The Glass Ceiling
Chapter 18: Speculations

Wild Speculations

Michelson and Morley arranged their apparatus on a table. The Michelson Gale experiment was very similar but larger, measuring the relative speed difference of light in a North South Axis versus an East West axis.

Neither of these experiments measured the speed of the aether drift on an up-down axis.

Airey's failure showed that the aether is moving with respect to a stationary Earth. The Michelson Gale experiment showed that the speed of the aether drift with respect to the Earth was consistent with diurnal rotation.

I bring this up because I have been puzzling over the Foucault pendulum.

As we know the Earth is stationary and the Foucault pendulum cannot be turning due to the Earth's rotation, and we know that the aether turns once per day with respect to the Earth, it may be reasonable to suspect that the aether in some way entrains the pendulum's inertial frame of reference.

Stated simply, this implies that inertia is with respect to the aether instead of being as we were always told, with respect to the absolute direction of the velocity vector.

The aether turns with respect to the earth's surface, but could it also be flowing downward as it brings us starlight? Could this be the real reason that gravity points down? Our inertial frame of reference flows downward with the aether.

Our gyroscopes remain stationary if the spin axis points up. But what happens if the rotational axis is horizontal and pointed North South? Does the gyro precess toward the vertical?

Inertial experiments are ballistic and usually conducted over shortish time frames. The once daily rotation of the aether with respect to the earth would not be relevant, and would be in fact almost impossible to measure so would introduce no perceptible error in Newtonian inertial experiments except for uniquely long-duration ones like the Foucault Pendulum test.

Gravity? Richard Feynman says nobody knows what that is. I'll take his word for it because he is a famous physicist :). Could it be an inertial effect from a downward sweeping aether? No classical science gives an alternate explanation.

I'd just whip out my vacuum chambered interferometer and confirm this except that I don't have one. Wouldn't you know it? My spare one is out for cleaning too.

Perhaps the science minded in our midst might imagineer a cheap and simple way to detect the aether drift. Perhaps something could be done with relatively accessible TDR (Time Domain Reflectometer) technology. Does someone have a ring laser gyroscope kicking around the back of the lab? What happens if we turn it sideways?

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