Starstruck Navigators

Donald Beswick

Those who have read Twisting the Treaty may recall on Page 69 that part-Maori are entitled to a share in the allocation of the radio spectrum because Maori navigation was guided by the stars, and starlight is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and so the spectrum is a “Taonga” and Maori therefore have a right to radio waves in another part of the spectrum. The Waitangi Tribunal decided that the claim was justified.

The Maori claim that their navigators were guided by the stars is certainly plausible, given that they had no maps, or pencil and paper on which to draw them. The next statement says that starlight is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and this is the flaw in their tribal claim because, at the time of signing the Treaty in 1840, nobody – no Maoris and no Europeans – knew about the existence of electromagnetic waves and, with no knowledge of their existence, there was no way of identifying a spectrum of different wavelengths.

In other words, what is now claimed to be a treasure or “Taonga” did not exist when the Treaty was signed. (“Taonga” means goods obtained at the point of a spear). So, any claim based on a 1840 document that mentions electromagnetic radiation, spectrum of wavelengths, and radio waves as part of that spectrum is a deliberate falsification of history and the claim is fraudulent. That information was deliberately inserted for the Waitangi Tribunal, a racist organisation that specialises in falsified history to promote fraudulent claims under the fictitious principles of the Treaty. These so-called principles are simply what certain people 150 years later have inferred.

Discoveries By European Physicists

The first relevant discovery was that a wire carrying electric current produced a magnetic field around the wire. This was discovered in 1829 by the Danish physicist, Hans Christian Oersted.

The second discovery was that a changing magnetic field around a wire, or a wire moving within a stationary field, induced a voltage (and current) in the wire. This was discovered in 1831 by Michael Faraday in England and Joseph Henry in America.

The third discovery was that the induced current in a wire (in a closed circuit) is in a direction to oppose the change that produced it. That was discovered in 1834 by Heinrich Lenz in Germany. Those were the main electromagnetic principles known to European scientists in 1840.

Closely related to those discoveries were some which occurred after 1840 and which involved the investigation of visible light. In 1849 the speed of light was measured using a light source and two mirrors with a toothed wheel spinning between the two mirrors to block and unblock the light path. The experiment was designed bu Louis Fizeau in France and his result for the speed of light was 313 million metres per second. The “chopped beam” technique has been modified and is still used to measure the speeds of neutrons and other sub-atomic particles.

In 1862, the speed of light was measured more accurately using light shining on to a revolving disc on which mirrors were mounted similar to a toothed wheel. This was carried out by Leon Foucault in France and his result for the speed of light was 298 million metres per second, or 186,000 miles per second. He also measured the speed of light in water, a more dense medium, and found that it was less, as predicted by the wave theory of light.

In 1865, a mathematical theory was proposed to explain the interaction between electricity and magnetism, and the theory showed that an electrical disturbance should propagate in free space at the speed of light, and hence that light waves were electromagnetic waves. This theory was developed by James Clerk Maxwell who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and in the 1860s was at King’s College in London. His theory was summarised in “Maxwell’s equations” involving vector field theory with gradient, divergence and curl.

Maxwell also assumed that an invisible “lumeniferous ether” was needed for these electromagnetic waves to propagate through, in the same way that air is needed for the propagation of sound waves. The sun and the ether were assumed stationary in the universe and, as the earth revolved around the sun, the earth was moving through the ether, or what amounts to the same thing, there was an “ether wind” sweeping across the earth. If an ether wind existed, then it was expected that light travelling across the ether wind in both directions would take a different time than light travelling the same distance up wind and then downwind.

In 1887 an experiment was designed by Michaelson and Morley in the United States using mirrors at right angles to look for a change in propagation, but none was found, which showed that there is no ether wind, hence no ether. In other words light waves, unlike sound, do not need a medium in which to propagate. This experiment was a significant “negative result”.

In 1888 it was found that sudden changes in current in a tuned circuit were transmitted through space and could be detected in another tuned circuit up to 20 metres away. This experiment was carried out by Heinrich Hertz in Germany, and he was able to show that the radiation he was producing had the same velocity as light and propagated in a similar way, except that its wavelength was several metres and in a different region of the electromagnetic spectrum, now known as radio waves.

He also produced standing waves and measured the distance between adjacent nodes to measure their wavelength and hence their frequency. The use of these waves for long distance communication apparently did not occur to Hertz, and it remained for later experimenters such as Marconi to assemble apparatus which he used for wireless telegraphy. This included a spark transmitter sending letters in Morse code. The invention of thermionic valves or vacuum tubes eventually led to commercial broadcasting.

Those developments occurred more than half a century after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, thus exposing the Treaty claim to the radio spectrum as fraudulent.

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