I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation & lab thrusts without any dark stuff or adjustment. My University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch. Most of my content is at patreon now: here

Friday 26 December 2014

MiHsC vs EmDrive: paper link

The EmDrive is extremely interesting: a truncated metal cone that, when resonating with microwaves, moves slightly towards its narrow end. This anomaly was first observed by Shawyer (2008) and later reproduced by Juan et al. (2012) in China, and recently by NASA's Brady et al. (2014). The Emdrive is still uncertain because it hasn't been tested in a vacuum yet (now it has), so it is probably wise to stay well away for now. Nevertheless, I got interested because I'm always looking for lab tests of MiHsC, and I've found that MiHsC can predict it quite well if you assume that photons have inertial mass and the metal cavity forms an information horizon. I've just published my findings in the open access journal 'Progress in Physics', here. Comments welcome.

My previous posts on emdrive are here, here and here.


Shawyer, R., 2008. Microwave propulsion - progress in the emdrive programme. Link. (see section 6, page 6).

Juan, W., 2012. Net thrust measurement of propellantless microwave thrusters. Acta Physica Sinica, 61, 11.

Brady, D., et al., 2014. Anomalous thrust production from an RF test device measured on a low-thrust torsion pendulum. Conference proceedings, see Table page 18. Link

McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Can the EmDrive be explained by quantised inertia? Progress in Physics, Vol. 11, 1, 78-80. PDF

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Underwater Star?

Christmas is a time for unexplained stars, so I thought I would talk about one of the most down to Earth and yet oddest anomalies I've come across: sonoluminescence, which involves the production of light from sound, or more poetically: a underwater star or a 'Star in a Jar' as others have called it. To make sonoluminescence in the lab you fill a spherical glass bulb with degassed water and emit sound waves within it at the resonant frequency of the sphere. This causes a bubble in the centre of the sphere, which then collapses repeatedly. The interesting thing is that just after the bubble reaches its minimum size of about 0.1 micrometres it emits flashes of em radiation lasting 20 ps, like a little star flashing with amazing regularity. The Planck spectrum of the light indicates that the temperature in the bubble is 10,000 Kelvin, hotter than the Sun's photosphere (the bit we can see) which has made some people question whether fusion might be possible on this small scale..

I've been interested in this phenomenon even since I read of it, since I'm always looking for high acceleration experiments that might demonstrate MiHsC. This is relevant because in a MiHsC-cosmology paper that I finally published this year after many years of trying (McCulloch, 2014) I showed that MiHsC predicts that if you have a 'universe' of width W, then the background temperature in it must be greater than

T > 0.2hc/2kW    (1)

where h is Planck's constant, c is the speed of light and k is Boltzmann's constant. This formula, for example, predicts a Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) for the small early universe. MiHsC does this by ensuring that the Planck wavelength of all the heat emitted in the universe must be shorter than the size of the universe otherwise it would be unobservable. It is interesting that if it is assumed that the sonoluminescent bubble is a little universe, of width 0.1 micrometres, then the temperature predicted by MiHsC at the minimum size of the bubble is

T > 14,340 K

This agrees with the temperature of the bubble (10,000K). Of course, there are lots of other possible explanations of sonoluminescence. The popular ideas are the compression of gas within the bubble or the formation of a plasma in the centre that leads to Brehmsstrahlung, but arguments against these are the lack of observed warming of the water and the quickness and timing of the flash (Eberlein, 1996). Julian Schwinger in his last years suggested using the dynamical Casimir effect and this idea was developed by Eberlein (see the reference below). As always, to decide between all these suggestions, more data will be needed and it's tricky in this case because water absorbs a lot of the spectrum of the radiation emitted. A possible connection to MiHsC could be tested by looking at how the frequency of the light emitted depends on the minimum size of the bubble: using equation (1).


Eberlein, C., 1996. Sonoluminescence as quantum vacuum radiation. Phys.Rev.Lett., 76: 3842-3845. http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9506023

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. A toy cosmology from a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4434/2/1/81

Thursday 11 December 2014

No tracking of Voyager?

Someone commented on my blog a few weeks ago (Tim Goff) saying why can't Voyager data be used to look for the Pioneer anomaly. I'd always ignored Voyager data before because the Voyager craft were not spin stabilised and so their trajectory was too jerky to see a smooth anomaly because of frequent course corrections. However, Tim's point was interesting because Voyager is now beyond Neptune so there should be fewer course corrections. Since then I've been pestering various NASA centres to try and get the raw position data and they keep directing me to modelled trajectory data which by definition won't show up anomalies.

Now finally I've received a reply from NASA JPL who look after the data and they say that they haven't done any two-way tracking of the Voyager spacecraft since the Neptune encounter and they've been relying on a model! (this says all you need to know about mainstream theoretical physics, it is not just at NASA). I hope this doesn't mean that no-one else has been doing any two-way tracking because the Voyager is unique now in sampling an ultra-low acceleration regime where dynamical anomalies are showing up in deep space (galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration, the Pioneer and flyby anomalies) and where MiHsC predicts these deviations. If you're in a unique regime, you have to take the opportunity to measure it!

Needless to say I have just written several quick emails to some people I know at NASA in the hope that someone somewhere is measuring position/speed, or that some measurements can be started. I hope so!

PS: Someone has just implied online that since they think the Pioneer anomaly has been explained, why bother? But, the Pioneer anomaly has only been 'simulated' by a complex thermal model: this is not a proof, and is certainly not strong enough to throw away an opportunity to sample uniquely low accelerations, especially since the galaxy rotation anomaly & cosmic acceleration are of the same size and form..

Saturday 29 November 2014

A love of anomalies

MiHsC did not arise from any consideration of mathematical beauty, though it turns out it is beautiful. A crucial step was when I wrote down a list of strange observed anomalies in physics. Later I did a lot of thinking with this list in mind, to devise a new model to explain them, while still satisfying well-tested physics. MiHsC has developed a lot since then as I've tried to understand what it means more deeply, but too much theorizing is counterproductive and I always like to come back to real anomalies in the manner of Sherlock Holmes (Sir A.C. Doyle) who once said: 'you know my method: it is based on the observance of trifles' (anomalies). In my case, being fund-less and experimentally inexperienced, my 'observance' entails reading papers on the anomalies found by experimentalists & trying to predict them on paper, but I now have a long list of anomalies that I can predict with MiHsC without any adjustable parameters. Here is the list so far, arranged from the large scale to the small:

Cosmic acceleration: MiHsC predicts this as an effect of the cosmic horizon (summary)
The low-l cosmic microwave background anomaly: MiHsC predicts it as above (summary)
Cosmic mass: just enough to keep the cosmos closed: MiHsC predicts it.
The anomalous motion of galaxy clusters: MiHsC predicts it without dark matter.
Bullet cluster: MiHsC might fit, but there's not enough data to test it yet.
The galaxy rotation anomaly: MiHsC predicts it without dark matter (summary)
Globular cluster rotation anomaly: MiHsC might fit, needs a computer model.
Observed minimum galactic masses: MiHsC agrees.
Is Alpha Centauri-C bound?: MiHsC predicts it's bound, agrees with independent data.
Flyby anomalies: MiHsC agrees partly, but the analysis is incomplete.
Pioneer anomaly: MiHsC agrees, but there's another 'complex' thermal explanation.
Tajmar effect: MiHsC predicts it.
EmDrive: MiHsC predicts it (very simplified calculation so far) (summary).
Poher experiments: MiHsC is consistent, not enough data to test numerically.
Podkletnov effect: MiHsC predicts the non-spinning part of it. Needs another look..
Sonoluminescence: MiHsC predicts the observed core temperature.
Planck mass: MiHsC predicts it within 26%.

Data is messy, sometimes wrong and it is the most difficult thing to understand in the world, but a data-first approach is the only proper and interesting way to do theoretical physics because new information from nature can only come into our theories that way. Happily, we are in an age of rapid technological advance (with new ways of observing the cosmos and lab precision) and simultaneously an age of mainstream theoretical dogma, which is great for me because it means that the list of anomalies is growing fast, and everyone else is ignoring them! A further list of anomalies I intend to look at is:

Quasars are aligned with each other and cosmic filaments.
The Andromeda satellite galaxies mostly orbit in a thin disk.
Galactic relativistic jets.
The wide binary rotation anomaly.
An anomalous, non-tidal, increase of lunar distance.
An increase in the Astronomical Unit.
Modanese effect: anomalous jumps near a superconductor cooled through Tc.
Significant anomalies in the gravitational constant, big G...

Monday 24 November 2014

Large scales, new rules.

The discovery by Hutsemekers et al. (2014) that quasars (spinning galaxies with jets firing out along their spin axes) are aligned with their neighbours and with the large scale tendrils of visible matter in the cosmos, is a great result. I call papers like this 'signpost' papers in that they indicate experimentally which way to go. The crucial point is that a cosmic scale alignment of spins cannot be explained by dark matter, but it can be explained by MiHsC which predicts that mutual accelerations (including mutual spins) become more important for dynamics on large scales (low accelerations).

For a start, galactic jets are predicted by MiHsC. I wrote a paper in 2008 using MiHsC to explain the flyby anomalies, which are unexplained increases in speed of a few mm/s in spacecraft that approach the Earth at the equator and leave at the pole. MiHsC can model this as follows: when a spacecraft approaches the Earth at the equator, it sees all the pieces of matter in the spinning Earth accelerating towards and away from it and the mutual matter-spacecraft accelerations are large (one can show this mathematically) but when the spacecraft leaves at the pole, along the spin axis, the mutual accelerations between the craft and the matter in the Earth is less, so MiHsC predicts that the leaving craft looses inertial mass and because of the conservation of momentum, it speeds up. This predicts the flybys quite well, though I haven't yet considered all the accelerations involved (McCulloch, 2008). The MiHsC formula for this polar speed-up, which gives a few extra mm/s of speed near the Earth's spin axis, predicts a much larger effect for a bigger object like a galaxy: It predicts that large galaxies should have jets streaming away in both directions along their spin axes (I mentioned this in my book) and this looks very much like a quasar and may also explain the two lobes recently found along the Milky Way's spin axis by the NASA-Fermi team (Finkbeiner et al., 2010).

So, coming back to the new quasar results, from MiHsC you would expect to see quasar-like-objects with jets and long tendrils of visible matter (with lower inertial mass) along the direction of their spin axes giving rise to a filamental large scale structure. Also, with the tiny accelerations found in deep space, you would expect spinning objects to start to align in unexpected ways since MiHsC dominates in that regime and mutual acceleration (spins) become crucial. For an explanation of why two objects might tend to spookily co-rotate because of MiHsC, see McCulloch (2011).

PS: Another intriguing spin alignment was recently discovered in deep space: that between the satellite galaxies of Andromeda and the Milky Way (Ibata et al., 2012).


Finkbeiner et al., (2010) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/new-structure.html

Hutsemekers et al., 2014. ESO website. http://www.eso.org/public/unitedkingdom/news/eso1438/

Ibata et al. (2012). Nature, 493, 62–65

McCulloch, M.E., 2008. MNRAS, 389, 1, L57. http://mnrasl.oxfordjournals.org/content/389/1/L57.full

McCulloch, M.E., 2011. EPL, 95, 39002. Preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.3266

Saturday 8 November 2014

MiHsC Retrospective

I'm still not sure of course whether the emdrive is a real effect or not, but for fun I've written a humorous dialogue about it and MiHsC, so in the spirit of amusement here it is: Kirk, Spock and McCoy travel back to 2014 curious about the early origin of the theories that lead to inertial damping and faster than light travel..

Spock: Captain, I've found some recent references to a theory called MiHsC and an experiment on something called the emdrive.

Captn: Alright Spock, let's have it!

Spock: I'll come to MiHsC in a moment, but the emdrive is a resonant microwave cavity, cone-shaped, that appears to move slightly towards its narrow end..

McCoy: Now just wait a minute Spock, I'm a Doctor not a physicist, but doesn't that violate the old conservation of momentum?

Spock: You are, surprisingly, correct Doctor.

McCoy: Why thank you Spock. I suppose that ends that conversation..

Kirk:  Don't bet on it bones!

McCoy: Sounds like another crackpot lead to me.

Spock: I find it fascinating.

McCoy: Why doesn't that surprise me!? But it still violates momentum conservation.

Spock: Doctor, the medical physics courses you took, even in our time, are still based on old 20th century physics and skim over the new physics, but the Enterprise would not move without it.

McCoy: You're telling me they repealed the conservation of momentum now?

Spock: No, but at this time, humanity is still mostly unaware of the momentum obtainable from the zero point field.

McCoy: But this emdrive looks like baloney: you can't make something move without applying some sort of detectable force!

Spock: Indeed you can if you know how. Even in this backward time period that was possible, though the wider potential was not realised until MiHsC was proposed. Are you aware of the Casimir effect?

McCoy: Forgive me Spock, I was busy curing real people while you were devoting your life to inanimate objects and impenetrable ideas.

Spock: Very commendable Doctor, but the Casimir effect is produced by putting two parallel plates close together, so that they damp virtual particles of the zero point field between them, so that more particles hit the plates from outside them than inside, and so the plates move together very slightly.

McCoy: What's your point?

Spock: The system has moved without a 'detectable' outside force being applied to it.

McCoy: Sounds like a lot of goddamned voodoo to me.

Spock: On the contrary, even at this time the Casimir effect has been observed many times and was the first experimental inkling of the 21st century revolution in physics.

McCoy: Well, be still my heart, but if it's only a tiny effect..

Spock: We have a saying on Vulcan: "If a door is slightly ajar, it's wide open"...and there's a theory proposed in this time called Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC) that brought the zero point field and horizons into physics, and also predicts the emdrive quite well..

Kirk:  MiHsC, MiHsC! That reminds me, Dr Carol Marcus used to go on about a funny old theory called MiHsC that started a paradigm shift and got rid of the need for something called dark matter and energy.

McCoy: Brings back fond memories does it, Jimmy boy?

Kirk:  Bones, as a Doctor you ought to know better than to reopen old wounds.

McCoy: Very funny. I'm sure you've made that joke before.

Kirk:  Good work Spock. It could be the beginning we need..

McCoy: (mumbles) Still sounds like a lot of baloney to me..

Monday 3 November 2014

The hidden crisis in physics

There are exciting times ahead in physics since new data is rocking old theories and opening up new possibilities, but you wouldn't think it for the horrified faces I've seen at conferences whenever I explain MiHsC. The crisis in physics we now have, downplayed by most, dwarfs the crisis in 1900 which was presaged by Lord Kelvin mentioning what he saw as two insignificant little details 'two clouds on the horizon'. These were the inability of the Michelson and Morley experiment to detect the invisible aether that people thought must exist for light to travel through, and the prediction that hot bodies must radiate infinite amounts at short wavelengths, the ultraviolet catastrophe. The first little cloud led to special relativity and the second to quantum mechanics. These were little experimental acorns that led to huge oak trees because people, typically curious outsiders, realised they were important and worked to bring theory into line.

In the present time we really are spoiled by our new ability to look into deep space, and instead of two modest clouds on the horizon we have something more resembling the childrens' bedroom in the film poltergeist (I saw that film on Halloween) with all the furniture flying around in a mad chaos.

Consider the galaxy rotation problem. Galaxies spin far too fast for general relativity to hold them together, so huge amounts of invisible (dark) matter must be added to them in a weird halo-like formation that has no explanation. There is no experimental evidence for dark matter, and for each different galaxy the dark matter has to be added by hand in such a way as to make general relativity work. This means dark matter is ad hoc and not predictive and so we may as well attribute the rotation to lingering poltergeists. In contrast, MiHsC predicts galaxy rotation without any 'fiddling'.

Now considering cosmic expansion: this is accelerating, an act that requires a tremendous input of energy from somewhere. The problem cannot be solved by a mathematical and linguistic trick, as it is done, by simple adding a term to the Einstein field equation and calling it dark energy. It must be fundamentally understood. MiHsC explains this acceleration in an intuitive and elegant manner by disallowing any pattern, including radiation, that does not fit exactly within the Hubble scale.

There is also a telling anomaly in the Cosmic Microwave Background, which looks too smooth on the largest scales in a way that agrees exactly with the suppression of large scale patterns by MiHsC.

If we enter more controversial territory, the fertile ground where observations that can't be made to fit current theory but have not yet been proven wrong are found: the Pioneer craft slowed down as they entered deep space in agreement with MiHsC (the thermal explanation now apparently 'accepted' relies on complex models with over 2000 finite elements, and fitting parameters). The flyby anomalies, odd dynamics of spacecraft passing Earth, are also predicted by MiHsC, as are the Podkletnov and Tajmar experiments, and the EmDrive anomaly found in the UK, China and at NASA.

I hope you can see that if you take all the evidence together, then at low accelerations (in deep space), or when you change the acceleration by spinning something (flybys, Podkletnov, Tajmar experiments) or you bring the Hubble horizon artificially closer to disallow more patterns (the EmDrive) standard physics fails, but MiHsC does not.

Sunday 26 October 2014

MiHsC vs Emdrive: updated table

I have updated the Table comparing the predictions of MiHsC with the available, fully-documented, emdrive experimental results, including a 6th result that I've just found online: that of the Cannae drive of G. Fetta (I take it as an emdrive because the grooves cut into it were found by NASA to make little difference). I've shown the predictions of the 1-dimensional MiHsC formula (which is preliminary) which assumes that accelerations are produced by the radio frequency oscillations:

F = PQ/f * ((1/w_big)-(1/w_small))              MiHsC1

where P is the input power, Q is the Q factor, f is the input frequency, w_big and w_small are the widths of the end plates. I have also shown the predictions of an alternative formula (MiHsC 2) that assumes that the accelerations are caused by photons bouncing at the cavity ends, and includes the cavity length (s) and speed of light (c):

F = PQs/c * ((1/w_big)-(1/w_small))            MiHsC2

See the new table below. The first column shows the experiment (S=Shawyer, C=Cannae and B=Brady), the other columns show the diameters of the big and small (two estimates) cavity end plates, the Q factor, power input, frequency, and the last three columns compare the predictions of MiHsC1 and MiHsC2 with the observed force (in bold):

Expt     Q       Power     Freq'   w_big   w_small      s     MiHsC1  Observed  MiHsC2
                      Watts      GHz       cm        cm          cm      (--------milliNewtons--------)
S a      5900     850       2.45       16        12.750   15.6     3.26         16            4.15
S b    45000   1000       2.45       28        12.890   34.5   76.90      80-214    216
C a     1.1e7       10.5    1.047     22        20            3.0   50.14       8-10           5.25
B a      7320       16.9    1.933     39.7     24.4       33.2     0.10       0.0912       0.22
B b    18100       16.7    1.937       "           "          33.2     0.25       0.0501       0.53
B c    22000         2.6    1.88         "           "          33.2     0.05       0.0554       0.10

MiHsC1 underestimates the Shawyer (2008) experiments (S), predicts five times the Cannae result (C), and agrees with the NASA / Brady et al. (2014) a and c results, but not case b where it overestimates by a factor of five. The Cannae drive (C) has a very different geometry to the others (the width is 22cm, the length is 1cm) and this difference is useful for testing. MiHsC2 is perhaps comparable in success, but does less well for the NASA results (the most accurate?) which may be because of the 1-d limitations of my approach, or it could mean that it is the radio frequency oscillation that is driving the acceleration that causes the Unruh radiation (MiHsC1) rather than the microwave photons physically bouncing between the plates (MiHsC2).

Thanks to Dr J. Rodal for correcting my cavity dimensions again! The source of the Cannae experiment geometry and results is:  http://web.archive.org/web/20121104025749/http://www.cannae.com/proof-of-concept/design see also the experimental results section.

Friday 24 October 2014

MiHsC: motion from logic.

The advantages of MiHsC are that it is simple, it follows logically from very few assumptions and it predicts anomalies no other theory can without needing the infinite adjustability of dark matter (in fact MiHsC has zero adjustability).

Understanding MiHsC is simple: consider an object, say Spock in a spacesuit, in a vacuum. Everywhere around him is the zero point field, a sea of virtual particles predicted by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and whose existence Spock notes has been proven by experiments on the Casimir effect. Pairs of these virtual particles are always forming and recombining quickly. The zero point field usually has no effect on Spock in a vacuum because it is usually weak and uniform in space and so virtual particles bang into Spock from all directions equally so there is no net force.

Now imagine Spock fires a back pack rocket motor and accelerates forward. He might then look behind him and tell McCoy on the static Enterprise that logically he can now never see things more than a certain far distance away because information from that far away traveling at the speed of light will never catch up to him as he accelerates. At this distance, then, is a horizon, which only exists in Spock's reference frame, so McCoy on a static Enterprise would look for the horizon, not see it, and tell Spock grumpily that he's getting  carried away by his own logic again. Nevertheless, at that distant horizon virtual particle pairs that form can now be separated because one of them goes away from Spock and is lost forever behind the horizon and one will come towards him. The virtual particles that would have recombined, now never will, and Spock will see particles and radiation all around him: Unruh radiation, just like the Hawking radiation from black hole horizons, but caused by acceleration not gravity.

Radiation is a kind of wave so its waveform must 'fit' exactly within the cosmos. Why? Well, because if the wave didn't fit exactly then it would go through the horizon and we'd then be able to know something about what lies behind the horizon, so it wouldn't be a horizon anymore. So some of the Unruh waves in front of Spock are disallowed by the cosmic horizon and disappear in a puff of logic and Spock raises his eyebrow approvingly. This is only a small effect though, and it makes a big difference only if accelerations are tiny, as they are at the edges of galaxies (this part of MiHsC correctly accounts for galaxy rotation without needing dark matter). Now behind Spock the waves must fit between Spock and the new horizon, which is much closer than the cosmic edge, so more waves are disallowed by logic behind him. This means more Unruh radiation hits Spock from in front than from behind, and this makes a force that opposes his acceleration and predicts the phenomenon we know as inertia (see the references below for more detail).

This is the basis of MiHsC, & I think Spock would love it, because is shows how quantum mechanics (that provides the zero point field), relativity (that makes the horizon) and his beloved logic (that disallows non-fitting waves) can work together in a new way to make something as fundamental as inertia, and also solve a few problems that the old physics cannot.


McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.2775

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. Physics from the edge. World Scientific.

Sunday 19 October 2014

EmDrive, MiHsC & horizon physics

The small anomalous acceleration of the emdrive (which is like a microwave oven built into a copper cone) towards its narrow end, may or may not be a real effect, but is proving to be a lot of fun to think about. I've written before about 'thinking in the context of a real experiment' and I think that is lacking in mainstream theoretical physics where people incessantly drop objects into imaginary black holes. Looking for new physics one must look for 'direct' observations that disagree with the old physics, and the emdrive is a great example of that, and one that has been reproduced in three different labs. It turns out that MiHsC predicts it quite well (see this entry, and for MiHsC, see McCulloch, 2013, 2014, references below). Specifically MiHsC predicts a force of

F = PQ/f * ((1/w_big)-(1/w_small))     (1)

where P is power input (Watts), Q is the number of photon 'bounces' before they are absorbed, f is the input microwave frequency (Hz) and w_big and w_small are the diameters (metres) of the big and small emdrive end plates. Last night I worked out how to prove this formula from first principles so I'm now much happier about it. I've also tried replacing f with c/CavityLength=c/s, where c is the speed of light. This is because in the derivation the f is the frequency of Unruh radiation seen by the photons, and this is determined not by the microwave frequency, but by the cavity length which forces the microwave photons to change direction back and forth, and it is this that does the accelerating. This gives the similar formula

F = PQs/c * ((1/w_big)-(1/w_small))     (2)

Now, you may be saying 'for photons the rules are different', but ultimately, causes must be universal and photons do have inertial mass, the source of radiation pressure (it is only the photons' rest mass that is zero) and if they have inertia, then according to MiHsC this is caused by Unruh radiation (which is more than just em radiation) and for the huge accelerations of these photons as they bounce between the ends of the cavity the Unruh waves are short enough to 'see' the cavity and be damped by its walls (as electrons move to cancel the field there). They will be more damped at the narrow end, meaning they will have less inertial mass at that narrow end. This means that, for each photon bounce, more mass goes from the narrow to wide end than the other way around, and so to balance the books the conservation of momentum demands a force towards the narrow end of a size as in Eq. 1 or Eq. 2. The best defense of this model is that it works quite well. For the results of Eq. 1 see two blogs back, and Eq. 2 predicts the following for the five experiments for which complete information is available (excluding the Chinese experiments whose geometry is unknown). Table:

Experiment                P              Q         s        w_big    w_small     Observed    Predicted
(see refs)                  W             dl         m           m             m           (mN)          (mN)
Shawyer (expt)       850          5900    0.156     0.16       0.11            16                7
Shawyer (demo)   1000        45000    0.345     0.28       0.17          147            123
Brady et al. A            16.9       7320    0.332     0.397     0.244            0.09           0.22
Brady et al. B            16.7     18100    0.332     0.397     0.244            0.05           0.53
Brady et al. C              2.6     22000    0.332     0.397     0.244            0.06           0.10

The table shows that the MiHsC predictions (the last column) agree quite well with the data (the second to last column), except for the second Brady et al. (2014) experiment. More experimental data is urgently needed, but this suggests tentatively that MiHsC can be applied to light in cavities, and this opens up a whole new area for testing. I have submitted a paper on this, so let's see what the reviewers say. Note: Thanks to Dr Jose Rodal, aero & John Fornaro (NSF forum) for clarifying the emdrive geometry.


Brady, D., et al., 2014. Anomalous thrust production from an RF test device measured on a low-thrust torsion pendulum. Conference proceedings, see Table page 18. Link

Shawyer, R., 2008. Microwave propulsion - progress in the emdrive programme. See section 6, page 6. Link

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.2775

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. Physics from the Edge, published by World Scientific. Link

Saturday 11 October 2014

In support of empiricism

I find it strange that those who support theories like dark matter, dark energy and string theory always respond to MiHsC by saying that it needs more evidence, as if they had some irrefutable evidence tucked away in a drawer somewhere! They have none. They are putting dark matter into galaxies because they blindly trust general relativity (GR), and they want it to predict the right rotation curve given the stars they can see, but they have absolutely no reason to trust general relativity here, because it has never been tested at low accelerations, only at high accelerations, for example with Gravity Probe B, orbiting binary pulsars and the perihelion of Mercury. The acceleration of a star at a galaxy's edge is more than ten orders of magnitude lower. The last time someone tried to extrapolate a theory ten orders of magnitude was when they tried to apply classical physics to the atom, and that went well...

It is clear to me how proper physics was done by the people I admire: Strato of Lampsacus, Galileo, Newton, the early-Einstein, 'Back of the Envelope' Fermi, Stommel & dear old Feynman and partly because of this, and my background in the more testable physics of the ocean, I have developed MiHsC consciously by looking directly at the observations (empiricism), particularly interesting anomalies, and deliberately avoiding the mainstream hypotheses and fashions, because to be frank they are vague, unimaginative, overly-complex and untestable.

As a result of this data-driven approach I can model the Pioneer anomaly well (yes, controversial), the flyby anomalies fairly well, the Tajmar effect well, dwarf galaxy, spiral galaxy and galaxy cluster rotation without dark matter, cosmic acceleration without dark energy, and the low-wavelength CMB anomaly. It seems all the mainstream can do is patch GR using dark matter in increasingly bizarre shapes and forms: they may as well attribute it all to 'God's stirring spoon' and join the clergy. Revered theories die hard, especially if there is no evidence for them!

Sunday 5 October 2014

MiHsC vs EmDrive data: 1

This is not yet complete, it is a mathematical exploration using MiHsC, and I'm not sure of it, but I'm including it here to stimulate or support discussion (updated, 18/10/1014).

Assume an asymmetric resonant cavity, with microwave photons bouncing around inside it. They carry a force F=2P/c, where P is power and c is the speed of light, due to the inertial mass of light (light does have an inertial mass, or Solar sails wouldn't work). Including the Q factor (number of photon 'bounces') gives F=2PQ/c. Now MiHsC says the inertial mass is caused by Unruh radiation, and so it is affected by the Hubble horizon since Unruh waves must fit exactly within this horizon. In MiHsC the inertial mass (mi) is modified as mi=m(1-L/4T) where m is the unmodified mass, L is the Unruh wavelength determined by the acceleration, and T is the Hubble distance (see McCulloch, 2007, eq. 8) so for the low accelerations seen in deep space, hence long Unruh waves which 'feel' the Hubble horizon, inertia decreases in a new way which fixes the galaxy rotation problem (McCulloch, 2012).

What if the resonant cavity walls acted like a Hubble horizon, especially for Unruh waves of a similar length (as they are in this case)? Then the inertial mass of the photons would increase towards the cavity's wide end, since more Unruh waves would fit there, since mi=m(1-L/2w), where w is the cavity width. The force carried by the photons then increases by this factor as they go from the narrow end (width w_small) towards the wide end (width w_big). The force difference between ends is

dF = (PQ/c)*((L/w_big)-(L/w_small)) = (PQ/f)*((1/w_big)-(1/w_small)).

The leap is that the only way to conserve force (or conserve momentum) is to have an equal force pushing the whole system the other way towards the narrow end.

The Table below compares the predictions of MiHsC with the available data. The columns show, from left to right: the data source, the widths of the large and small ends of the cavity used, the Q factor, the power applied, the frequency applied, the thrust predicted by MiHsC and the observed thrust. The sources are Shawyer (2008) and Brady et al. (2014) (see their table on page 18). Dr Jose Rodal has provided some data for the Juan (2012) experiment (rows 3-4, italic), but their cavity geometry is unknown, so I've calculated the range of possible predictions due to MiHsC, given the range of geometries in the two Shawyer experiments (see red colour). The table:

Experiment               w_big   w_small    Q       Power in      Freq'      MiHsC    Observed
                                     cm        cm                      Watts         GHz          (milliNewtons)
Shawyer (2008) a          16        11            5900     850          2.45          5.8          16
Shawyer (2008) b          28         17          45000    1000         2.45        44             80-214
Juan (2012) TE011        16/28  11/17       32000    1000         2.5           30-36     214
Juan (2012) TE012        16/28  11/17       50000    1000         2.45        47-58     315
Brady et al. (2014) a      24.75  16.5         7320    16.9          1.933         0.129        0.0912
Brady et al. (2014) b       "           "           18100   16.7          1.937         0.315        0.0501
Brady et al. (2014) c       "           "           22000     2.6          1.88           0.061        0.0554

The MiHsC predictions vary in the same proportion, but typically underestimate the observations significantly (I don't know what the error bars on the observations are). An increase in cavity size, power input and Q factor usually increases the observed force as predicted. Case 6 is a bit worrying. Here Brady et al. (NASA) increased the Q factor which according to the prediction, and Shawyer's previous results, should have boosted the force, but the observed force was smaller (but note that MiHsC-inertia also depends on whether the Unruh waves fit exactly into the cavity and this can change with slight changes in frequency, for a discussion, see McCulloch, 2007, link below, the first paragraph of the Discussion).

Thanks: The data for the 5th case and several mistakes in geometry kindly pointed out by aero & Dr Jose Rodal on an NSF forum and the comments section below.


Brady, D., et al., 2014. Anomalous thrust production from an RF test device measured on a low-thrust torsion pendulum. Conference proceedings, see Table page 18. Link

Juan, W., 2012. Net thrust measurement of propellantless microwave thrusters. Acta Physica Sinica, 61, 11. 

McCulloch, M.E., 2007. Modelling the Pioneer anomaly as modified inertia. MNRAS, 376, 338-342. Link.

McCulloch, M.E., 2012. Testing quantised inertia on galactic scales. Astrophys. & Space Sci., 342, 575-578. Link

Shawyer, R., 2008. Microwave propulsion - progress in the emdrive programme. Link. (see section 6, page 6).

Friday 26 September 2014

Back to the Flyby Anomalies

Ah, the flyby anomaly. I had a lot of fun with that back in 2008 and maybe the game is not yet finished. Spacecraft Earth flybys are used by NASA to save on fuel. If they want to get a probe to Jupiter for example, but don't want to launch the heavy fuel needed, then what they do is launch the probe slow, loop it round another planet and bring it in behind Earth in its orbit, and the Earth then pulls the spacecraft forward and transfers some kinetic energy to it. An analogous method was used by Marty McFly in Back to the Future: he hitched a skateboard ride by holding onto a car. These flyby spacecraft are monitored as they zoom past the Earth and in 1990 the Galileo probe gained 4 mm/s of speed more than it should have. This was not a lot given the actually heliocentric (relative to the Sun) speed of 31 km/s, but well outside the uncertainty. This also happened for a few other flybys as well, the largest anomaly being for the NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) probe which gained 14 mm/s speed from apparently nowhere. Anderson et al. (2008) collected all the data together and showed something that got me very excited at the time: there was a pattern. Spacecraft that came in at the equator, and left nearer the spin axis (the pole), sped up more!

After a lot of thinking and calculation I managed to show that MiHsC predicts something like this. When a spaceship comes in at the equator the mutual accelerations between it and typical masses inside the spinning Earth are big because the acceleration vectors are often along the same line (the Earth mass accelerates towards the spin axis, the craft also towards that axis). So MiHsC predicts the Unruh radiation seen has a short wavelength and fewer waves are disallowed by the Hubble-scale Casimir effect, so the inertial mass is close to the normal mass. Conversely, when the craft exits at the pole, the mutual acceleration between it and the masses in the Earth is smaller since the acceleration vectors are now perpendicular, so MiHsC predicts longer Unruh waves, more of which are disallowed by the Hubble edge, and the craft loses inertia slightly. To conserve momentum it has to speed up. Calculations show that this does a pretty good, but not perfect, job of predicting the flybys without any adjustable parameters (see my paper below). The way I derived this result is not perfect though, since I have not yet calculated the 'total' mutual acceleration including the spacecraft's own acceleration, and this I need to do. For this I could use the brilliant NASA Horizons web-interface, that I've used before, and where spacecraft trajectories are available for free. http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi

What reminded me of the flybys was a recent article, in the Spanish SINC website (see SINC reference below) which piqued my interest by saying that "One of the last [flybys] was that of the spacecraft Juno in October 2013, from Earth en route to Jupiter. NASA has not yet published data on this journey, but everything indicates that its speed as it flew over our planet was once again different to estimates". This was news to me because I pestered ESA and NASA last year and they told me there was no Juno anomaly. It's probable that the comment in the recent article was based more on expectation than evidence, but ESA/NASA have not yet published anything formally on the Juno flyby. MiHsC predicts a small positive anomaly (but as I said before I don't yet consider the motion of the spacecraft itself, which needs trajectory modelling). Time to do some fortran programming..


Antreasian P.G. and J.R. Guinn, 1998. Paper no 98-4287 presented at the AIAA/AAAS Astrodynamics specialist conference and exhibition, Boston.

Anderson J.D., J.K. Campbell, J.E. Ekelund, J. Ellis, J. Jordan, 2008. Phys. Rev. Letts., 100, 091102.

McCulloch, M.E., 2008. Modelling the flyby anomalies using a modification of inertia. Mon. Not. Royal. Astro. Soc., Letters, 389 (1), L57-60. Link to pdf

SINC: http://www.agenciasinc.es/en/News/An-anomaly-in-satellites-flybys-confounds-scientists

Tuesday 16 September 2014

EmDrives & MiHsC

It's a gamble, but I think it's important to focus on anomalous experimental results since the new stuff always comes from there so I thought it would be useful to recap what I have been thinking about regarding Shawyer's EmDrive results. You should bear in mind that this is an example of me wildly playing around with ideas and I may decide tomorrow it is wrong. So, just to remind you that the EmDrive is a cone-shaped microwave resonant cavity, like a microwave oven built into a megaphone. When microwaves are resonated in there, it has been shown by Roger Shawyer, also a Chinese group and recently a NASA group that a small anomalous force is produced and the cavity moves towards its narrow end. This apparent violation of the conservation of momentum has not been explained.

To explain it, I've assumed the following: the microwaves bouncing around within the cavity have inertial mass (em radiation does: that's why it can push a Solar sail) and their inertia is determined by MiHsC (quantised inertia). In MiHsC the Unruh waves are allowed only if they fit exactly within the Hubble horizon or within a local Rindler horizon, but what if the cavity wall in this case was acting like a horizon? Well, then the microwaves at the wide end would have more inertia than those at the narrow end since more Unruh waves would fit. This means that as a microwave beam goes from the narrow end to the wide end it gains inertial mass. Now I can try something I've used before (for the Tajmar effect) and say, in order to still conserve momentum (mass*velocity) for the whole system, if mass goes up then velocity must go down, and the only way to achieve that is to have the whole structure move towards the narrow end.

I've done the calculation using MiHsC for Shawyer's EmDrive assuming an input power of 850W, a frequency of 2.45GHz and a Q factor (number of times the waves bounce before dissipating) of 5900 and I predict a force of 12.75mN, close to the 16 mN they saw.

Again, do take this in the spirit of 'playfulness'. There are huge questions: How can I throw out the rule book on photons like a hippy on LSD, and then insist on conserving momentum like an accountant with OCD? It could be a just a coincidence that it works, but it is interesting. Comments welcome!

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Breaking the speed of light limit?

Special relativity says that as you accelerate, say, a spaceship, towards the speed of light its inertial mass increases so it gets harder to push it any faster. At the speed of light its inertial mass is infinite so you can't increase its speed at all. Hence relativity predicts a speed of light speed limit. However, MiHsC makes a slight correction to this. The wavelength of the Unruh radiation that causes inertia in MiHsC lengthens as the acceleration reduces which means that, for the spaceship case above, as the speed levels off and acceleration tends to zero near the speed of light, the Unruh waves making up its inertia exceed the Hubble-scale and cannot be observed. This means, using the philosophy of Mach that special relativity itself was based on, these waves should dissapear, and the spaceship's inertial mass should reduce. Indeed, putting MiHsC and relativity together (in a very preliminary way) you can show that there remains a residual relativity-proof acceleration of 2*(speed of light)^2/(Hubble scale) even at the speed of light: this is the minimum acceleration allowed by MiHsC. Interestingly this is close to the cosmic acceleration that has recently been observed and is usually explained in an ad hoc manner by dark energy.

For such a claim of course, far more direct evidence needs to be found. There are ways in which observations of quantum systems demand non-locality and superluminal information transfer (Bell's inequalities), but my favourite possibility at the moment involves the more direct evidence of galactic jets. Looking at the movement of blobs of light within the jets streaming out along the spin axes of galactic cores and quasars, and knowing the distance of these objects, it is possible to show that these blobs appear to move faster than light (eg: Porcas, 1983, Biretta, 1999). Before we get too excited, Martin Rees (1966) showed that light-emitting objects moving at sublight speeds can appear to travel faster than light if they are moving at a small angle to our line of sight. However, that being so, one would expect the jets that show faster than light speeds to all be apparently 'shorter' since they should be pointing towards us, but it has been shown that they are not shorter on average than all the other ones, which implies that they are not on average close to our line of sight. A particular case is M87 (Biretta et al., 1999). The blobs of light in its jet are moving at six times the speed of light. To explain this away as the Rees effect one would need this jet to be within 20 degrees of our line of sight, but an analysis suggests that this angle is 44-64 degrees, and to get it within 20 degrees would 'present several problems' (Biretta et al., 1999).

I know this is a horrifically complex area to get into, and causality will have to be thought about too which means that thinking about it is rather like taking an axe to the floor one is standing on, but I do think this is important, doubly so since I'm one of the few arguing that FTL (Faster Than Light) is possible. I've had some problems publishing anything on this. I've submitted papers, and I gave a talk on MiHsC and FTL at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Orlando in 2011, and my talk was filmed and was supposed to be made available. Nothing happened, and nothing happened to the paper I sent to them either, so I'm very glad to finally have a chance to publish something on FTL in my book.


Biretta, J.A., et al., 1999. Hubble space telescope observations of superluminal motion in the M87 jet. The Astrophysical Journal, 520, 2, 621-626. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1999ApJ...520..621B

Porcas, R., 1983. Superluminal motion - astronomers still puzzled. Nature, 302, 753-754. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1983Natur.302..753P

Rees, M.J., 1966. Appearance of relativistically expanding radio sources. Nature, 211, 468-470.

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. Physics from the Edge: a new cosmological model for inertia. World Scientific Publishing.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Shawyer's EmDrive

I remember an article in New Scientist a few years ago that discussed something called the EmDrive. This article was criticised at the time by some theoretical physicists, but they couldn't explain the actual anomaly found by Roger Shawyer, an aerospace engineer. He used an asymmetric radio frequency resonant cavity (cone shaped) and pumped a few hundred Watts of microwaves in (just like an asymmetric microwave oven). The cavity then accelerated slightly in the direction of its narrow end, in blatant violation of the conservation of momentum. Shawyer claims this result is predicted by special relativity, while most theorists say a violation of momentum conservation just can't be, but the anomaly itself now seems more solid because it has been reproduced by the Chinese (Juan et al., 2012) and recently by NASA (Brady et al., 2014). The experiment hasn't been done in a vacuum yet, but the abrupt termination of the anomaly when the power is switched off, has been taken as a preliminary demonstration that it is not due to movements of air, but this needs further testing.

This is exactly the sort of naughty violation of momentum conservation that one would expect from MiHsC. It is possible in MiHsC because what is conserved is not mass-energy but Energy-Mass-Information (EMI) and so you can extract energy in a new way, from apparently nothing, by inserting an information horizon into the zero point field. In papers in 2008 and 2013 (see below) I proposed that one could use the recently discovered metamaterials (regular arrays of metal shapes) to make artificial information horizons and thereby interfere with the Unruh radiation that is assumed to cause inertia in MiHsC, and by this means cause anomalous motion. Therefore, the asymmetric metal structure used by Shawyer is of interest to me. Nevertheless the proof is in predicting the right numbers and I haven't worked out how to model Unruh waves in a cavity, in my usual simplified manner yet. Anyway, thanks to the engineer Roger Shawyer, the Chinese and NASA for providing an interesting anomaly to think about.

It is common for engineers to accept the reality of phenomena that are not yet understood, and it is common for physicists to disbelieve the reality of phenomena that seem to contradict contemporary physics - H. Bauer.


Brady, D., et al., 2014. Anomalous thrust production from an RF test device measured on a low-thrust torsion pendulum. Conference proceedings. Abstract

Juan W., 2012. Net thrust measurement of propellantless microwave thrusters. Pdf

Shawyer, R., 2014. SPR Ltd. Website

Shawyer, R., 2008. Microwave propulsion - progress in the emdrive programme. Pdf

McCulloch, 2008. J. Brit. Interplanet. Soc., 61, 373. Can the flyby anomalies be explained by a modification of inertia?

McCulloch, 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. Europhys. Lett., 101, 59001. Preprint

Sunday 20 July 2014

Backwards Supernova

Einstein's special relativity was a great and very bold insight, and was based on a sceptical philosophy of Ernst Mach's. This philosophy is that abstract concepts like time and space modify so that whatever it is you see of a process, in your reference frame, that is 'real', which means the normal laws of physics have to apply to it. That includes, presumably, the second law of thermodyamics that entropy/disorder must increase.

Now imagine, just for the sake of argument, that you're zooming away from a supernova at more than the speed of light. As you go, you're overtaking the light coming from the supernova, so you'll see the supernova going backwards in time (rather like the introduction to the film Contact, where a spaceship traveling away from the Earth at speeds greater than light relives radio history backwards). A layman might explain this as just being how you see it, but if we accept special relativity (and it has been well tested in this way, by Hafele and Keating, 1974) we have to go further and say that this backwards supernova is 'real' so the laws of physics must apply to it. This is alright for most of the laws of physics since most are easily reversible. For example, you can reverse the velocity of every particle in the supernova and they still obey Newton's laws, but if you see the supernova converging on itself then there is a reduction of entropy in time, since it is approaching a special state. This violates the second law of thermodynamics. So special relativity's insistence on what you see being 'real' forbids faster than light travel if we accept this second law. A related problem is that causality is violated too.

A more famous reason that relativity forbids faster than light travel is that when an object approaches light speed its inertial mass approaches infinity and you can't push it any faster so it has constant speed. However, MiHsC challenges this because at a constant velocity the Unruh waves that MiHsC assumes cause inertia would become larger than the Hubble scale and vanish, so the inertial mass would dissipate in a new way. This means, if you do the maths, that MiHsC predicts that a tiny minimum acceleration remains, even at the speed of light, meaning that this barrier can be broken.

The problem I have now is that, if this is true, how can I reconcile MiHsC and its tentative faster than light possibility, with the supernova problem and the violation of causality I mentioned above?

Quote by Werner Heisenberg: "How fortunate we have found a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress!"

Saturday 12 July 2014

Proxima Centauri: a test in our cosmic backyard?

I recently looked into the Alpha Centauri system in preparation for a talk I went to see on it. This system is also called Rigil Kent, a great name for a superhero, and is the closest stellar system to us (only 4.37 light years away) with two stars, A and B, similar to the Sun which form a tight binary system orbiting every 79 years, and a third called Proxima Centauri which is much further out and far smaller in size. The interesting thing for me is that little Proxima is so far out (13,000 AUs) that its acceleration with respect to the other two is in the regime where MiHsC should apply (of order 10^-10 m/s^2).

MiHsC says that a body with such a low acceleration relative to nearby matter (stars A and B) will lose some of its inertial mass in a new way, and this means it will be more easily bent gravitationally into a bound orbit even by a lower than expected central mass. This is exactly how MiHsC predicts bound galaxy rotation without dark matter (McCulloch, 2012) and it also predicts that Proxima should be bound gravitationally to A and B even though their masses should appear to be too small to bind it.

From my limited reading of papers so far, this seems to be the case. Proxima moves through space with stars A and B so it looks like it's bound to them, but Matthews and Gilmore (1993) found that according to Newton's laws Proxima should not be bound. To fix this problem they suggested increasing the mass of A and B to hold Promixa in to the system. Of course, this sounds just like the dark matter fix used to allow galaxies to remain bound without changing Newton's laws. The great thing for me about this Centauri mismatch is that dark matter cannot be used to explain it, since dark matter has to stay spread out on these small scales if it hopes to explain the galaxy rotation problem.

To prove MiHsC I've been looking for a problem for which it is the only possible solution: a crucial experiment. I might have found one in our cosmic backyard.


Matthews and Gilmore, 1993. MNRAS, 261, L5

Wertheimer and Laughlin, 2006. Are Proxima and Alpha Centauri Gravitationally Bound? Astron. J., 132, 1995-1997. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0607401

Tuesday 1 July 2014

New book

I've written a book about inertia and MiHsC, titled: 'Physics from the Edge: a new cosmological model for inertia'. It's being published :) by World Scientific, and is advertised online here.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Energy from nothing

I'm often asked "What is the use of MiHsC?" The accelerations it predicts are laughably tiny so why bother? Well, I can argue about it being an alternative to dark matter and dark energy, questions that are important to me, but as a friend of mine used to say, "how does that put fuel in my tank?". The importance of MiHsC for applications is that it points to a new way to produce energy from what physicists previously thought was an untapable source: the zero point field (aka nothing). This is rather like the earlier discovery that you can get usable energy out of heat: the steam engine. Today, just as before the steam engine, a hugely important part of the world is not taken seriously by physics: in this case information and the zero point field.

One way to think about MiHsC is as follows. When an object, say a spaceship, is accelerated by an external force, like gravity, a Rindler horizon forms in the direction opposite to the acceleration vector, because information cannot hope to catch up to the craft from behind that horizon. MiHsC says that this information horizon also has other consequences, because to make it an impermeable boundary for information, all the patterns in the object's accelerated reference frame must 'close' at that boundary, otherwise a partial pattern would enable us on the spaceship to predict something about what lies beyond the horizon. Unruh waves are a pattern and they are therefore suddenly damped on the horizon side of the object since only Unruh waves that 'close' at the new horizon remain. There are now more Unruh waves (more zero point field energy) in the direction of the acceleration. The previously uniform (and untappable) zero point field now performs work as the object is pushed back against the acceleration because more virtual particles from the zero point field bang into it from the direction of its acceleration than the other side. This process looks just like inertia (see the reference below). In other words, the formation of an information horizon, transfers energy from the zero point field (a formerly abstract kind of energy) into the real world.

In 1948 Casimir predicted that metal plates would produce a force or energy from the zero point field, which has now been observed. I predict that setting up an information horizon will also enable us to tap the zero point energy. As evidence, I can say that MiHsC predicts galaxy rotation without dark matter and cosmic acceleration in just this way, and I think that experiments such as Podkletnov's tapped the zero point field like this, accidentally, using highly accelerated discs to produce Rindler horizons that also affected suspended masses. I do not yet have a complete picture, but a useful new physics is apparent through the mist (Introduction to MiHsC).

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. Preprint

Monday 23 June 2014

Edges change everything

I have been asked how I can justify the Hubble-scale Casimir effect (HsCE) in MiHsC since there are unlikely to be conducting plates situated at the Hubble edge. So here are the two answers I normally give to that, the first when in cautious mode, the second when I indulge myself.

First: There's the old empirical way of saying 'if a simple model predicts well, then one should just accept it as being useful, and avoid making hypotheses when there are not enough data to decide between them'. This attitude has a good pedigree, Newton used it for his gravity theory and said: 'Hypotheses non fingo' (I don't make hypotheses). He meant that he didn't know exactly how gravity worked, but he could certainly predict it and that was enough. So in the case of MiHsC, assuming a HsCe allows you to predict things better, so whatever is really going on, it looks like a HsCe. Having said that, it's difficult to think about something for so long without trying to dive a little deeper..

Second: The best model I have thought of so far considers information rather than objects (appropriate in this new digital age). If you assume that the Hubble horizon is an information boundary then it's only right to go all the way, and not only should the horizon not allow information to pass through, but it should also disallow patterns within the cosmos that would allow us to infer what lies beyond the horizon. This means you can't have a pattern (eg: an Unruh wave) that doesn't fit exactly or that doesn't 'close' at the Hubble horizon, because if you did allow a partial pattern you could infer the rest of the pattern and therefore some of what lies outside the horizon, which would defeat the purpose of having a horizon. This 'horizon wave censorship' model is equivalent to the Hubble-scale Casimir effect that Unruh waves are subject to in MiHsC but can also be applied to any pattern, and therefore can also be used to explain the low-l CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) anomaly (the observed suppression of CMB patterns on large scales). I discuss all this briefly here: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4434/2/1/81

Sunday 8 June 2014

MiHsC's agreement with anomalies

Mainstream physics values mathematical consistency and existing theories: a top-down approach. In contrast I like looking at the observations for anomalies (things that don't fit the old theories) and have developed MiHsC that way: a bottom-up approach. I now have a list of anomalies that MiHsC predicts well, and a list of anomalies that look like MiHsC but I haven't had the time or enough data to decide yet. Here are the lists:

MiHsC agrees with:

Cosmic acceleration: good agreement (wide error bars). Link
The low-l CMB anomaly: good agreement (esp. with Planck data). Link
Cosmic mass: good agreement (but has wide error bars). Link
Galaxy cluster energetics: good agreement. Link
Galaxy rotation problem: good agreement. Link
Minimum mass of dwarf galaxies: good agreement. Link
The Pioneer anomaly: good agreement, competing thermal explanation. Link
The Tajmar effect: good agreement, controversial experiment. Link
Planck mass: good agreement, within 26%. Link (correction to be published)

Analysis is incomplete for:

Galactic relativistic jets, consistent, but the data is not specific enough to test MiHsC
Globular clusters: consistent, but I haven't worked out how to model them yet
Wide binaries: Agrees with SDSS data, but not Hipparcos. Analysis incomplete.
The flyby anomalies: mixed agreement, the maths is not right yet. Link
Hayasaka's falling gyroscope: agrees, but only for anticlockwise spin, unrepeated expt
Podkletnov's weight loss: predicts half the weight loss, unrepeated experiment. Link
Poher's impulse: consistent, but the data is not specific enough to test, unrepeated
Modanese's weight jumps: consistent, but the data is not specific enough, unrepeated

There is no shortage of anomalies in physics. In fact, you could say that 96% of the cosmos is an anomaly. It is telling that none of these anomalies are openly spoken of as anomalies in physics journals, instead they are all 'explained' with invisible (dark) entities, but if you face up to them all together, and see how they all occur at low accelerations, then you see the evidence for MiHsC is pretty compelling.

Saturday 31 May 2014

Three cheers for peer review

James Lovelock has just written a short essay (see link below) complaining that peer review is a self-imposed inquisition which stifles freedom. I do not agree with this.

It is true that peer review is a hugely ego-bruising thing. For example, when Einstein was first subjected to it late in life he was so offended he withdrew his paper. However, one great thing about it is that editors generally ensure a scientific procedure is followed, so if you present an unconventional idea, but show that it agrees with the data, as I always try to do, then reviewers may doubt the idea, but given the agreement with the data, as scientists, they have to pass it. This does not always happen, I've had baseless rejections, but generally the scientific method is still around and doing good in the world. It provides an accountable scientific process that lets evidence-based ideas through. So I would argue that, recently, peer review has saved me and MiHsC from oblivion. It is unlikely to work as well for Lovelock's GAIA hypothesis because, although it is fascinating and I think likely to be true at least in part, it is less clearly supported by data.

In contrast to peer review, the preprint arxiv (which has been a great service to open publishing) has for some reason become more conservative in ways that are hidden and unaccountable. One example is that in 2012 the arxiv started to delay and then refuse my published papers for reasons that were not given. A process whereby decisions are made behind closed doors is not a scientific one and can easily be driven by dogma. This is why I support peer review. It is stern, but fair: the criteria are scientific (fact-based) and openly stated.

A very british analogy would be queuing in a shop. If there's a clear queue of people, then this is fair: the rules are clear, as for peer review. If people are just milling around then it's the dominant or loud people who get served first. The arxiv has chosen the latter model.


Thursday 15 May 2014

The modern aeolipile

In the 1st century AD, Hero of Alexandria (or maybe Ctesibius three centuries earlier) invented the aeolipile, which was a hollow ball, full of water, centred on an axle, and it had two outlets twisted like a lawn sprinkler. When he heated the ball, the water inside produced steam, shot out of the pipes and rotated the ball. This is a steam engine producing kinetic energy (motion) from thermodynamics, in the Roman empire! Why was this not pursued to produce an industrial revolution in ancient Rome instead of having to wait nearly 1600 years later for Thomas Savery and the mines of England? The explanation often given is that the Romans had access to unlimited numbers of slaves, so they had no need for newfangled machines, they could get slaves to do the work for them. In other words, instead of using cleverness and being efficient, people often stick to the same paradigm if they can use brute force.

I think the same thing is happening in modern physics. When faced with an inability of Einstein's old theory of general relativity (which demonstrably works well at high accelerations) to model the observed rotation at the edge of galaxies (an extremely low acceleration regime) physicists have been able to use the amazing processing power of modern computers to predict the three-dimensional distribution of invisible (dark) matter needed to make general relativity fit the observed rotation, but they haven't found any dark matter. They are using the brute force of the computer to adjust the data in a complex way to fix the discrepancy, instead of thinking a little differently, just as the Romans used thousands of slaves rather than think a little about the potential of the aeolipile. The problem with the Romans was they let slaves do their work for them, and the problem with modern physics is physicists are letting computers do their thinking for them.

Is there a modern aeolipile: seed of a possible new revolution? Yes, I would say it is the Casimir effect which produces kinetic energy from the zero point field, and MiHsC is the theory that is trying to build from that.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Alternative view of MiHsC

Geoff Robbins, with his blog Artificial Philosophy, has taken the time to understand and write an informed and well-balanced report on MiHsC. It's fascinating, to me, to see a different viewpoint, and I accept his conclusions that MiHsC is as yet a mathematical sketch (on my artistic side I've always been fond of pencil-sketching & cartoons). He also makes the point that MiHsC is not an entire reboot of physics but, of course, builds on and extends the structure that already exists (into the newly explored low acceleration regime). His report can be found here, finished off nicely with a clip of the 'external inertial dampener' scene from Abrams' 2009 Star Trek. Thanks Geoff.

Friday 9 May 2014

Free at the point of need.

I've just read a Guardian article about GPs (General Practitioners: Doctors) in the UK who are due to vote on the 22nd May in York on whether to charge people for visits: a terrible idea that violates the core philosophy of the UK's National Health Service (NHS). The NHS was formed in 1948 by a UK that was bankrupt, but they had just been through a terrible war and had suffered together so there was a feeling of solidarity so they decreed that everyone should be provided with a safely net, healthcare 'free at the point of need'. This means that all are entitled to it whether rich or poor. Illness is a misfortune and it is right that we should pay taxes and set up a safety net for everyone. This is a brilliant system that has worked very well for 66 years.

The problem is that since 1980, corporations have become more powerful than people in the UK, and have seen that such a nationwide safely net is not profitable for them and have lobbied the UK government to deliberately damage the NHS. Private health companies prefer a model under which people will have to pay them, to live. We already have to pay for gas and electricity, but some people can do without these. They wish to charge us for our life, which we cannot do without. So, for the benefit of these companies, in which they have shares, the government are starving the NHS of funds. The latest manifestation of this is the proposal that GPs should charge £25 pounds for people to visit them. It attacks the principle of the NHS 'free at the point of use' at the very core.

The motive for MPs is that many of them have shares and even positions in private health companies - this is public knowledge. It is also clear that it is the government and not the global crisis. In 2010, two years after the financial crisis, and well into the demographic ageing of the population, the NHS was 1.5 billion in surplus under Labour. Now, after four years of the conservative - libdem coalition it is in trouble. It is directly to do with this government.

What would be the effect of this GP charging? It would produce a situation like dentistry in the UK. People who have to be a little careful with money, the working and middle classes, the 99%, may have a minor medical problem. At the moment, just like the rich, they can get help, and a potentially fatal condition will be resolved well. Under a charging regime though, many of them would delay going to their GP to save money, like many people avoid the dentist, and therefore potential fatal or debilitating diseases will go unnoticed and be treated too late. In other words, as in Victorian times, it would produce a healthy rich elite and an unhealthy underclass. There will be another effect too. If the principle of 'free at the point of need' is destroyed, private companies would be able to charge for other services. Eventually we would have the American system, which is, frankly, so much a disaster, despite Obama recent extension, that one wonders why the Americans put up with it.

I have seen far too much over the last 20 years to doubt that a robbery of 63 million honest people in the UK, by a few rich people with their hands on government, is going ahead, and I believe most educated people in the UK also realise this, but are unsure what to do, since the attacks are coming too often, and combination is slow and difficult. I hope the GPs decide against this proposal, doctors, thank goodness, are compassionate as well as skilled, but if it passes then so too may the fair country I was born into. A country is the people and the system they make for themselves. The world beating system our grandfathers built out of adversity in 1948 is being destroyed by a few rich criminals for profit.

A 38 degrees petition against GP charging is here.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

MiHsC experiment: cold or not?

Over the past few years I have been liaising with someone in the US who is now setting up an experiment to test MiHsC. The plan is to spin a motor at 1 million rpm near to a shielded sensitive balance and see if the increased local acceleration of the disc increases the inertial mass of the test mass on the balance and reduces its sensitivity to the Earth's gravity as predicted by MiHsC. This would appear as a anomalous loss of weight. MiHsC effects appear when the local accelerations change, and to make sure they do, I assumed in some of my previous papers that it was necessary to cool things down first and eliminate the large thermal accelerations (eg: McCulloch, 2011) so that when you accelerate something like a disc the measurable 'change' in acceleration causes observable phenomenon.

Having said that, the first experiment is going to be done warm because cryostats are expensive, and also I'm not 100 percent sure about the cooling. It's puzzling. For example the experiment of Tajmar et al. (2009), where they accelerated a ring and saw anomalous accelerations (that MiHsC predicts well) needed temperatures below 15 Kelvin. The experiment of Podkletnov (MiHsC predicts the part of it that can be quantified) needed temperatures below 70 Kelvin. On the other hand, when MiHsC works to predict galaxy rotation (very well) it is responding to the different large-scale orbital acceleration of stars, ignoring that fact that they are all spinning and have huge thermal accelerations. There was also the experiment of Hayasaka (1997) who dropped a (room temperature) gyroscope and found it fell more slowly, in line with MiHsC, when it was spinning. Admittedly this last experiment could have been wrong, and it only worked for right rotations which is another puzzle that I've been rolling my eyes at, but it's best for sanity to only think about one impossibility at a time!

The best thing to do when unsure about things is to simply ask nature for directions and that is what we are going to do with this experiment.


Hayasaka, H., H. Tanaka and T. Hashida,1997. Spec. in Science and Tech., 20, 173-181.
McCulloch, M.E., 2011. The Tajmar effect from quantised inertia. EPL, 95, 39002.
Podkletnov, E.E., R. Nieminen, 1992.   Physica C, 203, 441-444.
Tajmar, M., F. Plesescu, and B. Seifert, 2009.  J. Phys. Conf. Ser., 150, 032101.

Thursday 24 April 2014

The Four Horsemen (film)

I have just seen 'The Four Horseman' a documentary by Ross Ashcroft and it is a brilliant look at the present global inequality and finance problem. Near the end it also suggests a solution (see the link below). I'm not an economist, but I like trying to understand things, and also problem solving, so here's what I understood of the film, with a few idiosyncratic bits added, not directly mentioned in the film:

First the problem. In the 1970s the post world war consensus started to erode and Anglo-Saxon governments gave up the gold standard (money backed by gold) and adopted fiat currency which allowed them to print money from nothing. Then the repeal of the Glass-Steagal act in 1999 suddenly meant that banks could gamble with savers' money again, as before 1929. All this has allowed the development of a parasitic banking elite who have become rich enough to lobby governments to syphon the taxes of the relatively poor towards them. This was seen in 2008 when tax money was used to cover banks' gambling losses, and is seen now in austerity where community-owned assets that people can't do without, like the UK's National Health Service or Royal Mail, are being broken and sold off cheap to the rich to provide constant income for them. It can also be seen in the west's 'help' for developing countries as a way to transfer wealth from the poor taxpayers in the west to rich interests working there.

The money printed from nothing by governments goes to these banks first. This means they can buy things cheaply, and by the time the money filters down to everyone else it buys much less since the money has caused inflation. Ordinary people eventually find they can't buy what they need and this worsens until violence is their only hope. It is also pointed out in the film, somewhat heartbreakingly, that the bankers have realised that ordinary people are honest, so they are encouraging them to get into debt. For example encouraging house buyers in the 1980s, and students now, to provide a constant income stream for the banks.

The solutions suggested by the film, include: 1) going back to the gold standard because gold is real, it is outside the control of politicians and therefore banks, and the supply grows slowly so would cause stability in prices, 2) cancel debt as done in 1947 in Germany (and savings too, to balance it), 3) instead of taxing what we produce (income tax), tax what people consume or own, a global wealth tax as suggested by Thomas Piketty in his new book. This is fairer and would help to level the playing field. 4) allow workers to own a stake in their factories to motivate them, and limit salary differences to, say, 6:1, as suggested by Plato, to put all of society in the same boat and therefore able to empathise with each other.

Forgive my incomplete summary, but the film is brilliant and free on youtube here.

Monday 21 April 2014

Against dark matter: not even wrong.

During Galileo's time, people still believed in an ancient model of Aristotle's, who said that heavier objects fall faster than light ones. Some of Galileo's contemporaries apparently confirmed this using experiments (how that happened I don't know!), but a young Galileo noticed during a storm that bigger and smaller hailstones fell to the ground at the same time. When he pointed this out, his contemporaries said that Aristotle must still be right and that therefore the bigger hailstones must have started from higher up. This could have been true, but the clue, with hindsight, to this kind of intellectual laziness is the ad hoc way they had to set up the hypothesis. They had to place the hailstones' formation heights at exactly the right level so they would fall together. In other words, this model was not predictive because they had to 'fine tune' it by hand to get things right, and the setup was different in each case, depending on the size of the bigger and smaller hailstones. Galileo had a more elegant model that said all the hailstones fall at the same speed, which was right but unfortunately, did him very little good in his lifetime, and it took the bloody-minded obstinacy of Isaac Newton, who also lived in a freer environment, to mathematically ram this idea into the mainstream.

Four hundred years later, there's a similar problem. The standard theory of gravity: general relativity, was devised before galaxies were even known about. It has performed well on the Solar system scale (Gravity Probe B) and at other high accelerations (binary stars), but physicists are now applying it to galaxies which are ten orders of magnitude bigger than the Solar system and have accelerations at their edges ten orders of magnitude smaller. No theory has ever survived a translation over ten orders of magnitude of scale: when they tried in the 19th Century to apply normal mechanics to tiny atoms (a ten order of magnitude scale difference) it didn't work at all. Max Planck had to invent the bizarre quantum mechanics. Sure enough, on applying general relativity to huge galaxies, massive problems have appeared. The mainstream theorists have responded, without showing the imagination of Max Planck, by adding huge amounts of an invisible kind of new matter (dark matter) to the galaxies in just such a way (in an halo around them) that for each case general relativity agrees with the  observed rotation, but as for the case of the hailstones in the 15th Century, this hypothesis of dark matter is not predictive. The theorists are 'tuning' the observations of mass to make general relativity fit the observed rotations, and differently in each case. The only reason this hypothesis has survived without any detection of dark matter after 40 years of looking, and billions of pounds of funding, is a kind of group-think that would not be out of place in a religion.

How can this intellectual logjam be broken? History has shown that it is not enough to invent an more elegant alternative (as I have done with MiHsC). The only way to counter such an intellectual blockage is to find an anomaly for which the old theory has to be modified in such a Byzantine and embarrassing manner that it looses its credibility. In this case, the problem of globular clusters could do the trick, eg, see this blog entry.