the [R'] arrow. The difference of about 13% then means some overall motion in direction [A], of whatever-it-is that is experiencing out-of-phase Action and Reaction. (And what about that rotated [R] vector? Oddly enough, this does not represent any tendency toward motion in some sideways direction; it represents another thing that is explained a little later in the text.)

Of course, in the battering-ram experiment, a 30-degree phase angle may be much too high. YES, I know that in Ordinary Newtonian Physics, a Action/Reaction phase angle of even 0.01 degree is totally unattainable! But that battering ram thought-experiment is not hardly something you encounter in Ordinary Newtonian Physics, so, physicists, please derive its Equation of Motion before denouncing this essay. To continue: *IF* the Reaction vector gets out-of-phase at all, relative to the Action vector, then MAYBE we will be lucky enough to see a couple of degrees (from the 30-minute mark to the 29-minute mark on a clock face is more than that: six degrees). Still, ANY degree of out-of-phase activity means that SOME overall unidirectional motion should become possible. The results of those old ignored equations depend on the frequency of the applied forces -- 2 cycles per second is trivial, but a hundred thousand Hertz might Rotate Reaction on the clock face from the 6 almost to the 3! That's a phase angle of almost ninety degrees. Please note that those old equations say that a ninety-degree phase angle is actually an unattainable limit -- kind of like trying to reach the speed of light. Either limit can be approached arbitrarily closely, but can never actually be reached. I personally find it quite intriguing that in this era of gigaHertz technology, using a mere 100kiloHertz might give us enough "rectified reaction" to easily move off the Earth and across the Solar System. Isn't it worth FINDING OUT if there is any truth to that? See Part Two.

Now what about that Law of Conservation of Momentum? Well, consider the Equations of Electromagnetism for a moment. Early experimenters with Alternating Current were accused of trying to pull a scam -- since the AVERAGE current is zero, surely no real work could be done by Alternating Current! But the accusers were wrong, what we might here call the "response time" provided by the delay between opposite flows of current DOES allow work to be done; furthermore, those Electromagnetism Equations allowed momentum to be literally radiated away (as photons), and so AC power is everywhere, today. OK, then, the few early ignored physicists who were investigating out-of-phase Action and Reaction decided that a similar loophole was possible here. That is, since we are jerking Inertial Masses around, and since those are considered equivalent or even identical to Gravitational Masses, then to whatever extent a merely accelerated mass can wimpily radiate a weak gravity wave, it seems that a JERKED mass can radiate momentum MUCH better...and so the Conservation Law stays in force. More specifically, the greater that the Reaction vector becomes out-of-phase with the Action vector, the greater the radiation of Momentum.

--As a check, consider the late Dr. Joseph Weber's gravity-wave detectors. They were supposed to operate by extracting a tiny bit of energy from a passing gravity wave, and converting it into distortions (stresses) of the shape of the detector. Now recall Time Reversal Symmetry, in which most simple events can work both forwards and in-reverse -- this rule implies a deliberately-stressed object might be able to emit a gravity wave. And surely there are plenty of stresses going on inside that battering-ram experiment!!! (Not to mention that Dr. Weber claimed his detectors were detecting too many gravity waves. Could some of them have been coming from such stressed-mass events as trees falling in the woods, auto wrecks, pile drivers, the explosions of war, and perhaps even the hammered nails of the construction industry?)

Vernon, Aug 04 2004

"Associated Sketch" http://www.nemitz.net/vernon/Loops.gif
This is the sketch mentioned in the main text above. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]

Gravity Waves http://www.halfbake...dea/Gravity_20Waves
"Well, if that hypothesis has any validity at all, then gravity waves can have extremely low ratios of energy to momentum, and thus would be ideal for propulsion purposes. The only thing left to do is to figure out how to make them in vast quantities, beaming away!" [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]

Total Non Sequitur http://www.halfbake...al_20Non_20Sequitur
This script to be placed in this publication [Jinbish, Oct 04 2004]

Some evidence http://web.archive..../master_project.htm
Plenty of links there.... [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Nov 03 2008]

Cook's Inertial Propulsion Engine http://www.forcebor...m/FBW/principle.htm
A controversial device, purely mechanical [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Apr 16 2012]

Cowlishaw's "Gyroscopic Inertial Thruster" http://web.archive....davidc/UFODrive.htm
Another controversial device [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Nov 03 2008]

The other side of the controversy http://gltrs.grc.na.../TM-2005-213998.pdf
Some things in this document are quite relevant to an artrr. The pendulum test, for example (I'm trying to find a more descriptive link.) Also, search it for "jerk" and "transients" (which are almost synonymous with "jerks") [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Mar 06 2009]

Gravity Waves and Propulsion http://web.archive....01%20Manuscript.pdf
How General Relativity says that jerks are more effective at radiating gravity waves than mere acceleration. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Feb 06 2013]

The Article that Started it all (ignored for 40+ years) http://www.rexresea...com/dean/davis4.htm
The article includes the equation describing the association of response-time and frequency with a phase angle between Action and Reaction. It also uses "gravitational-inertial radiation" to Conserve Momentum. Also, Dr. Davis did not do all his math in isolation. His small team included Dr. Henri M. Coanda ("Coanda Effect" in fluidics) who built/flew the first jet engine in 1910. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Nov 03 2008]

THE Pendulum Test http://www.nemitz.net/vernon/Pendulum.gif
I gave up trying to find something like this on the Web, so I drew it myself. It's quite similar to a sketch in that June 1976 ANALOG article. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]

Gravity Waves and Propulsion http://www.nemitz.n...rnon/gravtheory.gif
How General Relativity says that jerks are more effective at radiating gravity waves than mere acceleration. (Original link broke; this is a snippet.) [Vernon, Oct 21 2004, last modified Sep 20 2005]

A speculation in conceptual logic http://knol.google....on/131braj0vi27a/2#
"Simple" quantum gravitation, using certain of the notions that were posted here years ago. [Vernon, Oct 29 2008]

Stine's Article http://www.rexresearch.com/dean/stine.htm
I've sort-of fixed some broken links by invoking www.archive.org. "The Article That Started It All" link now points at the actual article. [Vernon, Nov 03 2008]

Crackpot index http://math.ucr.edu.../baez/crackpot.html
Someone needs to apply this to Vernon's ideas [neelandan, Feb 01 2011]

A functional Dean Drive? http://www.inertialpropulsion.com/
These guys say their gadget can pass the Pendulum Test. [Vernon, Feb 07 2011]

Home made perpetual motion machine http://www.articles...fetime-2044861.html
It works, unlike Vernon's ARTRRRRR. [neelandan, Feb 08 2011]

(?) Museum of Unworkable Devices http://www.lhup.edu...k/museum/unwork.htm
Some useful conundrums here! [pocmloc, Feb 08 2011]

A working Weber bar http://www.physics....du/GRE/GWdetect.htm
As mentioned in an annotation [Vernon, Feb 10 2011]

About LIGO http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/
As mentioned in several annotations [Vernon, Feb 10 2011]

Some LIGO experimental results http://www.spaceref...ewpr.html?pid=24501
Remember that the primary assumption being made (possibly by physicists who aren't realizing it is an ASSUMPTION) is that all gravitational waves must travel at light-speed. [Vernon, Feb 10 2011]

The core motion inside a Dean Drive http://www.nemitz.net/vernon/phases1.gif
As mentioned in an annotation. [Vernon, Feb 12 2011]

Stine's Phaser Mark I http://www.nemitz.net/vernon/phaser.gif
This picture was in the June 1976 Analog article. The drive axle is at the far left. Two (longish along the axle) counterrotating eccentric weights are arranged to move back and forth horizontally. Remember Stine said he and others reliably saw a 3-degree phase angle between the applied force of the axle and the horizontal motion of the carriage, at 1500RPM [Vernon, Feb 12 2011]

Hare-Brained Scheme Recording Office Hare-Brained_20Sche...0Recording_20Office
The best way I know to someday lay any controversial invention to rest. [Vernon, Feb 12 2011]

Power Circuit http://www.nemitz.net/vernon/circuit.gif
I THINK that this link was posted here years ago and then I forgot about it. But I don't know why it apparently? disappeared. Note that the normal zigzag symbol for a load or a resistance is in this diagram replaced by a text phrase such as "5/6 A Ring" and "1/2 shared". [Vernon, Feb 15 2011]

Stine's Unidirectional Thrust Device diagram http://www.nemitz.n...non/StineUnidir.png
From the June 1976 ANALOG, as referenced in more than one annotation. [Vernon, Feb 15 2011]

The Economic Argument http://xkcd.com/808/
[hippo, Feb 16 2011]

One Problem with the Economic Argument http://blog.cleante...akes-gevo-to-court/
Entrenched interests that don't want alternatives/competition [Vernon, Feb 21 2011]

Ferrofluid for power transformers Ferrofluid-Core_20E...ower_20Transformers
As mentioned in an annotation [Vernon, Feb 22 2011]

A recently published Cold Fusion experiment http://www.scienced...c676c2653700ad61f25
Published in a major physics journal. As mentioned in an annotation. [Vernon, Feb 22 2011]

Woodward Effect (Mach Effect) http://en.wikipedia...iki/Woodward_effect
This is another hypthesis that connects stressed mass to unidirectional motion. More than just-a-couple physicists are seriously investigating this hypothesis. [Vernon, Mar 12 2011]

Davis & Stine http://www.halexandria.org/dward138.htm
"The topic of energy generation is strangely missing from their work."... yeah - funny that... [Jinbish, Mar 14 2011]

Natural laser http://laserstars.org/news/MWC349.html
As mentioned in an annotation. Natural fission reactor sites in uranium mines are more widely known, so I'm not posting a link about it. [Vernon, Mar 15 2011]

Drop-and-Stop Test Drop-and-Stop_20Test
As mentioned in an annotation [Vernon, Mar 30 2011]

the c elt or "rattleback" rotates one direction, then another, being careful with the push force you get it to do whichever you prefer which is an ARTRR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattleback
[beanangel, Feb 10 2012]

Animation for Cook's Inertial Propulsion Engine http://www.forcebor...W/Videos/cip8sm.avi
See the earlier link for a partial explanation. The overall web site (earlier link) has a "simplified explanation" page from which the web address of this animation was extracted. The small blue masses are definitely doing some Alternating stuff! [Vernon, Apr 16 2012]

mrw https://i.imgur.com/a0xGdaE.gif
especially when it was eight pages long even on my giant screen [notexactly, Jun 13 2015]

The Road Not Taken by Harry Turtledove https://en.wikipedi...Taken_(short_story)
Short story. PDF readily available online. Tangentially relevant in that the hyperdrive in it is a simple mechanical device, which virtually all intelligent races invent long before they reach our current level of technology. [notexactly, Feb 13 2018]


       I have absolutely no idea what your talking about (then again I only read up one paragraph after #7) and where's the diagram?   


       Get to close and I'll bite your hand off.
EvilPickels, Aug 04 2004

       EvilPickels, every HalfBakery Idea page has a feature in which at the end of the main text is a place where links can be added (and the sketch you want can be accessed there).   

       It is possible that you loaded the page after I posted the main text, but before I had time to add the link.
Vernon, Aug 04 2004

       I see you gave up the idea of providing synopses [Vernon]. As verbose as always, and as incomprehensible.
suctionpad, Aug 04 2004

       Hmm, an interesting concept, should it work. You need an incompressible material for your ram (and your oscillation) to work, no?
Sattamassagana, Aug 04 2004

       Cover me I'm going in.   

       Sattamassagana, the material specfied for the battering ram was "unbreakable" not "incompressible". And that was only to simplify efforts to analyze its motion. For the proposed artrr, ordinary marterials will have to do, as best they can.
Vernon, Aug 05 2004

       "3) In the course of that simple event, one of those two parts -- I'll pick "A" -- must experience a comparatively long Response Time, while "B" must experience a comparatively short Response Time."   

       So B is further from A than A is from B?
st3f, Aug 05 2004

       Somewhere, Vernon gets to try and get REACTION out of phase with ACTION. The same old thing, touted by those perpetual motion guys of long ago.   

       Nobody ever decreed that action and reaction have to be equal and opposite. Nobody passed a law to that effect.   

       It just is.   

       Imagining something which isn't so doesn't make it that way. It does, however, make you somebody who believes in things that aren't real.   

       To the moon, Vernon.
neelandan, Aug 05 2004

       Why, oh why?
I am sitting in my office looking for an excuse to procrastinate and I come across this idea... "Great!", I think" I'll give some time and effort into this new [Vernon] idea". I am then utterly frustrated by the arrangement of discussion, bordering on the non-sensical. Why does part 2 precede part 1?
THEN, I get to the part about A moving in this direction <-- and B moving in this direction <--... what on Earth?
//don't worry about that aspect of Reality //
I'm sorry Vernon, but until you can *concisely* state otherwise, I stilll continue to believe in the conservation of momentum, that AC currrent should not be usurped for fantastical newtonian mechanical operations and that Superman is a comic book hero. (-)

       The one redeeming feature is that this kinda, might, work as an article in (link)
Jinbish, Aug 05 2004

       //mechanical forces travel at the speed of sound within the substances of whatever experiences those forces.//   

       Learn something new every day. Is this statement true? How about in cases where an object is already traveling faster than the speed of sound?   

       st3f, the part you quoted was immediately followed by a NOTE specifying where to find the answer to the question you posed. Read Part One.   

       neelandan, the ANALOG article referenced near the beginning of the main text was not fiction. Go look it up. While Active/Reactive FORCES are always applied simultaneously, the objects that receive those forces do not necessarily respond simultaneously, as-a-whole. It all depends on the details of how the forces are applied to the objects. "It just is" perfectly true that the battering ram described in Part One can indeed respond to the two differently-applied forces in two different time-spans. So the phrase "out of phase" refers to the responding, not to the applying.   

       Zanzibar, no laws of Nature are being violated here. Laws of Physics are always playing "catch up" with the Laws of Nature. In the described artrr, the two main components will indeed have two different response times to the applied forces. And there are indeed about half a dozen different lines of reasoning (mostly listed in the "Gravity Waves" link) indicating that mass experiencing "jerk" can radiate gravity waves (carrying momentum!) much better than mass that merely experiences "acceleration" -- and actual evidence is accumulating. I've added another link. The goal here is to use that data to encourage Physics to become a little more aware of Nature.   

       Jinbish, I explained the reordering of this text right at its start. There was nothing to prevent you from reading Part One first. But that part IS Mad Science of the sort that is often not acceptable here at the HalfBakery, while Part Two describes a Mad Science gadget -- and gadgets are OK here. Regarding the two arrows you drew, you seem to be mistaken. I quote from the main text:
"2) Suppose Component "A", as a result of the applied forces, is supposed to move this way -->. In accordance with Action and Reaction, Component "B" would start to move <--."
See, the arrows in the main text actually point in opposite directions, not in the same direction that you drew. However, I was very careful in my phrasing: "is supposed to move" and "would start to move" -- because while the arrow-directions are the EXPECTED consequences of the applied force, the ACTUAL RESPONSES (as a whole!) are time-dependent and non-simultaneous. If the allowed time is too short, then "supposed to move" (as a whole!) just simply cannot happen. That is why the overall effect of many rapid cycles-of-applied-forces OUGHT to be of the unusual sort. Finally, I only borrowed Superman to flavor the text. Any other source of equivalently powerful and rapidly-applied forces would be fine, in that thought-experiment.

       2_fries, that is a relativity type of thing. When flying on the Concorde, if you push on the seat in front of you, the speed of sound inside the substance of that seat is essentially unchanged, and so after a thousandth of a second or less, the person in that seat will experience the result. --Oh, please keep in mind that different materials have different transmission rates for sound, usually related to the hardness of the material. For steel, the speed of sound in that material is approximately 5000 meters per second.
Vernon, Aug 05 2004

       I read the note and the whole battering ram thing. Nothing there showed that reactions were anything other than equal and opposite.   

       The length of the battering ram leads to a mathematically interesting motion problem, but contains nothing that isn't the sum of a large set of pairs of equal and opposite forces (all the way along the bar). To say that you've managed to delay the reaction to a force by doing this is tantamout to saying that the existence of a sonic boom is evidence that jet engines curve space.
st3f, Aug 05 2004

       [st3f], thanks; that "mathematically interesting motion problem" is the essence of why unusual behavior might be expected from the proposed artrr. Because AS A WHOLE, each component can change actual position in one direction when responding quickly, but cannot change overall position in the opposite direction when both responding slowly AND another fast-response event happens....
Vernon, Aug 05 2004

       //I see you gave up the idea of providing synopses [Vernon]//
Yup, but he did put his name at the top!
gnomethang, Aug 05 2004

       So, there will be a delay of superman's wave travelling down to the other end during the first 1 second, meaning that the end of the end tip of the ram is going to get compressed for 1 second and remain that much shorter if the applied force remains. However, it will stop moving past that point, as now Superman, although out of phase a few clicks with the crew, has offered as many 'backs' as they have 'forwards' and the thing stops progressing. So now, we have a compressed ram that has its own potential energy in the form of a compressed spring, that superman and the crew are working hard to compress.
RayfordSteele, Aug 05 2004

       [RayfordSteele], almost but not quite. Superman's efforts mostly go into compressing the ram (except that those compression waves eventually reach the far end where decompression occurs), while the gang of men mostly cause the compressed ram to MOVE (short-response time as-a-whole). I'm not saying that the imbalance is as total as that implies. But ANY tiny imbalance, when thousands of Hertz are involved in the proposed artrr in Part Two of the main text, means thousands of tiny motion-increments per second. That is why I consider it to be a superior proof-of-principle device, over the purely mechanical variety.
Vernon, Aug 05 2004

       neelandan, I have specifically referenced the production of gravity waves (link) as being the means by which Momentum stays Conserved. That makes an artrr quite equivalent to a rocket. --Oh, sorry, you probably think rockets are also "closed systems" that can't work because they have nothing to "push against".   

       Unorthodox science is NOT automatically bad science. Only experiment can decide, and the experiment is described in the main text.   

       Finally, I notice that neither you NOR ANYONE ELSE HERE has tried to denounce the very real mechanical systems mentioned right near the start of the main text, that repeatedly exhibited a 3-degree phase angle between Action-response and Reaction-response, at 25Hz. I am proposing a different design that should be run at maybe 2500Hz, partly because the hypothesis says that the greater the frequency, the greater the phase angle, and the more pronounced are other effects such as gravity-wave production and unidirectional motion. So, if you have a problem with my proposed experiment, why do you say nothing about the EVIDENCE upon which its hypothesis is based?
Vernon, Aug 06 2004

       Okay [Vernon] - Sorry for my outburst. The arrows point in the right direction after all.   

       But since they point in the right direction I think this is case closed. If you think of an object as a summation of many tiny domains (atoms or whatever) then Newtonian Mechanics, hold with a certain elasticity. The science beyond that, which you describe, doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
Jinbish, Aug 06 2004

       Jinbish, while that "summation" is at the heart of Newtonian Mechanics, it is not at the heart of every aspect of Reality. With respect to Gravitation, sure, the summation is quite good and useful. But the Center of Mass is not always in direct line with every possible type of applied Force, and you know it. If I have a downed tree that I want to move sideways, and its branches prevent simple rolling, then pushing one end does not cause the other end to move, immediately and in the same direction. Pushing both ends at the same time works, but the log bows a bit before the center starts to move -- yet that is where the CoM is! Please keep in mind that there is a very REAL difference between an "object" and a "mass". Objects have shape, and those shapes ALWAYS affect the way the masses of those objects respond to applied forces.   

       With respect to "scrutiny", that depends on who is doing the scrutiny and how it is done. Scrutinizing an actual experiment is the best way, of course! What method were you talking about? (To quote a tagline I saw the other day: "Unanswered questions are much less dangerous than unquestioned answers.")   

       One of the lines of reasoning that leads to such conclusions as objects being allowed to have more than one way of responding to an applied force is a paper titled, "Stochastic Approach to the Laws of Motion". While the 1962 ANALOG issue may be difficult to obtain, this paper parallels much of that work and copies are still available -- I got one free of charge, about 3 years ago.   

       On the web site for the General Electric company, you can make the request at this address:
It is a research paper published by G.E. back in 1963
The paper is: "Stochastic Approach to the Laws of Motion"
The author is: H. Von Schelling
It has this Report Number: 63GL106
And publication date: 1 Jul 1963
(Note, I don't know how many copies might suddenly be ordered by people reading this; they may decide to start charging.)

       If you examine it, you can decide for yourself whether Standard Summation is truly accurate in all cases.
Vernon, Aug 06 2004

       I like long ideas, but if this is too incomprehensible for native english speakers I don't think I have good chances to understand it... so, sorry i'f I'm missing out on a good one.
Pericles, Aug 06 2004

       Vernon – truly, don't lie; jutta pays you by the word, doesn’t she?   

       I got hungry reading your idea, so I ate the fish, but I’ve got the leftovers if you want them (or if you don't)...
Ichthus, Aug 07 2004

       I think he gets discounts by the mile.
RayfordSteele, Aug 08 2004

       Ah, but [Vernon] the tiny domains I am talking about aren't all necessarily pulling in the same direction - and in any case this elasticity that I mention describes the fact that the log's middle (whether CoM or not) will move a finite time after a force is applied (at time = t) to the end. That point isn't arguable. However, should I then apply a set of forces at a time (t+Ä) they shall sum to the the forces that are currently in action (all the forces apparent at time = t+Ä).   

       All that I can see is that is a system has components with particular response times then it exhibits an elasticity. This means that as you apply the initial force the system stores the energy. I think that there is a discrepancy between "force" and "work done" in your thinking, you assume zero hysterisis and I don't think you factor in frictional forces.
Jinbish, Aug 09 2004

       Jinbish, thanks. And I do not argue against elasticity (how else can a sound wave be transmitted, even in diamond?). Still, if you think about that battering-ram thought-experiment for a moment, and if as you say Superman's impulses are temporarily STORED, then there is nothing to keep the 2000 men from MOVING the ram when their turn to apply force comes along. Also, what DO you have to say about the 3-degree phase angle that was described/referenced at the start of the main text? When they turned the devices off and measured the slack in the linkages, it was about half-a-degree.
Vernon, Aug 09 2004

       When Superman's compression wave runs down the battering ram, at some point it will meet the push of one of the mere mortals. This compression wave will be a much, much greater force than the mere mortal can give, and will send him flying backwards. After several attempts by Superman, there will be no mortals left on the battering ram, and Superman wins.
Ling, Aug 09 2004

       That about sums up the efforts of we mere mortals arguing against super Vernon's battering ram postulates. Watch reason fail against science fiction.
neelandan, Aug 10 2004

       I have to say, the forces of normality and common sense appear ranged against Vernon. However, I'm not so sure myself... What I'd really like to see is some independent, non-biased research into this. All I could find was, not surprisingly, strongly for or strongly against the concept. Time will tell, I suppose...
david_scothern, Aug 10 2004

       Ling, what you describe can only happen if the Superman's compression wave can decompress at the point where the mere mortal is trying to apply force. Meanwhile, it remains true that physical objects CAN conduct sound-wave-vibrations (i.e., compressed waves of force) in two directions at the same time.   

       neelandan, have you ever read this before (especially the last part)?

       david_scothern, thanks; I have tried to present this Idea in terms of facts and questions and resulting possibilities, and the described exeriment is all that need be done to either refute or verify the hypothesis. Yet that hypothesis is not without SOME support, because of multiple independent lines of reasoning hinting at gravity-wave radiation by stressed masses, and because of smatterings of physical evidence. And because the hypothesis as described by Stine in that ANALOG article (that there is an additional Force associated with jerk, as well as the ordinary Force associated with acceleration) meshes quite perfectly with certain known stuff -- for example, adding that single thing to Newtonian Mechanics lets the quantum condition be deduced, and Planck's Constant computed.   

       Other "evidence" may include the lack of recent updates to David Cowlishaw's website, which was a deliberate response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism events. He didn't want his simple device being used by terrorists. Now, if he was a charlatan promoting something he knew didn't work, would this be an issue?   

       (Knowing that, why am I promoting this? Because I think the good guys need to retain their superiority over the bad guys. That's why pacifist Einstein put his name on a "build the Bomb FIRST!" letter to Roosevelt. There is too much stuff already publically available for any smart desperate bad guy to miss the opportunity. Not to mention that one of the members of Dr. Davis' 1960s team was a young fellow from Iran, a now-unfriendly nation. What he's done since, I've no idea -- it might be perfectly innocuous. If not, well, everything depends on the validity of the hypothesis. It MUST be tested with finality. And only then will we find out if a technology race by the bad guys has been happening under our noses, due in part to unquestioned answers.)
Vernon, Aug 10 2004

       Eureka! I have a use in mind for the smallish version of this engine: Righting tipped model sailboats.   

       <bows deeply>
dpsyplc, Aug 17 2004

       dpsyplc, thanks, but I'm not sure I was envisioning the "smallish version" of this device as being QUITE that small (for MODEL sailboats). :)   

       And, according to the hypothesis, there are TWO important factors associated with the efficiency of an artrr. One is the operating frequency, and the other is the ratio of slow-divided-by-fast response times. Both should be as large as possible. And large slow response times require large devices. Sorry.
Vernon, Aug 17 2004

       [Treon], thanks! That's a pretty oddball critter you're talking about, there.
Vernon, Sep 20 2005

       Vernon, meet Treon, I had presumed that you were related somehow. You two have much in common and I think that some sort of collaboration is in order. Your focus and attention to detail and conformity to English textual structure and grammar paired with his whimsy and free association could produce truly masterful scientific pieces. Treon is especially good at proposing applications and implications and tends to put a human face on his ideas, while you are a dogged annotator with links to spare and a bulldogged tenacity of argumentation. Full speed ahead and damn the detractors!
WcW, Nov 03 2008

       The difference between Rowling and Vernon is that one of them is a joy to read.
neelandan, Nov 04 2008

       Folks, I've modified the subtitle and main text of this Idea to make a change to the acronym "ARTRR". The words behind the acronym used to be "Alternating Response Times Rectify Reaction", and is supposed to be a simple description of how any device called an "artrr" is supposed to work. However, it has bothered me for a while that the word "rectify" does not really allow for PARTIALLY affecting Reaction. So I have replaced that word with "radiate" (thus "Alternating Response Times Radiate Reaction"), which is also acceptably descriptive, but is better at accommodating fractions of the Reaction.   

       Those who dislike this Idea will not be impressed by the name change, of course. But I didn't make the change for their benefit, heh.
Vernon, Jan 31 2011

       [WcW], if gravitational waves can carry Momentum, then they, plus a reduced Reaction, can potentially balance Action. Simple.   

       Next, who says that, about the moon?   

       And, while it is fairly certain that some gravitational waves travel at lightspeed (see orbital decay measurments of close-orbiting binary neutron stars), it is almost as certain that others don't.   

       Look up LIGO, designed for gravitational-wave detection, and certain distant super-explosions that were detected by their electromagnetic radiance ("gamma ray bursts"), but LIGO did not detect any gravitational waves. One simple conclusion, IF LIGO was actually sensitive enough (which it was BUILT to be, remember), is that the gravitational waves from those explosions either preceded the electromagnetic waves and were not recognized, or arrived afterward and were not recognized -- or are still on the way.
Vernon, Feb 01 2011

       Crackpot alert! <link>
neelandan, Feb 01 2011

       [neelandan], that crackpot index appears to be flawed. It doesn't say how many points total means that an idea must be cracked.   

       Also, would you kindly select some statements from the main text here, and indicate which of the "crackpot index" statements applies to them? Thanks!
Vernon, Feb 01 2011

       It is left as an exercise to the reader.
neelandan, Feb 02 2011

       [neelandan], you mean you CLAIM this Idea is full of crackpot statements, but you can't identify even one? Tsk, tsk! (NOTE: I see that one of those "identifiers" relates to words in all-capital letters, but remember here at the HalfBakery, we can't do italics or bolding or underlining, so all-caps is the only way available to us to stress a word. There should be a point-discount for that!)
Vernon, Feb 02 2011

       [vernon], I agree that an "index" is useless without some information about the scale; any number derived would be quite arbitrary. That crackpot index is therefore pretty crackpot itself.   

       I would have trouble assigning many points to your ideas based on items numbered about 15 and greater, so for the little that index is worth, you're not a major crackpot. Still, there's always tomorrow...
spidermother, Feb 02 2011

       Sometimes I wonder why I even try to respond to all this rubbish.   

       The world around us works in its own unique way. Physics, Chemistry, etc - the sciences - are just man's imperfect attempts to understand the ways in which the world works.   

       It attempts to describe. It does not predict.   

       When used in certain rigidly constrained ways, this science is capable of predicting certain phenomena, eg: the time and place of the next solar eclipse.   

       If we cut loose from those rigid constraints, we can imagine and predict and yakk away describing all sorts of imaginary things using the same words that describe the phenomena that actually happen.   

       Vernon describes imaginary and impractical machines. He even believes in them. None of them work.
neelandan, Feb 03 2011

       [neelandan], just because you say an idea can't work, that doesn't mean it can't work. You should offer a better reason than just your say-so. In this Idea, exactly where have I "cut loose from rigid restraints"?
Vernon, Feb 04 2011

       "Reaction =/= Action"
neelandan, Feb 04 2011

       Well, that's what you get for deciding in advance that what you think I said is actually what I said. The hypothesis behind this Idea proposes that Reaction can be accommodated in more than one manner (and therefore the total will actually still be equal to the Action). Only the STANDARD manner is what you are talking about. But read the part about Alternating Current (second-to-last paragraph of main text), to see where you and others, if you think that the standard manner is the only manner, were PROVED to be just plain wrong.
Vernon, Feb 04 2011

       As near as I can tell, there is a basic flaw in the idea. The first X waves from the forward (fast) response will push the object forward, until such time as the rearward (slow) response propagates fully through the object. At that point each fast pulse will encounter a slow pulse somewhere along the object and cancel out.   

       At the end the pushers stop, and the object returns to its original position as the final slow responses finish propagating through the object. At no point is there an imbalance of forces, and there is no net motion.
MechE, Feb 04 2011

       Please note that the above was described in two paragraphs and five sentences.
MechE, Feb 04 2011

       Is this idea sufficiently worthwhile to be distilled into two paragraphs, or will it not survive?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2011

       //were PROVED to be just plain wrong.//   

       No, you have PROVED yourself to be just plain crazy.
neelandan, Feb 05 2011

       [MechE], you are outright ignoring the "physical response time". The large single force applied at one end will compress the battering ram somewhat, but while that compression wave is traversing the total length, the vast number of small forces applied simultaneously along its length will move the whole compressed thing. When the compression wave reaches the far end and the battering ram is able to re-expand to its full length and balance that motion--well, it actually can't expand to its full length because other compression waves are also en-route to the far end of the battering ram. That's the effect of applying forces faster than an object can physically-respond-as-a-whole to those forces. But every single time the multitude of small forces are applied, the whole compressed battering ram is able to respond and move.   

       [neelandan], are you now claiming that Alternating Current cannot cause any motion other than back-and-forth motion, because the power flows back-and-forth? Or do you recognize that there is a loophole in that argument (thereby proving you are wrong to claim that no net motion can result from a back-and-forth source)?
Vernon, Feb 05 2011

       [Vernon] You are forgetting that for a significant portion of time an unopposed slow response is propagating through the object. This will counteract any motion caused by the fast response.   

       And the AC analogy is flawed. This could power a ratchet but it's not going to go anywhere on its own.
MechE, Feb 05 2011

       I read as much as a sane man can.   

       As far as I can tell, you're just describing two sets of compressions waves travelling back and forth along a long spring.   

       However, it would be easier to discuss this if the start and end of the idea were closer together.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 05 2011

       I read as much as a sane man can*.   

       As far as I can tell, you're just describing two sets of compressions waves travelling back and forth along a long spring.   

       However, it would be easier to discuss this if the start and end of the idea were closer together.   


       [I know this because I got a sane man to try, and I got as far as he did.]
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 05 2011

       [MechE], the normal way for a large single force to move an object depends on the force propagating as a wave throughout the body of the object. The far end of the object cannot move at all until the force-wave reaches it.   

       When we are talking about alternately-applied forces that, at a low frequency, cause back-and-forth motion, it is obvious that the large single force suffices to counteract motion in one direction, and cause motion to begin in the opposite direction.   

       Suppose we used large single forces in the above description, for both directions. What happens when you increase the frequency-of-application, to the point where the object cannot physically respond-as-a-whole, to either force, before the other force is applied? The answer is that the object will just sit there experiencing vibrations, but it cannot be said to truly oscillate, not even microscopically, since the word "oscillate" requires overall-motion-as-a-whole.   

       In an artrr, however, one of the large single forces is divided up and applied simultaneously at many points along the length of the object, so that its time-of-response, as a whole, is reduced. Suppose we did that to both directions of application of force? The net result is that we could significantly increase the frequency of alternate application of forces, and the object could still experience true oscillations, as a whole. The frequency at which it would fail to truly oscillate, and merely experience vibrations, would be rather higher than in the case of alternate application of single large forces.   

       But in an actual artrr, only one of the two forces is divided up. There is thus a special range of frequencies at which the object can in theory respond-as-a-whole to the simultaneous/divided force, but be unable to respond-as-a-whole to the large single force. I say the theory needs to be tested. You may think otherwise, but you haven't really explained how the object would behave as a whole, when the frequency of applied forces is in that special range.   

       P.S. Have you ever read that "Stine's Article" link? The "phase angle" stuff described in the main text has been experimentally observed....
Vernon, Feb 05 2011

       You're right I haven't mathematically described the pulses passing through the object. Neither have you. My suggestion is that it obeys the law of conservation of momentum. Your's is that it somehow generates gravity waves. Which requires extraordinary proof?
MechE, Feb 05 2011

       [MechE], yes, according to about five different starting points in Physics, it may be possible to expect a suitably stressed mass to emit a gravity wave --which would carry some Momentum and allow an artrr to move in one overall direction without violating the Conservation Law.   

       1. See link, "The article that started it all" (by Dr. William O. Davis). The starting point is an assumption that while ordinarily a Force is proportional to acceleration (which is rate of change of velocity), there might also be a Force proportional to "surge" (rate of change of acceleration). That article also mentions the AC analogy, in more detail than I've presented here. It is NOT a flawed analogy. Davis' version of gravity waves are called "gravitational inertial radiation".   

       2. See link, "Stine's article", in which it is pointed out that when Dr. Davis' idea was added to Standard Newtonian Mechanics, it allowed Planck's Constant (quantum mechanics) to be derived directly --the change is consistent with the rest of Physics. Also note Reference 9 of that article ("Stochastic approach to the laws of motion"). That paper has a LOT in common Dr. Davis' work, but the initial starting point of the work is different (the idea that an object cannot instantly respond as a whole to an applied force).   

       3. See link (first of two with same name) "Gravity waves and propulsion". General Relativity is used to directly derive the idea that a gravity wave might be emitted from a stressed mass.   

       4. In Quantum Mechanics, there is a thing known as "Time Reversal Symmetry" --most SIMPLE events, if recorded and the recording played backward, can also happen in reality in reverse. In the 1960s a Dr. Joseph Weber built some gadgets that were supposed to detect gravity waves. The idea was that if such a wave passed through the detector, the body of the detector would absorb part of it and become distorted slightly (since a gravity wave, per Einstein, is a moving distortion of space/time). Well, if that is true, then per Time Reversal Symmetry, a suitably distorted (stressed) mass should emit a gravity wave.   

       5. Look up something called "Mach's Principle" (by Ernst Mach, the guy that speeds such as "Mach 4" are named after), followed by the "Woodward Effect". Woodward thinks that a suitably stressed mass can move unidirectionally, with the Reaction being taken up by the whole Universe per Mach's Principle. I think that if those suitably stressed masses actually emitted gravity waves, which would then travel to the rest of the Universe, the net effect is the same.
Vernon, Feb 06 2011

       Yakkety yakk.   

       Verbose text.   

       Munchausenesque drawings.   

       Heath Robinson's ideas (edited and added).   

       Won't work.
neelandan, Feb 07 2011

       OK, having read the "Article that Started it All", there are a bunch of errors early on, though not necessarily fatal ones. But they don't inspire confidence.   

       Thereafter, the situation he's talking about is basically a bunch of masses connected by springs. The fact that the masses are atoms and the springs are interatomic forces doesn't really make any difference. He seems to be taking a well-understood phenomenon and explaining it in such a way as to make it appear mysterious. Take a slinky and lay it on a smooth surface, and you can do all this stuff without the hocus pocus.   

       It's all very reminiscent of gyroscopes, which are not mysterious but are often advertised as such.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 07 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], then how do you explain the reliably/repeatably observed 3-degree phase angle described in Stine's article (see link)? How do you explain the failure of standard calculations for "well-understood phenomena" for those B-58 Hustler ejection system parts, which SHOULD have been strong enough, but weren't?
Vernon, Feb 07 2011

       Starting with the observation that materials are sensitive to the rate of loading, this isn't at all uncommon. It has different mechanisms in different materials; in some, it's due to the relative rates of stress/strain propagation versus the rates at which dislocations (in the case of metals) can propagate. There are other mechanisms in different materials, but I think most of them are about as well understood as many other interesting but complex material properties.   

       Will now go and re-look at Stine's article. Ahhhl be back.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 07 2011

       Ahhhm back.   

       OK, Stine doesn't seem to be reviewing a bunch of experiments showing a phase angle; he's reporting his own experiments. Doesn't mean he's wrong, just that it's a bit of a stretch to believe that everything else is wrong based on one guy.   

       Also, he's publishing in Analog, for chrissake. Presumably there's a conspiracy to prevent him from publishing in peer-reviewed journals (this happens a lot to people at the leading edge of scientific breakthroughs), which is a pity. Or, he may have published in a peer-reviewed journal and I've missed it - has he?   

       Also, if he doesn't realize that loading rate effects are well-known, does he really understand enough about mechanics and materials to be confident in his "3 degree phase" measurement?   

       I dunno, [Vernon]. I'd love it if there was something weird out there (and there certainly are weird things out there). But this sounds (as I mentioned) very much like the gyroscope-reactionless -antigravity-unicorn scenario, where cranks have failed to understand basic (but subtle) physics.   

       There's no shame in this failure to understand - things really do get subtle. But you either have to really work very very hard to understand things, or you have to say 'fuck it' and just go and build the thing. A real demonstration, fraud apart, is the ultimate argument. But all demonstrations of this kind of thing wind up demonstrating some intermediate aspect, and not the phenomenon they are supposed to manifest. Thus, the gyro-antigravity demonstrations never actually lifted anything - they just showed that something "felt lighter" in some levery kind of way. Likewise, this guy seems to be talking about phase shifts, but doesn't demonstrate the 'reactionless drive' which he says such shifts should easily enable. It's like you've always got to get the next code- book.   

       Still, if this is real, and if you have confidence in its being real; and given that this would guarantee you a Nobel prize and/or large amounts of money if it worked; and given that it shouldn't be too difficult to nail this experimentally, I'm sure you'll be actually making a start on this and can let us know how it goes.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 07 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], thank you. Note that the linked "Stine's Article" failed to include various pictures that were published in the original magazine article. For one of them, though, see the "Pendulum Test" link. Stine noted that they were unable to subject an actual Dean Drive to the Pendulum Test, but they sure tested a whole lot of other claimed "reactionless drives" that failed miserably.   

       On another hand, I've just added a new link, to a site where some guys are claiming to have successfully reconstructed an actual Dean Drive, and they also claim it passes the Pendulum Test. Note, though, that because the gadget is mostly mechanical, it can't operate at a very high frequency (1500RPM = 25Hertz), so whatever pendulum displacement they've seen, it is probably linked to something like the mere 3-degree phase angle that Stine talked about.   

       The artrr I've described here should be able to operate at perhaps 3kiloHertz, and the calculated phase angle for it is something more than 45 degrees. So if it works at all, then even if it can't lift its own weight, it should pass the Pendulum Test so obviously that nobody could deny it.   

       As an aside, if you can find a copy of the September 1961 issue of "Popular Mechanics", then you will find in it an article about the Dean Drive, with pictures. One of them is claimed to be an "anchorless winch", and the picture shows the Drive hanging from light chains like a pendulum. The author of this article describes a test where Dean used it to pull a load across a floor, and the angle at which the Drive hung from its chains did not change at all. I find that intriguing, although I'm also aware that a variant of the "stick-slip" frictional phenomenon might be at work there.
Vernon, Feb 07 2011

       Well, the "inertialpropulsion.com" website sort of screams "whacko" from its ht to its ml.   

       However, I have emailed the guy and asked to take him up on his offer of a demonstration. I emailed in my professional capacity, which I am sure will not intimidate someone with such clearly verifiable technology.   

       Of course, since he has invented a truly earth-changing device, he is probably too busy preparing major press interviews and fighting off approaches from major industrial partners. But, if he replies, I'll let you know the result. If not, well, obviously we'll all understand and will just wait to see his name in lights any....day....now.   

       EDIT (our annotations coincided). It really is a tremendous run of bad luck that, in all these cases, something or other makes the absolute test of the matter impossible, isn't it? I mean, if only someone could (somehow!!!1!) manage to suspend one of these devices from some sophisticated support (such as a "string", if you believe in that particular theory) in a vacuum chamber, and show that it hung at an angly angle.....   

       But - and it really is such a terrible run of bad luck - these absolute tests are always impossible for some reason or another. So, we have all these tests where "of course some of it is normal forces, but there's an extra force due to my device" or "yes, we did have to push it, but it moved more than the amount we pushed it". Really awfully bad luck.   

       And if only one of these guys, having invented such a revolutionary device, had managed to find a practical application for it. You'd think there'd be plenty, but it's obviously a huge problem. Which is a shame.   

       After all, it's clear that physicists (who are averse to anything novel, since they're too busy pursuing dark matter and Higgs bosons and other dull stuff) are blocking these groundbreaking discoveries from peer-reviewed journals.   

       So, you might think that one of these stigmatized geniuses would say "well, fuck it, I'll actually build something that does something, and I'll go and show it to people". But, thank goodness, these stigmatized geniuses are above that sort of showboating. After all, if stigmatized geniuses weren't above that sort of showboating, we'd all be awash in gold, unicorns and tedious antigravity devices.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], over the years I've made 4 attempts to build an artrr. Money has always been the biggest problem. Let me describe some things about those experiments, and the results.   

       To run an artrr at several kiloHertz means operating electromagnets at several kiloHertz. That means significant heating of the magnet cores by hysteresis. (That's why I've posted some stuff here about using ferrofluid in electromagnets, but such thoughts occurred to me after these experiments had been tried.)   

       The first attempt did not use iron cores in its electromagnets (the technical term is "air core" electromagnets). The magnetic forces that resulted were too feeble to cause any vibrations at all, in the device. A dud, therefore.   

       The second artrr used iron-core electromagnets, and oscillated a great deal, but it didn't pass the Pendulum Test.   

       I should mention that I used a sketch in Stine's ANALOG article (not included in the linked web page) to design the first two attempts. The caption to that sketch claims that you couldn't build a working device using it, much like a newcomer to perspective drawings couldn't build an internal combustion engine from the average diagram of it. I guess Stine was right about that. The third artrr had a design that contained some elements of both Stine's sketch and the design described in the main text here (I thought of this design while building that third model), and the linked "Associated Sketch". The fourth artrr was fully based on that Associated Sketch.   

       The third artrr also used iron-core electromagnets, but there was a CONSTRUCTION flaw, and the thing shorted out in a shower of sparks, utterly ruining my custom $400 power supply. When your disposable cash flow is something like $25/week, that was a major setback, especially when you have lots of other things (like computer equipment) that you want to buy.   

       For the fourth artrr I decided to try out a much better design of air-core electromagnets, but the thing still didn't vibrate at all. It IS obvious, isn't it, that if insignificant forces are applied to something, you can't expect it to move much? I put it in the attic to think about how to enhance my new power supply, to push more amps through those electromagnets. One day I went up there and discovered that animals had chewed the artrr to pieces. (It was mostly made of balsa wood, easy to chew.)   

       So, the design I've described here has never actually yet truly been put to the test. Alas. And the money situation is as bad as ever. The first experiment was done about 1976, and the fourth about five years ago. I'm a reasonably patient fellow, but....
Vernon, Feb 08 2011

       <Link> perpetuum mobile   

       It does work.   


       From "Perpetual Motion: The History of an Obsession By Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume":   

       "Perhaps the saddest group were those ordinary people who clamoured to invest their life's savings, the industrialists, financiers and even polititians who fervently believed that they were in on the discovery which would make history and give them untold wealth."   

       This passage is about the quest for the elusive perpetual motion machine. The quest for the "three degree imbalance between action and reaction" is only cosmetically different.   

       Vernon is the modern day Don Quixote, who sees windmills and perceives giants, and goes full tilt at them.   

       It is sad, and Vernon is mad.
neelandan, Feb 08 2011

       [neelandan] Vernon isn't mad, or at least no more so than many people. He thinks he has found something interesting and weird, and is as obsessed with it as anyone would be if they found themselves in a similar position. He is probably wrong, but hey. If there were a 0.000001% chance that there was something in this, it would be worth pursuing. And, given things like Mach's conundrum, I think there probably is a 0.000001% chance that he's right.   

       Having said that, I think there's a 99.999999% chance he's wrong, and will argue accordingly.   

       [vernon] if the effect is real, it should be demonstrable without all the sparks and kiloHertz. The gravitational constant was measured not by building a couple of gigatonne masses, but by sensitive measurements of the displacement of very small, mundane masses. Likewise, this alleged reactionless drive should be demonstrable on a very very small scale. For example, build a device which should generate not Newtons of thrust, but picoNewtons; suspend it in a half-decent vacuum and show that it causes a few microns of displacement or of torque. Given that laser pointers and suchlike are dirt cheap, the equipment for making such measurements would cost peanuts.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2011

       OK, I got a response from the guy. On his website, he offers to arrange a demonstration. However, when I invited him to do so, he replies as follows:   

       "Dear Dr. Dear,   

       At this time, we are entertaining an offer from a possible investor. Should this fall through, we would be happy to discuss a demonstration for you.   

       Thank you for your interest in inertial engine E-8.   

       Steven M. Hampton Chief Engineer Centrifugal Dynamics"   

       See? These guys are dogged by bad luck. Just when someone takes him up on his offer, he's being kept dangling by a potential investor.   

       On the other hand, no investor could resist such a revolutionary device once it is proven to work. So, doubtless he will get his investment, perfect and market the device, and gain the credit he so richly deserves.   

       I am trying to decide whether or not to hold my breath.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2011

       [neelandan], obviously you don't know what you are talking about. How can doing 4 experiments spread across 30 years be described as "going fill tilt"? Or even 25 years (it occurs to me that that 4th test was actually done somewhat more than 5 years ago; I've had my mind on other things since for longer than I at-first recalled)?   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], a working Dean Drive might satisfy your request for a smallish gadget that only exhibits a small unidirectional force. But one of the things about the Dean Drive was that if can actually work to move unidirectionally, then per Stine's diagram in the ANALOG article, which was partly based on his personal inspection of a Dean Drive, only one of its basic design elements was being caused to move unidirectionally (I'll call it "Body Part U" here). The rest of the machine, loosely attached to that basic element, became part of the overall load that was being moved unidirectionally.   

       I'm fairly sure the complexity of the linkage, between Body Part U and the rest of the machine, is the main reason it would be difficult for someone studying that ANALOG sketch to use it to build an overall device that moves unidirectionally.   

       So when I figured out a way for two primary body parts of a device to interact such that both might move unidirectionally in the same direction (as portrayed in the Associated Sketch link), I didn't need to put more thought into how to make one unidirectional part efficiently affect the rest of a device. However, the consequence is that the frequency of operation becomes crucial, for any device based on my design (as described in my last Feb 5 anno above).   

       Well, it is a fact that the smaller something is, the less time it takes for a shockwave to propagate through it, and therefore the higher the frequency must be, for the object to become unable to respond-as-a-whole to one of two alternately applied forces. For a low frequency to work, you need a large device, like the battering-ram-and-Superman experiment described in the main text here. The "small low-frequency experiment in a vacuum jar" that you are asking for is fundamentally self-contradictory.   

       The shower of sparks in the 3rd experiment was caused by an electrical short-circuit, a construction flaw, as I already noted, and of course is preventable with greater attention to the construction details.   

       I neglected to mention that the second artrr test, the one that vibrated a lot, was conducted for perhaps 10 seconds at a time, to prevent hysteresis from overheating the iron-core electromagnets. If some design ever works AND can lift itself, then we will want it to be able to work reliably (not overheat) for hours at a time. That's partly why I tried again with air-core magnets in the 4th experiment (do you know how expensive ferrofluid was back then? --definitely outside my budget!).
Vernon, Feb 08 2011

       Hold everything.   

       You're saying that this "reactionless drive" can only drive one part of itself against another part of itself?   

       That would be a true reactionless drive in the sense of "not", then.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 08 2011

       No, I'm saying that in the Dean Drive, my understanding is that part of it receives alternately applied forces such that, if stressed matter can emit a gravity wave, then that part would appear to move unidirectionally (or at least MORE in one direction than in the other direction, if it oscillates). But all the other parts are too small for that effect to happen to them. So, the one part kind-of "drags along" all the rest of the Drive with it. Along with an external load, of course. So, even if it works, my opinion is that it doesn't work very efficiently. OK?   

       And, remember, since gravity waves are invisible and hard-to-detect, if they are generated by a working Drive (or a working artrr), then that Drive/artrr is not truly "reactionless" because its Momentum in one direction is balanced by the momentum of the gravity waves. It merely LOOKS reactionless. But it would be more accurate to think of it as a kind of "rocket" with a real exhaust that happens to be of a type that can't hurt you (unless, maybe, those gravity waves pass through an earthquake fault line and trigger it, heh!).
Vernon, Feb 09 2011

       Gravity waves are not particularly hard to detect. Gravimeters are accurate to extremely small values.
MechE, Feb 09 2011

       [MechE], the Finicky Physicist will declare that one must call a particular thing a "gravitational wave" and call a rather different thing a "gravity wave". Most people don't know there is a difference, and "gravity wave" is obviously simpler to say. I've been guilty on this page of not distinguishing between the two, simply because I knew the average reader here wasn't going to be finicky about the difference, so now I should point out that wherever you see "gravity wave" on this page (except for this anno!), you should think "gravitational wave". And that thing really is much more difficult to detect than a "gravity wave".
Vernon, Feb 09 2011

       What is the difference then?
pocmloc, Feb 09 2011

       Ordinary waves on the surface of water are gravity waves. Gravitational waves are travelling disturbances of space-time caused by asymmetrically accelerating objects.
spidermother, Feb 09 2011

       OK, so this drive is reactionless, just not very efficient. Which is fair enough.   

       But, the point still holds that all these attempted "demonstrations" are incredibly crude - trying to get the thing to lift its own weight, or moving mostly by reaction but with an "inexplicable small excess force", or whatever.   

       Any serious engineer or physicist would simply arrange a more sensitive measurement of the force, so it could be detected in a smaller, practical drive; and so that it could be detected unambiguously.   

       I said earlier that the most sensitive way to make an initial test is just to hang the device on a string in a vacuum, and see if it displaces the string. With a long string, even a *minusucule* net force will cause an *easily* measurable displacement in the string, and such a displacement would be a fairly solid indication of the effect. You would still have to rule out the possibility that it is providing thrust by throwing off magnetic flux lines (which is not 'reactionless') or by throwing off a stream of ions (an 'ion drive' - also not reactionless), but you'd at least have something pretty suggestive as initial proof, in a makeable device.   

       In fact, you don't even need the vacuum. Build the device, stick it inside a big bag, and suspend that from the string. Again, net displacement of the string will indicate even a tiny amount of net force.   

       This whole thing stinks of "whacko". It's particularly unfortunate that the guy offering a demonstration was suddenly unable to do so while he negotiates with his "possible investors", but that seems to be part of the run of bad luck which these pioneers keep running into.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2011

       A gravitational wave would still produce a shift in local gravity, however small. Any gravimeter will detect such.
MechE, Feb 09 2011

       Not necessarily. They seem to be harder to detect than neutrinos.   

       While I don't think a device like this is likely to be useful, all non-symmetrical accelerations are thought to produce gravity waves. The amount would be extremely tiny, though. For example, the Earth's orbit is thought to radiate about 200W of gravitational waves. Colliding black holes and supernovas are thought to radiate large amounts of gravitational waves, but the accelerations and masses involved are, of course, colossal.   

       Exploding hydrogen bombs would produce vastly more gravitational waves than any feeble device like this, and no-one thinks they could detect those.
spidermother, Feb 09 2011

       [spidermother], thank you. I should mention, though, that the theory Dr. Davis devised (see "Article that started it all" link), talks about the emission of gravitational waves by masses experiencing a rate-of-change of acceleration, not the rather simpler type of acceleration Einstein specified. (The "gravity waves and propulsion" link seems to get to that conclusion using General Relativity instead of a modified form of Newtonian Mechanics.)   

       Note that neither of those developers tried to replace Einstein's reasoning; they were saying that this is an ADDITIONAL mechanism by which gravitational waves should be produced.   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], see the Pendulum Test link, where much of you wrote is specified already.
Vernon, Feb 09 2011

       Hi Vernon, sorry, I had missed that link. Yes, that is precisely the test that's needed (though, again, magnetic flux lines could be thrown off reactively; but that's a minor problem).   

       So, when this test was done, what was the measured angular displacement of the pendulum (and over what time period, what length of pendulum, and what weight of device)? Since this would be the most sensitive test of the device, this is a fairly important test.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], sorry, I haven't seen more details than you, regarding the claims made at that inertialpropulsion web site. All I wrote here was that they claimed their gadget could pass the pendulum test, and indeed such a claim is made at that site (without details).   

       [spidermother], perhaps you know about the experiment called LIGO, to detect gravitational waves? Have you heard about Dr. Joseph Weber's attempts of the 1960s? Completely different approaches, they are. Weber claimed success, but a lot of physicists thought gravitational waves would be too feeble for his device to work (and that he was actually detecting sound-wave vibrations).   

       Everyone, let's consider a completely different kind of "reaction drive" that has an invisible exhaust. Suppose you had a flashlight that radiated only in the infrared, and you turn it on and set it loose in outer space somewhere. We DO know, don't we, that if photons travel in one direction, the source should move in the other direction? Being invisible should make no difference.   

       But we also should know that the effect is extremely feeble, since photons (especially infrared photons) don't carry a lot of energy, and to compute their momentum you have to divide that energy by a rather large number, the speed of light.   

       It is known that at least some gravitational waves (the kind Einstein described) must travel at the speed of light, because observations of orbital decay of binary-pulsar systems (the decay is caused by radiation of gravitational waves) match theory very nicely.   

       It is not known that all gravitational waves must do that. Consider this bit of simple math involving a hypothetical substance called "negative mass":
(+m)(+v) --> (poof) <-- (-m)(-v)
Negative mass is not known to exist, but neither is it known to be unable to exist. IF it existed, though, then it might be able to interact with ordinary mass such that both would disappear, like anti-matter and ordinary matter can interact and disappear.

       However! anti-matter contains ordinary energy, along with regular matter, so when the MASS disappears, a great deal of loosed energy appears in its place. The association of negative mass is with NEGATIVE energy:
(-E) = (-m)(c^2)
So, when negative mass and ordinary mass interact and disappear, then if the masses and velocities have equal (though opposite) magnitude, then ZERO energy will be left behind.

       However, again! Momentum will be left behind! There are positive amounts of momentum on both sides of that interaction sketch. (And there is no way to rearrange the interaction event to not have leftover Momentum.) What FORM can such pure Momentum take, that is completely independent of mass or energy????   

       Some might say that since such a form of momentum can't exist, then that explains why negative mass can't exist. Others might say, "look farther"....   

       Suppose we tried a different Reference Frame, for that interaction event. Suppose that in the original event, with equal and opposite masses and velocities, the values of those velocities were +2 and -2. In a different Reference Frame, we could view the same interaction as taking place where one mass had a velocity of +3, while the other had a velocity of -1.   

       In that Reference Frame we will see some Kinetic Energy left behind, after the interaction destroys the masses. Interestingly, exactly the same Momentum as before will be left over. It happens that in EVERY Reference Frame, the same amount of Momentum will be left over, while the Kinetic Energy left over directly depends on the Reference Frame.   

       So, only in the very first Reference Frame, where the velocities are exactly equal and opposite, is there Zero Energy left over. But, per the Uncertainty Principle, we might never actually be able to encounter such a reaction result....   

       How might we now describe the THING that is left behind, after opposite masses "nullify" each other, a thing which contains a fixed amount of Momentum but also some Kinetic Energy? I suggest (E) = (v)(p), where "p" represents that fixed amount (quantum???) of Pure Momentum, and "v" is a velocity for it. At the very least it CAN make mathematical sense; all aspects of the interaction get a halfway-reasonable explanation, even if no mental picture is given for a "pure momentum in motion" thing.   

       The most interesting thing about the preceding, though, is that light-speed has NOTHING to do with this form of Momentum. And it might have something to do with Gravitation, after all (see the "speculation in conceptual logic" link). And didn't Einstein say somewhere that when a mass is utterly destroyed (say by falling into a black hole), a gravitational wave should appear in its place?   

       It is not impossible that there are more kinds of gravitational waves than Einstein speculated about. Consider that we know of two fundamental types of waves, known as "transverse" and "longitudinal". Seismic waves and sound waves can be of either type. Light waves are strictly transverse. Einstein's gravitational waves may be transverse, also, But if space-time can be distorted that way, why not also longitudinally? What speed should longitudinal gravitational waves have?   

       The LIGO experiment was supposed to be sensitive enough to detect gravitational waves originating from ultra-powerful "gamma-ray burst" events. This type of SOURCE of gravitational radiation is very different from the orbiting-binary-pulsar situation. It would not be unreasonable to expect longitudinal gravitational waves to result from a gamma-ray burst-event (if that type can actually exist).   

       But, so far, LIGO has not detected any gravitational waves that have been synchronized with arriving gamma (and other electromagnetic) rays. If the detector was designed and built correctly to actually be sensitive enough to detect them, then where are they? Perhaps they traveled at some other speed than light-speed!   

       If they traveled at a low speed, such as is implied-to-be-possible by the result of that negative-mass-interaction hypothetical-experiment, then those gravitational waves might take millions of years to get here.   

       With respect to a Dean Drive or an artrr, though, Dr. Davis has implied that the "gravitational inertial radiation" that he hypothesized about should be able to carry a rather higher ratio of Momentum-to-Energy than ordinary photons. In THEORY, then, such a device could someday be made quite efficient at radiating Momentum.   

       But never, of course, as long as nobody bothers to try to find out.
Vernon, Feb 09 2011

       // they claimed their gadget could pass the pendulum test, and indeed such a claim is made at that site (without details).//   

       Well, that's OK then. It's not as if they'd fib or anything, is it? Thank goodness they didn't include any boring details, like the actual results - that would have been really tedious.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2011

       (I just emailed the guy to ask what the results were from the pendulum test.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2011

       I concede that gravity appears to propagate at the speed of light. Since the speed of light seems to be a quality of the very structure of space we still need a reason to postulate that gravity acts as a wave or a particle. What phenomena would a wave/particle explain?
WcW, Feb 09 2011

       //What phenomena would a wave/particle explain?//   

       Graviton waves.   

       Is the third derivative of gravity gravy?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2011

       [WcW], is that a trick question? Is an electric or a magnetic field the same thing as electromagnetic waves? Obviously the answer depends on the chosen theory. In Quantum Mechanics, the answer to that last question is "sort-of Yes".   

       Ordinary electrmagnetic waves are commonly considered to be composed of (often groups of) particles called "photons" (even though not all of them carry energy such that they are visible to the eye), which can permanently exist, while the electric or magnetic field is described as being made of "virtual photons", which can only temporarily exist courtesy of the Uncertainty Principle. (But WHILE those virtual photons exist, they are identical in all ways but one to regular photons. The one difference is that the energy they contain diminishes away as time passes, which is basically why they can be thought of as being temporary.)   

       With respect to Gravitation, quantum physicists would like for there to be a similar explanation, such that the gravitational field would be made up of temporarily-existing virtual gravitons, while gravitational waves would often be made up of groups of permanently-existable gravitons.   

       The problem is that Gravitation is such a feeble force, ten billion trillion trillion times weaker than the Electromagnetic Force, that if individual gravitons do exist, they are so low-energy as to (so far) have remained unverified/undetected. LIGO was built to detect huge numbers of them traveling together as a gravitational wave.   

       Nevertheless, hope remains, per the hypotheses described on this page. Remember that Dr. Joseph Weber claimed to have detected gravitational waves back in the 1960s. There are currently in existence a small number of the type of detector that he originally designed ("resonant mass antenna", or "Weber bar").   

       If it is possible for a gravitational wave to carry significant Momentum but not a lot of energy (by not travelling at light-speed), then a Weber bar should be able to detect that type of gravitational wave. To prove it only a fairly simple experiment need be done.   

       The idea is to employ a Weber bar in a "Hertzian" type of experiment. If it is possible to generate a gravitational wave by stressing a mass, then all we need to do is whack a suspended wrecking ball with a sledgehammer at some reasonable distance from the detector.... Note that some physicists who disputed Weber's results have claimed that he failed to isolate his detectors enough from ordinary sound vibrations --and certainly this experiment could be expected to produce a considerable quantity of sound waves.   

       For the purposes of this description, let's assume both gravitational waves and sound waves are always generated by the whacks, and that the detector can detect both. However, there is no reason to think that the two types of waves will travel at the same speed toward the detector, from the sledgehammer-whacked wrecking ball. Furthermore, due to the Law of Conservation of Momentum, it logically follows that any gravitational waves produced by the whacks should have a preferred direction of radiation, while we know that sound waves will radiate in all directions from the whacks.   

       Therefore the first part of this proposed experiment is to whack the wrecking ball in a direction such that any gravitational waves produced will travel away from the detector, so that the detector's detection of sound waves from the whacks can be calibrated. Then all equivalent sound waves can be ignored when the next part of the experiment begins, to produce gravitational waves that travel toward the detector....
Vernon, Feb 10 2011

       Just read up about "gravitational waves" on the wikipedia.   

       The power radiated by the earth-sun system due to gravitational waves is said to be 200 watts.   

       Scale up / down for the masses and accelerations, and you will get an estimate for the amount of power you can radiate away in the lab.   

       There aren't any such calculations here, and Vernon should go away and do those calculations before trying to build a working model out of balsa wood, copper, electricity and his hard earned cash.
neelandan, Feb 10 2011

       The guy selling this thing referred me to a page on his own site, showing apparent displacement in a pendulum test, and apparent weight loss on a set of bathroom scales.   

       The thing that is odd is that, with the same instrument, the scales record an apparent weight loss of 27lb (from an initial mass of 40lb). Yet the pendulum test shows a deflection of less than 1.5 degrees (based on his photos and his statements; the measurement is made by photographing the unit against a line in the background, so it's hard to be sure).   

       Now, I would have thought that, if you suspend a 40lb mass from 76-inch-long cables, and push it sideways with a force of 27lbf, you ought to get a lot more than 1.5 degrees of displacement. I also note that, if I wiggle the right way, I can get my bathroom scales to read pretty much whatever I want. Obviously that's not the case here...I'm just saying...   

       Anyway, I've asked him about this.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 10 2011

       [neelandan], obviously you also aren't paying attention. The gravitational waves you described, from the Earth-Sun system, are waves that travel at the speed of light and therefore can only carry an extremely tiny (basically useless) amount of momentum.   

       The gravitational waves that are hypothesized to exist here are different from those, in that these can have low energy but high (useful amounts of) momentum, because they would travel at low speed. Building an artrr is one of the simplest ways to find out if they can actually exist. Not to mention that if a Dean Drive works (either the old original or the modern replica being questioned by [MaxwellBuchanan], then that would be evidence FOR the existence of this type of gravitational wave, and all the more reason to build an artrr (because of its more efficient design).   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], Dean also performed a "weight reduction" test with a scale, and was criticized for it, for the same reason you pointed out. I don't think it matters what the scale says, if the pendulum actually can hang at an angle.
Vernon, Feb 10 2011

       Oh dear, Max. I get the distinct feeling that you are starting to enjoy this!
DrBob, Feb 10 2011

       I am, [Dr. Bob], I am! I am curious to know about this man (I mean the one selling these drives). I have therefore lined myself up as a potential investor. I actually would invest, if he could convince me it's real, but somehow I don't think my money will be needed.   

       Still waiting for him to reply to last email.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 10 2011

       Well, the guy replied to my question (why is the thrust so very different depending on whether the machine is on its side or upright). The answer is:   

       "Like all engines, if the load is not properly placed, efficiency declines. The load of gravity on the engine's carriages (as weight) in the vertical acts differently than when running horizontally because the carriages are now weightless. We are working on making the adjustments to compensate for this load change and - for the easy transition between these load changes"   

       Vernon, it sounds like an entirely reasonable explanation to me, but I'm not sure I understand it. Can you explain?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 11 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], at the heart of the Dean Drive are a couple of matched counterrotating eccentric weights. I've added a link to a kind of schematic showing how they are allowed to move in the Drive. Note that the axis AROUND which each weight moves merely moves vertically (though back and forth) in the sketch. According to Stine's Analog article, in the Drive, at certain points during the rotation, there are clutches that temporarily hard-couple those rotating weights to the frame, so that rotational forces can be converted into linear force, for the frame.   

       I will assume the guy you emailed is talking about the orientation of that pair of weights. I wouldn't say they are weightless when the orientation of their motion is horizontal intead of vertical, but I think it would be fair to say that when moving back-and-forth horizontally, there are no changes in their apparent weights, like there obviously would be when they move up-and-down.
Vernon, Feb 12 2011

       I haven't read the whole idea or all the comments (I'm not particularly interested to be honest), but I thought the following questions may help resolve what your idea actually is (for yourself and for anyone reading):   

       I understand that the 'pendulum test' would convince you that your hypothesis is right but what would it take to convince you that your hypothesis is wrong? More specifically, what is the *minimum* level of proof that you would accept?
xaviergisz, Feb 12 2011

       [xaviergisz], a well-designed and well-built gadget that fails to pass the pendulum test should be able to lay this matter to rest. By "well designed" I mean that anyone thinking it might work would agree that the design incorporates all the apprpriate key elements of the hypothesis-of-operation.   

       For example, my 2nd experiment failed to pass the pendulum test, but I was not convinced that its design was good enough. For a bunch of years it bothered me that for the whole device to move unidirectionally, only part of it would be experiencing forces such that that part might move unidirectionally (the rest of the gadget had to be dragged along by that one part).   

       It was while building the 3rd model that I happened to think of the design that I've posted in the "Associated Sketch" link, in which both primary components of the device should experience forces such that they might move unidirectionally, in the SAME direction --so even if that 3rd gadget hadn't had a construction flaw, it might still not have worked --and I was aware of that possibility at the time I was building it.   

       Go to the "Stine's Article" link and after the page opens, search for the phrase "My work at Stanley" and read some paragraphs starting at that point. The thing I want you to think about is the fact that even if your calculations are right, sometimes you just HAVE to put them to an actual test, to be sure they are actually right. Science, and the equations it developed to describe the physical world, have become very very good at being Right most of the time. But not all the time, not yet. So, see the "Hare-Brained Scheme Recording Office" link...
Vernon, Feb 12 2011

       One interesting observation. Established (working) engines tend not to have eponymous names (jet engine rather than Whittle Drive; turbofan rather than Miller Drive; and so forth).   

       On the other hand, fictional and hypothetical drives tend to be named after their inventors (Alcubierre drive springs to mind).   

       Just saying.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], that might be partly a trademark thing. Competitors always need a generic name. But recall the Stirling engine, or the Diesel engine --and the original gasoline engine was called the "Otto engine", although nowadays that inventor's name is more generally applied to the operating principle, e.g., "Otto cycle".
Vernon, Feb 12 2011

       Ah - you make a fair point. My faith in the Dean Drive remains... constant.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2011

       //Note that the normal zigzag symbol for a load or a resistance is in this diagram replaced by a text phrase such as "5/6 A Ring" and "1/2 shared"//   

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2011

       Because this diagram was edited to be companion to the other diagram at the "Associated Sketch" link. There are 11 total interaction sites between the A Ring and the B Ring in that sketch, 5 that are largely inside each ring (10 total) and one that is shared like in a Venn Diagram.   

       Note that the various diodes in the circuit divide up the initial weak AC signal into 4 separate circuits, each of which gets amplified by the power transistors before reaching its load. Modern electric-car power control circuitry may offer single power transistors that can handle 100 Amperes or more, but when I originally drew the sketch, I didn't want to draw multiple ordinary power transistors working in parallel, so I specified it with text.   

       So, 5/6 of the A Ring interaction-sites (all the electromagnets) are activated during one half-cycle, 5/6 of the B Ring sites are activated during the other half-cycle, and the shared interaction site needs to alternate between magnetic attraction and magnetic repulsion. That's accomplished by part of the circuit sending full-wave AC to 1/2 of the shared interaction site, while another part of the circuit sends pulsating DC from the bridge rectifier toward the other 1/2 of the shared interaction site.
Vernon, Feb 15 2011

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], you may not have noticed, but I've added another link, to the diagram that Stine drew for his ANALOG article, and which I've mentioned in earlier annotations here.
Vernon, Feb 15 2011

       Thanks, [Vernon].   

       It might worry me a little that he chose to publish in "Analog" rather than a peer-reviewed journal, if I were the sort of person who worried about that sort of thing.   

       Oh, hang on, I am...
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2011

       Vernon, could you summarize your hypothesis is a single sentence?   

       My understanding is that it is something like:   

       "momentum is decoupled from mass when a mass is decelerated at higher orders of deceleration (also known as jerk or jolt)"   

       If you can give a pithy distillation of your hypothesis it will be relatively easy for people to test (or find studies where it has already been tested). And a suitable test might not necessarily be the exact experiment you had in mind.
xaviergisz, Feb 15 2011

       [xaviersgisz] has made a point which I wish I had had the brains to make. D'oh!   

       This invention is a bit like trying to prove that the burning of hydrocarbons in oxygen is exothermic, by building a car. The nub of the idea is very much simpler, and would be easily testable by, for example, shaking a mass back and forth with a non-linear acceleration, with a strain guage on its supports. If that doesn't show anything, it is as dead as an end.   

       Kudos, [xav].
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2011

       [xaviergisz], it's not "my" hypothesis, since I didn't think it up. Dr. William O. Davis deserves the credit (except he died in 1974). And for the most part, he called it something like "reaching a logical conclusion from a reasonable assumption".   

       Your assessment of that conclusion, however, is mostly on-target. However, only SOME momentum gets decoupled by jolting events; it should be obvious that if all of it was decoupled we would have noticed it long ago.   

       The biggest problem with a simple experiment is that the forces necessary to cause significant decoupling of momentum are also often enough to wreck sensitive measuring equipment. Stine specifically mentions hitting something with a one-pound hammer and breaking a $150 load cell --and that was part of a larger statement where he said the thing should have been hit with a sledgehammer for the best [momenum-decoupling] result!   

       That 4th artrr I built only cost a few hundred dollars, and while the gadget is lost, I still have most of its power supply (the most expensive part). What measuring scale of "simple" is "best"? A so-called simple experiment that costs ten grand because of the required precision and toughness of the measuring devices is not necessarily so simple!   

       Search for the 2nd occurrence on this page of the phrase "Weber bar" and read a few paragraphs. THAT is a "simple" experiment, since the multi-million-dollar detector already exists, at least --it doesn't have to be specially built to do that experiment.   

       So, when I can scrape the funds together, that haven't already been committed to other stuff like a house-remodeling project, I expect to do another artrr experiment. Simple enough, I think, and I'm still convinced that if it works at all, then it will so obviously work that nobody will be able to doubt it.
Vernon, Feb 15 2011

       I don't think a serious experimenter would have any problem with finding an effect that was within six orders of magnitude of "conventional" forces. The technology is neither elaborate nor expensive.   

       //when I can scrape the funds together, that haven't already been committed to other stuff like a house- remodeling project,//   

       You see, this is what gets me, and it's a theme that recurs quite often in ideas like this. It's a bit like the alien abductees who, one day, sneeze out the implant that was put up their noses, then either lose it or throw it away.   

       You say you are confident that this device will work. If it could be shown to work, to the satisfaction of independent referees, you would undoubtedly become extremely famous overnight. You would bring about a quite fundamental change in physics, and (although I don't know physics as well as I do biology), I think you would probably be in line for very major awards.   

       Yet a house remodelling project takes priority. What exactly is the thinking behind that?   

       Vernon, you're not dumb, so you would surely appreciate what a significant event this would be, even if the effect had no practical applications. The only conclusion, then, is that even you don't really believe this stuff. I find that discouraging, because even though I don't believe it, I was having fun reasoning with someone who I thought did believe it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2011

       as long as the cat is in the box it may be alive or dead. If we never open the box the cat is immortal, no? Vernon is like the hand-me-down owner of a box labeled "cat" that is a hundred years old. He "may" own the oldest cat in the world. On the other hand the box may be a joke at his expense. I for one want to believe that the cat will live forever and that would make Vernon owner of the worlds most exceptional cat, which no one will ever see.
WcW, Feb 16 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], I've indicated in a couple of places on this page that I want to use ferrofluid core electromagnets in an artrr, because of the hysteresis problem. Holding that stuff in place, in the RIGHT places, especially still allowing it to be strongly affected by the electromagnet wiring, has been a problem I mostly put on the back burner for my subconscious to deal with.   

       If I get the house fixed up I can sell it and then I'll have a suitable chunk of change to build an artrr. And there are other things going on in my life that affect my expenditure choices, which I need not discuss with anyone.   

       But I'll tell you that some time ago the house air conditioning system died and was so expensive to replace that I'll still paying be for it years from now. I DESPISE unwanted debts, even if that one could be considered part of the overall improvement project.   

       And I'll also say that there could be good reason to not build an artrr for quite a few more years. The thing can be misused in ways so horrible that I certainly don't need to hurry to build one for any reason you have mentioned.   

       P.S. I just did a search on this page for the phrase "will work". Your last anno is the first place it appears. I'm confident that the hypothesis needs to be tested. I have not anywhere stated a high degree of certainty that it will work.
Vernon, Feb 16 2011

       // The thing can be misused in ways so horrible that I certainly don't need to hurry to build one for any reason you have mentioned.//   

       This is spooky. Inspired by [Neelandan's] link, and also by various discussions here at the HB, I started assembling my own "crackpot index", aiming to be more accurate than the one Neelandan linked to.   

       Item (7) on my list (and I swear I wrote this before your last anno, Vernon) was:   

       "7. Requests for demonstrations are declined because:
a. The device is temporarily broken
b. Potential investors have requested that it be kept secret.
c. Health and safety considerations prevent it.
d. The inventor is concerned about his idea being stolen.
Score 20 points if one or more of these criteria are met. If 7d applies, but if the inventor has also been promoting his invention or protesting that he can’t get scientists to take his device seriously, score an additional 20 points."

       The guy who is trying to sell this idea online has already fallen foul of (b) and (d), and also wins the bonus points as indicated in the final para above. However, [Vernon], you have now chalked up points for (c) as well. (a) also tends to crop up a lot.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2011

       There are almost 19,000 words on this web page now.
pocmloc, Feb 16 2011

       “God will never allow that such a machine be built…because everybody realises that no city would be safe from raids… iron weights, fireballs and bombs could be hurdle from a great height".   

       - Francesco Lana de Terzi, who invented the vacuum airship in 1663.   

       (Copied from Wikipedia; "hurdle" probably should be "hurled")
spidermother, Feb 16 2011

       Re [Pocmloc] we're almost up to Novella, only another ~23,000 needed for novel length.
MechE, Feb 16 2011

       [xaviergisz] The best piece of advice I received when writing up my Computer Science PhD was that if I couldn't sum up the entire 100,000 word argument I was making in one sentence (the first sentence of the abstract) then I didn't know what I was talking about.

As an aside, I urge others to consider the economic argument (link).
hippo, Feb 16 2011

       [hippo] did you? And what was that sentence?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan] and [spidermother], search this page for the occurrance of "Cowlishaw". One of the proposed answers to Enrico Fermi's famous question "Where are they?" (regarding aliens, when it appears to be possible to colonize the galaxy in a few million years, and the galaxy is billions of years old) has two parts:   

       First is that any civilization tends to have rogue individuals bent on something that might be called "domination or bust". If they can't control things, they are willing to destroy things out of spite and selfish disregard for others.   

       Second is that as a civilization advances technically, individuals become able to acquire more and more purely physical power. Imagine a king of olden times owning a herd of 200 horses, and compare that to the 200HP engines of cars that almost anyone could buy today.   

       When the curve of accessible physical power is combined with the nearly constant availability of would-be conquerors, it becomes entirely reasonable to worry about terrorists acquiring nuclear explosives. Or a genetics lab full of pathogens. Or any of a number of ways that an alien (or our own!) civilization could be destroyed.   

       When was the last time you read a book by Robert A. Heinlein, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"? The only way to stop desperate bad guys is for the good guys to have at least similar capabilities. But in this case, if the good guys don't think something can be done, while the bad guys are willing to take the risk to find out, who has the best chance of winning in the end? Not civilization, that's for sure!   

       Now about a fanfare of fame and fortune following a functioning fabrication: What will actually happen is that the good-guy doubters will want more information, while the bad guys will race pell-mell to get the most benefit from it for themselves. You tell me how to avoid the consequences of THAT, and I'll consider adjusting my funding priorities (although it won't have any effect toward solving the ferrofluid design problem I mentioned).   

       It also occurs to me that the comment about that "list item 7c" focused more on the "c" than on the "7". You do realize that a device must actually exist before it can be demonstrated? Where did I say I had an existing device that could be demonstrated? I talked about building one with my own money in my own good time. **I** decide that, nobody else. And remember, I've already wasted money 4 times previously. When I want to risk wasting more, I'll do it then, and not before then.   

       [hippo], The title of this page used to be an acronym, and the subtitle defined it. [jutta] or somebody, to my dismay (all old external links to this page are now bad links --can I ask that a special "redirect" be created? Thanks!), changed the title to become the subtitle. Anyway, the phrase IS the summation of the Idea here. Where do you draw the line between the kind of summation you are talking about, and something too abstruse?
Vernon, Feb 16 2011

       [Vernon], you're winning me over piece by piece.   

       It's clear that the absence of communication from extraterrestrial civilisations is basically supporting evidence for the reactionless drive. In fact, it's likely that They (yes, They) have deliverately suppressed information on the reactionless drive for exactly this reason. Yes... it all makes sense to me now.   

       It's also clear that your having "wasted money 4 times previously" suggests that you'll be lucky the fifth time. (I'm a great believer in the gambler's phallus, see?)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2011

       I would like to ask about the //3-degree phase angle in two different purely mechanical systems, that ran at 1500RPM//   

       I am imagining a thing rotating 25 times a second, and some measurement detecting a lag or advance of 3 degrees, that is measuring to one part in 3,000 accuracy, or 0.03% accuracy.   

       Is it just me or is that astonishingly accurate? What do you think the calculated error margin on that 3-degree phase angle was? (my old statistics professor always said a measurement without an error margin was worthless).
pocmloc, Feb 16 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], that's not what I wrote, and twisting what I write to try to make it seem like I meant something else is not nice. There are many ways by which mad beings could destroy their civilizations, after technology develops enough. If this gadget works, then it will simply be one more. The correct counter to misusing it starts with the existence of very many ordinary users of it. But that will take time to exist, leaving a window of opportunity for bad guys, which should be addressed somehow.   

       I'm sure that your list somewhere includes a statement to the effect that the crackpot usually wants someone else to spend money on a wild idea. It doesn't even have to be his or her own wild idea. So what are YOU, if you encourage me to spend my money on this, just so you can see a demonstration, eh?   

       [pocmloc], read the "Stine's Article" link for the full details. In brief, though, the "phaser" devices incorporated both rotary and reciprocating motion, and it was those two motions that got 3 degrees out of sync. A stroboscope allowed the irregularity to be seen plainly. Total slack in the mechanical linkages when not running was less than half a degree --your error margin, I think.
Vernon, Feb 16 2011

       //I''m sure that your list somewhere includes a statement to the effect that the crackpot usually wants someone else to spend money on a wild idea.//   

       Actually no. Most crackpots either want to keep their idea to themselves, or are shy of investors who might question things too closely (like, I'm guessing, the guy I'm corresponding with). Also, there are so many people with non-crackpot ideas seeking investment (I've already invested with a couple) that this isn't a good discriminator.   

       And yes, of course I was twisting your words - that's half the fun! My apologies. On the other hand, you did sort of slightly *hint* the idea of alien civilisations destroying themselves as a result of discovering this or similar devices, back somewhere where you were talking about alien civilisations destroying themselves as a result of discovering this or similar devices.   

       And yes, I'm encouraging you to spend your money on this. Again, this is partly a wind-up (see how honest I am? it'll get me into trouble one day). The reason is partly because I'd love to see a demonstration of this because of what it would do to physics. It's also partly because this is such a whacko idea that I don't really believe that you believe in it. As I implied earlier, if anyone actually had confidence in this, and had the intelligence to realize what it would mean to physics, I truly can't imagine them putting it in line behind house renovation. But then again maybe I just lack imagination. (Let me ask you a question - how much money would you need to perform a demonstration that would satisfy you, one way or the other? There is a reason I'm asking.)   

       Annnnnnyway, forgive me for my teasing.   

       I do have one serious question. How exactly do you imagine that the ability to produce reactionless drive would lead to a devastating weapon? I can see that a powerful *reactive* drive, like a powerful anything, can be dangerous, but what would be so lethal about reactionlessness? (This is not a facetious question; you evidently had something in mind and I'm intrigued. And please don't tell me that you can't tell me in case I use it to blow up the world. I promise I won't.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2011

       Thanks Vernon. No, the slack in the system when not running is not the error on the measurement, though it would have to be incorporated into the calculation of the error. The error has to be statistically calculated you see, taking into account all of the things that could bias the result.
pocmloc, Feb 16 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], consider that there is a Bad Guy in the Biblical Book of Revelations called "The King of the Sky". Militarily, the sky counts as "high ground", right?   

       When was the last time you looked at the first few sentences on the "Vernon" page here? I'd love to be hired to build wild-idea stuff. There is a dilemma I've encountered in years past, which goes something like this: Sometimes I have two jobs and a decent income. But no TIME to do wild-idea stuff. Then one of the jobs dies, my income plummets, and I have plenty of time to do stuff, but no money. The house project was mostly being done by hired workers. Do you see the logic, why the artrr was on hold? Now the house is also mostly on hold, since I'm currently down to subsisting with one job.   

       Building another artrr similar to the 4th one, but with ferrofluid-core electromagnets, is estimated to cost a few hundred dollars for the materials, not necessarily including the power supply (since I still have the last one). Like I've previously indicated, this is a "proof of principle" gadget that if it works at all, should pass the Pendulum Test super-obviously. I would not expect it to be able to lift its own weight, or to be powerful enough for widespread use, but if it was put into outer space it could be good for, say, adjusting the orbit of the International Space Station (a small push applied for however-long-it-takes is relatively equivalent to any larger push).   

       [pocmloc], those mechanical motions were synchronized at low RPM, and only got out of sync at 1500RPM. Synchronization returned when the RPM was reduced, so if the measurement device got messed up at the high RPM setting, wouldn't it have stayed messed up upon slow-down?
Vernon, Feb 16 2011

       ...for example, slack is not the same as elasticity. You have a machine thrashing violently with lots of moving parts. A shaft flexes by 2 degrees. Half a degree is slack. The final half degree springs from optimism.   

       ...or, if the images were captured photographically (and I presume they were captured photographically, for confirmation), the gentleman's camera was a normal type of camera with a sweeping shutter. This will appear to delay one portion of the image relative to another, by a significant fraction of the exposure time.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2011

       [Vernon] I'm not sure I understand your reference - my apologies, as I'm not well versed in the Bible. I thought the guy in the sky was meant to be God?   

       Also, I'm not sure that "high ground" counts as "sky". I think pilots have suffered from the same confusion, though.   

       If this was a hint at the destructive capabilities of a reactionless drive, I missed it - sorry. Can you clarify on this point?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2011

       I'm going on the word of a friend who I know is very knowledgable about the Bible. I had wondered, myself, about the interpretation of "King of the Sky". The friend is sure that as far as Revelations is concerned, this is a Bad Guy. I'm thinking this could well be a case where a bad guy is using a label specifically chosen to make himself look like a not-so-bad guy.   

       An appropriately powerful unidirectional thruster could make access to Outer Space cheap and easy. At One Gee of constant acceleration, followed by turnover-at-midpoint and constant deceleration, the Moon is 3 hours away, Mars can be as close as 3 days away, and Pluto is about 3 weeks away.   

       The "escape velocity" for Earth is about 11km/sec, and this works in reverse, so anything falling to Earth from far-enough out, ignoring the atmosphere, tends to hit the ground at at least that speed. Do you know what a "kinetic energy weapon" is? A big-enough rock that falls to Earth from, say, the distance of the Moon, can imitate the Hiroshima blast, but without the radioactivity. There are a LOT of big-enough rocks on the Moon, which definitely is "high ground" with respect to Earth. All this is spelled out in Heinlein's book. Read it!
Vernon, Feb 17 2011

       I shouldn't get involved, but here goes anyway.   

       I don't think we should be cajoling Vernon into creating his device. If he wants to that's fine, but its not necessary to create a working model to post an idea on HB. I too have a few unpopular ideas here on HB, but people saying "demonstrate it works or f#%$ off" is not really a valid argument.   

       The only real criteria for posting on HB is originality. But Vernon's idea seems to even fail on this criteria. Vernon concedes his device is testing someone else's hypothesis.   

       Rather than arguing about whether or not this idea will work (which seems to have entered an infinite loop), I'd be more interested to hear how Vernon's idea differs some of the links which also claim inertial propulsion. For example Jeffery Cameron, author of the link to "Gravity Waves and Propulsion" seems to propose a fairly similar device. If Vernon is merely making a variation on an already proposed device, then I don't know if HB is the place for this idea.   

       [I have edited this anno slightly to make it a bit clearer]
xaviergisz, Feb 17 2011

       [xaviergisz], the HalfBakery doesn't care about theory, it wants gadgets. And the particular gadget this Idea is about is my own design. It is because of its degree of unorthodoxy that all sorts of related stuff, done by others, has needed to be described here.
Vernon, Feb 17 2011

       [xaviergisz] "but people saying "demonstrate it works or f#%$ off" is not really a valid argument" - I agree with your general point, that the Halfbakery is not perhaps the ideal place for this idea. However, the difference between me posting a whimsical idea (e.g. "Nude Bubble Gym of Death") and Vernon posting this idea is that he is suggesting that it really would work. This, together with the implications of this claim (i.e. that it would be time to rewrite the laws of physics) makes the request for a demonstration valid, in my view.

[Max] I tried to, and I think I got pretty close - I'll have to look up the sentence later.

[Vernon] I wasn't talking about the 'summary' of the idea - in fact I changed the title from an acronym to its current form because its easier for people if the titles of ideas aren't acronyms. I was talking about the text of the idea which, for an idea of this length, should ideally start with a single sentence which encapsulates the whole thing. My experience is that coming up with this sentence is, in itself, a useful exercise to refine your own thinking about exactly what it is about your idea which is novel.
hippo, Feb 17 2011

       [Vernon] Point taken about kinetic weapons.   

       However, given that this seems to be a means of converting a huge amount of very energetic (and primarily self-destructive) thrashing and shaking into a very tiny proportion of "reactionless thrust", and given that normal reactive thrust is available off-the-shelf and is far more efficient, I don't think we have to worry too much.   

       It would be a bit like building a nuclear bomb, setting it off next to a photovoltaic cell, and then using the electricity to power a taser.   

       Nevertheless, I will reconsider my investment strategy (if the guy on the web ever gets back to me). It would look bad on my CV if I were fiscally culpable for the destruction of humanity - just look at the reputation of bankers. So, thanks for the heads-up on this one mate.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 17 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], the thrashing you mentioned is related to the frequency of oscillation. At higher frequencies it CAN logically follow that a truly oscillating gadget will oscillate a lesser physical distance, than at a low frequency. Less thrashing, therefore.   

       The above need not apply to a purely mechanical gadget like the Dean Drive, because it doesn't have significant gaps between its connected parts. So, if any part is mechanicall forced to move a certain distance, various the connected parts may have to try to move that distance, also (depending on linkage leverage, of course).   

       In my two-loop artrr design there are small air gaps at the interaction sites, and electromagnets are used to generate forces in those gaps. So, each loop-structure can oscillate independently of the other.   

       The efficiency of an artrr's operation, however achieved (meaning that the Dean Drive, if it works, qualifies as a variety of artrr), is directly related to the "phase angle" between a mechanical Action and an associated mechanical Reaction. How associated?   

       Consider a toy known as "Newton's Cradle", which consists of a row of suspended steel balls. If one ball is pulled away from the rest, and allowed to fall back and impact the group, the last ball in the row will "immediately" begin to swing away from the group. However, that "immediately" is the merely human perception of the event; in actual fact, if we did an experiment that used fine wires to suspend the balls, and passed a tiny electric current through the row of balls, we could use an oscilloscope to easily measure a very real time-delay, between the impact of the first ball (closing the circuit) and the swinging-away of the last ball (opening the circuit). (This time delay will be related to the speed of sound in steel, which is about 5,000 meters per second, depending on the type of steel.)   

       The phrase "Action and Reaction" has a couple of different definitions, and sometimes the distinction between those definitions is overlooked. Not to mention that both definitions have a problem with respect to the above Newton's Cradle experiment. One definition would say that an Action could be an impact of the first ball in Newton's Cradle, and that a Reaction could be the swinging-out of the last ball. The problem here is that physicists routinely say that Action and Reaction must be simultaneous --but that cannot be true if there is a time delay between the first ball's impact and the last ball's swinging-out.   

       The other definition would say that the force that comes into existence at the moment of the impact is NOT the Action; instead the Action is the stopping-of-motion of the first ball, while the Reaction is the other effect of that force, upon the rest of the row of balls (creation of the shock wave that passes through the row, and quickly reaches the last ball). The problem here is that while those two things are indeed essentially simultaneous, there is a violation here of Newton's Third Law of Motion, (m1)(v1)=(m2)(v2), because a shock wave is not normally considered to be the same thing as an "overall mass in motion", which (m1) or (m2) is assumed to be doing in that equation. The momentum of the ball-that-stopped is, for a tiny fraction of a second, not being manifested in its ordinary form!   

       Anyway, see Equation 12 in the linked Dr. Davis "Article that started it all" --the phase-angle equation. Two key factors in that equation are the frequency of operation and the time-delay required for an applied Force to fully affect the entirety of an object affected by that Force.   

       In an earlier annotation I described a "special range of frequencies" where an object can respond-as-a-whole to a distributed group of small forces, but not have time to do that when a single large force is applied. At the low end of the special range is where a phase angle begins to appear. But, logically, per Dr. Davis' equation, the frequency can be increased across that special range, and the phase angle will go up, too. So, the most efficient frequency to operate an artrr is near the high end of the special range.   

       I think I once read that at least one of Dean's Drives was tested to destruction in an attempt to get it to lift itself. 1500 RPM is likely the MINIMUM frequency at which it can exhibit special behavior. And Stine clearly indicates fear of his "phaser" gadgets, which could cause a whole building to shake. He never tried running them faster than 1500RPM.   

       But again, that's directly related to the mechanical-linkage issue mentioned above. My artrr design doesn't have that problem; at high frequencies its parts will merely oscillate smaller distances. After all, the less time that passes before an opposite force is applied, the less distance the previously-applied force can make it move, see?   

       And so I look forward to achieving something like a 45-degree phase angle, vastly more efficient than a Dean Drive, when I finally figure out how to best incorporate ferrofluid into my two-loop design.
Vernon, Feb 17 2011

       So, with a 45 degree phase angle, what would be the efficiency of the Dean Drive (ie, reactionless kinetic energy out, divided by the energy required to power the device)?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 17 2011

       If you consider an application such as space travel, efficiency isn't that big a deal if you have a nuclear reactor that can pump out MW's for 20 years.
FlyingToaster, Feb 17 2011

       Yes but you do want an efficiency higher than zero percent.
pocmloc, Feb 17 2011

       And preferably a little bit higher than ion drives, hydrogen ram-rockets, or anything else.   

       I suspect [Vernon] will have the last laugh, by clearly demonstrating a 360° phase shift.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 17 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], sorry, I don't know how to predict the efficiency, in terms of "How much force does the device generate compared to the electrical power fed to it?" All I can say is that the greater the phase angle (and, by the way, 90 degrees is the theoretical-and-unreachable maximum, like the speed of light), the more efficient it should be. I greatly doubt that the Dean Drive ever exhibited much more effect than a 3-degree phase angle (except, probably, for the one that was tested to destruction).   

       So, obviously the first thing to do after a successful Pendulum Test is to measure that amount of force, which can be directly compared to ordinary rocket thrust, to see which is better.   

       Note that even if it isn't as powerful as a rocket (there shouldn't be any expectations of such for the proof-of-principle device), in Outer Space the main advantage of a working unidirectional thruster is that it needs no propellant. Solar cells could provide power adequate for reaching anything between the Sun and the asteroid belt.
Vernon, Feb 17 2011

       I whole heartedly discredit all references to the "dean drive". I had an alarm clock that would walk off the table, reactionless, every single time it went off. It never failed to perform at a demonstration and functioned even while pulling substantial loads of things piled atop it. Admittedly it was loud and inefficient but nobody ever saw any novelty in it.   

       From your link:   

       Norman Dean’s Patent #2,886,976 of his electro-mechanical inertial drive has intrigued millions for decades, so why hasn’t someone built a flying machine based on its design before now? The problem, as it turned out, was patent rights protection: Dean laid out his art so skillfully that without extensive research, even the most imaginative engineer could not deduce all the variables. For example, what are – and how do you harmonize – the proper shifter timing, clutch timing, stroke length, rotor mass, spring tensions, and the placement of slider switches used to synchronized multiple carriages with rotor cycles (a problem when the system runs for more than a few seconds)?   

       His patent was so brilliantly occult that nobody can replicate a working device and he failed to publish his methods in a journal. Now the secret of levitation rests with him in the grave.
WcW, Feb 17 2011

       [WcW], both the linked Stine article and Dean's own son (in the Talk page of the Wikipedia article about the Dean Drive) talk about how the patent deliberately does not describe the actual Drive.   

       On the other hand, see the "A functional Dean Drive?" link. You are making bald statements in ignorance of all the facts.
Vernon, Feb 18 2011

       // the patent deliberately does not describe the actual Drive//   

       In which case it's probably not a real patent.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2011

       The "A Functional Dean Drive" link reads a lot like web pages reffering to every other anti-gravity approach, the water powered car, and UFO abductees web-site I've read. Quite frankly, if their device is patent protected, which they claim, there is no reason to not to reveal the inner workings, and strong incentive to do so to attract investors.
MechE, Feb 18 2011

       They are probably just wanting to prevent some innocent child from accidentally creating a local black hole.   

       Everything about this idea just screams "Entirely bona fide! Entirely bona fide!"
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2011

       Dean's patent is valid enough. It doesn't claim to do anything reactionlessly, after all. I expect his patented device can do what it describes, convert some rotary motion into unidirectional motion for a long tape that is fed through it (the device probably has to be bolted down if the tape is heavy enough).   

       Regarding the claims made at that inertialpropulsion website, I'm aware that, first and foremost, they are just claims. And, even if the claims are completely true, I expect the device won't be useful in a widespread way, until a correct operational theory is devised AND ACCEPTED, that can lead to more powerful/efficient devices.   

       That's where Dr. Davis' hypothesis comes in, and where this Idea is hoped to be fitting.
Vernon, Feb 18 2011

       //Dean's patent is valid enough. It doesn't claim to do anything reactionlessly, after all.//   

       Ah. I have saved myself a little time by the simple expedient of not reading it. But the absence of reactionlessness might make some doubt the validity of this concept. Shame on them, I say, shame.   

       Incidentally, [Vernon], I am considering calling my scoring system "The Nimitz Index", if you agree.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 19 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], Dean apparently wanted to patent some of the core components of the Drive, without actually revealing (for thieves) the rest of it. That way if he did find a buyer (his price was rather steep, though!), it could be sold with that patent protecting ENOUGH of it so that thieves could be sued.   

       If you read the Discussion page for the Wikipedia Dean Drive article, you will see how Dean got burned over a previous and fairly important invention.... What might YOU have done in his situation (assuming you had a working Drive)?   

       It might be nice, if you decided to name something after me, to at least spell it correctly. Note that if this Idea turns out to work, there might be a kind of "disconnect" between the thing you described and putting my name on it.
Vernon, Feb 20 2011

       Ooops - apologies over the name-spelling.   

       The point of a patent is that it protects your invention. If someone does rip it off commercially, and if the patent is real, you can sue them. You don't need to hide any details, if your aim is to be able to prevent someone from illegally copying it.   

       A detailed patent also enables copies of the device to be built for evaluation and research (if I understand correctly), as long as it's not commercially exploited. This would be something of an advantage in this case.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 20 2011

       A patent in the USA only protects it from thieves in the USA, not foreigners. And an average dude can't afford to patent something in all those other countries. Do recall that Dean's invention came near the start of the Space Race, in the midst of the Cold War. And if it works, it could have led to something with significant military value. Would you have wanted the Soviets to have gotten their hands on it, just by subscribing to the Official Gazette of the US Patent Office?
Vernon, Feb 20 2011

       // Would you have wanted the Soviets to have gotten their hands on it, just by subscribing to the Official Gazette of the US Patent Office?//   

       No, I'd have gone for the more conventional approach of setting up a remote desert base and gathering together a collection of brilliant minds to work on it in utmost secrecy, so that the Russian agents would know where to get their information from.   

       But you may be right. I guess if I had invented something that re-wrote the laws of physics, could not be convincingly demonstrated, and had the potential to blow up the universe, I'd probably keep to myself the details of the nuts and bolts but just patent the basic theory. After all, it's a known fact that those darned Ruski scientists can't understand theories as complex as "things shaking quite fast".   

       So that's that one cleared up.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 20 2011

       Just think how differently the Cold War might have gone had Szilard had the sense to obfuscate his nuclear fission chain reaction patent application.
mouseposture, Feb 20 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], a reasonable discussion does not require such snide facetiousness on your part. You can't goad me into spending money on this gadget, that I don't have available for spending on it. And all you do is look stupid when you say stuff like "something that re-wrote the laws of physics", when if you had actually paying attention, you would have noticed that nowhere in what I've written here is there anything about "rewriting" the laws of physics.   

       A small EDIT, perhaps. Consider the original Newtonian equation "F = (m)(a)", and see how physicists have since ALREADY edited it (search for "F =" in Stine's article). All Dr. Davis suggested was that yet one more piece could be added to that equation, to more accurately describe various events.   

       Sure, any edit would have consequences. But it is not a violation of the Third Law of Motion if gravitational waves can carry momentum in one direction, and thereby allow a machine that generates those waves to move in the opposite direction.   

       See again my Feb 17 post describing an experiment with "Newton's Cradle". How do YOU explain what is actually going on in there, with respect to "action and reaction"?   

       [mouseposture], the Cold War started after the A-bombs had been dropped. The Soviets thus had proof that certain things were workable. What do you say about the action-and-reaction thing in that Newton's Cradle experiment?
Vernon, Feb 21 2011

       // discussion does not require such snide facetiousness on your part//   

       I know it doesn't - I do that bit for free and for fun. However, my apologies.   

       And I'm not trying to goad you into spending a penny on this. However, I am pointing out that, on top of everything else, the lack of urgency with which you view this project seems to indicate that perhaps you don't really believe it either. But perhaps I am being unfair.   

       (I think I asked, a few pages back, how much it would cost you to build your machine. This was because, if it's a manageable amount, I'm happy to lend it to you. No repayment needed if the machine works; very delayed, interest-free repayment if it fails. As long as I can be there for the tests.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 21 2011

       Anyway, back to basics.   

       I have a question which may be too simple to answer, unless you understand the theory behind this reactionless drive.   

       You described a situation where a long shaft is pushed suddenly from one end, and is also pushed in the opposite direction at many points along its length.   

       The delays in propagating the sudden push, in that scenario, were due to the finite speed of propagation of compression in a material.   

       This, in turn, is a manifestation of the ratio between the stiffness of interatomic bonds and the inertia of the material.   

       So now... take a series of lead balls (we can float this on mercury if you like - it'll be pretty; or we'll do it in the ISS, so the thing can float in air, or outside in a vacuum) connected by regular springs. Each ball represents an atom. Each spring represents an interatomic bond. We now give a big shove (A) to the ball at one end, and little contrary shoves (B) to all of the balls.   

       I think you would have to agree, this device will behave exactly in accord with simple mechanics. A compression wave will run one way through the system (A), against an overall motion in the opposite direction (B). When the whole thing quits jiggling, its change in momentum will be exactly as predicted from the mass and the sum of the forces applied.   

       Now, assuming that you agree with the foregoing, how does your system (in which the masses are atoms, and the springs are interatomic bonds) differ? In other words, what's new?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 21 2011

       Presumably, [MB], there exists a frequency at which the repeated pushes will trigger gravity waves, and the whole kaboosh will start levitating. At least, this provides a much cheaper way to test the hypothesis, without requiring ferrofluid magnets.
pocmloc, Feb 21 2011

       I'm not sure whether your "presumably" is straight or ironic...   

       However, I'm curious to see where [vernon] thinks the "new" phenomenon comes from, in moving from indisputably non- weird lead balls and springs, to his allegedly weird system.   

       I guess what fascinates me most is the pathology of belief, rather than the object of it, in this case.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 21 2011

       Neither am I...   

       Why are you so sure the lead balls won't radiate magic rays?
pocmloc, Feb 21 2011

       I was about to make a comment on my balls failing to radiate anything, but I see I already have.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 21 2011

       The thrust of this balls and/or stiff rod is that a particular intensity of vibration will excite the object of interest, stimulating it to produce emissions. Your vivid description of the balls swaying back and forth under regular repeated rythmic thrusting is, in my opinion, a valid parallel to Vernon's ram. So, anything that excites his stiff rod should similarly excite your quivering balls. What I am trying to say in this rather long-winded way, is that the model proposed should work just as well either way. So I am asking whether there is a frequency at which the springs sproing in a novel direction and we can see the gestation of an embryonic new physics.
pocmloc, Feb 21 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], the average crackpot who gets investors also tends to be something of salesman. I've never particularly been interested in sales, and certainly don't consider myself to have (or have wanted to have) any skills along that line. I figure that if a wild idea is actually valid, then it can sell itself. It just needs to be explained clearly enough. (From various comments, I apparently need more skill at that, alas.)   

       The "economic argument" link posted by [hippo] is a worthy argument, but it ignores something known as "entrenched interests". Consider the difficulty that most "cold fusion" researchers have had, in the USA, in acquiring government funding --the hot-fusion people are so convinced that nothing new in the field exists to be discovered, that they have done everything they can to discredit CF research. (Meanwhile, the data being gathered has become more compelling, not less, over the years.)   

       In this particular case, so many people have made such a big deal of "reactionless" drives, devices that failed to deliver, that it is quite natural for significant skepticism to be appropriate. But knee-jerk denial of every possible variation on the theme, including those not claiming reactionlessness? That's as bad as blind acceptance!   

       About the theory, there are two parts to keep in mind, First is what Einstein talked about, with hardly anyone disagreeing, that when a mass experiences an acceleration (a change in its velocity), it can emit a gravitational wave, much like an electric charge that experiences an acceleration can emit an electromagnetic wave. Note that this is an EXTREMELY low-energy wave.   

       Second is the notion presented by Dr. Davis (and independently by Jeffery Cameron, in that first "Gravity Waves and Propulsion" link), that if a mass experiences a change in its acceleration, not just its velocity, it can emit a rather stronger gravitational wave. This is a very specific way to "stress" a mass, and it needs to be tested.   

       Regarding the experiment with lead balls and springs, I suspect that even talking about springs is to ignore the thing that really matters, theory-wise. The hypothesis is clearly about MASS experiencing changes in its rate of acceleration --but what does a spring do? It can "soften" a sharp force, turning it into a more-gentle acceleration for a mass! Your "analogous" thought-experiment seems to me to fail to actually be a good analogy, to the extent that those springs can lessen rate-of-change-of-acceleration of masses, and thereby make it more difficult to observe things that the hypothesis would predict. Heh, it could therefore be more-expected to "behave exactly in accord with simple mechanics", as you wrote.   

       My "lack of urgency" is related to a lifelong preference to "pay cash or go without". I strongly dislike debt, so I've "gone without" a lot of things that I would have liked to have had sooner than I actually acquired them. As far as I'm concerned, this is just one more thing to go-without, until I can afford it. And do remember that I haven't actually totally ignored this thing, since I did manage to try 4 times to obtain it. I'm certainly hoping, though, that I've learned enough from those failures to get the next one right. In due course....   

       There has been a development on the ferrofluid front that you and [pocmloc] might find interesting. A few months ago I was contacted by a high school student who wanted to test my "Ferrofluid core electric power transformers" Idea (see link) as a science fair project. I offered what information I could, and just a couple days ago I received a copy of his experiment results. As I suspected, ordinary ferrofluid is not good enough for transformer cores (there is too low a percentage of magnetic material in the fluid, and the magnetic material --iron oxide-- is not "strong" enough even if pure).   

       So I won't be buying ferrofluid for the next artrr; I'll have to make my own out of oiled iron filings (cheap!) if I want a high percentage of strongly-magnetic material. One thing that traditional makers of ferrofluid have always considered to be a "problem" is "suspending" the magnetic particles in the fluid. Personally I don't think this is a problem for the magnet cores of an artrr, if the particles are agitated at 3000 Hertz.... :)
Vernon, Feb 22 2011

       [Max-B] //if it's a manageable amount, I'm happy to lend it to you. No repayment needed if the machine works// - surprising, given the amount of text on this page, but I actually don't think that "works" has been defined yet - what will constitute 'success'?
hippo, Feb 22 2011

       //a worthy argument, but it ignores something known as "entrenched interests". Consider the difficulty that most "cold fusion" researchers have had//   

       This comes alarmingly close to one item on my whacko list (and also, I think, on the "crackpot index" which inspired it), namely:   

       4. Failure to attain publication is due to:
a. the jealousy of professional scientists;
b. the dark influence of major industries which would be disrupted by the invention; or
c. the inability of reviewers to understand the theory behind the invention.


       (I refer to item [b.] of course.   

       Regarding cold fusion, many major labs were sufficiently taken in by this that they spent large sums trying to replicate results. This all happened before everyone decided it was moonshine, so those labs had a very strong perceived self-interest in being the first to replicate P&F's claimed results. Tens (probably hundreds) of millions of dollars have been spent since, by a diminishing number of people, on trying to get cold fusion to work. So, that's not really a very helpful example.   


       // what does a spring do? It can "soften" a sharp force, turning it into a more-gentle acceleration for a mass!//   

       I will defer to those more expert in interatomic bonds, but my understanding is that they behave very, very much like Hookeian springs, softening a sharp force just like a regular spring. Indeed, the reason a spring is springy is that all of its interatomic bonds are themselves springy.   

       [hippo] I think we defined "working" by the pendulum test - the creation, suspended and enclosed, should displace itself. (This does not rule out ion-wind or magnetic-flux- line thrust, which would be cheating, but I'm not too worried about that at this stage.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2011

       Oh yes - I forgot about the pendulum. I worry a bit that a machine on the end of a pendulum might be hard to supply power to without compromising the experiment. Would a machine on a set of scales work? - i.e. if it were creating a reactionless force upwards, you'd expect it to get lighter.

I suppose my problem with this is that breakthroughs in physics (e.g. general relativity) tend to come from maths and logic which is then verified by experiment - i.e. the maths and logic is the main bit; the experiment is secondary. This seems to be a mixture of speculation and ordinary, everday physics and the hope is that an experiment will show that there's something genuine there which we can then go back and create the physics to explain - i.e. the experiment is the key step.
hippo, Feb 22 2011

       A scale won't cut it, I can think of at least two ways that a scale would produce a false reading, either resonance (likely) or reading lag(less likely).
MechE, Feb 22 2011

       Well yes, I think we'd all be impressed if their results were consistent on two scales of differing design. As is though, there's an application for "underweight jockey belt": a device that fools the weighscale at the track into thinking the rider is heavier than he/she actually is.
FlyingToaster, Feb 22 2011

       Re. scales - exactly. Needs to be a pendulum. However, electrical power can be provided via the suspension cables.   

       This guy was claiming something like 26 POUNDS of thrust on his bathroom scales. On the pendulum test, either a small fraction of that, or nothing - depends on whether you trust him to have held the camera in the same place before and after turning on the machine. (Plus the machine was not enclosed; plus there's no way to tell if he photographed it in a steady state, or just on a swing.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], there is a second approach to cold fusion that has been much more successful than the original approach (electrolysis of heavy water with palladium electrodes). The second approach involves directly pressurizing deuterium gas into palladium metal. So far as I know, EVERY such experiment has produced anomalous energy. And at least one got its results published a year or so ago in "Physics Letters A", a major journal. I added a link.   

       Note that one US Dept of Energy official is on record as saying, "If it doesn't scale, it doesn't matter". So far, the positive results of CF research do not scale. This doesn't mean it can't ever scale, though (availability of palladium is a BIG stumbling block!) Obviously, more research is needed, to find out (palladium might not be the only metal that can work; I've encountered rumors about titanium and nickel, for example).   

       I see you didn't comment on the link I added "One problem with the economic argument", which provides proof that "entrenched interests" do indeed actually exist (for something other than CF research), and are not wholly imaginary constructs of crackpots.   

       [hippo], the pendulum test is probably the Gold Standard, with respect to testing any sort of reactionless or pseudo-reactionless propulsion claims. All my experimental gadgets were hung as pendulums, with the power supply wires leading up toward the ceiling, and then down to the gadget, tied to the pendulum-support cables.   

       Note that if it should happen that a device works well, then some types of power supply (e.g., a gasoline generator) could be put in its own box alongside the test-device, such that when it was turned on, the device would shift the entire suspended assembly off-vertical. It would be more elegant than the long-wires method, but certainly the device must work well before that arrangement could be worth trying.   

       Also, [hippo], in this particular case-history, while the Dean Drive was a wild random invention, some of the demonstrations that were done were convincing enough that at least one observer (Dr. William O. Davis) decided that if the thing really did work, then a theoretical foundation was needed to explain how --a foundation that fit WITH, not against, existing Physics. Which he and others then went on to devise (as described in the "Stine's article" link). So, nowadays, it can be said that we DO have a theory available, which simply needs to be tested.   

       Note that a duplicate Dean Drive is not really the best test ("same-old-thing", see?); an actually-valid theory will allow more than one type of test to be devised. I think the artrr described here would be at least a somewhat different type, because both of its primary interacting components are supposed to be able to move unidirectionally, not just one major component as in a Dean Drive (and as portrayed in the "Stine's ... diagram" link). For another test of a completely different type, search for "Weber bar" on this page.   

       [MB], springs have limits. When a hunk of metal gets bashed hard enough, it tends to become permanently warped, because the limit of its internal springiness was exceeded. It just so happens (conveniently???) that forces that can do that are the kinds of forces that are MOST associated with a "change in the rate of acceleration".   

       Such destructiveness, though, is a key reason why it was difficult for Davis & Stine & co. to gather good supporting evidence for Davis' hypothesis. Stine specifically noted with respect to his "Phaser" experiment how he "kept beefing it up" to make it tougher, to better withstand the internal stresses it inflicted upon itself. "Springiness", apparently, is not the right kind of toughness needed.   

       Which is something that has bothered me, with respect to building an artrr. Even if I can build one that works, I don't know how long it will be able to keep working, before it breaks, due to the inherent destructiveness of the forces it needs to harness to work at all.
Vernon, Feb 22 2011

       [vernon] I'd be interested to see the PhysicsA article. Have you a link? (I don't think P.A. is open access, but there should be a link that'll show at least the abstract). But if it's about a year ago, I'm surprised it's not got further or wider coverage. But good for them.   

       Re commercial interests, yes, sure. I just doubt that they've been responsible for failures to demonstrate basic physics, as opposed to promoting alternative technologies. They certainly didn't smother attempts to replicate cold fusion. Even Benveniste's charrago resulted in large amounts of money being spent in good labs.   

       Re. "springs have limits" yes, they do - the same limits as apply in any solid. So, if you're asking for a material that won't have this limit, you have a problem.   

       Re. the possible self-destructiveness of such a device, yes, it seems to have been "convenient" so far. My guess is that this will work fine, as long as you accelerate the necessary components up to c within a Planck unit of time.   

       However, the main problem is that you and all the others seem to be going for very ham-fisted demonstrations, generating "26kg" (!) of force, or trying to lift the whole thing off the ground, or whatever. For goodness' sake - a tiny percentage of that amount of reactionless drive would be trivial for a competent engineer or physicist to measure, and presumably will allow you to make a device that will survive indefinitely.   

       I think this is up to about 250-300 on my index so far.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2011

       I did add a link, regarding the CF article in P.L.A. CF researchers today are convinced that most of the early replication problems can be traced to a need for a significant amount of deuterium to get into the palladium (at least 80% as many deuterium atoms as palladium atoms), and this can take many many hours at ordinary atmospheric pressure, in a heavy-water electrolysis experiment. Most researchers who got negative results didn't wait long enough (but this also explains why directly pressurizing the gas into metal seems very reliable).   

       There are a couple of positive points, with respect to an artrr's potential longevity. First is that the Dean Drive didn't seem to have a problem working "smoothly" --it had to be cranked to very high RPM before it self-destructed (perhaps to "centrifugal" stresses). Second is that a device designed to operate at high vibratory frequency is also a device that could potentially be called "smooth", in the sense that tiny oscillations are "less rough" than large oscillations.   

       I've long been aware that the angle at which a pendulum test might be passed will have two key factors. One of them is the frequency of application-of-forces; the other is the power level. So, if a high frequency is actually more efficient (per Dr. Davis' phase angle equation) than a low frequency, then a lesser power level can still become associated with a noticeable pendulum displacement. And a lesser power level should mean the device could last longer before breaking. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway.   

       In other words, I'm not really trying to be "ham-fisted" about this experiment.
Vernon, Feb 22 2011

       Yay for cold fusion! But booo for Elsevier - will have to wait til I'm at work tomorrow to download the full article and find out what has cited it since.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2011

       I have to take back something I wrote in a recent annotation, about a DOE official saying, "If it doesn't scale, it doesn't matter". It turns out that about a month ago I encountered two different articles about energy research, one focusing on a venture capitalist and one focusing on a DOE official, and after a month I ended up confusing the two. It was the venture capitalist who actually made the statement I quoted.
Vernon, Feb 23 2011

       Well, maybe he said "It doesn't matter if it doesn't scale."
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 23 2011

       Hi Vernon - just to go back to some of the battering ram thought experiment:   

       //After all, the two thousand men are applying forces that almost-immediately cause the ram to move toward Superman, twice per second, while every time Superman shoves the ram, one whole second must pass before it can fully respond!//   

       Couple of things come to mind:   

       i) The two thousand men are pushing and pulling the log and therefore putting a lot of work done into the acceleration of the mass.   

       ii) If Superman is pushing or pulling the log from only one end then his hand exerts a force on that particular log-end. If we assume that Superman's push is equal and opposite to the total force supplied by the strongmen then the log remains stationary and the rest of the log goes into compression.   

       I've got this horrible feeling that I still don't get it. I've looked at the various links to Dean drives etc. and they all dance about the subject without any clarity - they don't even say what the Dean drives **actually do**, let alone how they're supposed to work.   

       What am I missing? Where's the paradox that somehow provides energy or work done?   

       I. just. don't. get. it.
Jinbish, Mar 10 2011

       (Jin - I'm putting this in brackets because I ought to slink off and leave well enough alone. But I can't help myself.   

       Anyway, first, I don't think this is claimed as a means of producing energy - it's just claimed as a way of producing a force without a reaction, even though it may take a lot of energy to do so. As such, it would be able to move a spaceship in a vacuum without throwing gases or anything else out in the opposite direction. {If it worked, which it won't.}   

       Your argument about the forces basically being equal and opposite is correct, according to my and most people's thinking. But the claims behind the reactionless drive centre on the idea that forces do not have to be equal and opposite if they are applied at different rates. Basically, hitting something hard and briefly has a different effect on its momentum from pushing it gently for longer. Again, I do not believe this at all, but that's the basis of the idea. Close brackets.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2011

       (Ahhh. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I think I can now wrap my head round the idea; I can now sleep well knowing that we're not trying to get something for nothing...)
Jinbish, Mar 10 2011

       [Jinbish], it is necessary for the alternately applied forces to be equal and opposite in total magnitude, and it is also necessary for them to be alternately applied at the same rate (number of applications per second, even if that value is only Two in the battering-ram thought-experiment). What [MaxwellBuchanan] is failing to understand is that the WAY the forces are alternately applied is very important.   

       Search for "OK, Superman" in the main text for the start of the relevant details.   

       The Standard Newtonian Mechanics equation F=(m)(a) says that when a force is applied to a mass, the whole mass instantly accelerates. But we know in actual fact that real masses don't really behave that way. The battering-ram thought-experiment presents the thinker with a mass that cannot possibly instantly respond-as-a-whole to a large force applied at one end of it. The concept known as "inertia" is very important!   

       Therefore, because there MUST be a time delay before the entirety of a mass can respond to an applied force at one end of the battering ram, the main idea here is to apply that force at a faster rate than is possible for the mass to physically respond/accelerate.   

       Also, remember that the battering ram CAN quickly respond-as-a-whole when an equivalent total force is broken into many pieces and simultaneously applied at short spacings all along its length.   

       Think: "Multiple/distributed small forces applied to make the ram move one way, and then a large single force is applied to make the ram move the other way." First one, then the other, over and over again, at a rate faster than than the ram can physically respond-as-a-whole to the large single force, but at a rate that the ram CAN physically respond-as-a-whole to the multiple/distributed small forces.   

       So, exactly how will the battering ram move? [MaxwellBuchanan] thinks it must somehow be unable to move much in EITHER direction, but he doesn't say much about how the multiple/distributed force can fail to make it move, each time it is applied to the battering ram. Inertia is a problem ONLY for the large single force!   

       According to the math of Dr. Davis (as mentioned in various annotations), the large force-wave passing through the body of the battering ram, trying to make it accelerate in the second direction, causes gravitational radiation to be emitted, carrying off some momentum and compensating for the inability of the battering ram to physically respond-as-a-whole in the short time before the multiple/distributed force gets applied again.   

       The logical net effect is that the overall battering ram should move small amount each time the multiple-distributed force is applied, but not move each time the large single force is applied. Such motion is typically called "reactionless", although in this case, if Dr. Davis' equations are correct, the radiated momentum would perfectly balance the observed motion.   

       Again, [MaxwellBuchanan] and others disagree, but none of them have explained why the multiple/distributed force must fail to move the battering ram a small amount, each time it is applied.   

       When dimensions are reduced, for any type of experiment like that, it is necessary to increase the frequency of the applied forces, because the "delay time" for a mass to respond to an applied force gets smaller as the mass gets smaller. The "artrr" device that I've described here needs to run at a few thousand Hertz, but basically it is simply a real way to do the battering-ram thought-experiment, and Superman is not actually needed.   

       The clever thing about the two-ring design is that when multiple/distributed forces are applied to one ring, the other ring receives a single large force at one bottleneck point --and vice-versa. So we have the equivalent of two battering rams interacting in a way such that IF either one can move in a manner that LOOKS "reactionless", just like the battering ram in the thought-experiment, then both will not only move in that manner, both will move that way in the same direction!
Vernon, Mar 11 2011

       //Therefore, because there MUST be a time delay before the entirety of a mass can respond to an applied force at one end of the battering ram,//   

       So what? Superman shoves at one end, a thousand strongmen shove in the other direction. The portion of the ram held by each strongman acts upon the next and there is a cascaded compression effect. The piece of the ram closest to superman is squeezed first and then the remaining pieces pile into the first like a motorway pile up.   

       From a macro point of view - the battering ram is in equilibirum, with net 0 force. Therefore, no acceleration. It doesn't move.   

       From a micro point of view, we have the compression effects (temperature increase, pressure increase, volume reduction).   

       I STILL don't see the what the issue here is. Do I really have to break out the integral signs and the delta-m ?
Jinbish, Mar 11 2011

       I'm just reading the llink about "the article that started it all:   

       //Consider, for example, a simple steel rod one meter long which I wish to move by applying a force to one end. The instant I start to apply the force a message leaves the end of the rod as a plastic or elastic compressive wave which travels at a speed of approximately 5,000 meters/second. The compressive wave travels to the far end of the rod where it is reflected as a rarefaction and returns to the point of application of force at the same speed//   

       This is where the rot starts.   

       //F = Ma + Aa(superdot)//   

       This is where it becomes septic.   

       //This solution demonstrates the most significant characteristic of real bodies, to wit: not only is displacement somewhat less than Newton would predict for a given force, leading to an increased apparent mass, but reaction is no longer exactly opposite to the applied force: there is a phase angle which will be larger the longer the CAT of the system! Action and reaction are not simultaneous! //   

       This is where the disease is terminal.
Jinbish, Mar 11 2011

       [Jinbish], Superman compresses the battering ram, and the thousand strongmen are shoving the COMPRESSED battering ram. So, why shouldn't it move?   

       Next, regarding Action and Reaction not being simultaneous, this depends on the definition chosen for Action and Reaction. Search for "couple of different definitions" on this page for details. Then tell me what exactly is going on, for that small fraction of a second, in terms of Standard Newtonian Mechanics, inside Newton's Cradle....   

       Another way to look at the A&R thing is to start with two identical cannonballs. We take one of them and heat it up and hammer most of it into a long rod, leaving a shield-shape at one end. We set the shield end of the rod near the other cannonball, and put a big firecracker in between the two curved pieces of metal. Setting off the firecracker causes equal forces to be simultaneously applied to both the end of the rod and to the cannonball. But because the ball is physically smaller, it can respond to the applied force faster than the rod. It is common to think of A&R in terms of the physical responses of objects, but in this case the physical responses of the entirety of the two objects cannot possibly be simultaneous, even though they simultaneously received a Force, and had the same mass.
Vernon, Mar 11 2011

       It's. A. Spring.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 11 2011

       vernon does not accept springs.
WcW, Mar 11 2011

       // The Standard Newtonian Mechanics equation F=(m)(a) says that when a force is applied to a mass, the whole mass instantly accelerates.//   

       No, they don't. They really don't. Truly, really, in this world, they don't.   

       Standard Newtonian Mechanics is more than capable of dealing with, let's say, a football. I apply a huge force (say, with a boot or one of my famed bulldozers) to one side of the ball. A few millisecond's later, it starts moving as a whole. In between, it's a football with a dent in it (come on, you've seen those slow-motion shots, surely?).   

       The football is not being mysterious - it is being a football. And the air inside it is being air.   

       Whether it's a football, Newton's cradle, a slinky, or a steel rod, Newton's equations explain exactly why the whole thing does not accelerate instantly. A whole chain of f=mas runs through it, in a way which old Zack (and his buddy Captain Hooke) would be entirely comfortable with.   

       It's still a spring. It's always been a spring. It will always be a spring.   

       There are lots of mysteries in the world. There are lots of wonders in the world. There are lots of mysterious wonders in the world, and if they're mysterious it's because we don't understand them.   

       However, taking a spring and failing to understand it doesn't make it mysterious or especially wonderful. It just means you don't understand springs.   

       And while I'm here, please, cite me a single, solitary paper that's been published on this (and no, I don't mean stories in Analog or press-releases from a transdimensional company; I mean the sort of peer-reviewed paper which is normally taken as minimal evidence for somebody having the faintest flying fuck of an idea what they're talking about.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 11 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], even if Newton's Cradle is equivalent to a spring, you haven't specified what form the Momentum of the impacting ball takes, during the tiny fraction of a second that the shock wave passes through the other balls to the last one in the suspended row. NO overall mass is in motion during that time, and therefore the (m1)(v1) of the ball-that-stopped Is Not Equal to any (m2)(v2). This is a clear short-term violation of the Newton's Third Law (the Action & Reaction law).   

       And you are wrong about F=(m)(a), because you need to modify it to describe your impact of a football (search for "F =" in Stine's ANALOG article to see the modified form). The original form really does assume the whole mass instantly accelerates in response to an applied force.   

       Regarding some peer-reviewed papers on a topic similar to Dr. Davis' work, or similar to Cameron's paper, try the "Woodward Effect" link that I just added. I must admit that Woodward does not talk about gravitational radiation, but I suspect that the difference between that, and what he does talk about, could be a matter of interpretation. After all, if an Action generates gravitational waves that carry momentum to the rest of the Universe, the net effect is the same as if the Universe had participated in the Reaction.
Vernon, Mar 12 2011

       This is like a chess game where you're so far behind that your only chance is to confuse your opponent with complications. Which is the only thing saving this idea from an MFD.
ldischler, Mar 12 2011

       No way does this idea merit an mfd. Just because it's wrong doesn't mean it's not interesting. Nobody mfd'd Jaws or Picasso because of technical wrongnesses. And it's a fun (and psycologically interesting) discussion/game.   

       Anyway, regarding "The Woodward Effect" (which reminds - who would play the part of a lonely detective in a 1970's UK television serial? Edward Woodward would!), if he "does not talk about gravitational radiation", then the link is a bit tenuous. I was asking whether anybody, anywhere, at any time, had published in any peer-reviewed journal, anything about this "reactionless drive".   

       I'm certainly not qualified (I'm not a physicist by birth) to extrapolate from a "Woodward effect" paper which I won't be able to critique, to a reactionless drive that produces gravitational waves. If anyone here is so qualified, please help us out.   

       In a sense, if you want to link your "reactionless drive" to things like the "Woodward effect" and Mach's principle, then it makes it even less plausible. After all, Mach's principle at least is discussed by a fair number of serious physicists; the fact that they've gone that far and not touched your "reactionless drive" suggests that either there's no connection, or that they are pretty sure it's whacko.   

       It's a bit like arguing for the existence of an undiscovered continent when large fleets of ships are already ploughing the adjacent waters.   

       Again, does it not strike you as a bad sign that the only references for your phenomenon are on dodgy corporate web pages and popular magazines?   

       I dunno. Maybe we should all just chill. Neither of us is going to convince the other, and the only possible way to settle the matter to your and my satisfaction is to go build. My offer of funding up to some modest but probably adequate amount stands.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2011

       //[MaxwellBuchanan], even if Newton's Cradle is equivalent to a spring, you haven't specified what form the Momentum of the impacting ball takes, during the tiny fraction of a second that the shock wave passes through the other balls to the last one in the suspended row. NO overall mass is in motion during that time, and therefore the (m1)(v1) of the ball-that-stopped Is Not Equal to any (m2)(v2). This is a clear short-term violation of the Newton's Third Law (the Action & Reaction law).//   

       A clear short term violation? The impact point is elastic, and stores energy on both sides. During compression, force is required. That is the reaction that you are looking for, and cannot see in the overall mass of the ball.
Ling, Mar 12 2011

WcW, Mar 12 2011

       //No way does this idea merit an mfd.//   

       No MFD for bad science, then?
ldischler, Mar 12 2011

       At the risk of over-gilding the bulldozer, I use piezo motors which do exactly that, at anything up to a few 10s of kHz. They kick a shaft (tangentially) in a sawtooth wave; they slip during the sharp fall, and catch during the slow ramp, to turn the shaft.   

       Reactionless they're not, though: when they're running, there's a constant whining sound. It comes from the guys in the next lab complaining about the noise.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], the thing about the Mach Effect that gives most physicists pause is the lack of an obvious "link" between a local phenomenon employing that Effect, and the rest of the Universe. Physicists don't like "mysterious action at a distance" (where "mysterious" means there is no obvious link across the distance), which is at the heart of the Mach Effect. So, my interpretation, that the local phenomenon generates gravitational waves, would provide that link and allow physicists to be less-bothered by that aspect of the Mach Effect.   

       Do note that the "local phenomena" being investigated by Woodward and others involves stressed mass. Here's part of something [Jinbish] quoted a couple days ago, from Dr. Davis' ANALOG article:
//This solution demonstrates the most significant characteristic of real bodies, to wit: not only is displacement somewhat less than Newton would predict for a given force, leading to an increased apparent mass, ... //
"increased apparent mass" is exactly the thing that Woodward talks about!

       And so I'm simply being consistent with the other 4 places in Physics that can associate gravitational radiation with stressed mass. I'd really be interested in seeing what Woodward thinks of Cameron's General Relativity math....   

       [Ling], think again --stored energy is NOT Momentum, and Newton's Third Law is strictly about Momentum.   

       [MB] if you want to subsidize the experiment, fine. Whether it works or not, the physical device would belong to you. I will not take out a loan, and my primary interest here is in being recognized as the inventor, not in becoming a manufacturer.
Vernon, Mar 12 2011

       [bigsleep] without wishing to doze any bulls, your wrong (but, I'm assuming you meant your annotation ironically).   

       [vernon] deal is - come up with a cost to build a device which will, to your satisfaction, test whether this will work or not. It won't, and when it doesn't, I don't want this to be attributed to "if only I'd used bigger dilithium crystals".
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2011

       //It won't, and when it doesn't// I think you mean “If, contrary to all expectations, there is any doubt whatsoever about the success of the tests”   

       I was quite pleased to have come up with my comb design, but it seems not to be provoking any reaction...
pocmloc, Mar 12 2011

       I'll go read. My first reaction was "that's clever" but then I got distracted.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2011

       //seems not to be provoking any reaction// You assumed people read this one.   

       Though, re: "this one": why not use, as an example, a falling log ? Constant acceleration followed by a splat or thud when it contacts the ground.
FlyingToaster, Mar 12 2011

       Now that, [FT], is genius.
pocmloc, Mar 12 2011

       Hey Vernon, I think after all this discussion we've got a better understanding of the basis for your belief in this phenomenon.   

       And we'd all love a definitive test/experiment to establish whether or not this phenomenon exists.   

       I think the problem with your approach of testing the existence is that you're putting all your effort into the direct proof. However, I think it might be more fruitful to do more background work.   

       Here's how I'd approach it:   

       -The phenomenon you're looking for should result from the collision of two objects (correct?)   

       -The collision of two objects can be studied in good detail in controlled conditions. For example, a Newton's Cradle in a vacuum.   

       -Conventional thinking is that such a collision should result in the following:
initial kinetic energy = final kinetic energy + heat energy

       -Your hypothesis is that such a collision should result in the following:
initial kinetic energy = final kinetic energy + heat energy + gravity wave energy

       -initial kinetic energy, final kinetic energy and heat energy can all be measured very accurately.   

       -if you perform this experiment and you find that some of the energy is missing, only then should you proceed to find out where the missing energy went.   

       -doing this preliminary experiment will help not only determine whether the phenomenon exists but also the scale of the phenomenon. This will help in designing the experiment to provide more direct proof of the phenomenon.
xaviergisz, Mar 13 2011

       [FlyingToaster], we need an event that is easily repeatable, at a high rate.   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], after dealing with various interruptions and distractions I can finally reply here.   

       The two-loop artrr described here is what I call a Proof Of Principle device. If Dr. Davis' equations are valid, and if there exists some way to radiate some Reaction from a self-interacting system, then EITHER (a) this device should accomplish it OR (b) I don't actually understand how his equations are supposed to be applied, and an entirely different design would be required.   

       Well, I have no notions regarding "an entirely different design", so if this one doesn't work, I'll have to simply shut up on the subject for however-long it takes --if ever-- to think of something that qualifies.   

       Over on [pocmloc]'s "comb" page I mentioned I had a variant design that was purely linear, but its fundamental theory of operation is basically the same as the two-loop design --I would not expect it to work if the two-loop design doesn't work.   

       The cost to build that two-loop design depends on several factors. If I needed to, say, rent a place to do the construction work, then that would make it more expensive than if I did it at home. If I was into scamming someone I could tack on some nice high "cost of labor" charges, too.   

       And, of course, the cost of materials depends on the materials chosen. My last one was mostly balsa wood because I knew that the air-core magnets, even if they generated some notice-able forces, would not be generating large forces, and so the gadget needed to be lightweight. I could do that again (only with ferrofluid magnets), although balsa is somewhat more expensive than other woods. (I should mention that the 2nd experimental gadget was also constructed mostly from balsa, and while it vibrated a great deal and failed to pass the pendulum test, it also didn't break.)   

       There is a question or two that I should ask you about the power supply. You've seen the linked diagram; it features an audio oscillator, a car battery, some diodes, and a lot of transistors. Let's pretend you paid for the hardware that I had to buy to do the experiment, and the artrr works, and you then receive from me what you paid for.   

       However, I've mentioned in a previous anno here that I still have most of the power supply that I used for the 4th experiment. Certainly I won't need to buy an audio oscillator, and probably I won't need to buy a car battery. Obviously you would need a ==complete== unit, to be able to demonstrate it to others. The Question is, "How much stuff should I buy all over again, so that you would have a complete unit?"   

       Perhaps, from your point of view, the best answer is to not bother buying power supply stuff until after the gadget is known to work. Then your only expense, if it didn't work, would be the main two-loop thing, likely only two or three hundred bucks. And if it did work, presumably you wouldn't mind the additional expense to obtain a duplicate power supply.   

       So, as you've asked before, why haven't I done and spent that "little" by myself already? Because I wanted other things more, that weren't a potential utter waste-of-money (and, remember, I HAVE wasted hundreds of dollars on previous versions of this thing). I try to obtain good stuff that lasts a long time (this here computer I'm using to type this anno runs at a mere 233megaHz; it works fine so I still use it) --I dislike wasting more than a few dollars at a time (lottery tickets).   

       If you don't want to risk the utter waste of a few hundred bucks, fine. I'll simply keep waiting as I have been, until I feel comfortable enough that throwing another chunk of my own money away won't bite me by, say --and all too easy these days!-- finding myself unable to make a mortgage payment.
Vernon, Mar 13 2011

       //EITHER (a) this device should accomplish it OR (b) I don't actually understand how his equations are supposed to be applied//   

       I think the //OR (b)// is a bit of a glitch...
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2011

       Regarding item (b) in my last anno, here's a relevant quote from Stine's ANALOG article:
"We did a lot of theorizing about what a true space drive might be like and came to some interesting conclusions. First of all, if Davis mechanics has a shred of truth to it, the phase angle of Dean’s device should have been dependent upon the rotational speed or cyclic rate. Not only should the phase angle increase with increasing cyclic rate, but the drive efficiency should increase as well. This meant that really good efficiencies could not be obtained with any device operating down in mechanical cyclic rates. It meant that a drive should be operated at megacycle or gigacycle rates.


       There is only one thing that will really [operate] at megacycle rates and above: electromagnetic devices, gadgets based on plasmas and electromagnetic fields."   

       I do NOT know what they had in mind, using plasmas. It remains possible that my interpretation of how to apply Dr. Davis' equations is faulty.... Certainly this uncertainty is a factor in my reluctance to waste money --I want to be in a position where I don't care if the money is wasted, before I do that!   

       On the other hand, anyone playing with Davis' phase-angle equation (#12 in his ANALOG article) will quickly discover that the maximum possible angle can never reach 90 degrees --and that 89 degrees or so can be obtained with cyclic rates of about 100,000 Hertz --so why does Stine talk about megaHz and gigaHz? Sure, you might get 89.9999 degrees using a gigaHz frequency, but how much does it really matter, to get that last fraction of a degree? That purely linear design I mentioned is intended to operate at about 50kiloHz, and its associated phase angle should be 80-something degrees. IF, of course, I have a valid way of applying Dr. Davis math....
Vernon, Mar 13 2011

       Hello again - sorry , I've been away. Just for clarification:   

       //Superman compresses the battering ram//
I thought he was pushing it from one end? He exerts a force on the ram and the ram exerts a force on him (equal in magnitude but in the opposite direction).

       // and the thousand strongmen are shoving the COMPRESSED battering ram. So, why shouldn't it move?//   

       Well, it won't move because the strongmen are pushing it in one direction and Superman pushes in the opposite direction...
Although from the first quote, I am wondering if I have the whole setup wrong.

       Now, going back to the article that "started it all". It's got quite a lot of language that could sound persuasive, but is actually either a "straw man" and "informal fallacy".   

       For example...
This bit : //the rod as a whole cannot move according to the Second Law//...//No matter how much force is applied, the center of gravity of the rod cannot obey F = Ma //
... is only valid if you consider the rod as a "perfectly" rigid body (one that does not compress etc.).

       But located right next to these comments is the text:
//since the center of gravity will be moved somewhat by compression/
... which is used to make it look like the preceding text is taking the microscopic physical interactions into account.

       Unfortunately, it is this poor logic (and others like it) that is the root cause of this entire mess. The introduction of "gravity waves", and the talk of EM effects, and the requirement for high frequency are all just distractions. They're flim flam. We can further complicate matters by bringing in relativistic effects and the effects of considering "spacetime" rather than simple displacement - but all of this will be built on the poor logic shown at the beginning.
Jinbish, Mar 14 2011

       [Jinbish], you seem to be saying that the strong men and Superman are simultaneously pushing the battering ram, and that is not so. They take turns!   

       So, when Superman pushes (an impact --he doesn't KEEP pushing!), then if the whole ram cannot immediately move, all it can do is compress (the compression wave taking, say, a second to reach the far end, since in the thought-experiment an extremely long ram is specified).   

       Therefore, if the ram hasn't moved but is compressed, what happens when the strongmen take their turn, to move the compressed ram, BEFORE that compression wave reaches the far end? Why can't the ram be moved by the strongmen???   

       Next, you wrote:
"For example...
This bit : //the rod as a whole cannot move according to the Second Law//...//No matter how much force is applied, the center of gravity of the rod cannot obey F = Ma // ... is only valid if you consider the rod as a "perfectly" rigid body (one that does not compress etc.)."

       The simple equation F=Ma ASSUMES that the body is perfectly rigid! But Davis is talking about REAL objects, none of which are perfectly rigid. So, what Davis says is quite true: No ordinary object can respond, completely and immediately, when an external force is applied to it. All it can do is become slightly distorted (or greatly distorted, or break) while that force propagates through the object at the speed of sound in its material substance.   

       If you disagree with the preceding, then what evidence do you have, to support the claim that an ordinary macroscopic object can instantly (faster even than the speed of light!) respond-as-a-whole to an externally applied force?   

       Next, you have quoted out-of-context. The full statement Dr. Davis made is, "It would be oversimplifying to say that the rod acts as though it had infinite mass during this time, since the center of gravity will be moved somewhat by compression, but for all practical purposes, the rod acts as though it had a much larger mass than it actually has."   

       Davis is simply acknowledging the fact that since the rod compresses and its center-of-mass gets slightly displaced as a result of that, then that displacement can be associated with a slight amount of acceleration, and we cannot say that the overall mass holds completely still while the force-wave propagates through it.   

       But it certainly MOSTLY holds still during that time! That's why, in the above description of events involving the battering ram, I talk about the strongmen moving the compressed battering ram, which HASN'T moved any more than can be associated with the compression it experienced.   

       Meanwhile, the whole point of Davis' overall hypothesis is that while that force-wave propagates through an object, each part of the object experiencing that force-wave begins to accelerate (it experiences surge or jerk). When the force-wave has finished its propagations, then the object-as-a-whole will be notice-ably moving. His math had the purpose of describing the details of those events, so that various logical consequences might be deduced.   

       If the math was a correct description, then the logical consequences should be correct, also. Which includes the notion that for mass-possessing objects, Action and Reaction can become unbalanced...a consequence that deserves to be tested! --even if the balance is restored by invoking massless gravitational waves.   

       What evidence can you offer, that Davis' math cannot be a correct description of real events inside real objects? I quote from Stine's article:
"With several very very intelligent and respected scientists involved in the program [look up Henri M. Coanda], we never once ran up against a flaw in the logic, ..., an irrational conclusion, or any result that did not appear to jibe with the real world."
Vernon, Mar 14 2011

       //we cannot say that the overall mass holds completely still//   

       PRECISELY. If there is one force pushing the end (for a short period of time) it causes acceleration of the object (this may be in the form of compression). Therefore the object is now moving. The far end of the rod may appear stationary for the split seconds that the force takes to propagate through the material, but this is an interaction with PERFECTLY BALANCED FORCES: superman exerts a force on the end of the rod, the end of the rod exerts an equal and opposite force back on superman... the end of the rod moves towards the rest of the rod and exerts force in this direction which is propagated through the rod.   

       At some time later (perhaps even an infinitesimal amount of time later) the strongmen push in unison against the rod (which is, by your own admission, not at rest). They collectively act to decelerate the rod. Now, since they are distributed across the rod they do not act in the same way as superman; the forces applied by the strongmen accelerate the part of the rod that they are each attached to so there is not the same compression effect.   

       If the forces due to the strongmen are initiated at the same time, and some time before the shockwave due to superman can travel through the entire rod then the compression effect will be gradually damped by each successive strongman and the overall movement of the rod will reduced accordingly.   

       EVERYTHING in the thought experiment, so far, can be described by the laws of motion - especially F=m.ds2/d2t
We do not need to postulate on another term for this equation.

       I understand that we can go deeper than the Superman/Strongmen thought experiment - indeed, we have to go deeper if we are to try and find any "anomalies".   

       The paragraph below is taken from www.halexandria.org {link}
//Effectively, the energy which cannot be used by the system (and which cannot be manifested in mechanical action of any sort) must then leave the system as radiation. But this implies that there must be something called an “inertial field”. //

       "This implies" - no it doesn't. There are issues of temperature rises, destructive effects due to compression, let alone relativistic mass/energy effects. There are layers of underlying physics that are waiting in the wings that can explain all of the anomalies.   

       It's a bad state of affairs when an electronic engineer (me!) is able to point out the mechanical engineering aspects. Without any evidence, all the postulating in the world is just wishful thinking. At least when James Clerk Maxwell introduced his correction to Ampère's law it was done with a massive body of evidence and a clinical approach - as well as making common sense (Maxwell realised that Ampère's law could be modified to account for situations where there seemed to be no 'real' electrical current moving {like the field within a capacitor} and so added a term to take into account a 'displacement' current).   

       (Incidentally, Maxwell did his most productive work while in the same building that I work in - every day I walk past a plaque dedicated to his great unification work.)
Jinbish, Mar 14 2011

       [Jinbish], you are still not seeing (or are ignoring) part of the picture. When Superman applies that large force that starts a compression wave moving through the battering ram, the "near" end of the rod moves a small amount AND THEN STOPS. The ram is compressed at that moment. But because the compression wave is passing through the body of the battering ram, the center of mass of the battering ram continues to move slightly, even though the ram-as-a-whole does not APPEAR to be moving.   

       So when the many strongmen apply their smaller forces to the ram, they are affecting an OBJECT that is not in apparent overall motion, despite the "inner motion" of that compression wave. However, each strongman applies his own/opposite small compression wave in sync with the others (a requirement of the thought-experiment), and all these small waves affect the entirety of the compressed battering ram very quickly.   

       Furthermore, the opposing waves are able to pass through each other (they are quite equivalent to sound waves, after all), which is why it is silly to think that each strongman is trying to overcome the Super force initially applied by Superman, when that force-wave reaches each strongman.   

       You seem to be saying (crude analogy) that just because someone is walking down a conveyor belt one way (representing Superman's compression wave), it is not possible for the belt (battering ram) to start moving the other way, carrying that person (compression wave) with it, still moving the one way.   

       Next, while I don't see a link to halexandria.org, I have seen some of the stuff hosted by that site, and I think what you have quoted is the site-owner's interpretation of the stuff described by Dr. Davis --whose own article talks about an "inertial field", and specifies a gyroscope as an obvious example of it. In the original ANALOG article there is a picture of a gyroscope next to a solenoid, with some descriptions indicating rotation-of-gyro and rotation-of-current, and the field associated with each device.   

       Note that in the gyro, its normal constant motion involves a mass that is actually experiencing constant acceleration (due to definition that allows any change in the DIRECTION of a velocity to be an acceleration). So, any change to the rotation of the gyro automatically means that a change-of-acceleration (jerk) must be involved --and it can take significant force to affect a large gyro!   

       So, inertial fields are real enough. They might even be real in places where the evidence merely "implies" them....
Vernon, Mar 14 2011

       Hang on, Vernon. You're not going to go all Laithwaite on us as well, are you?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2011

       Sorry [Vernon], I'm not trying to be difficult (honest!). I'm not ignoring anything (not on purpose, anyway)- I'm just trying to pin this down in my own mind. It's vital to have a good understanding of this thought experiment because it isn't worth progressing to the more complicated stuff until I can get my head round this.   

       With that in mind, I still need some things to be cleared up:   

       //the "near" end of the rod moves a small amount AND THEN STOPS.//
Why should it stop?

       //it is silly to think that each strongman is trying to overcome the Super force initially applied by Superman, when that force-wave reaches each strongman//
I don't think it is silly. If the rod is moving (in motion as a whole or compressing) due to the previously applied force by superman of, say 1000N, and each of the thousand strongmen applies a 1N force to the portion of the rod he is holding in the opposite direction then it stands to reason that as the compression wave goes through the rod it will become weaker as it passes a strongman by 1N.

       Here is my understanding of the situation...   

       i) If the two parties (Supe & Legion) start their pushing at the exact same time then the rod will compress, with the end closest to Supe moving and the other end remaining stationary. The centre of mass will move away from Superman (exactly half the distance of overall compression). The end of the rod furthest away from Supe remains motionless.
{If the rod exhibits elastic qualities then, in the absence of compressing forces, expand equally around the centre of mass. This will have the effect of moving the rod away from Superman by a distance given by 1/2 the amount of overall compression.}

       ii) If the Superman puts his shove first then the force due to his push will propagate through the rod, initially compressing at the end closest to him, but ending in an equilibirum state with the entire rod moving. When the strongmen start their push, they encounter a rod with an existing velocity. They push it with a force equal but opposite to that of superman, obeying F=ma, effectively decelerating the rod down to velocity = 0. The rod has moved because the Superman pushed it first.   

       iii) If the strongmen begin pushing very, very soon after Superman starts pushing then they encounter the rod as the compression wave is going through it. This means that the piece closest to Superman is already in motion but the piece furthest away is yet to experience the shockwave. The strongman furthest from Supe pushes his piece of rod and it will accelerate in the direction of the force. Same goes for each of the strongmen pushing up until they come up against the shockwave that is travelling through the rod, at which point their piece experiences a component of the force from Superman.
The strongmen who are closest to superman encounter their piece already moving, so when they all apply their force their piece of rod has already been displaced and they are effectively trying to pull the rod against it's vector of motion (decelerate it).
The overall effect is that the rod will be decelerated to 0 velocity, but it will have moved from its original location because superman pushed it first.

       The above circumstances seem to me to adequately explain the action/reactions in the thought experiment. What am I missing?
Jinbish, Mar 14 2011

       As others have pointed out, the whole system is no different from a set of masses (cannon balls, say) connected by ordinary springs. The only difference is the scale - your cannonballs are atoms, and the springs are interatomic bonds, and everything happens much quicker.   

       Vernon, have you considered bringing quantum mechanics into play at this point? I don't think you can force checkmate, but you'll lengthen the game.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2011

       [Maxwell]. You're doing this to make me cross, aren't you?
Jinbish, Mar 14 2011

       No, I'm doing it to make [Vernon] cross. Actually I like [Vernon], but I also enjoy making him cross.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2011

       [Jinbish], you almost said it yourself, why the near end of the battering ram stops. I quote: "He exerts a force on the ram and the ram exerts a force on him (equal in magnitude but in the opposite direction."   

       Superman's effort has caused compression of the battering ram, but nothing (immediately) else. Well, since an assumption of this thought-experiment is that the ram won't break, it follows that it must be able to compress to whatever degree is directly associated with a Super impact at one end.   

       AND, since we are talking about an impact and not a continuous push, there MUST be a point where the ram's resistance to compression balances that impact, meaning that the near end can't compress any more --so it can't move any further, until the far end of the ram starts to move (and the rarefaction wave from that end reaches the near end).   

       The most important thing about this thought experiment is that the ram must be long enough for a significant time to pass while the compression wave traverses its length. That's what allows the strongmen an opportunity to apply their own forces to the ram. AND there is time for Superman to apply another push, well before that first compression wave reaches the far end. (I know I haven't focused on this detail in recent annotations, but I'm doing that now, and it is described in the main text --search for "simplicity".) No other scenarios (like them pushing at the same time as Superman) are under consideration here.   

       When the strongmen do apply their forces to the ram, they are creating their own compression waves. The big wave coming from Superman's end of the ram doesn't overwhelm those small waves; as I mentioned before, the waves simply pass through each other, meaning that as the big wave encounters any single small wave, they momentarily combine to form an even greater compression, before passing each other by.   

       When Superman applies his next Super Force, well, the near end of the ram is not currently compressed, since the prior large compression wave is now well along the length of the ram (and all the small compression waves have finished doing their jobs), so that near end is able to become compressed again.   

       Backing up, what WERE those "jobs" just mentioned in parentheses? Overall, it was the task of moving the battering ram closer to Superman. So far as I can see, you still haven't offered any rationale why that event can't happen.   

       Not to mention, what [MaxwellBuchanan] wrote about "springs" doesn't help your argument at all; it simply makes it easier for the strongmen to move the whole ram. On the other hand, if the spring analogy was completely valid, then we should see interesting effects begin to happen when Superman's large compression waves finally reach the far end of the battering ram.   

       Given a valid spring analogy, I might guess that the ram would initially displace a bit from its starting position, thanks to the first pushes made by the strongmen, and then the ram might do nothing more than oscillate wierdly, as the rate large pulses reaching the far end matches the rate at which multiple small pulses are applied.   

       Such behavior would not qualify for passing the Pendulum Test, because that initial small displacement is sort of a one-time thing, not a constant thing that might maintain a displacement against gravity operating to pull the pendulum back to the vertical.   

       However, keep in mind that was a thought-experiment. Real macroscopic objects, however springy, are not perfect in that regard. Also, I will now mention "custard" as a notorious case where its behavior with respect to small forces is very different from its behavior with respect to large forces. The work of Dr. Davis might be interpreted as saying that all real macroscopic objects will behave irregularly, under different-magnitude forces.   

       Not to mention this little quote from Stine's ANALOG article (a quote from Dr. Davis' lab notebooks), which could apply even if various average materials were perfectly springy:
"One consequence of the foregoing analysis, if it later proves to be correct, is that the operation of the Dean Drive does not depend upon the rotating weights, but **only on the motion of the axle,** however induced. In other words, if a simple harmonic driving force is applied to a point with suitable cyclic variation of viscous drag and other parameters, then an unbalanced force should result."

       My artrr design does not incorporate variations of viscous drag; it relies more on the idea that a jerked mass is supposed to radiate a gravitational wave. So, I still say the hypothesis needs to be tested!
Vernon, Mar 15 2011

       Thanks for your patience [Vernon]. I do appreciate it. I now understand the situation that we're focussing on (scenario iii. in my wee summary). I don't have time right now to further discuss it, but I wanted to get my appreciation in just now - I'll be back. Thanks again.
Jinbish, Mar 15 2011

       I have a query. In the fluid motions of liquid galactic bodies it seems that there should be coincidental currents and convections that might cause a similar disparity of forces and thus produce whatever forces are supposedly observed in a reactionless drive system. At a minimum such forces would cause liquid systems to wander away from their orbits. If it occurs on even a very low level one would expect that any gravitational system with a fluid component would behave in a distinctly different manor than its solid and gas counterparts.
WcW, Mar 15 2011

       [xaviergisz], it appears that your March 13 post was done about the same time as one of mine (which was lengthy), so I missed seeing your post until now, when I was reviewing the overall flow of annotations.   

       The simple answer to your proposal for an experiment is that I think it will cost as much as, or more than, my own proposal for another "whole device" experiment. I don't have access to a vacuum chamber, for example, while I do have access to most of the power supply that I built for my 4th experiment.   

       [WcW], Nature has accomplished many things that humans thought they had uniquely devised, like fission reactors and lasers. If there is an object out there in outer space Naturally moving in a manner that looks reactionless, well, there are so many other objects out there that we simply haven't noticed it yet.
Vernon, Mar 15 2011

       so you would say that, at this point, there are actually no observations that support your theory, substantiated, in any field?
WcW, Mar 15 2011

       When superman pushes his end of the ram, it moves away from him by the compression amount. It stays away from him that amount, and the compression wave moves down the ram, progressively moving each portion of the ram away by that amount.   

       Meanwhile, the strongmen push moves each section of the ram uniformly back towards superman an ammount that results from the sum of their push (which is exactly equal to superman's). You still have not provided any explanation why this results in any net motion.   

       Under the initial case where superman's push has not reached the last of the strongmen, the far end of the ram will move in slightly, admittedly, due to the faster propagation of this push. At the same time, superman's end will be balanced by the net of the strongmen's push. Once both sides stop pushing, superman's last push(es) will continue propagating through the ram until such time as they reach the far end, returning it to it's original position.   

       There is no net motion. A dynamic force balance diagram on any given slice of the ram will show no unusual effects, and there is nothing to be explaned by the radiation of gravity waves.
MechE, Mar 15 2011

       Well [MechE], that sounds like a ghood explanation to me, but can it compete with the preceeding 36,000 words?
pocmloc, Mar 15 2011

       36,000??? E gads and little fishes. That's half a novel!
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 15 2011

       [WcW], I would say that you haven't been paying attention. If you had, you wouldn't describe the descriptions here as, and I quote you: "your theory".   

       Next, several annotations here talk about two different mechanical gadgets (described in the "Stine's Article" link) as being repeatedly/reliably observed to exhibit a 3-degree "phase angle" between Action and Reaction (when of course ordinary Newtonian Mechanics insists this is impossible).   

       And more for your benefit is below.   

       [MechE], you are of course defending Standard Newtonian Mechanics, which does not recognize the role of surge or jerk in the initial phase of an object's response to an externally applied force. But this is also the same Mechanics that presented Stine with a problem he described this way, after working on some ejection-seat hardware for the US Air Force:
" As the escape capsules were blasted out of the plane, they were dynamically stabilized by yokes with fins that snapped up. This was necessary to keep the rotation rates and acceleration within the stiff USAF criteria for human factors established by Col. J. P. Stapp on his rocket sleds.

       Well, that was the way it was supposed to work, but we couldn’t keep the damned yokes from breaking off.   

       All calculations by the stress group proved that the cables and booms were more than strong enough to absorb the expected loads."   

       The fact that the hardware broke, instead of withstanding the strains as calculated by Standard Newtonian Mechanics, implies that those equations were not actually describing Reality in situations where significant surge or jerk was involved.   

       So Dr. Davis tweaked the equations to handle significant jerk, such as WOULD occur when Superman pushes on the battering ram, and the result is that the motion of the ram, responding to that impact, should no longer be quite as what you have described.   

       Therefore I continue to say that the hypothesis needs to be tested (as best we can without Superman, heh), to find out which equations describe Reality better.
Vernon, Mar 15 2011

       I think I'm about to have had deja vu, and I wish I could keep my mouth shut, but somehow I can't. Somebody stop me.   

       Two people reporting a "phase angle" difference in a thrashing machine, uncorroborated by anything approaching peer-review, doesn't cut a lot of mustard. Even if the were telling what they believed to be the truth, there's no reason to have confidence that what they saw was what they believed it to be. And it falls foul of 5a on my index: "a. The claimed effect is not demonstrated directly; instead, some intermediate effect is shown, or only single steps in a chain of events are shown individually. Score 20 points."   

       Incidentally, if two different machines both exhibited a 3- degree phase angle difference, that is damning. Unless there's also some magical principal which makes 3 a special number, why would two different machines give the same answer? It's like two groups both claiming to have found a way to transmute lead into gold using very different apparati, and both claiming that they had produced 3 grams of gold.   

       A lot of this discussion is based on the assumption that non-uniform acceleration produces gravity waves, and these machines set out to verify this. This is bad science, or at least not very creditable science. It would be more plausible if the production of gravity waves were suggested by one phenomenon, then tested. But instead, the gravity waves have been summonsed into existence on a whim, or as a retrospective explanation of the purported behaviour of the machines. It's arse about face. Sometimes things happen that way, but it's not good.   

       Finally, engineers are smart people, but not really smart enough to warrant inventing a whole new aspect of physics every time they don't understand why something breaks.   

       [Vernon] I do enjoy reading and discussing your ideas, even though I think most of them are wrong (which probably comes across as a vernondetta). But at the heart of this idea (technicalities aside) lies the fact that it carries every single one of the red warning lights of sham science. And they are all flashing. You'd love it to be true, and believe it likely to be so. I'd also love it to be true, but can't make myself believe it to be so.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 15 2011

       Except no component in your structure is experiencing anything unusual in the way of Jerk. Any time an object is accelerated or decelerated, it experiences jerk (there is no such thing as an instant, constant, acceleration any more than an object can instantly achieve a set speed). If the entire root of this is a claim that there is, then the discrepancy would show up in ultrahigh acceleration devices that already exist, including rail guns that can can go from 0 to 30Mg acceleration in a fraction of a second. (I leave the jerk calculation as a task for someone who likes playing with differential equations more than me).   

       I freely acknowledge that if instant acceleration were possible, it would produce some very interesting results, but it isn't, and nothing you've proposed is even beginning to test the limits of what has already been done.
MechE, Mar 15 2011

       And saying that equations failed to take into account jerk is like saying that you can't get a speeding ticket because you had an average speed under the speed limit. The standard forms of the standard equations don't cover it because it's easier to do the math without it. Simply adding a jerk term into the equations doesn't do anything special. It just allows you to determine the instantaneous rather than average acceleration, which may be higher than the average you allowed for.   

       This is not non-newtonian, it is simply newtonian physics with one step more complex math than engineers like to play with (repeat, like to). The math is well understood, and nothing like gravity waves are required to explain the resultant behavior.
MechE, Mar 15 2011

       //Finally, engineers are smart people, but not really smart enough to warrant inventing a whole new aspect of physics every time they don't understand why something breaks.//   

       Dag-nabbit, [MB]. You ARE flippin' trying to make me cross!... although you're not absolutely, totally wrong.
Jinbish, Mar 15 2011

       Hold that nabbing of dags! To their credit, engineers are usually very successful at explaining why the new one won't break. Given that they may not have understood why the old one did, this is an even greater accomplishment.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 15 2011

       It's alright, [MB], I'm not really dag-nabbiting (er...). Some people are driven to discover or explain new and some are driven to get the best out of what we've already got.
Jinbish, Mar 15 2011

       ... and some people become managers.
mouseposture, Mar 15 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], Stine's article describes his gadgets in some detail (a lot more text than would be allowable to quote here, per the "Fair Use" rules of copyright law). But the main thing is, while his second "Phaser" gadget had a different design than the first, he deliberately maintained some similarities between them:
"The magnitude of its displacement was the same as that of the counter-rotating masses, and I maintained the same oscillatory mass and the same mass ratio as in Phaser Mark I."

       The reason for keeping those things the same was to increase the chance that it would exhibit a 3-degree phase angle at 1500RPM. Stine also talks about how perhaps they should have built a bigger gadget that would show a larger phase angle, but he explains why they didn't:
"...we had gained a large measure of respect--nay, downright fear--of the Phasers. The sight of that seven-pound Phaser shaking back and forth on a lab bench at 1,500 cycles was more than impressive. It shook the whole building when it went into resonance with the structure."

       Well, I suppose if you think a bigger gadget should be built, you might consider building one...at your own risk, of course! (evil grin)   

       I still think spending a few hundred bucks on a two-loop artrr will be just as informative, and cost about the same as building a Phaser gadget.   

       Next, you are mistaken about Stine's phasers being built to show that gravitational waves could be radiated --they were built to find out whether or not it was possible for a phase angle to be detected, between Action and Reaction. And that's all they were built to do. Of course, just because this happens to imply that the other might happen, also....   

       Next, the gravitational waves were not "summoned into existence on a whim". They were summoned as a reasonable way to balance Momentum, when the jerk equations indicated that Action and Reaction could become unbalanced. Would you say it is BETTER for the hypothesis to leave Momentum unbalanced, especially when evidence such as Stine's phasers indicated it could really happen?   

       Please note that Stine, an engineer, didn't modify Newtonian Mechanics to solve his ejection-capsule problem (what he did do is described in the linked article). Davis, a physicist, is the one who started all the re-figurings....   

       [MechE], Davis' equations that included jerk offer a simple explanation for why Stine's cables weren't actually strong enough:
"The classic law [relating strain and stress] holds only under steady-state conditions in testing machines. Under conditions of high-rate loading, the stress-strain curves behave quite differently. Cables snap. Yokes break. The noses of armor-piercing shells hammer their way through armor while the back end of the same shells proceeds inexorably forward, not knowing that the front end is hammering away."

       In a rail gun, it is my understanding that the applied force affects the whole body, and not just one spot on the body being accelerated. (Like a magnet affecting all of a piece of iron at lightspeed, and not affecting just the surface atoms followed by the rest at the speed of sound in the iron.) So of course you can get classical behavior in a railgun, because there isn't any PROPAGATION of jerk through the body being accelerated. All parts of it are jerked essentially simultaneously by the forces being applied (moreso even than what the strongmen do in the battering-ram thought-experiment).   

       Davis' equations are all about the consequences of jerk propagating through a body. My artrr design does feature that crucial thing --and it seems to me, from studying those equations, that the magnitude of the jerk is less important than the duration of propagation.   

       (As a minor point of fact, photons, which have no mass, actually do, upon being created, instantaneously begin moving at light-speed, qualifying as the "if instant acceleration is possible" that you mentioned. A special case, of course!)
Vernon, Mar 16 2011

       //...we had gained a large measure of respect--nay, downright fear--of the Phasers// No comment necessary.   

       //gravity waves were not "summoned into existence on a whim". They were summoned as a reasonable way to balance Momentum// As many have pointed out more eloquently than I can, the concept of "a spring" is addressed adequately by conventional physics. Gravity waves may exist (as may waves of cheese), but they're not necessary to explain springs.   

       Go buy a slinky. Hook it over two door handles to stretch it out, then ping one end of it. It's a while before the ping reaches the other end. What's become of the pinginess in the meantime? Lawks! Who can tell? Your theory is gravity waves; my theory is that the ping is borrowed by faeries; Mr. Newton's theory is that it's just moping along the spring as a compression wave. Who could possibly decide?   

       It really is a spring. If you prefer, it's a shock wave. Both are ably accounted for already.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 16 2011

       I like the thought experiment of a "wave", which implies that the emitter would become various lighter then heavier, like dropping a stone into a pond.   

       Or it could be a sustained action which would require more energy to keep up as the gravity is pumped out of the emitter ending up with the emitter approaching weightlessness, similar to pumping the air out of a Bell jar.   

       Or it could come from nowhere which strongly indicates that continuous running of the device would result in Cthulu showing up at the door wearing only a bathrobe and wondering why his shower had gone ice cold all of a sudden.
FlyingToaster, Mar 16 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], I may have said that I think "that the magnitude of the jerk is less important than the duration of propagation." --but that doesn't mean I think that the magnitude of the jerk can be insignificant, such as you are describing with your slinky. A certain minimum amount of "high rate loading" (Stine's words) is essential. Do remember that I indicated elsewhere that I think an exponential curve is involved, and ordinary everyday "pings" are associated with the flattest part of that curve.
Vernon, Mar 16 2011

       Exponential or not, it doesn't matter unless you're proposing that the laws of physics change abruptly at some point.   

       The point is that the behaviour of a slinky can be explained very simply with Newtonian mechanics. The behaviour a steel rod whacked with a hammer can be similarly explained. There is simply no phenomenon in need of an explanation.   

       It's like saying "We don't understand why balls bounce. Therefore we need a new phenomenon to explain it."
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 16 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], why are you ignoring Stine's data as if it doesn't exist? Just because nobody so far has bothered to try to replicate it, that doesn't mean that what he described (cables/yokes snapping, and motions of Phasers) was imaginary. And there was more, which you should recall if you actually studied his article (which I'm going to significantly paraphrase to reduce amount of text copied):   

       "We were joined by an MIT graduate/mathematician, E.L. Victory, who was working at the company’s paper/felt plant, and whose task was analyzing why the wringer of a machine wouldn’t squeeze water out of paper or felt at high speed. Vic tentatively concluded that the rate of onset of force between the press rolls didn’t give water time to get out ....   

       The application of Davis' hypothesis to that system permitted it to be changed so that the machine can run faster."   

       That should qualify as real-world engineering, a way to "monetize the math" --I didn't happen to think of this earlier, when [hippo] mentioned the "economic argument".   

       So, if you think Davis' work was irrelevant to anything, you are utterly wrong.
Vernon, Mar 16 2011

       I'm ignoring Stine's data as if it doesn't exist because there's nothing to indicate that he's neither wrong nor lying, to be frank.   

       It's an extraordinary claim, and it is a waste of time to consider every extroadinary claim until it is backed up by either a good theoretical underpinning, or by at least rudimentary peer review. I don't believe in yogic flying or herbal petrol for the same reason, even though the "demonstrations" of these (check YouTube) are far more numerous.   


       Regarding the snapping of yokes and the wringing of water - two comments. (1) You cannot use failure to understand something as a justification for creating a new branch of physics. (2) These phenomena (the wringing of felt; the snapping of a mechanism) would imply that this "weird jerk effect" would have to be very large under very everyday conditions. It would be like noticing gravity for the first time as an explanation for a bridge collapse, and saying that nobody had noticed it before. It's ridiculous.   


       Incidentally, the water-wringing problem is not at all difficult to explain. Perhaps this particular MIT graduate was not actually very clever, which is perhaps why he wound up working at a felt-factory instead of publishing papers.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 16 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], you have just stated an inconsistency in your argument. I quote you:
"it is a waste of time to consider every extroadinary claim until it is backed up by either a good theoretical underpinning, or by at least rudimentary peer review"

       SOMEBODY has to "waste time" considering these extraordinary claims, in order for the things you specified to begin to exist!   

       Except that the "good theoretical underpinning" may already exist (Stine called it "Davis Mechanics", although Robert A. Heinlein called it that first, in one of his novels). SOMEBODY has to "waste time" studying it to either agree or disagree, regarding it being a "good theoretical underpinning".   

       I've chosen to waste some time and money on experiments, and am willing to do so again, when the circumstances are right for it. Because SOMEBODY has to do that, to finally lay a key aspect of the argument to rest, one way or another: The calculations either do or do not apply to the Real World; and experimentation is the only way to find out.
Vernon, Mar 17 2011

       // SOMEBODY has to "waste time" considering these extraordinary claims, in order for the things you specified to begin to exist! //   

       True, and fair comment! However, that person is first and foremost the proponent (who has to put the effort in to make a good demonstration and/or theoretical basis which is phrased intelligibly). Next, it needs a journal editor or the like to waste their time considering it; he's paid for that. Then, it needs a few competent experts to review it; they are not paid to do so, but they trust the editor to have filtered out the real whacko stuff. It's pretty much a waste of time for lots of people to get interested before the last of those filtration stages.   

       These guys don't seem to have got past step zero.   


       // the "good theoretical underpinning" may already exist// It may, and yet, inexplicably, it does not. I like whackos, and I like science fiction writers. But even between the two of them, they don't seem to have done anything that doesn't make physicists just walk away laughing.   


       [vernon] I do like arguing with you. I even like being angry about this kind of thing. It's a mental/linguistic workout. I even like the fact that you're going to try this, because the world needs its share of people who do this kind of thing.   

       The scoring system for my Index includes a sliding scale. Just left-of-centre is the point where it's probably whacko, but the small chance that it's not (coupled with the huge potential rewards) make it worth going for. Just right-of- centre is the point where, although the rewards (intellectual or financial) would be truly immense, the chances of it's working are so infinitesimal that it's not worth pursuing.   

       This is right out there on the right-hand edge, well beyond right-of-centre. However, since it keeps you out of mischief and does nobody any harm, go experiment and enjoy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 17 2011

       It has the potential to lay waste his neighbourhood - like the maker of cavourite did.
neelandan, Mar 18 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], a journal editor is not needed to vet the hypothesis/theory stuff until AFTER an editor has vetted a paper describing an actual device that exhibits uncommon behavior, and which any researcher in that field could replicate.   

       Two such devices might be Stine's Phasers. Did you not notice this statement in his ANALOG article?
"Looking back on this series of experiments with the Phasers, I now realize that it was probably the elegant experimental proof we were searching for."
He didn't realize what they had until 1976! (And Dr. Davis had died in 1974.)

       Anyway, some sort of experimental device needs to be built first. Theory is supposed to follow experiment, just as Davis' hypothesis followed the Dean Drive. The rejection of the Drive by the scientific community at large automatically means rejection of papers about it. But papers about some sort of simpler gadget ... that's the way to get the door opened!
Vernon, Mar 18 2011

       Getting published without any evidence isn't actually that difficult. I mean, I've managed it for goodness sake! You can get:
'Position' papers, where an new approach to an existing problem can be built around block diagrams and flim-flam with "we have exciting experiments in the pipeline";
'Survey' papers that summarise, evaluate, and comment on others work

       If you went through all the discussion in this idea and [MB]'s counterpart then you have a lot of questions to answer - if you can, hand on heart, answer them in a _concise_ and understandable way, then you might just have a real paper on your hands.   

       However, the trick is getting it into a 'good' journal that is known to have a competitive submission process and has a high readership or 'impact' value. (Not something that has even whiff of science fiction in it!)
For that level of success, you'll need a major body of evidence and in-depth analysis. All is not lost though - if you have a little smidgen of real experimental data, and even just some interesting equations and theory, then you have a chance of being published in a "letters" type journal.

       Of course - that's a lot of work - so what you do (as far as I have observed) is politik yourself into a situation where you have an army of PhD students to do all the work for you. That's how academia works!
Jinbish, Mar 18 2011

       [Vernon]; a few points have come to mind while I trawled through the comments (disclaimer: I'm not sure I fully understand the ARTRR):
1: Your battering-ram analogy is missing a crucial point - the structure that the Legion and Superman are pushing against, to provide their forces. Particularly with the impact force, thre will be things hapenng in the support structure to.
2: I you want to experimet wth something with a lot of easily-definable jerk, use a simple harmonic motion. Distance sinusoidal, velocity sinusoidal, acceleration sinusoidal, jerk sinusoidal, etc...
3: I'm thinking you should forget about displacements, compression, acceleration and jerk, and focus on the energy transfer. Energy methods (not that I was any good at them at university, but...) are better when things get complicated.
4: Following from 3, have you tried Finite Element Analysis of your ARTRR, to see here the energy is going?
5: If I understand it (probably not, but...) the high freuency is mostly related to the high speed of the compression waves in the material used. Instead of increasing the frequency (which is more likely to damage your device), reduce the speed of the waves; ie. use rubber or plastic. My suspicion is that (if it works...) it's more to do with sudden changes in material density, not specifically acceleration or jerk or anything.
neutrinos_shadow, Mar 29 2011

       and here I have to note that we appear to have lost over a week'n'half of annotations. Perhaps some weeding is in order ?
FlyingToaster, Mar 30 2011

       //lost over a week'n'half of annotations//
No, I'm just late to the party. Everyone else has had their drinks and left...
neutrinos_shadow, Mar 30 2011

       [neutrinos shadow], in a thought-experiment the focus is allowed to be on a key element, such as the battering ram. While the "support structure" cannot be ignored in the real world, its presence has no effect on how the battering ram responds to the forces applied to it.   

       Next, my last annotation of Feb 05, 2011 should offer some explanation of how/why an artrr might have a chance of working. A key concept is the fact that the "inertia" of an object depends on how a Force is (or Forces are) applied to it. Some more about an artrr's hypothetical operation is explained in my first annotation of March 11, 2011.   

       Next, analyzing energy transfers can only be useful if you are sure what energies are being transfered. Further, the working hypothesis says it is sort-of important that Momentum be able to exit the system without taking lots of energy along with it. So margins of error, regarding measuring energy transfers, have to be rather smaller than margins of error associated with momentum measurements.   

       Finally, the use of high frequency in an artrr is strictly related to the degree to which the "Critical Action Time" --or propagation time of an applied Force-- is relevant to its operation. For more about that, see the "Drop and Stop Test" link.
Vernon, Mar 30 2011

       well I appreciate your efforts to communicate, after reading this the phrase Alternating Response Times Radiate Reaction does mean something to me.   

       It is possible there are natural systems that demonstrate this now. until I think of something more plausible here is an ARTRR two circle magnets levitate on a pencil. the force that permits the magnet to levitate is the spontaneous continuous reordering of magnetic domains from background thermal motion, that is background thermal motion actually provides the motion that realigns ferromagnetic domains as well es electron spins when the magnet is pushed with another magnet. plausability of this is idea comes from the well known technique of magnetic refrigeration where ordered magnetism actually cools things   

       so it appears to me that [vernon]s multihandled beam movers are like a magnetic field "reifying" from a multitude of positionally plural forces, while supergirl directs force from a point. it is both inevitable (at some kinds of matter) as well as potentially useful to vary the time or location phase of these to create groovy new forms of motion.   

       supposedly then you could make a rotor this way, there is a thing called an c elt, it a shape that spins one direction, then the opposite direction after a while. use the c elt as the base magnet. pushing the levitating magnet towards the magnetic c elt will make it rotate, as it happens one direction, then another. I think that varying the periodicity of the push force on the magnet, as [vernon] suggests we could get the c elt to rotate whichever direction we preferred, thus creating a groovy new motion effect   

       this ARTRR uses two levitating magnets as well as an c elt to trace arbitrary motion curves: (object starts gliding on a plane) then c elt at base gets full push, thus it just rotates, then, 1/4 strength push, rotate then opposite rotation, which is less energetic, which could make a curve as the ARTRR glided along the path.   

       further with [vernon]s alternating response periodicity idea you could get the c elt twomagnet mover to travel any direction as you blend the curves. If the c elt were an airfoil rapid rotation might actually lift it off the ground, if you could keep the magnets pulsing!   

       the thing is im using a natural "phase effect" material here with the magnet, perhaps theres a purely mechanical approach; if [vernon] were to use alternating force on a clump consisting of a hinged pencil with a regular pencil, skipping the magnets [vernon] could get the elt with its periodicity, to rotate whichever way [vernon] preferred. the compression wave would get there at different times between the hinged as well as ...unhinged... pencil thus making the elt rotate however [vernon prefers]   

       thats two ARTRRs so I think it works
beanangel, Feb 10 2012

       After trying and failing multiple times to read through this whole idea, I happened to come across the Woodward Effect article in Wikipedia just now while reading about Q- thrusters for background for a non-propulsion idea I might post at some point. I saw the Woodward Effect diagram and immediately was reminded of this idea, but the link is already posted. I just thought this was a tiny bit interesting, maybe.
notexactly, Sep 20 2016


       " I just thought this was a tiny bit interesting, maybe. "
normzone, Sep 20 2016

       Nature is a fair continuous curve when it comes to action, reaction. Anything else is time travel.   

       Disclaimer: Subjectivity may play havoc with this fundamental.
wjt, Sep 21 2016

       This has a bit of a Salvador Dali vibe to it.
doctorremulac3, Feb 13 2018

       Over 41,000 words now.   

       Is it possible to sort HalfBakery ideas by total word count? Would this idea be first on the list?
pocmloc, May 17 2018

       Well, it's now been 14 years since this idea was posted. I am guessing that amount of practical progress in implementing or demonstrating this concept is zero.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2018

       [MaxwellBuchanan], too bad the funds still haven't been available, for pursuing this. Currently re-roofing my house takes priority, just as other things have taken priority, ever since this Idea was posted.   

       Regarding the link added, that initiated these recent posts, that's a story I've enjoyed several times over the years, and won't mind enjoying it again.
Vernon, May 17 2018


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle