January 11, 2017
Many thanks for this replication! Yes – that’s the basic idea, in these experiments the spinning wheel is held at a fixed point, by Laithwaite and the replicator. Doug mentions a gyroscope that seems to have disappeared from sight. In classical dynamics the force of gravitation and the force of the moving frame exactly balance each other, so a conventional spinning top for example does not rise above the ground. In fluid dynamics the balance is changed by the convective derivative, which in general contains nine terms. The simplest configuration is that the wheel is held on an arm that is parallel to the earth’s surface, and the wheel is spun about this arm.”
The story so far: the despicable crackpot Eric Laithwaite deceives and misleads an audience of schoolchildren over 40 years ago and, thanks largely to the internet, this disgraceful episode is resurrected (just as the conman Tesla has been) to mislead the new generation of budding physicists. In response, some Australians take the trouble to make a video which debunks (perhaps too mildly) the Laithwaite lies and to explain exactly what is going on. In fact, other academics have been encouraging students to debunk the Laithwaite videos as ‘projects’. So what happens when we bring the debunking video to the attention of the ‘Institute of Asinine Scientists’? Well Siemens Stain, for one, still does not get it and thinks that the Australian video is further evidence of a non-existent force. Meanwhile, the chief clown further distorts his crackpot theory in order to conjure up the ‘required’ non-existent force from nowhere. Meanwhile, Lindy has to explain to himself not only a force from nowhere but also a disappearing top. If these people are not clinically insane, and only Ron has a (not)sick-note, then they do a pretty convincing impression of it. We used to fear that belief in this gyroscope delusion reflected a weakness of mind that might harm the economic viability of the West vis-a-vis the ‘tiger economies’ of the East and their much higher levels of attainment in the sciences at student-level. The worldwide patent systems in fact show that attempts to patent ‘gyroscopic antigravity or propulsion’ are just as frequent in Japan … and China is rapidly catching up. Our more-cynical author friend is beside himself with glee at all of this.