Thursday, the Eleventh Day of February in the Hundred-Score and Twice-Eighth Year since BC(E)
I was napping and had told my pal Nick to wake me when he got to my house, we hadn’t seen each other for months. The doorbell rang but it was my friend DJ, not Nick. DJ had come by to tell me that a Gravitational Wave had been observed, and he wanted my take on it. I laughed like a hyena, leapt into his arms, and kissed him.
“Here come the stars! Here comes the universe!" I shouted.
My view on it was that the undertaking of a giant blind leap take long ago for all humankind had concluded with us landing feet-first, heads held high.
When Nick arrived, five minutes later, we had to go out and celebrate. It was a night for nerds.
I explained to numerous people that a gravitational wave is a ripple in the fabric of space-time that is able to warp objects in space, such as the Sun, the Earth, you and me. And gravitational waves had been described by Einstein to be passing through every part of the universe and interacting with everything in it all the time.
It wasn’t until after midnight that I got home and managed to pull myself together and really think through everything I knew about G-waves: almost nothing but more than most people.
I sent a few questions to a man I have never met, whom I was mentally comparing to Buckaroo Banzai: LSU professor of astronomy and physics, Joseph Giaime (gee-ah-me), head observer at the LASER Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO; pronounced like “Milo”) in Livingston, Louisiana.
Prof. Giaime was possibly the most important person on the planet when I sent my email, I am a freelancer with no real press credentials, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t open a correspondence with him.
> Prof. Giaime’s lab, LIGO Livingston, is a telescope that uses the parallax of reflected LASER pulses as a lens, and distances across the Earth’s surface as a direction-finder.
The G-wave I had been celebrating, GW150914 (Gravitational Wave, year, month, day), was detected by two LIGO facilities as moving at a rate one-millisecond-per-thousand-miles faster across the planet’s surface than light can move through Earth’s atmosphere, over a distance of three-thousand miles, with a northwesterly heading.
That time difference, 1ms/1000mi, and the warping of the Earth initially indicated to me that this was a time warp. But Prof. Joe Giaime says, “No.”
I opened a correspondence with Ohio University’s Prof. Kenneth Hicks, who had written about the G-wave for the Dispatch. He helped me to understand that GW150914 was not really moving faster than light, though detection showed it moving faster than light. It only appeared so.
If you run a finger from one end of a tile to another, you have touched both ends at different times. If you lay your finger across the tile, you have touched both ends simultaneously without breaking the laws of physics. The G-wave was larger than the planet. It came from outside the Earth/Moon system and touched two places on the surface at very nearly the same time.
Gravitational waves are very subtle, and therefore very difficult to detect.
GW150914, which was observed by LIGO Livingston and its counterpart LIGO Hanford, in Washington State, warped the detectors at both facilities an amount that can be compared to a hair’s-width to a hair’s-width to a hair.
Imagine a single hair with hairs on its head that are comparably slender to it as a hair is to a person, now imagine that one of those hairs has hairs on its head. That width describes the amount of warping the LIGO detectors observed. And this was a particularly strong wave, its initial energy output was more than 100x the total energy of all the stars in the observable universe.
The G-waves we experience on a daily basis have far less effect on our world, so little effect that we can probably never detect them at all… but that’s what Einstein said about gravitational waves, altogether.
Who can guess what future technology might unveil?
Though we had never observed the actions of G-waves before Sept. 14, 2015, plenty of evidence existed. First, Einstein predicted them in his theory of General Relativity, which is highly regarded as a factual expression of the actions of objects within the universe, and which this observation has now confirmed.
The first indirect observation of G-waves came in 1974 when astronomers Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor discovered a binary star system behaving exactly as Einstein predicted for the propagation of G-waves to occur.
Those early observations indicated the presence of G-waves and scientists have, since that time, been working to prove that what was seen was what Einstein described.
Late last year, just as upgrades to the LIGO systems were being completed, 100 years of calculation, observation, and supposition bore fruit in the form of GW150914.
I asked Prof. Giaime, who has been working with interferometric gravitational wave observation since the late ‘80s, what he hopes to see with LIGO. He instead told me why he took up this work in the first place: “I found the prospect of measuring something astrophysical via a precision measurement on Earth to be irresistible.”
He is not hoping to see this or that, he just wants to look and LIGO is the tool with which he looks.
The Fourteenth Day of February, Same Year
Prof. Giaime of LIGO Livingston attended a speech held by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. Edwards’s speech concerned the $2 billion Louisiana deficit and the fact that, in light of this most amazing discovery, he was unwilling to cut funding to Louisiana higher education. The state is facing massive cuts to public service and welfare programs, and if nothing is done by March 6, the state will cancel the next semester of classes at state-funded universities, including LSU, where Giaime works.
I found myself facing an unprecedented scientific discovery in the face of its discoverer potentially losing his job, after spending many years of his life at this work that he does so love.
Suddenly things started to look a little suspicious, and there was more.
GW150914 was discovered just as upgrades to the LIGO systems had been implemented but before any tests could be done on the new equipment.
We might never see another G-wave because they really are so subtle. The only reason GW150914 was seen is because it let off 100x more energy than all the stars in the observable universe, and just happened to hit the receptors at that time.
And what was that time? The day GW150914 was received, 09/14/15, is a mathematics joke. It’s 1x9=9, 2x7=14, and 3x5=15. That’s 1-2-3 and 9-7-5, counting up by whole numbers and down by odd numbers. It also implies a finite pattern: 9-14-15-12-5, composed of 1-2-3-4-5 and 9-7-5-3-1. The date itself is a cipher joke implying extrapolation of a patterned message from noise.
The G-wave traveled 3ms faster than light can travel through our atmosphere over a distance of 3,000 miles. That’s 3ms/3,000mi or 1ms/1,000mi. Its speed was 1,000mi/2.3ms. That is: .001 per 1000 (thousandth per thousand) and 1-2-3.
The discovery came in 100 years after the prediction was first extrapolated from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.
That’s an awful lot of nice round numbers, and a lot of patterned number sets for a random occurrence to coincide with.
This could just be noise I’ve extrapolated from the metadata, giving the appearance of patterns.
If it indicates a message, those who would have sent it seem to know far too much about us for comfort: our centuries, how we mark important dates, and the numeration of the occurrence of months, years, and days; milliseconds timed out to our measure of 2.3 and increments of thousands and of miles, which are pretty exclusively American. The senders would also have had to know just when Advanced LIGO would go on-line and just when its discoverer needed the discovery most.
I asked Prof. Giaime if the oddity in the travel speed, 1000mi/2.3ms, indicated a message or if it had something to do with the intensity of the wave. He told me, “No.”
I pointed out the strange timing of the G-wave’s reception and flat out asked him if this was a hoax. I got no reply.
I also asked Ohio University’s professor of astronomy and astrophysics Kenneth Hicks, with whom I had corresponded about this discovery, if these uses of numbers and counting systems and the coincidental timing indicated a hoax. He also failed to respond.
I wondered if the G-wave indicated a wormhole, also known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge, had interacted with Earth. But professors Giaime and Hicks had both insisted a wormhole would require interaction with a substance called Negative Energy. I pointed out that Gravitational Energy, as one finds when studying wormholes, is a form of Negative Energy. Neither responded.
I have sent these question to the SETI Institute, an organization that has spent many decades seeking radio messages from the stars. I asked them: if they got such a signal on such a date with such coincidences around the discovery, would they assume it was noise, signal, or hoax. I am still awaiting response from them at the time of this writing.
I’ve also sent this to famed skeptic Dr. Richard Dawkins to get his take. Dr. Dawkins coincidentally suffered a stroke. I corresponded with his personal assistant who assured me Dr. Dawkins would get to it as soon as he was feeling more like himself. I never heard back.
I tried for several months to gain an interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson who came to The Palace Theater on February 23, on a lecture tour. Dr. Tyson did not respond to me but a person from his office, Jodi Solomon, told me all media interactions for the event were under control of CAPA. I sent CAPA an interview request through their standard Media Inquiry messenger. When GW150914 was discovered I sent two more requests. Finally I got through to Rolanda Copley, who I understand is CAPA’s head of media relations.
Copley told me that—and this is in spite of the announcement of the most important scientific discovery in the history of humankind, and in spite of Dr. Tyson’s place in the scientific community—since the lecture was sold out, they had no need to promote it and were not going to grant interviews to anyone.
Thank you CAPA.
I attended Dr. Tyson’s lecture hoping for the opportunity to ask a question, but he did not hold his standard Q/A session at the end of his talk. Instead he went half-an-hour overtime and concluded with a reading of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.
I later learned that though the G-wave was detected by the LIGO labs in the USA, it was first noticed by LIGO Germany's technician, Marko Draco, a name that translates to English as "Mark of the Dragon", or more commonly: Dracula.
So we have all these coincidences that indicate a cypher code and the first person to notice the G-wave on 9/14/15 at 12:50 is a guy with the same name as Dracula.
Though I have tried to stay in-touch with these contacts over the past year, I have not been able to get answers concerning these simple, but strange coincidences about GW150914. Is it a hoax or a signal from beyond the beyond, or is this just coincidentally extrapolated noise that I've noticed but which means nothing?