Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Gary7, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
  2. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
  3. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
    So if quasars aren't supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies, they are plasmoids then? I'm not very familiar with the Electric Universe theory, but neither do I have enough knowledge to dismiss it out of hand. What I don't get is why a plasmoid would generate an enhanced red shift.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  4. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    This article does a pretty good job of explaining what's wrong with plasma cosmology, and by extension, the "electric universe" idea.
     
  5. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
    Yeah, I wasted some time this afternoon looking into the so-called electric universe theory and soon decided it really was horse hooey. I'm now looking for some cream for my aching plasmoids.
     
  6. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    There's an awful lot of venom and ad hominem in that article, especially for someone who is so convinced that the facts can speak for themselves.
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    But that obviously does not apply to ""dark"" ""matter"". All there is to it, it's an effect that has been observed. Because it has the same effect we believe normal matter to be responsible for, "science" has labelled it "matter" though there is not one shred of evidence that it actually is some form of "matter" (the way we understand it).

    The other problem is that it is factually invisible. Of course "invisible matter" is tough to sell to the public, so they decided to label it "dark" (which has led to some confusion in some Star Trek episodes where "dark matter" was used while in fact obscuring gas and other particles were involved).

    Hence "dark matter" is as un-scientific as could be and reveals the limits of current science and our understanding of the cosmos and some celestial principles.

    It's quite a cosmic joke that a catholic actor (reluctantly) provided the best answer thus far to the question what holds the galaxy together: The Force

    Bob

    @ Metryq

    I see your point, quote from Rob Knop: "The problem is that when actual real astronomers such as myself are confronted with plasma cosmology, we have a hard time doing anything other than shaking our heads sadly, because it's so amazingly wrong, so patently silly if you know anything, that it's difficult even to know how to begin saying that it's wrong."

    Sorry, if someone ridicules the other guy before dealing with the arguments, my life experience tells me something is wrong.

    "As far as I can tell, plasma cosmology is motivated by people who just want to be different, or by people who have aesthetic or conceptual problems with things such as dark matter and cosmological distances." :rofl:

    Okay, I obviously do have an aesthetic and conceptual problem with dark matter for the aforementioned reasons. If that makes me a stupid person, I'm glad to be stupid rather than arrogant.

    P.S. Apparently Professor Stephen Hawking, too, has problems with "dark matter". It's a subject he's not even touching with a 10 foot pole. I have several of his books and tried to put his comments on the issue together. It's a subject he gives a noticable wide berth which is so noticable it's actually remarkable!
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  8. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
    I have problems with dark matter and dark energy, which is why I refer to them as a modern version of the "here be dragons" legends to be seen on medieval maps. While I can accept that electromagnetism and plasma physics might have a bigger role to play on a galactic scale than is currently accepted, I find the electric universe proposals too widely divergent from accepted theories, which model the observations very well and can make predictions that are experimentally verifiable. Eventually, some assumptions (such as aspects of the cosmological principle, criticised long ago by Karl Popper) and currently popular notions (such as inflaton fields) might have to be modified or abandoned, but that the whole kit and caboodle is incorrect, I doubt. Anyway, as I'm not a professional astronomer, I can sit on the sidelines and watch.
     
  9. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    The Higgs boson was only inferred by the mathematics, rather than observed in reality, and its existence was not proven--until it was. Dark matter is much the same. Either we will actually find some, or we'll discover something else that's responsible for the same observed effects, and adjust our understanding accordingly. Either way, science has not failed. It sounds like some people are taking issue with current science not being 100% complete and correct about everything right now, and so their response is to chuck out all current cosmological science and replace it with something that has very little empirical underpinning and no supporting observational evidence.

    To me, that is arrogant.
     
  10. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
    ^ ... or any supporting evidence is carefully selected and likely out of date. I concur. As to dark matter and dark energy, we're talking about 96% of the "stuff" of which the universe is supposedly composed. That's a lot to be ignorant about without having been able to measure it directly - although people at Gran Sasso and elsewhere are trying.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21340274
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Or our current science and our way to apply it is not compatible to adjust our understanding accordingly. If I'm not mistaken the issue of "dark" "matter" became a topic in the early 1970's and 40 years have passed since. Just the thought that our galaxy only has 1/10th of visible mass required to hold it together is mesmerizing.

    Science has not necessarily failed, but it has hit a wall. It reminds me a lot of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris and the frustration of scientists not to be able to establish contact with the ocean lifeform. To have come so far but to a standstill is frustrating, understandably. I'm only aware of the popular cosmological science but after 40 years it can't be heretical to ask about alternatives, IMHO.

    Bob
     
  12. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    It's nonsensical to suggest alternatives which ask a lot more questions than they answer, though. What's basically being suggested here is that, because we've not yet observed dark matter itself, we must throw out all existing astrophysics and cosmology, even though those do adequately explain most observed cosmological phenomena. That's really the problem. Don Scott pretends that relativity hasn't been empirically observed--but it has. Scott makes an all too typical mistake: an electrical engineer by trade, he views everything through the lens of electricity, while knowing next to nothing of current astrophysics and cosmology.

    From what I know of Scott's claims, few of them are even described robustly enough to be tested in any reliable way. Metryq's own dismissal of mathematical approaches makes it clear that "electric universe" proponents have no interest in scientific rigor, they just want plausible-sounding explanations that will win over the uninformed.

    Basically, Scott's ideas are not scientific, because they're too vague and lacking in mathematical description to be tested. That puts his claims on roughly the same level as "Intelligent Design."
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    Science has always hit walls. Breaking through them is how real progress has been made. I don't see any evidence of being seriously stuck for the long term either. On the contrary, our lifetimes have seen significant advances in pretty much every discipline.
     
  14. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    All this means is that there is more to learn. At this stage which is preferable dark energy and dark matter or changes to Einstein's equations?
     
  15. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Germany, Earth, the Solar System
    I am not a scientist, but I know, that it is not a matter of preferring one over the other.
    But that one provides a working model that enables us to make predictions about the nature of the universe.

    Ok, we have a pretty simple understanding of dark matter, which we only call that way because we lack a better understanding of "stuff that does stuff to the rest of the observable universe".
    But within the model it does the job of confirming our predictions. Did I get that right?

    Eventually we might be able to produce whatever that dark matter stuff is or at least simulate it's exact properties to confirm it as matter or discover something new that has the same effects on the rest of the universe and give it a better fitting name.

    it is very unlikely that we discover all our models to be entirely wrong and have to start from scratch when they serve us and work so well within the confines of our ability to observe the universe.
    In the end it is just a matter of accuracy.
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    @ Robert Maxwell

    You apparently misunderstood what I had tried to say. I'm not (yet) familiar with Don Scott's theories but I found fault with the tone of the article of Mr. Knop you suggested.

    "I am an a) actual and b) real astronomer" (and know what I'm talking about, the others don't)" is such an arrogant, paternizing tone to start (!) an article, that I immediately lost interest in reading it. If your arguments are rock solid and you are a professional you let your arguments speak for themselves, there's no need for slander and/or ridicule.

    It's rather a trademark of dogmatism and we've seen in the past the same slander and ridicule at the expense of great people, here are just two examples from the last century:

    When Shklovsky presented his calculations of Phobos' orbit the "scientific" advisors of President Eisenhower claimed that the man couldn't do proper math. That's quite some slander.
    Interestingly it didn't keep the Russians from sending two (ill-fated) probes to Phobos.

    More interestingly, probes sent to Phobos this century revealed that Shklovsky wasn't wrong with his conclusion that Phobos could be hollow. It's a shame that Shklovsky didn't live long enough to see his reputation reinstated. And the current explanations of scientists how to explain the "riddle of Phobos" are "interesting" to say the least (its noteworthy that Arthur C. Clarke possibly had sympathies for Shklovsky - he turned the heretic alternate explanation into a science fiction story...;)).

    To cut a long story short: Open-mindedness is the key to unlock some of the remaining mysteries of the cosmos as we've seen in the (not too distant) past that dogmatism is not the solution.

    Bob
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    Well, your account of Shklovsky shares only broad strokes in common with the account at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos_(moon)#Shklovsky.27s_.22Hollow_Phobos.22_hypothesis. The account there describes Eisenhower's advisor Singer as being justified in his reservations and criticisms of Shklovsky's ideas about Phobos. The source of error in the values that Shklovsky had based his ideas on, which Singer cautioned about, was in fact found to have existed.

    While you could characterize the accepted value of 30% ± 5% for the porosity of Phobos in broad strokes as acceptance of the idea that Phobos is partially hollow, the mechanism by which orbital decay occurs—tidal effects—is not the same mechanism that Shklovsky attributed—atmospheric drag. Since Shklovsky proposed that Phobos is hollow to provide a mechanism for an effect that doesn't actually occur, saying that his ideas have been vindicated isn't precisely correct [granted, you didn't exactly use those words].

    In reality he was only partially right, and for the wrong reason at that.

    Now, that's not to say that it's right to tarnish his reputation just because one of his hypotheses turned out to be incorrect. But on the other hand, you've also painted Singer's remarks with an unfair brush. Far from accusing Shklovsky of being unable to do math, Singer evidently correctly indicated that the values that Shklovsky was using were subject to error that he hadn't properly accounted for.

    While I don't know where your account came from, it certainly seems like its author may have had an ax to grind.
     
  18. Chaos Descending

    Chaos Descending Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    Location:
    Grand Canyon State
    I hope you're aware that it has still not yet been confirmed that the "previously unknown boson" discovered at CERN in 2012 really was the Higgs boson or not. That determination won't be made until mid-2013.

    As far as I am concerned, until it's official, its not official.
     
  19. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
    Yep, from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6114/1569.full:

    The paper reports that certain fermion decay modes, theoretically predicted for a low mass (<135 Gev) Higgs boson, do not yet exhibit a statistically significant signal in the data.
     
  20. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    Whoops! I stand corrected. Thanks, guys. :)