Saturday, 14 February 2015

Our Archaic Measuring System.

During my research into the legend of Bessler’s wheel I quickly became aware of the many variations between apparently similarly-named weights and measures, across Germany and elsewhere. Eventually I sorted out the correct ones, and I came to the conclusion that all these weights and measure definitions must have originated from some identifiable source and one that provided a means of verifying a particular measurement.  It seems to me that resource which was once identifiable has been largely lost.

The lost resources were replaced by traditions that can seem amusing.  For example in the 16th century the lawful ‘rod’ was decreed to be the combined length of the left feet of 16 men as they left church on a Sunday morning.  I assume that they would be dressed in their best, including good shoes which might have been larger than their normal work wear shoes, to aid accurate measurement.  The rod in question  (or pole, or perch) is a surveyor’s tool, 5 and a half yards, which is equal to 16 and a half feet and that probably explains the use of 16 men’s feet as a rough guide. Another apocryphal tale records that Henry I decreed the lawful yard to be the distance between the tip of his nose and the end of his thumb.

Traces of those lost resources are still evident in some of our commonly used measurements. Degrees for instance; why are there 360 degrees in a circle?  

This question puzzled me as a schoolboy and the answers I have found over the years have been few and unsatisfactory in my opinion.

The usual suggestion is that it has come down to us from the Babylonians and before them the Sumerians, who, we are told, used a 60 base system of numbering.  They thrived some 6000 years ago and obviously had good reasons for using such a system.

It has been suggested that 60 was used for a base because it has so many divisors. 60 is the smallest number for which 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are divisors – plus 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30. That makes it much better to work with than a 10 base, so yes that is one reason but is that really the only reason.  Bear in mind that they also used a 10 based system alongside the 60 base.

The Babylonians and their predecessors were familiar with the seasons and knew the earth’s rotation was about 365 days. They used the 360 day and added the additional 5 later. As we saw above 360 subdivides in so many ways.  Seasons included summer and winter, spring and autumn, 90 days each. They divided the 90 days into three lots of 30, making twelve months of 30 days each - all based on 60.

Each day was divided into two lots of 12 hours because that was the average of the summer and winter day lengths. Each hour was subdivided into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds. Each day is equal to 1 degree of the earth’s annual orbit around the sun so 360 degrees for a full circle made perfect sense. At midday in midsummer the sun was overhead so they could mark the middle of the day as noon, and call after noon, well, afternoon! That gave them 6 hours on either side.  

With all these divisions and sub division, they could measure how far the earth rotated in, say, 1 hour or even 1 minute or a second.  1 day = 360 degree rotation and that is also 24 hours, so the shift per hour is 360/24 = 15 degrees /hour and 1 degree = 4 minutes.  Today we know that each degree of latitude at the equator equals nearly 69 miles; each minute of latitude equals just over 1 mile; and each second of latitude equals a fraction over 100 feet.

You can see that the 360 degrees that the earth moves can also be used to measure the angle of arc but the Sumerians also knew that the perimeter of a hexagon is exactly equal to six times the radius of a circumscribed circle, in fact that was probably another reason why they chose to divide the circle into 360 degrees.

I mentioned the ‘rod’ in connection with 16 left feet – why the left feet?  Perhaps it was common knowledge that, contrary to popular belief, the left foot is 80% of the time, the larger foot and 80% of the population is right hand dominant. Anyway, getting back to the rod, the rod is useful as a unit of length because whole number multiples of it equal one acre of square measure. The 'perfect acre’ is a rectangular area of 43,560 square feet, bounded by sides 660 feet by 66 feet long – clearly another pointer to the base 60 system. 

The Sumerians gave us base 60 and thus the analogue clock.  Time is measured in hours, minutes and seconds, all base 60.

Minutes of arc (and its subunit, seconds of arc) are also used in cartography and navigation. At sea level one minute of arc along the equator or a meridian equals approximately one Nautical mile (1.151 miles). A second of arc, one sixtieth of this amount, is about 30 meters or roughly 100 feet. The exact distance varies along meridian arcs because the figure of the Earth is slightly oblate.

Positions are traditionally given using degrees, minutes, and seconds of arcs for latitude, the arc north or south of the equator, and for longitude, the arc east or west of the Prime Meridian.

There is so much more to say about these ancient measuring systems, but there are some who have suggested that the rotation of the earth was only 360 days in ancient times, and was forced into a larger orbit by the close bypass of large asteroid.  This would explain the Sumerians choice of the 60 base even better and there are other related factors.  Perhaps the alterations in orbit might have led to a re-jigging of the distances I mentioned above to a more precise and accurate total.  So each minute of latitude might equal exactly one mile, and each second of latitude equal exactly 30 yards.  This knowledge would provide a constant source of verification of various measures.

One more thing; before the UK went decimal we were used to some old coinage.  12 pence to one shilling, 240 pence to one pound, four crowns to one pound - a distant echo of the 60 base numbering system?

So the old resource which allowed the precise determination of, say 1 foot, or 1 yard, by anyone, then they must have measured the earth, which begs the question if in fact the above is true, how did they know the earth’s size – exactly?




  2. Dziś mija 5 lat od dnia w którym zobaczyłem jak wielką moc posiada grawitacja.Wkrótce pojąłem jak człowiek może za pomocą własnej woli,własnego rozumu zmusić ją by mu służyła.Po euforii przyszedł czas na zadumę,refleksję.Czy my jako ludzkość dojrzeliśmy do tego by używać takich odkryć?Czy ludzie mający pieniądze nie zechcą uprawiać bananów na Antarktydzie?:-) Mając nieograniczony dostęp do energii człowiek może zniszczyć warunki w których żyje.
    Piszę po polsku gdyż nie chcę kaleczyć Pańskiego języka.My english is not very good.-:)

    1. Today is 5 years from the date in which I saw as a great power has gravity.Soon I realized how a man can use his own will, his own reason to force him to serve.After the euphoria of the time has come for the wistful, reflection.If we as humanity have matured to this to use such discoveries?If people with money don't want to grow bananas in Antarctica?:-) With unlimited access to the energy a person can destroy the conditions in which it lives. I write in English because I do not want to maim Your language.

      Thank you, kołodziąż

      Dziękujemy ,kołodziąż


    2. John,
      I'm sure I read somewhere that they do grow bananas in Iceland, the greenhouses are kept warm by the geothermal energy from the volcano !

    3. Yes I think you're right Stevo -nice to hear from you again.


    4. Hi John,
      belated Happy Birthday, just had one myself, in January.
      I don't comment much nowadays, but I do check in quite regularly, mainly because I believe you have the answer, and I eagerly await the good news.
      I still haven't made my large scale wheel,but, should good news not be forthcoming, I will resume.
      I Googled, bananas in Iceland, and they did grow them during the war, but it's only on a very small scale today.

  3. Yes, the variety of measuring units used by humans is truly bewildering. However, they all do the same thing: help us keep track of something that changes over time. The Mayans of Central America used a base 20 counting system, yet it let them accurately predict eclipses just as well as our modern base 10 system. Occasionally, someone asks me if it would even be possible to duplicate Bessler's wheel mechanics, assuming he provided us with a blueprint, without knowing exactly what units of mass and length he used. Surprisingly, as far as reverse engineering Bessler's wheels is concerned, it really makes no difference whether one uses an English pound which is 1.1 x "his" pound or 0.9 x "his" pound. It is also irrelevant whether one uses an English inch which is 1.1 x "his" inch or 0.9 x "his" inch. But this irrelevancy only exists as long as the other units one uses are consistent with English pounds and inches. That is, one's spring constants must be in English pounds per English inch and not, say, English pounds per "his" inch. This irrelevancy is due to all of the formulas in mechanics consisting of ratios whose numerical values do not change depending upon the units used in their numerators and denominators. Also, Bessler's geometry was the same as ours and the angles he used are the same ones we use. Note that the protractor he shows in the second DT portrait is virtually identical to that used in schoolrooms today. So my advice to the serious Bessler wheel reverse engineer is to not get too concerned about exactly what units of measurement Bessler used. In reality, we may never know them exactly. We need to focus on finding the mechanics he used that kept the center of mass of a wheel's levers and their attached weights on the drum's descending side at all times during drum rotation. If that mechanism can be determined, then it won't be long before one of his wheels is duplicated and that should create somewhat of a stir in the world of science. At least for a while until the world moves on to other matters.

  4. Speaking of measuring numbers, just when I thought I could sit back and relax a little, I have to find this article. Nothing to do with Bessler except he, too, was obsessed with the financial security of his and his family's future:

  5. I am beginning to believe that K.B. is omniscient or, is so at very least apparently.

    (Over multiple decades-worth of demonstrations of the supposed, proposed brilliance, the observed, general opinionation seems a thing both clear and solid.)

    Some personages are just like that - they just can't help themselves, I guess. Such appear to know everything, or at least much about most, and most vexingly are not at all chary about trumpeting the great message to the heavens.

    "Look at ME!!! Is my brilliant mind NOT a thing most marvelous???" (The expected, solicited answer being well predetermined, of course.)

    It is a need not all that strange really, because so common nowadays however, is rather offensive and in ways important, doubtless-so, no?

    Thank goodness for the ones of this sort that are that reticent. (These knowing modesty and proportionate, reasonable introductions of themselves into our opinions, good or not.)

    Think what the world might be like otherwise: Simply not livable.


    "The Iconoclast, like the other mills of God, grinds slowly, but it grinds exceedingly small." - Brann

    ". . . Brann was a journalist known for the articulate savagery of his writing. . . ." -

    1. Oh, how I wish I was really "omniscient". First, I'd deliver the secret of curing all diseases and immortality to humanity. Next, I'd rattle out the secret of Bessler's wheels along with a general method of extracting the mass energy from any piece of matter. Omniscience is a delusion best enjoyed by those males in the age range of about 20 to 40 years of age. After that age, one realizes just how abysmally ignorant he really is of the "real" world out there. Even our most prestigious scientists, if they were honest, would admit how little they really know. Right now our particle physicists are lost in a world of subatomic particles whose existence seems to make no sense. Our astrophysicists continue to babble about dark matter, dark energy, and ten dimensional string theory. Einstein's work is too paradoxical for most to accept let alone understand how he derived it. And, Bessler's wheels continue to spin (at least in our imaginations) though the world of "serious" scientists say that is absolutely impossible. Yes, we're in a bit of a muddle as we work our way through the 21st century. But, I remain hopeful that some clarity will eventually emerge from this theoretical morass. Maybe it that come from our interstellar "visitors" in the coming centuries.

    2. Good reply Ken.
      I have to say I am a huge fan of James and his ‘intellectual forays’; his sarcastic wit really brightens this Blogg. Equally though, I am pleased to see your board shoulders. You can take the criticism. I really didn’t need to be told by Zorela recently to “put up or shut up”. Lets face it, all of us engaged in recovering Bessler’s ‘wheel’ are officially mad and permanently open to ridicule. I most certainly know that my supposed madness is a part of my everyday reality.

    3. J.W., I agree, it was.

      (You see, K.B., by means of his trade-mark heaped up verbiage swaths alone, could segue himself out of Satan's clawed firm grip even. Of this I am nearly positive. What a power!)

      Most kindly you allowed thus: "I have to say I am a huge fan of James and his ‘intellectual forays’; his sarcastic wit really brightens this Blogg."

      Now really that is almost too kind but, nevertheless, I'll take it and for it thank you.

      (Justifiably, as well someone here could state that it 'darkens' matters too but, so-far me luck is holding.)

      "Equally though, I am pleased to see your board shoulders. . . ."

      They are that, as you suggest, as they are THOSE OF YOUTH!

      (This fact we discovered in John's last topic replies where and when K.B. was cannily drawn-out so as to reveal that he is but in his early Sixties and, on the very account, possessing of YOUNG, youthful shoulders! However, seemingly and sadly, true wisdom awaits him still. At around 65, if lucky, such will begin to dawn. Certainly if disposed-to, one could hope?)

      'I really didn’t need to be told by Zorela recently to “put up or shut up”. . . .'

      The nerve!

      Honestly, I missed that gem as hurled by Zorela. If she were to intend one like it my way, well, with such a name as hers I'd think it flattery. (You see, I fancy the wild gypsy witch types. Don't tell her that.)

      " Lets face it, all of us engaged in recovering Bessler’s ‘wheel’ are officially mad and permanently open to ridicule. . . ."

      It is so, as you say, J.W.

      It is requisite and so, on account, with fortitude we must endure the multifarious, nefarious silent attacks of that snarky and ever-impudent, Establishment Lab-coated Set, this 'til that Glorious success finally is ours.

      After then, the spectacle of sublime beauty will be of their sniveling, over degreed sort consuming huge barrels of dead, rotted crow parts, this and their imagined paradigms falling down around their NOT so bored, Scientism shoulders.

      For these things and more grandly momentous, we do work and strive . . .


      "The Iconoclast, like the other mills of God, grinds slowly, but it grinds exceedingly small." - Brann

      ". . . Brann was a journalist known for the articulate savagery of his writing. . . ." -

    4. I've almost reached model #1100 and still have not found success. It's most frustrating and I can see why the world of "serious" scientists have proclaimed that Bessler's wheels had to be fraudulent. But, I am still not convinced of that because I can't dismiss the statements of Count Karl who said that Bessler's wheels were genuine, simple, and that he, the count, was surprised that no one else had ever thought of the mechanism Bessler used. That testimony keeps me moving along. That and the feeling that I am extremely close to a solution now. It might happen with the next model or it might take another several hundred attempts. There is no way of ever knowing at any point in time after one's last failure. I do know that with each failure I become more aware of why the design failed and immediately begin thinking of ways to compensate for its failings. For example, before dozing off last night, I suddenly realized that the k values I have been using on my springs may be far too high and I am now planning another modification that will use far less stiff springs. I shall get to work on it later. Another problem interfering with my Bessler research is that I have to divide my available time between that and a book manuscript I need to complete by next month. The book is actually done, but it needs to be proofread and edited a bit here and there. I'm behind schedule now and will have to double up the time per day I spend with it if I'm going to have it ready in only a few weeks.

      @John Worton. Thanks for the kind remark that I have "broad shoulders". I have a lot of friends in my offline life that are always sharing their problems with me and I try to help them with logical, non judgmental (most of time) advice when they want it. Usually, they just want someone to listen to them and offer tea and sympathy. I also always try to be a person that angers slowly yet forgives quickly although this trait can be sorely tested in today's world. I'm sure that I can sound a bit dogmatic at times when it comes to Bessler's wheels. This, no doubt, is a side effect of chasing them for decades, constructing dozens of physical models, and, now, almost 1100 computer models (if one includes the models I did on another free energy forum, then the count would probably be well over 1200 models!). But, the reality is that, without finding success, there will really be no difference between me and someone who has only made the most casual of attempts to find a solution. I just hope that, if I am eventually forced by sheer mental and physical exhaustion to call it quits, I will not turn bitter and denounce the entire pursuit as a complete waste of precious time that could have been better invested in other projects with far more likely chances of being successful. I think that if I must accept ultimate failure, I will continue to say that Bessler did produce a working device, but that I am just not the one destined to rediscover it. At that point I will wish others the best and try to bow out as gracefully as possible. Failure can be a very bitter pill to swallow. But, each person eventually realizes that life has many such pills in store for him or her.

  6. Hi ken,
    You should slow down, your burning the candle at both ends. take a couple of weeks off and concentrate on you book. See how you feel once you have completed your book. I wish you well with the book.

    1. Thanks for the well wishes, Uneqk. I'm fairly sure the book will be done on time, but I'm afraid to let more than a few days pass without working on my wm2d models for Bessler's wheels because I know from past hobbies I've had that the longer I stay away from them, the lower the probability that I'll continue with them. But, I've decided that if I don't find the solution by the time I reach model #1200, then I'll probably never find it and it will then be time to finally call it quits. I'll then just have to get used to living in a universe where I did not find the solution and hope that someday someone somewhere will eventually find it. Hopefully, I'll still be among the living if that happens. And, of course, there's always the possibility that the solution will never be found. Even then, I would still insist that Bessler actually did achieve pm. The question for those who are fans of the Bessler story is can they accept that the mystery may never be found? As I said above, that scenario is a very bitter pill to have to swallow.

  7. Hi Ken,
    I'm more than confident that sooner than later you will hear of a machine that turns itself, then perhaps we can get together and talk about it.

  8. Hi all, can anyone tell me who Frank Edwards is or was?


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