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Old 08-18-2011, 10:02 AM   #111 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post
I read that dark matter and dark energy acts as counteracting forces on the speed of the universe's expansion, which dark energy causing it to accelerate and dark matter (along with gravity), decreasing the level of acceleration. Because dark energy is more common than dark matter, the universe's expansion continues to accelerate, rather than decrease.
That sounds about right, since we've assumed the existence of dark matter from the gravitational effects in the first place.

Krauss/Scherrer's concern for our descendants' ability to construct an accurate cosmology 100 billion years from now is laughably optimistic about the more immediate problem of our sun's approaching 'red giant' phase a mere 5 billion years from now.
Computer simulations suggest we should find another planet to hang out on before we get toasted and ultimately swallowed.

Hope dims that Earth will survive Sun's death - space - 22 February 2008 - New Scientist

Or 'we' could be taken to mean any intelligence from our intergalactic family of the merging Local Group whose descendants will be around to ponder cosmological niceties long after evidence of the rest of the universe has slipped over the event horizon.

Sagan/Shklovskii's Intelligent Life in the Universe is a good read.

Last edited by skaltezon; 09-12-2011 at 02:00 PM. Reason: changed 'galactic' to 'intergalactic'
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:52 PM   #112 (permalink)
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The Krauss/Scherrer collaboration is on a recent theory that dark energy appears to be accelerating the expansion of the universe...

Wikipedia has a good article on Krauss that made me enthusiastic about following his work. But when I found the video of an hour-long lecture he gave to AAI, I realized I'd seen it before in connection with researching Richard Dawkins. I don't like Krauss' combative attitude and his tendency to politicize his science by gratuitously insulting people (which is why I didn't listen to the whole lecture the first time I found it). He also lacks the humility he says everyone else should have. Overall giving me a tension headache. That's not to say that his science isn't good. I'd just rather hear it from someone else. But here's the lecture:

Episode 15 – Dr. Lawrence Krauss | Smart People Podcast
Thank you for the information and the link to the Krauss lecture, which I watched several days ago.

I agree with you about his lecture, by the way.

I felt that Krauss explained the science of the universe's expansion very well, such that a layperson like myself could follow most of it. However, he flung out a lot of jokes based on insults that targeted religious people, and there was no need for him to do so.

For example, he said, "Forget Jesus! The stars died so you could be here today," while describing his wonder that the heavier elements in our bodies resulted from fusion during the death of stars (which is indeed a wonderful realization).

If he wished to make the distinction between scientific and religious thinking, he could have done so by describing those differences without the insults. He also could have acknowledged that many religious people still feel there is mystery and wonder in the universe and its origins, just like he feels.

He seemed overly ready to leap to his own conclusions based on the science. For example, even though learning that our universe appears to be "flat" (the angles of a gigantic triangle still add up to 180 degrees) means that our universe could have originated out of nothingness and out of zero energy, this tells us nothing about whether or not religious views of the universe's origins are correct, yet Krauss seems to conclude that it does.

Finally, he erred twice by claiming, as if it were fact, that life *has* emerged many times in the universe. For example, he said, "Rare things happen all the time, including life." (I was taking notes.) I found it ironic that he made such a statement, because he had just faulted religions for providing answers to questions inappropriately, yet then he did so himself since he doesn't know that any aliens exist. He should have acknowledged that we have no evidence of any other lifeforms existing elsewhere instead of stating they do as if it were fact, especially since he had just said that "scientists love not knowing!"

Krauss did, however, make some jokes that were funny and not too hurtful, I felt. These were a few playful jokes aimed at biologists and non-mathemeticians such as myself.

I especially liked his humor when he said, "Using the miracle of modern mathematics, you can rewrite that equation," before showing how the cosmological term can be moved impressively from one side of an equation to the other by adding it to each side.

He also showed a cute cartoon of two cowboys on horseback watching a distant train, which was his segue into an explanation of the redshift in microwave radiation that has occurred during the universe's accelerating expansion. One of the cowboys said, "I love hearing that lonesome wail of the train whistle as the magnitude of the frequencies of the wave changes due to the Doppler effect." I thought that was amusing.

All in all, I felt it was a good, clear lecture in terms of science, but Krauss mocked religious viewpoints while falling prey to some of the very faults he ascribed to religious thinking.

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Originally Posted by skaltezon View Post
Krauss/Scherrer's concern for our descendants' ability to construct an accurate cosmology 100 billion years from now is laughably optimistic about the more immediate problem of our sun's approaching 'red giant' phase a mere 5 billion years from now.

Computer simulations suggest we should find another planet to hang out on before we get toasted and ultimately swallowed.
Hope dims that Earth will survive Sun's death - space - 22 February 2008 - New Scientist

Or 'we' could be taken to mean any intelligence from our galactic family of the merging Local Group whose descendants will be around to ponder cosmological niceties long after evidence of the rest of the universe has slipped over the event horizon.

Sagan/Shklovskii's Intelligent Life in the Universe is a good read.
Yes, my interpretation is that Krauss and Scherrer know all life on earth is toast, and so they were not talking about our descendents. Instead, they were considering the conclusions that potential alien astronomers many years from now on other planets in our galaxy may be able to draw about our universe's origins as evidence of the Big Bang becomes undetectable.

The focus of the Krauss/Scherrer article on the viewpoint of future alien civilizations made the article poignantly sad but beautiful to me, because it shows how the authors can appreciate our brief explosion of awareness and life while knowing it is doomed. Despite the unpleasant future we earthlings face as predicted by science, these cosmologists still have the presence of mind and imagination to consider the welfare of future alien civilizations who will be following their own similar journey of scientific discovery about our universe's history.

The Krauss/Scherrer article reminds me of a news story that struck me when I heard it as a child. A trapeze artist performing without a net fell during her act. Knowing she was doomed, she had the presence of mind to perform a swan dive right to her very end. I admire cosmologists who show similar grace by trying to understand as much as they can about our own future demise, and take pleasure in living and thinking even without any promise of a cosy, happy ending.

My view of the heroic cosmologist, thinking about the origin and future of the universe while plunging into oblivion:

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Old 08-21-2011, 06:39 PM   #113 (permalink)
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Despite a lack of mathematics in the programme, I think this is well worth a watch especially the last 15 minutes regarding M theory and a possible explanation for the big bang which does sound feasible on paper and at leasts gets rid of the 'something out of nothing' albatross that clings to the big bang.

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Old 08-25-2011, 04:03 PM   #114 (permalink)
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Despite a lack of mathematics in the programme, I think this is well worth a watch especially the last 15 minutes regarding M theory and a possible explanation for the big bang which does sound feasible on paper and at leasts gets rid of the 'something out of nothing' albatross that clings to the big bang.

^ I will watch this, but first I want to say that I just read a report published online today of a black hole caught for the first time in the act of swallowing a star!!!

Black hole caught in act of swallowing a star - Technology & science - Space - Space.com - msnbc.com

I then read on this National Geographic website about the possibility that a black hole can spawn a new universe, a hypothesis I had heard before but haven't read much about:

Quote:
Every Black Hole Contains Another Universe?

Like part of a cosmic Russian doll, our universe may be nested inside a black hole that is itself part of a larger universe.

In turn, all the black holes found so far in our universe—from the microscopic to the supermassive—may be doorways into alternate realities.

According to a mind-bending new theory, a black hole is actually a tunnel between universes—a type of wormhole. The matter the black hole attracts doesn't collapse into a single point, as has been predicted, but rather gushes out a "white hole" at the other end of the black one, the theory goes.
In honor of the supermassive black hole Swift J1644+57 eating a big star, I will post the following song, even though I know some people would like to see it consumed and destroyed in the supermassive black hole that is its title.

Muse - "Supermassive Black Hole"

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Originally Posted by Neapolitan:
If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:42 AM   #115 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
Despite a lack of mathematics in the programme, I think this is well worth a watch especially the last 15 minutes regarding M theory and a possible explanation for the big bang which does sound feasible on paper and at leasts gets rid of the 'something out of nothing' albatross that clings to the big bang.

I'd be interested in how this sounds feasible on paper to an auto mechanic.

A fantastic story of multiverses colliding in the 11th dimension, concocted by three physicists on a train ride of less than an hour on the way to see a play.

The upshot is that our universe's 'big bang' was the contact of brane ripples between colliding other-universes.

And in the last moments of the program, the once-affable Alan Guth (originator of the inflationary universe theory) turned Mad Scientist:

Quote:
I in fact have worked with several other people for some period of time on the question of whether or not it's in principle possible to create a new universe in the laboratory. Whether or not it really works we don't know for sure. It looks like it probably would work. It's actually safe to create a universe in your basement. It would not displace the universe around it even though it would grow tremendously. It would actually create its own space as it grows and in fact in a very short fraction of a second it would splice itself off completely from our Universe and evolve as an isolated closed universe growing to cosmic proportions without displacing any of the territory that we currently lay claim to.
Buah ha ha. Coming soon: vacations in alternate universes.

This program aired on BBC Two at 9.00pm Thursday 14 February 2002.
Read the transcript here:
BBC - Science & Nature - Horizon - Parallel Universes - Transcript

A more recent 'Horizon' production, "What Happened Before the Big Bang?", that was first aired on October 11, 2010 examines several other current theories that attempt to look past the Big Bang. I've seen it, but BBC has put a copyright block on all online videos of it.

Nevertheless, here's a pretty good summary of the program from vixra.org:

Quote:
October 2010 the BBC showed a program in their long running “Horizon” series about the question “What came before the Big Bang?” Here is the gist of the message: A few years back cosmologists accepted that time did not exist before the big bang, so the question did not make sense. The universe along with time itself just started to exist and has been evolving nicely ever since. But now cosmologists are forming all kinds of theories that do put something before the big bang to explain how and why it happened.

So here is a list of the scientists that featured and the theory they adhere to:

Andrei Linde: Multiverse inspired eternal inflation
Param Singh: Big Bounce due to repulsive gravity at small distances
Lee Smolin: Black Holes spawning baby universes
Michio Kaku: Vacuum fluctuation from empty space
Neil Turok: Colliding Branes
Roger Penrose: The future is empty expanding space = a new big bang
Laura Mersini Houghton: String cosmology

Each of these ideas has been around for some time and has been worked on by several people. The individuals mentioned here are not necessarily the ones who invented them. The Penrose theory is an exception in that it is a new idea that features in his next book.

In the program each of these scientists was interviewed while they tried to solve one of those wooden puzzles

The obvious conclusion to draw is that there are a lot of viable theories out there which cannot all be right. Each of the scientists seemed to have quite a strong belief in the theory they supported, but they would all acknowledge that more experimental input is needed to resolve the question. All of them are driven by a philosophical argument that temporal causality must hold absolute so some prior cause of the big bang is needed.

Along with all the theorising and philosophising, a couple of experiments were mentioned which they think might help test these different hypothesis. The first was LOFAR, a low-frequency radio telescope array that may detect background remnants from the big bang. The standard prediction is that it will be white noise, but anything else could be a clue that separates different theories, prepare your predictions in advance please. The second experiment was the more familiar LIGO and its space bound successors LISA. These may be able to detect a gravitational wave remnant from the big bang that could also have a distinctive signature. It is hoped that either of these experiments may see past the wall of last scattering from which the cosmic microwave background emerged to provide information from an earlier time.

Personally, I don’t accept the philosophical need for something before the big bang and I don’t particularly like any of the theories mentioned. I think it is more likely that there was no space or time prior to big bang singularity which itself is a high temperature and density phase with no fixed topology or geometry for spacetime. I am not alone in preferring theories that do not require time to extend before the big bang, but the program has selected those that do. Where was Hawking’s view for example?

I think that explaining the universe requires us to look at ontological causality rather than temporal causality and the big bang is just one feature of the universe, not the reason for its existence. Although the experiments mentioned and others may throw some light on the nature of the big bang, we first need a better understanding of quantum gravity. There is still scope for theoretical developments that may help even before the experiments bear fruit. Even if you favour the string theory/M-theory route to quantum gravity (as I do), a better understanding of their foundations is required before we can hope to answer these questions about cosmology.

Despite that, I don’t think it is wrong to explore a wide range of cosmological ideas of this kind provided they have some good mathematics behind them. It is time for science to start trying to answer such questions. They will have to be looked at from all angles, philosphical, mathematical and experimental if we want to get the right understanding.

For the record I thought this was a good Horizon program, some of their physics/cosmology episodes lately have been a bit empty and ill-conceived. The position was too one-sided, but well researched. I’m glad they did not make the mistake of mentioning the LHC as if it was likely to resolve these questions, but did mention some other experiments that stand a better chance.

Horizon: Before the Big Bang viXra log
You can follow the program from the transcript, which can be downloaded here:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...JxF2fg&cad=rja

A list of BBC's 'Horizon' series of science programs over the years can be found here:
List of Horizon episodes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by skaltezon; 09-19-2011 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:19 PM   #116 (permalink)
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CERN says a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles away in Italy, travelled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light.

Discuss...
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:32 PM   #117 (permalink)
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CERN says a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles away in Italy, travelled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light.

Discuss...
Yeah I caught this earlier today on BBC website and although your first reaction may be like What? That's impossible but just because we seem at a very advanced technological state, it doesn't mean that a near 100 year old theory is wholly correct.

There is a long way to go into figuring stuff out and maybe we will never will and maybe that should be the way it is. Once one problem is solved there will always be another right around the corner.

It has also been suggested this week that 'dark matter' is not an easy prefix on which to attach everything onto that we can't figure out because after 10 years of searching we have not come across one single particle.
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:59 AM   #118 (permalink)
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Humankind can only glimpse a tiny part of the whole of this Universe and conclude that it consists of matter and energy, and that at some point there's no difference.

As we move off the planet and into different perspectives (as example the gains in knowledge already afforded by The Hubble telescope, and various probes that have been sent out, etc)), I suspect today's revelations will be dropped in favor of new ones which will possibly reveal that we're doing the things the hard way with CERN, etc.

Nevertheless it is the process we have, so we follow it until the technology becomes obsolete due to discoveries yet to be understood or even suspected as yet.

I find the quest for this understanding fascinating, and salute those who have dedicated their lives to understanding the physical "reality" we find ourselves operating in as beings.

There seem to be levels of understanding that are very difficult to transmit to the general population.

Stephen Hawking, et al, think in math.

I think in English. So right away there are things I'm not going to understand that they are fluent in.
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:46 AM   #119 (permalink)
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Lately I've been contemplating an image that sometimes accompianies shows like The Universe, on the History Channel, etc.:

They sometimes show a pulsating glob of gold colored stuff that then expands exponentially into the known Universe (as everything there is).

My concept is this:

We think of "nothingness" as possessing the physical attributes of a vacume. If that were accurate, it then becomes just as feasible to describe that the strength of this vacume of nothingness "pulled" the universe into existence, and supports its expansion.
Sort of like Bernulli's principle of cavitation pulling the oxygen out of water by lowering the pressure in the pump below the boiling point (gas laws).

Two problems: the first is that scientists have been demonstrating that the expansion of the universe is "accellerating" as we observe further and further away from us, towards the theoretical "edge" of the expanding universe. How that could be if the vacume were doing the work without increasing its pull kind of smokes my melon. 'Course the outer edges of explosions don't accelarate faster later either. Physics has got some secrets we ain't hip as we think we are to, yet.

The other is that what is present in the universe as matter was implied (at least in energy) at the beginning. Which I suppose crashes my theory about the vacume being The Cause.

Ever grow crystals for a Junior High Science project?

It just looks like a pan of colored water when you heat the ingrediants, but as the days pass crystal structures form and grow and soon you have hard material.

So when I think of "all the ingrediants being present" at the big bang moment, I conceive of that potential in somewhat the same way.

Of course a mathematician could easily point out my fallacy, and demonstate that my theory is way off.

In the same way, I assume all our present theories will some day be shown to be way off.

Last edited by sonar1; 11-18-2011 at 02:13 AM. Reason: spelling, but don't look too hard as I'm sure there are other spelling errors still here
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Old 11-18-2011, 09:25 AM   #120 (permalink)
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Lately I've been contemplating an image that sometimes accompianies shows like The Universe, on the History Channel, etc.:

They sometimes show a pulsating glob of gold colored stuff that then expands exponentially into the known Universe (as everything there is).

My concept is this:

We think of "nothingness" as possessing the physical attributes of a vacume. If that were accurate, it then becomes just as feasible to describe that the strength of this vacume of nothingness "pulled" the universe into existence, and supports its expansion.
Sort of like Bernulli's principle of cavitation pulling the oxygen out of water by lowering the pressure in the pump below the boiling point (gas laws).
Before I read the rest of the post, I think you got things the wrong way round. A vacuum, like that you can create inside a cup, doesn't really pull at things. It's matter that pushes. Stuff is being pushed in because of gravity.
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