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 20 October 2017

The Joy of Anomalies

It is the fashion in mainstream physics today to always start from the existing theory. For example, general relativity is always assumed to be right. If you don't believe that, try questioning it and see what happens! As a result the mainstream need to work out what data they need to find to make it right. Hence the search for dark matter, dark energy, dark flows, which brings in lots of funding too. This is the process everywhere, but it is the opposite of the scientific method which puts data first and reigned between say 1660 (founding of the Royal Society, who said 'disregard theory and look at data') and 1988 (when data-driven Feynman died). If you want to be cheeky, you could call the post-1988 way the 'religious' method, but without the attached morality.

Probably because I was educated in a more grounded form of physics (BSc in physics, PhD in ocean physics) and loved reading Feynman, I am pre-1988. What I like to do, and have ever since my physics degree, is look for interesting anomalies (data that defies the theory). Actually, before my physics degree I was fond of theories and philosophy and did not bother much about data. I spent hours in the library reading about Spinoza, and trying to devise theories from beautiful thoughts alone, but something changed when I did my third year research project at York University: An analysis of a chaotic Duffing oscillator. I built such an oscillator in the university's metalworking lab. It was a beautiful thing and I wish I still had it! (see my schematic below). A metal pendulum with a magnet at its base, repelled from its equilibrium point by a magnet underneath. It had two side-arms with magnets attached pointing down. One arm was driven sinusoidally with a electromagnetic coil around the magnet, the motion of the magnet on the other side was sensed with another electromagnetic coil. The signal was fed to a BBC computer, that also by integration could work out from the measured speed, the position of the pendulum. I collected and plotted strange attractors of the chaotic motion - the pendulum oscillates between two stable positions chaotically.

When I started my PhD shortly after, I began reading Feynman's books. Also, I eventually focussed on a beautiful anomaly. Cruise data has shown that every summer, a thin cold, fresh surface layer spreads over the north Atlantic. Why? I built a simple layered computer model of it, showed the spreading was due to wind-driven (Ekman) flow blowing polar water south and showed that the air-sea interaction heated the cold surface as it went, but did not erase the freshness, so it becomes unexpectedly buoyant (being now warm and fresh, both properties reduce water density). It forms an insulating cap on the ocean that has implications for climate (paper).

Later when I worked at the Met Office I was tasked with looking at the output of the ocean model and I decided, being fond of data by now, to look at the output without the smooth interpolation that was being done. I pixelated the raw sea surface salinity data instead, and what immediately appeared were nice bands of fresh surface water underneath rainbands. So I developed a simple model of those as well, and that predicted consequences for weather too.

I've always been keen on fundamental physics & astronomy and so I couldn't help but notice anomalies like the galaxy rotation problem, the Pioneer anomaly and that they both involve the same odd acceleration 10^-10 m/s^2. I developed a simple model to explain those, called MiHsC or quantised inertia and it turns out it predicts a lot of other anomalies, such as the emdrive, and cosmic acceleration which I did not know existed till it heard about it on the car radio and thought "MiHsC predicts that!"

I do love looking for anomalies or mysteries. That is why mainstream physics now seems so dry because they are so confident that they know it all and anomalies are brushed under the carpet with arbitrary fudges like dark matter. In my latest attempt to fight back, I have started writing #AnomalyoftheDay on twitter, documenting all the well-observed anomalies that prove that physics is very incomplete (eg: it only predicts 4% of the cosmos). There are many anomalies now, from the proton radius being different depending on how you measure it, the gravitational constant not being constant (blog), tapered microwave ovens which thrust slightly without expelling propellent (emdrives), odd lights flying around in Hesdallen, Norway (link), galaxies rotating in violation of Einstein, and the Cosmic Microwave Background being aligned with the Solar system in a way that would make Copernicus weep! (paper, see Figs. 1 and 2). I have a list of 40 or so anomalies and it is growing.

The tendency I and some others are fighting in mainstream physics is a huge one, a combination of hero-worship, intellectual laziness, group-think and a bias in physics towards mega-expensive solutions like dark matter detectors since bringing in the most funding gets academics promotion. My hope is to get physicists to look up from old books and funding applications and look at real anomalies again (an act which requires little or no funding and repays you with fun), or at least get taxpayers to demand they do. Only then will the mainstream see the utility of quantised inertia.


Simon Derricutt said...

Mike - it's looking at the anomalies that's interesting, yet too often the averaging-out of the results by statistical methods will hide a pattern that may be there when the data is plotted a certain way. Human brains are great at seeing patterns (and faces in clouds etc.). Colour-coded 2D or 3D plots, where possible, and plotting logs and inversions, may produce a pattern that can be seen that maybe wouldn't succumb to mathematical analysis. Even a simple graph, as in the Allais daily variations, can show a pattern that shouts out that there's an anomaly.

I also look at the paradoxes, and try to find a way to resolve them. That's the basis of the 2LoT work, and hopefully we'll have some data soon on that. We all know the tendency of systems to become more disordered, yet if that was all there is we wouldn't be on a planet talking about it. There is also a tendency towards order that is produced by force-fields such as gravity, electromagnetic fields and nuclear forces. For some reason this tendency to order is ignored, maybe because in normal situations it's either so well-known as being what happens or because the effect is small relative to the tendency to disorder. A lot of random systems (for example a container of gas) actually have non-random variations we usually ignore, since the bottom of that container will be at a higher pressure and temperature than the top of that container.

As measurements get better over the years, small anomalies will be seen that were earlier below the threshold of measurement. I'm sure there will be no shortage of new anomalies turning up. On the other hand, we also need to be aware of how the measurement is actually done, and what systematic errors that introduces.

For G, logically every particle in a mass will attract every particle in the other mass you're using to measure G. When those masses are almost touching, then a lot of those attractions will not be parallel to the line joining the centres-of-mass of those lumps of matter, so logically the overall attraction between the masses will be less than would be calculated when treating the masses as being concentrated in a point at the centre of gravity of each mass. The law of attraction cannot thus be exactly the simple form proposed by Newton, which only becomes nearly-right when the separation of the masses is much larger than their dimensions. The results of the experiments to measure G, therefore, will depend on the size, shape, density and separations of the masses involved, and a re-analysis of the results on this basis may in fact give a result for G that agrees between the experiments. If you do the calculations on gravitational attraction between a massive (though small) particle and an infinite massy plain, you find that the gravitational attraction is constant and does not depend on the height of the particle above the plane. For non-infinite gravitational bodies, the actual attraction at any separation must depend on the size and shape of the particle as well as its mass. These variations should be calculable (though I couldn't work out the integral myself, and would need to use approximations) and should clear up the difficulty. Note that since the Earth's gravitational field has been mapped and that we thus know where it's most dense, then it should be obvious that we can't treat any body as having all its mass at the centre of gravity, and that this is an approximation that is near-enough for most situations.

For the CMB variations, it may have something to do with measurements from a spinning system. Still, that's Somebody Else's Problem for now.

Mike McCulloch said...

Simon: Good classical suggestion on whether the finite size of the objects might explain the variations of G. I've been having some fun with simple calculations on that. Will get back to you if it pans out.

qraal said...

Speaking of Big G, there was this intriguing preprint that's well worth a look:


Type Ia supernovae, standardisable candles, and gravity

Bill S. Wright, Baojiu Li

(Submitted on 19 Oct 2017)

Type Ia supernovae (SNIe) are generally accepted to act as standardisable candles, and their use in cosmology led to the first confirmation of the as yet unexplained accelerated cosmic expansion. Many of the theoretical models to explain the cosmic acceleration assume modifications to Einsteinian General Relativity which accelerate the expansion, but the question of whether such modifications also affect the ability of SNIe to be standardisable candles has rarely been addressed. This paper is an attempt to answer this question. For this we adopt a semi-analytical model to calculate SNIe light curves in non-standard gravity. We use this model to show that the average rescaled intrinsic peak luminosity -- a quantity that is assumed to be constant with redshift in standard analyses of Type Ia supernova (SNIa) cosmology data -- depends on the strength of gravity in the supernova's local environment because the latter determines the Chandrasekhar mass -- the mass of the SNIa's white dwarf progenitor right before the explosion. This means that SNIe are no longer standardisable candles in scenarios where the strength of gravity evolves over time, and therefore the cosmology implied by the existing SNIa data will be different when analysed in the context of such models. As an example, we show that the observational SNIa cosmology data can be fitted with both a model where (ΩM,ΩΛ)=(0.62,0.38) and Newton's constant G varies as G(z)=G0(1+z)−1/4 and the standard model where (ΩM,ΩΛ)=(0.3,0.7) and G is constant, when the Universe is assumed to be flat.

qraal said...

As for the Hessdalen Lights... so many theories, but nothing really sticks. I've thought, for years, that there are plasma lifeforms we share this magnetic field with, but which are too strange for us to yet understand. But that's as speculative as any other theory.

Simon Derricutt said...

Mike - before QI I had wondered if the galaxy rotation speed problem was related to the mistake of using the gravitational equations with the whole of the mass as the centre point rather than summing the contributions from the individual stars. This would also give the effect of a reduced gravitational drop-off with distance from the centre, and we'd need to look at the sum in all directions of the gravitational attractions for each star where the concentration of other stars is greater towards the centre than the outside. It's not however my main interest so it was something to work out when I had the time. The data on precise locations of stars is however pretty skinny for galaxies a long long time ago and far, far away. We're lucky to get the acceleration data. Star density may be a good estimate, but relative position is hard to tell from a photograph except for the nearer stars in our galaxy.

The deviation from the true square-law for bodies where the size becomes important in relation to the separation may also account for the precession of Mercury - something else that could be fun to work out some day. We'd need to know the density with depth in the Sun, and then divide the Sun into a suitable number of sub-bodies that can be treated as point masses, then do a sum of the individual attractive forces to produce the resultant force and thus calculate the resultant orbit using small time-slices. The smaller the time-slices and the larger the number of divisions of the Sun (and perhaps even Mercury), the closer the simulation would be. Not too difficult a program to write, though it would take a while to run. Interesting if it gives the same answer as Einstein....

Classical theories were built on observations of limited accuracy. As accuracy has improved we see deviations from the classical predictions. Sometimes, though the approximations implied in the classical ideas may be failing instead, and are not re-addressed since it's been forgotten that the approximations are there.

I hope you have fun with the calculations!

joesixpack said...

Off topic, I don't have twitter, you ought to get the word out there on Quora:

"Why is inertia not yet explained or attempted to be explained?"

I take no umbrage with the poster, but QI/Unruh radiation (pertaining to EM drives) is mentioned with some other alternatives with the following conclusion:

"There have been many such attempts. None of these have become a standard theory, indeed every single one has attracted serious detractors.

Why have none been successful? A lack of a compelling theory or experimental evidence perhaps. Without evidence, no theory will really be accepted in science."

Except for dark matter.

Unknown said...

Potentially another nail to the dark matter coffin:


Mike McCulloch said...

Filip: This is interesting because QI predicts a loss of inertial mass at the centre of rotating structures (that's how it predicts the flyby anomalies) so a 'wobbling' of galaxies in the centre of a cluster may be expected.

Ziggy said...

Dear Mike ( Dr McCulloch, Ph.D. ),

Hello, and warm greetings from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The following article, The Curious Link Between
the Fly-By Anomaly and the EmDrive , reported that
you had made two testable predictions pertaining to
operational characteristics of the EmDrive.

I agree with both of them.

Why? Well, it seems that physical reality is full
of curious links, and due to your testable prediction,
I think I've found another one, the link between
EmDrive's thrust and the Biefeld-Brown effect :


In my opinion, the Biefeld-Brown effect :


is an instance of the Abraham force :


and therefore EmDrive's thrust is essentially
due to the Biefeld-Brown effect, which in turn
stems from the Abraham force.

If so, the existence of EmDrive's thrust is not anomalous,
as it doesn't violate any Laws of Physics.

If you agree, perhaps we could write a paper together?

My above EmDrive thrust conjecture is based
on my quantum gravity hypothesis :


With respect and much gratitude, I am
Sincerely yours,

Unknown said...


Talking about anomalies.... One anomaly that I have been following in the last few years and that Mike has also mentioned in his tweets are the so-called "Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR)", the effect formerly known as "Cold Fusion".

An interesting thing to note about LENR is that TODAY, FRIDAY, November 24th, there will be an important presentation on this topic at around 12 pm U.S. Eastern Time (which is around 18:00 in Germany, don't know about the UK) that is streamed in the Internet via the following site: http://www.ecat.com/.

Independent background information can be found on http://ecatworld.org/ and on http://e-catworld.com/.

What is so interesting about this event is that the presenter is the Italian engineer Andrea Rossi who has been working on his new energy source for the past six or seven years. But never before he has allowed any video recordings of his invention, let alone internet streaming. He just got through long court proceedings with his former investors, and right after he got the full rights on his invention back, he is announcing his first world-wide presentation.

Another interesting thing to note is that immediately after this announcement was made, several web sites that were focusing on discussing LENR research in the past years and that were now announcing Rossi's presentation became victims of massive cyber attacks. So, it seems that other players in the field of (alternative or conventional) energy production know - or at least suspect - that Rossi really has something interesting to present today....

But even if he hasn't, there is definitely an anomaly which is worth studying and that is potentially of great technical use. If he does not deliver, other researchers will.

My greatest sympathies are with a group of young non-professional researchers on LENR who are collaborating world-wide and openly share all their results on a common platform, without any commcercial interests, see: http://www.quantumheat.org/.

I think *this* is the future of open science, as it should be!

Simon Derricutt said...

Roul - I agree that LENR (or Cold Fusion) is an anomaly that is both real and needing to be explored further. Unfortunately, having spent a while analysing what Rossi has published, I see his results as being bad measurements and most-likely deliberately bad. As far as I can see, Rossi has nothing real at the moment and it's possible he fooled himself (as well as others) with his earlier experiments. I can't say that he never saw any anomaly, but his methods of measurement were insufficient to have been certain. Refer to http://coldfusioncommunity.net/home/ for some in-depth analysis of Rossi and especially the court-case.

If what Rossi shows today is actually kosher, then cyber-attacks on the websites would not stop the information from emerging since around 70 people will be there in person. Those people in turn have a number of contacts via email who can also spread the information in ways that can't be stopped effectively.

There are currently well-funded experiments being done in Austin, Texas, to repeat and extend Miles' correlation of heat and Helium, and thus pin down that LENR is both real and is nuclear to a degree of certainty that ought to be sufficient for modern science. Though that experiment won't in itself add to our knowledge, since Miles did a good job, possible systematic errors will be addressed and the experiment should achieve improved accuracy. With a bit of luck this may remove the stigma of "pathological science" from LENR and encourage more grad-students to experiment without having their careers destroyed. The knowledge that there's something real to discover gives us a better chance that someone will work out why it happens and thus improve the technology.

Ziggy said...

Simon Derricutt said:

" Unfortunately, having spent a while analysing what Bandooreek has published, I see his results as being bad measurements and most-likely deliberately bad in order to sell his so-called "nano-particle meta-prototype" for $99,000.00 only. As far as I can see, Bandooreek has nothing real at the moment and it's possible he fooled himself (as well as others) with his earlier experiments. "

Yes, but it does not mean that cold fusion is not working!
Here is a new, fairly recent documentary :


Alain_Co said...

My position after long analysis and meetings, is that LENR was definitively proven ans a nuclearphenomenon since the 90s, and that Rossi recently proved (In Doral, data from the pre-trial) that either he was frauding , or pretending to be frauding to deter an investor.

Two position are not incompatible, and I've very skeptic on most industrial claims on LENR.
Only modest results like Brillouins, Mizuno, Miley,... seems reasonable for me. anyway that is guesses.
199x peer reviewed papers and Doral judge docket are the only evidence I have.

Unknown said...

Dear all,
I have to apologize as the event did not play out quite as I said. I had read several announcements of a "life stream from the U.S.", but actually, the life event happened in the morning in Stockholm, and the video recording has been put online just now, with a delay of more than 12 hrs! Sorry for that, I did not intentionally try to spread fake news. Still, it is probably the biggest public event on LENR until now, and you can find it documented here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkj-7whwpUk
I also do not buy everything they say at face value, but I like the constructive criticism of people like Mats Lewan (see http://ecatworld.org/e-cat-qx-presentation-thread-3-comments-from-mats-lewan/) better than the cynicism and personal attacks found on sites like https://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/thread/5417-demonstration-of-the-e-cat-qx-24-november-summary-thread/?pageNo=1
But still the nice thing about all this is that you can witness the real, "dirty" process of science where people do not find "the truth" and then everyone agrees, like in textbooks, but where they don't even agree on whether they observe something or not. :-)
Thank you anyway for the interesting links to some officially funded research projects on this topic.
In general, we need much more funded research on anomalies!!!!

Simon Derricutt said...

Roul - AFAICT Rossi used a 60W power supply, didn't measure the voltage drop across the device (so didn't show the power going into it), and showed that it output 50W or so. Somewhat less than convincing, especially if you have looked at his history of measurement. Still, there appears to be a new crop of people who are willing to back Rossi, so we'll be talking about this a while longer.

As you note, real science is not the way it's depicted in films, and it can take quite a while for people to decide on whether something is true or not. Sometimes the sceptics turn out to be right, and sometimes wrong. I think Mike has a better explanation of the cosmological anomalies than either Dark Matter or MoND, and the implications as regards the way the universe is structured are far-reaching. It's still fringe, though, until we can test the other predictions against what we can measure.

Funding tends to turn up once someone sees that an anomaly is both real and that a profit can be made. In the meantime, anything that is against the consensus depends on self-funded experimenters and the odd angel investor who is interested. No point in asking for more - would you donate money to research you expected would totally fail? Putting public money into such things would be political suicide, so we're left with people who personally think there's a chance.

Alain - nice to see you here, since Horizon Mechanics may be crazy enough to be true. As with LENR, I expect it will be shown to be a closer approach to the Truth in future. It needs more publicity, and thus more people thinking about it and running experiments.

Zbig/Ziggy/Horizon Radiation - again you're claiming to quote me and have put your own words in instead. Go back under the bridge and wait for the three goats to come across. I note you've also deleted quite a few of your comments here already, maybe because you've realised they are easily shown to be wrong.