Archive | January 2016

Clay Is Actually Mud

images (27)The remains of a stone, thrown off a mountain, grinded smaller and smaller and smaller. Granulated, pulverised, powdered into dust until it settles as silt into the quiet arms of a river. For centuries people have been extracting it. We dig it up to wash and knead it and then…

Some 15000 years ago people discovered that fire could transfer clay into stone. And we are still doing that. We started out with bowls that could contain our food and the first figurines. Female figurines of course, for women give birth, give life.

Those first sculptures were hand formed, made without a wheel or a mold, everything was shaped by hand. When you visit an archaeological museum you may sometimes see those bowls, dating back several thousands of years, still containing the fingerprints of the maker. A man or woman just like you, with hands and fingers. Perhaps cursing because things didn’t work out the way he or she wanted or being proud and happy with the result of all this kneading and pushing and firing. It was garnished with twigs and strings and pinches and nudges in the clay. Balance and order the device of decoration, just like today.

It takes several years before you are able to impose your will upon clay. It is a time consuming process to really get to know the material. To learn when to shape, when to let it dry. Dry a little bit so you can continue later. Then go on shaping, sustaining, more drying, polishing until it is exactly what you want it to be.

Then you fire it. Modern clay ovens are computer operated. You put your work in the oven and adjust a program. Mine usually takes about 18 hours. I start with a little drying (90 degrees) to remove all the water to prevent the work from exploding because the water starts to boil. Then be careful with the quartz inversion at 573 degrees. This is when the clay changes from hard silt into a stone like substance. If this process goes too fast it will go wrong. 900 degrees is just right to change and strengthen the clay but some clays can be fired up to 1300 degrees. Porosity and hardness will be determined by the temperature and type of clay you use.

We use clay products all the time. To eat and drink from, to pee in, for cooking and washing, to look at, to isolate, as a heatproof material. Even to live in and under! Clay is an intriguing material…


This entry was posted on January 25, 2016, in Education.

Virtual Reality As Explanation For The “Observer Effect”

download (38)In physics, especially quantum physics, there exists the idea that the consciousness of an observer creates or at least influences external realities. Because physics is an established experimental science, one has to sit up and pay attention to the claims that this “Observer Effect” is in fact an established reality in its own right. Unfortunately, there are no known theoretical mechanisms than can account for this. But if this “Observer Effect” is so then it is strong evidence that we exist as virtual reality beings in a computer simulated landscape.


In both physics and in relatively New Age philosophy, there exists the idea (established in physics – waffled about in philosophy) that the consciousness of an observer creates or at least influences external realities. Because physics is an established experimental science, one has to sit up and pay attention to the claims that this “Observer Effect” is in fact an established reality in its own right. The two main experiments that support this “Observer Effect” are the Double-Slit Experiment where waves remain waves unless observed in which case waves turn into particles, and in the Quantum Zeno Effect where observations can inhibit the decay of radioactive particles, apparently the only known thing that can accomplish this physical sleight-of-hand. Unfortunately, there are no known theoretical mechanisms than can account for this. Yet, despite this, the “Observer Effect” rules the roost, or at least in quantum physics / mechanics it does.


Hogwash! I say there is no “Observer Effect”; physicists say there is an “Observer Effect” and have the experimental runs on the board to prove it. If this is so it is strong evidence that we exist as virtual reality beings in a computer simulated landscape – that’s the Simulation Hypothesis.


Premise: There are no paradoxes, contradictions or inconsistencies ‘out there’ in Mother Nature’s realm. Nature might be puzzling but she isn’t either malicious nor a joker. Mother Nature tells Her story like it is with all of Her cards face up on the table.

Premise: All paradoxes, contradictions or inconsistencies arise within the mind. If one observes paradoxes, contradictions or inconsistencies ‘out there’ in Mother Nature’s realm then they are ultimately a product of intelligence and not of nature.

Premise: There are many paradoxes, contradictions and inconsistencies observed in Mother Nature’s realm.

Therefore: The game is afoot and intelligence is in operation.


Premise: Modern physics acknowledges that there is an “Observer Effect”.

Premise: The “Observer Effect” has been established as a fact by actual experiments including the Double-Slit Experiment and the Quantum Zeno Effect.

Therefore: Observers observing something alters the state of affairs of that something.


Premise: Observation cannot create reality. The idea that reality does not exist if you’re not looking is screwy*. If an observer cannot change reality in the Macro World then an observer cannot alter reality in the Micro World, or even in the realm that straddles the Macro and the Micro.

Premise: There’s experimental evidence that observation determines reality, especially within the Micro (Quantum) World.

Therefore: Somewhere is screwy somewhere.


Premise: If we could create our own reality via observation – mind over matter – our own reality would be wonderful – the best of all possible worlds!

Premise: Our own reality isn’t the best of all possible worlds.

Therefore: We can’t create our own version of reality just by observation.


Premise: An observer is passive and sends no signals or information that prods whatever it is that is being observed.

Premise: Signals or information travel from what is being observed to the observer.

Therefore: The observer is what is being prodded by what’s being observed, not the other way around.


Premise: What’s past is past and what’s happened in the past cannot be changed.

Premise: Any observation (via any of the five senses) is an observation (perception, awareness, etc.) of something that is now in the past tense (because any signal has to travel at a finite speed) and therefore cannot be altered.

Therefore: Any observer observing something cannot now alter the state of affairs of that something.


Premise: How people perceive reality has no effect on the reality itself perceived.

Premise: That one’s perception of reality somehow has an effect on that reality itself is as logical a fallacy in logic as you are ever likely to get.

Premise: Human consciousness can only have a direct effect on the surrounding environment if you invoke magic or some sort of similar supernatural or paranormal power.

Premise: Some things cannot be fixed no matter how much you might will it to be otherwise.

Therefore: You cannot bend reality to your will, or on a whim.


Premise: Any observer observing something cannot now alter the state of affairs of that something.

Premise: Observers observing something alters the state of affairs of that something.

Therefore: So, we have a paradox, contradiction or inconsistency in that something cannot both be and not be. Therefore, to repeat myself, something is screwy somewhere!


That’s enough Premises and Therefores for now at least. I think you get the gist of the state of affairs – I hope.

The first central issue here is how can a passive observer effect or prod what is being observed, especially in the micro realm of quantum or particle physics? What are the ‘bullets’ coming off or emanating from the observer and how are these ‘bullets’ different from the rest of Mother Nature’s ‘bullets’ that are also present and accounted for but which seem to have no effect? Or, as some suggest, is an observation actually an irreducible violent process?

The second central issue is that if observers are random and observational behaviour is random why are experimental results consistent?

The third central issue here is how can a particle or a wave KNOW or be AWARE that it is being observed?

The “Observer Effect” seems highly selective (1): You get the “Observer Effect” in the Double-Slit Experiment that turns waves into particles regardless of the ‘bullets’ used. Waves are never observed to turn into particles in the natural realm of Mother Nature. So we have different rules for quasi-identical situations, in this case observers and wave / particle behaviour.

The “Observer Effect” seems highly selective (2): It exists within the Quantum Zeno Effect but not otherwise. Now you may well argue that people observe radioactive stuff all of the time, from medical technicians to particle physicists, from miners to manufacturers of munitions, and there is no change in rates of decay. And this is so. So we have different rules for quasi-identical situations, in this case observers and unstable (radioactive) nuclei.

So it would appear that just being an observer isn’t quite enough. You’ve got to be an observer WITH INTENT. Your intention, your goal / objective is to alter that rate of decay (and save Schrodinger’s Cat). This again implies that somehow or other consciousness plays a key role in determining reality. Now I don’t like that idea but I am forced to confront and consider that possibility, a possibility that many millions already accept as a given. That is, you can have mind-over-matter. The Placebo Effect is the best known example. You may have also heard of the phrase “the power of positive thinking”.


Human Consciousness: It’s very easy just to say consciousness and/or observation has a direct bearing on reality as long as you don’t have to actually explain how and what the actual mechanism is. You can consciously observe a lead bar from now until you kick-the-bucket and it won’t ever change into a bar of gold despite the fact that ultimately the lead bar is just composed of micro realm particles.

So does consciousness explain the “Observer Effect” and thus the Quantum Zeno Effect and the wave-particle duality inherent in the Double-Slit Experiment? Probably not. First there’s the issue with mechanical devices as ‘observers’ doing the actual observations to which the property of consciousness is not usually attributed. Secondly, there’s no known mechanism by which an immaterial mind can have an effect on a material object (which is not to say it can’t happen as the Placebo Effect adequately demonstrates). Finally, each human observer is a different human observer with a different consciousness and collectively all have differing mind-sets. The consciousness of no two (or more) people is the same yet the experimental results of the QZE and the DSE are uniform and consistent.

God Done It: Of course theists say that the “Observer Effect” is just the ever omni-presence of God. It’s our supernatural God doing all of the observing all of the time of the whole Universe. The whole Universe maintains its existence in a non-superposition-of-state because of the existence of God who maintains the status-quo (i.e. – one Universe present and accounted for). And God works in mysterious ways! However, what can be asserted without evidence can be rejected without evidence.

Special Effects! If there is no “Observer Effect” (passive observation cannot influence what’s being observed) then the Double-Slit Experiment (wave-particle duality) and the Quantum Zeno Effect (observation can alter radioactive decay) cannot be possible. Yet, both have been experimentally verified. One resolution (i.e. – my resolution) is to propose that all of this is just some sophisticated special effect, the result of computer software programming. This implies that we ‘exist’ as virtual reality in a simulated universe.

*The Moon exists even if no one is looking at it. The Moon continues to exist, undisturbed, even when nobody is watching it. The Universe existed even before the concept of observers was thought of in Mother Nature’s philosophy. The Universe can create an observer but an observer cannot create the Universe. This is NOT a chicken – egg scenario. If quantum theory is unable to explain this basic fact, it means that it is, quite simply, an incomplete theory.

Torch Height Control Through Arc Voltage Sensing for Plasma Cutting

images (26)The role of a torch height control system for mechanized cutting systems is often understated. A good THC (Torch Height Control) is absolutely critical to get good cut quality. It is a known fact that by far the best possible control method is by sensing the cutting voltage. The cutting voltage is directly proportional to the height between the torch and the workpiece; higher the distance, higher the voltage and vice-versa. So one can easily take the cutting voltage as a control parameter and use the same for controlling the stand-off distance. This method of control is frequently referred to as AVC (arc voltage sensing). Sensing the arc voltage is not devoid of challenges. The torch is subjected to a high frequency pilot arc, which creates plasma. This HF can easily traverse back to the sensitive voltage measuring circuitry and damage/cause malfunctioning of the system. It is absolutely essential to isolate the measuring circuitry from the plasma HF and yet be able to measure the voltage accurately. Highly sensitive arc voltage control circuitry can detect voltage variations less than 0.5V. Accurate measurements as well as isolation can be achieved through use of Hall sensors.

Piercing through thick metals has an adverse effect on the life of the torch consumables. Hence, piercing needs to be carefully controlled in order to maximize the life of consumables. A proper piercing sequence is explained below with schematics:

I) When a command is received from the CNC to start cutting, the torch height controller moves the torch down to touch the workpiece, to ascertain zero level. The plate can be sensed through multiple mechanisms, most commonly used is ohmic sensing / motor torque sensing / a combination of both. Once the plate has been sensed, the torch now moves upwards.

ii) The torch continues to move upwards to a programmed piercing height. On reaching this height, the plasma arc strikes and the plate begins to get pierced While piercing takes place, a lot of molten metal (depending on the thickness of the plate being pierced) jumps out of the plate and forms a pool. The torch needs to be protected from this molten metal,so the torch continues to move upward to a programmed “molten pool jump” height.

iii) The torch now moves downwards to the programmed cutting height. The THC unit now gives a signal to the CNC to start movement

iv) The torch now continues to move at the same cutting height. Arc voltage is constantly fed back to the control unit, which maintains a constant arc voltage through an appropriate PID control loop.

The above discourse amply demonstrates the role of a good THC for a good cut with plasma.


It’s Only Regular Matter

download (37)Dark matter, in a nutshell, is a theoretical force envisioned by scientists that would explain the behavior of galaxies that seem to be spinning fast enough for some of their stars to fly out of their orbits but do not. For galaxies to remain intact they would have to have a greater gravitational pull than their visible mass suggests. Scientists therefore theorized, as far back as the 1930s, that there must be some invisible matter — dark matter — that’s holding galaxies together.

The problem is that as hard as we try to detect dark matter we cannot. And despite other theories to explain galaxies’ behavior, their rapid spin remains a mystery.

I’d like to propose a new theory that might shed some light on all this. A study done several years ago showed that the universe’s energy is decreasing. What if gravity, too, has been getting weaker? Not necessarily in lockstep or conjunction with the universe’s energy, or, perhaps there is a connection. Regardless, a diminishing gravity scenario — where gravity has been steadily declining since the beginning of time — would explain what appears to be dark matter.


When we look into the sky we see objects as they were many years ago. The additional gravity needed to hold a galaxy together actually was there at that time in the past. So when we calculate its gravitation pull based on today’s gravitational strength we come up short and assume there must be some kind of dark, invisible matter.

What’s more, a diminishing gravity theory also explains another puzzle that presents itself with the dark matter theory. Different celestial objects seem to have a vastly disproportionate amount of dark matter. Pretty difficult to explain.

With the diminishing gravity theory, however, even this problem disappears. Different celestial objects have different gravitational pulls because they formed at different times in the past and, therefore, actually had different gravitational strengths.

Furthermore, there’s an additional factor that would give heavenly objects greater gravitational pull than their sizes would suggest. Under a greater gravitational pull these objects would have coalesced with greater force and into more compact objects, giving them even greater gravitational pull than the same size objects compacted under weaker gravity. In this more compact form, these objects may very well exert greater gravity even today than other objects of the same size. This diminishing gravity theory is explained in more detail in “The V-Bang: How the Universe Began.”

What this boils down to is that older celestial objects will generally have greater gravity and therefore appear to have more dark matter. The relationship between distance from earth and age, however, is not as straightforward as current theory holds. This is also explained in detail in “The V-Bang.”


This entry was posted on January 4, 2016, in Education.