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What is radiation???
Hi All,
Radiation effects things. We can often see, feel, and measure such effects. One can feel the warmth of sunlight upon your face for example. But, what is radiation? Is it true that radiation IS radiation? Well, no, that woud be like saying paint IS paint. So, what are the differing types of radiation? Do different types of radiation have differing properties and effects on differing things? It is conventional wisdom at present that in some respects all radiation is the same (in some respects it displays commonality). All radiation is said to travel at the speed of light for example. In others respects radiation is sometimes thought of as a wave, a radio wave for example, and at other times radiation is thought of as a particle, ie a photon that has mass, or as a packet of energy that has no mass, ie a quanta, radiation therefore also displays duality. Or rather the varying explanations of what radiation is, as given at present show both comonality AND duality. This raises the question can radiation be all things to all men at all times??? It all sounds a bit too convenient, and seemingly deliberately down right confusing.

We can measure, we can feel, and we can use to our advantage the forces of magnetismm and gravity. In short, we know magnetism and gravity have effects, but we do not know what either magnetism or gravity actually are. We simply call them forces. The law of gravity for example does not work when applied to three objects The moon is an "observational error" when the law of gravity is applied to the sun, earth and moon "system".
In short, the EFFECTS described by the law of gravity has to be applied in a far more complex manner than Newton himself applied it to the moon. BUT, in case we take our eye off the ball, this still does not tell us what gravity itself is.
This it seems to me is also the case with radiation, it is a very complex and multifaceted force that we can feel, experience, and use the effects of. What the force we refer to as radiation is, in all of it's differing forms, and how they interact and coexist we do not actually know.

I first became extremely confused about radiation when I came across the ultra violet light catastrophy on Claes Johnson's blog.
Wikipedia explains this catastrophy as below,
The ultra violet light catastrophy gave birth to quantum mechanics.

(birth is too grand a term, maybe the continuing of the possibly dead on arrival gestation of quantum mechanics would be a better way of phrasing it)

By now almost everyone will have given up trying to understand what radiation is......That I think is THE POINT. No one knows.
According to Einstein no one knew back then.
" All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question, 'What are light quanta?' Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken. " Albert Einstein,
'The Born-Einstein Letters' Max Born, translated by Irene Born, Macmillan 1971
I do not see any evidence that anyone knows any better yet.

Ok, so this state of affairs is not very helpful. However "we" have foisted upon us the greenhouse effect "theory" and it's totally dependent bastard child Man made global warming (Anthrpogenic Global Warming) "theory" as presently modelled by the IPCC / UN. The GH "theory" (which is a failed hypothesis because P/4 is unphysical), that is based upon radiation, it's flows and effects, whilst assumptions of results of the mechanisms and effects of radiation are relied upon.
In the end GH "theory" and AGW have no more basis in reality than quantum physics. GH and AGW are merely convenient (and unphysical) mathematical (black body) "solutions" to a (an imaginary) problem that does not exist in the first place. At least quantum physics has a real problem to answer, the ultraviolet light catastrophy, but it appears it does not answer that, at present. In my opinion physics probably will not be able to explain what radiation is untill a new paradigm comes along that also explains the forces of magnetism and gravity. Such a new paradigm will probably also revolutionise our understanding of electricity too, as well as kill off the still developing (pseudo) "science" that is the quantum mechanics "fetus".

Sometimes radiation is described as a wavelength, much like a ripple on a pond. Similar to a sound wave, it is a massless displacement (oscillation) of matter. The wavelength travels through gas, liquid and solid. It is a vibration. So, a wave length is not but requires matter to transmit through. Ok, but sound does not travel in a vacuum. How does nothing traverse nothing? Yet, radiation travels through space??? Therefore it must be "something", it can not be massless. Sound does not traverse space.
Is a wavelength like a ripple created when a stone is thrown into a pond, or is it the bow wave of a boat steaming across the pond?

Sometimes radiation is described as a photon. It has been proven that photons have mass. Is this plasma? Radiation is emitted at all temperatures, so is the type of radiation emitted temperature dependent? Is visible light radiation emissions that are just shy of plasma?

Sometimes radiation is described as a quanta. Quanta are massless, so how does a packet of nothing, with no mass, have energy? How does nothing (light) traverse nothing (space)?

I am not ashamed to admit I do not "get" radiation at all, in the same way I do not "get" the forces of magnetism and gravity. Some of the effects of radiation, yes, I can see, feel, experience, and use, but what they are, no I have not a clue.
What is really important however is that so much at present IS dependent upon the present explanations of what radiation supposedly IS.
The joke is on us when we do not see that "radiation is radiation" and anything based upon this premise ie K&T global energy type plots (aka GH and AGW failed hypothesises), is a complete and utter joke.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken.

The hobgoblins have to be imaginary so that
"they" can offer their solutions, not THE solutions.

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