Monday, February 10, 2020

Catching Up On A Couple Things

My apologies for neglecting this blog. I've been ignoring the news lately, but I do plan to get caught back up on the science articles.

There have, of course, been some very large developments in politics. As predicted, Trump was acquitted almost perfectly along party lines. The only defection was Mitt Romney. While that is not surprising, I was hoping there would at least be some Democratic senators of conscience, but apparently that is not so. Every single Democratic voted that Trump was guilty of the nebulous non-crimes of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. What's clear is that, whatever charges were presented against the President, the elected Democrats were all ready to convict. The details were irrelevant. It can't be said that the rule of law prevailed here. The rule of law has been torn to shreds! All that can be said is that one faction did not have the numbers to drive the other faction from power. Neo-America will be a third-world country with third-world politics.

Another news story has been Pete Buttigieg's victory in Iowa. The New York Times has run an article titled How Pete Buttigieg Became the Surprise of the Iowa Caucuses. They may be surprised, but we aren't. This blog predicted Pete Buttigieg's success many months ago when he was only a minor blip on the radar, based on the Democrats deep desire to snub traditional Christianity. Despite Buttigieg's almost complete inability to capitalize on his unique position, he did manage to squeak out a win versus the Senate's resident socialist kook. What can be gleaned from all this is that all these elite Democrats at the New York Times and on the Buttigieg campaign don't understand themselves at all. That may actually be preferable for us, since they have shown that they have no interest in rule of law, only the exercise of pure power. If they are going to be our enemy, it is better that they err for the reasons that Sun Tsu said one's enemy might err: by understanding neither themselves nor their opponents.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A Tale Of Two Cities

I usually don't watch the Super Bowl. Of course I have no interest in the commercialization, the pop-star halftime shows, or the endless progressive political pandering during the abundant commercial breaks. But also, I don't enjoy the format of nationally broadcasted football. There's the formulaic commentary. There's the panel of four, which includes two noted veterans of the game (invariably white) and two lesser-known younger men in over-the-top fancy suits, at least one of whom must be white. They specialize in filling dead air without saying much. Then, on the field there must be the attractive female reporter. She specializes in getting the insides scoop from the people on the field. The players rarely say anything interesting ("we're going to try real hard to win"), and the coaches occasionally do.

The theatrics can be ignored if the substance of the game is well done. Unfortunately, the coverage of the game is superficial. Football is a very complex sport. There are 22 players on the field dynamically interacting. The quarterback is constantly reading the defense and adjusting his team, looking for gaps in the defense, responding to pressure they are exerting. The defensive captain shifts his people in response, calls out blitzes, or merely the show of blitzes. Meanwhile, the coaches are involved in a higher level strategic bout against their counterparts. They must call the plays that maximally capitalize on defensive weaknesses, and then note the defensive adjustment and change the calls accordingly. They try to call plays that the defense isn't expecting, while the defense is trying to predict which plays will be called, while not overreacting and exposing weaknesses. A team that is good at running but terrible at passing must still throw the ball from time to time. If there is no threat from the air, the defense could just wall up and shut down the ground game. As passing because a greater danger, the defense must peel off linebackers to help in the secondary.

These things are rarely mentioned by the commentators. Even worse, they are rarely shown at all! When the quarterback drops into shotgun, the cameras zoom in on him and the linemen. The drama unfolding in the secondary goes off-screen, ignored until the ball moves downstream. We don't know when the secondary shifts from man coverage to the various coverages, or see the strategies the receivers employ to split up defenders and open gaps in the coverage. Watching on TV is not the same as watching live. Having zoomed-in replays is nice, but it is actually harder to watch the event unfolding live on the screen. Football is so complex that it would be impossible for the commentators to describe everything going on. Radio commentators must attempt to do so, which is why the best approach to watching games is to mute the TV and put the radio broadcast over it. The TV crews are simplifying the game by ignoring half of it. The NFL wants to make the game presentable to women, most of whom don't know the difference between a lineman and a linebacker, or between a dive and an option. (Some do, of course, and many men do not.)

Football is being made into an everybody sport. Guys aren't allowed to have a thing, so football must pander to women. This is evident by what is broadcasted during the commercials. Everything is about "diversity is our strength" signaling, coming together, and all that. The commercials really are a groanfest. The most famous commercial when I was a kid were the infamous Budweiser frogs. They were an amusing antic with no political messaging whatsoever. The Budweiser commercial that I caught this year was a message about rejecting social pressure to be "typical" and its limitations. Nontypical was just another word for diverse.

Most of the game was a tribute to San Francisco, the queen city of gay pride. By the third quarter, it was pretty clear that Midwest team had little chance of victory. Even the corporate sponsors seemed to revel in the victory of the coastal liberals over corn-fed, red-state America. Then the miraculous happened, and the Chiefs pulled off an unbelievable series of quick trips to the endzone. After the game, the team owner was interviewed in front of the whole stadium, and the entire country. He spoke briefly, but made sure to thank God for the goo fortune of his team. It was quite a departure from the nonstop parade of Globohomo! We joked about it. 'Merica! Trump! And then, almost on cue, a Trump campaign ad played. It' hard to believe the network even allowed a Trump ad during the game, but there it was. The whole thing started to feel like something bigger than a football game. It really was a victory of Kansas over California.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Death Knell Of Civilization

A recent article in Bloomberg is titled Goldman to Refuse IPOs If All Directors Are White, Straight Men, but the link shows that it was originally titled Goldman Rule Adds To The Death Knell Of The All White Male Board.
The era of the white, all-male board is coming to an end.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Solomon issued the latest ultimatum Thursday from Davos. Wall Street's biggest underwriter of initial public offerings in the U.S. will no longer take a company public in the U.S. and Europe if it lacks a director who is either female or diverse. Asia is not yet included in the firm’s new policy.
There's so much to unpack from such a small paragraph. So much is being admitted! Most interesting is the use of the term diverse as a substitute for non-white. Diversity just means fewer whites. If a society is 99% nonwhite, the only way to increase diversity would be to eradicate the remaining 1%. Also of note is calling the change of policy an ultimatum. Diversity is no longer our strength; now it is something that you just have to do... or else! Finally we have the extraordinarily awkward mention that Asia is not yet included in the movement to eradicate white, all-male boards. Is that a big thing in Asia? I would have assumed that there were not many such outfits in Asia
As Goldman Sachs Group Inc. moves to increase diversity on corporate boards, the investment bank isn’t extending the initiative to a particularly challenged region: Asia.

“Nowadays there’s no excuse for companies to have non-diverse, all-male boards,” said Fern Ngai, CEO of Community Business, a Hong Kong-based group that advocates for responsible and inclusive business practices. Goldman “should include Asia. I don’t see why they don’t.”
It's still not clear what the demand is. Obviously fewer men, but do they mean fewer Asians on boards in Asia, or fewer whites? While the anti-white racist sentiment is made abundantly clear for the American and European sectors, it is left vague for Asia. I suspect what is meant for diversity for Hong Kong means more black and Muslims. Diversity means darker. You can bet we'll never hear outlets like Bloomberg advocate for more whites on the boards of non-white countries. That will never happen.

Perhaps you can see why I never sided with Hong Kong in their dispute with China. Actually, I side with China! They must assert their control over the exclave, because Globohomo has its tentacles all over the place and is squeezing it hard. After The Cult has installed trannies in every school library and castrated every child, they'll naturally move their focus onto places like Hong Kong. The parasite always must move to a new host after the old one has been destroyed.

Here's another one. It's the exact same story, only in a different context. NOAA is now receiving $4 million in funding to research geo-engineering efforts to block solar radiation, in response to climate hysteria. That same government that wants us to become dependent on solar power also wants to blot the sun from the sky! True absurdity. It's the same story because it's the deliberate effort to destroy civilization. Oh, and here's another one. Yale university will now be discontinuing a popular Renaissance art history course because Renaissance art is too white. The problem with that precedent is that whites have made 95% of all contributions to modern civilization (conservatively) thus civilization must be canceled because it is racist. That is what is happening, before our eyes. We are the people watching our entire civilization be destroyed, and frankly not doing much about it.

A question rises about the Goldman Sachs decision. Because it is deliberately prejudiced against whites and men, it should be easy pickings for a class-action lawsuit. But it's fairly safe to predict that this policy, this open rejection of the Civil Rights Act (but in a way that makes The Cult happy), will not be overturned by the courts. We aren't going to vote our way out of this crisis, nor will we litigate ourselves out if it.

Monday, January 27, 2020

NASA News #4 A Common Problem

Ethan has taken the week off, so we'll only be looking at a handful of article from the NASA site.

First Commercial Moon Delivery Assignments to Advance Artemis (link)

In preparation for the planned landing of astronauts on the moon - supposedly a mundane activity given NASA's exemplary track record in that regard - Artemis is sending sixteen scientific payloads to the moon for investigation.
The NDL is a LIDAR-based (LIght Detection And Ranging) sensor composed of a three-beam optical head and a box with electronics and photonics that will provide extremely precise velocity and range sensing during descent and landing of the lander that will tightly control navigation precision for a soft and controlled touchdown on the Moon.
That hardly seems necessary when a soft and controlled touchdown on the moon can be flawlessly performed (several times) with an unstable single-engine lander, a flight computer with less memory than the modern toothbrush, and some good old-fashioned American stick jokeying.
SEAL will investigate the chemical response of lunar regolith to the thermal, physical and chemical disturbances generated during a landing, and evaluate contaminants injected into the regolith by the landing itself. It will give scientists insight into the how a spacecraft landing might affect the composition of samples collected nearby.
Why is this necessary? We learned from Apollo that the lander will impart zero thermal or physical disturbances to the powdery surface, and any chemical contamination should easily be checked with the eight hundred pounds of moon rocks returned to the Earth.
SCALPSS will capture video and still image data of the lander’s plume as the plume starts to impact the lunar surface until after engine shut off, which is critical for future lunar and Mars vehicle designs.
No, it is not critical at all. You just make a standard exhaust nozzle and put the engine right in the crew compartment, which someone can use as a seat. It's not that difficult. Why does NASA act as if the Apollo landings never happened?
NIRVSS will measure surface and subsurface hydration, carbon dioxide and methane – all resources that could potentially be mined from the Moon -- while also mapping surface temperature and changes at the landing site.
What about the temperature measurements taken by Apollo? Surely they would be informative. Let's follow up with that in an article titled Learning from what Apollo astronauts left on the moon.
So Nagihara decided to examine all the temperature data collected through 1977. Sadly, the tapes that recorded these measurements were missing. This is a common problem. During the Apollo era, data were housed at the individual labs of scientists. Many measurements were never properly archived.
So not only were the original communications and navigation tapes all lost, but the scientific data is lost too! Thus, the Artemis mission has been forced to reproduce all that valuable data as if the Apollo landings had never happened at all.

For Hottest Planet, a Major Meltdown, Study Shows (link)

Massive gas giants called "hot Jupiters" — planets that orbit too close to their stars to sustain life — are some of the strangest worlds found beyond our solar system. New observations show that the hottest of them all is stranger still, prone to planetwide meltdowns so severe they tear apart the molecules that make up its atmosphere.

Called KELT-9b, the planet is an ultra-hot Jupiter, one of several varieties of exoplanets — planets around other stars — found in our galaxy. It weighs in at nearly three times the mass of our own Jupiter and orbits a star some 670 light-years away. With a surface temperature of 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit (4,300 degrees Celsius) — hotter than some stars — this planet is the hottest found so far.

Now, a team of astronomers using NASA's Spitzer space telescope has found evidence that the heat is too much even for molecules to remain intact. Molecules of hydrogen gas are likely ripped apart on the dayside of KELT-9b, unable to re-form until their disjointed atoms flow around to the planet's nightside.
In this article you'll read claims that hydrogen molecules are "ripped apart" on a faraway exoplanet, and quotes from the graduate student who was the lead author, but no link to the article itself. As is often the case, I had to go searching for it. I don't believe I have ever given commentary on any academic paper without providing a link to it, because I want you to know I'm not lying and to make it easy for you to verify for yourself. Why does NASA not do the same?

Anyway, here is the article (pdf). By my count, there are 22 authors representing 17 institutions and 51 bibliographic references to produce a paper that runs at about 5 pages if images and figures are removed. Does it really take four researchers and ten citations per page for this kind of analysis? Of course not. From our perspective (meaning the non-academic viewpoint) the excessive list of authors and references is amusing, but something we skim over to get to the substance of the article. In their world, consensus means factual, thus those signalers of consensus (author and citation lists) are given more attention than the substance of the article.

The first paragraph of the introduction reads,
Hot Jupiter phase curve observations have led to a wealth of data on energy transport in highly-irradiated planets. This information has spurred the development of theories to describe the resulting trends. The most influential hypothesis has been that the irradiation level is the primary factor controlling energy transport, with hotter planets having shorter radiative timescales and thus less heat redistribution. Lower heat redistribution would lead to increasingly larger phase curve amplitudes and smaller offsets. These trends with irradiation temperature are robust predictions that are born out in models with varying levels of sophistication.
Sophistication is just a synonym for complexity. Now, read the beginning of the next paragraph.
Recent phase curve observations, however, have shown deviation from these trends, which suggests that the radiative timescale may not be the only important factor controlling heat redistribution on hot Jupiters.
To normal people, the second paragraph would seem to refute the first. How are the predictions of the preferred hypothesis robust when multiple observations contradict it? If you can understand this little 2-paragraph dilemma, you understand the big problem with cosmology, which is that the preferred hypotheses remain "robust" no matter the extent of contradicting evidence. Once established, bad ideas are almost impossible to kill, and usually result in more bad ideas needed to keep the equations balanced.

The gist of the paper is that, upon observing both the day and night sides of the planet, it was determined that the night side is too hot to be accounted for by standard heat convection. Thus, they've hypothesized that hydrogen molecules are disassociated on the hot side and then recombining on the cold side. The effect is akin to the heat of vaporization seen in standard thermodynamics, such as when water is vaporized in a boiler and then transported to radiators, where the condensation of the steam releases much more heat than in systems with only hot water.

It is worth keeping in mind that these same astronomers don't even understand our own cold Jupiter. They don't understand why the polar regions are so hot (even during their local winters) or why the planet emits much more radiation that it receives from the sun. Despite the what the title of the paper says, no evidence actually exists of this hypothesized heat of molecular dissociation. The existence of the problem is not evidence of the hypothesis. In this case, there is no evidence at all about the broken hydrogen molecules. But it was the best idea they could come up so that's all the evidence that is needed! (Can you imagine if our normal-people jobs were held to such low standards?) The whole paper amounts to an exercise in creative writing. It is a few pages of pretty graphs floating on a canvas of creative prose, bookended by a block of co-authors on one end and a block of citations on the other. The goal is to make the bookends so formidable that no one will dare question the contents the sits between them.

NASA's Kepler Witnesses Vampire Star System Undergoing Super-Outburst (link)

A new search of Kepler archival data has uncovered an unusual super-outburst from a previously unknown dwarf nova. The system brightened by a factor of 1,600 over less than a day before slowly fading away.

The star system in question consists of a white dwarf star with a brown dwarf companion about one-tenth as massive as the white dwarf. A white dwarf is the leftover core of an aging Sun-like star and contains about a Sun's worth of material in a globe the size of Earth. A brown dwarf is an object with a mass between 10 and 80 Jupiters that is too small to undergo nuclear fusion.

The brown dwarf circles the white dwarf star every 83 minutes at a distance of only 250,000 miles (400,000 km) – about the distance from Earth to the Moon. They are so close that the white dwarf's strong gravity strips material from the brown dwarf, sucking its essence away like a vampire. The stripped material forms a disk as it spirals toward the white dwarf (known as an accretion disk).
I can't find the paper for this one, but we know the convention. Most of those confident numbers are not actually observed but are inferences taken from a model of the mechanism they believe to have caused the unexpected super-outburst. You can probably guess what that mechanism is, too. (Hint, it's the same one they use to explain nearly every unexplained phenomena in the cosmos.)
Theories suggest that a super-outburst is triggered when the accretion disk reaches a tipping point. As it accumulates material, it grows in size until the outer edge experiences gravitational resonance with the orbiting brown dwarf. This might trigger a thermal instability, causing the disk to get superheated.
Yep, good old-fashioned accretion disks show themselves again. How do they explain the observed outburst? You see, a tipping point is reached when a gravitational resonance triggers a thermal instability. (In other words, they have no idea.)
"These dwarf nova systems have been studied for decades, so spotting something new is pretty tricky," said Ridden-Harper. "We see accretion disks all over – from newly forming stars to supermassive black holes – so it's important to understand them."
Correction: they see accretion disks nowhere. They hypothesize about accretion disks all over. Very big difference. But in their world, a hypothesis is as good as an observation, so long as there are enough co-authors listed. Seeing is believing but, to them, believing is seeing.

How Earth Climate Models Help Scientists Picture Life on Unimaginable Worlds (link)

Yes, this is a real headline from the NASA site, but is anyone surprised anymore? The same climate models that tell us Manhattan is currently underwater are sure to tell us a lot about planets so far away that they cannot be seen directly - only inferred by their effect on a host star.
In scanning the cosmos with large ground-based and space telescopes, astronomers have discovered an eclectic assortment of worlds that seem drawn from the imagination.
It's their symbolism, not mine, but I won't contest it. It's interesting how often their metaphors are inadvertently revealing. It's like a deep truth try to claw out however it can.
Models such as ROCKE-3D begin with only grains of basic information about an exoplanet: its size, mass, and distance from its star. Scientists can infer these things by watching the light from a star dip as a planet crosses in front of it, or by measuring the gravitational tugging on a star as a planet circles it.

These scant physical details inform equations that comprise up to a million lines of computer code needed to build the most sophisticated climate models. The code instructs a computer like NASA's Discover supercomputer to use established rules of nature to simulate global climate systems. 
That is a good description of the problem. A few scant data points are fed into models with up to a million lines of code. The result is... pretty much whatever you want it to be. If you're "established rules of nature" are really just establishment rules of nature, then your results align with the consensus and they give you money.
Discovering life on distant planets is a gamble, Del Genio noted: “So if we want to observe most wisely, we have to take recommendations from climate models, because that’s just increasing the odds.”
This is utter nonsense. They're just trying to find a way to latch on the climate change funding narrative. The only odds that are increased here are the the odds that more grant money will be incoming. Even if it somehow made sense that earthly climate models would help with the exoplanet searches, our climate models are wrong so they would only hinder progress. It's like saying that to find Earthlike planets, we need to factor in the polling models that showed Hillary Clinton taking an easy win. Not only does it make no sense, but it would still be wrong even it if did.

New Mission Will Take 1st Peek at Sun’s Poles (link)

Solar Orbiter, a collaboration between the European Space Agency, or ESA, and NASA, will have its first opportunity to launch from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 7, 2020, at 11:15 p.m. EST. Launching on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, the spacecraft will use Venus’s and Earth’s gravity to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane — the swath of space, roughly aligned with the Sun’s equator, where all planets orbit. From there, Solar Orbiter's bird’s eye view will give it the first-ever look at the Sun's poles.
An interesting probe that's about to launch. I don't have any predictions to offer, but expect that any novel observations made will only contrast the standard solar model (as has already occurred with the Parker probe).

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Senate Should Impeach

We've not been covering the impeachment proceedings here. One reason is that the event is completely mainstream. There's no shortage of commentary and analysis, so there's little left to say. Another reason is that I just can't compel myself to care about it. It's not very interesting. My limited exposure has been seeing the news headlines on the TVs at the gym (also over live footage of Schiff talking), and then this Viva Frei video discussing Schiff's closing arguments. I couldn't even make it 3 minutes into that video because I can't stand to hear Peter Schiff talk. Of course he's lying and the whole thing is a blatant sham, so who cares what he's saying? I notice that hardly anyone in the bloglist (on the sidebar) is talking about the impeachment either. All those writers are, if not outright pro-Trump partisans, at least savvy enough to understand political theater when they see it. You'd think such people would be quite livid at seeing the coup attempt now move into the Senate, but largely they are ignoring it for the same reason I am: it's just not that interesting.

It doesn't even seem like the goal of the hearings is to impeach. The goal of the hearings is to have the hearings. Schiff is up there getting his earthly reward. He gets to stand on the pulpit preaching as if he is the courageous defender of virtue, and everyone has to watch and pretend that it is so. He undoubtedly fancies himself as a Cicero, a great orator standing against the rising tyranny. It's an inversion of reality, of course, but to him it's as good as real. The Democrats have pursued the strategy largely for lack of anything better to do. The moment there was a reprieve in witch hunting, "the squad" started calling Pelosi a racist. Suddenly, impeachment proceedings sounded kinda nice. They know Trump won't be removed from office, and that the stunt is likely to backfire, but they hope that they can keep Trump on his heels with fake investigations until he is voted out in the fall.

Even if they succeed, then what? Trump is out and Pence is in. Not much will change. The oval office will still be occupied by someone considered an absolute heretic by The Cult. The only difference is that the Washington establishment will have demonstrated that unauthorized elections can be overturned. Who does that benefit? Not them. The illusion of democracy is the source of their legitimacy. No, it would benefit right-wing dissidents. If there is one principle that divides us from the rest of conservaties, it is that we will not win back our nation through elections. Democracy took our country, and will not give it back willingly. The sooner our fellow Americans realize this, the sooner we can at least stop the bleeding. Nothing would be more in our favor that having a president ousted for the crimes of his opponent.

In this case, the show of power can only backfire. It does not punish the voters whom they'd like to punish. It may punish Trump, but that won't deter ambitious men from seeking the office. If they fail, then Trump becomes stronger because the threat of impeachment will have already been exhausted. If thy succeed, then they make our case for us, which is that the democracy is a sham and we are vassals of the Empire of Columbia. It would destroy civic nationalism for us.

Because the outcome isn't that important, it's just not that interesting. Watching the Senate turn into a circus during the Kavanaugh hearings was interesting. It was an outrage! But that seal has been broken. After all that hysteria, watching the Senate now engage in a fake trial is hardly noteworthy. No one cares, and no one is watching. Whether the Democrats stab themselves in the eye or shoot themselves in the foot, and whatever lies they spew between now and the time they get there, is just not something anyone wants to waste their time on.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Real Climate Science

Tony Heller shows how government institutions like NASA misrepresent climate data.

It's very hard for reasonably intelligent people, when provided with this data, not to come to the conclusion that there is a clear trend of warming, and that anyone who refutes the trend is a "science denier" because the data is right there as clear as day. Their worldview suffers two major flaws.

First, they can't imagine that NASA would be dishonest, and assume that anyone confidently declaring "fake data!!!" is far more likely to be the dishonest party. However, NASA may actually be the most dishonest organization within the entire government (which is saying a lot these days). Because of NASA, people the world over look up at the night sky and marvel that man walked around on its surface half a century ago. It is the greatest lie ever fabricated. Compared to that, skewing some temperature data is pedestrian.

Second, people don't understand the difference between raw data and model outputs. To a certain extent that is understandable because NASA (whom they trust) is doing everything it can to sew confusion on that matter. In the most recent NASA News column on this blog, we dove into a few papers being promoted by the NASA homepage. They were peer-reviewed by major journals, and yet routinely passed off model outputs as measurements. Most of the people who follow the NASA newsfeed, and even many who dig into the journals as well, are left with the impression that NASA has measured the size of a neutron star... and that's that. It's a cold fact that cannot be argued against. But it isn't actually a fact. It's an opinion! It is not a fundamental measurement, but the result of a process which takes completely different set of data and tries to infer what certain measurements would be, based on the modeler's understanding of the domain. If it is the modeler's opinion that pulsars are caused by neutron stars, then the model is going to return some opinionated measurements of those stars.

This is the same phenomenon that caused the great polling fiasco of 2016. For many months, we said the polls were wrong. (I actually made a good chunk of change because of it.) The liberals told us not only that we were wrong, but that it was absurd to call polls wrong, which are just a collection of data and thus - facts. Well, they were wrong because the polling data that gets released to the public are model outputs. Because it's impossible to get a perfectly accurate poll of American voters without questioning every single one, they scale the data to try to make it representative of the larger group. For instance, if they find that 60% of those who respond are women, they'll attempt to adjust the results to account for that. It's the adjusted data that gets promoted, not the raw numbers. That works fine as long as the pollster is competent, knowledgeable, and not biased to prefer a particular outcome.

The same flawed logic causes huge problems in such disparate fields as astrophysics, climate studies, and political punditry. But ask yourself, of these groups of people, which do you expect to understand the implications of viewing adjusted data rather than raw data?
  • Facebook users
  • political activists
  • naive college graduates
  • news anchors reading a teleprompter
  • high school science teachers
  • pundits on corporate talk shows
  • politicians
  • esteemed scientists representing renown research institutions who are published in premier Journals
It is, of course, the scientists whom we should most expect to know better. That has been why this blog has slowly shifted focus from politics, towards the narratives promoted by the press, and now more towards the scientists and their institutions. Because, if even the scientists aren't even held to the standard of understanding the difference between raw data versus the inferences made from that data, then there's no way we can expect the people of those other groups to do so as well.

While I have been following Tony Heller for a while on YouTube, I only just realized he keeps a blog with an RSS feed. It is very active, and has been added to the bloglist on the sidebar. I recommend following and sharing his videos, as they are very accessible to the general public.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Contrabang! #35 Surprising Not Surprising

Astronomers Find A Galaxy Of Unusual Size (G.O.U.S.), And Discover Why It Exists (link)

Above a certain size, spiral galaxies shouldn’t exist. A single major merger — where two galaxies of comparable mass interact to form a larger one — will almost always destroy that spiral structure, producing a giant elliptical instead. The only ultra-large spiral galaxies we typically find are in the process of gravitationally interacting with a neighbor, producing an extended but temporary “grand spiral” structure.

But for every rule, there are remarkable exceptions.
There it is. To cosmologists, rules are not really rules. They are way beyond the point of demanding that their theories explain observations, and can happily discard contradictions as "remarkable exceptions."
The fact that a galaxy this large and massive is so regularly shaped, with such low levels of star formation and so few globular clusters (1600) for its incredible size really does make this a cosmic unicorn.
A cosmic unicorn...what an apt metaphor for a science that has devolved into little more than mysticism and fairy tales.

Did LIGO Just Discover Two Fundamentally Different Types Of Neutron Star Mergers? (link)

No, they didn't, because neutron stars don't exist.
LIGO just announced the second neutron star-neutron star merger ever seen in gravitational waves. It doesn’t match the first.
That they don't match is of little surprise.
Still, the April 25, 2019 signal that showed up in the LIGO Livingston detector — the one that was online at the time — was extremely strong, achieving a detection signal-to-noise significance of 12.9, where 5 is the “gold standard” for a robust detection. The form of the signal was incredibly analogous to what was seen back on August 17, 2019 in both LIGO detectors, but had an inherently greater amplitude, indicating a higher set of masses for both neutron stars, as well as a higher combined mass.
The signal-to-noise numbers are not true measurements, but guesses based on their noise cancelation methods. There are no strong signals seen in the raw data.
The lack of [an accompanying gamma ray] signal appears, on its surface, to suggest something absolutely remarkable. Perhaps lower-mass neutron star mergers produce gamma rays, ejecta, the Universe’s heaviest elements, and a multi-wavelength, long-lasting afterglow. And perhaps, above a certain mass threshold, higher-mass neutron star mergers simply interact and go directly to a black hole, swallowing up all of the matter associated with both stars, producing no heavy elements and emitting no further observable signal at all.

This is an eminent possibility from a theoretical perspective. If two neutron stars merge together and don’t immediately create an event horizon, an enormous, runaway fusion reaction will begin to occur.
I'm not spun up on the intricacies of neutron star merger theory (because it doesn't matter) but it's not clear what sort of fusion could occur. Fusion, as normally understood, is the merger of two separate atomic nuclei into one larger nucleus. How does that apply to the hypothetical neutronium...have they invented new hypothetical physics for that state of matter too?

What falls out of this article is speculation that the reason the more recent neutron star merger detection wasn't accompanied by a gamma ray burst observation is that an event horizon formed too quickly for any signal to escape. So they already have an excuse handy for when the highly touted multisignal messenger search fails to pan out.

The Milky Way Is Gaining New Stars From A Collision That Hasn’t Even Occurred Yet (link)

In the second paragraph, Ethan shares the surprise of the recent discovery of a dense collection of stars discovered in the far fringes of the Milky Way galaxy in the direction of the Magellanic Clouds (emphasis added)
Thanks to the all-sky coverage of ESA’s Gaia satellite — designed to measure properties of stars such as parallax, motion through the sky, stellar colors, etc. — humanity has gained the ability to measure more than a billion stars within about 100,000 light-years of home: almost the entire extent of the Milky Way galaxy. When scientists used this data set to search for new, blue stars, they got quite a surprise: 94,000 light-years away, deep in the galactic halo’s outskirts, a giant collection of young stars was found. It’s the first of its kind, and scientists think they understand why.
A few lines later, he re-emphasizes the rarity of the finding.
Remarkably, all of these factors line up, and this new star cluster really is a finding like nothing ever before.
And yet, just a few lines further, the surprise has already worn off.
It’s no surprise that the gravitational interactions between the Milky Way and each of the Magellanic Clouds would lead to the formation of new stars; the tidal forces between gas-filled objects often triggers new star-formation events.
It's common in the cosmology world to see new observations called surprising, only to soon be explained away as somehow predicted by the standard models. It is less common to see that process unfold in the span of only a few paragraphs!

From the standard gravity-dominated view of the cosmos, the recent observations amount to a "remarkable conclusion that changes the way we think our local galactic neighborhood" because "new gas is already being funneled into the Milky way from satellite galaxies that are still nearly 200,000 light-years away."

From an EU-perspective, it is understood that the Milky Way is related and coupled to the other objects within the local group, and the discovery of plasma flowing between the Milky Way and the Magellanic clouds is little different than the recent (surprising) discoveries of massive current sheaths connecting galaxies over enormous distances.

Ask Ethan: Does A Time-Stopping Paradox Prevent Black Holes From Growing? (link)

A reader asks
[F]or any object falling into a black hole, time slows down upon approach and comes to a standstill as the object reaches the event horizon. Reaching and passing that border would take an infinite amount of time measured by a distant observer… if ‘eating’ matter would take infinite time… how could supermassive black holes come into existence?
Yet another black hole paradox, this one asks how we can observe the growth of black holes when infalling matter will appear forever in suspended animation. From our perspective, once a black hole is formed there is no reason for us to ever observe it grow any larger, thus we could have no evidence of the supermassive black holes alleged to exist at galactic centers.
It sounds like a paradox, but relativity explains how it all really happens.
Ethan's track record of clarifying black hole paradoxes is not stellar. Regular readers may recall that some time ago he offered up the existence of ring singularities to explain the paradox of infinite densities in black holes...but that was the wrong paradox! The ring singularity is a construction meant to explain the infinite angular velocity paradox of black holes. It's hard to keep them all straight! Perhaps he will redeem himself with this newer attempt.
Imagine that we begin with a black hole of one solar mass, that doesn’t rotate, with an event horizon of the exact size that our Sun would be if it collapsed into a Schwarzschild black hole: a sphere of about 3 kilometers in radius. Now, let’s take another one solar mass object — perhaps another star just like our Sun — and let’s allow it to fall in to this black hole.
Never mind...another epic fail. Why does Ethan specify a Schwarzschild black hole, rather than using the term black hole in a more general sense? To convey that he is smart and knows what he's talking about, most likely. (Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case.) The Schwarzschild solution is valid for a universe with only a single, massive body. This can be confirmed easily enough merely by browsing Wikipedia.
This solution pertains when the mass M of one body is overwhelmingly greater than the mass m of the other.
Thus, his hypothetical setup is inherently invalid. There cannot be both a Schwarzschild black hole of one solar mass and another object of one stellar mass. His answer is that once the new mass is at the event horizon, then that is good enough because the event horizon will expand with the addition of the new mass to the system. Perhaps he should re-work the example for a single particle falling in.