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This user is no longer active at Conservapedia. God Bless.
Anyone who wants to contact me may do so at

I do not edit here very frequently, because I have to log in from a college that I don't get to very often. Be patient.

In addition to the email above, I have accounts, all under the same name (SamHB) at Wikipedia, Wikiversity, Ameriwiki (I am an administrator), and that other place that rhymes with "national picky".


I communicate occasionally by email with Andy and a few other admins. I have a cordial relationship with Andy, and have had him reverse blocks on a number of occasions. He has always been helpful and cooperative. If you have been blocked for reasons that you do not consider proper, feel free to contact me at the email address given above. I may be able to argue your case.

But you must first convince me that your case is sound, before I attempt to convince Andy. If you have been blocked for vandalism or parody, don't waste my time. If you have not been making edits in a good-faith effort to improve Conservapedia, don't waste my time. The preceding was written when I had a grossly exaggerated view of my reputation at Conservapedia.

A few words about vandalism and parody in science and math articles. There's a lot of it. I have reverted a lot of it. Just in the last few weeks I cleaned up some parody in the articles on Calcium and on Gabriel's horn. (Well, in the latter case I just pointed it out.) Both parodists' accounts are still active.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that there is a lot more parody in math and science articles. It's just too much for one person to fix.

But I do want to help clean up some incomplete work that I did for the MV Calculus course.

In a recent email to Andy, leading to the reinstatement of my account, I said, in part:

Although I have dropped out of the multivariable calculus project, I need to give Jacob a heads-up about the notation I used in my part of the lectures. Mostly in lecture 3.2, as I recall. I used somewhat unorthodox definitions of generalized coordinate systems -- "natural" coordinates rather than "orthonormal coordinates + Lamé coefficients". The latter are more common, but natural coordinates are, in my opinion, actually simpler and, well, more natural. Jacob probably prefers "orthonormal + Lamé". So he needs to decide: keep it my way, or change it to his way. The change would mostly involve changing my formulas (cross product, etc.) to the ones that are common in physics textbooks. ("Natural" coordinates, on the other hand, are common in tensor calculus textbooks.)
I also disagree with what he has written about limits, and want to discuss that.
I want the discussion to be on some talk page on Conservapedia, where any interested party can join in.
The block reason was, in any case, "Retired under voluntary circumstances; Admin(s) will reactivate upon request". There was further discussion of my situation, between Jacob and Ed Poor, at the talk page for Cramer's rule, which I would like you [AS] to look at.
I really can't help if I have to do everything in secret email. And I do want the MV calc course to succeed. And I notice that it is really going to happen, and that there is a lot of interest in it.
So I would like you to please restore my account and user/talk pages.

Andy did so, sending me a nice reply. He even apologized for having taken so long (5 hours) to get to it! (You see, he had previously acted on a request in only 2 hours :-)

So I want to discuss my past contributions to the multivariable calculus course. There may be some problems with integrating my material with that of others (Specifically JacobB, of course), since my approach to vector components in curvilinear coordinates was somewhat unorthodox. See my talk page, at the bottom.

A note on the second law of thermodynamics

There seems to be a good deal of confusion and unclear writing in the article.

The subject of thermodynamics, including the second law, was well established during the 19th century, by such people as Carnot, Gibbs, Clausius, Clapeyron, Maxwell, Helmholtz, and Thompson (Lord Kelvin). This long predates the advent of quantum mechanics. The subject of statistical mechanics, and the "randomness" or "uncertainty" were well understood. It does not depend on the uncertainty (the "Heisenberg uncertainty principle") of quantum mechanics.

There are two generally recognized types of "perpetual motion machine." A "perpetual motion machine of the first kind", which is what people generally mean when they use this term, is one that violates conservation of energy. Since the first law of thermodynamics is just conservation of energy, such a machine would violate the first law.

Such a perpetual motion machine is generally taken to mean one that actively gives out nonzero energy (you can see ads for these things on the internet[1][2][3]), rather than one that simply holds its own, even though a machine that holds its own, that is, never runs down, could obviously be considered a "perpetual motion machine."

Entities that hold their own and never run down actually do exist. Atoms are examples of them. The electrons orbiting the nucleus, if they are in their ground state, never stop. They never lose energy at all. (OK, the fact that they never lose energy depends on quantum mechanics, and I said above that quantum mechanics isn't involved, but the radiation from accelerating charges was unknown when thermodynamics was formulated.) Other things that never stop are quantum-mechanical harmonic oscillators, and gas molecules in their random motion. The latter was central to the kinetic theory that led to the development of thermodynamics. That is, the people developing thermodynamics were aware of the perpetual, never running down, nature of gas molecules. They postulated, correctly, that gas molecule collisions are perfectly elastic and never lose energy. They really are "perpetual motion machines."

The second law of thermodynamics relates to a more obscure fictional device, a "perpetual motion machine of the second kind." This would be something that violates the second law by causing heat to travel, without introduction of energy from an external source, from a colder body to a warmer one. In fact, it can be shown (and was shown in the 19th century), that any heat engine more efficient than that required by Carnot's law is impossible, because it would permit the construction of a machine that moved heat from a colder body to a warmer one.

From looking at the edit history of the article, there seems to be something of an edit war involving an insistence that the impossibility of a perpetual motion machine be described using the word "derail". This is an extremely unhelpful word, suggesting a similarity with a railroad train running off its tracks, and seems to be an attempt to evoke the commonsense notion of macroscopic mechanical devices wearing out due to friction. The second law is actually very clear in what it states and does not state. The article also muddies the thinking by including a folksy and cute, but woefully imprecise, layman's description by a famous science fiction author. While it is true that a person's room will tend to get messy if not attended to, and shuffling a deck of cards leads to more disorder, this is related to statistics, and involves an entropy change that is utterly minuscule compared with what goes on in thermodynamics. The "intelligent intervention" that the article describes (cleaning up the room, or sorting the cards) is statistically infeasible in the thermodynamics case. In fact, the scientists formulating the second law of thermodynamics considered this, in the form of a "Maxwell's demon", and showed that it was impossible.

The claim that the second law of thermodynamics disproves relativity or evolution is too preposterous to reply to.

When I get the time, I will probably write some articles on thermodynamics elsewhere on the internet.

My Past Contributions

I have contributed to the following articles. Some contributions were minor, but most were major, and many of these articles were created by me. Some got moved from my "sandbox" pages into article space by other people.

Algebra, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, exponent of "r" in Newtonian gravity, Calc3.1/2/3/4/5, tensor, wave equation, e (mathematics), vector, vector space, vector field, conservative vector field, irrotational vector field, Maxwell's equations, Hodge star, exterior derivative, Cramer's rule, Riemann integral, Green's theorem, dense subset, limit (mathematics), boolean algebra, mathematical paradoxes, function, complex analytic function, continuity, countable, group, real number, rational number, complex number, Cauchy sequence, Dedekind cut, bijection, injection, surjection, ham sandwich theorem, two-pancacke theorem, divergence, curl, cross product, dot product, infinity, functor, continuous function, Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem, principle of induction, general relativity, real analysis, Pierre Simon Laplace, diagonalization.

My Future Plans

This section . I may need to consult with some sysops on this. Fixing the Compass and straightedge article is an important item.

The comment above, about consulting with sysops, referred to the fact that I was blocked and reverted by Daniel Pulido after an earlier attempt to discuss math, so I wanted to contact him by email to get his approval. But he has himself been blocked, so maybe things are OK.

While there are a huge number of things that need in the mathematics area, I've picked out four that would be good to on. I want to collaborate on these with Ed Poor, who is the other math expert currently around, so I have placed and extensive discussion on his talk page, which see. I'm also going to bring this to the attention of User:JamesWilson, who may be another up-and-coming math contributor.

  • Compass and straightedge—This has been rescued from "parody hell", but it needs much more work to present the material in a way that is logical and understandable to the target audience.
  • Elementary Algebra—This has been a topic of discussion between me and Ed for quite some time, generally centering on the question of "how do you explain to an elementary student what the question 'x+3 = 7' is really asking?"
  • Peano axioms—The fundamental logical basis for all of arithmetic. I dimly recall a discussion between Ed and someone else on this topic; it didn't seem to get anywhere. It is an extremely fascinating topic for the target audience!
  • Center—This has been a disaster for a long time. I really don't know how to write the "headline" sentence for this; that is, what's the first thing you say about what the "center" of a geometrical shape is? I solicit any insight that Ed (or anyone else) can provide.

More thoughts on math

Since there is a renewal of interest in writing mathematical articles, I'd like for people to feel free to use my talk page for discussion of math articles, if they so desire. I may be able to offer advice or guidance, or suggest fruitful topics.

People should also feel free to discuss math writing in general, including the topic that is near and dear to me—setting the right educational level for our expected audience. I only ask that:

  • Do not tell me we need extremely advanced articles at the college level. See here for the latest example of misguided advice along these lines. Just don't ask. I'm not interested.
  • If criticizing my or anyone else's writing level or style, please provide a link to a sample of your own writing on the same or equivalent topic and at the same depth, so that we can see just what you have in mind.