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James Putnam: on 3/20/17 at 5:18am UTC, wrote Hi Steven, "What do you think of their proposed method for redefining...

James Putnam: on 3/13/17 at 1:18am UTC, wrote Steven Andresen, Some of what I meant to include in my message was missing...

James Putnam: on 3/11/17 at 4:30am UTC, wrote Steven Anresen, "Is there an example of a novice who has been vindicated...

James Putnam: on 3/11/17 at 1:43am UTC, wrote "I thought you were done explaining your definitions...of empirically...

Steve Agnew: on 3/10/17 at 12:46pm UTC, wrote I thought you were done explaining your definitions...of empirically...

James Putnam: on 3/10/17 at 2:24am UTC, wrote Steve Agnew, "Of course, the definition of mass is beside the point." It...

Steven Andresen: on 3/10/17 at 2:11am UTC, wrote Are novices who have successfully preempted the future direction of science...

Steven Andresen: on 3/10/17 at 2:06am UTC, wrote James What do you think of their proposed method for redefining mass? Its...

December 13, 2017

CATEGORY: Ultimate Reality [back]
TOPIC: The Race to Replace the Kilogram [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Jan. 25, 2017 @ 12:33 GMT
Thanks to Steve Agnew for suggesting that we open a thread based on a new Scientific American article about the "long-running effort to ditch the decaying, 19th-century artifact that defines the kilogram," by Tim Folger.

The article is behind a subscription barrier, so I will leave it to Steve to summarise it.

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jan. 26, 2017 @ 04:22 GMT
This is an article about the measurement of mass by simple balance over 125 years. Why no one seems to care about this is a deep mystery to me...

The kilogram standard is losing weight for reasons that are not understood. Instead of trying to figure out why, the assumption is that there is a hidden error not unlike dark matter or dark energy but not nearly so sexy.

Even the fringe does not seem to care one iota about a simple measurement that does not make sense...why should the IPK be losing weight over time? My feeling is that this loss of mass, 0.56 ppb/yr, is telling science something very important...

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 26, 2017 @ 08:57 GMT
I know it isn't considered a highly reputable source of information but this Wikipedia page has a good section called "Stability of the international prototype kilogram" that points out some of the difficulties of maintaining the prototype and its copies and how they are affected by their different treatments and storage conditions. The article does make a point of saying that it isn't just that the standard prototype is loosing mass but that there are variations between the various copies tested against it. How the complicated variations over time are described and explained will also affect what seems to be happening to the prototype mass.The article suggests that rather than not caring, the problem has been long studied by dedicated scientists. Kilogram Wikipedia

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jan. 26, 2017 @ 16:55 GMT
I haven't read the article, but such a phenomenon can be explained by the refinement of measurement methods.

Ever since Mandelbrot asked the question, "How long is the coastline of England?" we've known that measurement is dynamical -- James Gleick wrote in the afterword to Chaos: making a new science (20th anniversary edition) "When Yaneer Bar-Yam wrote a kilopage textbook Dynamics of Complex Systems in 2003, he took care of chaos proper in the first section of the first chapter (although 300 pages long)... then came Stochastic Processes, Modeling Simulation, Cellular Automata, Computation Theory, Scaling, Renormalization, Fractals, Neural Networks, Homogeneous Systems, Inhomogeneous Systems ..."

Aside such useful leading edge research, it just seems quaint to maintain a crude bar of metal to a common standard.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 26, 2017 @ 19:01 GMT
Hello Tom,

Happy to see you again on FQXi, but where were you ? hope your health is ok.

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jan. 27, 2017 @ 04:32 GMT

Since 1889 the kilogram has been defined by reference to a single platinum-iridium cylinder held in a secret vault in Paris. It is the last unit of measurement still tied to a physical artifact.

But the ur-kilogram is losing mass. That, in part, is why the General Conference on Weights and Measures decided in 2011 to redefine the kilogram by pegging it to a quantum-mechanical constant.

This year the process of redefinition, which involves the official metrology laboratories of five nations and some of the most difficult measurements in all of science, enters its final phase.


Why force Le Grand K into retirement? For years metrologists have wanted the accuracy and reliability of an international mass standard linked to a fundamental constant of the universe rather than a Victorian-era lump of cosseted metal. But there is a more pressing reason for the change: Le Grand K appears to be losing mass. Once every 30 years or so Le Grand K is removed from its vault for cleaning and for comparison with six official copies, or temoins (“witnesses”), which are kept in the same vault. When the first two temoins were compared with Le Grand K in 1889, both matched the original. But measurements made shortly after the World War II and again in 1992 found that the copies outweighed Le Grand K slightly. It seems implausible that the copies would all somehow gain mass while Le Grand K remained unchanged. There is, of course, a more likely explanation. “We could assume,” says BIPM director Michael Stock, “that the International Prototype Kilogram is losing some mass.” That uncertainty is one of the reasons the General Conference on Weights and Measures—the governing body of the bureau—decided in 2011 to establish a new mass standard.

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jan. 27, 2017 @ 04:45 GMT
Weighing things should not be so difficult and this is the kind of measurement that limits the precision of physical constants. If mass is not constant, then every constant that has a mass dimension is also not constant.

When I first supposed aethertime, the inescapable truth was that mass and force would both have to change in concerted ways...albeit very slowly. Therefore I simply looked at the mass standard in order to falsify aethertime but instead, the IPK was losing mass at exactly the prediction of aethertime. Then I looked at pulsars and they had the same decay...the spin of the earth...the same decay...the period of the moon orbit...the same decay. Nothing was constant except for the mainstream science belief that constants are all constant.

The shrinking of the universe is what determines both charge and gravity forces and results in the growing of force. This is confusing to science. Constants that vary together are just not allowed by science...constants are constants.

There are constants that do not vary like the gyromagnetic ratio for example. The h/c^2 and alpha/c are also constants that do not vary. But mass does vary exactly as the IPK varies.

It will be interesting to see if the electron current loop that will replace the IPK will also vary in time. Also Lisa Pathfinder has gotten a 6 month extension and will measure changes in mass for 3 weeks...this should be enough to show the IPK mass loss since Lisa has two 1.6 kg Pt/Ag cubes that is weighs...

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Steven Andresen replied on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 01:46 GMT
Hi Steve Agnew

Interesting. Sciences reluctant considering of variable mass? This isn't the only curious circumstance. Are you aware that heated metals express weight reduction? I'll find it if youre interested? This is old news, and as interesting as science gets in my opinion, but we dont hear about it much.


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Steve Agnew wrote on Jan. 27, 2017 @ 04:47 GMT
As you can see, measurement to me is a much more interesting topic than just the theories of the this and that...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 27, 2017 @ 09:21 GMT
Hello Steve,

It is indeed an interesting topic this loss of mass.Perhaps we have simply a kind of natural universal electromagnetic desintegration explaining this loss.

I have an other unknown about this matter not baryonic.If we have this dark matter and that this matter has a mass also ,that becomes intriguing because we must superimpose this matter not baryonic.A little if all mass had an other mass also to add.It is also the meaning of my equation E=mc²+ml²,we have a mass baryonic and an other not baryonic in logic.Like if we had forgotten this mass in fact.We have so a natural electromagnetic desintegration but also a mass not baryonic,furthermore this dark matter is 4 or 5X more important than our electromagnetic mass if I can say.It gives us a road towards entire entropy and its paradoxal infinity in the finite systems.Food for thought...

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Steve Agnew replied on Jan. 27, 2017 @ 15:27 GMT
Well, obviously the topic of making sense of measurements is much more interesting to me than stringy or loopy or multiveresy thingys.

If it is true that mass simply dephases very slowly over time, that means that there will be a force associated with the mass loss of radiation as well. A star loses mass of x kg/s and moves with a velocity of y m/s and that dot product is now a force as kg m/s^2. This vector force couples the outer stars of a galaxy with its inner stars and keeps a galaxy rotation constant. This force happens to exactly match the force science calls cold dark matter halo around each galaxy to keep them rotating the way they rotate.

I call this vector force a gravity matterism since it comes from moving mass loss just like magnetism is a vector force that comes from moving charge. It is ironic that the unexplained mass loss of the IPK seems to explain why galaxies rotate the way they rotate...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 27, 2017 @ 16:53 GMT
Very relevant .I like this cold dark matter ,I consider in my model gravitation, dark matter,linked.Your analyse is interesting steve thanks for sharing.


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Steve Agnew wrote on Jan. 28, 2017 @ 04:57 GMT
You see...there is life in the simple minded measurement of mass.

In a way, mass is the only true measurement because it does depend on an artifact, which is an object of reality. One century ago, science decided that a 1 kg bar of Pt/Ir alloy would be the measure of mass. Alas, the IPK has been losing mass and so now science wants to shift mass to the watt scale.

In the future, a superconducting electron loop of energy will define mass instead of a balance and the hope is that mass will not vary with time with the watt balance.

It will be very interesting to see if the watt balance is any better after 100 years than the IPK. My prediction is that the watt balance, which is based on energy and E = mc^2 and not mass balance will also show a constant drift.

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James A Putnam replied on Jan. 28, 2017 @ 15:17 GMT
"In a way, mass is the only true measurement because it does depend on an artifact, which is an object of reality."

Physical rules for physical measurements depend upon objects of reality. Those rules are sufficient for making use of material objects, but are not sufficient for understanding material objects. The understanding comes with physics definitions. An object having a kilogram of mass measures in weight as equal to the weight of the prototype. Weight is a force. Mass is not a force. The indirect measurement of a kilogram of mass is indicative of the use of indirect explanations of mass. There is no definition of mass nor is the kilogram a defined unit. Kilogram is introduced into mechanics equations as one of three fundamental indefinable units representing one of three fundamental indefinable properties. Mass and its unit of kilogram both could have been and should have been defined just as all other inferred-to-exist, by patterns of changes of velocities of objects, properties of mechanics and their units are defined.

James Putnam

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Steve Agnew replied on Jan. 28, 2017 @ 19:46 GMT
Of course, the definition of mass is beside the point. It is the measurement of the decay of mass over time that is the point, not its definition. My point is that this decay is real and reveals the true nature of the universe...I am alone in that belief...see IPK decay

The rest of the world believes that the decay of the of the IPK artifact is due to some kind of unknown process. Similarly, that the average decays of millisecond pulsars is the same constant but that does not seem to impress anyone. Every measurement that I have looked at shows this decay, just like the earth's spin shows this same decay constant. Of course, 0.26 ppb/yr is a very small change and its measurement is complicated because while mass decays at this rate, force actually increases at this same rate.

All due to the universe pulse decay...Measurement precision is getting better and the intrinsic nature of the IPK decay, millisecond pulsar, and earth spin will be either validated or falsified within the next several years.

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James A Putnam replied on Jan. 29, 2017 @ 04:45 GMT
The excerpts quoted from the article suggest otherwise. I stepped in to expose the loose use of the word 'definition' for physics purposes that goes uncorrected by physicists. You are not impressed, but, I may have made my point to readers. I will drop it since there is no other chance for progress to be made with it here. I did see that you believe that cleaning techniques have improved to the point that the chance for contamination is eliminated making the change of weight of the prototypes due only to a change in the mass of the prototype. I do find your references to other decay rates that compare in magnitude to be something that needs to be explained. Perhaps your explanation is correct. Correctness is the goal or should be. Therefore, should you be correct, I would hurry to congratulate you.

Changing direction and quoting from your link: "Thus the universe is in some sense ultimately driven by noise and not by purpose. The butterfly effect is a an example of classical noise from the flapping butterfly wing and that even that slight noise can effect the course of a hurricane. Noise is what limits the precision of any measurement of a source property and when the fluctuations of noise dominate purpose, classical chaos drives purpose, not choice."

Does this noise you refer to communicate meanings? What I want to know is it purposeful in the physics sense as the orderly flapping butterfly wing is? Or, is it meant to convey meaninglessness, disorder, and lawlessness? If it does compare to the butterfly's flight, then, what meaning in the physics sense does it convey?

James Putnam

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jan. 29, 2017 @ 23:04 GMT
The issue of observer in the Fqxi has got me thinking about the fact that the source is not discussed with nearly the same reverence as the observer. And yet there is no observer without a source and the photon exchange that forms a transient bond between observer and source is what people should include in any discourse.

However, without an agreement about the natures of observer, photon,...

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Jose P. Koshy wrote on Feb. 17, 2017 @ 06:07 GMT
Steve Agnew,

I was just preparing to post a reply to your comment in the thread started by me. It was then I happened to see this one. So I thought I will reply this first. Quoting you, "Once again, without an agreement about the role of quantum phase in limiting precision, there is no sense in further discourse."

That is just an assertion; your discourse is "accept QM, there is no other way". But the game is open to all, until everything is explained. I think Classical Newtonian concepts with some modifications will be enough for explaining everything. So I argue that there is no (special) quantum noise, other than the classical noise extended to the quantum level; all quantum noises are as explainable as the classical noises. Even at the ordinary level, practically we do not know all the factors that are involved, even though theoretically it seems possible. At the quantum level, we cannot even say that there is a correct theory.

The concept of wave-particle duality is an attempt to understand the the factors involved at the quantum level. The wave-equations remain a beautiful mathematical tool. Surely QM has given some results. That does not mean it is 'the correct theory', and whatever is said is the ultimate truth regarding particles.

I propose that light is rotating particle-pairs in motion; and so it shows properties of particles and waves. Based on that, wave-particle duality is incorrect; the whole of QM then gets reduced to mathematical techniques that can extract some correct results.

Jose P Koshy

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Steve Agnew replied on Feb. 19, 2017 @ 18:47 GMT
You have your own spectrometer that measures the spectrum of a single photon. Somehow, though, your spectrometer cannot measure phase and amplitude and only measures the intensity or energy of the photon.

My spectrometer measures both the amplitude and phase of a single photon and that allows me to calculate the photon intensity and energy that therefore agree with your spectrometer measurement. However, unless you can measure phase and amplitude with your spectrometer, you will not come to know the underlying reality of phase coherence, superposition, and entanglement.

My photons also have mass...a very, very tiny mass...and the underlying reality of the universe is the mass of that discrete aether. The wave-particle duality is simply a restatement of the notion that particles are aether phase condensates while waves are pure aether phase. A photon is just the simplest aether condensate as a phased aether pair and so particles and waves are made up of the same basic stuff...aether.

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James A Putnam replied on Feb. 20, 2017 @ 01:27 GMT
Steve Agnew,

" ...My photons also have mass...a very, very tiny mass... "

What effect tells you that they have mass? What did they get that mass from?

James Putnam

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Steve Agnew replied on Feb. 20, 2017 @ 18:13 GMT
Photons have both inertial mass as m = h nu /c2, as well as a very, very tiny rest mass as 2mae. That photons have inertial mass is shown by all physics. That photons also have a very tiny rest mass is something that science argues about. Since all sources in the universe are made up of aether, photons are made up of a phased aether pair.

The aether particle mass follows from Plancks constant and the time size of the universe, mae = h / (2 Tu c^2) = G h mH^2/(2 q^2 10^-7)= 8.68e-69 kg. The time size of the universe simply emerges from the ratio of gravity and charge forces and so does the aether mass. So the photon is the charge action of the quantum phase of aether. Similar, the biphoton of gravity is the gravity action of a single aether particle.

Thus, the aether mass fundamentally comes from the measurements of G and q, gravity and charge.

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James A Putnam wrote on Feb. 19, 2017 @ 06:37 GMT
Steve Andresen,

Hi, It has gotten late. I will just explain why I say that there is no place in the Universe where the speed of light is really 'C'. Another way of saying this is there is no place in the Universe where length is not contracted to less than it could be. Object activity, the very thing that we substitute to serve in place of actually being able to measure time, is never quite...

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James A Putnam wrote on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 05:18 GMT
Hi Steven,

"What do you think of their proposed method for redefining mass?"

This point helps to emphasize the loose attitude physicists have adopted to the meaning of the word 'defined'. No physicist has defined mass. Mass is not being redefined. It never has been defined. Substituting a new and better rule for the measurement of mass is no substitute for defining mass. Physicists have never defined mass, are not defining mass, and, do not presently know what mass is. We will know when physicists know what mass is when: The units of mass, kilograms, will be themselves made into defined units. They are not presently, nor have they ever been, defined units. The reason for pressing the dependence of the meaning of mass upon the definition of its units is that mass is a name for that which kilograms represents in all physics equations.

James Putnam

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