Monday, 28 December 2009

The problem with the "megapixels don't matter" myth.

I've seen some camera reviews and blogs rave over the quality of a camera because of the number of megapixels it has; I've seen others go to all lengths to deny the importance of megapixel density altogether. I have several problems with both positions because both often ignore certain elements that contribute to image sharpness, making an argument that is quite unscientific.

To accurately capture the quality of a certain aspect of digital - or any type of - photography, only the aspect being tested can change with each experiment. To make this clear, let's outline the tools and environment needed to capture a photo:

a) Subject and Lighting.
b) Lens.
c) Film plane (sensor).
d) Camera support.
d) ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, Focus, Distance from Subject (framing).
e) Post production (in-camera or none altogether).
g) Display (print or screen), calibration & resolution.

Rather obvious, no? If we are to effectively test the quality of a sensor against another, only the sensor should change between tests. This may be rather difficult in today's world where different products have accessories that change some or sometimes all of the other constants that would make for a scientific test, but the logic remains the same. Ken Rockwell uses this logic quite clearly in his camera testing by using the same lens, photo environment/technique and photo post-production (enlargement, cropping, etc.) in each comparison.

One aspect that most comparison-articles tend to neglect: Lens quality. A lens has 'grain' and sharpness, and if you ignore this fact in your testing, your comparison will be false - or at best, incomplete. Say, for example, you are using a not-so-sharp lens to compare sensors: If the maximum sharpness of one lens 'grain' covers more than one sensor pixel, it hardly matters how many more pixels you use to capture that (non-) sharpness, as even if the entire rest of the photo environment/technique remain the same, the result will appear the same.

Add to this neglect the method used to calculate pixel density (or a debunking thereof), and you will have a truly mislead reader. The 'megapixel' method should be ignored altogether, as it is not attainable/usable by the human mind, let alone photographers: we measure by perception and vague reckoning, and never by mathematical calculations of (dimension-undefined) area. We used to 'measure' grain density by a certain ISO 'constant' compared to the size of the film plane we were using, itself compared to the visibility of this combination in the final image (at its desired size). We have no way of isolating/including any of these elements of reason with just a single 'megapixel' number.

So, if you want to test a sensor between camera models, you're basically going to have to start ripping cameras apart and switching parts between them. Until a test of that sort occurs, I will continue to insist that pixel density does matter - but only if the rest of your camera/display environment can detect the difference too.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The 'Pinhole effect' - revisited.

Something isn't sitting right with my model - the pinhole analogy was a good one, but the model I made upon it describes something that goes almost opposite to all the physics laws we know - I'm really trying to take the same pattern downwards beyond our scope of present understanding; it would be completely logical that the laws we know today are based upon 'smaller' variations of the phenomena we know today.

I'm still incertain, but a 'fast on slow' model seems to fit better. The lower the difference in interacting energies, the higher the force of attraction - just like gravity between two passing objects - and this would make sense on a model based on an 'inert' quid: increases in energy in the 'secondary flow' would end up 'farther away' from lower energy interactions (in both space and time) and their higher gravitational pull (in our dimension) - just like in any explosion: light, sound, debris. So I feel better thinking that all we see is a result of an energy interaction with a base inert energy (that will eventually return to an intert state) - but who's moving and who's not is relative, isn't it? Still, I'd rather think about it this way without throwing in an extra 'point of view' complication that wouldn't matter anyways.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The 'Negative Pinhole effect' - Tying it all together.

I had a hard time figuring out what was 'faster' - quarks or photons. In one model, if quarks were a result of an energy interaction where the 'secondary energy' was at a speed closest to the 'base energy speed', this would mean that photons were actually faster than quarks. This doesn't work for many reasons.

Instead, I'd like to think that the base particles we know (photons, electrons and quarks) gain their 'binding power' through their friction - or speed difference - with our universe's 'base energy' (I came up with the name 'quid' for this - I may be so bold as to use it later). Thus I remain with my initial model, in order of speed: quid, photons, electrons, and quarks.

Now, imagine a pinhole in a piece of paper, and a jet of air streaming through it. The air at the centre of the hole will be the practically unhindered fastest, and the air brushing against the paper towards the edge will be subject to a certain turbulence, thus slower. This fits even the models we know today, there is a certain attraction between the moving air and the paper: one of these phenomena we know as lift.

UPDATE:
I'm not so sure I like the above analogy. Only the 'attraction' created by the friction between inert and moving elements would be true, but even then: actually the paper would represent the fastest-moving material, and the flow through the centre of the hole the slowest... so maintain only the resistance between different speeds, that 'binding' power increases with difference in speeds between matter.
/UPDATE

Thus photons are the fastest thing we know, and would they somehow gain enough energy to match the speed of the field/base energy they are passing through, they essentially would... disappear. At least, to us.

On the other end of the spectrum, once an energy flow gains 'binding power' above a certain level, it ceases to become 'pure' energy, and becomes... energy-containing mass. From here on 'down' we can apply this model to all the laws we know today, but I'd still like to stress a marked difference between the base 'friction/bonding' phenomenon (gravity) and all other phenomena that may occur further down the scale of atomic construction (magnetism, electricity).

Now, why ever do these 'energy bonds' maintain their state, and why has the matter they created spread from a single point? Here, we have to return to dimensions.

Imagine an aquarium (a model fathomable by our minds incapable of imagining infinity) filled with an inert gas. Within, no matter which direction we go, at no matter what point in 'time', the substance remains the unchanged same, as we have no means of comparing our destination state/place to our point of departure. Thus, in essence, neither space nor time exist there.

Now, we introduce a brief jet of air (or other substance) into our arena according to the above model. The substance created by the disturbance would vary according to its distance from the point of injection.   Let us assume that, for the moment, there is no element of time (as our 'base energy' encompasses this), but should we follow the 'building effect' the disturbance has caused, we would be in fact introducing the element of time. Thus a pinhole 'projection' into a timeless void would become a pinprick when the element of time is added; I think it is imaginable that any disturbance in the 'aquarium of space-time' would in fact create an almost infinite number of dimensions. It is important to stress here that our universe's 'base energy' (quid) remains omnipresent in all states of space and time.

So if an initial disturbance is 'projected' into a certain direction ('dimension'), the elements created therein will interact along that path while maintaining their initial state. 'More disturbed' energies would bond into quarks and hadrons (neutrons/protons), 'lesser disturbed' energies - charged but less-binding electrons - would bind to the first, and the 'practically undisturbed' energies that we know as photons would shoot ahead of the pack into space, as would the results of any other 'energy accelerations' created by the interaction of the base elements (positrons, electrons) that resulted. But we know this model already.

I would just like to add a thought about the different 'types' of quarks, electrons and photons we know: these may be just a result of different 'levels of friction' divided between 'spectrums of behaviour' - again, photons, electrons and quarks - that have a 'stable' centre state; energies above and below this stable state results in different 'flavours' of each element, but energetic interaction tends to result in (or 'gravitate towards) a stable state.

Thus I think that our universe, as we know it, occurred only once in our space-time. I'm not sure how it will all end, but according to present models it seems that all the elements we know will combine their energies enough to 'accelerate' to their initial state - quid - to disappear once again. This already seems to be happening within black holes.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Update to come

I had to stop today because of a loss of perspective, not to mention because of a very high fever. I have yet to tie all this together - and yes, dimensions are coming back into the picture later - but for now it seems that my 'building block theorising' is centred around the phenomenon caused by the differnce in speed between one energy and another 'base energy' (matter) omnipresent in our galaxy. I'm still a bit surprised that in summary the 'speed spectrum' of the secondary 'riding' energy that makes the base building blocks of everything we know is very narrow - but I think this may also be the base of what we see as time, or in other words, what we see as our dimension. More later.

States of Acceleration.

Wait a second. Exactly the opposite to the 'slower' model could be true: what if the base 'speed' of this energy flow is 'nil' and everything faster than it resulting in forms detectable to us? No matter the direction, the differing speeds would result in a 'friction' that could be the source of the different forms of energy we know. But this doesn't sit right with me, probably because of my ingrained idea that the more mass an object has, the 'slower' it is.

In fact, 'faster' or 'slower' than what we know isn't important here: it's the difference in speed of, and 'friction' resulting from, - one energy flow and another. 'Faster' or 'slower' is just a matter of perspective. Hence what we would consider 'fastest' would be closest to our universe's 'base energy speed', and slowest would be the farthest from it. No matter how you look at it, the spectrum remains the same.

If I was to make a spectrum of 'flow' speeds, and this will most probably resemble much of what has already published in the scientific world, it would be, from fastest to slowest (or 'closest to the base' and 'farthest from the base'): Base energy, photon, electron, quark.

To the best of our knowledge, a photon is an electromagnetic force. I mentioned earlier that I sensed (or would like to sense) a common element in both sides of Einstein's equation: what if this element was the 'base flow' of our universe? What if a photon ('light'), as we know it, was a result of friction between one flow of energy and the common 'base flow'? Again, the 'speed' of one or the other wouldn't matter - it's the difference between the two.

The 'bonding' - or polarity - caused by the difference in speed of one force and another makes sense - and it could be the origin of all forces of attraction known to our universe.

Let me take this one step higher in the 'speed' scale. If a difference in speed between two flows becomes greater, the energy 'riding' the 'base flow' (at one point I'm going to have to find a name for this) increases in polarity, or 'magnetic energy'. Electrons fit this model, as they do have polarity. If a positively charged electron hits a negatively charged electron, they 'eliminate' each other and emit a photon (I'd like to think that they combine to form an accelerated form of energy - that photon).

Step the speed difference between two flows up another notch and the polarity power of the flow 'riding' the base flow increases to a point where it begins to bond with others with the same strength of attraction: this would be quarks. The polarity of the 'riding' and 'base flow' would result in the different types of quark we know today - namely 'up' quarks and 'down' quarks (and the other types we know about may just be variations in flow difference above or below the bonding 'speed') - and these in turn bond to form what we know as protons (two 'ups' and one 'down') and neutrons (two 'downs' and one 'up').

The rest is a matter of consequence: neutrons and protons combine to create atoms, the stability of which is determined by the equality of the interacting attraction of their nuclei and electrons. I'd like to think that the gravity of a mass is caused only by an accumulation of the 'central' polarity attraction of each atom, and that phenomena such as electricity, fusion, fission and magnetism are only a result, affected in only a secondary way by gravity, of the interaction of these base structures.

Whoah bis.

I just felt a 'click' with my last post. Forget the concept of 'hot' at the first level: what if we reduced the model to one of 'speed'? If the base of our universe was an element moving too fast for us to detect it, and everything else built upon it that we could see 'slower', the difference between differing speeds could be the origin of what we call 'high energy' or 'heat'. This would also explain phenomena such as black holes if these were regions where, although they were created through a high accumulation of atom mass, forces became so dense that even atoms were reduced - thus accelerated - to their 'undetectable' base energy form and speed?

The above would also explain 'dark matter'.

Whoah.

I had to take some time out from my "layman mullings" to do some research. Not only was I getting stuck into the thought-lines of my own "model", but I was (purposely?) Ignoring many facts about how bodies interact. Do try to understand that the whole point of all this is trying to find some ideas "outside of the box".

One of the subjects I looked up was atom structure, form and behaviour. Another was the composition of the universe - and there I found how few atoms there are in our universe compared to its size. This led to the subject of still-hypothetical "dark matter". Which only gives more fodder for thought.

I'm going to let go of the concept of 'dimensions' for the moment to just look at our own.

One thing that got me thinking was the 'cooling' aspect of the atomically composed part of our universe: if a, say, planet somehow strayed into outer space to a region free of all light and gravitational influence, it would eventually 'cool' to an almost inactive state; yet this would not be the case, as the planet, because of its mass (atom structure), has an energy of its own. Yet atoms tend to 'degrade', especially unstable ones; but degrade into what?

That question brought the 'energy flow' idea, and the idea that this flow was too 'fast' (or 'reduced') for us to detect, and the idea that most everything in our universe was built upon it. What would happen if we turned our idea of "hot" on its head, and thought along a model where this energy flow (and its 'speed') was a 'neutral state', and that everything slower than it becomes 'denser' and 'hotter' the slower it goes?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Time of reflection - energy direction

I'm having a bit of difficulty working out the transition of energy into our dimension, and its behaviour after  entering it. Once here, energy can flow in any direction, and typically flows in every direction away from its point of origin or source, but this brings up a few questions: does our dimension have 'limits'? What was this 'point of origin' (was it the centre of the big bang?) and why, if our dimension originated either through a collision with another or some other dimension-diverting phenomenon in another, does energy radiate in all directions, and not in a "spew" pattern spreading outwards from the dimension collision/creation point? Also, to me there seems to be an underlying force unifying all levels of energy conduction - light, inertia, etc. - and I'm wondering if this is a base 'magnetism' that is the very essence of our - or any - dimension. If so, does this energy 'flow' in the same dimensional direction as we - or has it ceased to flow altogether?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Directions of Energy.

This post is a direct lead-up from the last. I kept thinking about "energy direction = dimension" and a lot of things seemed to fit.

I began by thinking of the smallest particles we know being a result of combined flows of energy. This didn't sit quite right with me, but then I thought: what if the base of everything we see around us, no matter its level of construction, is in fact energy flowing in the same direction, and that very energy is the base of attraction we call gravity? If every molecule contains atoms that contain hadrons that contain quarks, it doesn't really matter the stage of construction, does it? If it is proven that every particle we know contains some gravitational force, this adds up to something for me.

We know that when particle combine in massive quantities, a huge gravitational pull is created; the higher end of this phenomenon we call black holes. Now, scientists have stated since decades that gravity at the centre of some black holes is so enormous that matter practically ceases to exist - but what if it does cease to exist - at least in our direction, or dimension? What if the forces accumulate in numbers so great that it causes them to... change direction? They would essentially disappear - at least to our dimension.

Take this model to the other end of the scale: we have quite recently begun experimentation with particle accelerators. Isn't the aim of this endeavour in the same high-energy direction as the centre of a black hole - combining particles under the duress of super-high energy levels? I have to check my facts, but it would seem to me that in some atom collisions, some quarks had "disappeared".

Finally, back to the big bang. What if the origins of the world as we know it wasn't an explosion (in the conventional sense of the term), but an accumulation of energy in one dimension so massive that it suddenly... changed direction? This model of 'injection' of energy from a single point redirected into our present direction would explain many things - namely the limits of our universe (the 'nothingness' beyond), and it would also define what dimensions are as well as the infinite possibilities of what directions they may take - or at the least, it can show the uniqueness of the dimension direction we are travelling in, and the difficulties and conditions of travelling to others.

Addendum: At a first glance, the above seems to be consistant with Einstein's E=mc² - but if his equasion was used as an equasion mapping containment, or comparison (mass/energy), and not conversion? I also have doubts about the constance of 'c' (the speed of light)... in my attempt to make a timeless model, a certain element of c (if it were to contain or be a result of a 'flow' tying us into our present direction) would enter into - or be substracted from - both sides of the equasion. More later.

Eliminating time from the Equation

Something about time in my mullings doesn't fit. I can't cease thinking of time as only our perception of particle interaction: in most every scientific model we make, we can only compare the speed at which things happen to constant phenomenon, such as the speed of light (that differs through various substances?) or the measure of certain radioactive particles whose degradation progresses an X amount for every X rotations of our planet around our sun.

I think my line of thought has more to do with the direction of our dimension - everything else resulting after that can only be measured in terms we know for our better comprehension, so I can almost consider "time" as a second layer of calculation. I'll try eliminating it from my model to see what happens.

Universal theory - dimension update

I'd like to add - or perhaps clarify - some thoughts about dimensions I only outlined in my earlier post.

I've seen enough of hollywood's "into the fourth dimension" movies - while I thought it was common knowledge that time was the fourth dimension -  but I'd like get rid of altogether the concept of there being a limited amount of dimensions.

I remember, while skipping my own classes to visit my brother's school (for gifted youngsters), listening to a group from his class theorize about what a world that had only two dimensions would look like. Although I found this line and level of thought invigorating (next to the repetitive tedium of my own classes), from the start I had to reject the possibility of such a world: if we're talking mass, there would be no height and width to measure if there is not a depth; and what of time?

I may have stated my views to my brother later, but I left the question as just another of those paradoxes that we have to live with, like the "something from nothing" question that was the origins of our universe. As I mentioned in my earlier post, this changed with the emergence of quarks and string theory.

The concept of mass consisting of three physical dimensions is very approachable for our cognitive abilities (first we draw a square in the air, then we 'extract' it into a cube), but when we get down to an atomic and particle level, we see that there are no 'steps' in dimensional extraction; the only common centre is a centre of gravity; mass projects from the centre in all directions.

So, either we try to count the possibly infinite 'dimensions' projecting from each centre of gravity, or we reduce the phenomenon to the base elements of its existence - clustering and direction.

Time for me is but a chain reaction: elements combining, displacing and changing one another, and our perception of the passage of time is but our witnessing of this chain of events. There is no 'up' or 'forward' in this sense - I can only observe that this interaction is heading in a common direction.

It's this common centre of gravity that we see at every level of our existence - from quarks to entire planetary systems - that intrigues me the most. What if the 'common direction' I perceive as time is in fact  but a dimension projecting from a gravitational centre of its own? But this takes me back to my earlier question.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Global warming - it's science, not opinion, stupid.

I'm getting very tired of hearing 'arguments' for or against the fact that our planet is getting warmer; it's not the subject that bothers me, it's the method in which these arguments often are presented.

When we're dealing in subjects that count on sources and knowledge beyond our individual empirical reach, it is normal that we depend upon the research and accumulation of knowledge of others more informed than we. Yet I, the ignorant, could have a hard time discerning what source of "knowledge" to accept over others; no matter the decibel volume of the source, one thing that can't be masked or exaggerated in any findings is the method through which they were found.

Science is an observation process that contains as little human emotion or identity as possible. A researcher's previous findings, and conclusions thereof, can only point him in a new direction of research. What separates a true scientist from the rest is his method of treating all evidence from that point onward: a true scientist will not attempt to make any conclusion until he has accumulated as much information as possible from as many sources as are available to him. Do you see the direction of logic here? The evidence points to the answer, not the other way around.

Introducing "identity" into the scientific process corrupts and discredits it. Whether the motivation for the "identity factor" be because of personal gain or just pure stubbornness, any person who conducts his research to "prove" preconceived ideas is not scientific. In all my years of following scientific research, very few of the "conclusions" I have seen that go against general scientific consensus are of any scientific value, as most turn out to have been generated by those working for the very special interests whose activities would be impeded by any action taken on the real scientific data available to us.

Of course, in the past, new scientific discoveries have debunked old ones. This is normal, and very scientific, but we are no longer in an era where science replaces human ignorance; we are in an era that is the result of several layers and several generations of scientific research. Whereas we had nothing concrete on which to base our findings before, science has managed to build a rudimentary model of undeniable truths upon which to observe our universe, thanks to our discoveries of the workings of atoms, gravity and the like. We are no longer in the time of Copernic where the only alternative to science was the status quo that was religion then.

Yet I do see parallels to that era in the world today. The status quo may no longer be religion, but it has adopted a form that is almost identical to religion, an almost blind faith in all things that preserve "our way of life". If we prefer to shut our eyes to the fact and science to favour our own comfort (or what we perceive to be comfort), we are just as condemnable as 16th-century religion, yet this time around, through our heightened means of communication, we are doing all the disillusionment work ourselves. Again, as in most every cycle in history, the status quo will hold strong until it begins to be perceived as a source of suffering - and in this age where it is the status quo-dependant upper eschelons of society whose voice is heard the most, I don't see this happening any time soon.