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The Secret of the Sun's Heated Atmosphere

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the ooh-shiny dept.

Space 158

eldavojohn writes "There has long been speculation on why the Sun's surface is a mere ten thousand degrees while the atmosphere can reach millions. Space.com is reporting that the mystery has now been solved. Researchers looked for Alfven waves in the solar chromosphere and found them. Followup studies employing simulations demonstrated that the energetics work out to transfer energy from the Sun's surface to its overlying corona.. The magnetic waves may also be the power source behind the solar wind."

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Did anybody else think... (3, Funny)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143302)

When I saw that article, I couldn't help but think "Damn that's a hot data center, glad I'm not running any of their servers :-) " then again if someone were truly able to get a computer running at that temperature, maybe they're worth considering...

Re:Did anybody else think... (5, Funny)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143628)

Imagine a Milky Way cluster of these...

Re:Did anybody else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22143978)

The Milky Way is a galaxy, not a cluster... but you knew that.

Re:Did anybody else think... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22148686)

Great source of science information. [kanati.com.ph]

Re:Did anybody else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22149714)

you lied. '=o='

Re:Did anybody else think... (1)

ShawnCplus (1083617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143656)

Well Microsoft got close, why do you think they moved them all to Siberia?

Re:Did anybody else think... (2, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143752)

So -that's- why the tundra's been melting...

Re:Did anybody else think... (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148016)

Yup... Matrioshka brain [wikipedia.org]

Ah... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22143446)

...but does it run solaris?

Re:Ah... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143574)

Run?
Sun!
Done.

Re:Ah... (1)

RHSC (1019802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143982)

It doesn't just run solaris
It is solaris!

Let's get it out of the way... (2, Funny)

SkunkWorx (662057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143572)

ALFVEN!!!

pronunciation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144338)

Good joke, but...actually,

- the correct spelling uses a diacritical mark over the 'e', as wikipedia indicates: "Alfén."
- the correct pronunciation is more like ahlf'-vay-uhn or ahlf'-vay-n or ahlf'-vayn (with the last vowel sound a "schwa" nearly collapsed into the 'é' if it's even pronounced at all).

I am not Swedish, but this is how I've heard native Swedish speakers pronounce it when asked specifically about how to pronounce his name.

captcha: neutrino, no joke!

Re:pronunciation (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144838)

- the correct pronunciation is more like ahlf'-vay-uhn or ahlf'-vay-n or ahlf'-vayn (with the last vowel sound a "schwa" nearly collapsed into the 'é' if it's even pronounced at all).

I am a native Swedish speaker (and Finnish as well)(BTW, and OT, so is Linus Torvalds...). The diacritical mark indicates the stressed sillable, so the pronunciation should be something like ahlf-VAY-n.
 

Alfven is turning in his grave! (1, Informative)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143870)

Hannes Alfven strongly advocated against magnetic reconnection and any theory of the corona's temperature that outright assumes that electricity is not involved. The idea that astrophysicists would attach his name to a theory that he vigorously fought against is a clear indication of peoples' lack of knowledge with regards to the history of science associated with his work. This has to be the ultimate form of scientific disrespect for what was in fact a very great man! Alfven started out as a power grid engineer! He studied electrical currents, people. Shame on Space.com for carrying this article and shame on the astrophysical community who persist in using his name to trumpet a cause for which he so vigorously fought against. And shame on everybody for just going along with the idea that Maxwell's Equations are meaningless in space. When you see a magnetic field, your first question should always be, "Where's the current?" To assume that it is not present even when you can see the magnetic field is just mind-boggling!

Are astrophysicists just unaware, or are they being malicious?

Re:Alfven is turning in his grave! (0)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144452)

I'm not sure where you get the idea that "electricity is not involved" in an Alfven wave. You can't have an Alfven wave without a plasma, and a plasma contains charged particles, which, when involved in a wave, move and generate electric current.

FYI, the "corona" is a very hot plasma which surrounds the sun.... And which can support electric currents, and Alfven waves.

As for your claim that people are saying that Maxwell's Equations are meaningless in space, I don't know how you infer that anyone is claiming that at all, from reading the article.

Re:Alfven is turning in his grave! (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145508)

You can parse my statement until it no longer makes sense in individual parts, but why try to so hard to assert that we know what is happening with the Sun when in fact all that is happening is that one line of reasoning has been developed to explain our observations of it?

The point is that in the grand scheme of things, there are in fact alternative possible explanations for our observations which astrophysicists tend to ignore. They are complicit with ignoring these alternative explanations because math already exists for the conventional paradigms. But we need to take a step back and realize that the existence of mathematical models does not guarantee physicality for the simulations. The public has this misconception that astrophysicists have *ruled out* alternative explanations in an honest manner by completing a comprehensive review of all of the theories out there, and what one discovers over time is that in fact, that has not occurred in the slightest. And when a person brings up the possibility that the Sun's temperature is inverted because it is receiving its energy externally, all you get is ridicule and some fast and loose back-of-the-envelope calculations that ignore the filamentary nature of "flux tube" energy flows connected to the Sun. Ignoring the filamentary nature of plasmas in space will always lead to garbage calculations. If it's not *our* theory, then it's not *our* responsibility to prove or disprove it! Somehow, theories became like property, where people own them and protect them at the expense of others. We've allowed ourselves to become emotionally attached to them like pets.

A person that is knowledgeable about the big picture and honest with themselves will realize that the astrophysicists are not currently representing an objective search for the truth. They have allowed themselves to become representatives of the standard stellar model with all of its grand speculations and assumptions. We continue to make observations about stars all of the time that violate the standard stellar model. We've seen stars erratically jump all over the HR diagram, including FG Sagittae, V605 Aquilae and V4334 Sagittarii and V838 Monocerotis ("The Electric Sky" by Don Scott points to a total of seven counter-examples to predicted stellar evolution). In fact, we see unusual things with stars on a weekly basis, and this should rationally induce some self-doubt. And yet, it does not! Every enigmatic observation is just rolled into the standard model as quickly as it goes into the books, and at the expense of people actually proposing creative solutions that better explain *all* of our observations. The confidence in our interpretive skills is so great that we would rather postulate invisible matters that are 20x more plentiful than ordinary matter than conceive of the notion that our equations are somehow incorrect! And yet, there are laboratory plasma physicists who argue against things like magnetic reconnection as being redundant of exploding plasma double layers (Alfven included). It is wrong to completely ignore these people. We should foster a public debate on these issues and honestly assess who is right without preferences to either. Instead, what we get is millions of dollars pumped into magnetic reconnection with little to no consideration of exploding plasma double layers.

So, yeah, parsing criticism until it no longer makes sense is all fun and games. But the big picture is not so funny at all. We're betting the entire farm on one single theory, and it's not really doing all that great in a predictive sense. We've yet to see any decrease in the number of surprises in the sky, and space is just as mysterious as ever.

Once more, with feeling! (2, Interesting)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147178)

Setting the record straight ...

there are in fact alternative possible explanations for our observations which astrophysicists tend to ignore
Or, more pertinently, these so-called alternatives fail several key tests, such as internal consistency, consistency with relevant theories whose domains of applicability overlap (quantum mechanics, in this case), and (above all) consistency with good, relevant observations.

They are complicit with ignoring these alternative explanations because math already exists for the conventional paradigms
And you know this because? Your objective evidence is ... what, exactly?

The public has this misconception that astrophysicists have *ruled out* alternative explanations in an honest manner by completing a comprehensive review of all of the theories out there, and what one discovers over time is that in fact, that has not occurred in the slightest
So, once again, if you please ... references to papers, published in relevant peer-reviewed journals, which lay out this/these 'alternative explanation(s)' and which show internal consistency, consistency with quantum mechanics (in the relevant domains of applicability), and (above all) consistency with good, relevant observations and experimental results.

I think I have asked for this nearly ten times now; not once (that I recall) have you answered.

We've seen stars erratically jump all over the HR diagram, including FG Sagittae, V605 Aquilae and V4334 Sagittarii and V838 Monocerotis ("The Electric Sky" by Don Scott points to a total of seven counter-examples to predicted stellar evolution)
Hmm ... not a bad track record then, for standard models of stars ... given that there are detailed records on what, about a billion stars?!

And if any SD reader is interested, a quick check on the relevant, peer-reviewed literature will show that pln2bz's assertion here is, shall we say, only coincidentally consistent with the truth.

In fact, we see unusual things with stars on a weekly basis, and this should rationally induce some self-doubt. And yet, it does not! Every enigmatic observation is just rolled into the standard model as quickly as it goes into the books, and at the expense of people actually proposing creative solutions that better explain *all* of our observations.
Well, I hate to break it to you, but science is a process of discovery ... only by testing, modifying, testing again, and so on, is progress made. After all, if the 'enigmatic observations' cannot be 'rolled up into the standard model', then it's time to change it!

As for 'people actually proposing creative solutions', let's have them roll up their sleeves, write up their solutions, and get them published, shall we? That way everyone can review them, critique them, test them, and so on.

And yet, there are laboratory plasma physicists who argue against things like magnetic reconnection as being redundant of exploding plasma double layers (Alfven included). It is wrong to completely ignore these people. We should foster a public debate on these issues and honestly assess who is right without preferences to either. Instead, what we get is millions of dollars pumped into magnetic reconnection with little to no consideration of exploding plasma double layers.
So, in the last few hours, you've gone from claiming magnetic reconnection cannot possibly be right (because Alfvén said so), to reading the hundreds (or thousands) of published papers on the topic (including the results of lab experiments), and concluded that they all fail because of something else that Alfvén said?

You sure are a fast reader.

So, yeah, parsing criticism until it no longer makes sense is all fun and games. But the big picture is not so funny at all.
Hmm ... are you suggesting an alternative to reductionism in physics?

If so, how do you propose that would work? How would you go about testing 'big picture' ideas, in this alternative? What role would review play? How would internal consistency be assessed? What would be the framework for matching observations of phenomena with the 'big picture'?

If not, then what?

Re:Alfven is turning in his grave! (3, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144684)

The waves are called "Alfven waves", with good reason. The fact that this then results in his name being attached to the theory is amusing, perhaps ironic, and arguably unfortunate, but hardly criminal. Shit happens when names are attached to things in math and science, it's something one has to just get used to.

(The name name "big bang" was meant be disparaging, and yet here we are. Look up "Fuchsian groups" sometime, too.)

And while you're at it, give astrophysicists a little credit. We do know physics, including E&M, pretty damn well. What's you're qualification to arm-chair quarterback on this?

Joseph Preistley is turning in his grave! (3, Interesting)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144858)

I'm not familiar with Alfven, but I offer the following:

Joseph Preistley [wikipedia.org] is credited with discovering oxygen.
That's a wonderful honor and all except his opinion was that air gets clogged with "phlogiston" when material is burned, such that a fire within an enclosed environment gets extinguished because the air can no longer absorb this stuff.
Nowadays, chemists understand that free oxygen gets depleted during a fire - which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of Preistley's strongly held belief.

What can I say, "misplaced honor happens".

Alfvén is smiling in his grave! (4, Insightful)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144874)

Are astrophysicists just unaware, or are they being malicious?
Neither.

They have spent a decade or three researching magnetic reconnection - in the lab, via in situ space probes, and by remote sensing (a.k.a. using telescopes) - and have developed descriptions of the behaviours of plasmas, building on Alfvén's work and these discoveries, that match the observed phenomena nicely.

Take a look at the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (http://mrx.pppl.gov/ [pppl.gov] ), as an example of lab-based plasma physics work on magnetic reconnection.

But maybe you know something about the behaviour of plasmas that the thousands of researchers - experimentalists, theorists, 'observers', and those who simulate plasmas in computers - don't, or have missed?

Why not write a paper to Nature, or Science, giving chapter and verse of the holes in their work?

Re:Alfven is turning in his grave! (1)

tardyon (1068838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145158)

Given that the Sun's outer layers are made up mostly of plasma (the high temperatures strip almost all of the electrons off the hydrogen and helium atoms), generating electric currents is not an issue.

On the other hand, while electric fields are obviously present, they are weaker than the magnetic fields. The Sun has (essentially) no net charge. The electric fields are primarily created by the changing of the magnetic fields. This is generally a second order (ie. weaker) effect than the original magnetic fields. So when one is trying to get some basic understanding of the situation, ignoring the electric fields and focusing on the magnetic fields is a decent approximation to make.

Mod down - this is debunked electric universe junk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22145176)

See topic...

Re:Mod down - this is debunked electric universe j (0, Flamebait)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145614)

So, so sad. You guys are just utterly clueless to what is being argued. The worst part is that you care so much about ridiculing something that you know nothing about. There is absolutely *nothing* about the Electric Universe that has been "debunked".

Well-intentioned people can in fact cause great harm. So sad!

unfounded ridicule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22148840)

You guys are just utterly clueless to what is being argued.
Yeah, that was a little snide, but not everyone is like that. I'm not the original AC to whom you replied, but:

Thanks to your presence on Slashdot and other Electric Universe partisans on other relevant forums, I've exerted great effort investigating EU's claims, evidence, and reasoning. I know understand quite clearly the arguments you use, the (twisted or misconstrued) "evidence" you present, the misconceptions you have about the day-to-day business of science, and your fundamental lack of understanding of both physics and the practice of science in general.

There is absolutely *nothing* about the Electric Universe that has been "debunked".
Everything not defined in terms so vague as to be un-debunkable have been debunked. Everything else you cling to is not science, but fanciful speculation and wishful thinking, or outright jealousy.

The worst part is that you care so much about ridiculing something that you know nothing about.
I think the same thing every time I see you or your ilk say "'astrophysicists' refuse X" or "mainstream scientists ignore X" or "only PLASMA researchers IN LABORATORIES can shed light on cosmology". I don't think you understand thing one about anything you talk about here on Slashdot.

Well-intentioned people can in fact cause great harm. So sad!
I think the same thing of you. You're awfully self-righteous for someone with so little knowledge of modern sciences, or even basic physics; let alone the theory and physical observations that lead to modern scientific understandings of things like stars and matter and energy and even simple craters.

You're like a petulant child, throwing a temper-tantrum when told the sun doesn't work in the fanciful way you imagined. You, too should learn about the system of knowledge and the development of modern physics and astronomy before you so condescendingly ridicule them.

Re:Alfven is turning in his grave! (2, Interesting)

adisakp (705706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145790)

When you see a magnetic field, your first question should always be, "Where's the current?"

Have you ever heard of permanent magnets?

There are two methods of producing magnetism: 1) by current and 2) by aligning particles with non-zero magnetic moments (quantum spin) within a substance.

Electromagnets use the first method while permanent magnets use the second.

Re:Alfven is turning in his grave! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22146250)

No mod points, so I thought I'd just comment you [troll/funny].

Actually, I find it quite funny that space.com shortened magneto-hydrodynamic wave (or as Alfven might have sometimes called it an electromagnetic-hydrodynamic wave) and called it magnetic wave for the lay person. Compared to an earlier article where I think space.com refers to them as sound waves,
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070604_mm_sun_sswave.html [space.com]
it may be even less technically accurate to call them magnetic waves, but more correct sounding (if that's possible).

This article has very little to do with magentic reconnection nor the lack of electricity (it seem to just posit that MHD-waves can carry energy from the surface to chromosphere and they were observed). Of course since MHD-waves are essentially only present in electrically conducting fluids (like plasma or seawater), I doubt anyone but you has the impression that people are ignoring electrical currents (or electricity as you are calling it). ;^)

Re:Alfven is turning in his grave! (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147166)

This article has very little to do with magentic reconnection nor the lack of electricity (it seem to just posit that MHD-waves can carry energy from the surface to chromosphere and they were observed). Of course since MHD-waves are essentially only present in electrically conducting fluids (like plasma or seawater), I doubt anyone but you has the impression that people are ignoring electrical currents (or electricity as you are calling it). ;^)

It's so funny to see you guys try to diminish and nuance the situation until it is utterly meaningless. People on Slashdot spend so much time trying to parse semantics that they are quite willing to give a pass on the meat of the conversation. I clearly realize that electricity plays a role within astrophysical theories. The issue, as you likely realize, is that we constantly see it argued that it plays a subservient role. Astrophysicists are constantly telling us, "Yeah, it's there, but it doesn't *DO* anything. At least, not what you say!" You know how many times I've heard that?

The real question is this: At what point in your astrophysical models does the universe start being a closed electrical system? And why? In the days of Chapman, it was argued that the Earth was electrically closed. Birkeland turned out to be right. It is still argued to this day that thunderstorms are a closed system near the ground. And yet, this flies in the face of the numerous recent photographs of upper-atmospheric lightning leading straight into space. Currently, as it stands, the belief is that we can have electrical connections between the Sun and the Earth ("magnetic ropes"). Why? Because they've been observed to exist! Well, how much thought have you put into it? Where does it stop? We see jets in space that are highly collimated over tens of thousands of light years. Isn't it possible that these are also Birkeland Currents? What is stopping it? Every time that you see a "black hole" shooting a jet at another galaxy, ask yourself: are they fighting, or are they cooperating? What looks like a violent blast to one person can quite reasonably be argued to be a connective filament between two galaxies to another person. Who can say that they are right when the issue is rarely even discussed? Do we believe things in astrophysics for no better reason than because they can no longer be denied? What keeps our solar system quasi-neutral? There is after all a pervasive magnetic field that sweeps through the whole thing, right? Within the Electric Universe, a galaxy can be generally approximated as a homopolar motor, where current travels down the arms across the disc based upon the movement of charges through the axis. And the axes of galaxies furthermore connect up to create a vast electrical network. Who's to say that they are wrong? The observations can certainly be interpreted that way, and nobody has any right to ridicule them for stating it!

It's called creative problem solving. And before we always default to just what we've been taught in school, we'd be wise to exercise it more often when we consider the big questions in science. There are powerful arguments to be made that the entire universe is electrically connected, and that there are no closed systems anywhere. For God's sake, we see terraced craters all over the friggin place, and terraced craters can be formed with rotating Birkeland Currents. And even more than that, we also see craters that have little "c" copyright signs in them (one was imaged on Mercury just this past week), suggesting that the same force was only able to perform a half rotation before it was cut off. That certainly makes more sense than a "c"-shaped lava tube inside of a crater. All of the clues are right before us to assemble a competing cosmology to the conventional theories. Why is it not done? Whatever the reason, it's certainly not because it *cannot* be done. The Plasma Universe point of view is incredibly effective at describing planetary features within our local solar system. Whether or not people here realize it matters little.

It took fewer than 100 comments this time! (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147664)

... to get to the meat of your comments, pln2bz; namely, to what extent do you suggest that astronomical phenomena be investigated using scientific methods?

And if the answer is at least "completely!" (or equivalent), then can we discuss what you consider to be scientific methods?

It may be that the universe is ruled by electric currents; it may be that it's not (and it may be that it's something in between). Surely a few comments discussing how smart people (nerds or not) could go about finding out would be time and typing well spent?

That you, yourself, reject the standard scientific (astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, space/plasma physics) paradigm seems clear*.

What's not clear - to me at least - is what you suggest should be used instead.

May I ask, again, that you do your SD readers a favour by putting fingers to keyboard and at least outlining your preferred alternative?

{turning to some specifics}

All of the clues are right before us to assemble a competing cosmology to the conventional theories. Why is it not done? Whatever the reason, it's certainly not because it *cannot* be done.
So why not do it, pln2bz? Let's see ... assume 400 SD comments by pln2bz; assume 30 minutes per comment ... that's 200 hours, just on the comments themselves! Imagine how much of such a competing cosmology you could have assembled with that 200 hours.

The Plasma Universe point of view is incredibly effective at describing planetary features within our local solar system. Whether or not people here realize it matters little.
Do you mean "incredibly effective" in the same way that you (grossly) mis-interpreted image processing artifacts as "infrared filaments indicative of lightning from a corona"?

Or do you mean incredibly effective in the same way Birkeland's model of the rings of Saturn are self-luminous (when they're not)?

Or do you mean incredibly effective in the same way that the orbit of the Moon can be modelled - without plasmas - to a ~2 cm accuracy (in the sense of observed - expected)?

Perhaps people here don't realise it because it's not true?

* You've said so, several times, in SD comments.

anthropomorphising science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22148102)

The issue, as you likely realize, is that we constantly see it [electricity] argued that it plays a subservient role.


To play devil's advocate, why does it matter so much to you if electricity takes a subservient role? From some perspectives, quantum mechanics takes a subservient role to predicting how billiard balls interact on a pool table, but it certainlty doesn't mean QM isn't good for predicting tunneling in your flash drive's eeprom. Why *must* an effect not have a subservient role? The color of the flash drive is mostly an electric effect, but doesn't necessarily effect the flash drive electronics.

The real question is this: At what point in your astrophysical models does the universe start being a closed electrical system? And why?


Of course that depends on what you call a universe. If it is everything, then it is by definition closed (i.e., not getting any electrical input from outside since there is no outside). However, if you shrink your term to "galaxy" or "solar system", then certainly there's the possiblity of not being a closed electrical system. Although of course that's being as pedantic as your dismisal of current astrophysical models right?

Every time that you see a "black hole" shooting a jet at another galaxy, ask yourself: are they fighting, or are they cooperating?


Does it matter if inanimate objects are fighting or cooperating? For example, does a bird's wings fight the air to create lift or cooperate with the air to create lift? This is completely immaterial to a "real" scientist (although I'm sure a pseudo-scientist might care about this to motivate a model where there is little scientific proof). I'm sure that Einstein didn't ask himself if the electrons were fighting the incoming photon or cooperating with it when describing the photo-electric effect, because, well, he could just show you the electron was ejected and let you draw your own conclusion ;^)

The observations can certainly be interpreted that way, and nobody has any right to ridicule them for stating it!


You must be new here, anyone has the right to ridicule anyone about their interpretation and get away with it ;^)

It's actually entertaining how science has got so personal and less observational these days (don't get me started about evolution and string theory, not the fsm string theory, but the one tying up all of the physicists these days). Somewhere along the way people forgot about actual science and decided there was "dogma" to convice to the masses. Unfortuantly, all this did was create a vehicle to bring out the crackpots with their own competing "dogma". Science isn't actually about truth or explanation or classification, it's about experiment and observation. The "theory" part is just poetry (whose beauty is in the eye of the beholder) and a place holder to assist in making predictions. If the predictions are wrong, the theory is of course wrong, but a wrong theory doesn't invalidate experiments or the observations. Of course there's no reason a theory has to make "sense" or be "beautiful" either, but if a theory is not testable, it's no better than poetry and as we all know, there are many more literary critic than poets out there... ;^)

Re:anthropomorphising science? (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22149212)

Science isn't actually about truth or explanation or classification, it's about experiment and observation.

The apparent problem is that you appear to not realize that laboratory plasma physicists are the ones arguing for the Electric Universe concepts against the mathematicians who play with beautiful equations all day long. Kristian Birkeland was the world's first laboratory astrophysicist. It was Hannes Alfven -- a man who was intimately familiar with the laboratory -- who argued against mathematical constructs like "frozen-in place magnetic fields", the supposed perfect conductivity of plasmas and magnetic reconnection. Somewhere along the way, it seems, you were convinced that black is white. We're saying the same thing; you're just talking about the wrong people. When Einstein admitted that not even he could understand physics anymore, that should have been your cue that physics was taken over by mathematicians. You somehow missed it.

Of course there's no reason a theory has to make "sense" or be "beautiful" either, but if a theory is not testable, it's no better than poetry

And of course that's very true. But once again, I fear that you think that you are talking about the Electric Universe. EU is highly testable. We could build an impulse current laboratory where we can replicate Tesla's findings. Birkeland built a Terrella to understand the aurora (and when Alfven built a replica for Sydney Chapman, he refused to even look at the thing, btw). We can fire plasma guns at physical objects and model comets and electrical cratering. We can study the scalability of plasmas, and people have done so. What they've found is that we do not need to postulate that the universe is filled with 95% invisible matters. They can generate spiral galaxies with the proper rotation curves using nothing more than the characteristics of laboratory plasmas. The galactic rotation curves in simulations *only* become confused once you propose that the electromagnetic forces of plasmas to be secondary, rather than the driving, organizing force.

The problem isn't that Electric Universe isn't testable. It's that people like yourself haven't *read* the evidence that clearly points out what has been tested in it, and what future tests that have been proposed for it. I don't know if you're aware of this, but people tend to only read those things which they already agree with. We make a decision about what we want to believe, and then go from there. You are doing just that right here.

Please, try to get your facts right (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150824)

The apparent problem is that you appear to not realize that laboratory plasma physicists are the ones arguing for the Electric Universe concepts against the mathematicians who play with beautiful equations all day long.
Translation: pln2bz has read that a few (less than ten) people who seem to have affiliation with a plasma physics lab are "arguing for the Electric Universe concepts".

Fact: even in the MRX (Magnetic Reconnection Experiment, attached to the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab http://www.pppl.gov/projects/pages/magnetic_reconnect.html [pppl.gov] ) there are (apparently) no laboratory plasma physicists so arguing.

EU is highly testable.
Translation: only if those doing the marketing of the idea are not required to show how, in any meaningful detail.

Fact: to the extent that the rich variety of theories, models, hypotheses, etc that comprises mainstream science is inconsistent with "EU", then said EU has been tested, repeatedly ... and has failed every test.

The problem isn't that Electric Universe isn't testable. It's that people like yourself haven't *read* the evidence that clearly points out what has been tested in it
Translation: if I say this enough times, my critics will get tired of wasting their time responding.

Fact: Some of those who've commented on the EU ideas presented by pln2bz have not, in fact, "read the evidence". However, many have, and have questioned it and challenged it. So far, your track record in answering these direct, pertinent questions and challenges has been nearly perfect (you've failed to answer, almost every time).

Evidence, please (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150866)

What they've found is that we do not need to postulate that the universe is filled with 95% invisible matters.
Care to explain - quantitatively - the dozens of detailed observations of weak and strong gravitational lensing of rich clusters of galaxies?

Care to explain - quantitatively - Zwicky's 1930s detailed observations on the radial velocity distribution of the Coma galaxy clusters (since repeated, for hundreds of other clusters)?

Care to explain - quantitatively - the angular power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background (CMB)?

Care to explain - quantitatively - the observed trend in the average density of the universe, as the scale over which that density is measured increases?

Care to explain - quantitatively - why the night sky is dark (except, of course, in Manhattan)?

They can generate spiral galaxies with the proper rotation curves using nothing more than the characteristics of laboratory plasmas.
You know one thing that rather annoys me is your repetition of stuff that you've been called on before, had shown to be (often grossly) wrong, and have never addressed.

This is another example of such dishonesty.

Peratt's papers on this topic do NOT, repeat do NOT, "generate spiral galaxies with the proper rotation curves using nothing more than the characteristics of laboratory plasmas"!

If you continue to think that they do, let's have a discussion on these assertions. If you are unprepared to do so, please don't get offended if I (and others) start to treat what you say accordingly.

Galactic Birkeland Currents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22149382)

"Yeah, it's there, but it doesn't *DO* anything. At least, not what you say!" You know how many times I've heard that?
Apparently not enough to motivate you to actually investigate why they think that, but enough to make you email a mythologist for his opinion on modern physics, and maybe read more books published on your side of your self-appointed adversarial relationship with science.

Every time that you see a "black hole" shooting a jet at another galaxy, ask yourself: are they fighting, or are they cooperating?
I'm sorry the other AC chose to over-analyze your metaphor. I know what you're saying.

What looks like a violent blast to one person can quite reasonably be argued to be a connective filament between two galaxies to another person.
The "violence" is immaterial. Many S- and SB- type galaxies are ejecting axial particle streams in directions where no galaxies are there to "cooperate", even on ONE pole, let alone both(!) poles simultaneously. If this were an electromagnetic phenomenon, we would not see this type of thing without bending electromagnetism to the breaking point.

If instead these streams are ejected by some gravitational cause, we should not be surprised at our findings of some galaxies hitting each other but most examples of otherwise identical streams pointing in any old direction, galaxy or no. After all; there are at least tens of billions of galaxies in the observable universe, and chance alone explains why some jets hit other galaxies, while most do not.

Who can say that they are right when the issue is rarely even discussed?
Science is not about consensus; it doesn't work by judging lots of ideas. It works by having ways to know when you've found wrong ideas, which is called reductionism. Science doesn't have to "discuss" (have a dialog about) your Electric Universe hypotheses. Such a discussion will not advance human knowledge, but will serve only to placate the proponents of such a theory (hah! not likely) and distract people from exploring more promising and fruitful paths of scientific inquiry. Your rantings on Slashdot and elsewhere would require geologists, astronomers, cosmologists, meteorologists, physicists, archaeologists, chemists, evolutionary biologists, and anthropologists to devote their minds and careers to Electric Universe when they can see even superficially in many cases how it doesn't work. That you cannot underscores how little of the available human knowledge you understand or can be bothered to investigate as your own hobby/obsession these last few years.

And the axes of galaxies furthermore connect up to create a vast electrical network.
For a suitably imaginative "electrical network". I've seen that crap; (Thornhill, or Scott?) just draws the lines to suit the positions of the galaxies; there's no configuration that couldn't suit this. Even if a configuration DID look less suitable, it would be nothing further to claim that "well, uh, for some reason it's in another state and is in transition. Here, let me go do some highly-suspect redshift calculations and mis-interpretations...".

It's called creative problem solving.
You're the only ones who think there is even a problem in the first place. You're the only ones who think the "Electric Universe" view has any grounding in physics, because you have nothing beyond lay-experience in the scientific fields in which you dabble. There's not a space scientist in the bunch, to my knowledge; only a bunch of unaccredited (a warning, not an automatic fail) dilettantes, an electrical engineer, a plasma physicist, and a mathematician. Maybe there are more, but those seem to be the only group working in/on/around Electric Universe and Saturnian stuff.

For God's sake, we see terraced craters all over the friggin place, and terraced craters can be formed with rotating Birkeland Currents.
Fallacy of hasty generalization. Terraced craters can also be made by physical impacts, in ways consistent with geophysical models which are themselves internally consistent and arrived at that consistency without the requirement that craters be caused by physical impact. Contrast that with Electric Universe's requirement ("domino" effect) that craters are caused by arcing, and MANY other conflicts with observations, for any semblance of internal consistency.

we also see craters that have little "c" copyright signs in them (one was imaged on Mercury just this past week), suggesting that the same force was only able to perform a half rotation before it was cut off.
It does not suggest that to someone who can think of causes in the universe that are not "electric" (you mean electromagnetic...) phenomena. Physical impact craters are also asymmetric in this way, given (the most likely occurrence of) a glancing impact. Your willingness to believe electrical phenomena are at work is astonishing. Scott and Thornhill, and especially Talbott (IMO) are verbose but nothing like *that* convincing. It's evidence that makes arguments convincing, and all they have are the arguments & lots of 'em!

The Plasma Universe point of view is incredibly effective at describing planetary features within our local solar system. Whether or not people here realize it matters little
Yeah, because the weight of evidence is just SO overbearing that all those stuffy scientists will just HAVE TO see how wrong they are, and how right you guys are. Then they'll make the "Electric" Universe folks the Kings Of Science, and global warming will go away, and we'll have electromagnetism-gravity unification and thus "anti"-"gravity" which we will know as simply electromagnetism.

Or not. That would require New Physics that just isn't so. Even if your crew all had savant-like physics prowess (which they clearly don't), they'd need to know something about physics, astronomy, or SOMETHING technical if they expect to turn out hunches that aren't worthless or wrong like Electric Universe.

Re:Galactic Birkeland Currents (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150020)

You're the only ones who think there is even a problem in the first place.

It is absolutely ASTOUNDING that you look past the fact that the conventional theories don't understand 95% of the universe! Time and time again, I have to help you guys perform a reality check. Understanding just 5% of something in any discipline other than astrophysics typically means that you do not understand it at all! You guys think that you have created this theory that is above reproach -- even by people who work within plasma laboratories. What you've actually done is confused the masses and induced them to become apathetic about space!

FROM WHERE DOES YOUR CONFIDENCE ARISE???

Grad students are flocking to the www.thunderbolts.info site and Thunderbolts.info is doubling the BAUT Forum's traffic in unique vistors as of December. The January 2008 issue of Astronomy Magazine has a feature on whether or not Jupiter is powered by a Z-pinch. You're not paying attention to what's happening. Why are *grad* students flocking to the Thunderbolts site?

Re:Galactic Birkeland Currents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22150550)

It is absolutely ASTOUNDING that you look past the fact that the conventional theories don't understand 95% of the universe!
It's inaccurate to say that conventional theories fail to explain 95% of the universe. Understanding a lot about the universe is different from understanding a lot of the mass contained in the universe. We have physical models that accurately describe nearly every observable phenomenon with internal consistency, but you propose we abandon them because you're not comfortable with the concepts of dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, relativity, or even non-electromagnetic gravity; because you wrinkle your nose at them, and not because physical observations supporting them are actually absent.

When we came to understand the physical concept of energy, by your definition of "understanding fractions of the universe" we did not understand any more about the universe. The same is true of every advance in physical understanding. You're being small-minded in saying that "we don't understand 95% of the universe" without keeping in mind that it's just that we can't see a large fraction of the mass whose effects we can otherwise observe. Saying as much in an effort to attract disciples to your EU un-physics cult is either witless or disingenuous, especially since you (and Wal Thornhill, by his comments) regard mass as a very flimsy concept subordinate to other features of the universe.

You guys think that you have created this theory that is above reproach -- even by people who work within plasma laboratories.
You say that as if people who work in plasma laboratories have more clout on astronomical observations, cosmology, astrophysics, and GUTs than anyone else, and even they can't convince anyone.

What you've actually done is confused the masses
No, that is what YOU are trying to do by casting doubt on the parts of science we do understand. If you want to help, please call attention to the parts of science we don't understand, rather than following the unsupported hand-waving of a half-dozen argumentative and creative (and certainly entertaining) unaccredited authors-come-dilettante-scientists and people who try to conduct science not by reading about or learning science but by speculating rampantly on a web forum and making home movies.

...and induced them to become apathetic about space!
That contradicts what you've said elsewhere on this forum. Elsewhere, when it suited you, you said something like "clearly the public LIKE the idea of exotic things like black holes and neutron stars and dark matter." If you mean mainstream science has made people so apathetic that novel research and new researchers don't appear, that's also inaccurate. Your view of science "stuck in the doldrums" is your own outsider's view, which you would not have if you read outside your own comfort zone and cast aside your own litmus test of "this doesn't mesh with the Electric Universe of Scott/Thornhill/Talbott/Cardona, so I'll save myself some time and mental effort by putting it down right away." You'd see just how consistent your hated "mainstream scientific theories" are with observations, and since you'd be exposed to new observations and new theories, you'd see just how inconsistent Electric Universe is. Perhaps you've done that already, and you find the imaginative mythological interpretations of Cardona and Talbott convincing by themselves, and are willing to discard physical reality so you can cling to those interpretations. In that case, your issues with science are philosophical, and you are so maladapted to scientific inquiry that you'll have to remedy that before you make any other progress. Your Velikovsky quote indicates that this may be the case:

FROM WHERE DOES YOUR CONFIDENCE ARISE???
Science, therefore physics, therefore astronomy and cosmology, are geometrically built up on observations of the world around us. It's called reductionism. It seems your problem with "mainstream" science is that you perceive it to be arrogant, and arrogance stirs you to anger. I understand how arrogance can anger a person, but your perception is misplaced. The confidence you perceive (which you further interpret as arrogance) is confidence about what we DO know about the universe, NOT about what we don't know. Modern science, including astronomy et. al, can only say that what we observe in the future must be consistent with what we observe now, and that what we observe now must be consistent with what we observe now (i.e. our models must be consistent). It can't say that an event could not happen, but it can make that inductive step based on what has already happened.

You, and the whole EU concept, break this inductive step in two ways. 1) You deny the inductive step mainstream science makes when it says "there are probably no electric comets because none we've looked at so far were electric", and cling to the possibility that we might see one someday, as indeed we might. 2) You make large inductive steps, saying things like "If we can make formations resembling lunar craters with plasma guns, lunar craters must be caused by plasma discharges." That's the fallacy of hasty generalization; not using inductive logic.

Grad students are flocking to the www.thunderbolts.info site and Thunderbolts.info is doubling the BAUT Forum's traffic in unique vistors as of December.
Stop beating that dead horse. I already debunked that logic here, near the end of this post:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=423972&cid=22123690 [slashdot.org]

You're not paying attention to what's happening. [pln2bz likely implies other various EU-buzzword-toting articles in the popular press, as in his other Slashdot posts.]
I do indeed pay attention to "what's happening", and it is not at all that "mainstream scientists" are starting to realize that we live in an "Electric Universe" in which gravity is a requisite side-effect or manifestation of electromagnetism, comets discharge to neutralize billion-volt potential differences, stars run on unobservable plasma influxes, and humans learn that their ancestors watched in awe as giant electrical arcs zapped Earth and planetary orbits re-configured before their eyes, forming craters that look suspiciously like mechanical impact craters. A person would have to squint really hard to see any of those things

Why are *grad* students flocking to the Thunderbolts site?
The first mention of that I've seen in your usual haunts was made by you yourself, in the last few days or weeks. How quickly you've decided that just stating it as fact is good enough, even though you're the one who made that generalization in the first place, and you don't exactly have any motive to remain unbiased in the matter, and the logic you used was highly suspect: (big inductive leap: big traffic, pln2bz propaganda on Slashdot, Slashdot read by engineers/grad students, EU only has a foothold among fringe elements of IEEE, anybody reading Thunderbolts must agree with what they read, ergo grad students are reading Thunderbolts and agree with it). I saw your numbers and your argument, and it floats like a bowling ball.

What do they say about trolls? (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150758)

It is absolutely ASTOUNDING that you look past the fact that the conventional theories don't understand 95% of the universe! Time and time again, I have to help you guys perform a reality check. Understanding just 5% of something in any discipline other than astrophysics typically means that you do not understand it at all! You guys think that you have created this theory that is above reproach -- even by people who work within plasma laboratories. What you've actually done is confused the masses and induced them to become apathetic about space!
What can we conclude from your track record of comments on this SD thread?

You have made many assertions.

Others have questioned, or challenged, or rebutted, your assertions.

Of the assertions challenged, where independent verification or validation seems possible, I think the best that could be said is that you were unable to answer the questions or address the challenges.

More disturbing, however, is that most direct questions or challenges or rebuttals have gone unanswered, unaddressed.

Instead, it seems you simply ignore the challenges etc; sometimes you change the topic, sometimes you make even wilder assertions, and so on.

What do they say about trolls?

May we expect to see some science soon then? (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153344)

Grad students are flocking to the www.thunderbolts.info site [...] You're not paying attention to what's happening. Why are *grad* students flocking to the Thunderbolts site?
Perhaps it will be upgraded, to allow discussions involving equations, numbers, and stuff (such as those found in papers by Alfvén), say by permitting LaTeX coding?

Perhaps some of those new folk will get around, soon, to writing papers which they submit for publication in relevant peer-reviewed journals?

Perhaps some of them will try to explore - quantitatively - the numerous internal inconsistencies in "EU theory"?

Perhaps the text which accompanies the TPODs will start to contain fewer gross inaccuracies?

Or maybe they flock there for light relief?

TOTALLY off-topic (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22162364)

Cosmic variance (Daniel Holz', JoAnne Hewitt's, John Conway's, Julienne Dalcanton's, Mark Trodden's, Risa Wechsler's, and Sean Carroll's blog) has just been upgraded to support LaTeX! (http://cosmicvariance.com/2008/01/22/succumbing-to-latex/ [cosmicvariance.com] )

Comment 8, by Julienne: "This has to be the most fabulously geeky comment thread, EVAH!"

Then read comment 10, by Sean ;-)

Re:Galactic Birkeland Currents (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150062)

Apparently not enough to motivate you to actually investigate why they think that, but enough to make you email a mythologist for his opinion on modern physics

"If occasionally, historical evidence does not square with formulated laws, it should be remembered that a law is but a deduction from experience and experiment, and therefore laws must conform with historical facts, not facts with laws." -- Immanuel Velikovsky

Re:Galactic Birkeland Currents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22150666)

You're making my point for me, but you don't realize it.

Velikovsky said that in an attempt to justify throwing out any and all scientific observations that he found inconvenient for his translations. You, Talbott, Cardona, Ginenthal, and the other latter-day Velikovskians/Saturnians say the same thing. It's real hubris to say that one's own bunch of subjective interpretations of *other* subjective, human interpretations recorded by said humans as mythology are more reliable windows to understanding the physical universe than are actual, physical observations or theories consistent with those observations.

It's similar hubris for self-labeled "plasma physicists" (and even the occasional *actual* plasma physicist) to claim that a superficial resemblance of a few plasma effects they've seen in their work or models they've done on computers supersede the observations (of which they are largely unaware) of astronomers, cosmologists, astrophysicists, geophysicists, meteorologists, and planetary scientists, and moreover the theories developed in those fields that are consistent with the phenomena said "plasma physicists" misinterpret, misunderstand, or just don't know about. Throw in a few outright fabrications, and you can convince a few space enthusiasts to buy your books and buzz around your website's forum making home videos and doing home-research, and even to proselytize all over the internet. The EU crew is creative, energetic, and in a few ways even charismatic, but they're just as often combative and shrill, and in terms of what they call "new" and "science", wrong.

What Velikovsky said about scientific laws was correct, but like the present generation he made the mistake of thinking that his translations and interpretations of mythology were unequivocal fact. If you don't examine the situation closely, Earth really does look like the center of the universe and the center of all gravity, and perhaps like one possible interpretation of certain pieces of mythology is the only possible one and therefore incontrovertible physical reality.

You've been at this for at least the better part of two solid years; why don't you take a break and read some real science, maybe just to see what the fuss is about? I can't promise you'll like it, but you can give it a shot. In response to your Slashdot sig, reality will be no less fascinating in your eyes; just different. You'll have the satisfaction of knowing a *lot* more about the universe than before, and consequently about where the true gaps in understanding lie and better how to investigate them.

Re:Galactic Birkeland Currents (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22156838)

It's real hubris to say that one's own bunch of subjective interpretations of *other* subjective, human interpretations recorded by said humans as mythology are more reliable windows to understanding the physical universe than are actual, physical observations or theories consistent with those observations.

more reliable? Not quite. You'd like it if it were true though, huh? We merely admit human testimony into the set of data that we're willing to consider. We do it far more carefully than you imagine, and it *never* supercedes direct observation.

You guys ignore virtually the whole lot of human writings and stories for thousands of years! And why? In part, because it doesn't make sense within your paradigm. When traditional astronomers see things that they don't understand in mythology, rather than question their own assumptions, they assume that the writings are garbage. That's a far stronger case for hubris. An honest, objective group of people would try and listen a little bit harder. At this point though, there is no longer *any* evidence of historical value that can induce you to question your own mathematics because you've worked yourself into such a frenzy over ridiculing the field of comparative mythology that you're no longer being rational about it. It doesn't even make sense that people would just write down garbage for thousands of years. You guys have over-reacted to a concern about accuracy in mythology by over-emphasizing mathematics. You could control that, so you decided it was a better way to try to understand the universe. It makes sense, but what you underestimated was the power of human psychology to penetrate the process of peer review. Your math eventually *became* both your mythology and scripture when you persisted in your astrophysical assumptions as you observed evidence that they were being violated. You guys made the mistake of listening to some of the loudest voices in the room (like Sagan and Lyell). When people like Tesla and Velikovsky came by and proposed ideas that were far ahead of their time, the group's natural response was to squash or ignore them out of fear. Your favored set of theories over time became less physical and more metaphysical until now things like dark energy and dark matter are required to keep the thing moving forward. When the spiral arms of galaxies were observed to rotate unusually, everybody should have taken a very deep breath and reconsidered the fundamental force of the universe. It was never done. You should not be surprised when you eventually realize that the younger kids are not interested in the horribly stitched-together beast that you're offering them. It's just not an effective tool for understanding our surroundings anymore. Astrophysics is a complete and utter mess! We don't even get clear and concise explanations for what gravity and mass are!

The ancient people are your relatives in a sense. And you are essentially shitting on their graves, to be honest. It's the ultimate form of not listening to your parents! In a sense, it's all juvenile behavior.

It's similar hubris for self-labeled "plasma physicists" (and even the occasional *actual* plasma physicist) to claim that a superficial resemblance of a few plasma effects they've seen in their work or models they've done on computers supersede the observations (of which they are largely unaware) of astronomers, cosmologists, astrophysicists, geophysicists, meteorologists, and planetary scientists, and moreover the theories developed in those fields that are consistent with the phenomena said "plasma physicists" misinterpret, misunderstand, or just don't know about.

I really wish you'd drop this Anon format for writing. I want to observe your reaction the day that astrophysicists observe in extreme detail a planet being born from a star, or a star fissioning into two stars. That day will mark a new humble beginning for you. You won't be able to deny it any longer. Either you will experience a mid-life crisis, or you will come back here and apologize to me. That recent image of the hot red dwarf planet in front of the star was a very close call for you guys. You guys came dangerously close to accidentally witnessing the end of your paradigm. So long as you play this dangerous game though of not honestly assessing what is being said, and yet still arguing against it, you should expect to have to do some very intense soul-searching one day. I'm not a bad guy though. I'll accept your apology when the day comes. The thing is this: I understand *you* far better than you understand me, and I'm not hateful towards people like you. But we do need to iron all of this mess out soon. This country cannot sustain the lack of innovation that you guys have plunged us into for much longer. It's going to seriously affect our quality of lives soon. What it means to be an American has been changed over time. We used to be so innovative! But when open-mindedness became a requirement to keep the innovation moving forward, it appears that that caused a situation for many of you.

perhaps like one possible interpretation of certain pieces of mythology is the only possible one and therefore incontrovertible physical reality.

Statements like this only make sense to those who've not observed the data. You'd have better luck arguing that the translations were maliciously contrived to make a case because the number of consistencies in the ancient stories and writings appear to be far more than you realize.

Mess? What mess? (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22157916)

Your favored set of theories over time became less physical and more metaphysical until now things like dark energy and dark matter are required to keep the thing moving forward.
I can't speak for AC (though I don't know how you managed to see inside her head sufficiently deeply to know what set of theories she favours), but I am puzzled by what you wrote here (my emphasis).

Would you be kind enough to elaborate on what you mean by "physical" and "metaphysical"? In your reply would you mind including at least a brief mention of gluons, colour charge, the chirality of neutrinos (and anti-neutrinos), and quarks?

Oh, and as usual, some pointers to where an SD reader may review alternative explanations to the wide range of excellent astronomical observations that underpin dark (non-baryonic) matter and 'dark energy'. Quantitative explanations, of course.

When the spiral arms of galaxies were observed to rotate unusually, everybody should have taken a very deep breath and reconsidered the fundamental force of the universe. It was never done.
Hmm, I guess you've not heard of Moti Milgrom, or Jacob Bekenstein, or R. H. Sanders, or S. McGaugh, or ... I'm talking about MOND, of course, which fits your bill perfectly ("reconsider[] the fundamental force of the universe") (http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ssm/mond/ [umd.edu] ).

One more categorical pln2bz assertion busted.

Astrophysics is a complete and utter mess!
Is that - solely - because you don't understand it?

And if I declare, with two exclamation marks, and in all caps ASTROPHYSICS IS A SUBLIME SYMPHONY!! does that trump your lower case, one exclamation mark claim?

We don't even get clear and concise explanations for what gravity and mass are!
Hmm ... have you read a textbook on the General Theory of Relativity? If you have, I'm astonished to read that you think it is not a "clear and concise explanation for what gravity [is]". If you haven't, I'd be happy to make some recommendations. I'm even more astonished when you consider how well it has passed every experimental test to date ("The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment" http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0510072 [arxiv.org] ).

I'll grant you that the Higgs mechanism is somewhat less than clear and concise, in terms of explaining how particles acquire (or have) mass ("a relativistically invariant quantum fluid" requires quite a bit more math than non-Euclidean geometry), but it is still a remarkable proposal. Perhaps this year or next will see the first announcements of experimental results confirming (or not) the consistency of this proposal with the universal reality.

One more thing: your comment reads like you somehow expect that the universe should be (easily) comprehensible to at least a large subset of Homo sapiens individuals. Where does this expectation come from?

Oops, I missed this (hot red dwarf planet)! (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22158146)

That recent image of the hot red dwarf planet in front of the star was a very close call for you guys.
Are you, perchance, referring to 2M1207 and its planetary companion (http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/press-rel/pr-2005/pr-12-05-p2.html [eso.org] )? If not, then what?

Re:Oops, I missed this (hot red dwarf planet)! (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22159646)

Yes, that's the one. If you look carefully at the image, you can see that there is still a slight connective filament between them in the infrared. That suggests that the red dwarf has yet to achieve an electromagnetically stable orbit -- which probably means that the expulsion did not occur all that long ago. I'm not asserting certainty here; this is my own personal speculation based upon what I already know. But I think that I am right here.

It is possible that the connection between these two bodies pulses in a rhythmic EM fashion. You guys erroneously assume that this pulsing is the result of a rotating lighthouse type of effect in spite of the rapid rates that have been observed with the pulses. Instead, pulsars are just bodies in space that are trying to achieve electromagnetic stability, and for whatever reason, an electromagnetic resonance erupts. Plasmas in space can become highly electrical. It shouldn't surprise you though really. We've observed the Sun and Earth connect with huge magnetic ropes by now. Your true problem is your willingness to just explain it away as a secondary force, and your refusal to consider that bodies in space can and do acquire and trade electrical charges -- oftentimes violently. You're seeing it right here, although you will surely deny it since it does not appear in your textbooks.

I'm not interested in hearing the garbage that you've been taught, btw. I'm educating you on what the EU says here. If you want to change the nature of the conversation to interpreting observations through the context of EU, I'd be glad to oblige you on that. The EU does a pretty good job of explaining nearly all of our modern observations in a conceptual fashion (certainly far better than you realize) without resorting to dark matters or forces. But I will *never* respond to your constant barrage of condescension, and I will expect a sincere apology from all of you jackasses when the day comes when you guys observe firsthand a planetary expulsion or stellar fissioning (I am a technical writer btw, and I will be writing about all of this down the road). To be honest, I'll be laughing because you guys are really destroying your own careers. You're letting this small group of scientists hoard some of the greatest discoveries ever made just because you can't man-up (or woman-up in your case, eh?) to the fact that you may be wrong. Humans are defined by our fallibility. There's nothing about mathematics that changes that. It's our psychology that's screwed up and that screws up our theories.

The telescopes are getting there. We don't have much longer to wait. I'm betting on 2 or 3 years, which is why this is so exciting. If I were you, I'd start putting away some savings. There will come a day when you are not so proud of the APOD in APODNereid, and you will suddenly find that you're famous -- but not in the way that you imagined. I don't have much sympathy for you though by now. You've been so horribly rude to me and others over time that you actually don't even deserve the footnote that you will get in the history of science. You've really wasted a lot of our time trying to get the word out, and you've generated a lot of excuses for people here on Slashdot to continue to believe in your fairy tale gravity-centric universe. Slashdot, the company, has to go along with what their user base wants to hear about. But, it's people like you that convince the user base to ignore alternative cosmologies. You really have no idea how much of a negative impact you have upon science's forward momentum. You think that your education and position somehow insulates you from the possibility of being wrong. But you truly do deceive yourself, Nereid. Your story will be that of a Greek Tragedy because I'm quite sure that this stuff is going to completely unravel right before our eyes. The paradigm change is going to result from a sequence of images, and it will be very dramatic when it occurs. Such is the nature of a catastrophic universe; it typically appears quiescent and stable, and then one day, somebody will be pointing a telescope in the right direction at the right time, and the images will not be explainable within the conventional paradigms.

Does anyone have a mirror? (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160038)

pln2bz,

I estimate that you have alleged at least 100 times (here in SD) that (many of) those who respond to your SD comments do not take the trouble to even read the material you present, much less understand it.

May I present a mirror, for your consideration?

Just a few days ago, in comments on another SD story (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=423972&cid=22125844 [slashdot.org] ), I suggested that you had misunderstood that image, not least because you did not know how it was created. I gave you a link, to a website dedicated to explaining what the instrument (NACO) is and how it works.

Did you try to understand it? or even bother to read it?

We can conduct an unscientific test. The hypothesis is that you did not read the material; the test is whether a subsequent comment by you contains objective evidence to that effect. Let's see ...

If you look carefully at the image, you can see that there is still a slight connective filament between them in the infrared. That suggests that the red dwarf has yet to achieve an electromagnetically stable orbit -- which probably means that the expulsion did not occur all that long ago. I'm not asserting certainty here; this is my own personal speculation based upon what I already know. But I think that I am right here.
Not 100% clear-cut, but pretty close, don't you think?

Somewhat disheartening, if not entirely unexpected ... do you realise just how much credibility you lose with a readership like Slashdot's? How much of a hypocrite you appear?

I mean, if someone takes the trouble to try to explain to you how an astronomical image is created, and points out that your interpretation is inconsistent with how the image was created, and you not only ignore them, but (seem to) continue to assume it shows certain features which are, in fact, merely artifacts, why should any reader not be highly sceptical of other things you write?

Here's the straight dope: the two objects in the "image" are completely consistent with POINT SOURCES! More specifically, the two sources have 2D fourier transforms that are statistically the same as point sources, given the estimated PSF (which PSF has also been measured, during the engineering run prior to NACO being signed over to the scientific team).

Re:Does anyone have a mirror? (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160452)

Did you try to understand it? or even bother to read it?

Are you just now figuring out right now that I don't read your messages?

You appear to not realize that you are interjecting into my own conversations. Normally, that would be considered to be rude, but you come from BAUT, where it's normal to be rude to people that you disagree with.

Got it. (Thanks for being honest) (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22161958)

In future, when I respond to your comments, I shall state explicitly that the intended audience does not include you.

With that preamble over ...

Down here, at the bottom of the ocean of air, distant "point sources" in the optical (or visible) and near-infrared wavebands are smeared out by what astronomers call "seeing". You notice this as the twinkling of stars in the night sky. Assuming radial symmetry*, the 1D distribution of intensity of such a seeing smeared point source looks like a Gaussian, but isn't (it's a Kolmogorov distribution, as the primary source of distortion is turbulence). Adaptive optics is a term used to describe a range of techniques to deconvolve the seeing, to recover the "beyond the atmosphere" 2D distribution of source intensity; the most ambitious of these aim to deliver diffraction limited images, using phase conjugation and laser guide beacons to "measure and compensate for turbulence-induced phase aberrations in three dimensions".

The image cited by pln2bz was taken by NaCO (NAOS-CONICA, Nasmyth Adaptive Optics System Near-Infrared Imager and Spectrograph), attached to one of the VLTs (http://www.eso.org/instruments/naco/index.html [eso.org] ). Note the following comment: "Publications based on data obtained with the NACO instrument should quote the following reference papers: Lenzen, R. et al. 2003, SPIE 4841, 944 and Rousset, G. et al. 2003, SPIE 4839, 140." Clearly, pln2bz did not bother (perhaps he felt his SD comments did not constitute a "publication"); he's in good company, as his source was undoubtedly TPOD (or similar), which also did not bother.

Why does this matter?

Fundamentally, it goes to the issue of "evidence", which EU proponents (not only pln2bz, not only on Slashdot) get so worked up about.

As I said above, the two objects in the VLT/NACO image are statistically the same as two point sources.

One could, as pln2bz has done, claim to see something other than two point sources.

However, one could also claim that there's a face in the image (example1: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070421.html [nasa.gov] ; example2: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990315.html [nasa.gov] ), or a planet with rings (example: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap071023.html [nasa.gov] ), or even invisible pink fairies ... there is no objective method (that I know of) to choose between these claims.

Amusing aside: some of you have seen this "neutrino image" of the Sun (or similar) http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980605.html [nasa.gov] , http://elvis.phys.lsu.edu/svoboda/superk/sun.gif [lsu.edu] . At least one prolific EU proponent interpreted this to show that neutrinos are emitted from the surface of the Sun, not its core! {insert ROFL smilies here}^

Concerning BAUT

There is a very long thread there, on the Electric Universe (nearly 2400 posts! http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainstream/28596-electric-universe-model.html [bautforum.com] ), as well as instructions to all those who wish to post on the topic, and links to all other EU-related threads (http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainstream/45529-read-first-re-posting-electric-universe-ideas-here.html [bautforum.com] ).

In addition, this thread may be of interest to readers of this comment: http://www.bautforum.com/about-baut/55206-reflections-year-half-s-experience-baut-s-atm-section.html [bautforum.com] .

* which, strictly speaking, holds only at the zenith, and only over a very narrow wavelength range
^ if you don't understand why this is so funny, or how absurd that interpretation is, just ask (or follow this: http://elvis.phys.lsu.edu/svoboda/superk.html [lsu.edu] )

Re:Got it. (Thanks for being honest) (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22164076)

Nereid, you are a very silly person. If the arguments were truly that simple, I'd actually agree with you completely. But, time and time again, your efforts are directed at convincing people who don't know any better that there is no workable cosmology being presented. You act as if there is only one possible cosmology that can possibly be created and that has evidence that supports it. No matter how you spin it, many very intelligent people have backed the plasma-based cosmology approach. For you to spin this as if it is my own garage invention is condescending to your supposed audience. I can tell that you have not read the materials because you consistently assume that the arguments are less powerful than they actually are. You do not see the big picture of what is being argued and why it is logical. You don't see the actual argument because you're unable to read what it says without disagreeing with it. The irony is that you'd do a far better job of arguing the case if you actually read the materials. But the thing is, I think you can't possibly stand to read them. And if you read them, you might "accidentally" see the logic to it, and your objections to it would give way to more nuanced feeling towards it. It's only by keeping yourself ignorant of the meat of the arguments that you can maintain your intense opposition to it. You're basically no different than the regular person in this regard. And in my own mind, it makes you less qualified to do what you do. The public expects people like yourself to maintain a level of objectivity. When they finally come to understand how you guys have been conducting yourselves, they are not going to like it one bit. You guys don't appreciate the rate of change that can happen within science. You've become very comfortable with the situation that is going on right now for no other reason than because it has been going on for quite a while. But the telescopes are getting better. The gravy train is almost over for you guys. I recommend milking it for all it's worth while you still can.

You just don't get it, and you will not until you see it happening with your own eyes. Until that very moment, you will fight like a rabid animal.

Be careful what you wish for (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22168564)

there is no workable cosmology being presented
Indeed, there is no alternative, scientific cosmology being presented.

When you get a chance, would you mind providing links to material on any such alternative that addresses (quantitatively, of course) the following:
* why the night sky is dark
* the Hubble relationship (i.e. the relationship between observed redshift and distance, for galaxies, quasars, GRBs, etc)
* the primordial abundance of light nuclides (H, D, 3He, 4He, and 6Li)
* the SED (spectral energy distribution) of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) - i.e. its 2.73K blackbody spectrum
* the CMB dipole
* the CMB angular power spectrum
* the observed large-scale structure of the universe (here's an example: http://www.sdss.org/news/releases/20031028.powerspectrum.html [sdss.org] ).

You act as if there is only one possible cosmology that can possibly be created
No need to read the APODNereid tea leaves ... I'll say it directly, loudly, and clearly: I think the number of possible cosmologies (to use pln2bz's term) is certainly greater than one. Further, only a few decades ago at least two possible cosmologies seemed consistent with the relevant astronomical observations and experimental results (today there's only one, that I know of).

many very intelligent people have backed the plasma-based cosmology approach
I thought you'd've given up using this kind of argument; you've certainly been beaten up for it many times, here in SD.

Once upon a time, many very intelligent people backed the "Earth is flat" idea too, and the élan vital approach. The universe cares not one jot what people, intelligent or not, back.

I can tell that you have not read the materials because you consistently assume that the arguments are less powerful than they actually are.
Right, like the one about magnetic reconnection has never been observed in a laboratory (URL:http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=426528&no_d2=1&cid=22144874>), or the solar wind continues to accelerate even as it passes the planets! (http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=426528&no_d2=1&cid=22148864 [slashdot.org] ), or Arguing that space must be charge neutral on some scale is tantamount to declaring that we've reached a conclusion on a metaphysical question (http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=358211&cid=21392029 [slashdot.org] ).

your objections to it would give way to more nuanced feeling towards it
If you care to read my previous SD comment, in this thread, you'll see what I'm planning to do. In a nutshell, I will examine - using standard methods found in science - "the plasma-based cosmology approach"; specifically, the extent to which it is internally consistent, independently verifiable (or can be independently validated, if you prefer), and key characteristics of the methods used to classify things as "facts" (and "evidence"). I intend to use an empirical approach.

the telescopes are getting better
Indeed they are!

Let's do a little "what if" experiment, shall we?

Imagine you were granted 1 million seconds of time on the Hubble Space Telescope, using any instruments (or combination), and spread out over as much as a year. What would you use your time to observe?

Imagine the same, on any (or combo) of the VLTs (http://www.eso.org/public/astronomy/teles-instr/whitebook/ [eso.org] ).

On Spitzer (http://ssc.spitzer.caltech.edu/ [caltech.edu] ), XMM-Newton (http://xmm.vilspa.esa.es/ [vilspa.esa.es] ), any of the ATNF (http://www.atnf.csiro.au/ [csiro.au] ), the upcoming SKA (http://www.atnf.csiro.au/projects/ska/ [csiro.au] ), or any other planned telescope (or combo) of your choosing.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170894)

You're acting like a child. Nobody can *force* you to consider something, and people who behave like that are brats! And even if somebody was to show you the things that you ask for, you'd just argue with them ad infinitum over really silly things. The point is that you no longer value objectivity. You view astrophysical interpretations as if they are statements of facts. Like much of the remainder of your own discipline, you frequently ignore the huge number of assumptions involved within these theories. This is not an effective strategy for getting at the truth.

Our discussions here are completely meaningless because ultimately, one of us is right. A reasonably intelligent person can tell that the way to figure it out is to first read what is being said. And a reasonably intelligent person can see that you value feeling and sounding right over actually being right, because to prioritize *being* right, a person has to be willing to admit that they can be wrong -- even on the big questions. And they have to *try* to be objective and lead an honest personal investigation into the theory before they actually start to argue against it. You totally skipped the first step!

Not being honest with yourself in your profession creates a dangerous situation for yourself. You could wake up on any particular morning and come to find that a new paradigm-changing observation has been made, and that your paradigm lost out. The chances are far higher than you realize. That you guys think you are seeing evidence for a primordial explosion 14 *billion* years ago is so silly when you can't even explain simple things like the temperature distributions for planets. If you can't explain why Saturn has a hot north pole, for instance, then why in the world are you guys trying to argue about something that supposedly happened 14 billion years ago? The CMB arguments are so much weaker than you accept. Observations of stellar fissioning or planetary expulsion will turn them into a relic virtually *overnight*.

I'm going to go back to more productive things for now. I'll leave you with one last thing. All that a person can be asked for in life is to be warned of a great, horrible mistake that they're making. I've offered you a warning. That you refuse to consider it with an open mind is your own problem. When the day comes and those observations of fissioning or expulsion come in (and trust me, they certainly will), you have to realize that your entire discipline will be "shaken up", and people will be evaluated on an individual basis. Those who can be demonstrated to have caused the greatest harm will be let go first. Nereid, you need to make sure that you are not causing *harm* to human progress. This should be a greater concern to you than sounding and feeling right. It's what the public will care about when they start counting up all of the money that you guys have wasted, and when heads start rolling!

Really, truly the last word this time? (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173148)

you'd just argue with them ad infinitum over really silly things
(my emphasis)

But how to decide what's a "really silly thing" and what's the tiny thing - that you discover by being pedantic - which ushers in a revolution in physics? (an example, from the early years of the 20th century: http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2008/01/light-deflection-at-sun.html [blogspot.com] ).

IM(vH)O, getting a working arrangement on how to decide if something is "evidence" or not, on how to analyse ("interpret") it, on how to construct and test hypotheses, and so on is essential for there to be any meaningful dialogue. And you'll see that this is included in my list of To Dos, in an SD comment of mine from earlier today.

You view astrophysical interpretations as if they are statements of facts. Like much of the remainder of your own discipline, you frequently ignore the huge number of assumptions involved within these theories. This is not an effective strategy for getting at the truth.
Pot, meet kettle; kettle, meet pot.

Your comments contain much unintended humour; this is a great example! :clap:

I seem to remember someone writing several SD comments about an interpretation of an "image" from the NACO instrument attached to one of the VLTs. When it was pointed out to this writer that they had misunderstood what the image was - in essence ignoring the huge number of assumptions involved with it - was the writer grateful for the opportunity to learn more about how astronomical images are obtained?

Indeed, ignoring the long chains of logic, inextricably tied to physics theories, that are part and parcel of every modern astronomical observation is "not an effective strategy for getting at the truth".

You could wake up on any particular morning and come to find that a new paradigm-changing observation has been made, and that your paradigm lost out
And do you know what I'll do on that day*? Go out and celebrate!

I would guess that a majority, perhaps a large majority, of astronomers (astrophysicists, cosmologists, planetary scientists, ...) would do the same.

For myself, I don't have to guess, because the future is already in my (personal) past. HINT: I think you've read about high-z SNe, haven't you?

And a reasonably intelligent person can see that you value feeling and sounding right over actually being right, because to prioritize *being* right, a person has to be willing to admit that they can be wrong -- even on the big questions.
No need to read tea leaves; I'll say it straight: APODNereid can be wrong. In fact, I'll go one better, and point you to a comment I made, that you responded to, where I said exactly that: "You know, I could well be wrong about this." (http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=426528&no_d2=1&cid=22145892 [slashdot.org] )^

you can't even explain simple things like the temperature distributions for planets
Why do you think it's a simple thing? How do you determine what's "simple" and what's not?

Again, this goes to how your alternative approach to science differs from that of real scientists (more later, no doubt).

[threats of fire and brimstone, of dismissal and beheading, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings]
Oh dear, you've got me quaking in my (low-heeled, today) boots! Oh woe is me!!

Does that mean that you won't indulge me - and readers of this SD comment - in outlining what you'd observe if you were given a million seconds of HST, Chandra, Spitzer, SKA, JWST, VLT, Gemini, MAGIC, AMANDA, LIGO, LOFAR, etc 'telescope' time?**

* well, not that day anyway; more likely a year or two later, once the independent verifications and validations had come in, and the subtle aspects overlooked (deliberately or not) in the first papers had been explored and laid to rest.

^ turns out I wasn't wrong, but I could have been.

** astute readers will notice that some of these are, or will be, permanently ON, and that all data collected is available to pln2bz already, to analyse any way he sees fit. One gold star if you can tell one such.

Re:Galactic Birkeland Currents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22162042)

We merely admit human testimony into the set of data that we're willing to consider. We do it far more carefully than you imagine, and it *never* supercedes direct observation.
You've said yourself that you find the interpretive mythology results as convincing, and that it bothers you not to include their arguments in your efforts to gain a beachhead among "mainstream" folks and readers of technically-oriented forums like Slashdot. Further, I am not *imagining* at all the level of care "you" take in doing it. Thanks to investigating the Saturnian Configuration, its arguments, and its proponents' methods, I understand the process. The fact remains that no amount of consistency, and no amount of caution and minimalism in revealing any such consistency, reveals facts consistent outside its own. The results of which you speak aren't even deterministic! The similarity between one possible interpretation of mythology and a certain subset of physical phenomena remains circumstantial and subjective.

You guys ignore virtually the whole lot of human writings and stories for thousands of years!
We also ignore tales of bigfoot, Loch Ness creatures, shamanism, witchcraft, sorcery, and serpents eating the sun around the time the moon passes by.

In part, because it doesn't make sense within your paradigm.
Physical reality, the kind we can observe, is not a paradigm that can be shaken. (Perhaps "can be " is actually "should be, except perilously," to account for the fanciful interpretations of some.)

When traditional astronomers see things that they don't understand in mythology, rather than question their own assumptions, they assume that the writings are garbage. That's a far stronger case for hubris.
Inspection of physical reality trumps speculative, symbolic, and subjective interpretations of symbols. Symbols are not themselves ideas, let alone physical phenomena; they represent ideas, we know not what. We cannot discover absolutely the original mapping between those symbols and their ideas, because the social context that provided that mapping is not itself mapped to our own! Claiming it does is a long and weak inductive step; a leap of faith. I would expect more people analyzing mythology and ancient language to be more adept with semiotic concepts than I see in EU progenitors' work.

The Kronia group and company have presented hundreds of pictures in their writings, videos and on their websites claiming they are evidence of ancient humans witnessing "plasma discharges" and a sky much different from the modern one, and they are all of the kind "see, doesn't this thing look somewhat like that thing?". That's very subjective analysis that relies heavily on analogy, and gives any being with a propensity for pattern recognition (e.g. humans, for instance) false positives.

You'd have better luck arguing that the translations were maliciously contrived to make a case because the number of consistencies in the ancient stories and writings appear to be far more than you realize.
(You probably meant to say "are far more than you appear to realize.")

The mythological arguments are ultimately of the kind "see, don't these two translations have similarities, and therefore mustn't we favor them?". That's two examples of rash thought: first the acceptance of abstract and abstruse similarities as significant, and second the "appeal to salience" used to justify favoring particular interpretations. The level of consistency with which your "the number of consistencies in the ancient stories and writings [is large]" is arbitrary, and the number of consistencies equally so.

It isn't arrogant, disrespectful, dishonest, vindictive, or non-objective to rely for scientific knowledge on writings we know record the inspection of physical reality (i.e. the scientific record) and *not* on writings whose original meaning is lost and now subject to interpretation. Respect for ancestors doesn't have any bearing on physical reality, and the deference you advocate to these interpretations is an appeal to authority and anathema to science. Whether you're just trying to bludgeon/guilt your opponents into considering mythological "testimony" or you actually believe we should so defer, you should drop that argument as it will not float with anyone who understands what puts the "scientific" in "scientific knowledge".

At this point though, there is no longer *any* evidence of historical value that can induce you to question your own mathematics because you've worked yourself into such a frenzy over ridiculing the field of comparative mythology that you're no longer being rational about it.
Objective physical history, yes; subjective linguistic and mythological history, no. This is being eminently rational, not irrational. "This point [in time]" is no different from any other point in time (in the development of scientific knowledge) in this regard.

It doesn't even make sense that people would just write down garbage for thousands of years.
You're demolishing a straw man. I'm certain it wasn't garbage to the writers since they saw fit to write it down, but we don't know exactly what thoughts they were representing in their writings. Talbott, Cardona, Acheson, van der Sluijs, et al. have come up with (more or less) one possible explanation: plasma arcs almost literally large enough to fill the sky, celestial objects reconfiguring before their eyes, etc. It doesn't mesh with our inspection of physical reality though, and that's why it gets discarded by "the mainstream".

You guys have over-reacted to a concern about accuracy in mythology by over-emphasizing mathematics.
Galileo, Einstein, Gould, Maxwell (and Heaviside), Feynman, Hubble, Watson/Crick(/Franklin), Thorne, Greene, and Witten all made their mathematical contributions to science without straining against mythology, based on inspections of nature. Fundamentally, mathematics does not get under- or over-emphasized. What you probably mean to say is that you think there is too much "reliance on analogy" in science (how ironic!). Mathematical speculation is indeed just speculation, but mathematics is the language of science; it is what allows science to have meaning, and in a deep way it is what gives meaning meaning. Science is, precisely, creatively constructing mathematical models of what we know and that we think will tell us about things we don't know, and then seeing if we are right.

If anybody has misjudged EU's reliance on mythological interpretation for corroboration, it is because EU proponents (certainly Talbott and Cardona!) sound that card very loudly. You have only decided to soft-pedal it as an expedient argumentation tactic; not because you don't find it compelling.

...what you underestimated was the power of human psychology to penetrate the process of peer review.
Peer review is so powerful precisely because it provides a reductionist path to knowledge in spite of human psychology. Your ideas get weeded out by peer review, and you attribute that to a false positive by a broken system rather than a true positive found by a working system. The success of peer review in other areas of human knowledge is already evidence that the system works, and you have to claim there's an exception in the case of astro-cosmo-geo-planetary-space science. That's very weak.

Your math eventually *became* both your mythology and scripture when you persisted in your astrophysical assumptions as you observed evidence that they were being violated.
In examining your ilk and their ideas, it appears to me that they have an easy dismissing science because they significantly lack mathematical training. Consequently, they also fail to realize the subtle and non-fatal ways in which any observations have forced revision of mathematical models, and often think that observations which do not contradict their hated mathematical models in fact do. I can only think of two exceptions off the top of my head, and they do not (for the most part) claim that mathematics dazzles or distracts anyone from anything, because they can at least understand the mathematics and that they do not pose a problem.

You guys made the mistake of listening to some of the loudest voices in the room (like Sagan and Lyell).
It is irrelevant to everyone whether they were loud or quiet, because that has no bearing on correctness. "Us guys" didn't need to listen to anybody at all to know what they were saying was right; "us guys" would only need to listen to them to know that they were saying something in particular. Sagan's treatment of Velikovsky was unfortunate, but Velikovsky no less wrong because of it.

Tesla and Velikovsky came by and proposed ideas that were far ahead of their time
"Wrong" guesses are not "ideas ahead of their time"; they are simply wrong. Velikovsky's ideas and his approach in general are not being vindicated today as you so naively think; far from it. Tesla manipulated electricity in clever and often novel ways, but he didn't prove that stars are electric any more than Birkeland created a "star in a lab" with his terella.

When the spiral arms of galaxies were observed to rotate unusually, everybody should have taken a very deep breath and reconsidered the fundamental force of the universe. It was never done.
The explanation proposed for that problem also neatly solved other seemingly unrelated problems. If you were familiar enough with mainstream astronomy or cosmology, or even as familiar with the historical development of science as you often claim (and think?) you are, you would know this. If you had an education in these physical sciences, you would realize why the solutions work, the reasons they are necessary and not speculative, and the significance of the fact that they *do* work.

We don't even get clear and concise explanations for what gravity and mass are!
This coming from the one who emailed Thornhill and was satisfied by his word-salad-but-no-math answer that gravity might, in ways still unimagined, be an effect and consequence of electromagnetism, and that mass isn't what we think it is. The EU camp's explanation is, oh, they don't even have one. The mainstream accepted explanation is a testable hypothesis that is consistent with the rest of observation. Your complaint is petty and one-sided.

[pln2bz thinks there will be a] day that astrophysicists observe in extreme detail a planet being born from a star, or a star fissioning into two stars
First off, they're called astronomers; get over the nebulous, nameless image of an enemy you cal "the astrophysicists". As for your conviction that these phenomena exist in the first place: you'll always have hope. If we don't see any in the next year, you'll say wait longer. If we go a hundred years, you'd say wait longer. If we go an indefinitely long period of time, even so far as to examine many, many stars at distances measured in AU or km, you could still hold out hope. It's denying the inductive step. "That recent image of the hot red dwarf planet in front of the star" was not a close call in any sense! It was certainly no closer a call for "our paradigm" (you must mean "everyone who doesn't think EU is right") than it was for the EU conept: some other concept equally supported by that "image" and as exclusionary to EU as EU is to "our paradigm" could make the same claim. In fact, I'll bet that somewhere someone has done just that.

I'm not a bad guy though. I'll accept your apology when the day comes.
Oh? What about this:

I want to observe your reaction the day that astrophysicists observe in extreme detail a planet being born from a star, or a star fissioning into two stars. That day will mark a new humble beginning for you. You won't be able to deny it any longer. Either you will experience a mid-life crisis, or you will come back here and apologize to me.
That's either shadenfreude or a longing for recognition and reverence. You want to say, at some level, "I told you so!" and rub it in. Either that, or you're not a "bad" (petty) guy, but not both. For comparison, I don't care what your reaction will be upon realizing the problems with EU and just why "mainstream" science works. I don't even want to know; what I want is for you to stop spreading disinformation, infatuation with bogus logic and bogus science, dimming and diluting human knowledge, and damaging the scientific enterprise with sensationalism. The same goes for every member of the Kronia clan, and every other lackey-proselytizer; their energy should be spent on human knowledge instead of blundering through fringe science due to a lack of understanding.

So long as you play this dangerous game though of not honestly assessing what is being said, and yet still arguing against it...
Drop it already. Not everyone who investigates the Electric Universe stuff is convinced by it. The only thing left for you to do is claim that if someone doesn't agree with you, then they didn't *actually* "drink the Cool-Aid", and that they just don't want to believe.

I understand *you* far better than you understand me
More hubris, just as unfounded. I think you stuck that little word "far" in that phrase in an effort to belittle me (and by extension all your opposition) and to be aggrandize yourself. To address the assertion you make: no, you don't. Your efforts at psychology are limited to self-serving concepts like "pseudo-skepticism" (whose ill-foundedness I believe I expounded in an earlier discussion), "pseudo-pedagogy" (same discussion, I think), and a conviction that anyone who disagrees with you does so only for psychological reasons because you find your own appraisal of reality to be infallible. You use the same arguments over and over, and when they are rebutted you fail to adapt them or drop them or even articulate them in new ways, despite your stated goal of convincing others of the factual, actual, and truthful nature of your position.

But when open-mindedness became a requirement to keep the innovation moving forward, it appears that that caused a situation for many of you.
You have only the illusion that one must be open-minded in order to adopt the EU position. Instead, you are actually so closed-minded that you do not see how it is in error and are unwilling to try to remedy this. You see materials labeled "black hole something-something" or "relativistic something-something" and think it's not worth understanding because you don't like high densities and high gravity and have a pathological distrust for anything you can't literally touch with your own hands and see with your own eyes. Some things are too small or too far to see or touch, but we can discover their nature with the aid of our ingenuity and our instruments.

This is no mystery. (2, Funny)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143960)

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas - a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is fused into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. Scientists have found that the sun is a huge atom-smashing machine. The heat and light of the sun come from the nuclear reactions of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and helium.

Re:This is no mystery. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145312)

You completely missed the entire point. The mystery is why the corona is so much hotter than the layer under it.

Re:This is no mystery. (1)

Ymerej (12280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148910)

Mod this up! +1 TMBG

Re:This is no mystery. (1)

ostomator (581465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22151952)

Yo-Ho its hot! The sun is not a place for you and me

So it's just Alfven magic? (1)

cs668 (89484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144052)

I'll bet Keebler's are pissed.

Sound? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144234)

Maybe I should quit getting my info from television documentaries, but on the episode of the Universe (Astronomy program on the History Channel which debuted last year) dealing with the Sun, they stated that the likely cause of this was that the sound waves generated by the nuclear nature of the sun were causing enough pulsing/friction within the sun's atmosphere to superheat it compared to the surface.

Is this still a viable theory? (or was it ever one?)

Re:Sound? (2, Interesting)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144600)

The confusion with the Sun's inverse temperature situation (the corona is around 100x hotter than the Sun's surface) follows naturally from the theory that the Sun has a thermonuclear core, which originated around the time that we discovered that it *could* be the mechanism responsible for the tremendous energies we observe. But beware because the issue is by no means completely settled. Any theory that attempts to explain the inverse temperature problem must also grapple with the fact that the solar wind continues to accelerate even as it passes the planets! There is no satisfying explanation for that one to date without consideration of an electric field, and the standard solar model miserably fails in explaining it. And this is no minor matter either because the solar wind, taken as a whole, constitutes the largest structure in our solar system, the heliospheric current sheet. Contemplate the implications of that for a moment: astrophysicists do not understand what is causing the motions of the largest structure in our own immediate neighborhood!

Within that context, any certainty about what the Sun is or how it operates has absolutely no basis in the facts that we know to date. An honest assessment that strips out all of the *assumptions* about the Sun that we've accumulated over the years will result in a much wider range of possible theories. The unfortunate fact is that the field of astrophysics currently only studies one such possibility out of the entire set. They have essentially worked their way into a corner, and we get theories like magnetic reconnection to explain the inverse temperature problem. But in the process, they completely ignore the work of many great scientists like Nikola Tesla, Kristian Birkeland, Hannes Alfven and Ralph Juergens.

Mark my word: we will hear more about Nikola Tesla as the years move forward. It appears that Tesla's experiments with impulse currents led him to accidentally discover how to intentionally create either a z- or a theta-pinch (which is the fundamental force for creating planets and stars within plasma-based cosmologies). Tesla discovered that the pinch created a stinging pressure wave that could penetrate both glass and copper Faraday cages! He then discovered that he could pulse-width modulate these explosions at thousands of times per second to eradicate the harmful human effects associated with the electrical explosions. It appears that Tesla essentially discovered a mechanism for longitudinal EM waves. He correctly noticed that the force of these waves tends to outpace the compression wave (the electrons). He had no idea how dramatically true this is though, and the information is largely lost to this day. But it is being slowly rediscovered.

If you have doubts about any of this, then I urge you to read the very compelling materials offered on the Thunderbolts Forum by user junglelord ...

http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=933&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15 [thunderbolts.info]

Once fans of Nikola Tesla wake up to the fact that his findings make total sense within the Electric Universe framework, all hell is going to break loose!

Re:Sound? (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145094)

the fact that the solar wind continues to accelerate even as it passes the planets!
Er, no.

This is just as inaccurate as your earlier comment about magnetic reconnection.

If you - or any other reader - are interested, I could provide you with references to (recent) papers published in relevant peer-reviewed journals ... that describe what the dozen or so space missions have found, via in situ observations.

The rest of your comment goes downhill from here ... (chapter and verse to follow, in case any SD reader hasn't yet cottoned on to just how cranky (shall we say) these ideas you keep pushing are).

Re:Sound? (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145558)

Wow, Nereid. That appears to be your first outright lie. The solar wind does indeed continue to accelerate even as it passes the planets. Ionic velocities for both hydrogen and oxygen at the Earth are around 2 million mph, whereas oxygen travels at around 1 million mph and hydrogen at half of that at the upper corona.

Evidence, please! (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145892)

You know, I could well be wrong about this.

Would you be kind enough to give references to papers published in relevant peer-reviewed technical journals that support your original assertions?

Please, only papers which report results from space probes that have sampled the inter-planetary medium, over significant time-frames.

Re:Evidence, please! (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146880)

It's actually non-controversial enough that we can just look it up in wikipedia. There are multiple references to the unsolved acceleration problem there ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_wind [wikipedia.org]

There is more discussion here, with an attempt to explain it ...

http://www.obspm.fr/actual/nouvelle/jun05/solarw.en.shtml [obspm.fr]

I pulled my data from "The Electric Sky", and they reference Peter Gallagher's conference on the subject, "Seminar on Observations and Modeling of the Corona and Solar Wind - Big Bear Solar Observatory". They appear to have published a slide from his presentation., which is where I got the numbers from.

Re:Evidence, please! (2, Interesting)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148128)

Neither of your links says that the solar wind is accelerating as it passes Earth. Both say that it accelerates near the Sun (within a few solar radii), which *is* non-controversial and even predicted by Parker's original work. What Parker doesn't explain is the magnitude of the acceleration (see Kivelson and Russel's book, for example), but you're denying that, aren't you?

Can you please bother to read your own links closely enough to verify their relevance? Simply posting a random link and saying, "here's my evidence" may look good at first glance, but it's really a very poor way to make a case.

Re:Sound? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148886)

Forget the peer reviewed papers. You can Google for graphs from SOHO and Voyager of solar wind speed. Guess which spacecraft measures it as going faster?

(the answer is SOHO)

Not that that will convince the nutjobs, of course.

Yaawwwwn. (1)

Cutie Pi (588366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145108)

Great. Another Electric Universe rant.

Re:Yaawwwwn. (0, Offtopic)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145698)

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 4, 474-485 (2000)
DOI: 10.1177/0146167200266006
© 2000 Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Jeer Pressure: The Behavioral Effects of Observing Ridicule of Others
Leslie M. Janes
University of Western Ontario

James M. Olson

University of Western Ontario, jolson@julian.uwo.ca

Two experiments examined "jeer pressure," which is a hypothesized
inhibiting effect of observing another person being ridiculed. Jeer
pressure was expected to induce conformity to others? opinions;
concern about failing or standing out; and conventional, uncreative
thinking. In both experiments, participants observed videotapes
containing either other-ridiculing humor, self-ridiculing humor, or
nonridiculing or no humor. Participants then completed tasks that
assessed conformity, fear of failure, and creativity. Results of both
experiments showed that participants who viewed ridicule of others
were more conforming and more afraid of failing than were those who
viewed self-ridicule or no ridicule. Creativity was not influenced by
the humor manipulation. Experiment 2 also included a lexical decision
task to assess whether salience of potential rejection mediated the
obtained behavioral effects. Salience of rejection mediated the
effects of humor on fear of failure but not the effects of humor on
conformity.


http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/26/4/474 [sagepub.com]

Re:Yaawwwwn. (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147142)

What, exactly, is your point there? Are you suggesting that because you're being laughed it, you're right?

Re:Yaawwwwn. (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148256)

Cue the famous Carl Sagan quote: "But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

He seems to be suggesting that ridiculing him in this case is evidence of a greater conspiracy to 'control' the spread of these ideas.

I think the paper reference is at least interesting from another viewpoint - that astroturf marketers commonly use this strategy to control opinions of company products, and competing company products.

Re:Yaawwwwn. (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150648)

But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
I'm an intelligent clod you insensitive clown!

pln2bz must be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22149656)

pln2bz must be busy doing "damage control" at an outbreak of Badmouthing Electric Universe In A Public Forum. Normally a snide one-liner like that would get you about 1000~3000 words of pedagogical ranting about "history of science" and "philosophy of science", laced with factual errors and logical fallacies, and the occasional grain of truth whose significance he fails to use to his own advantage. See his comment history on Slashdot or other forums for copious examples.

I would like, however, to discourage readers from making such snide and condescending remarks as these just egg him on to no benefit. The issues he raises are valuable case-studies of how philosophy, knowledge, logic can be misused and misconstrued. I hope that anyone who has something to discuss will do so, but I don't think badgering does any good.

The article he linked you was dug up and posted by a forum member at the Electric Universe discussion forum, Thunderbolts.info. The basic gist of their argument is that psychological myopia alone can and probably does explain why nobody gives their story credence, under the operating principle that they are clearly and beyond reasonable doubt right. This view is widely held by the contributors in that forum, and of course by the site's purveyors who are the originators of the Electric Universe concept and have written several rather credulity-straining books on the subject.

Re:Sound? (0, Offtopic)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145234)

If the Electric Universe framework and Tesla's rumoured theories (little to nothing was published, leaving rumours and eyewitnesses as the main source of information) are correct, they'll stand up to testing and be accepted as valid.

If they're not, they'll wither and die leaving only a handful of crank scientists supporting them.

Re:Sound? (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145794)

If the Electric Universe framework and Tesla's rumoured theories (little to nothing was published, leaving rumours and eyewitnesses as the main source of information) are correct, they'll stand up to testing and be accepted as valid.

If they're not, they'll wither and die leaving only a handful of crank scientists supporting them.

You are quite correct, but I urge you to look closer at the linked-to material to get a better picture of the level of detail that in fact persists about Tesla. It is more than we have all been assuming for some time now. Tesla ran high-voltage impulse currents down thin wire filaments, and this induced electrical explosions that included pressure waves. This is pretty much a textbook explanation of the "pinch" effect. The greatest surprise is that the pressure waves had no problem moving through a copper Faraday cage. And this cannot be inconsequential or any minor matter.

Re:Sound? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152746)

Why has no one replicated this?

Re:Sound? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148908)

As far as I know the electric universe "theory" violates your prediction.

It's only supported by a handful of crank non-scientists. Many of whom are Slashdot readers.

Re:Sound? (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22149878)

Actually, you're supporting my prediction.

The Electric Universe has very little behind it in terms of hard science, and so falls by the wayside. It's in good company there, sitting next to phlogiston, the ether and other hypotheses. Maybe some good will come of it, but it's unlikely given that it's in opposition to theories we can actually test and disprove/prove.

Re:Sound? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150192)

No no, see, you predicted that only a few crank scientists would support it. I don't know of any crank scientists who support it, only the regular garden variety cranks.

I'm not sure the electric universe has ANY hard science behind it. As far as I can tell it's an idea (the electric force plays a dominant role on solar system scales and up), that is constantly twisted around to explain any observation. Oh, there's a heft dose of "mainstream scientists are idiots" as well.

An good example is our friend a few posts up who insists that the solar wind continues to accelerate as it passes the planets. A few weeks ago I had the same argument with another electric universer who insisted that all our space probes show this to be true. So I posted links to the solar wind velocity graphs from SOHO and Voyager that show the opposite is true.

Re:Sound? (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150464)

My apologies, I phrased my original post poorly. I agree with everything you've said here, and I wondered about that magically accelerated solar wind as well.

Standard solar model, Bahcall, etc (2, Informative)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145826)

What powers the Sun?

Here is a good overview, written in 1996, of the standard solar model (SSM) (http://www.ap.stmarys.ca/~guenther/Level01/solar/what_is_ssm.html [stmarys.ca] ).

In a nutshell, the SSM matches a wide range of relevant observables, from the Sun's mass, its 'sound spectrum' (helioseismology - the solar equivalent of seismology), its radius, its energy output, the constancy of that energy output (time periods of years to billions of years), its (estimated, inferred) composition, and so on*.

In 1996, there was one, very annoying, exception - the flux of neutrinos from the Sun seemed to be way too low!

This very nice article by John Bahcall^, on the Nobel website, tells the story of how 'the solar neutrino problem' was solved (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/articles/bahcall/index.html [nobelprize.org] ; it turns out that the original author of the the 'MSW' neutrino oscillation theory was actually Bruno Pontecorvo ... but as he published it, in Russian, in a physics journal that had essentially no circulation outside the (then) USSR, in the 1950s, he missed getting the glory for it).

There is, as SD readers know from pln2bz's comments, an alternative view of what powers the Sun: giant electric currents throughout the galaxy. As far as I know, this 'Electric Universe' idea (EU) has no basis, either in terms of quantitatively matching any significant subset of the relevant observations, or in terms of the underlying theory (ask an EU proponent about how much experimental support there is for the EU idea of what supports the Sun against gravitational collapse, to take just one example; or to characterise the current which powers the Sun, in terms of charge carriers, flux, speeds, and so on, and how well this characterisation matches what inter-planetary probes such as Ulysses or Galileo or Cassini have detected).

* If any reader is interested in reading more on this, right up to the latest ApJ papers, just holler!
^ Bahcall was one of the greats of 20th century astronomy; although he didn't share the Nobel for discovering the solution, his decades-long work on the problem (including his encouragement of Davis, who did get the Nobel) was crucial to that solution.

Re:Standard solar model, Bahcall, etc (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145908)

As far as I know, this 'Electric Universe' idea (EU) has no basis, either in terms of quantitatively matching any significant subset of the relevant observations, or in terms of the underlying theory (ask an EU proponent about how much experimental support there is for the EU idea of what supports the Sun against gravitational collapse, to take just one example; or to characterise the current which powers the Sun, in terms of charge carriers, flux, speeds, and so on, and how well this characterisation matches what inter-planetary probes such as Ulysses or Galileo or Cassini have detected).

What people on Slashdot need to realize is that Nereid refuses to actually read what the Electric Universe says from one of the books that have been written on it, and yet viciously maintains that it cannot possibly be true. Caveat Emptor!

Published papers, please! (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146832)

What people on Slashdot need to realize is that Nereid refuses to actually read what the Electric Universe says from one of the books that have been written on it
I do? How do you know? Did I state that I refused to read some book? Did I state that I have not read some book?

and yet viciously maintains that it cannot possibly be true. Caveat Emptor!
I do? Can you back up that assertion with SD comments I've written?

Or, perhaps, all I have said is that
a) there are (AFAIK) no published papers, in relevant peer-reviewed journals, that support the {insert quoted EU assertion here}; and
b) if there are, would you, pln2bz, please be kind enough to provide references to such papers (so I, and any other SD reader who may be interested, can read them and apply whatever critical thinking seems apt).

Oh, and it's APODNereid, if you please.

your mission (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22150108)

If any reader is interested in reading more on this, right up to the latest ApJ papers, just holler!
Since your relatively recent arrival amid these savage Slashdot forums, you seem to have made a point of rebutting junk science in general, and investigating pln2bz's (among others') junk science in particular. Those are admirable goals, and on behalf of myself and I suspect others who read Slashdot I say welcome and glad to have you.

I know it takes time to do this, and it's a bother, but listing reliable links in comments (and quoting: even better) is an efficacious debate tactic and moreover a thorough demonstration of correctness. pln2bz does this all the time; he has an enormous list of URIs organized for his ready use in online propaganda efforts and a (small!) library of EU- and Velikovskian books at hand. You've perhaps seen his very statement of this fact in a post on either Slashdot or another forum (ahem), or probably inferred as much anyway. I think you would be prudent to at least meet this propaganda with fact by listing, say, at least one reliable paper on a subject, or at least pointing readers to or adsabs or even arXiv.org (being careful about the last, as there's some unfortunate copy there sometimes). pln2bz' organization and unshakable fanaticism are, in my experience, rare even among the Electric Universe hobbyists, and studying them and their ideas suggests that anyone trying to clean up their mess will at least need some level of organization and doggedness.

(ask an EU proponent about how much experimental support there is for the EU idea of what supports the Sun against gravitational collapse, to take just one example;
You say you've read through many/most/all of pln2bz' comments on Slashdot, and it seems you've also investigated his (and others') posts on his favorite Electric Universe forum and support group. Perhaps you recall that he was asked at least twice about the sun, gravity, and planetary orbits. Naturally these are damning questions that EU doesn't address (hah! yet, as we shall see), so he appealed to Wallace Thornhill for help. (In fact, it may have escalated to Thornhill after even the imaginative and sharp-tongued David Talbott, who usually answers pln2bz' Big Physics questions, couldn't come up with anything. Otherwise Thornhill seems rather quiet; I interpret this to mean even he can't imagine an answer to everything, and pln2bz and others just shrug it off as "Thornhill is a man of few words" verbatim.) Thornhill's response was a classic, jaw-dropping "EU is right if there's new physics" moment:

(from http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=358211&cid=21423145 [slashdot.org] )

It is important to note that this disallows any assumptions about the internal density and composition of celestial bodies to be made from gravitational perturbations!
Yes, Thornhill wrote a response to a Slashdot comment that flatly denies the nature of gravity, the nature of mass, and (as both a cause and effect of these denials; circular...) our ability to measure either via observation. pln2bz's central scientific philosophy was exposed when he said, almost verbatim: "Thornhill could still be right even if he doesn't know the math behind it." Since that comment, pln2bz and others on the EU fansite have spoken even more readily of unifying gravity within electromagnetism, and thus of anti-gravity, power projection, and the like. They have not one clue of how to formulate this as a quantitative law, and flatly deny relativity and most/all observations that support it.

I've seen the same pattern all over their goings on. I would encourage bystanders curious about the farcical nature of Electric Universe to investigate pln2bz' previous comments, check out his links, and pay special attention to the authors Charles Ginenthal, Wallace Thornhill, David Talbott, Don Scott, Dwardu Cardona, Anthony Peratt, Halton Arp, and Ralph Jurgens (to name most of the big ones); note that most are mythologists, most are not accredited scientists of any kind, and not a single cosmologist or astronomer or astrophysicist or even space scientist among them. Also, the concepts of catastrophism, Saturnian Configuration, Electric Universe, plasma cosmologies, electric comet, electric sun, Velikovskian catastrophism, and comparative mythology.

My hobby (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154496)

Thanks for the kind words, AC! :-)

Each internet discussion forum has its own rules, and within those rules, a wide range of writing styles and delivered content are possible.

There's also the effectiveness of what's written, in terms of the writer's (or writers') intentions and goals.

"Electric Universe" (and plasma universe, plasma cosmology, etc) ideas are all over the internet, with prolific proponents in a great many discussion fora. For some reason, such proponents seem to be particularly active in fora (or sections of fora) devoted to science, and within science to physics, astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology. At least, that's my perception.

On those fora which have rules to enforce their avowed science-based scope and purpose, it seems EU proponents are, by and large, no longer active ... either because they've been banned (for persistent rule violations) or can no longer make their case.

This is not surprising, given the disconnect between the content and presentation of EU "theories" and the methods etc of the relevant sciences.

pln2bz has been writing in SD for some time now, and it seems that most of those who bother to respond to his comments have already concluded just how non-scientific the content of those comments is. This is, no doubt, partly due to the numbingly repetitious nature of his comments; it's as if nothing of significance has happened in "EU theory" for the last decade or three - certainly no new papers.

Worse, pln2bz doesn't even seem to modify his faves (magnetic reconnection, the Deep Impact mission, Peratt's galaxy simulations, solar wind acceleration, to name just a few) in light of the often very strong critiques of these, from other SD writers. In one way, this makes rebuttal easy - simply re-write the last rebuttal, to improve its impact with SD readers.

The most curious thing to me is the extreme reluctance to say anything about how, from the POV of "EU theory" as the harbinger of an alternative, science (astronomy, physics, etc) should be done: is there a role for independent verification and validation? for independent review? for (public) disclosure of methods and data? What is the role of hypotheses (or equivalents)? of models (whether quantitative or not)? of theories (in whatever form)? How is the legitimacy (or otherwise) of testing to be determined? And so on.

To me, this extreme reluctance to even acknowledge the pertinence of these (and related) questions is a good indication that the proponents of this stuff know - in their hearts - that honest answers would greatly damage their cause, possibly fatally.

So, why bother? I'm still trying to answer that question.

How to more effectively address EU comments (1)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22167554)

Being a first draft on how to be more effective in addressing Electric Universe (Plasma Universe, etc) comments, posted in threads on stories in the Science section of SD.

Empirically, such threads stay open for comments from 4 to at least 10 days; anyone have insights into how to accurately predict this lifespan?

Empirically, you get ~3500 characters of text before "Read rest of this comment" kicks in (unless your score is high).

SD itself gives guidelines on how a comment's score is arrived at (it's a dynamical process).

So in the Mechanics of Writing Department, -=*write early, write briefly, write often, and write well*=- would seem to sum it up.

On to the content.

Here's a provisional list of EU faves (I'm leaving out mythology, for now):
* magnetic reconnection
* solar wind accelerates past planets
* electrical neutrality
* spiral galaxy rotation curves
* plasma physics, per laboratory experiments
* Alfvén and Birkeland hero worship
* Z-pinches

So in the Prepare your URLs Department, an SD comment on each of these would be very handy.

Now for my fave: the Electric Universe method of research and investigation.

Essentially nothing seems to be available, in terms of an outline of what the core attributes of this alternative form of science is supposed to be, though leokor's comment is quite helpful (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=388752&cid=21836590 [slashdot.org] ).

However, we can formulate hypotheses on what these attributes are, and test them using the body of SD comments from EU proponents as input data (in addition to the prolific pln2bz and leokor (1 comment only), I have found iantresman (also 1 comment only) and mgmirkin; any reader know of others?).

So in the Turn a Mirror on Them Department, some research into what the ideal world of Electric Universe 'science' looks like is called for (stay tuned).

Of course, anyone reading this is welcome to add comments!

(not even 2k characters; should be fine)

Re:Sound? (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148864)

"the solar wind continues to accelerate even as it passes the planets!"

No, it doesn't. I looked it up once before in an argument with an electric universe guy and I'm too lazy to do it again, but you can find the velocity of the solar wind as measured by SOHO and also by Voyager with a quick Google. I found an average value for Earth's neighborhood as well. Guess what? Fastest at SOHO, slower at Earth, slowest as measured by the Voyagers. That is, the solar wind slows down as it "passes the planets." The solar wind DOES accelerate within a few radii of the sun's surface but it certainly does not accelerate farther out.

The charged solar wind / accelerating solar wind idea isn't even the least bit logically consistent even if it didn't disagree with EVERY observation, both of the actual speed of the solar wind and its composition.

Another strike for the electric universe.

Re:Sound? (1)

the4thdimension (1151939) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144772)

Don't know if this is still viable but I do remember seeing the same show. Perhaps it was just that, a theory... but they sure did a good job of presenting it as known fact. In any event, this article seems to refute the whole "sound theory for inverse temperature of the Sun".

So no, you are not out of your mind... it was definitely presented as theory.

Re:Sound? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144912)

I didn't see the show, but there have been a number of theories as to the cause of the high temperature in the corona over the years. Alfven waves is a perennial favorite that has generally lacked data-support and/or a strong model to show how it happens. They're not actually sounds waves, but are a magneto-sonic -- generalized forms of sound waves in plasmas.

Another Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22145082)

The sun gets its energy from pulling matter in. That is why it is much hotter on the surface.

Hoyle advocated this and I am not sure why no one is researching it.

He did? (2, Interesting)

APODNereid (1203758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145332)

Hoyle advocated this
He did?

In which of his publications may one read more?

I am not sure why no one is researching it
Perhaps because there's no evidence of any net motion of matter in to the Sun? There is a solar wind, and it flows outward; the Sun is losing mass (matter), not gaining it (the occasional comet or asteroid it eats nowhere nearly makes up for what it loses in the solar wind).

"The Secret of Sun's Heated Atmosphere" (1)

jediknil (1090345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146788)

Must be because of the MySQL purchase?

Oh wait...

Isn't it obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22146878)

The reason for all of this is God! It's just a form of intelligent design, put there to make ./'ers freak out and have boring discussions about nothing anyone cares about :)

proof (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147112)

Clearly this is proof the Suns core is only 80 degrees and that Chuck Norris will return there to control the galaxy upon death.

Convection? (1)

ganesaraja12 (963631) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147186)

Forgive my naivete but when I was a little boy I thought the sun was hotter due to convection. Hot things rise and are less dense. Cold things go down. Except this occurs with steroids on the sun.

Re:Convection? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153462)

First of all, convection only works in the outer 30% of the Sun (measured radially). Interior to that, photons carry the energy out.

Second, convection only works if the exterior is cooler than the interior. Thermodynamically, heat doesn't move "uphill". So the fact that the corona is hotter than the photosphere (and hotter than most of the solar interior as well) isn't explained by convection at all.

It's more comlex, by necessity - Re:Convection? (1)

myvirtualid (851756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153570)

Hot things rise and are less dense. Cold things go down. Except this occurs with steroids on the sun.

But remember that there is no gravity at the centre of the sun, just as there is no gravity at the centre of the Earth. (OK, strictly speaking, there is micro-gravity.)

Assume that the sun is pretty much a fluid (and ignore viscosity, or anything viscosity-like, such as electromagnetic attraction or repulsion in a plasma). This means that denser bits will sink to a point because the closer to the centre they get the less force there is pulling them to the centre.

(As an aside, I can imagine that the centre of the sun would be a wild place with all these layers and bands and blobs of materials of different densities and electromagnetic properties bumping about, without gravity to order them... ...perhaps like a superheated liquid that has not yet begun to boil, but when it does, WATCH OUT!)

Finding the "no gravity at the center" part hard to imagine? Imagine that the centre of the Earth is a cavity (with a nice 20C temperature, 1 ATM pressure, etc., so that you can survive this thought experiment). Imagine that you are at the centre of this cavity. How much gravity is there on you? Well, the dominant factor would be the planet all around you. OK, so far so good. But every bit of that planet pulling you in one direction is almost entirely cancelled out by the bit 180 degrees opposite. Despite unevenness in the Earth, in the end, you would be simply free floating. At least to several decimal places.

At the surface, gravity is a big deal and the "dense things fall" part works. But the closer they get to the centre, the less they are pulled toward the centre. And as their fall is slowed by the all other material around them, they stop. Or, more to the point, gravity becomes less important than nuclear pressure, which will tend to push things toward the surface again.

More or less. FWIW. YMMV. IANAL. IANAA. Etc.

Re:It's more comlex, by necessity - Re:Convection? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154806)

Yes, but if you get much outside the very center of the Sun, gravity kicks back in again. More massive stars than the Sun have convection zones that go deep into the interior. It's a question of where the thermal gradient exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate.

Newsflash: The SUN "Very Hot" (1)

rossy (536408) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147994)

Sun : Very Hot, May cause personal injury.
Sun : Warning, do not look directly in sun with remaining good eye.

Pffft, c'mon this one was easy. (1)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153766)

Heat rises, duh.

;)
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