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(Berkeley Lab)   If you've been lying awake at night wondering if Earth is passing through walls of dark matter or dark energy into different domains of space, don't worry - scientists are every bit as wacko as you are   (newscenter.lbl.gov) divider line 78
    More: Strange, dark matter, dark energy, mass-energy, Earth, magnetometers, physics, speeds, Department of Physics  
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3166 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Jan 2013 at 8:13 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-07 05:32:57 PM  
They're not wacko. Their mothers had them tested
 
2013-01-07 07:05:37 PM  

ArkAngel: They're not wacko. Their mothers had them tested


upload.wikimedia.org
understands...
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-07 07:58:41 PM  
When I was in school the cool experiments were looking for monopoles, not domain walls.
 
2013-01-07 08:19:15 PM  
I can't recall the name of the SF short story, but it had at its core the concept that Earth was passing thru regions of mysterious energies that could either suppress intellect or boost it. During one of these passages thru a "boosted" phase, one newly minted genius builds a rocket and flies out to scout ahead of Earth to find the boundary. He flies around until he feels stupider, then the autopilot reverses course and takes him back to where he was smarter. Thus he maps out what waits ahead for Earth.

The nagging part of this story is I forgot the ending, though I suspect it was that we were doomed to near-chimp-like intellect for some time to come if we stayed anchored to the planet and never left.

(Looks over at Q.A., arches eyebrow)


Anybody remember the title or author of this story?
 
2013-01-07 08:28:07 PM  
Any Pie Left : Yes, I remember that as well. I think the cows got smart and didn't like being food.

http://www.amazon.com/Brain-Wave-Poul-Anderson/dp/0345218892/ref=cm_c r _pr_pb_t
 
2013-01-07 08:28:15 PM  
I hate when I see a term like "domain wall" in a story, think "oh cool", then hit Wikipedia for more info only to be thumped in the head with a bunch of mathematical gobbledygook like "topological solitions" and "discrete symmetry"...

Any Pie Left: Anybody remember the title or author of this story?


No, but it reminds me of this.
 
2013-01-07 08:29:47 PM  

Any Pie Left: I can't recall the name of the SF short story, but it had at its core the concept that Earth was passing thru regions of mysterious energies that could either suppress intellect or boost it. During one of these passages thru a "boosted" phase, one newly minted genius builds a rocket and flies out to scout ahead of Earth to find the boundary. He flies around until he feels stupider, then the autopilot reverses course and takes him back to where he was smarter. Thus he maps out what waits ahead for Earth.

The nagging part of this story is I forgot the ending, though I suspect it was that we were doomed to near-chimp-like intellect for some time to come if we stayed anchored to the planet and never left.

(Looks over at Q.A., arches eyebrow)


Anybody remember the title or author of this story?



I believe it was called "Brain wave", by Poul Anderson.

Could be wrong about the author, but I remember the story.
 
2013-01-07 08:33:28 PM  
IIRC, the ending of Brain Wave had all the enhanced-intellect humans leaving Earth for good, with the brain-damaged and congenitally stupid staying behind to try and survive in a world with sentient animals.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-07 08:48:46 PM  
it had at its core the concept that Earth was passing thru regions of mysterious energies that could either suppress intellect or boost it

Similar concepts, not the story you are looking for, in

The Cosmic Rape by Theodore Sturgeon
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
 
2013-01-07 08:50:43 PM  

ZAZ: it had at its core the concept that Earth was passing thru regions of mysterious energies that could either suppress intellect or boost it

Similar concepts, not the story you are looking for, in

The Cosmic Rape by Theodore Sturgeon
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge


I'm getting a very Vinge vibe from this article as well.
 
2013-01-07 09:00:23 PM  

Wenchmaster: Any Pie Left: I can't recall the name of the SF short story, but it had at its core the concept that Earth was passing thru regions of mysterious energies that could either suppress intellect or boost it. During one of these passages thru a "boosted" phase, one newly minted genius builds a rocket and flies out to scout ahead of Earth to find the boundary. He flies around until he feels stupider, then the autopilot reverses course and takes him back to where he was smarter. Thus he maps out what waits ahead for Earth.

The nagging part of this story is I forgot the ending, though I suspect it was that we were doomed to near-chimp-like intellect for some time to come if we stayed anchored to the planet and never left.

(Looks over at Q.A., arches eyebrow)


Anybody remember the title or author of this story?


I believe it was called "Brain wave", by Poul Anderson.

Could be wrong about the author, but I remember the story.


That's the one. It's old. I remember reading it in the late 1960s, and even then it had been around for a while.
 
2013-01-07 09:07:49 PM  
Let me know when we get out of Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, wouldja?
 
2013-01-07 09:13:33 PM  

Wenchmaster: IIRC, the ending of Brain Wave had all the enhanced-intellect humans leaving Earth for good, with the brain-damaged and congenitally stupid staying behind to try and survive in a world with sentient animals.


upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-01-07 09:55:42 PM  

dbirchall: Let me know when we get out of Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, wouldja?


Everybody knows that people from the plural sectors shouldn't travel through hyperspace!
 
2013-01-07 10:10:33 PM  

Any Pie Left: He flies around until he feels stupider,


I'm pretty sure that's what the Internet has done to me.
 
2013-01-07 10:30:15 PM  
The cool SF story I remember was by Weis & Hickman. Different areas of space had different rules of physics. So at earth, you have electromagnetism and e=mc2, but if you flew a spaceship out Pluto way, you pass into a region where everything works by magic. The cool part was that the regions moved around, so you'd have whole worlds where the rules of reality suddenly change and half the populace doesn't need guns because they just figured out how to shoot fireballs from their eyes and lightning from their arse.

It was a great series, but too bad they tried to turn it into another tabletop RPG like Dragonlance. The whole thing got caught up in some kind of legal battle and the end of the series never got written.
 
2013-01-07 10:45:46 PM  
How high do you have to get before you can become a theoretical physicist?
 
2013-01-07 10:47:51 PM  

Vegan Meat Popsicle: I hate when I see a term like "domain wall" in a story, think "oh cool", then hit Wikipedia for more info only to be thumped in the head with a bunch of mathematical gobbledygook like "topological solitions" and "discrete symmetry"...

Any Pie Left: Anybody remember the title or author of this story?

No, but it reminds me of this.


Daaaayum.
 
2013-01-07 10:48:15 PM  
punt
 
2013-01-07 11:03:33 PM  

MrEricSir: How high do you have to get before you can become a theoretical physicist?


Well, TFA  isfrom Berkeley.  These guys probably make Carl Sagan look straightedge. ;)

/Berkeley staff
//Straightedge
///Clearly doing it wrong
 
2013-01-08 12:31:01 AM  

Any Pie Left: I can't recall the name of the SF short story, but it had at its core the concept that Earth was passing thru regions of mysterious energies that could either suppress intellect or boost it. During one of these passages thru a "boosted" phase, one newly minted genius builds a rocket and flies out to scout ahead of Earth to find the boundary. He flies around until he feels stupider, then the autopilot reverses course and takes him back to where he was smarter. Thus he maps out what waits ahead for Earth.

The nagging part of this story is I forgot the ending, though I suspect it was that we were doomed to near-chimp-like intellect for some time to come if we stayed anchored to the planet and never left.

(Looks over at Q.A., arches eyebrow)

Anybody remember the title or author of this story?


No, but I remember a short story where everyone one on earth suddenly starts having weird coincidences. Little weird things like someone mentions a certain name and 5 people call you with that name -- basically someone mentions something innocuous or something commonplace happens and bizarre coincidences start occurring relating to that one random event or word. Like the "plate of shrimp" story in Repo Man.

Scientists finally theorize that "coincidence" and chance are variable in different areas of the universe and the solar system must be entering one these "heightened coincidence" areas.

Can't remember the ending exactly, but it went something like this: The story ends with someone using a metaphor for "dead" in a sentence in a public speech to millions -- and half of them unexpectedly drop dead.
 
2013-01-08 12:51:29 AM  
So thread jack,

I've been inquiring all my friends who America's greatest scientist is/was. All the greats I think about are European, Einstein, Oppenheimer, hawking, and then the really old ones like newton Kepler and so forth, but American?

Is it truly richard feynam, and because he like playing drums and going to strip clubs, we get Sagan and Neil Tyson degrassi instead?

Don't get me wrong I love those guys, but has any American matched feynam?

I need someone smarter than me and closer to the industry to answer that question, could it be dr Watson mapping the human genome, was he even American?

/???
 
2013-01-08 01:10:24 AM  
In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?
 
2013-01-08 01:17:33 AM  

JolobinSmokin: So thread jack,

I've been inquiring all my friends who America's greatest scientist is/was. All the greats I think about are European, Einstein, Oppenheimer, hawking, and then the really old ones like newton Kepler and so forth, but American?

Is it truly richard feynam, and because he like playing drums and going to strip clubs, we get Sagan and Neil Tyson degrassi instead?

Don't get me wrong I love those guys, but has any American matched feynam?

I need someone smarter than me and closer to the industry to answer that question, could it be dr Watson mapping the human genome, was he even American?

/???


Off the top of my head, there's Linus Pauling, though his later-years obsession with vitamin C seems a little cranky. There's Murray Gell-Mann, arguably a more important theoretical physicist than Feynman (I'm not qualified to actually make that argument one way or another). Ernest Lawrence. Andrew Wiles..nope, British. Donald Knuth? Edwin Hubble. The guy who invented the transistor...Shockley? Just a few names, I'm sure the power of Fark can find more nominees.
 
2013-01-08 01:17:41 AM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?


More like phlogiston, I think.
 
2013-01-08 01:22:42 AM  
JolobinSmokin :

Bucky Fuller comes to mind.

Edison.

And Robert Goddard.

The Wrights approached flight as scientists would.
 
2013-01-08 01:28:25 AM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?


I read a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology. And I've got a pretty good nose for detecting bullshiat, and for reading between the lines. I'm beginning to get the impression that some of the people writing these books are throwing together string, baling wire, gum and duct tape in an effort to reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

To avoid having to deal with the issue, they create invisible, omnipresent, and extremely powerful forces and entities that they really can't prove exist (gee, does THAT sound familiar?), except to say "Well, uh, those have to exist for the theory to work."

That, IMHO, is not good science.
 
2013-01-08 01:45:07 AM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?



In all seriousness, yes, they take this "crap" seriously.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7KHjkooegc
 
2013-01-08 01:48:55 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: I read a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology. And I've got a pretty good nose for detecting bullshiat, and for reading between the lines. I'm beginning to get the impression that some of the people writing these books are throwing together string, baling wire, gum and duct tape in an effort to reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

To avoid having to deal with the issue, they create invisible, omnipresent, and extremely powerful forces and entities that they really can't prove exist (gee, does THAT sound familiar?), except to say "Well, uh, those have to exist for the theory to work."

That, IMHO, is not good science.



have you explored the possibility that instead of them making things up to avoid "the issue", that perhaps you just don't understand what they're talking about? because that would seem to be much more likely.
 
2013-01-08 02:25:20 AM  

log_jammin: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: I read a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology. And I've got a pretty good nose for detecting bullshiat, and for reading between the lines. I'm beginning to get the impression that some of the people writing these books are throwing together string, baling wire, gum and duct tape in an effort to reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

To avoid having to deal with the issue, they create invisible, omnipresent, and extremely powerful forces and entities that they really can't prove exist (gee, does THAT sound familiar?), except to say "Well, uh, those have to exist for the theory to work."

That, IMHO, is not good science.


have you explored the possibility that instead of them making things up to avoid "the issue", that perhaps you just don't understand what they're talking about? because that would seem to be much more likely.


The problem is these mathematically derived concepts are not empirically verifiable (yet). That leads to a certain skepticism.
 
2013-01-08 02:26:12 AM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?


Yeah, there are a few people who take these things seriously.

img545.imageshack.us

img708.imageshack.us

imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-01-08 02:45:20 AM  

simplicimus: The problem is these mathematically derived concepts are not empirically verifiable (yet). That leads to a certain skepticism.


skepticism is great. The problem is, in this country too many people have this idea that Bob the sanitation guy's opinion on quantum mechanics is just as valid as the opinion of a scientist with a PhD in the field. That's how you get the type of "skepticism" where a guy who reads "a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology" comes to the conclusion that scientists just make stuff up in order to "avoid having to deal with the issue", whatever that means. It's that very mindset that gives us creationists and the people who let them get away with it.
 
2013-01-08 02:45:27 AM  

Any Pie Left: I can't recall the name of the SF short story, but it had at its core the concept that Earth was passing thru regions of mysterious energies that could either suppress intellect or boost it. During one of these passages thru a "boosted" phase, one newly minted genius builds a rocket and flies out to scout ahead of Earth to find the boundary. He flies around until he feels stupider, then the autopilot reverses course and takes him back to where he was smarter. Thus he maps out what waits ahead for Earth.

The nagging part of this story is I forgot the ending, though I suspect it was that we were doomed to near-chimp-like intellect for some time to come if we stayed anchored to the planet and never left.

(Looks over at Q.A., arches eyebrow)

Anybody remember the title or author of this story?


Flowers for Aphelion?
 
2013-01-08 02:46:17 AM  

JolobinSmokin: I've been inquiring all my friends who America's greatest scientist is/was. All the greats I think about are European, Einstein, Oppenheimer, hawking, and then the really old ones like newton Kepler and so forth, but American?

Is it truly richard feynam, and because he like playing drums and going to strip clubs, we get Sagan and Neil Tyson degrassi instead?


No disrespect, but Sagan and Tyson are known as well as they are not for being exceptional scientists - they weren't  bad by any means, they both had PhD's from top schools and all that - but for being exceptional communicators and using their communications skill to popularize science.  That wins you Pulitzers and Peabodies and Emmies, but it doesn't win you the Nobel, Shaw, Gruber, or the Einstein Medal, which tend to go more to people who devote a lot more time to doing science, and a lot less time to writing, speaking, etc.

Certainly, as a Nobel laureate, Feynman's  scientificchops were more recognize than those of Sagan and Tyson.  I'd say the same for Chu (now Secretary of Energy), Taylor (now at Princeton), Smoot (Berkeley), and Perlmutter (Berkeley).  Lawrence and Gell-mann have already been mentioned.  But I'm biased toward physics because those are the types I know or work with.  There are also chemists, and laureates in physiology/medicine, who'd  be good choices.

I could argue that the work of the 1998 physiology/medicine laureates, Furchgott, Ignarro, and Murad, on the role and function of Nitric Oxide as a vasodilator, has led to applications that are globally well-known, even though their names may be far less known than Sagan or Tyson.
 
2013-01-08 03:30:36 AM  

Fano: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?

More like phlogiston, I think.


I think that's what's making my bathroom sink back up.
 
2013-01-08 04:38:42 AM  

log_jammin: simplicimus: The problem is these mathematically derived concepts are not empirically verifiable (yet). That leads to a certain skepticism.

skepticism is great. The problem is, in this country too many people have this idea that Bob the sanitation guy's opinion on quantum mechanics is just as valid as the opinion of a scientist with a PhD in the field. That's how you get the type of "skepticism" where a guy who reads "a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology" comes to the conclusion that scientists just make stuff up in order to "avoid having to deal with the issue", whatever that means. It's that very mindset that gives us creationists and the people who let them get away with it.


As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum mechanics means anything can happen at any time for no reason.
 
2013-01-08 04:42:33 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?

I read a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology. And I've got a pretty good nose for detecting bullshiat, and for reading between the lines. I'm beginning to get the impression that some of the people writing these books are throwing together string, baling wire, gum and duct tape in an effort to reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

To avoid having to deal with the issue, they create invisible, omnipresent, and extremely powerful forces and entities that they really can't prove exist (gee, does THAT sound familiar?), except to say "Well, uh, those have to exist for the theory to work."

That, IMHO, is not good science.


Of course nobody anywhere is saying that invisible dark matter definitely exists, in fact there are several competing ideas. Dark matter just happens to be the one that fits best right now.

i.e. stfu and deal with it or come up with a theory on your own that explains the galaxy's rotational velocity.
 
2013-01-08 04:50:37 AM  

The All-Powerful Atheismo: As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum mechanics means anything can happen at any time for no reason.


exactly. that's why just now when you typed "Log_jammin you are my hero and you rock so hard!!!" it was displayed on my screen as "As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum mechanics means anything can happen at any time for no reason."

damn you quantum mechanics!!!
 
2013-01-08 04:51:40 AM  

log_jammin: The All-Powerful Atheismo: As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum mechanics means anything can happen at any time for no reason.

exactly. that's why just now when you typed "Log_jammin you are my hero and you rock so hard!!!" it was displayed on my screen as "As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum mechanics means anything can happen at any time for no reason."

damn you quantum mechanics!!!


Don't be fatuous, log_jammin.
 
2013-01-08 05:05:01 AM  

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.


Quite a lot of experiments have yielded results indicating that space is expanding, and (in more recent experiments) that the expansion is accelerating.  Those are pretty widely accepted views at this point.  Do we* know why the expansion is accelerating?  Not yet.  But we suspect some sort of force or energy must be causing it (since things usually don't happen without a cause), and it's unseen, so the name "Dark Energy" will probably stick until we're better able to characterize and explain it, at which point it will get some boring name, sigh.

/or at least, if anyone else in the collaboration  doesknow, they haven't told  me yet.
//anyone have any Q's to stump Perlmutter's A? ;)
 
2013-01-08 07:37:49 AM  
Actually I think it's butterscotch pudding
 
2013-01-08 07:53:15 AM  

dbirchall: Quite a lot of experiments have yielded results indicating that space is expanding, and (in more recent experiments) that the expansion is accelerating.


They're not experiments; better to call them measurements.  We measured the expansion of the universe and saw that it's diverging from our calculations based on theory.  If Dark Energy doesn't exist then the universe is violating Newton's First Law of Motion.  Anyone who thinks that is the case has a LOT of explaining to do.
 
2013-01-08 07:55:41 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.


There was no First Cause and they're not looking for one. That is a fallacious argument.

/The laws of causality aren't actual physics laws. They're only used in philosophy and they are predicated on an absolute temporal constant. But we know that time is not absolute or constant; it is relative and predicated on velocity. So asserting cause and effect is a meaningless conjecture.
 
2013-01-08 08:02:24 AM  

The All-Powerful Atheismo: As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum mechanics means anything can happen at any time for no reason.


Yes, but the larger something is, the closer that "anything to happen at any time for no reason" approaches zero.

Apparently this means that for anything larger than an atom, the tendency for "anything to happen at any time for no reason" to occur would take longer than the estimated age of the Universe.

Woo woo speculators like Chopra tend to forget that part.
 
2013-01-08 08:05:39 AM  

dragonchild: dbirchall: Quite a lot of experiments have yielded results indicating that space is expanding, and (in more recent experiments) that the expansion is accelerating.

They're not experiments; better to call them measurements.


They're not  controlled experiments in a lab, sure.  (Type Ia supernovae do not make good laboratory test subjects. ;)

But we are methodically carrying out a procedure to verify, falsify, or establish the validity of a hypothesis.  Of course, in the physical sciences, some sort of quantitative  measurement is basically always part of that procedure.
 
2013-01-08 08:24:56 AM  
A: "You got your theory in my observations!"
B: "No, you made your observations according to my theory!"
 
2013-01-08 08:55:52 AM  

Jefferson Biatchmagnet: JolobinSmokin: So thread jack,

I've been inquiring all my friends who America's greatest scientist is/was. All the greats I think about are European, Einstein, Oppenheimer, hawking, and then the really old ones like newton Kepler and so forth, but American?

Is it truly richard feynam, and because he like playing drums and going to strip clubs, we get Sagan and Neil Tyson degrassi instead?

Don't get me wrong I love those guys, but has any American matched feynam?

I need someone smarter than me and closer to the industry to answer that question, could it be dr Watson mapping the human genome, was he even American?

/???

Off the top of my head, there's Linus Pauling, though his later-years obsession with vitamin C seems a little cranky. There's Murray Gell-Mann, arguably a more important theoretical physicist than Feynman (I'm not qualified to actually make that argument one way or another). Ernest Lawrence. Andrew Wiles..nope, British. Donald Knuth? Edwin Hubble. The guy who invented the transistor...Shockley? Just a few names, I'm sure the power of Fark can find more nominees.


Glenn Seaborg.
Robert Woodward, possibly the greatest organic chemist in the past 100 years. Directed the first (and, I think, only) total synthesis of vitamin B12.
 
2013-01-08 10:08:54 AM  

Ivo Shandor: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?

Yeah, there are a few people who take these things seriously.

[img545.imageshack.us image 640x355]

[img708.imageshack.us image 800x600]

[imgs.xkcd.com image 500x389]


Regarding galactic rotation, MOND is an alternate explanation that doesn't require a magical halo of indescribable dark matter pooped out of a cosmic unicorn's butt.

Regarding WMAP, it's very nice that it proved that the big bang happened, but doesn't prove an acceleration happening now that's caused by the indescribable dark energy being pooped out of another (or the same?) unicorn's butt.
 
2013-01-08 11:00:20 AM  

log_jammin: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: I read a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology. And I've got a pretty good nose for detecting bullshiat, and for reading between the lines. I'm beginning to get the impression that some of the people writing these books are throwing together string, baling wire, gum and duct tape in an effort to reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

To avoid having to deal with the issue, they create invisible, omnipresent, and extremely powerful forces and entities that they really can't prove exist (gee, does THAT sound familiar?), except to say "Well, uh, those have to exist for the theory to work."

That, IMHO, is not good science.


have you explored the possibility that instead of them making things up to avoid "the issue", that perhaps you just don't understand what they're talking about? because that would seem to be much more likely.


Actually, that has always been my first thought. I'm a layman in most of science, not to mention highly mathematical science like quantum physics, cosmology and string theory. But, OTOH, it is fairly easy to understand the concepts behind e=mc2 and - after several years - Einstein's Special and General theories of relativity. OTOH, speaking of Einstein:

blog.tmcnet.com
To which I would add the addendum "...or you're confusing yourself with your own bullshiat." As an example of a reasonably intelligent and educated human being, at some point, after reading 20 or so books on cosmology by various authors, I am inexorably drawn to the conclusion that much of it is based on a "house of cards" model.

This is actually similar to intellectual gyrations about religious belief. Can't remember the exact Dawkins quote right now, but it would be similar to a theologian answering criticism about religious belief by adding another layer of bullshiat to the model. for example:
Q: "You say God is all powerful, all knowing, and all good; why, therefore, is there evil in the world? How could a God with those attributes allow evil to exist?"
A: (Answer predicated on the religious hierarchy's continued need for donations) "Ahhhh.... ahhhhhh...... so Men could prove their devotion to God by suffering and by helping the Church struggle against evil."

IOW, a house of cards where higher and higher levels of bullshiat are based on initial flawed premises.

IOW, if some or all of the foundational elements of modern physics/cosmology are wrong (possibly going back to the rejection of aether with the Michelson-Morley experiment, and, later, the various lofty pronouncements of Neils Bohr) then progress using those foundations can only be accomplished by piling theoretical (and practically-speaking untestable) "fixes" onto the base.

Here's a concrete example: Link The book caught my eye in a library and I read it. While doing so I increasing came to the conclusion that Krauss was either confused or laying down a thick carpet of bullshiat. Only later, when thinking about buying the book on Amazon, did I read the negative reviews, particularly one by David Milliern (3rd down, and see blog Link near ) which confirmed my earlier opinion: Krauss seems to be frantically trying to erect ANY kind of alternative explanation other than God for the existence of the universe, and "hang the consequences". IOW, he has an agenda beyond actually finding out the truth.

That is NOT to say that the idea of God creating the universe isn't also wrong. It's just saying that Krauss's explanation does not satisfactorily explain it either.
 
2013-01-08 11:13:12 AM  

Ivo Shandor: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?

Yeah, there are a few people who take these things seriously.


Regarding that first picture, the graph of galactic rotation speed, it seems to me that you would need discreet "rings" (or circular waves or something) of dark matter concentric with the galaxy in order to keep the curve flat like that. Otherwise, if dark matter were more or less uniform, or at least following relatively the same distribution of matter as the visible stuff, you would just end up with the same curve as the predicted but it would be larger.

I need to read about this stuff more. And maybe make a spreadsheet graph or something. Thinking about it sure isn't helping me with the math. I'm thinking time-dilated gravitons due to the gravity flux between the center and the outer edges.

/Better use an inverse tachyon pulse.
 
2013-01-08 11:20:21 AM  

dbirchall: Type Ia supernovae do not make good laboratory test subjects.


You're just in the wrong lab.

/me too
 
2013-01-08 11:21:38 AM  

jfarkinB: dbirchall: Type Ia supernovae do not make good laboratory test subjects.

You're just in the wrong lab.

/me too


Well... you kind of need a new lab each time.

/and a new planet, and a new star system, and a new nearby stellar neighborhood...
 
2013-01-08 11:23:37 AM  

Vegan Meat Popsicle: I hate when I see a term like "domain wall" in a story, think "oh cool", then hit Wikipedia for more info only to be thumped in the head with a bunch of mathematical gobbledygook like "topological solitions" and "discrete symmetry"...


That's because theoretical physicists suck at English. They speak math. That's why your Feynmans are so rare.
 
2013-01-08 11:54:08 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: As an example of a reasonably intelligent and educated human being, at some point, after reading 20 or so books on cosmology by various authors, I am inexorably drawn to the conclusion that much of it is based on a "house of cards" model.


So let me get this straight:

You think that because the mathematics behind modern cosmology isn't as easy to understand as e=mc2, then it must be bullshiat? In other words, things must be simple enough for YOU to accept or else they're wrong?

That's an interesting take on the Anthropic Principle. So tell me: Why do you presume that the Universe is under any obligation to validate your capacity to comprehend its properties?
 
2013-01-08 12:55:00 PM  

Ishkur: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: As an example of a reasonably intelligent and educated human being, at some point, after reading 20 or so books on cosmology by various authors, I am inexorably drawn to the conclusion that much of it is based on a "house of cards" model.

So let me get this straight:

You think that because the mathematics behind modern cosmology isn't as easy to understand as e=mc2, then it must be bullshiat? In other words, things must be simple enough for YOU to accept or else they're wrong?

That's an interesting take on the Anthropic Principle. So tell me: Why do you presume that the Universe is under any obligation to validate your capacity to comprehend its properties?


Penn and Teller have been around for many, many years. Penn has his own podcast now, and has made some interesting friends over the years. Many of his friends are scientists.

Penn took one of these friends, although he wouldn't say who (but it was probably Feynman), to a magic show. The magician on stage did a levitation routine. It's a fairly famous trick in the biz and looks very convincing. His physicist friend starts freaking out about the danger of such a large volume of liquid nitrogen and electricity they'd need to run the superconductor magnets to levitate an adult male being located under the stage with so many people without protective gear in the same room. An insane conclusion about the trick that could only be reached by a physicist. In fact, it was wires. Simple strong wires.

That's the major problem with theoretical physics today. Scientists have a very single minded approach and with cosmology, there's very little chance to verify anything with experiments, so it all keeps building and building and building based on what the physicists know, which is math. What's actually happening is just pure speculation based on observation. Every new observation changes the math, but until we get some experiments in we'll never know. But Ockam's Razor is sharp as ever and it's highly unlikely in a universe as vast and complex as ours that our physicists in the 2000's are any closer to ultimate truth in their speculations than those of the 1900's or the 1800's were. The next discovery will turn it all on its ear, as is always the case.
 
2013-01-08 12:55:07 PM  
i recently watched a video about some eggheads essentially "mapping" dark matter. (the video was from the BBC Horizon series and has since been removed from youtube.)

anyway, from what i recall, there are currently experiments that can "see" giant blobs of dark matter via gravitational lensing. the scientists featured in this video were doing just that - mapping out dark matter by measuring the way the light from distant objects is "bent" when traversing areas where dark matter was concentrated.

/amateur youtube physicist/cosmologist
 
2013-01-08 01:45:27 PM  

doglover: Penn and Teller have been around for many, many years.


Well, that makes them totally legit.

doglover: Penn took one of these friends, although he wouldn't say who


Yeah, completely legit.

doglover: An insane conclusion about the trick that could only be reached by a physicist.


Oh, of course.

I don't get Penn & Teller, much less everyone's obsession with their shtick.  When they de-bunk something it's either something everyone else has already de-bunked or a highly scripted "shoot the messenger" fallacy.  Basically, being a sarcastic smartass for a living gets you unquestioning Fark hero worship.  George Carlin is also a Fark favorite and damn if he doesn't have a few quotable lines, but I'd bet if we ran the country based on his "policies" I doubt Kim Jong-un could sink the country faster.  Yet this community would probably vote him President if he was still alive and on the ballot.
 
2013-01-08 01:55:57 PM  

doglover: Scientists have a very single minded approach and with cosmology, there's very little chance to verify anything with experiments, so it all keeps building and building and building based on what the physicists know, which is math. What's actually happening is just pure speculation based on observation. Every new observation changes the math, but until we get some experiments in we'll never know. But Ockam's Razor is sharp as ever and it's highly unlikely in a universe as vast and complex as ours that our physicists in the 2000's are any closer to ultimate truth in their speculations than those of the 1900's or the 1800's were.


The only people I know who do that are string theorists.

But to throw your hands in the air and claim that they're just monkeying around with numbers and the CMBR is doing a serious discredit to modern cosmology. The truth is they might not have the complete big picture but they know they're on the right track. And the silver bullet example of this is the higgs-boson. It was predicted nearly 50 years ago through nothing but math. And the math said that if we build a particle collider powerful enough we would be able to detect it, and now, finally, the technology caught up with the prediction enough to verify. That's the essence of science.

No, we're not going to be able to experiment on the Theory of Everything in that manner, but that's okay because not all science is experimental. In fact, quite a great deal of it is deductive. We look at the available evidence and come up with hypothesis' for why it's so (no police detective witnesses a murder firsthand but cases still get solved). But the only true way to express it is through math because the Universe is just too weird to be explained through words (so reading a book on the subject is a terrible substitute. It will give you the gist, sure, but it cuts a lot of corners. That's why book form is the lowest form of science. It must be done, for the sake of the populace, but it's generally not how scientists explain their findings)

A good example of this is the computation of the orbit of Mercury. Around the turn of the last century, scientists noticed that its orbit was perturbed very very slightly (like off by about 43 milliseconds per revolution or something), and we didn't understand why. For awhile we speculated that there must have been another planet or asteroid nearby tentatively named Vulcan that was tugging on Mercury and being responsible for the perturbation, but that didn't make sense because it didn't factor into any other orbits or equations.

It was Einstein who figured it out: The sun's gravity well was tugging on the light reflecting off Mercury, throwing our observations off. This was the smoking gun that gave credence to the Theory of Relativity.

It's stuff like this that cosmologists look at: Evidence, build a basis off the evidence, and then build a basis off that basis. Eventually things do get extremely theoretical and abstract the further you get from the source, but they are still based on real evidence. It's not just all idle speculation.

Cosmologists are on the right track. But you're going to have to be patient -- the answers aren't going to come overnight. Just stay away from the string theorists and the multi-dimensional wackos.
 
2013-01-08 02:17:36 PM  

MrEricSir: How high do you have to get before you can become a theoretical physicist?


Very. These are the people I wish to hang out with, but alas, I am waaay outside their social circles.

So I come to Fark. Boy am I stupid or what?
 
2013-01-08 02:19:40 PM  

Jefferson Biatchmagnet: JolobinSmokin: So thread jack,

I've been inquiring all my friends who America's greatest scientist is/was. All the greats I think about are European, Einstein, Oppenheimer, hawking, and then the really old ones like newton Kepler and so forth, but American?

Is it truly richard feynam, and because he like playing drums and going to strip clubs, we get Sagan and Neil Tyson degrassi instead?

Don't get me wrong I love those guys, but has any American matched feynam?

I need someone smarter than me and closer to the industry to answer that question, could it be dr Watson mapping the human genome, was he even American?

/???

Off the top of my head, there's Linus Pauling, though his later-years obsession with vitamin C seems a little cranky. There's Murray Gell-Mann, arguably a more important theoretical physicist than Feynman (I'm not qualified to actually make that argument one way or another). Ernest Lawrence. Andrew Wiles..nope, British. Donald Knuth? Edwin Hubble. The guy who invented the transistor...Shockley? Just a few names, I'm sure the power of Fark can find more nominees.


Phil Plait!

Kidding but I love that guy.
 
2013-01-08 02:20:54 PM  

Any Pie Left: JolobinSmokin :

Bucky Fuller comes to mind.

Edison.

And Robert Goddard.

The Wrights approached flight as scientists would.


You didn't just say Edison in seriousness did you?

/oh, dear
 
2013-01-08 08:21:15 PM  

simplicimus: log_jammin: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: I read a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology. And I've got a pretty good nose for detecting bullshiat, and for reading between the lines. I'm beginning to get the impression that some of the people writing these books are throwing together string, baling wire, gum and duct tape in an effort to reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

To avoid having to deal with the issue, they create invisible, omnipresent, and extremely powerful forces and entities that they really can't prove exist (gee, does THAT sound familiar?), except to say "Well, uh, those have to exist for the theory to work."

That, IMHO, is not good science.


have you explored the possibility that instead of them making things up to avoid "the issue", that perhaps you just don't understand what they're talking about? because that would seem to be much more likely.

The problem is these mathematically derived concepts are not empirically verifiable (yet). That leads to a certain skepticism.


This is partially true. That is, the lack of empirical verification partly contributes to the skepticism. The lack of simple explanations contributes the rest. The challenge is to weigh the various factors and not dismiss the concept out of hand due to a (possibly incorrectly) perceived wealth of weasel-words.
 
2013-01-08 08:28:43 PM  

log_jammin: simplicimus: The problem is these mathematically derived concepts are not empirically verifiable (yet). That leads to a certain skepticism.

skepticism is great. The problem is, in this country too many people have this idea that Bob the sanitation guy's opinion on quantum mechanics is just as valid as the opinion of a scientist with a PhD in the field. That's how you get the type of "skepticism" where a guy who reads "a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology" comes to the conclusion that scientists just make stuff up in order to "avoid having to deal with the issue", whatever that means. It's that very mindset that gives us creationists and the people who let them get away with it.


Please don't put words into my mouth, or falsely generalize my statements.
 
2013-01-08 09:04:34 PM  

The All-Powerful Atheismo: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: In all seriousness, does anyone in cosmology really take this dark matter /dark energy crap seriously?

I mean, nobody knows what they are or what they're made of, nor can anyone prove their existence by experiment.

Isn't it all kind of luminiferous-aether-y?

I read a LOT of layman-oriented stuff on cosmology. And I've got a pretty good nose for detecting bullshiat, and for reading between the lines. I'm beginning to get the impression that some of the people writing these books are throwing together string, baling wire, gum and duct tape in an effort to reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

To avoid having to deal with the issue, they create invisible, omnipresent, and extremely powerful forces and entities that they really can't prove exist (gee, does THAT sound familiar?), except to say "Well, uh, those have to exist for the theory to work."

That, IMHO, is not good science.

Of course nobody anywhere is saying that invisible dark matter definitely exists, in fact there are several competing ideas. Dark matter just happens to be the one that fits best right now.

i.e. stfu and deal with it or come up with a theory on your own that explains the galaxy's rotational velocity.


What I question is not the theory, but the manner of presenting it. The presentation, unfortunately, fosters a certain amount of suspicion because all too often it seems as if it is made deliberately intelligible to the layman. And - please - don't give me the song and dance about "some things cannot be understood unless you have had 12 years of advanced mathematics." That is waaaayyyyyy too similar to "some things cannot be understood unless you have been anointed into the Priesthood."

(There are, unfortunately, some "scientists" who, possibly sensing a never-ending gravy train of long term employment, are working mightily to turn science into an abortion that has all the psychological, public relations, and "holy mystery" trappings of religion.)

If something is true i.e.( internally AND externally consistent), it can - with sufficient effort - be explained simply and clearly.

blog.tmcnet.com
If the explanation is not simple and clear, then one of two (or both) things have happened: it is NOT true, or the speaker/writer is confused and not a good spokesperson for the concept.
 
2013-01-08 09:21:51 PM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: And - please - don't give me the song and dance about "some things cannot be understood unless you have had 12 years of advanced mathematics.


Just Another OC Homeless Guy: If something is true i.e.( internally AND externally consistent), it can - with sufficient effort - be explained simply and clearly.


Don't you think learning the math could be considered "sufficient effort" towards understanding what the math says? It seems like you're trying to make the universe fit into what you expect of it.

Since you quoted him, do you think Einstein was incapable of understanding the spooky action at a distance? Or the statistical nature of quantum mechanics?
 
2013-01-08 11:59:06 PM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: If the explanation is not simple and clear, then one of two (or both) things have happened: it is NOT true, or the speaker/writer is confused and not a good spokesperson for the concept.


Some true things are not simple. You can explain aspects of them simply and clearly, but not the whole.

Here's another quote attributed to Albert Einstein: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler."
 
2013-01-09 01:23:09 AM  

sxacho: Don't you think learning the math could be considered "sufficient effort" towards understanding what the math says?


Would you go to Tibet and join a monastery for 4 years before talking about religion? No? Would you go to France for 4 years and study at Cordon Bleu before commenting on the flavor of your dinner? No? Would you go to the military and sign up for 4 years before weighing in on guns or war? No? Then you're a hypocrite to say it require collegiate level math education to understand your explanations.

If you can't describe your theory without using math, you can't describe your theory. Them's the breaks. There's plenty of scientists who are able to describe things without using the math. I've talked with them in person and watched videos of their lectures. If you can't do that, you shouldn't be talking or writing on Wikipedia, you should be practicing English because you seem to have forgotten it somewhere between dx/dy and dy/dx.
 
2013-01-09 02:01:31 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Please don't put words into my mouth, or falsely generalize my statements.


I didn't.
 
2013-01-09 02:03:32 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: If something is true i.e.( internally AND externally consistent), it can - with sufficient effort - be explained simply and clearly.


Your inability to understand something does not make it true or false. It just means you don't understand it.
 
2013-01-09 02:29:27 AM  
"if?"
 
2013-01-09 07:58:15 AM  

doglover: If you can't describe your theory without using math, you can't describe your theory. Them's the breaks.


I'll agree that you should be able to describe it without using math. But I would also suggest that any such description might be limited to a broad oversimplification which can lead a layperson to draw incorrect conclusions based on incomplete information. Books or lectures written for the common man leave a lot to be desired compared to an actual academic treatment of some of this weird physics stuff.
 
2013-01-09 11:13:53 PM  

Ishkur: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

There was no First Cause and they're not looking for one. That is a fallacious argument.

/The laws of causality aren't actual physics laws. They're only used in philosophy and they are predicated on an absolute temporal constant. But we know that time is not absolute or constant; it is relative and predicated on velocity. So asserting cause and effect is a meaningless conjecture.


Really! So you could, say, put a loaded gun to your head and pull the trigger and nothing would happen?

Oh, wait, you must mean on the quantum scale! Oh, but wait, then where does apparent macro-scale cause and effect come from? Are you suggesting some kind of synergistic effect that converts non-causal random action to defined causal action?
 
2013-01-09 11:15:07 PM  

Ishkur: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: reduce the possibility of a First Cause to zero.

There was no First Cause and they're not looking for one. That is a fallacious argument.

/The laws of causality aren't actual physics laws. They're only used in philosophy and they are predicated on an absolute temporal constant. But we know that time is not absolute or constant; it is relative and predicated on velocity. So asserting cause and effect is a meaningless conjecture.



Addendum:

Oh, and when are you receiving your Nobel Prize for invalidating Newton's and Einstein's laws?
 
2013-01-09 11:27:16 PM  

Ishkur: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: As an example of a reasonably intelligent and educated human being, at some point, after reading 20 or so books on cosmology by various authors, I am inexorably drawn to the conclusion that much of it is based on a "house of cards" model.

So let me get this straight:

You think that because the mathematics behind modern cosmology isn't as easy to understand as e=mc2, then it must be bullshiat? In other words, things must be simple enough for YOU to accept or else they're wrong?

That's an interesting take on the Anthropic Principle. So tell me: Why do you presume that the Universe is under any obligation to validate your capacity to comprehend its properties?


I'm an accountant by trade, and if I wanted to I could give a lecture on GAAP/FASB/FASP pronouncements, presenting them in such a way as to baffle the best minds out there.... IF they assumed as a starting point that I was honestly presenting the subject matter and that "it's just too complex for non-accountants to understand." Sorry, I call shenanigans. A true fact in ANY field can - with enough effort - be clearly explained to lay persons.

I remember one time I conducted a seminar on a new automated distribution system that was being implemented. The audience consisted of 175 warehouse workers, NONE of whom had any college and many of which hadn't even graduated high school. Plus, about 10% of them spoke only limited English. The goal was to get the radically different system up with minimal confusion. Management was totally convinced that the only way to do it was to turn everyone into a robot, with "programmed" tasks. A combination of layered flowcharts, written procedure if-thens, and a 3 hour q&a proved them wrong.
 
2013-01-09 11:32:25 PM  

log_jammin: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: If something is true i.e.( internally AND externally consistent), it can - with sufficient effort - be explained simply and clearly.

Your inability to understand something does not make it true or false. It just means you don't understand it.


First rule of Communications 101: The responsibility to be understood is on the shoulders of the speaker.

My inability to understand something may mean that I haven't studied the issue enough... or it may also mean that the speaker either can't or won't present the "facts" in such a way as to make them understandable.

I'm smart enough and I've read enough - and I read between the lines well enough - to know when I'm being conned. Case in point: the Krauss book I mentioned. And my conclusions are backed up by others.
 
2013-01-09 11:40:48 PM  
What I find fascinating in this thread is all the hate, name-calling and generally childish behavior on the part of those who are DEFENDING SCIENCE! from alleged know-nothings and morons like myself.

The first sign to 3rd parties watching an argument that one of the two people is in the wrong is generally that one of them gets angry, starts calling names, and stops acting like an adult.
 
2013-01-10 01:57:30 AM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: First rule of Communications 101: The responsibility to be understood is on the shoulders of the speaker.


This isn't communications class. This is science class, and you are home schooling yourself.

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: My inability to understand something may mean that I haven't studied the issue enough... or it may also mean that the speaker either can't or won't present the "facts" in such a way as to make them understandable.


and one is a lot more likely that the other.

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Case in point: the Krauss book I mentioned. And my conclusions are backed up by others.


yes. many amazon reviewers agree with you. That's KINDA like your work being published in a peer reviewed journal. kinda...
 
2013-01-10 12:01:44 PM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Really! So you could, say, put a loaded gun to your head and pull the trigger and nothing would happen?


No, I would kill myself, but that's not because the laws of causality, that's because of the laws of motion, the laws of kinematics and the laws of thermodynamics (chiefly the law of conservation of energy).

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Oh, wait, you must mean on the quantum scale! Oh, but wait, then where does apparent macro-scale cause and effect come from? Are you suggesting some kind of synergistic effect that converts non-causal random action to defined causal action?


When we're talking about the beginning of the Universe, which is where you want to assert the First Cause fallacy, all that exists is at the quantum level, therefore we must use quantum laws to describe what's happening. There is no macro level to describe or even quantify the Universe at that point.

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: I'm an accountant by trade, and if I wanted to I could give a lecture on GAAP/FASB/FASP pronouncements, presenting them in such a way as to baffle the best minds out there


That's completely irrelevant to whether your understanding something lends credence to its validity. The Universe is under no obligation to explain for you in neat and succinct terms exactly how its faculties work. If you have a problem understanding something, you cannot dismiss it as bullshiat. In fact, your skepticism should compel you to learn more about it and, if it is indeed bullshiat as you suspect, you should be able to attack it and see flaws in its assertions. You have yet to do so.

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: I'm smart enough and I've read enough - and I read between the lines well enough - to know when I'm being conned


In what way? Please explain.
 
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