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NYT: Trump's Budget Cuts Endanger the Fate of the Universe
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  1. Read More
    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Gosh that's awful, and so unprovoked too. Literally just came out of the clear blue sky. And you know it must not be a hoax because look at all the mainstream media rebroadcasts.
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  2. No problem! BLACK PANTHER will save the Universe!!!

    Read More
    • Agree: MEH 0910
    • LOL: Forbes, wren, rogue-one, Kylie
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    Panther, cougar, mountain lion, puma, and catamount are just regional terms for the same animal.

    So expect this movie franchise to amass as many feline names as did OSX.
    , @John Cunningham
    WE IS FIZZASISTS!!! GIMMESOME FREE anti
    ANTIBEUTRINOS!!!
    , @Autochthon
    The eastern cougar is of course now officially deemed extinct, so the work of the black (and brown, and yellow) competitors for its habitat as we prioritise high-rises, tract housing, and (of course!) sales of diapers and toilet paper in the wake of their overpopulation and efforts to ensure what used to be the U.S.A. contains six billion humans by 2030 is continuing apace!

    Extinction for all megafauna! Bad, Jewish poems and cheap programmers and dishwashers demand it!

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  3. dark energy

    Trumps wants to keep our universe white.

    Make spacetime great again.

    Read More
    • LOL: Abe
    • Replies: @pyrrhus
    Trump could just announce that the problem will be solved by hiring large numbers of black female scientists (including any high school student with a decent science project), who will make American science great again....
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  4. The sentence is barely legible. The fate of the NYT depends on actually writing sentences that make sense.

    Read More
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  5. As we speak a secret team of scientists is attempting to restore, revive, and reconnect Hitler’s brain. It was in the basement at Stuyvesant High. If successful the scientists hope to convince the world that Trump is literally worse than Hitler — according to Hitler.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    As we speak a secret team of scientists is attempting to restore, revive, and reconnect Hitler’s brain. It was in the basement at Stuyvesant High. If successful the scientists hope to convince the world that Trump is literally worse than Hitler — according to Hitler.
     
    At least Hitler wasn't blond like Trump....
    , @Corn
    NYT is so Trump deranged that pretty soon they will be giving Hitler the strange new respect treatment.
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  6. “If on the other hand, some previously unsuspected force field is tinkering with the galaxies and space-time, the effect could shut off or even reverse over the eons.

    Or maybe we just don’t understand gravity.”

    I’d go with the latter.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Our understanding of time and gravity is on a par with the late Roman Empire's understanding of electricity and magnetism. I suspect there is a level of physics that is to the Einsteinian as the Einsteinian is to the Newtonian, but, it's way above my understanding.
    , @Realist
    Dark energy and dark matter probably have as much validity as string theory.
    , @Je Suis Omar Mateen
    "Or maybe we just don’t understand gravity.

    'I’d go with the latter.'"

    Dark energy is a placeholder variable whose purpose is to make gravitation equations balance correctly. Sometimes these unobserved placeholders ARE later observed, so it is a useful scientific method to discover what is not yet known.

    But in the case of dark matter, I'm confident the equation is incorrect because dark energy supposedly comprises half the universe's mass and yet cannot be seen and has no gravitational effect on other observable bodies, such as stars and galaxies. That makes no sense at all.

    President Trump is correct to defund this pointless search for the unobservable.
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  7. Neil Degrasse Tyson knows all this stuff, just ask him. We’ll save a lot of money. And as for “dark energy” just be in the theatre lobby as “Black Panther” empties out.

    Read More
    • LOL: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @dr kill
    Tyson has a new Superhero name- Blaklyin.
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  8. Yeah, right.

    I’d be willing to bet that the $ would instead have been funneled into “diversity” initiatives, which is what NASA seems primarily focused on, these days.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    Trump could simply announce that he has found funding. That he has directed ICE to aggressively round up and deport all the Dreamers and other illegals, saving us 100s of billions in tax expenditures and trillions upon trillions in future government expenses, and as a result there is plentiful funding for worthy scientific research on dark matter, genetic research, cures for cancer, etc. etc.
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  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There’s a recent book on dark matter called Cosmic Cocktail. I’m really interested in astronomy, and I read it. I had a weird feeling by the time I got two-thirds of the way through it, doubting the whole theory, in a section where the author describes all the experiments to detect it, that aren’t detecting it. She excitedly describes how each experiment is eliminating possibilities by ruling out various sizes of dark matter candidates. To me it sounded like they were looking for dark matter starting with the most probable sizes and proceeding to the least probable, so it looked like things were getting more and more doubtful.

    By the way, a dark matter search involves putting sensors in a cave or mine and waiting, They have done this over and over again with all kinds of sensor material.

    As I started to come to the end of the book I got more aggressive with online reading, and it turns out that there are two other theories that would do away with dark matter. The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict. The other theories just say that at that scale the formulas don’t work, just as we know they don’t work at molecular scale. In fact, if I understand it correctly, one alternative theory is that the traditional formulas are wrong in a way that does not matter for solar system level results, but does for galaxy level results.

    The response is that the alternative theories do not explain x and y. The counter response is that dark matter does not explain w and z (it turns out that dark matter theory has some problems of its own).

    At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion. It’s also acknowledged that it will produce a Nobel Prize. Three project leaders will get the prize. So every senior physicist wants to put sensors in old mines. And they need money for that and to hire the hundred postdocs to do the work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @newrouter
    "At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion."

    Yes they need additional taxpayer money to throw into their volcano. From the above article where nationalism is now deemed "good":

    "It drew comparisons to the cancellation of the Superconducting Supercollider that ended American supremacy in particle physics."
    , @Luke Lea
    Dark matter and dark energy are two different things.

    By the way, here is neat new theory for the possible source of dark matter that even I can almost understand: https://goo.gl/Sr22fC
    , @Clyde
    In other words, the most useful function of dark matter is to route money from taxpayers to Uni physicists and their postdoc cadre.
    , @guest
    Yes, dark energy and dark matter both exist because cosmological theories do not match observable reality.

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can't observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now...

    Even if dark matter/energy exists, this can't be the best way to do science: wild guesses which would just so happen to save the thing you spent your career learning.

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?
    , @biz

    The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict
     
    Nope, absolutely not the case.

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more

    I think you must not have read that book very carefully.

    In general, there is an awful lot of ignorance on display in these comments. Dark matter and dark energy, and indeed the whole of modern concordance cosmology, are very well established theories, which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified. They are no way analogous to intelligent design, wizards, or other supernatural hypotheses which either fail to make testable predictions, fail to be falsifiable, or both.

    , @utu
    They prefer to postulate exotic epicycles like dark matter than tweaking the inverse square law of gravity to keep Newton and most importantly St. Einstein general relativity intact. It seems that changing the the inverse square law can explain the observed behavior of galaxies. 1/r^2 is supposed to be valid when gravity is strong like in the solar system but when gravitational acceleration is small like in galaxies the relationship becomes closer to 1/r.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/case-dark-matter/
    Many early attempts at tweaking gravity were easy to rule out, but Milgrom found a winning formula: When the gravitational acceleration felt by a star drops below a certain level—precisely 0.00000000012 meters per second per second, or 100 billion times weaker than we feel on the surface of the Earth—he postulated that gravity somehow switches from an inverse-square law to something close to an inverse-distance law. “There’s this magic scale,” McGaugh said. “Above this scale, everything is normal and Newtonian. Below this scale is where things get strange. But the theory does not really specify how you get from one regime to the other.”
     
    Modified Newtonian dynamics
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_Newtonian_dynamics
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  10. And, of course, women and minorities hit hardest.

    Read More
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  11. *may depend* or not. Your mileage may vary.

    Cognitive dissonance has nothing on these people (NYT)–they’re delusional.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Call me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, if the Universe has managed to get along for >13 billion years, it may just manage to get along just fine for at least another 7.

    Anyway, if we'd kept on with the liberal agenda of erasing whites and importing brown folk we'd be moving further and further towards 'sh*thole' -level science programs and funding. Unfortunately, wishful thinking about Wakanda won't get us any closer towards a better understanding of real-world physics.

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  12. @Anonymous
    There's a recent book on dark matter called Cosmic Cocktail. I'm really interested in astronomy, and I read it. I had a weird feeling by the time I got two-thirds of the way through it, doubting the whole theory, in a section where the author describes all the experiments to detect it, that aren't detecting it. She excitedly describes how each experiment is eliminating possibilities by ruling out various sizes of dark matter candidates. To me it sounded like they were looking for dark matter starting with the most probable sizes and proceeding to the least probable, so it looked like things were getting more and more doubtful.

    By the way, a dark matter search involves putting sensors in a cave or mine and waiting, They have done this over and over again with all kinds of sensor material.

    As I started to come to the end of the book I got more aggressive with online reading, and it turns out that there are two other theories that would do away with dark matter. The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict. The other theories just say that at that scale the formulas don't work, just as we know they don't work at molecular scale. In fact, if I understand it correctly, one alternative theory is that the traditional formulas are wrong in a way that does not matter for solar system level results, but does for galaxy level results.

    The response is that the alternative theories do not explain x and y. The counter response is that dark matter does not explain w and z (it turns out that dark matter theory has some problems of its own).

    At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion. It's also acknowledged that it will produce a Nobel Prize. Three project leaders will get the prize. So every senior physicist wants to put sensors in old mines. And they need money for that and to hire the hundred postdocs to do the work.

    “At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion.”

    Yes they need additional taxpayer money to throw into their volcano. From the above article where nationalism is now deemed “good”:

    “It drew comparisons to the cancellation of the Superconducting Supercollider that ended American supremacy in particle physics.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
    For the left, nationalism is great when it's in the service of throwing huge amounts of money at various federal boondoggles.
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  13. FWIW I keep up with modern physics by listening to the best. See here for instance: https://goo.gl/zEuBPj

    The current thinking, to put it crudely, is that an infinitesimally small cosmological constant is probably the best answer for dark energy, and that the chance of such a small number occurring in nature suggests a near infinite number of universes, of which we live in one that just happens to be suitable for life. The only alternative explanation is Intelligent Design!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Obviously, Occam's Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.
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  14. The whole family laughed out loud when I read the Times extract followed by your headline, Steve. Thanks!

    Read More
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  15. What’s between a jock’s ears?

    Dark matter of infinite density and zero energy.

    Read More
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  16. @Luke Lea
    FWIW I keep up with modern physics by listening to the best. See here for instance: https://goo.gl/zEuBPj

    The current thinking, to put it crudely, is that an infinitesimally small cosmological constant is probably the best answer for dark energy, and that the chance of such a small number occurring in nature suggests a near infinite number of universes, of which we live in one that just happens to be suitable for life. The only alternative explanation is Intelligent Design!

    Obviously, Occam’s Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.

    Read More
    • LOL: Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @anon
    I pity the poor suckers that live in the multitude of universes where Hillary Clinton won the election and appointed Lena Dunham to the Supreme Court.
    , @Reg Cæsar
    What does Obama's Razor require of us?
    , @Laugh Track

    Obviously, Occam’s Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.
     
    As I always say, the only miracle harder to believe than that there is some cosmic intelligence behind the universe is that it all evolved by random chance.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson II
    Agree.
    , @Luke Lea
    To a normie like me intelligent design vs. the many universes hypothesis would seem equally incapable of proof, since the multiple universes, if they exist, are assumed to be causally disconnected from each other and therefore incapable of being observed. To that extent it seems like a distinction without a difference.

    Guys with IQ's two and three standard deviations above mine beg to disagree however. They think there is evidence for the existence of a very large number of alternative universes, each governed by a different set of physical constants. String theory in particular has room for a near infinite number of possible semi-stable vacua, though they are trying to whittle it down. Meanwhile the theory of eternal inflation posits a mechanism for generating an infinite number of causally disconnected universes in quantum fluctuations. So I can't pretend to have an intelligent opinion on subject..

    But whatever the outcome, if any, I think I do know human psychology well enough to say that the Hebraic conception of God is way too handy a moral metaphor to be abandoned anytime soon, even though it has zero value as science. If truth is what works God still has a chance.

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  17. @Anonymous
    There's a recent book on dark matter called Cosmic Cocktail. I'm really interested in astronomy, and I read it. I had a weird feeling by the time I got two-thirds of the way through it, doubting the whole theory, in a section where the author describes all the experiments to detect it, that aren't detecting it. She excitedly describes how each experiment is eliminating possibilities by ruling out various sizes of dark matter candidates. To me it sounded like they were looking for dark matter starting with the most probable sizes and proceeding to the least probable, so it looked like things were getting more and more doubtful.

    By the way, a dark matter search involves putting sensors in a cave or mine and waiting, They have done this over and over again with all kinds of sensor material.

    As I started to come to the end of the book I got more aggressive with online reading, and it turns out that there are two other theories that would do away with dark matter. The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict. The other theories just say that at that scale the formulas don't work, just as we know they don't work at molecular scale. In fact, if I understand it correctly, one alternative theory is that the traditional formulas are wrong in a way that does not matter for solar system level results, but does for galaxy level results.

    The response is that the alternative theories do not explain x and y. The counter response is that dark matter does not explain w and z (it turns out that dark matter theory has some problems of its own).

    At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion. It's also acknowledged that it will produce a Nobel Prize. Three project leaders will get the prize. So every senior physicist wants to put sensors in old mines. And they need money for that and to hire the hundred postdocs to do the work.

    Dark matter and dark energy are two different things.

    By the way, here is neat new theory for the possible source of dark matter that even I can almost understand: https://goo.gl/Sr22fC

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    No, not the same, but they share similar origin stories.

    Evidence comes along that doesn't fit the standard model of the universe. "Science" comes to the rescue: "Ummmm...that's because stuff we can't see is doin' it. Yeah, that's the ticket."

    It's just that type of thinking which allows "science" to hum along, untroubled by the fact that they can't detect like 70% of the energy in the observable universe.

    Progress.
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  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Dark matter is the front runner theory, mainly because a female physicist can partially lay claim to it, and we can’t doubt it without exhibiting misogyny. But there are other theories.

    Could Dark Matter Not Exist At All? [explains alternate MOND theory, and its weaknesses]

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/03/24/could-dark-matter-not-exist-at-all/#1e7f21f2ad60

    Does Dark Matter Exist? Bold New Study Offers Alternative Model [Maeder theory]

    https://www.space.com/39001-dark-matter-doesnt-exist-study-suggests.html

    Is Dark Matter Real? [describes problems with all the theories, including dark matter]

    https://www.livescience.com/59814-is-dark-matter-real.html

    The Man Who’s Trying to Kill Dark Matter [neo-MOND theory by Verlinde]

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/case-dark-matter/

    No need for dark matter? [Verlinde]

    http://earthsky.org/space/erik-verlinde-gravity-theory-no-need-dark-matter

    Do dark matter and dark energy exist? [Maeder theory]

    https://phys.org/news/2017-11-dark-energy.html

    Dark energy and dark matter may NOT exist, according to controversial new study [The Daily Mail enters the fray with Maeder theory]

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5109023/Dark-energy-dark-matter-NOT-exist-study-says.html#ixzz57c2RLx7l

    New Findings Muddy Understanding Of Dark Matter [glitches in dark matter theory]

    https://www.insidescience.org/news/new-findings-muddy-understanding-dark-matter

    Read More
    • Replies: @Prof. Woland
    Dark Lives Matter
    , @Pericles
    A few years ago, the estimate was that the universe was 5% visible matter, 35% dark matter and 60% dark energy. Another alternative, I reflected, is that the current theory is off in the weeds. Dark matter is a hack (epicycle, if you will) to explain various observed gravity problems and dark energy is a hack to explain the observed cosmological constant. There seem to be other severe discrepancies in cosmology as well, but I'm not well versed enough to explain them.

    The 2015 physics prize was for showing that neutrinos have mass, by the way. But it seems the current 'dark matter candidate' particles must be different from those.

    https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2015/

    http://cdms.berkeley.edu/Education/DMpages/essays/candidates.shtml
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  19. Dark matter seems like the ultimate blue team cash cow. An immense, impossibly powerful and infinitely confusing… thing… that no one can see or even perceive, but, is nevertheless intricately connected to our entire lives and could kill us all and by the way requires massive, nay, unlimited funding to even begin to contemplate it, let alone comprehend it.

    Is this stuff for real? It has scam written all over it.

    I’m all for high status/ high paying makework for White nerds, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t fund this stuff, just that we need to make sure to apply the Who Whom filter and not let the usual suspects get all the benefit.

    Read More
    • Agree: Clyde
    • Replies: @Stan Adams

    An immense, impossibly powerful and infinitely confusing… thing… that no one can see or even perceive, but, is nevertheless intricately connected to our entire lives and could kill us all
     
    How many atheists believe in dark matter while scoffing at those who believe in God?
    , @Mr. Anon

    Is this stuff for real? It has scam written all over it.
     
    It's real and based on sound observations. The rotation curves of observed galaxies can't be explained by the amount of luminous matter. Either there is matter we can't see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong. We have good reason to believe that our understanding of gravitation - though not complete - is pretty good.

    That's the argument for dark matter.
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  20. Something like the juxtaposition of headlines used in the Soviet press.

    Read More
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  21. @Anonymous
    There's a recent book on dark matter called Cosmic Cocktail. I'm really interested in astronomy, and I read it. I had a weird feeling by the time I got two-thirds of the way through it, doubting the whole theory, in a section where the author describes all the experiments to detect it, that aren't detecting it. She excitedly describes how each experiment is eliminating possibilities by ruling out various sizes of dark matter candidates. To me it sounded like they were looking for dark matter starting with the most probable sizes and proceeding to the least probable, so it looked like things were getting more and more doubtful.

    By the way, a dark matter search involves putting sensors in a cave or mine and waiting, They have done this over and over again with all kinds of sensor material.

    As I started to come to the end of the book I got more aggressive with online reading, and it turns out that there are two other theories that would do away with dark matter. The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict. The other theories just say that at that scale the formulas don't work, just as we know they don't work at molecular scale. In fact, if I understand it correctly, one alternative theory is that the traditional formulas are wrong in a way that does not matter for solar system level results, but does for galaxy level results.

    The response is that the alternative theories do not explain x and y. The counter response is that dark matter does not explain w and z (it turns out that dark matter theory has some problems of its own).

    At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion. It's also acknowledged that it will produce a Nobel Prize. Three project leaders will get the prize. So every senior physicist wants to put sensors in old mines. And they need money for that and to hire the hundred postdocs to do the work.

    In other words, the most useful function of dark matter is to route money from taxpayers to Uni physicists and their postdoc cadre.

    Read More
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  22. @J.Ross
    As we speak a secret team of scientists is attempting to restore, revive, and reconnect Hitler's brain. It was in the basement at Stuyvesant High. If successful the scientists hope to convince the world that Trump is literally worse than Hitler -- according to Hitler.

    As we speak a secret team of scientists is attempting to restore, revive, and reconnect Hitler’s brain. It was in the basement at Stuyvesant High. If successful the scientists hope to convince the world that Trump is literally worse than Hitler — according to Hitler.

    At least Hitler wasn’t blond like Trump….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    Not only was Adolf Hitler not blond like the evil Aryan Donald Trump and the evil blond frat boy college rapists who terrorize America's college campuses, but Adolf Hitler also supported higher taxes and single payer universal healthcare which The Democratic Party also supports as well but Donald Trump does not. So yes Trump is worst than Hitler from a Left Wing standard.
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  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Forbes
    *may depend* or not. Your mileage may vary.

    Cognitive dissonance has nothing on these people (NYT)--they're delusional.

    Call me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, if the Universe has managed to get along for >13 billion years, it may just manage to get along just fine for at least another 7.

    Anyway, if we’d kept on with the liberal agenda of erasing whites and importing brown folk we’d be moving further and further towards ‘sh*thole’ -level science programs and funding. Unfortunately, wishful thinking about Wakanda won’t get us any closer towards a better understanding of real-world physics.

    Read More
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  24. I thought that Trump Derangement syndrome had peaked with last month’s claim that a government shutdown (all Donald’s fault, of course) could cause Earth to be destroyed by an asteroid.

    Now it’s the universe. What comes after that?

    Read More
    • LOL: jim jones
    • Replies: @Pericles

    Now it’s the universe. What comes after that?

     

    Physicists seem to be fond of 'the multiverse' these days. Is there no limit to Trump's perfidy? Perhaps not.
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  25. Twenty bucks says that the readers of the New York Times don’t start a GoFundMe to fund this incredibly important spacecraft themselves.

    Read More
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  26. @Steve Sailer
    Obviously, Occam's Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.

    I pity the poor suckers that live in the multitude of universes where Hillary Clinton won the election and appointed Lena Dunham to the Supreme Court.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lurker
    Lol!!!
    , @Paul Jolliffe
    Well, here's a pretty funny guess what it would be like:

    https://youtu.be/Ymufo6kAaMg
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  27. @J.Ross
    As we speak a secret team of scientists is attempting to restore, revive, and reconnect Hitler's brain. It was in the basement at Stuyvesant High. If successful the scientists hope to convince the world that Trump is literally worse than Hitler -- according to Hitler.

    NYT is so Trump deranged that pretty soon they will be giving Hitler the strange new respect treatment.

    Read More
    • LOL: Harry Baldwin
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  28. @Anonymous
    There's a recent book on dark matter called Cosmic Cocktail. I'm really interested in astronomy, and I read it. I had a weird feeling by the time I got two-thirds of the way through it, doubting the whole theory, in a section where the author describes all the experiments to detect it, that aren't detecting it. She excitedly describes how each experiment is eliminating possibilities by ruling out various sizes of dark matter candidates. To me it sounded like they were looking for dark matter starting with the most probable sizes and proceeding to the least probable, so it looked like things were getting more and more doubtful.

    By the way, a dark matter search involves putting sensors in a cave or mine and waiting, They have done this over and over again with all kinds of sensor material.

    As I started to come to the end of the book I got more aggressive with online reading, and it turns out that there are two other theories that would do away with dark matter. The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict. The other theories just say that at that scale the formulas don't work, just as we know they don't work at molecular scale. In fact, if I understand it correctly, one alternative theory is that the traditional formulas are wrong in a way that does not matter for solar system level results, but does for galaxy level results.

    The response is that the alternative theories do not explain x and y. The counter response is that dark matter does not explain w and z (it turns out that dark matter theory has some problems of its own).

    At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion. It's also acknowledged that it will produce a Nobel Prize. Three project leaders will get the prize. So every senior physicist wants to put sensors in old mines. And they need money for that and to hire the hundred postdocs to do the work.

    Yes, dark energy and dark matter both exist because cosmological theories do not match observable reality.

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now…

    Even if dark matter/energy exists, this can’t be the best way to do science: wild guesses which would just so happen to save the thing you spent your career learning.

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?
     
    = Dark Matter as a remnant of the Dark Ages. Dark matter = the devil (devil=black). - Therefor: He who does not oppose to spend no money on the exploration of the dark matter supports the White Devil With Blonde Hair, Trump. (The most frightning devil: A "devil in disguise").

    - You could go on and end up with a pretty inclusive, ehe, comedy about our "days of the miracles and wonder" (P. Simon).

    , @Realist
    "Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe."

    Like string theory.
    , @Mr. Anon

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now…
     
    Yeah, like those gaps that Mendeleev inserted into his periodic table of the elements.

    And we all know how that turned out.......................chemists are still droning on about "germanium" and "gallium"......................if you believe such fairy tales.

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  29. @Luke Lea
    Dark matter and dark energy are two different things.

    By the way, here is neat new theory for the possible source of dark matter that even I can almost understand: https://goo.gl/Sr22fC

    No, not the same, but they share similar origin stories.

    Evidence comes along that doesn’t fit the standard model of the universe. “Science” comes to the rescue: “Ummmm…that’s because stuff we can’t see is doin’ it. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

    It’s just that type of thinking which allows “science” to hum along, untroubled by the fact that they can’t detect like 70% of the energy in the observable universe.

    Progress.

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  30. Did anyone else react the first time they heard of dark matter/energy as the High Physics equivalent of “a wizard did it?”

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    • Agree: Jack Hanson
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Did anyone else react the first time they heard of dark matter/energy as the High Physics equivalent of “a wizard did it?”
     
    No, but I did sort of feel that way when they were hyping-up the Higgs Boson. I remember some wannabe celebrity scientist (a black woman, of course) speaking at some kind of TED-like forum saying how the discovery of the Higgs Bosom "...........changes our world...............forever!".

    Did you not notice?
    , @biz
    People felt the same way about learning via special relativity that we live in four dimensions, how when quantum mechanics is operable the cat can be both alive and dead, the revelation in the 1920s of existence of billions of other galaxies, and other phenomena that we've learned about. Just because something is counterintuitive to regular joes does not mean it is not a fact of the universe. In fact, history tells us that being counterintuitive to average joes is probably a sign that a theory is on the right track.
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  31. @Anonymous
    Dark matter is the front runner theory, mainly because a female physicist can partially lay claim to it, and we can't doubt it without exhibiting misogyny. But there are other theories.

    Could Dark Matter Not Exist At All? [explains alternate MOND theory, and its weaknesses]
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/03/24/could-dark-matter-not-exist-at-all/#1e7f21f2ad60

    Does Dark Matter Exist? Bold New Study Offers Alternative Model [Maeder theory]
    https://www.space.com/39001-dark-matter-doesnt-exist-study-suggests.html

    Is Dark Matter Real? [describes problems with all the theories, including dark matter]
    https://www.livescience.com/59814-is-dark-matter-real.html

    The Man Who's Trying to Kill Dark Matter [neo-MOND theory by Verlinde]
    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/case-dark-matter/

    No need for dark matter? [Verlinde]
    http://earthsky.org/space/erik-verlinde-gravity-theory-no-need-dark-matter

    Do dark matter and dark energy exist? [Maeder theory]
    https://phys.org/news/2017-11-dark-energy.html

    Dark energy and dark matter may NOT exist, according to controversial new study [The Daily Mail enters the fray with Maeder theory]
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5109023/Dark-energy-dark-matter-NOT-exist-study-says.html#ixzz57c2RLx7l

    New Findings Muddy Understanding Of Dark Matter [glitches in dark matter theory]
    https://www.insidescience.org/news/new-findings-muddy-understanding-dark-matter

    Dark Lives Matter

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    • Replies: @Big Bill
    Dark Matter Lives!
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  32. I like Trump’s idea to privatize the International Space Station. The ISS has always been a huge boondoggle.

    Unmanned spacecraft and telescopes, on the other hand, have yielded tremendous knowledge for a tiny fraction of the cost of manned exploration.

    In less than a lifetime, humanity has gone from only seeing the planets as fuzzy disks in an eyepiece to having catalogued the entire solar system and visited many parts of it.

    Nevertheless, astrophysics may very well be ready for a paradigm shift away from dark matter and other constantly moving goal posts. The world right now needs Wfirst about as much as a troop of lost boy scouts needs a snipe hunt. Let Trump kill it. It isn’t exactly the James Webb Telescope.

    Read More
    • Replies: @newrouter
    "astrophysics may very well be ready for a paradigm shift away from dark matter and other constantly moving goal posts."

    Why blacks are less intelligent than northern folk? Staring at things that happened 200,000,000 years ago is pointless.
    , @Stan Adams
    In 2001, the space station is home to a Hilton and a Howard Johnson's:

    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/66/44/92/66449279b6079465094a1d7a1489551b---a-space-odyssey-about-space.jpg
    https://georgehahn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2001-space-station-large.jpg
    , @Pericles

    I like Trump’s idea to privatize the International Space Station. The ISS has always been a huge boondoggle.

     

    Sell it to Musk. It might still be a boondoggle, but at least it will be entertaining.
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  33. @anon
    I pity the poor suckers that live in the multitude of universes where Hillary Clinton won the election and appointed Lena Dunham to the Supreme Court.

    Lol!!!

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  34. I’m all for scientific research but NASA has a limited budget and getting a man rated launch vehicle and the James Webb telescope operational have to have priority over ‘Dark Matter’.

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  35. Yes peering out to the distant past with $100 gazillion will solve fundamental physics problems. You go grrl

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  36. @Prof. Woland
    Dark Lives Matter

    Dark Matter Lives!

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    DAMN

    I swear I didn't see either of your two comments first. (should have done a cntrl-f).
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  37. @Buzz Mohawk
    I like Trump's idea to privatize the International Space Station. The ISS has always been a huge boondoggle.

    Unmanned spacecraft and telescopes, on the other hand, have yielded tremendous knowledge for a tiny fraction of the cost of manned exploration.

    In less than a lifetime, humanity has gone from only seeing the planets as fuzzy disks in an eyepiece to having catalogued the entire solar system and visited many parts of it.

    Nevertheless, astrophysics may very well be ready for a paradigm shift away from dark matter and other constantly moving goal posts. The world right now needs Wfirst about as much as a troop of lost boy scouts needs a snipe hunt. Let Trump kill it. It isn't exactly the James Webb Telescope.

    “astrophysics may very well be ready for a paradigm shift away from dark matter and other constantly moving goal posts.”

    Why blacks are less intelligent than northern folk? Staring at things that happened 200,000,000 years ago is pointless.

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  38. @newrouter
    "If on the other hand, some previously unsuspected force field is tinkering with the galaxies and space-time, the effect could shut off or even reverse over the eons.

    Or maybe we just don’t understand gravity."

    I'd go with the latter.

    Our understanding of time and gravity is on a par with the late Roman Empire’s understanding of electricity and magnetism. I suspect there is a level of physics that is to the Einsteinian as the Einsteinian is to the Newtonian, but, it’s way above my understanding.

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  39. So dark matter is the 21st century version of ether and the celestial spheres?

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    So dark matter is the 21st century version of ether and the celestial spheres?
     
    Alloyed with vibranium. Which maintains its vibrancy.

    (If the language is confusing, consult any vibraphone.)
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  40. It is “too large” to perceive (astrophysics) and “too small”( quantum mechanics) . Spend all the money you want peering into the “rabbit hole”.

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  41. @Anonymous
    There's a recent book on dark matter called Cosmic Cocktail. I'm really interested in astronomy, and I read it. I had a weird feeling by the time I got two-thirds of the way through it, doubting the whole theory, in a section where the author describes all the experiments to detect it, that aren't detecting it. She excitedly describes how each experiment is eliminating possibilities by ruling out various sizes of dark matter candidates. To me it sounded like they were looking for dark matter starting with the most probable sizes and proceeding to the least probable, so it looked like things were getting more and more doubtful.

    By the way, a dark matter search involves putting sensors in a cave or mine and waiting, They have done this over and over again with all kinds of sensor material.

    As I started to come to the end of the book I got more aggressive with online reading, and it turns out that there are two other theories that would do away with dark matter. The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict. The other theories just say that at that scale the formulas don't work, just as we know they don't work at molecular scale. In fact, if I understand it correctly, one alternative theory is that the traditional formulas are wrong in a way that does not matter for solar system level results, but does for galaxy level results.

    The response is that the alternative theories do not explain x and y. The counter response is that dark matter does not explain w and z (it turns out that dark matter theory has some problems of its own).

    At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion. It's also acknowledged that it will produce a Nobel Prize. Three project leaders will get the prize. So every senior physicist wants to put sensors in old mines. And they need money for that and to hire the hundred postdocs to do the work.

    The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict

    Nope, absolutely not the case.

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more

    I think you must not have read that book very carefully.

    In general, there is an awful lot of ignorance on display in these comments. Dark matter and dark energy, and indeed the whole of modern concordance cosmology, are very well established theories, which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified. They are no way analogous to intelligent design, wizards, or other supernatural hypotheses which either fail to make testable predictions, fail to be falsifiable, or both.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more
     
    Well, I am not an astrophysicist™, but wouldn't your 2 and 3, and perhaps 1, simply be the same thing as my "rotate at different speeds"? I mean, they all require some fix to the mass-gravity thingamabob. So whatever explains one explains them all.

    As for patterns in the CMB, those Steven Hawking initials were proven to be a simple coincidence!
    , @JimS
    Thank you for stating this. It always bugs me that people just reflexively throw out the dark matter theory out of ignorance and a distaste for academia. There are many, many theories that should be thrown out (e.g. multiverse), but dark matter is not one of them.

    In my experience - having known dark matter observers looking for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and cosmologists studying the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) - cold dark matter has always been an expression of Occam's Razor - it is the solution that required the fewest additional assumptions. Modified Newtonian Dynamics and other such theories are completely ad hoc and have no underlying cause to make them happen - they would require many more assumptions to make them be correct. When you go with the simplest solution, you start looking for the highest probability candidate causing it, and then on down the line, systematically. Which is exactly what is happening. If none of them give you the answer, then you have to start looking at what you don't understand - but you don't jump to this very late step right out of the gate like every armchair scientist seems to do. Most people just have no understanding of the magnitude of changes they would have to make for something other than dark matter to cause what we see in the CMB, Large Scale Structure, galaxy rotation curves, a very small number of galaxies that oddly appear to exhibit characteristics of a lack of dark matter, type Ia supernovae, etc. I am absolutely not saying cold dark matter is definitely the right answer (a lot of people believe it's really not the endgame), but you need to have a lot of humility about suggesting a replacement, or about throwing it out altogether.

    The problem, as far as funding goes, is approving a half-dozen to a dozen projects all looking for the same thing, just because it is the "hot" topic right then. It can be an awful waste of money and starve out other projects. However, WFIRST is at least a non-politicized, interesting satellite designed to tell us statistical information about the earliest galaxies and large scale structure. But you can't say canceling it is about money and then go fund the spoiled and mis-allocating defense contractors and military (full disclosure - military veteran) and every entitlement that comes down the pike to extreme levels that put us even more in hock to the world.

    It might be good for astronomy in the long term to have some missions canceled so they can focus on what are the really important questions and how to answer them while minimizing wasted dollars, but I'm not sure that's the motivation here. All that being said, I think the tweet is silly, but I also think that may have been the point.
    , @guest
    "which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified"

    Did you mean "many?" Isn't the point of predictions to be falsified, formally speaking? No one acts as if dark matter/energy have been confirmed, so what exactly has been predicted?

    Or is it that the predictions haven't been tested yet? I'm confused.

    Wait, not really. What's actually going on is scientists aren't trying to falsify the existence of Dark Whatever. They're desperately searching for it wherever they can look, because they need it to bolster their models.

    "very well established theories"

    Meaning the physics Establishment needs them, not that they have a firm basis in non-model-dependent experimentation.

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  42. I thought dark matter was one of the underpinnings of relativity?

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  43. Dark energy science isn’t even the most important goal of WFIRST. Rather, it is discovering new extrasolar planets. It is an important mission and Trump should not be aiming to cancel it.

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  44. This makes sense. As we know, Trump had already cracked the glowing amulet of whiteness releasing its eldritch energies. All that’s left to do is to crack open the other amulet, the amulet of darkness, and release, well, the dark energy.

    Once Trump does it, there won’t be any need to pay scientists to look for dark energy. It will come looking for them! BWAH-HA-HA! BWAH-HA-HA-HA!

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    • LOL: Jack Hanson
    • Replies: @Pericles
    Or rather, Trump's WHITE ENERGY will come looking for them!
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  45. @Ron Unz
    No problem! BLACK PANTHER will save the Universe!!!

    Panther, cougar, mountain lion, puma, and catamount are just regional terms for the same animal.

    So expect this movie franchise to amass as many feline names as did OSX.

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    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    Sure. Send Unz on an Internet search for movies about black cougars. I'm sure that's really what he wants to find...
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  46. @eD
    So dark matter is the 21st century version of ether and the celestial spheres?

    So dark matter is the 21st century version of ether and the celestial spheres?

    Alloyed with vibranium. Which maintains its vibrancy.

    (If the language is confusing, consult any vibraphone.)

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  47. @Steve Sailer
    Obviously, Occam's Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.

    What does Obama’s Razor require of us?

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  48. What you described sounds an awful lot like Kuhn and his, paraphrased, line that “science advances with the funeral march.” I won’t pretend to know much about theoretical physics, but do gather that there is a dominant theory, dark matter/energy, and also alternative hypotheses. Every major modern accepted theory was a heterodox alternative theory at some point. Dark energy could be our modern equivalency of aether or the quintessence. It’s unknown, but the current method of “big science” with armies of postdocs and associate profs in the zero sum game of limited research funding and full professorships could explain the reticence to diverge from the orthodox. It’s harder to imagine a patent clerk today overturning “accepted science” compared to 100 years ago. Just guessing, based on how structures operate, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next revolution in physics is discovered by a crank in a second tier state university.

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  49. Every major modern accepted theory was a heterodox alternative theory at some point.

    Every major modern accepted theory was voodoo science at some point.

    However, 99% of voodoo science remains just that.

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  50. Also, Trump’s presidency may depress Ta-Nehisi “the Supreme Genius” Coates so much that research into black bodies will grind to a halt.

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  51. @Steve Sailer
    Obviously, Occam's Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.

    Obviously, Occam’s Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.

    As I always say, the only miracle harder to believe than that there is some cosmic intelligence behind the universe is that it all evolved by random chance.

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    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Clyde

    As I always say, the only miracle harder to believe than that there is some cosmic intelligence behind the universe is that it all evolved by random chance.
     
    Agree. There has/had to be some outside guidance even if was alien intervention and not Intelligent Design. It could have been both. Sorry you militant atheists, but evolutionary theory cannot explain all.
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  52. @Buzz Mohawk
    I like Trump's idea to privatize the International Space Station. The ISS has always been a huge boondoggle.

    Unmanned spacecraft and telescopes, on the other hand, have yielded tremendous knowledge for a tiny fraction of the cost of manned exploration.

    In less than a lifetime, humanity has gone from only seeing the planets as fuzzy disks in an eyepiece to having catalogued the entire solar system and visited many parts of it.

    Nevertheless, astrophysics may very well be ready for a paradigm shift away from dark matter and other constantly moving goal posts. The world right now needs Wfirst about as much as a troop of lost boy scouts needs a snipe hunt. Let Trump kill it. It isn't exactly the James Webb Telescope.

    In 2001, the space station is home to a Hilton and a Howard Johnson’s:

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    Yes, and Pan Am operated the Space Shuttle.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_60A8zsWp2jY/TC088gcPDMI/AAAAAAAAAVI/Ft0ltTxo-_I/s1600/2001orion.jpg

    What a world we lived in! And to think that was only seventeen years ago. Now there's no Pan Am, no shuttle, and no hotel on the space station. Kids today would never believe us.

    I guess 9/11 really did change everything.
    , @Jack D
    But to show how poor our imaginations are, if you wanted to video chat you couldn't just take your cell phone out of your pocket, you had to go into a special room with a CRT and have the operator connect you on the Bell Telephone Picturephone.
    , @Joe Stalin
    In one of the seasons of "Mad Men" I recall they featured Hilton wanting some sort of advertising in the 1960s; did they pay money to insert their brand? Love the Bell System logo; I recall Robert W. Lucky mentioning an advertisement that had their piece of "junk," the Picturephone, next to Hewlett-Packard's piece of "junk," the HP-35.
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  53. @27 year old
    Dark matter seems like the ultimate blue team cash cow. An immense, impossibly powerful and infinitely confusing... thing... that no one can see or even perceive, but, is nevertheless intricately connected to our entire lives and could kill us all and by the way requires massive, nay, unlimited funding to even begin to contemplate it, let alone comprehend it.

    Is this stuff for real? It has scam written all over it.

    I'm all for high status/ high paying makework for White nerds, so I'm not saying we shouldn't fund this stuff, just that we need to make sure to apply the Who Whom filter and not let the usual suspects get all the benefit.

    An immense, impossibly powerful and infinitely confusing… thing… that no one can see or even perceive, but, is nevertheless intricately connected to our entire lives and could kill us all

    How many atheists believe in dark matter while scoffing at those who believe in God?

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  54. Physics thread.

    Where do I look to see the center of the Galaxy?

    Where do I look to see the center of the universe?

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    • Replies: @Simon Tugmutton
    In the direction of Mr Obama, of course!
    , @biz

    Where do I look to see the center of the Galaxy?
     
    It is in the constellation Sagittarius, specifically toward the feature Sagittarius A, so whatever direction that is on any given day and time where you are. However with the naked eye or an optical telescope you won't see much of anything there.

    Where do I look to see the center of the universe?
     
    The universe has no spatial center.
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  55. @syonredux

    As we speak a secret team of scientists is attempting to restore, revive, and reconnect Hitler’s brain. It was in the basement at Stuyvesant High. If successful the scientists hope to convince the world that Trump is literally worse than Hitler — according to Hitler.
     
    At least Hitler wasn't blond like Trump....

    Not only was Adolf Hitler not blond like the evil Aryan Donald Trump and the evil blond frat boy college rapists who terrorize America’s college campuses, but Adolf Hitler also supported higher taxes and single payer universal healthcare which The Democratic Party also supports as well but Donald Trump does not. So yes Trump is worst than Hitler from a Left Wing standard.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    but Adolf Hitler also supported higher taxes and single payer universal healthcare
     
    Don't know about Hitler's day, but today Germany doesn't have a "single payer" healthcare system, but a two-tier one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-tier_healthcare

    However, Germany has single-payer religion.

    http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2014/09/PF_14.09.18churchTaxes.png


    If you want details about this, or just want to bask in truly wretched, nearly illegible Web design, check this out:

    https://blog.mygermanexpert.com/2013/06/10-Facts-about-German-Church-Tax.html
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  56. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @biz

    The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict
     
    Nope, absolutely not the case.

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more

    I think you must not have read that book very carefully.

    In general, there is an awful lot of ignorance on display in these comments. Dark matter and dark energy, and indeed the whole of modern concordance cosmology, are very well established theories, which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified. They are no way analogous to intelligent design, wizards, or other supernatural hypotheses which either fail to make testable predictions, fail to be falsifiable, or both.

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more

    Well, I am not an astrophysicist™, but wouldn’t your 2 and 3, and perhaps 1, simply be the same thing as my “rotate at different speeds”? I mean, they all require some fix to the mass-gravity thingamabob. So whatever explains one explains them all.

    As for patterns in the CMB, those Steven Hawking initials were proven to be a simple coincidence!

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    • Replies: @biz

    the same thing as my “rotate at different speeds”? I mean, they all require some fix to the mass-gravity thingamabob.
     
    Nope.

    Gravitational lensing has nothing to do with dynamics or rotation. It provides an independent measurement of the mass of a system.

    Colliding galaxy clusters show that there are two distinct forms of matter in large systems, the ordinary matter which interacts and something else which doesn't.
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  57. Would we have colonized parts of the solar system had it not been mo money fo dem programs?

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  58. Ok, I’m as libertarian as the next guy, but this is basic research. This kind of work has tons of spinoffs and educates hundreds of PhD / Postdocs that can turn around and create entire companies if they ever get bored or decide to start families. Or turn around and build SDI interceptors if they are so-minded. As for this vs a moon base, why do we have to choose? These are tiny fractions of the federal budget and minuscule fractions of the national income. Plus, this is building American no-how and funding American contractors. Maybe slightly less important than roads and bridges, but certainly more important than a new fighter jet (totally obsolete with drones) or funding for NPR (which hates us).

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    • Replies: @Autochthon

    ...building American no-how...
     
    Thou sayest....
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  59. Ice Cube’s version of Wakanda.

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  60. I used to have nightmares about a composite monster that was one part Donald Trump, one part Arnold Schwarzenegger, and one part 8’8″ Zind Warrior with 20-foot-wide biceps. And yes, he had hair the color of dog piss. Quite honestly, a fellow brunet like Hitler never scared me so much on a purely visceral level.

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  61. @biz

    The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict
     
    Nope, absolutely not the case.

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more

    I think you must not have read that book very carefully.

    In general, there is an awful lot of ignorance on display in these comments. Dark matter and dark energy, and indeed the whole of modern concordance cosmology, are very well established theories, which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified. They are no way analogous to intelligent design, wizards, or other supernatural hypotheses which either fail to make testable predictions, fail to be falsifiable, or both.

    Thank you for stating this. It always bugs me that people just reflexively throw out the dark matter theory out of ignorance and a distaste for academia. There are many, many theories that should be thrown out (e.g. multiverse), but dark matter is not one of them.

    In my experience – having known dark matter observers looking for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and cosmologists studying the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) – cold dark matter has always been an expression of Occam’s Razor – it is the solution that required the fewest additional assumptions. Modified Newtonian Dynamics and other such theories are completely ad hoc and have no underlying cause to make them happen – they would require many more assumptions to make them be correct. When you go with the simplest solution, you start looking for the highest probability candidate causing it, and then on down the line, systematically. Which is exactly what is happening. If none of them give you the answer, then you have to start looking at what you don’t understand – but you don’t jump to this very late step right out of the gate like every armchair scientist seems to do. Most people just have no understanding of the magnitude of changes they would have to make for something other than dark matter to cause what we see in the CMB, Large Scale Structure, galaxy rotation curves, a very small number of galaxies that oddly appear to exhibit characteristics of a lack of dark matter, type Ia supernovae, etc. I am absolutely not saying cold dark matter is definitely the right answer (a lot of people believe it’s really not the endgame), but you need to have a lot of humility about suggesting a replacement, or about throwing it out altogether.

    The problem, as far as funding goes, is approving a half-dozen to a dozen projects all looking for the same thing, just because it is the “hot” topic right then. It can be an awful waste of money and starve out other projects. However, WFIRST is at least a non-politicized, interesting satellite designed to tell us statistical information about the earliest galaxies and large scale structure. But you can’t say canceling it is about money and then go fund the spoiled and mis-allocating defense contractors and military (full disclosure – military veteran) and every entitlement that comes down the pike to extreme levels that put us even more in hock to the world.

    It might be good for astronomy in the long term to have some missions canceled so they can focus on what are the really important questions and how to answer them while minimizing wasted dollars, but I’m not sure that’s the motivation here. All that being said, I think the tweet is silly, but I also think that may have been the point.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    See, this is the kind of masculine thinking that we feminists have been talking, nay, bitching about, for many years now. My government has been spending all these millions of dollars, maybe billions, I don't do math ... for your shovel-ready projects. It's all about your bridges, roads, levees, cell-phone antennas, etc. and not a single trillion for our women's stuff. We like to talk and build non-threatening communities. We need quicker ways to get to our girlfriends' houses across the river, smoother ways to travel so our hair doesn't get messed-up, less-moldy houses homes, better phone signals so we can talk even more, etc.

    More money should be spent on girl stuff. It's not fair! The spending of these millions of my ex-husband's tax money on your silly matter, energy, physics and all is wasteful. I don't CARE about your dark matter - cosmology is a MAN's world. These tax dollars should be spent on cosmetology, a science for WOMYN. DARK MATTER, my (firm, I might add) hiney, we cosmetologists have been studying WHITE MATTER for years, and it's attendant itching and flaking. WHERE'S OUR FUNDING?!

    #FIGHT WHITE MATTER
    #EVER TRIED TEGRIN?
    , @Anonymous
    Why is the light matter component of galaxies lenticular, but the dark matter component spherical?
    , @guest
    The fewest additional assumptions...you mean in addition to the kabillion and one assumptions built into the apparently unfalsifiable standard model? Knowledge of and belief in which coincidentally allows physicists to earn a living.

    I guarantee you that defenders of the Ptolemaic faith thought they were making as few assumptions as possible when they added epicycle on top of epicycle. It never occurred to them to pitch their entire view of the cosmos.

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  62. @Stan Adams
    In 2001, the space station is home to a Hilton and a Howard Johnson's:

    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/66/44/92/66449279b6079465094a1d7a1489551b---a-space-odyssey-about-space.jpg
    https://georgehahn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2001-space-station-large.jpg

    Yes, and Pan Am operated the Space Shuttle.

    What a world we lived in! And to think that was only seventeen years ago. Now there’s no Pan Am, no shuttle, and no hotel on the space station. Kids today would never believe us.

    I guess 9/11 really did change everything.

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    • LOL: Chrisnonymous
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Ah! But you can buy Indian slop from the side of a truck in every city, and purchase plastic baubles from China from surly Somali clerks in Mega-Lo-Marts even if it is 3:00 a.m. on a Sunday. Clarke's tiny mind never imagined such wonders!
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  63. “Dark Matter,” the sub-title of Black Panther V, will reveal that Wakandan scientists know the secret of and have harnessed “dark energy” for the advancement of their civilization.

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  64. @27 year old
    Dark matter seems like the ultimate blue team cash cow. An immense, impossibly powerful and infinitely confusing... thing... that no one can see or even perceive, but, is nevertheless intricately connected to our entire lives and could kill us all and by the way requires massive, nay, unlimited funding to even begin to contemplate it, let alone comprehend it.

    Is this stuff for real? It has scam written all over it.

    I'm all for high status/ high paying makework for White nerds, so I'm not saying we shouldn't fund this stuff, just that we need to make sure to apply the Who Whom filter and not let the usual suspects get all the benefit.

    Is this stuff for real? It has scam written all over it.

    It’s real and based on sound observations. The rotation curves of observed galaxies can’t be explained by the amount of luminous matter. Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong. We have good reason to believe that our understanding of gravitation – though not complete – is pretty good.

    That’s the argument for dark matter.

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.
     
    Or gravity is not the only force at work.

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That's a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It's about time they entertained some alternatives.

    , @27 year old

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.
     
    Occam's razor says it's the latter...
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  65. @Mr. Anon

    Is this stuff for real? It has scam written all over it.
     
    It's real and based on sound observations. The rotation curves of observed galaxies can't be explained by the amount of luminous matter. Either there is matter we can't see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong. We have good reason to believe that our understanding of gravitation - though not complete - is pretty good.

    That's the argument for dark matter.

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.

    Or gravity is not the only force at work.

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That’s a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It’s about time they entertained some alternatives.

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    • Replies: @biz

    Or gravity is not the only force at work.
     
    There are only four forces available in nature. The strong and weak forces only act at sub-atomic scales, and electromagnetism is suppressed on cosmological scales because large systems are, in bulk, electrically neutral. That leaves gravity as the only game in town.

    Postulating an additional force, one that has never been observed in a laboratory, never manifested in any other realm, and which is rather unjustified from first principles, is far more absurd than simply postulating the existence an abundant electrically neutral particle (dark matter).
    , @Mr. Anon

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That’s a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It’s about time they entertained some alternatives.
     

    There are no other forces known other than the four recognized by contemporary physics. Attempts to find a "fifth force" have only resulted in placing ever smaller limits on it's possible strength.

    Astronomers can't just go willy-nilly assuming that "out there" is vastly different than "down-here". If they did, then they would become untied from empirical reality. It involves, at least for the present, less guessing to say there must be some stuff out there we can't see than to say well maybe there are forces at work over large scales that we just don't (can't?) know.

    That may change in future, but for the time being, "dark matter" is a reasonable hypothesis.

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  66. @Anonymous
    There's a recent book on dark matter called Cosmic Cocktail. I'm really interested in astronomy, and I read it. I had a weird feeling by the time I got two-thirds of the way through it, doubting the whole theory, in a section where the author describes all the experiments to detect it, that aren't detecting it. She excitedly describes how each experiment is eliminating possibilities by ruling out various sizes of dark matter candidates. To me it sounded like they were looking for dark matter starting with the most probable sizes and proceeding to the least probable, so it looked like things were getting more and more doubtful.

    By the way, a dark matter search involves putting sensors in a cave or mine and waiting, They have done this over and over again with all kinds of sensor material.

    As I started to come to the end of the book I got more aggressive with online reading, and it turns out that there are two other theories that would do away with dark matter. The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict. The other theories just say that at that scale the formulas don't work, just as we know they don't work at molecular scale. In fact, if I understand it correctly, one alternative theory is that the traditional formulas are wrong in a way that does not matter for solar system level results, but does for galaxy level results.

    The response is that the alternative theories do not explain x and y. The counter response is that dark matter does not explain w and z (it turns out that dark matter theory has some problems of its own).

    At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion. It's also acknowledged that it will produce a Nobel Prize. Three project leaders will get the prize. So every senior physicist wants to put sensors in old mines. And they need money for that and to hire the hundred postdocs to do the work.

    They prefer to postulate exotic epicycles like dark matter than tweaking the inverse square law of gravity to keep Newton and most importantly St. Einstein general relativity intact. It seems that changing the the inverse square law can explain the observed behavior of galaxies. 1/r^2 is supposed to be valid when gravity is strong like in the solar system but when gravitational acceleration is small like in galaxies the relationship becomes closer to 1/r.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/case-dark-matter/
    Many early attempts at tweaking gravity were easy to rule out, but Milgrom found a winning formula: When the gravitational acceleration felt by a star drops below a certain level—precisely 0.00000000012 meters per second per second, or 100 billion times weaker than we feel on the surface of the Earth—he postulated that gravity somehow switches from an inverse-square law to something close to an inverse-distance law. “There’s this magic scale,” McGaugh said. “Above this scale, everything is normal and Newtonian. Below this scale is where things get strange. But the theory does not really specify how you get from one regime to the other.”

    Modified Newtonian dynamics

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_Newtonian_dynamics

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    • Replies: @biz
    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing, 2) the collision of galaxy clusters, and to some extent 3) patterns in the CMB does not rest with the inverse square law.

    Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one.
    , @Mr. Anon
    MOND was proposed by an Israeli named Mordehai Milgrom, so I'm guessing that if it should prove to be true, that you won't like it anymore than you like general relativity.
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  67. @guest
    Yes, dark energy and dark matter both exist because cosmological theories do not match observable reality.

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can't observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now...

    Even if dark matter/energy exists, this can't be the best way to do science: wild guesses which would just so happen to save the thing you spent your career learning.

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?

    = Dark Matter as a remnant of the Dark Ages. Dark matter = the devil (devil=black). – Therefor: He who does not oppose to spend no money on the exploration of the dark matter supports the White Devil With Blonde Hair, Trump. (The most frightning devil: A “devil in disguise”).

    - You could go on and end up with a pretty inclusive, ehe, comedy about our “days of the miracles and wonder” (P. Simon).

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    • Replies: @Eustace Tilley (not)
    Dear Dieter: I'm moved to complain.
    In such matters obscure and arcane
    Simply gaze up in awe
    With your eyes, not your jaw,
    So from comments inane to refrain.
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  68. @newrouter
    "If on the other hand, some previously unsuspected force field is tinkering with the galaxies and space-time, the effect could shut off or even reverse over the eons.

    Or maybe we just don’t understand gravity."

    I'd go with the latter.

    Dark energy and dark matter probably have as much validity as string theory.

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  69. @guest
    Yes, dark energy and dark matter both exist because cosmological theories do not match observable reality.

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can't observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now...

    Even if dark matter/energy exists, this can't be the best way to do science: wild guesses which would just so happen to save the thing you spent your career learning.

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?

    “Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe.”

    Like string theory.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    “Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe.”

    Like string theory.
     

     
    How about all the phlogiston that was the big thing before Lavoisier's closed-vessel experiments and modern chemistry? The great thing about phlogiston was that it was the ideal diet food - you've seen some of those fat chicks in the old classic paintings, right? Had they been prescribed the proper diet phlogiston, it having a negative mass and all, along with rice cakes and power bars, they could have looked like President Trump's playboy bunny in no time.

    That and maybe a little vegemite, though vegemite results in weight loss via a different mechanism - ballistic projectile vomiting.
    , @guest
    Dark Whatever at least pretends to be falsifiable. String theory never once thought up a testable prediction.
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  70. “Dark” matter? Sounds racist.

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  71. The Times boldly goes with Wfirst
    (‘Cause for Science the Leftists e’er thirst),
    But for poor HBD
    Not a sole renminbi:
    James Watson et al. are the worst.

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  72. What if there is no Dark Energy and Dark Matter? Only Goodness and Light. Can we handle that truth? Maybe that is why the probe was cancelled.

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  73. Dark matter is essentially nothing more than an error term in many equations involving celestial gravity. It’s existence is an unproven theory that has never been found by any scientific instruments.

    In essence, it’s little better than “why is this Galaxy’s orbit behaving different than are model – HERE BE DRAGONS.”

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    http://cafehayek.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/miracle_cartoon.jpg
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  74. #DARK MATTER LIVES!

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    • LOL: Buffalo Joe
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  75. @Reg Cæsar
    Panther, cougar, mountain lion, puma, and catamount are just regional terms for the same animal.

    So expect this movie franchise to amass as many feline names as did OSX.

    Sure. Send Unz on an Internet search for movies about black cougars. I’m sure that’s really what he wants to find…

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    • Replies: @MEH 0910, @Reg Cæsar

    Sure. Send Unz on an Internet search for movies about black cougars.
     
    Just don't confuse catamounts with catamites. One could get Spaceyed out.
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  76. People in here arguing “dark matter is the simplest explanation” while pointing at increasingly complex and ridiculous ‘theories’ that stand on each other like a house of cards is why anyone without a dog in the fight goes “Wait what?”.

    Probably the only time I’ve agreed with utu but he’s right when he refers to St. Einstein and the inability of most physicists to contemplate he might be wrong is an issue.

    Which is why we are down this rabbit hole to begin with.

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    • Replies: @biz
    Your comment is simply false.


    St. Einstein and the inability of most physicists to contemplate he might be wrong is an issue
     
    Physicists have had no problem saying Einstein was wrong when he's proven wrong. For example, Einstein was a proponent of steady-state cosmology which no mainstream scientist believes today. 99% of physicists will just say Einstein got that one incorrect and go about their day.

    People in here arguing “dark matter is the simplest explanation” while pointing at increasingly complex and ridiculous ‘theories’ that stand on each other like a house of cards
     
    As for dark matter (I notice that nobody is even addressing dark energy which is actually more potentially problematic and was the original topic at hand), it is actually quite simple. There just exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle. Because it is electrically neutral and weakly interacting, its effects on the ordinary matter that makes up everything we know and love are overwhelmingly gravitational only. In contrast, in order to alter our theory of gravity to make the need for dark matter go away but still preserve all of the predictions that have been verified to an insanely high precision, the new theory would be so convoluted that it would make dark matter and even dark energy seem like the simplest and most natural thing ever.
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  77. @Realist
    "Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe."

    Like string theory.

    “Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe.”

    Like string theory.

    How about all the phlogiston that was the big thing before Lavoisier’s closed-vessel experiments and modern chemistry? The great thing about phlogiston was that it was the ideal diet food – you’ve seen some of those fat chicks in the old classic paintings, right? Had they been prescribed the proper diet phlogiston, it having a negative mass and all, along with rice cakes and power bars, they could have looked like President Trump’s playboy bunny in no time.

    That and maybe a little vegemite, though vegemite results in weight loss via a different mechanism – ballistic projectile vomiting.

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    • Replies: @Realist
    Phlogiston and string theory are about equal in stupidity.
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  78. @Big Bill
    Dark Matter Lives!

    DAMN

    I swear I didn’t see either of your two comments first. (should have done a cntrl-f).

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  79. @anon
    I pity the poor suckers that live in the multitude of universes where Hillary Clinton won the election and appointed Lena Dunham to the Supreme Court.

    Well, here’s a pretty funny guess what it would be like:

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  80. @newrouter
    "At any rate, dark matter is the accepted religion."

    Yes they need additional taxpayer money to throw into their volcano. From the above article where nationalism is now deemed "good":

    "It drew comparisons to the cancellation of the Superconducting Supercollider that ended American supremacy in particle physics."

    For the left, nationalism is great when it’s in the service of throwing huge amounts of money at various federal boondoggles.

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  81. @Laugh Track

    Obviously, Occam’s Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.
     
    As I always say, the only miracle harder to believe than that there is some cosmic intelligence behind the universe is that it all evolved by random chance.

    As I always say, the only miracle harder to believe than that there is some cosmic intelligence behind the universe is that it all evolved by random chance.

    Agree. There has/had to be some outside guidance even if was alien intervention and not Intelligent Design. It could have been both. Sorry you militant atheists, but evolutionary theory cannot explain all.

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  82. @JimS
    Thank you for stating this. It always bugs me that people just reflexively throw out the dark matter theory out of ignorance and a distaste for academia. There are many, many theories that should be thrown out (e.g. multiverse), but dark matter is not one of them.

    In my experience - having known dark matter observers looking for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and cosmologists studying the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) - cold dark matter has always been an expression of Occam's Razor - it is the solution that required the fewest additional assumptions. Modified Newtonian Dynamics and other such theories are completely ad hoc and have no underlying cause to make them happen - they would require many more assumptions to make them be correct. When you go with the simplest solution, you start looking for the highest probability candidate causing it, and then on down the line, systematically. Which is exactly what is happening. If none of them give you the answer, then you have to start looking at what you don't understand - but you don't jump to this very late step right out of the gate like every armchair scientist seems to do. Most people just have no understanding of the magnitude of changes they would have to make for something other than dark matter to cause what we see in the CMB, Large Scale Structure, galaxy rotation curves, a very small number of galaxies that oddly appear to exhibit characteristics of a lack of dark matter, type Ia supernovae, etc. I am absolutely not saying cold dark matter is definitely the right answer (a lot of people believe it's really not the endgame), but you need to have a lot of humility about suggesting a replacement, or about throwing it out altogether.

    The problem, as far as funding goes, is approving a half-dozen to a dozen projects all looking for the same thing, just because it is the "hot" topic right then. It can be an awful waste of money and starve out other projects. However, WFIRST is at least a non-politicized, interesting satellite designed to tell us statistical information about the earliest galaxies and large scale structure. But you can't say canceling it is about money and then go fund the spoiled and mis-allocating defense contractors and military (full disclosure - military veteran) and every entitlement that comes down the pike to extreme levels that put us even more in hock to the world.

    It might be good for astronomy in the long term to have some missions canceled so they can focus on what are the really important questions and how to answer them while minimizing wasted dollars, but I'm not sure that's the motivation here. All that being said, I think the tweet is silly, but I also think that may have been the point.

    See, this is the kind of masculine thinking that we feminists have been talking, nay, bitching about, for many years now. My government has been spending all these millions of dollars, maybe billions, I don’t do math … for your shovel-ready projects. It’s all about your bridges, roads, levees, cell-phone antennas, etc. and not a single trillion for our women’s stuff. We like to talk and build non-threatening communities. We need quicker ways to get to our girlfriends’ houses across the river, smoother ways to travel so our hair doesn’t get messed-up, less-moldy houses homes, better phone signals so we can talk even more, etc.

    More money should be spent on girl stuff. It’s not fair! The spending of these millions of my ex-husband’s tax money on your silly matter, energy, physics and all is wasteful. I don’t CARE about your dark matter – cosmology is a MAN’s world. These tax dollars should be spent on cosmetology, a science for WOMYN. DARK MATTER, my (firm, I might add) hiney, we cosmetologists have been studying WHITE MATTER for years, and it’s attendant itching and flaking. WHERE’S OUR FUNDING?!

    #FIGHT WHITE MATTER
    #EVER TRIED TEGRIN?

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    • LOL: MBlanc46
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  83. @Ron Unz
    No problem! BLACK PANTHER will save the Universe!!!

    WE IS FIZZASISTS!!! GIMMESOME FREE anti
    ANTIBEUTRINOS!!!

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  84. @utu
    They prefer to postulate exotic epicycles like dark matter than tweaking the inverse square law of gravity to keep Newton and most importantly St. Einstein general relativity intact. It seems that changing the the inverse square law can explain the observed behavior of galaxies. 1/r^2 is supposed to be valid when gravity is strong like in the solar system but when gravitational acceleration is small like in galaxies the relationship becomes closer to 1/r.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/case-dark-matter/
    Many early attempts at tweaking gravity were easy to rule out, but Milgrom found a winning formula: When the gravitational acceleration felt by a star drops below a certain level—precisely 0.00000000012 meters per second per second, or 100 billion times weaker than we feel on the surface of the Earth—he postulated that gravity somehow switches from an inverse-square law to something close to an inverse-distance law. “There’s this magic scale,” McGaugh said. “Above this scale, everything is normal and Newtonian. Below this scale is where things get strange. But the theory does not really specify how you get from one regime to the other.”
     
    Modified Newtonian dynamics
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_Newtonian_dynamics

    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing, 2) the collision of galaxy clusters, and to some extent 3) patterns in the CMB does not rest with the inverse square law.

    Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one.

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    • Replies: @Karl
    83 biz > Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one


    but the "dark matter" theory ==does== have a showstopper - it cannot explain that fact that gravity, which is purported to propagate at the speed of light, does not exhibit stellar aberration like light does.
    , @guest
    By "based on" you mean it's a rationalization of those things.

    Explaining many things is not a solid basis for a theory. Bearing some connection to reality as we know it is.

    Otherwise, the Lizard People Conspiracy is looking pretty good.

    , @utu

    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing [...] does not rest with the inverse square law.
     

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2116446-first-test-of-rival-to-einsteins-gravity-kills-off-dark-matter/
    Margot Brouwer at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and her colleagues looked at the gravitational lensing of these galaxies – the way they bend the light of more distant galaxies as predicted by Einstein’s theory – to measure their dark matter content.

    To their surprise, they discovered the observed lensing could just as readily be accounted for by a new model of gravity, without invoking dark matter.

    Verlinde’s calculations fit the new study’s observations without resorting to free parameters – essentially values that can be tweaked at will to make theory and observation match. By contrast, says Brouwer, conventional dark matter models need four free parameters to be adjusted to explain the data.

    Milgrom, however, supports the work. He also points out that according to his own 2013 analysis of gravitational lensing data in galaxies, MOND produces similarly impressive results as Verlinde’s gravitational model does in Brouwer’s study.

    “My equations work differently than Milgrom’s, and in the case of [galaxy] clusters this can be quite important,” Verlinde says. But in the case of Brouwer’s work, “They put in the formula I get,” he says, “and I have to admit it’s the same formula that Milgrom would have got, and… they just put it on the data. It looks like a fit.”
     
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  85. @Anonymous

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more
     
    Well, I am not an astrophysicist™, but wouldn't your 2 and 3, and perhaps 1, simply be the same thing as my "rotate at different speeds"? I mean, they all require some fix to the mass-gravity thingamabob. So whatever explains one explains them all.

    As for patterns in the CMB, those Steven Hawking initials were proven to be a simple coincidence!

    the same thing as my “rotate at different speeds”? I mean, they all require some fix to the mass-gravity thingamabob.

    Nope.

    Gravitational lensing has nothing to do with dynamics or rotation. It provides an independent measurement of the mass of a system.

    Colliding galaxy clusters show that there are two distinct forms of matter in large systems, the ordinary matter which interacts and something else which doesn’t.

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  86. @Buzz Mohawk

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.
     
    Or gravity is not the only force at work.

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That's a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It's about time they entertained some alternatives.

    Or gravity is not the only force at work.

    There are only four forces available in nature. The strong and weak forces only act at sub-atomic scales, and electromagnetism is suppressed on cosmological scales because large systems are, in bulk, electrically neutral. That leaves gravity as the only game in town.

    Postulating an additional force, one that has never been observed in a laboratory, never manifested in any other realm, and which is rather unjustified from first principles, is far more absurd than simply postulating the existence an abundant electrically neutral particle (dark matter).

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    ...large systems are, in bulk, electrically neutral.
     
    Prove this on a cosmological scale.
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  87. @Stan Adams
    In 2001, the space station is home to a Hilton and a Howard Johnson's:

    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/66/44/92/66449279b6079465094a1d7a1489551b---a-space-odyssey-about-space.jpg
    https://georgehahn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2001-space-station-large.jpg

    But to show how poor our imaginations are, if you wanted to video chat you couldn’t just take your cell phone out of your pocket, you had to go into a special room with a CRT and have the operator connect you on the Bell Telephone Picturephone.

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    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uGNnjcAA1QY
    , @Corn
    It seems from my reading of scifi that scifi writers missed cellphones by a country mile. Everyone has a little computer on their wrist in the future? Sure. Everyone has a little radio on their wrist or a radio earpiece similiar to bluetooth? Sometimes. But everyone will have a cellphone on their belt/in their pocket? Doesn’t seem to happen often
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  88. @Buzz Mohawk

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.
     
    Or gravity is not the only force at work.

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That's a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It's about time they entertained some alternatives.

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That’s a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It’s about time they entertained some alternatives.

    There are no other forces known other than the four recognized by contemporary physics. Attempts to find a “fifth force” have only resulted in placing ever smaller limits on it’s possible strength.

    Astronomers can’t just go willy-nilly assuming that “out there” is vastly different than “down-here”. If they did, then they would become untied from empirical reality. It involves, at least for the present, less guessing to say there must be some stuff out there we can’t see than to say well maybe there are forces at work over large scales that we just don’t (can’t?) know.

    That may change in future, but for the time being, “dark matter” is a reasonable hypothesis.

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    • Agree: MEH 0910
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    They routinely ignore the possibility of electric charge and electromagnetic forces, plasma physics, when observations fit those better than they fit purely gravitational and mechanical models.

    You are happy to scale up your local gravitational-mechanical experiences, but not plasma and electrical phenomena that are also observed at our scale. This is not to say that those things are what is going on out there, just that astronomers won't even consider the possibility.

    The same goes for the assumption ad absurdum that the cosmic red shift is an infinitely scalable phenomenon, across all space, that must be extrapolated back to a single point, which is absurd, instead of wondering if there might just be another cause for the shift.

    You will say these are crackpot ideas, sure. But so is the constantly changing, Rube-Goldberg nature of cosmology at this point.

    , @guest
    You sound to me like someone justifying debacles like Iraq War II on grounds of, "What, are we supposed to just not start wars? Then who'll be World Police?"
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  89. @JimS
    Thank you for stating this. It always bugs me that people just reflexively throw out the dark matter theory out of ignorance and a distaste for academia. There are many, many theories that should be thrown out (e.g. multiverse), but dark matter is not one of them.

    In my experience - having known dark matter observers looking for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and cosmologists studying the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) - cold dark matter has always been an expression of Occam's Razor - it is the solution that required the fewest additional assumptions. Modified Newtonian Dynamics and other such theories are completely ad hoc and have no underlying cause to make them happen - they would require many more assumptions to make them be correct. When you go with the simplest solution, you start looking for the highest probability candidate causing it, and then on down the line, systematically. Which is exactly what is happening. If none of them give you the answer, then you have to start looking at what you don't understand - but you don't jump to this very late step right out of the gate like every armchair scientist seems to do. Most people just have no understanding of the magnitude of changes they would have to make for something other than dark matter to cause what we see in the CMB, Large Scale Structure, galaxy rotation curves, a very small number of galaxies that oddly appear to exhibit characteristics of a lack of dark matter, type Ia supernovae, etc. I am absolutely not saying cold dark matter is definitely the right answer (a lot of people believe it's really not the endgame), but you need to have a lot of humility about suggesting a replacement, or about throwing it out altogether.

    The problem, as far as funding goes, is approving a half-dozen to a dozen projects all looking for the same thing, just because it is the "hot" topic right then. It can be an awful waste of money and starve out other projects. However, WFIRST is at least a non-politicized, interesting satellite designed to tell us statistical information about the earliest galaxies and large scale structure. But you can't say canceling it is about money and then go fund the spoiled and mis-allocating defense contractors and military (full disclosure - military veteran) and every entitlement that comes down the pike to extreme levels that put us even more in hock to the world.

    It might be good for astronomy in the long term to have some missions canceled so they can focus on what are the really important questions and how to answer them while minimizing wasted dollars, but I'm not sure that's the motivation here. All that being said, I think the tweet is silly, but I also think that may have been the point.

    Why is the light matter component of galaxies lenticular, but the dark matter component spherical?

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    • Replies: @JimS
    It has been a long, long time since I've thought about this, so I'll see what I can remember. Basically, your dark matter haloes are not necessarily spherical, and in simulations done over a decade ago they found they should be highly filamentary on large scales (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Run). The important thing is that they are more diffusely distributed than the light we see in galaxies, so the rotation curves don't match. But because there is more dark matter than other matter, the other matter tends to coalesce around the dark matter, accreting inward. This accreting mass of atoms has a non-zero angular momentum, which causes things in nature to form a disc structure (like why our solar system is all on a plane). Of course, it is not all so simple, as a majority of galaxies are either elliptical in shape or have a very small disc. But no one really knows the exact shape of dark matter haloes, and you can't really get too specific on structure from maps made by weak lensing (and it's only a 2D map anyway). If I recall, there is also at least one galaxy observed that did not appear to have accreted around a dark matter filament, and had a rotation curve very similar to what one would expect without dark matter.

    As for the idea of other theories being simpler, you have to look at it from a point of view of General Relativity (GR). In its initial conception, Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) was a complete departure from General Relativity, and any attempts to unite it would be post-rationalization (sort of like how string theorists keep adding extra, "unseen" dimensions). Most importantly, there is no reason to think that of all the forces, its effects fall off different from an inverse squared law (i.e. the strength of the force is diluted in proportion to the surface area of a sphere centered on the originator of the force - close in you have a small sphere and large force, farther away you have a large sphere and small force). It would mean that in the Newtonian limit, there is something screwing with basic geometry. That's why a lot of scientists have disdain for the theory.

    This gets me to the point of the "simplest" explanation. "Lambda-CDM" (i.e. cold dark matter with an accelerating universe) cosmology is the simplest if you take it from the starting point of general relativity, not if some layperson is inventing forces without having really looked into it. If you take GR as a starting point, then the density of "stuff" in the universe affects the geometry of 3-dimensional space on large scales. If outward pressure for expansion is balanced by the mass of stuff in the universe, you get an infinite universe in all directions. Too much mass, and you get a closed universe that will collapse on itself, but is finite (i.e. if you walk in one direction in space, you will eventually end up where you start, like the surface of the Earth in 2D). Too little, and you get expansion and an "open" universe, which is also infinite but in a weird non-flat 3D geometry that I don't quire understand. The thing is, we can tell how much baryonic (i.e. atoms) matter in the universe, and it's a factor of 5-6 too low to make the universe flat/infinite. But we can tell the universe is flat (or close to it - really, really big if it is finite) from observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background. So the scientists have a gap here, and they call it "dark matter" (together with dark energy, something that it's best not to delve into here). It's what would explain the most in the FRW metric (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedmann%E2%80%93Lema%C3%AEtre%E2%80%93Robertson%E2%80%93Walker_metric)
    This was found, and they looked back at Vera Rubin's measurement of galactic light curves, and some people said, "Hey, I bet these two things are related." So they did computer simulations and found it seemed to work out pretty well with matching all observations.

    A lot of people think they're missing something in the explanation of dark matter, and there has to be some other explanation for all of this. But no one has a good idea of what else they're missing, and EVERY other current theory is much, much worse. So what do you do from there? You eliminate the most likely candidates (e.g. WIMPs) to try to understand what's going on. We know that GR has to be revised on some level, in order for it as a classical theory to make sense with quantum theory (and who knows, this unification might solve the issue at hand). If you have any good, non-crackpot ideas on how to do that, a lot of people would love to hear them.

    If you want to chide the physics community, how about the 120 orders of magnitude difference between the expected vacuum energy and what we see as the dark energy causing the universe's acceleration? No one really knows why matter doesn't just blow itself apart. Or all the tricks in hiding the infinities in perturbations in quantum field theory? Or the crazy crackpot cosmologists and their ideas of early universe "inflation" which can manifest itself in an infinite number of ways in order to agree with any measurement you'd like? Or the fact that people studying "multiverse" theory and untestable string theory are still in physics departments, not philosophy departments? There is so much to criticize, the topics picked make no sense to me.

    But the point of all this was a stupid NYT tweet. I personally think it was intentional hyperbole that fell flat when you can't convey your meaning in so few words, but that's just me.
    , @biz

    Why is the light matter component of galaxies lenticular, but the dark matter component spherical?
     
    because ordinary matter participates in the electromagnetic interaction and so can lose energy and angular momentum through collisions, while dark matter mostly cannot. As a result, the ordinary matter can become much more clumped and only the axis of maximum net angular momentum is preserved, while dark matter cannot become as clustered because there is nothing to take away the energy gained as it falls into a gravitational potential well.
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  90. @utu
    They prefer to postulate exotic epicycles like dark matter than tweaking the inverse square law of gravity to keep Newton and most importantly St. Einstein general relativity intact. It seems that changing the the inverse square law can explain the observed behavior of galaxies. 1/r^2 is supposed to be valid when gravity is strong like in the solar system but when gravitational acceleration is small like in galaxies the relationship becomes closer to 1/r.

    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/case-dark-matter/
    Many early attempts at tweaking gravity were easy to rule out, but Milgrom found a winning formula: When the gravitational acceleration felt by a star drops below a certain level—precisely 0.00000000012 meters per second per second, or 100 billion times weaker than we feel on the surface of the Earth—he postulated that gravity somehow switches from an inverse-square law to something close to an inverse-distance law. “There’s this magic scale,” McGaugh said. “Above this scale, everything is normal and Newtonian. Below this scale is where things get strange. But the theory does not really specify how you get from one regime to the other.”
     
    Modified Newtonian dynamics
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_Newtonian_dynamics

    MOND was proposed by an Israeli named Mordehai Milgrom, so I’m guessing that if it should prove to be true, that you won’t like it anymore than you like general relativity.

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    • Replies: @utu

    you won’t like it anymore than you like general relativity
     
    Only if he [Mordehai Milgrom] gets beatified and canonized.
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  91. @guest
    Did anyone else react the first time they heard of dark matter/energy as the High Physics equivalent of "a wizard did it?"

    Did anyone else react the first time they heard of dark matter/energy as the High Physics equivalent of “a wizard did it?”

    No, but I did sort of feel that way when they were hyping-up the Higgs Boson. I remember some wannabe celebrity scientist (a black woman, of course) speaking at some kind of TED-like forum saying how the discovery of the Higgs Bosom “………..changes our world……………forever!”.

    Did you not notice?

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  92. @guest
    Yes, dark energy and dark matter both exist because cosmological theories do not match observable reality.

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can't observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now...

    Even if dark matter/energy exists, this can't be the best way to do science: wild guesses which would just so happen to save the thing you spent your career learning.

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now…

    Yeah, like those gaps that Mendeleev inserted into his periodic table of the elements.

    And we all know how that turned out…………………..chemists are still droning on about “germanium” and “gallium”………………….if you believe such fairy tales.

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    • Replies: @guest
    "Yeah, like those gaps that Mendeleev inserted into his periodic table of the elements"

    No, I said stop-gaps, not gaps. There's a world of difference between predicting something will show up to fit within the order you've intuited and coming up with ad hoc rationalizations for why reality didn't fit your expectations. It's like the difference between science and dogma.

    Dark energy is supposed to account for something like 70% of energy in the observable universe. We're not talking about a substance that exists somewhere in nature and is to be found between so-and-so atomic numbers, here. It's gotta be everywhere, if it exists, and we're looking for literally any sign of it, from a thunder clap to a mouse's squeak.

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  93. @Ron Unz
    No problem! BLACK PANTHER will save the Universe!!!

    The eastern cougar is of course now officially deemed extinct, so the work of the black (and brown, and yellow) competitors for its habitat as we prioritise high-rises, tract housing, and (of course!) sales of diapers and toilet paper in the wake of their overpopulation and efforts to ensure what used to be the U.S.A. contains six billion humans by 2030 is continuing apace!

    Extinction for all megafauna! Bad, Jewish poems and cheap programmers and dishwashers demand it!

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  94. @Buzz Mohawk
    Yes, and Pan Am operated the Space Shuttle.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_60A8zsWp2jY/TC088gcPDMI/AAAAAAAAAVI/Ft0ltTxo-_I/s1600/2001orion.jpg

    What a world we lived in! And to think that was only seventeen years ago. Now there's no Pan Am, no shuttle, and no hotel on the space station. Kids today would never believe us.

    I guess 9/11 really did change everything.

    Ah! But you can buy Indian slop from the side of a truck in every city, and purchase plastic baubles from China from surly Somali clerks in Mega-Lo-Marts even if it is 3:00 a.m. on a Sunday. Clarke’s tiny mind never imagined such wonders!

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  95. @Chief Seattle
    Ok, I'm as libertarian as the next guy, but this is basic research. This kind of work has tons of spinoffs and educates hundreds of PhD / Postdocs that can turn around and create entire companies if they ever get bored or decide to start families. Or turn around and build SDI interceptors if they are so-minded. As for this vs a moon base, why do we have to choose? These are tiny fractions of the federal budget and minuscule fractions of the national income. Plus, this is building American no-how and funding American contractors. Maybe slightly less important than roads and bridges, but certainly more important than a new fighter jet (totally obsolete with drones) or funding for NPR (which hates us).

    …building American no-how

    Thou sayest….

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  96. @Mr. Anon

    Is this stuff for real? It has scam written all over it.
     
    It's real and based on sound observations. The rotation curves of observed galaxies can't be explained by the amount of luminous matter. Either there is matter we can't see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong. We have good reason to believe that our understanding of gravitation - though not complete - is pretty good.

    That's the argument for dark matter.

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.

    Occam’s razor says it’s the latter…

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    • Replies: @biz
    No it absolutely does not.

    Our current understanding of the gravitational interaction, whether Newtonian on scales where it is relevant or General Relativity on scales where it is relevant, makes insanely accurate predictions that have been verified by every experiment and observation ever designed to test those predictions, over a huge range of scales from torsional pendulums on tabletops, to the precise motions of the solar system and extrasolar planets, to frame dragging by the rotating Earth, to the detection of gravitational waves from black hole mergers that happened billions of light years away. Altering our current theory of gravity in such a way as to preserve these predictions over many orders of magnitude of scale but get rid of the need for dark matter would result in such a convoluted and complicated theory that it itself would be a huge violation of Occam's razor. By far the most parsimonious explanation at present is simply that there exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle (aka dark matter).

    ------

    Meta:
    I have been extremely disappointed with this iSteve comment section. Apparently we have a bunch of people who, whatever their ability to understand quantitative social data and see through obfuscation in regard to it, are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics. And beyond that, they have completely uninformed notions of when appeals to simplicity are warranted or even accurate within science and logic.

    , @Mr. Anon

    Occam’s razor says it’s the latter…
     
    No, quite the opposite.
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  97. @Anonymous
    Dark matter is the front runner theory, mainly because a female physicist can partially lay claim to it, and we can't doubt it without exhibiting misogyny. But there are other theories.

    Could Dark Matter Not Exist At All? [explains alternate MOND theory, and its weaknesses]
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/03/24/could-dark-matter-not-exist-at-all/#1e7f21f2ad60

    Does Dark Matter Exist? Bold New Study Offers Alternative Model [Maeder theory]
    https://www.space.com/39001-dark-matter-doesnt-exist-study-suggests.html

    Is Dark Matter Real? [describes problems with all the theories, including dark matter]
    https://www.livescience.com/59814-is-dark-matter-real.html

    The Man Who's Trying to Kill Dark Matter [neo-MOND theory by Verlinde]
    https://www.wired.com/2017/01/case-dark-matter/

    No need for dark matter? [Verlinde]
    http://earthsky.org/space/erik-verlinde-gravity-theory-no-need-dark-matter

    Do dark matter and dark energy exist? [Maeder theory]
    https://phys.org/news/2017-11-dark-energy.html

    Dark energy and dark matter may NOT exist, according to controversial new study [The Daily Mail enters the fray with Maeder theory]
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5109023/Dark-energy-dark-matter-NOT-exist-study-says.html#ixzz57c2RLx7l

    New Findings Muddy Understanding Of Dark Matter [glitches in dark matter theory]
    https://www.insidescience.org/news/new-findings-muddy-understanding-dark-matter

    A few years ago, the estimate was that the universe was 5% visible matter, 35% dark matter and 60% dark energy. Another alternative, I reflected, is that the current theory is off in the weeds. Dark matter is a hack (epicycle, if you will) to explain various observed gravity problems and dark energy is a hack to explain the observed cosmological constant. There seem to be other severe discrepancies in cosmology as well, but I’m not well versed enough to explain them.

    The 2015 physics prize was for showing that neutrinos have mass, by the way. But it seems the current ‘dark matter candidate’ particles must be different from those.

    https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2015/

    http://cdms.berkeley.edu/Education/DMpages/essays/candidates.shtml

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  98. @I, Libertine
    I thought that Trump Derangement syndrome had peaked with last month's claim that a government shutdown (all Donald's fault, of course) could cause Earth to be destroyed by an asteroid.

    https://youtu.be/d8Jk-UjRrx0?t=1m45s

    Now it's the universe. What comes after that?

    Now it’s the universe. What comes after that?

    Physicists seem to be fond of ‘the multiverse’ these days. Is there no limit to Trump’s perfidy? Perhaps not.

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    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    The multiverse is a comforting thought.

    Think about it: if the multiverse theory is correct, then there is no need for us to worry about anything. Even if this universe is one in which the world is eventually overrun by billions of Africans, there are billions upon billions of universes where there are no Africans at all. And there are billions upon billions of universes where 115-IQ Somalis are struggling to integrate unruly hordes of 70-IQ Swedes.

    In this universe, you might be a schlumpy cubicle drone working 80 hours a week to support a shrill, nagging shrew who constantly threatens to take the kids and run off with everything you own; but in billions upon billions of universes, you have millions in the bank and an insanely hot wife who lives only to please you. There are universes where you can't even leave the house because, as soon as you walk outside, herds of beautiful women swarm around you to the extent that you live in constant fear of being trampled.

    There are universes where men commit seppuku when they see you because they cannot abide the disparity between their total inadequacy and your absolute supremacy. And there are universes where chicks off themselves when they see you with your one true love because they know that, having glimpsed you, they will never be able to settle for any other man.

    Likewise, there are universes where everyone you meet tries to kill you because you are so hideously unattractive that the mere fact of your existence renders them unable to feel even the smallest hint of joy. There are universes like that episode of the Twilight Zone where you are impossibly handsome by our standards, but unspeakably ugly by theirs.

    If we do, indeed, live in a multiverse where every conceivable thing that can happen is happening somewhere, then we need never do anything but abandon ourselves to the wild whims that pop into our heads. We can shirk all of our responsibilities, confident that somewhere, somehow, our counterparts are doing all of the things that we should be doing. In the end, everything evens out.

    Sounds great, doesn't it? Even if life is meaningless in this universe, there are untold numbers of universes in which it is meaningful.

    So nothing matters and anything goes! Hedonistic nihilism reigns supreme! Bring out the kegs! Roll out the barrels! This round's on me!

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  99. @Buzz Mohawk
    I like Trump's idea to privatize the International Space Station. The ISS has always been a huge boondoggle.

    Unmanned spacecraft and telescopes, on the other hand, have yielded tremendous knowledge for a tiny fraction of the cost of manned exploration.

    In less than a lifetime, humanity has gone from only seeing the planets as fuzzy disks in an eyepiece to having catalogued the entire solar system and visited many parts of it.

    Nevertheless, astrophysics may very well be ready for a paradigm shift away from dark matter and other constantly moving goal posts. The world right now needs Wfirst about as much as a troop of lost boy scouts needs a snipe hunt. Let Trump kill it. It isn't exactly the James Webb Telescope.

    I like Trump’s idea to privatize the International Space Station. The ISS has always been a huge boondoggle.

    Sell it to Musk. It might still be a boondoggle, but at least it will be entertaining.

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    • Replies: @Joe Schmoe

    Sell it to Musk. It might still be a boondoggle, but at least it will be entertaining.
     
    Wait, I thought Musk got money from Uncle Sam, not the other way around. Isn't Musk himself a boondoggler profiting from taxpayers rather than a market rate profit maker who underwrites the boondoggles of others.
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  100. @inertial
    This makes sense. As we know, Trump had already cracked the glowing amulet of whiteness releasing its eldritch energies. All that's left to do is to crack open the other amulet, the amulet of darkness, and release, well, the dark energy.

    Once Trump does it, there won't be any need to pay scientists to look for dark energy. It will come looking for them! BWAH-HA-HA! BWAH-HA-HA-HA!

    Or rather, Trump’s WHITE ENERGY will come looking for them!

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  101. @Achmed E. Newman

    “Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe.”

    Like string theory.
     

     
    How about all the phlogiston that was the big thing before Lavoisier's closed-vessel experiments and modern chemistry? The great thing about phlogiston was that it was the ideal diet food - you've seen some of those fat chicks in the old classic paintings, right? Had they been prescribed the proper diet phlogiston, it having a negative mass and all, along with rice cakes and power bars, they could have looked like President Trump's playboy bunny in no time.

    That and maybe a little vegemite, though vegemite results in weight loss via a different mechanism - ballistic projectile vomiting.

    Phlogiston and string theory are about equal in stupidity.

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  102. @Chrisnonymous
    Sure. Send Unz on an Internet search for movies about black cougars. I'm sure that's really what he wants to find...
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  103. @Yak-15
    Dark matter is essentially nothing more than an error term in many equations involving celestial gravity. It’s existence is an unproven theory that has never been found by any scientific instruments.

    In essence, it’s little better than “why is this Galaxy’s orbit behaving different than are model - HERE BE DRAGONS.”

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  104. @Mr. Anon

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That’s a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It’s about time they entertained some alternatives.
     

    There are no other forces known other than the four recognized by contemporary physics. Attempts to find a "fifth force" have only resulted in placing ever smaller limits on it's possible strength.

    Astronomers can't just go willy-nilly assuming that "out there" is vastly different than "down-here". If they did, then they would become untied from empirical reality. It involves, at least for the present, less guessing to say there must be some stuff out there we can't see than to say well maybe there are forces at work over large scales that we just don't (can't?) know.

    That may change in future, but for the time being, "dark matter" is a reasonable hypothesis.

    They routinely ignore the possibility of electric charge and electromagnetic forces, plasma physics, when observations fit those better than they fit purely gravitational and mechanical models.

    You are happy to scale up your local gravitational-mechanical experiences, but not plasma and electrical phenomena that are also observed at our scale. This is not to say that those things are what is going on out there, just that astronomers won’t even consider the possibility.

    The same goes for the assumption ad absurdum that the cosmic red shift is an infinitely scalable phenomenon, across all space, that must be extrapolated back to a single point, which is absurd, instead of wondering if there might just be another cause for the shift.

    You will say these are crackpot ideas, sure. But so is the constantly changing, Rube-Goldberg nature of cosmology at this point.

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    • Replies: @JimS

    The same goes for the assumption ad absurdum that the cosmic red shift is an infinitely scalable phenomenon, across all space, that must be extrapolated back to a single point, which is absurd, instead of wondering if there might just be another cause for the shift.
     
    Ok, I just have to correct this since this is a really, really common misunderstanding and scientists are incredibly bad and misleading at explaining it.

    The Big Bang Theory only says the universe was once hot and dense, and over time it cooled and got less dense. As far as we can tell, the universe is and always has been infinite in all directions of space. So what happened? Matter started getting farther apart from other matter. There was nothing space was "expanding into" as it has always been infinite, not the size of a pin or whatever. It was basically the same effect as space being created in among the matter, so the volume occupied by a given mass went up, and density goes down. A good way of showing this in the old days was to have a transparency with a grid of points 1/2" inch apart from each other, then 1", 2" etc. If you pick any random point, and lay the dots over themselves (since by it's perspective it hasn't moved) it looks like all the other dots are moving away from it, which it would see as a redshift. If you instead did the same thing with any other dot, it would look like stuff was moving away from it! They're all infinite grids, each one thinking stuff is flying away from it, and they were once the center of the universe, but instead it's just all matter moving away from other pieces of matter. Stuff that's really close together has gravity overcome this matter expansion on the scale of the size of the object (e.g. a cluster of galaxies) but these groups of matter all are apparently moving away from each other.

    So where does this pin-size universe b.s. come from? Well, some scientist a while back thought it would be good to explain all that we can see, the observable universe out to the ~14 billion year time horizon for light to have reached us, as having once been really small, like a pin-size. In fact, there were an infinite number of similar pin-sized things all around us; this is just what we could see. I have no idea why a pin was chosen, as I think that is kind of an arbitrary scale size.

    As for other causes of redshift, many, many have been investigated - tired light, change in physical constants, etc. All have been found wanting.

    Again, this is all very off-topic.
    , @Mr. Anon

    They routinely ignore the possibility of electric charge and electromagnetic forces, plasma physics, when observations fit those better than they fit purely gravitational and mechanical models.
     
    What observations? What aspect of plasma physics fits them better?

    You are happy to scale up your local gravitational-mechanical experiences, but not plasma and electrical phenomena that are also observed at our scale.
     
    Plasmas at our scale - anything from weakly-ionized mercury plasmas in fluorescent lamps to fully-ionized hydrogen plasmas in large tokamaks - are approximately electrically neutral. If we scale them up...........they approach charge neutrality even better.

    I wouldn't discount the possibility that there are large-scale magnetohydrodynamic forces that work on astronomical scales. I suppose it's possible. I don't know. I'm all for people looking into that. I'm also all for people looking into dark matter.
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  105. @biz

    Or gravity is not the only force at work.
     
    There are only four forces available in nature. The strong and weak forces only act at sub-atomic scales, and electromagnetism is suppressed on cosmological scales because large systems are, in bulk, electrically neutral. That leaves gravity as the only game in town.

    Postulating an additional force, one that has never been observed in a laboratory, never manifested in any other realm, and which is rather unjustified from first principles, is far more absurd than simply postulating the existence an abundant electrically neutral particle (dark matter).

    …large systems are, in bulk, electrically neutral.

    Prove this on a cosmological scale.

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    • Replies: @biz
    The electrostatic force is many orders of magnitude stronger than the gravitational one. If there was any significant deviation from astrophysical systems being electrically neutral in bulk it would be overwhelmingly obvious. For example the positively charged galaxies would be rushing toward the negatively charged galaxies at an incredible acceleration, which would completely swamp the Hubble expansion that we actually observe.
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  106. @Dieter Kief

    Ever wonder what it was like to live under the Medieval Ptolemaic system, with all the epicycles they dreamt up to explain abberant astronomical observations?
     
    = Dark Matter as a remnant of the Dark Ages. Dark matter = the devil (devil=black). - Therefor: He who does not oppose to spend no money on the exploration of the dark matter supports the White Devil With Blonde Hair, Trump. (The most frightning devil: A "devil in disguise").

    - You could go on and end up with a pretty inclusive, ehe, comedy about our "days of the miracles and wonder" (P. Simon).

    Dear Dieter: I’m moved to complain.
    In such matters obscure and arcane
    Simply gaze up in awe
    With your eyes, not your jaw,
    So from comments inane to refrain.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Eustace, maybe it's just me but Eu are priceless.
    , @Dieter Kief
    Dear Dieter: I’m moved to complain.
    In such matters obscure and arcane
    Simply gaze up in awe
    With your eyes, not your jaw,
    So from comments inane to refrain.

    - Thank you Eustace Tilley (not)! - Now I'm moved too! -


    (In all ehe - seriousness: This stuff is funny and it would make for a great - ehe - black comedy (the "scandal" of black humor - the "scandal" of the devil being "black" - - - etc. - - - ). But where'd be the crowd? - And who'd risk to laugh, really? - Maybe a Korean or Japanese or Chinese author could enjoy to go inside this gold mine of laughs 'n' laughs 'n' laughs (I already can hear an echo: "Hello: Is there - anybody - - out there?" - - a writer from behind "The Dark Side of The Moon", maybe, to dig into our "Ol' Cosmic Blues - Again")?

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  107. @Anonymous
    Why is the light matter component of galaxies lenticular, but the dark matter component spherical?

    It has been a long, long time since I’ve thought about this, so I’ll see what I can remember. Basically, your dark matter haloes are not necessarily spherical, and in simulations done over a decade ago they found they should be highly filamentary on large scales (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Run). The important thing is that they are more diffusely distributed than the light we see in galaxies, so the rotation curves don’t match. But because there is more dark matter than other matter, the other matter tends to coalesce around the dark matter, accreting inward. This accreting mass of atoms has a non-zero angular momentum, which causes things in nature to form a disc structure (like why our solar system is all on a plane). Of course, it is not all so simple, as a majority of galaxies are either elliptical in shape or have a very small disc. But no one really knows the exact shape of dark matter haloes, and you can’t really get too specific on structure from maps made by weak lensing (and it’s only a 2D map anyway). If I recall, there is also at least one galaxy observed that did not appear to have accreted around a dark matter filament, and had a rotation curve very similar to what one would expect without dark matter.

    As for the idea of other theories being simpler, you have to look at it from a point of view of General Relativity (GR). In its initial conception, Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) was a complete departure from General Relativity, and any attempts to unite it would be post-rationalization (sort of like how string theorists keep adding extra, “unseen” dimensions). Most importantly, there is no reason to think that of all the forces, its effects fall off different from an inverse squared law (i.e. the strength of the force is diluted in proportion to the surface area of a sphere centered on the originator of the force – close in you have a small sphere and large force, farther away you have a large sphere and small force). It would mean that in the Newtonian limit, there is something screwing with basic geometry. That’s why a lot of scientists have disdain for the theory.

    [MORE]

    This gets me to the point of the “simplest” explanation. “Lambda-CDM” (i.e. cold dark matter with an accelerating universe) cosmology is the simplest if you take it from the starting point of general relativity, not if some layperson is inventing forces without having really looked into it. If you take GR as a starting point, then the density of “stuff” in the universe affects the geometry of 3-dimensional space on large scales. If outward pressure for expansion is balanced by the mass of stuff in the universe, you get an infinite universe in all directions. Too much mass, and you get a closed universe that will collapse on itself, but is finite (i.e. if you walk in one direction in space, you will eventually end up where you start, like the surface of the Earth in 2D). Too little, and you get expansion and an “open” universe, which is also infinite but in a weird non-flat 3D geometry that I don’t quire understand. The thing is, we can tell how much baryonic (i.e. atoms) matter in the universe, and it’s a factor of 5-6 too low to make the universe flat/infinite. But we can tell the universe is flat (or close to it – really, really big if it is finite) from observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background. So the scientists have a gap here, and they call it “dark matter” (together with dark energy, something that it’s best not to delve into here). It’s what would explain the most in the FRW metric (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedmann%E2%80%93Lema%C3%AEtre%E2%80%93Robertson%E2%80%93Walker_metric)
    This was found, and they looked back at Vera Rubin’s measurement of galactic light curves, and some people said, “Hey, I bet these two things are related.” So they did computer simulations and found it seemed to work out pretty well with matching all observations.

    A lot of people think they’re missing something in the explanation of dark matter, and there has to be some other explanation for all of this. But no one has a good idea of what else they’re missing, and EVERY other current theory is much, much worse. So what do you do from there? You eliminate the most likely candidates (e.g. WIMPs) to try to understand what’s going on. We know that GR has to be revised on some level, in order for it as a classical theory to make sense with quantum theory (and who knows, this unification might solve the issue at hand). If you have any good, non-crackpot ideas on how to do that, a lot of people would love to hear them.

    If you want to chide the physics community, how about the 120 orders of magnitude difference between the expected vacuum energy and what we see as the dark energy causing the universe’s acceleration? No one really knows why matter doesn’t just blow itself apart. Or all the tricks in hiding the infinities in perturbations in quantum field theory? Or the crazy crackpot cosmologists and their ideas of early universe “inflation” which can manifest itself in an infinite number of ways in order to agree with any measurement you’d like? Or the fact that people studying “multiverse” theory and untestable string theory are still in physics departments, not philosophy departments? There is so much to criticize, the topics picked make no sense to me.

    But the point of all this was a stupid NYT tweet. I personally think it was intentional hyperbole that fell flat when you can’t convey your meaning in so few words, but that’s just me.

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    • Replies: @Robert Hume
    Thanks for your discussion. I’m not an expert so my question may be uninformed.

    Newton understood that he did not know where the force of gravitation came from; only that if it was proportional to mass and that it fell off with distance then he could mathematically predict the orbits of the planets etc.

    Einstein “clarified” that the gravitational force was actually due to the fact that mass “curved” space. But “why” does mass curve space; and does his theory give the gravitational constant?

    If not, then perhaps there are leads here to explain dark matter etc.
    , @Pericles

    Or the fact that people studying “multiverse” theory and untestable string theory are still in physics departments, not philosophy departments?

     

    There are indeed quite a few problems with these theories, not just dark matter/dark energy. In the case of the multiverse, it appears to me as an unfortunate instance of theorists doubling down a few times too many.

    Perhaps, some time in the past, the physics department hired too many math guys who just can't let go of their beautiful theories?
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  108. @Buzz Mohawk
    They routinely ignore the possibility of electric charge and electromagnetic forces, plasma physics, when observations fit those better than they fit purely gravitational and mechanical models.

    You are happy to scale up your local gravitational-mechanical experiences, but not plasma and electrical phenomena that are also observed at our scale. This is not to say that those things are what is going on out there, just that astronomers won't even consider the possibility.

    The same goes for the assumption ad absurdum that the cosmic red shift is an infinitely scalable phenomenon, across all space, that must be extrapolated back to a single point, which is absurd, instead of wondering if there might just be another cause for the shift.

    You will say these are crackpot ideas, sure. But so is the constantly changing, Rube-Goldberg nature of cosmology at this point.

    The same goes for the assumption ad absurdum that the cosmic red shift is an infinitely scalable phenomenon, across all space, that must be extrapolated back to a single point, which is absurd, instead of wondering if there might just be another cause for the shift.

    Ok, I just have to correct this since this is a really, really common misunderstanding and scientists are incredibly bad and misleading at explaining it.

    The Big Bang Theory only says the universe was once hot and dense, and over time it cooled and got less dense. As far as we can tell, the universe is and always has been infinite in all directions of space. So what happened? Matter started getting farther apart from other matter. There was nothing space was “expanding into” as it has always been infinite, not the size of a pin or whatever. It was basically the same effect as space being created in among the matter, so the volume occupied by a given mass went up, and density goes down. A good way of showing this in the old days was to have a transparency with a grid of points 1/2″ inch apart from each other, then 1″, 2″ etc. If you pick any random point, and lay the dots over themselves (since by it’s perspective it hasn’t moved) it looks like all the other dots are moving away from it, which it would see as a redshift. If you instead did the same thing with any other dot, it would look like stuff was moving away from it! They’re all infinite grids, each one thinking stuff is flying away from it, and they were once the center of the universe, but instead it’s just all matter moving away from other pieces of matter. Stuff that’s really close together has gravity overcome this matter expansion on the scale of the size of the object (e.g. a cluster of galaxies) but these groups of matter all are apparently moving away from each other.

    So where does this pin-size universe b.s. come from? Well, some scientist a while back thought it would be good to explain all that we can see, the observable universe out to the ~14 billion year time horizon for light to have reached us, as having once been really small, like a pin-size. In fact, there were an infinite number of similar pin-sized things all around us; this is just what we could see. I have no idea why a pin was chosen, as I think that is kind of an arbitrary scale size.

    As for other causes of redshift, many, many have been investigated – tired light, change in physical constants, etc. All have been found wanting.

    Again, this is all very off-topic.

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    That's fine, and a "single point" can mean a point in time at which regressive extrapolation arrives at an absurd state.

    The idea of everything appearing to move away from everything is understood, as in riding on a piece of an explosion. Your addition of the universe starting that way all over, instead starting at a "point" is appreciated.

    As one who agrees with what Steve implies above, that an Intelligent Design or some kind of prime mover many be more satisfactory to Occam than many of today's fantasies, I can't deny that a starting point for our apparent expansion is as reasonable as anything else we can come up with.

    What I do have trouble with, however, is a priesthood of cosmologists and physicists who have stared at their equations so long, and built their careers on them so heavily, that they cannot entertain the possibility that space may not be the "nothing" they have assumed it to be since Michelson and Morley failed to find aether. Everything since has been based on that, including the idea that light passes through space without being at all involved with space (save curvature).

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  109. @karsten
    Yeah, right.

    I'd be willing to bet that the $ would instead have been funneled into "diversity" initiatives, which is what NASA seems primarily focused on, these days.

    Trump could simply announce that he has found funding. That he has directed ICE to aggressively round up and deport all the Dreamers and other illegals, saving us 100s of billions in tax expenditures and trillions upon trillions in future government expenses, and as a result there is plentiful funding for worthy scientific research on dark matter, genetic research, cures for cancer, etc. etc.

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  110. @27 year old

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.
     
    Occam's razor says it's the latter...

    No it absolutely does not.

    Our current understanding of the gravitational interaction, whether Newtonian on scales where it is relevant or General Relativity on scales where it is relevant, makes insanely accurate predictions that have been verified by every experiment and observation ever designed to test those predictions, over a huge range of scales from torsional pendulums on tabletops, to the precise motions of the solar system and extrasolar planets, to frame dragging by the rotating Earth, to the detection of gravitational waves from black hole mergers that happened billions of light years away. Altering our current theory of gravity in such a way as to preserve these predictions over many orders of magnitude of scale but get rid of the need for dark matter would result in such a convoluted and complicated theory that it itself would be a huge violation of Occam’s razor. By far the most parsimonious explanation at present is simply that there exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle (aka dark matter).

    ——

    Meta:
    I have been extremely disappointed with this iSteve comment section. Apparently we have a bunch of people who, whatever their ability to understand quantitative social data and see through obfuscation in regard to it, are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics. And beyond that, they have completely uninformed notions of when appeals to simplicity are warranted or even accurate within science and logic.

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    • Agree: MEH 0910
    • LOL: Jack Hanson
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    Don't feel bad, biz. Not all of us are proposing a change to gravitational theory. The idea of weakly interacting, hard-to-observe matter is simple and reasonable. It just seems that the goal posts have been moved on things like this every time observations don't match predictions.

    You have knowledge of this subject, and we are open to it. At least one of us was hunting Messier objects from his front yard at 7,800 feet with a clock-driven, 6" Newtonian reflector when he was 14 years old. He's just a simple, observation-based enthusiast.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics
     
    Get busy and make your case. If it obeys the rules of logic, and incorporates a factual observation of reality, you will have an attentive and interested readership. If you want to play your stupid consensus card, then no one will pay any attention.

    Whining is not an attractive posture to assume. Cowboy up, or stay on the porch.
    , @Jack Hanson
    Lol "you do not believe in my "a wizard did it" explanation therefore u r dum".

    Mystery cult.
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  111. @Goatweed
    Physics thread.

    Where do I look to see the center of the Galaxy?

    Where do I look to see the center of the universe?

    In the direction of Mr Obama, of course!

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  112. @Anonymous
    Why is the light matter component of galaxies lenticular, but the dark matter component spherical?

    Why is the light matter component of galaxies lenticular, but the dark matter component spherical?

    because ordinary matter participates in the electromagnetic interaction and so can lose energy and angular momentum through collisions, while dark matter mostly cannot. As a result, the ordinary matter can become much more clumped and only the axis of maximum net angular momentum is preserved, while dark matter cannot become as clustered because there is nothing to take away the energy gained as it falls into a gravitational potential well.

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  113. @Jack Hanson
    People in here arguing "dark matter is the simplest explanation" while pointing at increasingly complex and ridiculous 'theories' that stand on each other like a house of cards is why anyone without a dog in the fight goes "Wait what?".

    Probably the only time I've agreed with utu but he's right when he refers to St. Einstein and the inability of most physicists to contemplate he might be wrong is an issue.

    Which is why we are down this rabbit hole to begin with.

    Your comment is simply false.

    St. Einstein and the inability of most physicists to contemplate he might be wrong is an issue

    Physicists have had no problem saying Einstein was wrong when he’s proven wrong. For example, Einstein was a proponent of steady-state cosmology which no mainstream scientist believes today. 99% of physicists will just say Einstein got that one incorrect and go about their day.

    People in here arguing “dark matter is the simplest explanation” while pointing at increasingly complex and ridiculous ‘theories’ that stand on each other like a house of cards

    As for dark matter (I notice that nobody is even addressing dark energy which is actually more potentially problematic and was the original topic at hand), it is actually quite simple. There just exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle. Because it is electrically neutral and weakly interacting, its effects on the ordinary matter that makes up everything we know and love are overwhelmingly gravitational only. In contrast, in order to alter our theory of gravity to make the need for dark matter go away but still preserve all of the predictions that have been verified to an insanely high precision, the new theory would be so convoluted that it would make dark matter and even dark energy seem like the simplest and most natural thing ever.

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    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    Okay its so easy show me this invisible particle that no one has ever seen without using the same techniques of a mystery cult.

    Ill wait.
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  114. @Hippopotamusdrome

    dark energy

     

    Trumps wants to keep our universe white.

    Make spacetime great again.

    Trump could just announce that the problem will be solved by hiring large numbers of black female scientists (including any high school student with a decent science project), who will make American science great again….

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  115. @biz
    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing, 2) the collision of galaxy clusters, and to some extent 3) patterns in the CMB does not rest with the inverse square law.

    Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one.

    83 biz > Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one

    but the “dark matter” theory ==does== have a showstopper – it cannot explain that fact that gravity, which is purported to propagate at the speed of light, does not exhibit stellar aberration like light does.

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    • Replies: @biz
    There are at least two very incorrect things in your comment.

    1) Dark matter is not a theory of gravity, so it is not the role of a theory of dark matter to explain a supposed observed property of the gravitational interaction. The theory of dark matter arises largely because of the existing theories of the gravitational interaction (Newtonian gravity and General Relativity, at their appropriate scales), not the other way around.

    And, in any case,

    2) stellar aberration is a small change in the apparent position of stars resulting from the observer being in a non-inertial frame such as the rotating or orbiting Earth. There is not any relevance to gravity, because we don't detect sources of gravity (or more accurately, gravitational potential) with anywhere near the angular precision needed for measurements of stellar aberration, which are on the scale of arcseconds. Our only measurements of gravitational waves, recently from the LIGO facilities, can only identify the direction of sources to the scale of degrees.
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  116. @biz
    No it absolutely does not.

    Our current understanding of the gravitational interaction, whether Newtonian on scales where it is relevant or General Relativity on scales where it is relevant, makes insanely accurate predictions that have been verified by every experiment and observation ever designed to test those predictions, over a huge range of scales from torsional pendulums on tabletops, to the precise motions of the solar system and extrasolar planets, to frame dragging by the rotating Earth, to the detection of gravitational waves from black hole mergers that happened billions of light years away. Altering our current theory of gravity in such a way as to preserve these predictions over many orders of magnitude of scale but get rid of the need for dark matter would result in such a convoluted and complicated theory that it itself would be a huge violation of Occam's razor. By far the most parsimonious explanation at present is simply that there exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle (aka dark matter).

    ------

    Meta:
    I have been extremely disappointed with this iSteve comment section. Apparently we have a bunch of people who, whatever their ability to understand quantitative social data and see through obfuscation in regard to it, are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics. And beyond that, they have completely uninformed notions of when appeals to simplicity are warranted or even accurate within science and logic.

    Don’t feel bad, biz. Not all of us are proposing a change to gravitational theory. The idea of weakly interacting, hard-to-observe matter is simple and reasonable. It just seems that the goal posts have been moved on things like this every time observations don’t match predictions.

    You have knowledge of this subject, and we are open to it. At least one of us was hunting Messier objects from his front yard at 7,800 feet with a clock-driven, 6″ Newtonian reflector when he was 14 years old. He’s just a simple, observation-based enthusiast.

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    • Replies: @biz
    ok but there has never been a case where observations don't match predictions in regard to dark matter or for that matter dark energy. You could cite the failure to (so far) directly detect dark matter particles in underground laboratories, but there even the experimenters are careful to point out that we have not yet reached the sensitivities where detection would be expected for a wide class of dark matter models.
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  117. @JimS

    The same goes for the assumption ad absurdum that the cosmic red shift is an infinitely scalable phenomenon, across all space, that must be extrapolated back to a single point, which is absurd, instead of wondering if there might just be another cause for the shift.
     
    Ok, I just have to correct this since this is a really, really common misunderstanding and scientists are incredibly bad and misleading at explaining it.

    The Big Bang Theory only says the universe was once hot and dense, and over time it cooled and got less dense. As far as we can tell, the universe is and always has been infinite in all directions of space. So what happened? Matter started getting farther apart from other matter. There was nothing space was "expanding into" as it has always been infinite, not the size of a pin or whatever. It was basically the same effect as space being created in among the matter, so the volume occupied by a given mass went up, and density goes down. A good way of showing this in the old days was to have a transparency with a grid of points 1/2" inch apart from each other, then 1", 2" etc. If you pick any random point, and lay the dots over themselves (since by it's perspective it hasn't moved) it looks like all the other dots are moving away from it, which it would see as a redshift. If you instead did the same thing with any other dot, it would look like stuff was moving away from it! They're all infinite grids, each one thinking stuff is flying away from it, and they were once the center of the universe, but instead it's just all matter moving away from other pieces of matter. Stuff that's really close together has gravity overcome this matter expansion on the scale of the size of the object (e.g. a cluster of galaxies) but these groups of matter all are apparently moving away from each other.

    So where does this pin-size universe b.s. come from? Well, some scientist a while back thought it would be good to explain all that we can see, the observable universe out to the ~14 billion year time horizon for light to have reached us, as having once been really small, like a pin-size. In fact, there were an infinite number of similar pin-sized things all around us; this is just what we could see. I have no idea why a pin was chosen, as I think that is kind of an arbitrary scale size.

    As for other causes of redshift, many, many have been investigated - tired light, change in physical constants, etc. All have been found wanting.

    Again, this is all very off-topic.

    That’s fine, and a “single point” can mean a point in time at which regressive extrapolation arrives at an absurd state.

    The idea of everything appearing to move away from everything is understood, as in riding on a piece of an explosion. Your addition of the universe starting that way all over, instead starting at a “point” is appreciated.

    As one who agrees with what Steve implies above, that an Intelligent Design or some kind of prime mover many be more satisfactory to Occam than many of today’s fantasies, I can’t deny that a starting point for our apparent expansion is as reasonable as anything else we can come up with.

    What I do have trouble with, however, is a priesthood of cosmologists and physicists who have stared at their equations so long, and built their careers on them so heavily, that they cannot entertain the possibility that space may not be the “nothing” they have assumed it to be since Michelson and Morley failed to find aether. Everything since has been based on that, including the idea that light passes through space without being at all involved with space (save curvature).

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    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    What I do have trouble with, however, is a priesthood of cosmologists and physicists who have stared at their equations so long, and built their careers on them so heavily, that they cannot entertain the possibility that space may not be the “nothing” they have assumed it to be since Michelson and Morley failed to find aether.
     
    Yes, and even without choking the priesthood to death with their own entrails.
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  118. @Eustace Tilley (not)
    Dear Dieter: I'm moved to complain.
    In such matters obscure and arcane
    Simply gaze up in awe
    With your eyes, not your jaw,
    So from comments inane to refrain.

    Eustace, maybe it’s just me but Eu are priceless.

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    • Replies: @Proton Gakhe

    Eustace, maybe it’s just me but Eu are priceless.
     
    Europium is priceless?
    Maybe because you can extract opium from europium? :)
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  119. @Jack D
    But to show how poor our imaginations are, if you wanted to video chat you couldn't just take your cell phone out of your pocket, you had to go into a special room with a CRT and have the operator connect you on the Bell Telephone Picturephone.

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  120. @Mr. Anon

    Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe. But which are totes out there, guyz. Any day now…
     
    Yeah, like those gaps that Mendeleev inserted into his periodic table of the elements.

    And we all know how that turned out.......................chemists are still droning on about "germanium" and "gallium"......................if you believe such fairy tales.

    “Yeah, like those gaps that Mendeleev inserted into his periodic table of the elements”

    No, I said stop-gaps, not gaps. There’s a world of difference between predicting something will show up to fit within the order you’ve intuited and coming up with ad hoc rationalizations for why reality didn’t fit your expectations. It’s like the difference between science and dogma.

    Dark energy is supposed to account for something like 70% of energy in the observable universe. We’re not talking about a substance that exists somewhere in nature and is to be found between so-and-so atomic numbers, here. It’s gotta be everywhere, if it exists, and we’re looking for literally any sign of it, from a thunder clap to a mouse’s squeak.

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  121. @Buffalo Joe
    Eustace, maybe it's just me but Eu are priceless.

    Eustace, maybe it’s just me but Eu are priceless.

    Europium is priceless?
    Maybe because you can extract opium from europium? :)

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  122. @biz

    The only reason dark matter is thought to exist is that galaxies seem to rotate at a different speed than Newtonian/Einsteinian physics would predict
     
    Nope, absolutely not the case.

    There are many lines of evidence for the existence of dark matter, all of which necessitate far more mass in the systems than can be accounted for by the ordinary matter. These include:

    1) strong gravitational lensing with galaxies and clusters serving as the lenses
    2) dynamics of galaxies within clusters
    3) colliding galaxy clusters
    4) the patterns in the cosmic microwave background
    - and more

    I think you must not have read that book very carefully.

    In general, there is an awful lot of ignorance on display in these comments. Dark matter and dark energy, and indeed the whole of modern concordance cosmology, are very well established theories, which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified. They are no way analogous to intelligent design, wizards, or other supernatural hypotheses which either fail to make testable predictions, fail to be falsifiable, or both.

    “which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified”

    Did you mean “many?” Isn’t the point of predictions to be falsified, formally speaking? No one acts as if dark matter/energy have been confirmed, so what exactly has been predicted?

    Or is it that the predictions haven’t been tested yet? I’m confused.

    Wait, not really. What’s actually going on is scientists aren’t trying to falsify the existence of Dark Whatever. They’re desperately searching for it wherever they can look, because they need it to bolster their models.

    “very well established theories”

    Meaning the physics Establishment needs them, not that they have a firm basis in non-model-dependent experimentation.

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    • Replies: @biz
    yes many.

    What’s actually going on is scientists aren’t trying to falsify the existence of Dark Whatever.
     
    Incorrect. Actually, when it comes to dark matter significant novel predictions have been made which had their skeptics but were later borne out by data.

    Dark matter was originally inferred from the rotation curves vs. radius of galaxies and galaxy clusters, as far back as the 1930s but gaining wider acceptance in the 70s.

    The theory predicted that if there were that much dark matter, there should be strong gravitational lenses, which were finally observed starting in the 80s and 90s.

    Another prediction was that collisions between galaxy clusters should result in a separation of the hot X-ray emitting gas and the bulk of the mass. This was finally observed in the 2000s.

    Another prediction was that the ratio of the magnitude first peak in the CMB power spectrum to the second should have a particular value, which was finally observed in the early 2000s.

    I put links to explanations of these in one of my posts above but people here don't seem to want to click on links I won't bother putting them here.

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  123. @Jack D
    But to show how poor our imaginations are, if you wanted to video chat you couldn't just take your cell phone out of your pocket, you had to go into a special room with a CRT and have the operator connect you on the Bell Telephone Picturephone.

    It seems from my reading of scifi that scifi writers missed cellphones by a country mile. Everyone has a little computer on their wrist in the future? Sure. Everyone has a little radio on their wrist or a radio earpiece similiar to bluetooth? Sometimes. But everyone will have a cellphone on their belt/in their pocket? Doesn’t seem to happen often

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    In the original Star Trek they had voice Communicators which sort of looked like flip-phones (or vice versa) but like the early flip phones they didn't seem to have a video screen. Not really sure what the perforated metal cover did... antenna? How did you dial someone up? Was it voice dialing? What were the buttons and lights for and how were you supposed to know given that they were completely unmarked?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicator_(Star_Trek)
    , @Brutusale
    Heinlein had "belt phones" in his novel Red Planet, published in 1949. IIRC, it was a plot device because the protagonist couldn't use his to contact help because, with no satellites, the signal couldn't be relayed without one of the Martian moons in the sky.
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  124. @JimS
    Thank you for stating this. It always bugs me that people just reflexively throw out the dark matter theory out of ignorance and a distaste for academia. There are many, many theories that should be thrown out (e.g. multiverse), but dark matter is not one of them.

    In my experience - having known dark matter observers looking for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and cosmologists studying the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) - cold dark matter has always been an expression of Occam's Razor - it is the solution that required the fewest additional assumptions. Modified Newtonian Dynamics and other such theories are completely ad hoc and have no underlying cause to make them happen - they would require many more assumptions to make them be correct. When you go with the simplest solution, you start looking for the highest probability candidate causing it, and then on down the line, systematically. Which is exactly what is happening. If none of them give you the answer, then you have to start looking at what you don't understand - but you don't jump to this very late step right out of the gate like every armchair scientist seems to do. Most people just have no understanding of the magnitude of changes they would have to make for something other than dark matter to cause what we see in the CMB, Large Scale Structure, galaxy rotation curves, a very small number of galaxies that oddly appear to exhibit characteristics of a lack of dark matter, type Ia supernovae, etc. I am absolutely not saying cold dark matter is definitely the right answer (a lot of people believe it's really not the endgame), but you need to have a lot of humility about suggesting a replacement, or about throwing it out altogether.

    The problem, as far as funding goes, is approving a half-dozen to a dozen projects all looking for the same thing, just because it is the "hot" topic right then. It can be an awful waste of money and starve out other projects. However, WFIRST is at least a non-politicized, interesting satellite designed to tell us statistical information about the earliest galaxies and large scale structure. But you can't say canceling it is about money and then go fund the spoiled and mis-allocating defense contractors and military (full disclosure - military veteran) and every entitlement that comes down the pike to extreme levels that put us even more in hock to the world.

    It might be good for astronomy in the long term to have some missions canceled so they can focus on what are the really important questions and how to answer them while minimizing wasted dollars, but I'm not sure that's the motivation here. All that being said, I think the tweet is silly, but I also think that may have been the point.

    The fewest additional assumptions…you mean in addition to the kabillion and one assumptions built into the apparently unfalsifiable standard model? Knowledge of and belief in which coincidentally allows physicists to earn a living.

    I guarantee you that defenders of the Ptolemaic faith thought they were making as few assumptions as possible when they added epicycle on top of epicycle. It never occurred to them to pitch their entire view of the cosmos.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    I guarantee you that defenders of the Ptolemaic faith thought they were making as few assumptions as possible when they added epicycle on top of epicycle. It never occurred to them to pitch their entire view of the cosmos.
     
    And their predictions of planetary motion were pretty accurate. Not too surprising, given that they were, in effect, creating a fourier expansion of keplerian orbits.
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  125. @Realist
    "Instead of thinking up new theories, or just leaving well enough alone, scientists come up with stop-gaps, in the form of pretend substances or energies which we can’t observe."

    Like string theory.

    Dark Whatever at least pretends to be falsifiable. String theory never once thought up a testable prediction.

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  126. @biz
    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing, 2) the collision of galaxy clusters, and to some extent 3) patterns in the CMB does not rest with the inverse square law.

    Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one.

    By “based on” you mean it’s a rationalization of those things.

    Explaining many things is not a solid basis for a theory. Bearing some connection to reality as we know it is.

    Otherwise, the Lizard People Conspiracy is looking pretty good.

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    • Replies: @biz

    By “based on” you mean it’s a rationalization of those things.
     
    I don't know what that means.

    Dark matter is the most parsimonious explanation for those phenomena, and in some cases the existence of dark matter in part predicted that those phenomena would be observed before they actually were.
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  127. @Mr. Anon

    Astronomers are trained to assume that gravity causes the structures and movements they observe, no matter what the scale, distance or situation. They therefore argue from that assumption.

    That’s a pretty big assumption, and their arguments are reaching the point of reductio ad absurdum. It’s about time they entertained some alternatives.
     

    There are no other forces known other than the four recognized by contemporary physics. Attempts to find a "fifth force" have only resulted in placing ever smaller limits on it's possible strength.

    Astronomers can't just go willy-nilly assuming that "out there" is vastly different than "down-here". If they did, then they would become untied from empirical reality. It involves, at least for the present, less guessing to say there must be some stuff out there we can't see than to say well maybe there are forces at work over large scales that we just don't (can't?) know.

    That may change in future, but for the time being, "dark matter" is a reasonable hypothesis.

    You sound to me like someone justifying debacles like Iraq War II on grounds of, “What, are we supposed to just not start wars? Then who’ll be World Police?”

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    You sound to me like someone justifying debacles like Iraq War II on grounds of, “What, are we supposed to just not start wars? Then who’ll be World Police?”
     
    No, I sound like someone who understands physics better than you do.
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  128. @newrouter
    "If on the other hand, some previously unsuspected force field is tinkering with the galaxies and space-time, the effect could shut off or even reverse over the eons.

    Or maybe we just don’t understand gravity."

    I'd go with the latter.

    “Or maybe we just don’t understand gravity.

    ‘I’d go with the latter.’”

    Dark energy is a placeholder variable whose purpose is to make gravitation equations balance correctly. Sometimes these unobserved placeholders ARE later observed, so it is a useful scientific method to discover what is not yet known.

    But in the case of dark matter, I’m confident the equation is incorrect because dark energy supposedly comprises half the universe’s mass and yet cannot be seen and has no gravitational effect on other observable bodies, such as stars and galaxies. That makes no sense at all.

    President Trump is correct to defund this pointless search for the unobservable.

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    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @biz
    It is getting difficult to make sense of these comments.

    Dark energy is a placeholder variable whose purpose is to make gravitation equations balance correctly. Sometimes these unobserved placeholders ARE later observed, so it is a useful scientific method to discover what is not yet known.
     
    Not true. The relevant equation - the Einstein field equation - balances (I don't really know what that means, but ok) just fine even if the dark energy density is set to zero. The dark energy density needs to be nonzero not to balance any equation but to have it's calculated predictions fit the observed data, namely in this case:

    1) The distance vs. redshift relation for galaxies, and
    2) The angular scale at which the peaks in the CMB angular power spectrum are observed

    But in the case of dark matter, I’m confident the equation is incorrect because dark energy supposedly comprises half the universe’s mass and yet cannot be seen and has no gravitational effect on other observable bodies, such as stars and galaxies.
     
    a) Dark energy does not comprise any of the universe's mass, because it is massless. It does comprise a large portion of the universe's overall energy density at present though.

    b) Dark energy has a huge observable effect on galaxies, namely their velocity in the Hubble flow.
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  129. @Mr. Anon
    MOND was proposed by an Israeli named Mordehai Milgrom, so I'm guessing that if it should prove to be true, that you won't like it anymore than you like general relativity.

    you won’t like it anymore than you like general relativity

    Only if he [Mordehai Milgrom] gets beatified and canonized.

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  130. @biz
    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing, 2) the collision of galaxy clusters, and to some extent 3) patterns in the CMB does not rest with the inverse square law.

    Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one.

    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing [...] does not rest with the inverse square law.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2116446-first-test-of-rival-to-einsteins-gravity-kills-off-dark-matter/
    Margot Brouwer at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and her colleagues looked at the gravitational lensing of these galaxies – the way they bend the light of more distant galaxies as predicted by Einstein’s theory – to measure their dark matter content.

    To their surprise, they discovered the observed lensing could just as readily be accounted for by a new model of gravity, without invoking dark matter.

    Verlinde’s calculations fit the new study’s observations without resorting to free parameters – essentially values that can be tweaked at will to make theory and observation match. By contrast, says Brouwer, conventional dark matter models need four free parameters to be adjusted to explain the data.

    Milgrom, however, supports the work. He also points out that according to his own 2013 analysis of gravitational lensing data in galaxies, MOND produces similarly impressive results as Verlinde’s gravitational model does in Brouwer’s study.

    “My equations work differently than Milgrom’s, and in the case of [galaxy] clusters this can be quite important,” Verlinde says. But in the case of Brouwer’s work, “They put in the formula I get,” he says, “and I have to admit it’s the same formula that Milgrom would have got, and… they just put it on the data. It looks like a fit.”

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    • Replies: @biz
    Such a model would be convoluted.

    Anyway, MOND cannot account for the observed dynamics of colliding galaxy clusters but dark matter can.
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  131. @Buffalo Joe
    Neil Degrasse Tyson knows all this stuff, just ask him. We'll save a lot of money. And as for "dark energy" just be in the theatre lobby as "Black Panther" empties out.

    Tyson has a new Superhero name- Blaklyin.

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  132. @Hippopotamusdrome

    Gosh that’s awful, and so unprovoked too. Literally just came out of the clear blue sky. And you know it must not be a hoax because look at all the mainstream media rebroadcasts.

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  133. @JimS
    It has been a long, long time since I've thought about this, so I'll see what I can remember. Basically, your dark matter haloes are not necessarily spherical, and in simulations done over a decade ago they found they should be highly filamentary on large scales (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Run). The important thing is that they are more diffusely distributed than the light we see in galaxies, so the rotation curves don't match. But because there is more dark matter than other matter, the other matter tends to coalesce around the dark matter, accreting inward. This accreting mass of atoms has a non-zero angular momentum, which causes things in nature to form a disc structure (like why our solar system is all on a plane). Of course, it is not all so simple, as a majority of galaxies are either elliptical in shape or have a very small disc. But no one really knows the exact shape of dark matter haloes, and you can't really get too specific on structure from maps made by weak lensing (and it's only a 2D map anyway). If I recall, there is also at least one galaxy observed that did not appear to have accreted around a dark matter filament, and had a rotation curve very similar to what one would expect without dark matter.

    As for the idea of other theories being simpler, you have to look at it from a point of view of General Relativity (GR). In its initial conception, Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) was a complete departure from General Relativity, and any attempts to unite it would be post-rationalization (sort of like how string theorists keep adding extra, "unseen" dimensions). Most importantly, there is no reason to think that of all the forces, its effects fall off different from an inverse squared law (i.e. the strength of the force is diluted in proportion to the surface area of a sphere centered on the originator of the force - close in you have a small sphere and large force, farther away you have a large sphere and small force). It would mean that in the Newtonian limit, there is something screwing with basic geometry. That's why a lot of scientists have disdain for the theory.

    This gets me to the point of the "simplest" explanation. "Lambda-CDM" (i.e. cold dark matter with an accelerating universe) cosmology is the simplest if you take it from the starting point of general relativity, not if some layperson is inventing forces without having really looked into it. If you take GR as a starting point, then the density of "stuff" in the universe affects the geometry of 3-dimensional space on large scales. If outward pressure for expansion is balanced by the mass of stuff in the universe, you get an infinite universe in all directions. Too much mass, and you get a closed universe that will collapse on itself, but is finite (i.e. if you walk in one direction in space, you will eventually end up where you start, like the surface of the Earth in 2D). Too little, and you get expansion and an "open" universe, which is also infinite but in a weird non-flat 3D geometry that I don't quire understand. The thing is, we can tell how much baryonic (i.e. atoms) matter in the universe, and it's a factor of 5-6 too low to make the universe flat/infinite. But we can tell the universe is flat (or close to it - really, really big if it is finite) from observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background. So the scientists have a gap here, and they call it "dark matter" (together with dark energy, something that it's best not to delve into here). It's what would explain the most in the FRW metric (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedmann%E2%80%93Lema%C3%AEtre%E2%80%93Robertson%E2%80%93Walker_metric)
    This was found, and they looked back at Vera Rubin's measurement of galactic light curves, and some people said, "Hey, I bet these two things are related." So they did computer simulations and found it seemed to work out pretty well with matching all observations.

    A lot of people think they're missing something in the explanation of dark matter, and there has to be some other explanation for all of this. But no one has a good idea of what else they're missing, and EVERY other current theory is much, much worse. So what do you do from there? You eliminate the most likely candidates (e.g. WIMPs) to try to understand what's going on. We know that GR has to be revised on some level, in order for it as a classical theory to make sense with quantum theory (and who knows, this unification might solve the issue at hand). If you have any good, non-crackpot ideas on how to do that, a lot of people would love to hear them.

    If you want to chide the physics community, how about the 120 orders of magnitude difference between the expected vacuum energy and what we see as the dark energy causing the universe's acceleration? No one really knows why matter doesn't just blow itself apart. Or all the tricks in hiding the infinities in perturbations in quantum field theory? Or the crazy crackpot cosmologists and their ideas of early universe "inflation" which can manifest itself in an infinite number of ways in order to agree with any measurement you'd like? Or the fact that people studying "multiverse" theory and untestable string theory are still in physics departments, not philosophy departments? There is so much to criticize, the topics picked make no sense to me.

    But the point of all this was a stupid NYT tweet. I personally think it was intentional hyperbole that fell flat when you can't convey your meaning in so few words, but that's just me.

    Thanks for your discussion. I’m not an expert so my question may be uninformed.

    Newton understood that he did not know where the force of gravitation came from; only that if it was proportional to mass and that it fell off with distance then he could mathematically predict the orbits of the planets etc.

    Einstein “clarified” that the gravitational force was actually due to the fact that mass “curved” space. But “why” does mass curve space; and does his theory give the gravitational constant?

    If not, then perhaps there are leads here to explain dark matter etc.

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  134. @Corn
    It seems from my reading of scifi that scifi writers missed cellphones by a country mile. Everyone has a little computer on their wrist in the future? Sure. Everyone has a little radio on their wrist or a radio earpiece similiar to bluetooth? Sometimes. But everyone will have a cellphone on their belt/in their pocket? Doesn’t seem to happen often

    In the original Star Trek they had voice Communicators which sort of looked like flip-phones (or vice versa) but like the early flip phones they didn’t seem to have a video screen. Not really sure what the perforated metal cover did… antenna? How did you dial someone up? Was it voice dialing? What were the buttons and lights for and how were you supposed to know given that they were completely unmarked?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicator_(Star_Trek)

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    • Replies: @Corn
    Those are good questions. I don’t think the communicators were ever fully explained, at least not on theshow. I always just assumed it was radio technology.
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  135. @Buzz Mohawk

    ...large systems are, in bulk, electrically neutral.
     
    Prove this on a cosmological scale.

    The electrostatic force is many orders of magnitude stronger than the gravitational one. If there was any significant deviation from astrophysical systems being electrically neutral in bulk it would be overwhelmingly obvious. For example the positively charged galaxies would be rushing toward the negatively charged galaxies at an incredible acceleration, which would completely swamp the Hubble expansion that we actually observe.

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    That is easily and obviously said for the example of galaxies having different charges from each other, and it is not the point. Entertain the possibility that within galaxies electromotive forces, so strong as you point out, are part of what is influencing rotational speeds. Similarly, the stripping you describe elsewhere of "hot gasses" (plasmas) can happen via electrical charge, not just gravity.

    It is easy to just use gravitational equations to explain all motion, until you encounter motions that do not comply with your equations. The math is fine and correct; gravity works as described, but what is funny is the insistence on matter's weak force doing things that could just possibly also be done electrically.

    The existence of Birkeland currents proves that circuits can and do exist in space and interact with bodies. There is hell of a lot of plasma in the universe, and it by definition is charged. You are not just observing solids and neutral gasses when you look out there. The bigger the system, the more plasmas you are seeing. Galaxies look to our eyes like pinwheels of stuff rotating around in gravitational orbits, or going down a drain, but they also look like other things that have been observed in the laboratory.

    The fact that Earth's magnetic field has flipped each time it has crossed our galaxy's plane is also curious. Would that not indicate that some kind of charge, some kind of electromagnetic game is going on there?

    Please, I don't doubt your knowledge and dexterity with common celestial mechanics, nor your knowledge of the leading research and established theories.
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  136. @guest
    "which make any testable predictions that have yet to be falsified"

    Did you mean "many?" Isn't the point of predictions to be falsified, formally speaking? No one acts as if dark matter/energy have been confirmed, so what exactly has been predicted?

    Or is it that the predictions haven't been tested yet? I'm confused.

    Wait, not really. What's actually going on is scientists aren't trying to falsify the existence of Dark Whatever. They're desperately searching for it wherever they can look, because they need it to bolster their models.

    "very well established theories"

    Meaning the physics Establishment needs them, not that they have a firm basis in non-model-dependent experimentation.

    yes many.

    What’s actually going on is scientists aren’t trying to falsify the existence of Dark Whatever.

    Incorrect. Actually, when it comes to dark matter significant novel predictions have been made which had their skeptics but were later borne out by data.

    Dark matter was originally inferred from the rotation curves vs. radius of galaxies and galaxy clusters, as far back as the 1930s but gaining wider acceptance in the 70s.

    The theory predicted that if there were that much dark matter, there should be strong gravitational lenses, which were finally observed starting in the 80s and 90s.

    Another prediction was that collisions between galaxy clusters should result in a separation of the hot X-ray emitting gas and the bulk of the mass. This was finally observed in the 2000s.

    Another prediction was that the ratio of the magnitude first peak in the CMB power spectrum to the second should have a particular value, which was finally observed in the early 2000s.

    I put links to explanations of these in one of my posts above but people here don’t seem to want to click on links I won’t bother putting them here.

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    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson II
    Cite your sources. Please cite your sources.
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  137. @utu

    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, the evidence for dark matter based on 1) gravitational lensing [...] does not rest with the inverse square law.
     

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2116446-first-test-of-rival-to-einsteins-gravity-kills-off-dark-matter/
    Margot Brouwer at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and her colleagues looked at the gravitational lensing of these galaxies – the way they bend the light of more distant galaxies as predicted by Einstein’s theory – to measure their dark matter content.

    To their surprise, they discovered the observed lensing could just as readily be accounted for by a new model of gravity, without invoking dark matter.

    Verlinde’s calculations fit the new study’s observations without resorting to free parameters – essentially values that can be tweaked at will to make theory and observation match. By contrast, says Brouwer, conventional dark matter models need four free parameters to be adjusted to explain the data.

    Milgrom, however, supports the work. He also points out that according to his own 2013 analysis of gravitational lensing data in galaxies, MOND produces similarly impressive results as Verlinde’s gravitational model does in Brouwer’s study.

    “My equations work differently than Milgrom’s, and in the case of [galaxy] clusters this can be quite important,” Verlinde says. But in the case of Brouwer’s work, “They put in the formula I get,” he says, “and I have to admit it’s the same formula that Milgrom would have got, and… they just put it on the data. It looks like a fit.”
     

    Such a model would be convoluted.

    Anyway, MOND cannot account for the observed dynamics of colliding galaxy clusters but dark matter can.

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    • Replies: @utu

    Anyway, MOND cannot account for the observed dynamics of colliding galaxy clusters but dark matter can.
     
    To explain some collisions one has two postulate two kinds of dark matter: slippery and one that interacts more strongly. Ockham is wondering.

    Cosmic ‘train wreck’ defies dark matter theories

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12497-cosmic-train-wreck-defies-dark-matter-theories/
    Could there be two types of dark matter, the conventional slippery form and another that interacts more strongly? Babul says it is possible, but dislikes the idea of invoking yet another invisible cosmic substance to explain these observations. “It would push us in an uncomfortable direction. Maybe that is the way nature is driving us, but I can imagine there would be a lot of resistance to that idea.”
     

    Milgrom's perspective on the Bullet Cluster
    https://www.astro.umd.edu/~ssm/mond/moti_bullet.html
    Mind you, in galaxies (in general not inside clusters) the measured global discrepancies in the outskirts have reached a factor of 50-100 and is accounted in full by MOND. So we have to say that we are left with this corner of the universe (the cores of clusters) where we haven't yet detected everything. Now, this situation certainly does not undermine the cause for MOND. The cause for MOND is based on the fact that it has predicted with uncanny accuracy the full dynamics in over a hundred galaxies without DM, and even in cluster at large it removes a large part of the discrepancy. The fact there is still to be detected some normal matter in the universe is not really alarming. Anyway, this was the situation based on analysis of many isolated clusters to date. What these people find is exactly what is expected from the above. In fact, it could have been damaging or at least puzzling for MOND had they not found what they did: When two clusters collide head on the gas components of the two just stick together and stay in the middle, while the rest (galaxies plus this extra component I spoke of) just go through and stay together. So it's an interesting and informative result, but it is totally expected both in the DM picture and on the basis of what we know about MOND. I should also mention a recent paper claiming that MOND can actually explain these "bullet" observations without this extra matter (see http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0606216); but I don't think this is necessary.
     
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  138. @guest
    By "based on" you mean it's a rationalization of those things.

    Explaining many things is not a solid basis for a theory. Bearing some connection to reality as we know it is.

    Otherwise, the Lizard People Conspiracy is looking pretty good.

    By “based on” you mean it’s a rationalization of those things.

    I don’t know what that means.

    Dark matter is the most parsimonious explanation for those phenomena, and in some cases the existence of dark matter in part predicted that those phenomena would be observed before they actually were.

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  139. @guest
    Did anyone else react the first time they heard of dark matter/energy as the High Physics equivalent of "a wizard did it?"

    People felt the same way about learning via special relativity that we live in four dimensions, how when quantum mechanics is operable the cat can be both alive and dead, the revelation in the 1920s of existence of billions of other galaxies, and other phenomena that we’ve learned about. Just because something is counterintuitive to regular joes does not mean it is not a fact of the universe. In fact, history tells us that being counterintuitive to average joes is probably a sign that a theory is on the right track.

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  140. @Buzz Mohawk
    Don't feel bad, biz. Not all of us are proposing a change to gravitational theory. The idea of weakly interacting, hard-to-observe matter is simple and reasonable. It just seems that the goal posts have been moved on things like this every time observations don't match predictions.

    You have knowledge of this subject, and we are open to it. At least one of us was hunting Messier objects from his front yard at 7,800 feet with a clock-driven, 6" Newtonian reflector when he was 14 years old. He's just a simple, observation-based enthusiast.

    ok but there has never been a case where observations don’t match predictions in regard to dark matter or for that matter dark energy. You could cite the failure to (so far) directly detect dark matter particles in underground laboratories, but there even the experimenters are careful to point out that we have not yet reached the sensitivities where detection would be expected for a wide class of dark matter models.

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  141. @biz
    Such a model would be convoluted.

    Anyway, MOND cannot account for the observed dynamics of colliding galaxy clusters but dark matter can.

    Anyway, MOND cannot account for the observed dynamics of colliding galaxy clusters but dark matter can.

    To explain some collisions one has two postulate two kinds of dark matter: slippery and one that interacts more strongly. Ockham is wondering.

    Cosmic ‘train wreck’ defies dark matter theories

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12497-cosmic-train-wreck-defies-dark-matter-theories/
    Could there be two types of dark matter, the conventional slippery form and another that interacts more strongly? Babul says it is possible, but dislikes the idea of invoking yet another invisible cosmic substance to explain these observations. “It would push us in an uncomfortable direction. Maybe that is the way nature is driving us, but I can imagine there would be a lot of resistance to that idea.”

    Milgrom’s perspective on the Bullet Cluster

    https://www.astro.umd.edu/~ssm/mond/moti_bullet.html

    Mind you, in galaxies (in general not inside clusters) the measured global discrepancies in the outskirts have reached a factor of 50-100 and is accounted in full by MOND. So we have to say that we are left with this corner of the universe (the cores of clusters) where we haven’t yet detected everything. Now, this situation certainly does not undermine the cause for MOND. The cause for MOND is based on the fact that it has predicted with uncanny accuracy the full dynamics in over a hundred galaxies without DM, and even in cluster at large it removes a large part of the discrepancy. The fact there is still to be detected some normal matter in the universe is not really alarming. Anyway, this was the situation based on analysis of many isolated clusters to date. What these people find is exactly what is expected from the above. In fact, it could have been damaging or at least puzzling for MOND had they not found what they did: When two clusters collide head on the gas components of the two just stick together and stay in the middle, while the rest (galaxies plus this extra component I spoke of) just go through and stay together. So it’s an interesting and informative result, but it is totally expected both in the DM picture and on the basis of what we know about MOND. I should also mention a recent paper claiming that MOND can actually explain these “bullet” observations without this extra matter (see http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0606216); but I don’t think this is necessary.

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  142. Biz, if you can understand astrophysics, why can’t don’t you argue worth a damn (I mean about stuff other than astrophysics)?

    I know that sounds hostile but I’m just straight-up asking. I thought you were kind of a dunce, your arguments have been so bad. Then you go and bust out the astrophysics. I’m genuinely scratching my head. Do you just not much care about writing cogent arguments because, oh, I dunno, you’re too busy doing astrophysics?

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  143. Biz, do you know anything about space travel? I’m reading up, but it’s been slow going because everything I read is either too pop or too sci. I’m looking for detailed stuff like why habitats on Mars are less challenging than habitats near the asteroid belt, how close do most people think the most feasible nuclear-electric drives are, is VASIMIR within our grasp and just lacking funding, or is it hopium? Etc., etc., etc.

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  144. Biz, or any of the other space nerds here, I mean. I keep thinking we should be aiming at space habitats, not Mars. Mine the asteroid belt, use the money to build space habitats and orbital shipyards (space ships should be built in space), space elevators, etc. Mars is doable but we did the Moon already for the “doability” factor.

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    We are a long way from colonies on Mars or space habitats. The ISS has consumed hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars and achieved nothing.

    What we have today is essentially a mature version of the same tech that launched Sputnik and carried men to the moon. (Think of jet airliners as an analogy: Some are bigger and more efficient now than the Boeing 707 was in 1958 when Pan Am first introduced it to service, but they are essentially the same thing they were those sixty years ago. Same with automobiles.)

    If the US had not shut down the Apollo program, Saturn V rockets could have carried enough stuff to the moon to have a base or three there now perhaps equivalent to what we have at the South Pole. Nice, but not exactly colonization.

    Mars is a magnitude worse, and the best we would have had by now might be Matt Damon wandering around and growing potatoes in his own shit.

    Any serious manned use of space will require an as yet undeveloped method of propulsion, something far more efficient and cost effective to move things around. Furthermore, living and working in space is a lot harder and more impractical than imagined.

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  145. @Karl
    83 biz > Dark matter is a very solid theory because it explains many things, not just one


    but the "dark matter" theory ==does== have a showstopper - it cannot explain that fact that gravity, which is purported to propagate at the speed of light, does not exhibit stellar aberration like light does.

    There are at least two very incorrect things in your comment.

    1) Dark matter is not a theory of gravity, so it is not the role of a theory of dark matter to explain a supposed observed property of the gravitational interaction. The theory of dark matter arises largely because of the existing theories of the gravitational interaction (Newtonian gravity and General Relativity, at their appropriate scales), not the other way around.

    And, in any case,

    2) stellar aberration is a small change in the apparent position of stars resulting from the observer being in a non-inertial frame such as the rotating or orbiting Earth. There is not any relevance to gravity, because we don’t detect sources of gravity (or more accurately, gravitational potential) with anywhere near the angular precision needed for measurements of stellar aberration, which are on the scale of arcseconds. Our only measurements of gravitational waves, recently from the LIGO facilities, can only identify the direction of sources to the scale of degrees.

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  146. @Je Suis Omar Mateen
    "Or maybe we just don’t understand gravity.

    'I’d go with the latter.'"

    Dark energy is a placeholder variable whose purpose is to make gravitation equations balance correctly. Sometimes these unobserved placeholders ARE later observed, so it is a useful scientific method to discover what is not yet known.

    But in the case of dark matter, I'm confident the equation is incorrect because dark energy supposedly comprises half the universe's mass and yet cannot be seen and has no gravitational effect on other observable bodies, such as stars and galaxies. That makes no sense at all.

    President Trump is correct to defund this pointless search for the unobservable.

    It is getting difficult to make sense of these comments.

    Dark energy is a placeholder variable whose purpose is to make gravitation equations balance correctly. Sometimes these unobserved placeholders ARE later observed, so it is a useful scientific method to discover what is not yet known.

    Not true. The relevant equation – the Einstein field equation – balances (I don’t really know what that means, but ok) just fine even if the dark energy density is set to zero. The dark energy density needs to be nonzero not to balance any equation but to have it’s calculated predictions fit the observed data, namely in this case:

    1) The distance vs. redshift relation for galaxies, and
    2) The angular scale at which the peaks in the CMB angular power spectrum are observed

    But in the case of dark matter, I’m confident the equation is incorrect because dark energy supposedly comprises half the universe’s mass and yet cannot be seen and has no gravitational effect on other observable bodies, such as stars and galaxies.

    a) Dark energy does not comprise any of the universe’s mass, because it is massless. It does comprise a large portion of the universe’s overall energy density at present though.

    b) Dark energy has a huge observable effect on galaxies, namely their velocity in the Hubble flow.

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    • Replies: @Pericles

    Dark energy does not comprise any of the universe’s mass, because it is massless.

     

    What about mass-energy equivalence?
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  147. @Steve Sailer
    Obviously, Occam's Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.

    Agree.

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  148. @biz
    The electrostatic force is many orders of magnitude stronger than the gravitational one. If there was any significant deviation from astrophysical systems being electrically neutral in bulk it would be overwhelmingly obvious. For example the positively charged galaxies would be rushing toward the negatively charged galaxies at an incredible acceleration, which would completely swamp the Hubble expansion that we actually observe.

    That is easily and obviously said for the example of galaxies having different charges from each other, and it is not the point. Entertain the possibility that within galaxies electromotive forces, so strong as you point out, are part of what is influencing rotational speeds. Similarly, the stripping you describe elsewhere of “hot gasses” (plasmas) can happen via electrical charge, not just gravity.

    It is easy to just use gravitational equations to explain all motion, until you encounter motions that do not comply with your equations. The math is fine and correct; gravity works as described, but what is funny is the insistence on matter’s weak force doing things that could just possibly also be done electrically.

    The existence of Birkeland currents proves that circuits can and do exist in space and interact with bodies. There is hell of a lot of plasma in the universe, and it by definition is charged. You are not just observing solids and neutral gasses when you look out there. The bigger the system, the more plasmas you are seeing. Galaxies look to our eyes like pinwheels of stuff rotating around in gravitational orbits, or going down a drain, but they also look like other things that have been observed in the laboratory.

    The fact that Earth’s magnetic field has flipped each time it has crossed our galaxy’s plane is also curious. Would that not indicate that some kind of charge, some kind of electromagnetic game is going on there?

    Please, I don’t doubt your knowledge and dexterity with common celestial mechanics, nor your knowledge of the leading research and established theories.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    The existence of Birkeland currents proves that circuits can and do exist in space and interact with bodies.
     
    The Birkeland currents don't move appreciable amounts of matter; they are dynamically irrelevant.

    There is hell of a lot of plasma in the universe, and it by definition is charged.
     
    Plasmas are mostly neutral. To the extent that they are charged, they are not "by definition" charged.
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  149. @biz
    No it absolutely does not.

    Our current understanding of the gravitational interaction, whether Newtonian on scales where it is relevant or General Relativity on scales where it is relevant, makes insanely accurate predictions that have been verified by every experiment and observation ever designed to test those predictions, over a huge range of scales from torsional pendulums on tabletops, to the precise motions of the solar system and extrasolar planets, to frame dragging by the rotating Earth, to the detection of gravitational waves from black hole mergers that happened billions of light years away. Altering our current theory of gravity in such a way as to preserve these predictions over many orders of magnitude of scale but get rid of the need for dark matter would result in such a convoluted and complicated theory that it itself would be a huge violation of Occam's razor. By far the most parsimonious explanation at present is simply that there exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle (aka dark matter).

    ------

    Meta:
    I have been extremely disappointed with this iSteve comment section. Apparently we have a bunch of people who, whatever their ability to understand quantitative social data and see through obfuscation in regard to it, are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics. And beyond that, they have completely uninformed notions of when appeals to simplicity are warranted or even accurate within science and logic.

    are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics

    Get busy and make your case. If it obeys the rules of logic, and incorporates a factual observation of reality, you will have an attentive and interested readership. If you want to play your stupid consensus card, then no one will pay any attention.

    Whining is not an attractive posture to assume. Cowboy up, or stay on the porch.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Get busy and make your case. If it obeys the rules of logic, and incorporates a factual observation of reality, you will have an attentive and interested readership. If you want to play your stupid consensus card, then no one will pay any attention.
     
    Do you imagine that science does not work by concensus? Because it most definitely does. Yes, sure, if a hundred say something isn't true when it is, then it is still true. But that one person speaking the truth is obligated to explain to the hundred why they are wrong. There is such a thing as scientific concensus, and it exists for a good reason. If it didn't exist, then every nincompoop with an inflated ego would be demanding that our knowledge of the universe be overturned every goddamned day. You can rail about concensus all you want, but it is human nature, and a fact of human institutions.

    And the fact is when people don't understand the fundamentals of physics, it's difficult or impossible to explain to them the consequences of those fundamentals. Commenter "biz" has made rational arguments, which a lot of people here seem unable or unwilling to absorb.
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  150. @Goatweed
    Physics thread.

    Where do I look to see the center of the Galaxy?

    Where do I look to see the center of the universe?

    Where do I look to see the center of the Galaxy?

    It is in the constellation Sagittarius, specifically toward the feature Sagittarius A, so whatever direction that is on any given day and time where you are. However with the naked eye or an optical telescope you won’t see much of anything there.

    Where do I look to see the center of the universe?

    The universe has no spatial center.

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  151. @Svigor
    Biz, or any of the other space nerds here, I mean. I keep thinking we should be aiming at space habitats, not Mars. Mine the asteroid belt, use the money to build space habitats and orbital shipyards (space ships should be built in space), space elevators, etc. Mars is doable but we did the Moon already for the "doability" factor.

    We are a long way from colonies on Mars or space habitats. The ISS has consumed hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars and achieved nothing.

    What we have today is essentially a mature version of the same tech that launched Sputnik and carried men to the moon. (Think of jet airliners as an analogy: Some are bigger and more efficient now than the Boeing 707 was in 1958 when Pan Am first introduced it to service, but they are essentially the same thing they were those sixty years ago. Same with automobiles.)

    If the US had not shut down the Apollo program, Saturn V rockets could have carried enough stuff to the moon to have a base or three there now perhaps equivalent to what we have at the South Pole. Nice, but not exactly colonization.

    Mars is a magnitude worse, and the best we would have had by now might be Matt Damon wandering around and growing potatoes in his own shit.

    Any serious manned use of space will require an as yet undeveloped method of propulsion, something far more efficient and cost effective to move things around. Furthermore, living and working in space is a lot harder and more impractical than imagined.

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    In addition to turning us from a high-trust to a low-trust culture, I'm left wondering if the Browning of America has also changed our orientation as a country from looking to the future to just putting out fires in the present.
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  152. @Stan Adams
    In 2001, the space station is home to a Hilton and a Howard Johnson's:

    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/66/44/92/66449279b6079465094a1d7a1489551b---a-space-odyssey-about-space.jpg
    https://georgehahn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2001-space-station-large.jpg

    In one of the seasons of “Mad Men” I recall they featured Hilton wanting some sort of advertising in the 1960s; did they pay money to insert their brand? Love the Bell System logo; I recall Robert W. Lucky mentioning an advertisement that had their piece of “junk,” the Picturephone, next to Hewlett-Packard’s piece of “junk,” the HP-35.

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    • Replies: @Stan Adams

    did they pay money to insert their brand?
     
    While trying to find the answer to your question, I stumbled upon this intriguing quote by Arthur C. Clarke:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=j_EmH_W4I7YC&pg=PT339#v=onepage&q&f=false

    For instance at one point we were saying we should have at least one token black person in the film. But when your crew is only two people it would be so obvious. I mean can you see Bill Cosby in there? So finally we said the hell with it.
     
    They didn't include a token black character because it would have been obvious that the black character was only a token, and that would have been unacceptable in 1968.

    (Obviously, the logical solution would have been to make the film with an all-black cast. But Clarke and Kubrick were too racist to err on the right side of history. They neglected even to suggest that the monoliths were manufactured in Wakanda.)

    By 1982, racial awareness had advanced sufficiently that the producers of Airplane II: The Sequel were able to parody 2001 using a black actor:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X93Z-PuYek
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  153. @Steve Sailer
    Obviously, Occam's Razor requires us to believe in an infinite number of universes rather than in Intelligent Design.

    To a normie like me intelligent design vs. the many universes hypothesis would seem equally incapable of proof, since the multiple universes, if they exist, are assumed to be causally disconnected from each other and therefore incapable of being observed. To that extent it seems like a distinction without a difference.

    Guys with IQ’s two and three standard deviations above mine beg to disagree however. They think there is evidence for the existence of a very large number of alternative universes, each governed by a different set of physical constants. String theory in particular has room for a near infinite number of possible semi-stable vacua, though they are trying to whittle it down. Meanwhile the theory of eternal inflation posits a mechanism for generating an infinite number of causally disconnected universes in quantum fluctuations. So I can’t pretend to have an intelligent opinion on subject..

    But whatever the outcome, if any, I think I do know human psychology well enough to say that the Hebraic conception of God is way too handy a moral metaphor to be abandoned anytime soon, even though it has zero value as science. If truth is what works God still has a chance.

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  154. @Jefferson
    Not only was Adolf Hitler not blond like the evil Aryan Donald Trump and the evil blond frat boy college rapists who terrorize America's college campuses, but Adolf Hitler also supported higher taxes and single payer universal healthcare which The Democratic Party also supports as well but Donald Trump does not. So yes Trump is worst than Hitler from a Left Wing standard.

    but Adolf Hitler also supported higher taxes and single payer universal healthcare

    Don’t know about Hitler’s day, but today Germany doesn’t have a “single payer” healthcare system, but a two-tier one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-tier_healthcare

    However, Germany has single-payer religion.

    If you want details about this, or just want to bask in truly wretched, nearly illegible Web design, check this out:

    https://blog.mygermanexpert.com/2013/06/10-Facts-about-German-Church-Tax.html

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    • Replies: @J.Ross
    The beauty of that, the purity. You have to pay an exorbitant extra tax, but all you have to do to get out of paying it is renounce your faith.
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  155. @biz
    Your comment is simply false.


    St. Einstein and the inability of most physicists to contemplate he might be wrong is an issue
     
    Physicists have had no problem saying Einstein was wrong when he's proven wrong. For example, Einstein was a proponent of steady-state cosmology which no mainstream scientist believes today. 99% of physicists will just say Einstein got that one incorrect and go about their day.

    People in here arguing “dark matter is the simplest explanation” while pointing at increasingly complex and ridiculous ‘theories’ that stand on each other like a house of cards
     
    As for dark matter (I notice that nobody is even addressing dark energy which is actually more potentially problematic and was the original topic at hand), it is actually quite simple. There just exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle. Because it is electrically neutral and weakly interacting, its effects on the ordinary matter that makes up everything we know and love are overwhelmingly gravitational only. In contrast, in order to alter our theory of gravity to make the need for dark matter go away but still preserve all of the predictions that have been verified to an insanely high precision, the new theory would be so convoluted that it would make dark matter and even dark energy seem like the simplest and most natural thing ever.

    Okay its so easy show me this invisible particle that no one has ever seen without using the same techniques of a mystery cult.

    Ill wait.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Okay its so easy show me this invisible particle that no one has ever seen without using the same techniques of a mystery cult.
     
    Have you ever seen an electron? Do you believe that electrons exist?
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  156. @biz
    No it absolutely does not.

    Our current understanding of the gravitational interaction, whether Newtonian on scales where it is relevant or General Relativity on scales where it is relevant, makes insanely accurate predictions that have been verified by every experiment and observation ever designed to test those predictions, over a huge range of scales from torsional pendulums on tabletops, to the precise motions of the solar system and extrasolar planets, to frame dragging by the rotating Earth, to the detection of gravitational waves from black hole mergers that happened billions of light years away. Altering our current theory of gravity in such a way as to preserve these predictions over many orders of magnitude of scale but get rid of the need for dark matter would result in such a convoluted and complicated theory that it itself would be a huge violation of Occam's razor. By far the most parsimonious explanation at present is simply that there exists an abundant, electrically neutral, weakly interacting particle (aka dark matter).

    ------

    Meta:
    I have been extremely disappointed with this iSteve comment section. Apparently we have a bunch of people who, whatever their ability to understand quantitative social data and see through obfuscation in regard to it, are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics. And beyond that, they have completely uninformed notions of when appeals to simplicity are warranted or even accurate within science and logic.

    Lol “you do not believe in my “a wizard did it” explanation therefore u r dum”.

    Mystery cult.

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  157. @Buzz Mohawk
    That's fine, and a "single point" can mean a point in time at which regressive extrapolation arrives at an absurd state.

    The idea of everything appearing to move away from everything is understood, as in riding on a piece of an explosion. Your addition of the universe starting that way all over, instead starting at a "point" is appreciated.

    As one who agrees with what Steve implies above, that an Intelligent Design or some kind of prime mover many be more satisfactory to Occam than many of today's fantasies, I can't deny that a starting point for our apparent expansion is as reasonable as anything else we can come up with.

    What I do have trouble with, however, is a priesthood of cosmologists and physicists who have stared at their equations so long, and built their careers on them so heavily, that they cannot entertain the possibility that space may not be the "nothing" they have assumed it to be since Michelson and Morley failed to find aether. Everything since has been based on that, including the idea that light passes through space without being at all involved with space (save curvature).

    What I do have trouble with, however, is a priesthood of cosmologists and physicists who have stared at their equations so long, and built their careers on them so heavily, that they cannot entertain the possibility that space may not be the “nothing” they have assumed it to be since Michelson and Morley failed to find aether.

    Yes, and even without choking the priesthood to death with their own entrails.

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  158. @biz
    yes many.

    What’s actually going on is scientists aren’t trying to falsify the existence of Dark Whatever.
     
    Incorrect. Actually, when it comes to dark matter significant novel predictions have been made which had their skeptics but were later borne out by data.

    Dark matter was originally inferred from the rotation curves vs. radius of galaxies and galaxy clusters, as far back as the 1930s but gaining wider acceptance in the 70s.

    The theory predicted that if there were that much dark matter, there should be strong gravitational lenses, which were finally observed starting in the 80s and 90s.

    Another prediction was that collisions between galaxy clusters should result in a separation of the hot X-ray emitting gas and the bulk of the mass. This was finally observed in the 2000s.

    Another prediction was that the ratio of the magnitude first peak in the CMB power spectrum to the second should have a particular value, which was finally observed in the early 2000s.

    I put links to explanations of these in one of my posts above but people here don't seem to want to click on links I won't bother putting them here.

    Cite your sources. Please cite your sources.

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  159. @Chrisnonymous
    Sure. Send Unz on an Internet search for movies about black cougars. I'm sure that's really what he wants to find...

    Sure. Send Unz on an Internet search for movies about black cougars.

    Just don’t confuse catamounts with catamites. One could get Spaceyed out.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Touche! I was trying to come up with something witty using catamites but you beat me to it. Well done.
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  160. @Jack D
    In the original Star Trek they had voice Communicators which sort of looked like flip-phones (or vice versa) but like the early flip phones they didn't seem to have a video screen. Not really sure what the perforated metal cover did... antenna? How did you dial someone up? Was it voice dialing? What were the buttons and lights for and how were you supposed to know given that they were completely unmarked?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicator_(Star_Trek)

    Those are good questions. I don’t think the communicators were ever fully explained, at least not on theshow. I always just assumed it was radio technology.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Walkie-Talkies.
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  161. @guest
    You sound to me like someone justifying debacles like Iraq War II on grounds of, "What, are we supposed to just not start wars? Then who'll be World Police?"

    You sound to me like someone justifying debacles like Iraq War II on grounds of, “What, are we supposed to just not start wars? Then who’ll be World Police?”

    No, I sound like someone who understands physics better than you do.

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  162. @Corn
    Those are good questions. I don’t think the communicators were ever fully explained, at least not on theshow. I always just assumed it was radio technology.

    Walkie-Talkies.

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  163. @27 year old

    Either there is matter we can’t see (i.e. dark matter) or our understanding of gravitation is massively wrong.
     
    Occam's razor says it's the latter...

    Occam’s razor says it’s the latter…

    No, quite the opposite.

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  164. @Buzz Mohawk
    They routinely ignore the possibility of electric charge and electromagnetic forces, plasma physics, when observations fit those better than they fit purely gravitational and mechanical models.

    You are happy to scale up your local gravitational-mechanical experiences, but not plasma and electrical phenomena that are also observed at our scale. This is not to say that those things are what is going on out there, just that astronomers won't even consider the possibility.

    The same goes for the assumption ad absurdum that the cosmic red shift is an infinitely scalable phenomenon, across all space, that must be extrapolated back to a single point, which is absurd, instead of wondering if there might just be another cause for the shift.

    You will say these are crackpot ideas, sure. But so is the constantly changing, Rube-Goldberg nature of cosmology at this point.

    They routinely ignore the possibility of electric charge and electromagnetic forces, plasma physics, when observations fit those better than they fit purely gravitational and mechanical models.

    What observations? What aspect of plasma physics fits them better?

    You are happy to scale up your local gravitational-mechanical experiences, but not plasma and electrical phenomena that are also observed at our scale.

    Plasmas at our scale – anything from weakly-ionized mercury plasmas in fluorescent lamps to fully-ionized hydrogen plasmas in large tokamaks – are approximately electrically neutral. If we scale them up………..they approach charge neutrality even better.

    I wouldn’t discount the possibility that there are large-scale magnetohydrodynamic forces that work on astronomical scales. I suppose it’s possible. I don’t know. I’m all for people looking into that. I’m also all for people looking into dark matter.

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  165. @Buzz Mohawk
    That is easily and obviously said for the example of galaxies having different charges from each other, and it is not the point. Entertain the possibility that within galaxies electromotive forces, so strong as you point out, are part of what is influencing rotational speeds. Similarly, the stripping you describe elsewhere of "hot gasses" (plasmas) can happen via electrical charge, not just gravity.

    It is easy to just use gravitational equations to explain all motion, until you encounter motions that do not comply with your equations. The math is fine and correct; gravity works as described, but what is funny is the insistence on matter's weak force doing things that could just possibly also be done electrically.

    The existence of Birkeland currents proves that circuits can and do exist in space and interact with bodies. There is hell of a lot of plasma in the universe, and it by definition is charged. You are not just observing solids and neutral gasses when you look out there. The bigger the system, the more plasmas you are seeing. Galaxies look to our eyes like pinwheels of stuff rotating around in gravitational orbits, or going down a drain, but they also look like other things that have been observed in the laboratory.

    The fact that Earth's magnetic field has flipped each time it has crossed our galaxy's plane is also curious. Would that not indicate that some kind of charge, some kind of electromagnetic game is going on there?

    Please, I don't doubt your knowledge and dexterity with common celestial mechanics, nor your knowledge of the leading research and established theories.

    The existence of Birkeland currents proves that circuits can and do exist in space and interact with bodies.

    The Birkeland currents don’t move appreciable amounts of matter; they are dynamically irrelevant.

    There is hell of a lot of plasma in the universe, and it by definition is charged.

    Plasmas are mostly neutral. To the extent that they are charged, they are not “by definition” charged.

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    The Birkeland currents don’t move appreciable amounts of matter; they are dynamically irrelevant.

     

    Here yes, but have you tried your ideas on the scale of a galaxy? The currents simply establish the fact that currents and charge can exist in space.

    Plasmas are mostly neutral. To the extent that they are charged, they are not “by definition” charged.
     
    Have you ever observed plasmas in the lab, the forms they take and their behaviors? A lot of what astronomers observe in galactic structure is plasma, behaving on a very large scale.

    Astronomy students should be required to take electrical engineering, complete with labs. It might prevent them from becoming addicted to gravity.
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  166. @guest
    The fewest additional assumptions...you mean in addition to the kabillion and one assumptions built into the apparently unfalsifiable standard model? Knowledge of and belief in which coincidentally allows physicists to earn a living.

    I guarantee you that defenders of the Ptolemaic faith thought they were making as few assumptions as possible when they added epicycle on top of epicycle. It never occurred to them to pitch their entire view of the cosmos.

    I guarantee you that defenders of the Ptolemaic faith thought they were making as few assumptions as possible when they added epicycle on top of epicycle. It never occurred to them to pitch their entire view of the cosmos.

    And their predictions of planetary motion were pretty accurate. Not too surprising, given that they were, in effect, creating a fourier expansion of keplerian orbits.

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  167. @Mr. Anon

    The existence of Birkeland currents proves that circuits can and do exist in space and interact with bodies.
     
    The Birkeland currents don't move appreciable amounts of matter; they are dynamically irrelevant.

    There is hell of a lot of plasma in the universe, and it by definition is charged.
     
    Plasmas are mostly neutral. To the extent that they are charged, they are not "by definition" charged.

    The Birkeland currents don’t move appreciable amounts of matter; they are dynamically irrelevant.

    Here yes, but have you tried your ideas on the scale of a galaxy? The currents simply establish the fact that currents and charge can exist in space.

    Plasmas are mostly neutral. To the extent that they are charged, they are not “by definition” charged.

    Have you ever observed plasmas in the lab, the forms they take and their behaviors? A lot of what astronomers observe in galactic structure is plasma, behaving on a very large scale.

    Astronomy students should be required to take electrical engineering, complete with labs. It might prevent them from becoming addicted to gravity.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Have you ever observed plasmas in the lab, the forms they take and their behaviors?
     
    Yes, I have. I never saw any rotating pinwheel structures like galaxies. Certainly none that did so without outside influence. Moreover the consequences of the virial theorem, applied to a plasma, precludes it from containing itself with its own internal currents.

    Astronomy students should be required to take electrical engineering, complete with labs. It might prevent them from becoming addicted to gravity.
     
    The undergraduate EE curriculum does not include plasma physics, nor do undergraduate EE labs often or even ever have plasma experiments. Some EE departments have involvement with plasma physics (either space physics, or laboratory plasmas) at the graduate level.

    Have you ever solved Poisson's equation and identified the exponential scale-length known as the "Debye length". If you had, you would be familiar with the concept of Debye shielding - the fact that electrons, being more mobile, move to screen out positive charges, which makes plasmas electrically neutral over long distance scales. And you wouldn't be constantly gassing on about "charged" plasmas.

    So are you an electrical engineer (and by the way, most people who do plasma physics don't have a EE background)? And have you ever made a plasma? Or are plasmas just a different kind of magic to you? One that you imagine cancels out the magic of gravity?

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  168. @Reg Cæsar

    but Adolf Hitler also supported higher taxes and single payer universal healthcare
     
    Don't know about Hitler's day, but today Germany doesn't have a "single payer" healthcare system, but a two-tier one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-tier_healthcare

    However, Germany has single-payer religion.

    http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2014/09/PF_14.09.18churchTaxes.png


    If you want details about this, or just want to bask in truly wretched, nearly illegible Web design, check this out:

    https://blog.mygermanexpert.com/2013/06/10-Facts-about-German-Church-Tax.html

    The beauty of that, the purity. You have to pay an exorbitant extra tax, but all you have to do to get out of paying it is renounce your faith.

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  169. @Eustace Tilley (not)
    Dear Dieter: I'm moved to complain.
    In such matters obscure and arcane
    Simply gaze up in awe
    With your eyes, not your jaw,
    So from comments inane to refrain.

    Dear Dieter: I’m moved to complain.
    In such matters obscure and arcane
    Simply gaze up in awe
    With your eyes, not your jaw,
    So from comments inane to refrain.

    - Thank you Eustace Tilley (not)! – Now I’m moved too! –

    (In all ehe – seriousness: This stuff is funny and it would make for a great – ehe – black comedy (the “scandal” of black humor – the “scandal” of the devil being “black” – – – etc. – – – ). But where’d be the crowd? – And who’d risk to laugh, really? – Maybe a Korean or Japanese or Chinese author could enjoy to go inside this gold mine of laughs ‘n’ laughs ‘n’ laughs (I already can hear an echo: “Hello: Is there – anybody – – out there?” – – a writer from behind “The Dark Side of The Moon”, maybe, to dig into our “Ol’ Cosmic Blues – Again”)?

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  170. @Joe Stalin
    In one of the seasons of "Mad Men" I recall they featured Hilton wanting some sort of advertising in the 1960s; did they pay money to insert their brand? Love the Bell System logo; I recall Robert W. Lucky mentioning an advertisement that had their piece of "junk," the Picturephone, next to Hewlett-Packard's piece of "junk," the HP-35.

    did they pay money to insert their brand?

    While trying to find the answer to your question, I stumbled upon this intriguing quote by Arthur C. Clarke:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=j_EmH_W4I7YC&pg=PT339#v=onepage&q&f=false

    For instance at one point we were saying we should have at least one token black person in the film. But when your crew is only two people it would be so obvious. I mean can you see Bill Cosby in there? So finally we said the hell with it.

    They didn’t include a token black character because it would have been obvious that the black character was only a token, and that would have been unacceptable in 1968.

    (Obviously, the logical solution would have been to make the film with an all-black cast. But Clarke and Kubrick were too racist to err on the right side of history. They neglected even to suggest that the monoliths were manufactured in Wakanda.)

    By 1982, racial awareness had advanced sufficiently that the producers of Airplane II: The Sequel were able to parody 2001 using a black actor:

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  171. @Pericles

    Now it’s the universe. What comes after that?

     

    Physicists seem to be fond of 'the multiverse' these days. Is there no limit to Trump's perfidy? Perhaps not.

    The multiverse is a comforting thought.

    Think about it: if the multiverse theory is correct, then there is no need for us to worry about anything. Even if this universe is one in which the world is eventually overrun by billions of Africans, there are billions upon billions of universes where there are no Africans at all. And there are billions upon billions of universes where 115-IQ Somalis are struggling to integrate unruly hordes of 70-IQ Swedes.

    In this universe, you might be a schlumpy cubicle drone working 80 hours a week to support a shrill, nagging shrew who constantly threatens to take the kids and run off with everything you own; but in billions upon billions of universes, you have millions in the bank and an insanely hot wife who lives only to please you. There are universes where you can’t even leave the house because, as soon as you walk outside, herds of beautiful women swarm around you to the extent that you live in constant fear of being trampled.

    There are universes where men commit seppuku when they see you because they cannot abide the disparity between their total inadequacy and your absolute supremacy. And there are universes where chicks off themselves when they see you with your one true love because they know that, having glimpsed you, they will never be able to settle for any other man.

    Likewise, there are universes where everyone you meet tries to kill you because you are so hideously unattractive that the mere fact of your existence renders them unable to feel even the smallest hint of joy. There are universes like that episode of the Twilight Zone where you are impossibly handsome by our standards, but unspeakably ugly by theirs.

    If we do, indeed, live in a multiverse where every conceivable thing that can happen is happening somewhere, then we need never do anything but abandon ourselves to the wild whims that pop into our heads. We can shirk all of our responsibilities, confident that somewhere, somehow, our counterparts are doing all of the things that we should be doing. In the end, everything evens out.

    Sounds great, doesn’t it? Even if life is meaningless in this universe, there are untold numbers of universes in which it is meaningful.

    So nothing matters and anything goes! Hedonistic nihilism reigns supreme! Bring out the kegs! Roll out the barrels! This round’s on me!

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  172. @Buzz Mohawk

    The Birkeland currents don’t move appreciable amounts of matter; they are dynamically irrelevant.

     

    Here yes, but have you tried your ideas on the scale of a galaxy? The currents simply establish the fact that currents and charge can exist in space.

    Plasmas are mostly neutral. To the extent that they are charged, they are not “by definition” charged.
     
    Have you ever observed plasmas in the lab, the forms they take and their behaviors? A lot of what astronomers observe in galactic structure is plasma, behaving on a very large scale.

    Astronomy students should be required to take electrical engineering, complete with labs. It might prevent them from becoming addicted to gravity.

    Have you ever observed plasmas in the lab, the forms they take and their behaviors?

    Yes, I have. I never saw any rotating pinwheel structures like galaxies. Certainly none that did so without outside influence. Moreover the consequences of the virial theorem, applied to a plasma, precludes it from containing itself with its own internal currents.

    Astronomy students should be required to take electrical engineering, complete with labs. It might prevent them from becoming addicted to gravity.

    The undergraduate EE curriculum does not include plasma physics, nor do undergraduate EE labs often or even ever have plasma experiments. Some EE departments have involvement with plasma physics (either space physics, or laboratory plasmas) at the graduate level.

    Have you ever solved Poisson’s equation and identified the exponential scale-length known as the “Debye length”. If you had, you would be familiar with the concept of Debye shielding – the fact that electrons, being more mobile, move to screen out positive charges, which makes plasmas electrically neutral over long distance scales. And you wouldn’t be constantly gassing on about “charged” plasmas.

    So are you an electrical engineer (and by the way, most people who do plasma physics don’t have a EE background)? And have you ever made a plasma? Or are plasmas just a different kind of magic to you? One that you imagine cancels out the magic of gravity?

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    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    Certainly none that did so without outside influence.
     
    Yes, we're talking about circuits, double layers and capacitance.

    Good luck with your snipe hunt.
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  173. @Jack Hanson
    Okay its so easy show me this invisible particle that no one has ever seen without using the same techniques of a mystery cult.

    Ill wait.

    Okay its so easy show me this invisible particle that no one has ever seen without using the same techniques of a mystery cult.

    Have you ever seen an electron? Do you believe that electrons exist?

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    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    People can show me electrons pretty easily.

    Regarding dark matter its a lot spurious "just trust us we are smart" as more and more theories have to be developed to prop up St. Einstein.

    Mystery cult.
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  174. @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    are profoundly ignorant of the basis for our current consensus understanding of cosmology, gravitation, particle physics, and other topics
     
    Get busy and make your case. If it obeys the rules of logic, and incorporates a factual observation of reality, you will have an attentive and interested readership. If you want to play your stupid consensus card, then no one will pay any attention.

    Whining is not an attractive posture to assume. Cowboy up, or stay on the porch.

    Get busy and make your case. If it obeys the rules of logic, and incorporates a factual observation of reality, you will have an attentive and interested readership. If you want to play your stupid consensus card, then no one will pay any attention.

    Do you imagine that science does not work by concensus? Because it most definitely does. Yes, sure, if a hundred say something isn’t true when it is, then it is still true. But that one person speaking the truth is obligated to explain to the hundred why they are wrong. There is such a thing as scientific concensus, and it exists for a good reason. If it didn’t exist, then every nincompoop with an inflated ego would be demanding that our knowledge of the universe be overturned every goddamned day. You can rail about concensus all you want, but it is human nature, and a fact of human institutions.

    And the fact is when people don’t understand the fundamentals of physics, it’s difficult or impossible to explain to them the consequences of those fundamentals. Commenter “biz” has made rational arguments, which a lot of people here seem unable or unwilling to absorb.

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    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Do you imagine that science does not work by concensus? Because it most definitely does.
     
    Right! That's why we use Phrenology for medicine, Phlogiston explains combustion and Aether fills space.

    Get back to me after you have read Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions
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  175. @JimS
    It has been a long, long time since I've thought about this, so I'll see what I can remember. Basically, your dark matter haloes are not necessarily spherical, and in simulations done over a decade ago they found they should be highly filamentary on large scales (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Run). The important thing is that they are more diffusely distributed than the light we see in galaxies, so the rotation curves don't match. But because there is more dark matter than other matter, the other matter tends to coalesce around the dark matter, accreting inward. This accreting mass of atoms has a non-zero angular momentum, which causes things in nature to form a disc structure (like why our solar system is all on a plane). Of course, it is not all so simple, as a majority of galaxies are either elliptical in shape or have a very small disc. But no one really knows the exact shape of dark matter haloes, and you can't really get too specific on structure from maps made by weak lensing (and it's only a 2D map anyway). If I recall, there is also at least one galaxy observed that did not appear to have accreted around a dark matter filament, and had a rotation curve very similar to what one would expect without dark matter.

    As for the idea of other theories being simpler, you have to look at it from a point of view of General Relativity (GR). In its initial conception, Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) was a complete departure from General Relativity, and any attempts to unite it would be post-rationalization (sort of like how string theorists keep adding extra, "unseen" dimensions). Most importantly, there is no reason to think that of all the forces, its effects fall off different from an inverse squared law (i.e. the strength of the force is diluted in proportion to the surface area of a sphere centered on the originator of the force - close in you have a small sphere and large force, farther away you have a large sphere and small force). It would mean that in the Newtonian limit, there is something screwing with basic geometry. That's why a lot of scientists have disdain for the theory.

    This gets me to the point of the "simplest" explanation. "Lambda-CDM" (i.e. cold dark matter with an accelerating universe) cosmology is the simplest if you take it from the starting point of general relativity, not if some layperson is inventing forces without having really looked into it. If you take GR as a starting point, then the density of "stuff" in the universe affects the geometry of 3-dimensional space on large scales. If outward pressure for expansion is balanced by the mass of stuff in the universe, you get an infinite universe in all directions. Too much mass, and you get a closed universe that will collapse on itself, but is finite (i.e. if you walk in one direction in space, you will eventually end up where you start, like the surface of the Earth in 2D). Too little, and you get expansion and an "open" universe, which is also infinite but in a weird non-flat 3D geometry that I don't quire understand. The thing is, we can tell how much baryonic (i.e. atoms) matter in the universe, and it's a factor of 5-6 too low to make the universe flat/infinite. But we can tell the universe is flat (or close to it - really, really big if it is finite) from observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background. So the scientists have a gap here, and they call it "dark matter" (together with dark energy, something that it's best not to delve into here). It's what would explain the most in the FRW metric (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedmann%E2%80%93Lema%C3%AEtre%E2%80%93Robertson%E2%80%93Walker_metric)
    This was found, and they looked back at Vera Rubin's measurement of galactic light curves, and some people said, "Hey, I bet these two things are related." So they did computer simulations and found it seemed to work out pretty well with matching all observations.

    A lot of people think they're missing something in the explanation of dark matter, and there has to be some other explanation for all of this. But no one has a good idea of what else they're missing, and EVERY other current theory is much, much worse. So what do you do from there? You eliminate the most likely candidates (e.g. WIMPs) to try to understand what's going on. We know that GR has to be revised on some level, in order for it as a classical theory to make sense with quantum theory (and who knows, this unification might solve the issue at hand). If you have any good, non-crackpot ideas on how to do that, a lot of people would love to hear them.

    If you want to chide the physics community, how about the 120 orders of magnitude difference between the expected vacuum energy and what we see as the dark energy causing the universe's acceleration? No one really knows why matter doesn't just blow itself apart. Or all the tricks in hiding the infinities in perturbations in quantum field theory? Or the crazy crackpot cosmologists and their ideas of early universe "inflation" which can manifest itself in an infinite number of ways in order to agree with any measurement you'd like? Or the fact that people studying "multiverse" theory and untestable string theory are still in physics departments, not philosophy departments? There is so much to criticize, the topics picked make no sense to me.

    But the point of all this was a stupid NYT tweet. I personally think it was intentional hyperbole that fell flat when you can't convey your meaning in so few words, but that's just me.

    Or the fact that people studying “multiverse” theory and untestable string theory are still in physics departments, not philosophy departments?

    There are indeed quite a few problems with these theories, not just dark matter/dark energy. In the case of the multiverse, it appears to me as an unfortunate instance of theorists doubling down a few times too many.

    Perhaps, some time in the past, the physics department hired too many math guys who just can’t let go of their beautiful theories?

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  176. @biz
    It is getting difficult to make sense of these comments.

    Dark energy is a placeholder variable whose purpose is to make gravitation equations balance correctly. Sometimes these unobserved placeholders ARE later observed, so it is a useful scientific method to discover what is not yet known.
     
    Not true. The relevant equation - the Einstein field equation - balances (I don't really know what that means, but ok) just fine even if the dark energy density is set to zero. The dark energy density needs to be nonzero not to balance any equation but to have it's calculated predictions fit the observed data, namely in this case:

    1) The distance vs. redshift relation for galaxies, and
    2) The angular scale at which the peaks in the CMB angular power spectrum are observed

    But in the case of dark matter, I’m confident the equation is incorrect because dark energy supposedly comprises half the universe’s mass and yet cannot be seen and has no gravitational effect on other observable bodies, such as stars and galaxies.
     
    a) Dark energy does not comprise any of the universe's mass, because it is massless. It does comprise a large portion of the universe's overall energy density at present though.

    b) Dark energy has a huge observable effect on galaxies, namely their velocity in the Hubble flow.

    Dark energy does not comprise any of the universe’s mass, because it is massless.

    What about mass-energy equivalence?

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  177. @Mr. Anon

    Have you ever observed plasmas in the lab, the forms they take and their behaviors?
     
    Yes, I have. I never saw any rotating pinwheel structures like galaxies. Certainly none that did so without outside influence. Moreover the consequences of the virial theorem, applied to a plasma, precludes it from containing itself with its own internal currents.

    Astronomy students should be required to take electrical engineering, complete with labs. It might prevent them from becoming addicted to gravity.
     
    The undergraduate EE curriculum does not include plasma physics, nor do undergraduate EE labs often or even ever have plasma experiments. Some EE departments have involvement with plasma physics (either space physics, or laboratory plasmas) at the graduate level.

    Have you ever solved Poisson's equation and identified the exponential scale-length known as the "Debye length". If you had, you would be familiar with the concept of Debye shielding - the fact that electrons, being more mobile, move to screen out positive charges, which makes plasmas electrically neutral over long distance scales. And you wouldn't be constantly gassing on about "charged" plasmas.

    So are you an electrical engineer (and by the way, most people who do plasma physics don't have a EE background)? And have you ever made a plasma? Or are plasmas just a different kind of magic to you? One that you imagine cancels out the magic of gravity?

    Certainly none that did so without outside influence.

    Yes, we’re talking about circuits, double layers and capacitance.

    Good luck with your snipe hunt.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Yes, we’re talking about circuits, double layers and capacitance.
     
    And a plasma cannot confine itself with its' own internal currents. It will expand indefinitely. An assemblage of mass can however confine itself purely by gravitation (our solar system, for example).

    And as to double-layers: What distance between layers do you think can be sustained by a physically realizable charge separation. Or to put it another way, how much charge separation would be required to create a layer thickness of astronomical scale?

    Before you opine on such subjects, maybe you should try solving Poisson's equation and put some real numbers in.
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  178. @Pericles

    I like Trump’s idea to privatize the International Space Station. The ISS has always been a huge boondoggle.

     

    Sell it to Musk. It might still be a boondoggle, but at least it will be entertaining.

    Sell it to Musk. It might still be a boondoggle, but at least it will be entertaining.

    Wait, I thought Musk got money from Uncle Sam, not the other way around. Isn’t Musk himself a boondoggler profiting from taxpayers rather than a market rate profit maker who underwrites the boondoggles of others.

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    Wait, I thought Musk got money from Uncle Sam, not the other way around. Isn’t Musk himself a boondoggler

     

    Yep, that was what I was aiming at with "It might still be a boondoggle".
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  179. @Mr. Anon

    Get busy and make your case. If it obeys the rules of logic, and incorporates a factual observation of reality, you will have an attentive and interested readership. If you want to play your stupid consensus card, then no one will pay any attention.
     
    Do you imagine that science does not work by concensus? Because it most definitely does. Yes, sure, if a hundred say something isn't true when it is, then it is still true. But that one person speaking the truth is obligated to explain to the hundred why they are wrong. There is such a thing as scientific concensus, and it exists for a good reason. If it didn't exist, then every nincompoop with an inflated ego would be demanding that our knowledge of the universe be overturned every goddamned day. You can rail about concensus all you want, but it is human nature, and a fact of human institutions.

    And the fact is when people don't understand the fundamentals of physics, it's difficult or impossible to explain to them the consequences of those fundamentals. Commenter "biz" has made rational arguments, which a lot of people here seem unable or unwilling to absorb.

    Do you imagine that science does not work by concensus? Because it most definitely does.

    Right! That’s why we use Phrenology for medicine, Phlogiston explains combustion and Aether fills space.

    Get back to me after you have read Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions

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    Right! That’s why we use Phrenology for medicine, Phlogiston explains combustion and Aether fills space.
     
    Concensus changes, but at any given time there is one, and it serves a purpose. Who is more likely to be right? One learned man, or a hundred? To deny that science works by concensus is to betray an ignorance about how it actually works.

    Get back to me after you have read Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions
     
    Why should I give a f**k? I've never met a scientist yet who especially cared about what philosphers of science think. I'm familiar with the history of science. Oh, and by the way, most of the time, science is not revolutionary.
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  180. @Reg Cæsar

    Sure. Send Unz on an Internet search for movies about black cougars.
     
    Just don't confuse catamounts with catamites. One could get Spaceyed out.

    Touche! I was trying to come up with something witty using catamites but you beat me to it. Well done.

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  181. @Buzz Mohawk

    Certainly none that did so without outside influence.
     
    Yes, we're talking about circuits, double layers and capacitance.

    Good luck with your snipe hunt.

    Yes, we’re talking about circuits, double layers and capacitance.

    And a plasma cannot confine itself with its’ own internal currents. It will expand indefinitely. An assemblage of mass can however confine itself purely by gravitation (our solar system, for example).

    And as to double-layers: What distance between layers do you think can be sustained by a physically realizable charge separation. Or to put it another way, how much charge separation would be required to create a layer thickness of astronomical scale?

    Before you opine on such subjects, maybe you should try solving Poisson’s equation and put some real numbers in.

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  182. @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Do you imagine that science does not work by concensus? Because it most definitely does.
     
    Right! That's why we use Phrenology for medicine, Phlogiston explains combustion and Aether fills space.

    Get back to me after you have read Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    Right! That’s why we use Phrenology for medicine, Phlogiston explains combustion and Aether fills space.

    Concensus changes, but at any given time there is one, and it serves a purpose. Who is more likely to be right? One learned man, or a hundred? To deny that science works by concensus is to betray an ignorance about how it actually works.

    Get back to me after you have read Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    Why should I give a f**k? I’ve never met a scientist yet who especially cared about what philosphers of science think. I’m familiar with the history of science. Oh, and by the way, most of the time, science is not revolutionary.

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  183. @Mr. Anon

    Okay its so easy show me this invisible particle that no one has ever seen without using the same techniques of a mystery cult.
     
    Have you ever seen an electron? Do you believe that electrons exist?

    People can show me electrons pretty easily.

    Regarding dark matter its a lot spurious “just trust us we are smart” as more and more theories have to be developed to prop up St. Einstein.

    Mystery cult.

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    People can show me electrons pretty easily.
     
    No, they can't. Nobody has ever seen an electron. There are effects that can be interpereted to be due to electrons.................if you assume a lot of other things. Do you know what those things are?

    Regarding dark matter its a lot spurious “just trust us we are smart” as more and more theories have to be developed to prop up St. Einstein.
     
    The validity of Einstein's work has nothing to do with dark matter. Most of his work has been proven to be true by a variety of experiments or observations, in systems where any putative dark matter is not a consideration.
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  184. @Joe Schmoe

    Sell it to Musk. It might still be a boondoggle, but at least it will be entertaining.
     
    Wait, I thought Musk got money from Uncle Sam, not the other way around. Isn't Musk himself a boondoggler profiting from taxpayers rather than a market rate profit maker who underwrites the boondoggles of others.

    Wait, I thought Musk got money from Uncle Sam, not the other way around. Isn’t Musk himself a boondoggler

    Yep, that was what I was aiming at with “It might still be a boondoggle”.

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  185. @Jack Hanson
    People can show me electrons pretty easily.

    Regarding dark matter its a lot spurious "just trust us we are smart" as more and more theories have to be developed to prop up St. Einstein.

    Mystery cult.

    People can show me electrons pretty easily.

    No, they can’t. Nobody has ever seen an electron. There are effects that can be interpereted to be due to electrons……………..if you assume a lot of other things. Do you know what those things are?

    Regarding dark matter its a lot spurious “just trust us we are smart” as more and more theories have to be developed to prop up St. Einstein.

    The validity of Einstein’s work has nothing to do with dark matter. Most of his work has been proven to be true by a variety of experiments or observations, in systems where any putative dark matter is not a consideration.

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  186. @Corn
    It seems from my reading of scifi that scifi writers missed cellphones by a country mile. Everyone has a little computer on their wrist in the future? Sure. Everyone has a little radio on their wrist or a radio earpiece similiar to bluetooth? Sometimes. But everyone will have a cellphone on their belt/in their pocket? Doesn’t seem to happen often

    Heinlein had “belt phones” in his novel Red Planet, published in 1949. IIRC, it was a plot device because the protagonist couldn’t use his to contact help because, with no satellites, the signal couldn’t be relayed without one of the Martian moons in the sky.

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  187. @Buzz Mohawk
    We are a long way from colonies on Mars or space habitats. The ISS has consumed hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars and achieved nothing.

    What we have today is essentially a mature version of the same tech that launched Sputnik and carried men to the moon. (Think of jet airliners as an analogy: Some are bigger and more efficient now than the Boeing 707 was in 1958 when Pan Am first introduced it to service, but they are essentially the same thing they were those sixty years ago. Same with automobiles.)

    If the US had not shut down the Apollo program, Saturn V rockets could have carried enough stuff to the moon to have a base or three there now perhaps equivalent to what we have at the South Pole. Nice, but not exactly colonization.

    Mars is a magnitude worse, and the best we would have had by now might be Matt Damon wandering around and growing potatoes in his own shit.

    Any serious manned use of space will require an as yet undeveloped method of propulsion, something far more efficient and cost effective to move things around. Furthermore, living and working in space is a lot harder and more impractical than imagined.

    In addition to turning us from a high-trust to a low-trust culture, I’m left wondering if the Browning of America has also changed our orientation as a country from looking to the future to just putting out fires in the present.

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