Being a volunteer on All Experts affords one the opportunity to extend his or her teaching, even if now retired from formal university teaching. Also, it offers the ability to interact with many young and curious minds, all seeking to better understand the universe in which we live. The problem is when one encounters minds led astray by pseudo-scientific bafflegab and pseudo-mathematical twaddle (warned about by Charles Seife in his book,

**Proofiness: How You're Being Fooled by the Numbers**. )

Anyway, my encounter with this sort of bollocks started yesterday with an apparently innocent hypothetical question, by a Canadian student named "Diana":

QUESTION: If a bullet traveling beside the ISS was to gradually increase in mass (while continuing at the exact same velocity) it would slowly descend towards the earth as it orbits.

Now it is 30 m above the earth traveling at the same
velocity as the ISS. If its mass now
remained constant and its velocity begins to increase, it will slowly rise
upwards towards space while continuing to orbit.

Note this is the extent of the question, and there is no elaboration specifically of the last portion referencing the density of the space "surrounding it".

My reply was as follows:

A typical bullet has a standard mass of 100 g (0.1 kg).
This is roughly the same as about 45% of meteoritic debris. Hence, at the
velocity you are proposing (same as ISS) it would behave like meteoritic debris
and be burned up in the Earth's atmosphere on entering - before it could ever get as low as 30 m, even
if its mass increased (refer to the Chelyabinsk object which burned up in
February last year over Russia).

QUESTION: Hypothetically if there was no atmosphere
around the earth.

Note here the positing of an absurd hypothetical - an airless Earth. Of course, then it ceases to be Earth. As I further noted in my response (clearly invoking way too much common sense):

How could an airless world have occupants that launched
an ISS? Also your hypothetical is contradicted by referring to "increased density of
the space surrounding it". Which, unless I've missed your meaning,

__has to refer to atmosphere__. I mean, from where else would this increased density come?
In any case, even with the extremely implausible
conditions you suggest, it is impossible that the bullet would "rise
up" because - after increasing its mass (again, as you suggest) the
increased gravitational pull of Earth (F ~ GMm/r

^{2}) would have ensured an ultimately decayed orbit and impact. Not "rising up".^{6}m/s to sustain any orbit - far less move up- which is preposterous, given the ISS velocity is only 7.71 x 10

**m/s. It is all very well to propose "hypotheticals" but we must expect some touchstone in reality, physical laws. (I.e. where will the energy come from to countermand the force of Earth's gravitational attraction?)**

^{3}
You're hilarious !

> How could an airless world have occupants that
launched an ISS?

That's exactly why we use the word hypothetical.

> would have ensured an ultimately decayed orbit and
impact.

No the velocity was kept constant and only enough mass
was added to bring it close to the earth.

Because space is not empty but made of quantum particles
of mass we believe the increased velocity would indeed cause a higher density
thus pushing the bullet upwards. See:

Where do these ridiculous websites emanate from that enable young minds to be hooked by bollocks? Quantum particles of mass - sufficient

**? As I wrote back to her, also clarifying the applicability of the term "**

*to affect a bullet**hypothetical*":

This is why I reject most hypothetical questions unless
they at least assume a relative basis in reality (i.e. if you are writing or
talking about a problem relative to *

**Earth***, then we assume Earth parameters ab initio. Thus, in my frame of reference, "hypothetical" has limits. If you choose the Earth as the planet you're examining in a given problem context, then it has the density, mass, temperature profile etc. and YES ...__atmosphere__of Earth. If not, you choose a planet example that fits the conditions you require__o__r imagine a completely hypothetical example planet - not Earth!__Wholeness and the Implicate Order__. Bohm notes 1 cc of empty space has a mass-energy that surpasses that of the known matter universe, but it can't be used to move or affect a macroscopic material particle.

*Does Physics Legislate Cosmogony?*' by John Wheeler and C.M. Patton. In the paper they calculate (or estimate, more accurately) the effective mass-density of quantum vacuum fluctuations by using:

**c/ L**

*h*^{2}) c ] / L

^{3}

^{-33}cm. This result becomes 10

^{94}g/ cm

^{3}. But again, the problem is that the immense density isn't available to do anything to macroscopic objects, like bullets. In order to affect bullets, they'd have to be the same scale as the Planck length, but they are not.

Earth's orbit Velocity and Circumference must be calculated via "pure mathematics" in accordance with the Speed of Light.

**When this is done, the true reality of our galaxy is easily understood**.

Hence (according to the SOLARMath® TABLE below) when the correct orbit velocity of earth (30,689.1802376259 m/s) is calculated according to Einstein's "c", the following list of extraordinary mathematics unfolds. And please do not jump to immature refutes by stating that the UNITS do not work. ALL units work perfectly - Link

1) Speed of
Light =
orbit Velocity^2 / Pi
(Enormously Important Equation)

2) Speed of
Light =
Acceleration of Gravity x orbit Time

3) Speed of
Light =
Acceleration of Gravity x (earth Volume
/ orbit Circumference x Tau2)

4) Speed of
Light =
Acceleration of planet earth in orbit
x Diameter of orbit

5) Speed of
Light =
Density of earth x orbit Velocity x 2

**Proofiness: How You're Being Fooled by the Numbers**. Seife decried the tactic of using numbers not just to lie but to baffle the susceptible and gullible with bullshit. He refers to a common failing of most people unversed in math to be hoodwinked merely because some form of math or numbers are interjected into arguments. Not just using numbers to bolster one's argument. In his words, to use fake numbers to prove falsehoods and to seek to prove something is true - even when it's not- is one of the most egregious forms of intellectual fraud. The first thing any first year Physics student learns - or should - is to check for consistency of the physical units used. If their combination doesn't yield any recognized physical quantity - defined as part of the standards and constants published yearly by the American Institute of Physics - then the results are balderdash, pure and simple. Let's take her example (4) where:

Speed of Light = Acceleration of planet earth in orbit x Diameter of orbit

__What are the units here__? The speed of light c is in meters per second, or m/s. The acceleration a is given in terms of m/ s

^{2 }and the diameter of any orbit (any orbit) is a length so in meters (m). Then multiplying them together one gets:

(m/s) = ? (m/ s

^{2}) (m) = m

^{2 }/ s

^{2}

Which is emphatically not the same as the units for velocity of light! Let's also check her "enormously important equation" (1): Speed of Light = orbit Velocity^2 / Pi

Again, we examine the product of the units to see if there's a quantity that results that makes any sense or if this girl is just seeing things, or seeing what she wants to see. We have the speed of light on one side (units m/s ) and on the other the orbit velocity squared:

(m/s)

^{2}= m

^{2 }/ s

^{2}

^{}

^{ }

Note that the presence of pi is neither here nor there as it's a

__dimensionless mathematical constant__.

The thing that really bothered me in all this, not so much the snarkiness and bogus certitude of these young women, was their failure to recognize that the combination of units yields zilch. A squared velocity is simply NOT the same as a velocity. Both girls - if indeed there are two - would merit an

**F**in any physics class of mine. Worse, if I could I'd deliver an F-minus because of the lack of critical thinking.

Sadly, if this girl or girls are infected by this stupidity many others might be too. Who knows how many physics students have gone on to the website referenced and then belabored their profs with this bullshit, wasting all kinds of time? But one thing I've learned is you can't argue with ignorant students or ignorant people who are already committed to believe what they want. In this case, because the "maths' seems to work out (at least in their heads) they believe it like a sacred book.

One more confirmation of Charles Seife's thesis in his book,

**Proofiness: How You're Being Fooled by the Numbers,**that too many of us are too often mesmerized by fake quantities and made to look like ignorant fools because of it.

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