Troll On

Mar. 25th, 2014 08:55 am
shipperx: (Crichton - Still Have My Dignity)
So, I saw this posted on ONTD:



The producer of the movie “Noah,” says he is proud of the fact that he’s taken a story inspired by {the Bible} and turned it into something so secular.

Director Darren Aronofsky called his movie “the least biblical biblical film ever made,”




Which in turn reminded me of reading this yesterday (there were some interesting  comments to it as well).   Excerpt:




There are few databases in science more comprehensive than weather. Mention of floods and droughts appear in ancient hieroglyphics, engraved symbolically on everything from clay pots to stone-tipped spear shafts, and can be inferred by images on cave walls millennia earlier. Temperature and pressure data were written down starting the very day those first crude instruments were created. {...} Which brings up a soon-to-be-released motion picture and the depiction of a notion discarded long ago by scientists. The flood of Noah.

Could it have happened? Could it rain so hard and long on a terrestrial world that the tallest mountains were under water? Sure, it could ... just not on Earth and especially not in the last few thousand years. There are plenty of reasons why, starting with the fact that there's not enough water held in the atmosphere at any given time and, unless the planet's air was converted into a thick, broiling steamy version of Venus that would sterilize the entire surface of land and sea alike, it's not possible for our atmosphere to hold even a tiny fraction of the necessary water vapor required to produce thousands of feet of rainfall.

We know this. It's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of well-established and tested physical properties of heat, pressure, water and vapor. Not to mention some simple geometry.

Bear in mind, the water has to come from somewhere besides the ocean. The reason sea levels are what they are is a combination of how much liquid water exists on Earth and the fact that the ocean basins are the lowest parts of the planet. No matter how that liquid is distributed initially, it will quickly fill up the lowest points: water runs downhill.

The Earth is so close to round that we can use a circle or globe to stand in for it when figuring out how much water it would take to reach the summit of various mountains. We'll spare you the math and provide the simple answer: over half a billion and a billion cubic miles of additional water would be needed to submerge the peaks of the more modest mountains in Noah's region or the Himalayas, respectively. At any given time and averaged over the entire planet's surface, the atmosphere can hold ... mere inches of the wet stuff at the most.

To get our atmosphere to hold even the equivalent of a few feet of additional water, enough to raise global sea levels measurably, it would have to be very hot and very dense and composed almost entirely of water vapor. As the old saying goes, Noah would have been poached long before he could move, let alone work on a big wooden ship for 70 years. It also couldn't have come from space in the last few thousand years. An object or objects representing that volume of water would be equivalent to an icy asteroid hundreds of miles in diameter striking the planet. It wouldn't matter if it was fluffy snow, it wouldn't matter if it were super light Styrofoam—that kind of mass hitting the surface at orbital velocity would be the end of life.

If one needs a basis for legend, in this case a massive local flood, there are more likely explanations. If we presume Noah lived around 5,000 or 6,000 years ago, he would have been smack dab in the middle of the last stages of a great global warming trend caused by the retreat of the most recent glaciers. In some places weather would be chaotic, sea levels would have been rising, maybe fast enough for a Neolithic tribe living near the coast to notice in the course of a single lifetime. Myths might have sprung up to explain this, and in that cultural environment, when the inevitable flood of a lifetime came and one family managed to ride it out, it would have made quite an epic story to tell and re-tell.

All that being said, as a modern movie-going people, there's no reason to insist on perfect scientific accuracy in a film based on legend. Such criteria would eliminate virtually every sci-fi flick ever made, let alone some of the best fantasy and adventure films ever recorded...

shipperx: (Spike: It's a big rock)
Neat article from the New Yorker on the young earth Creationist wrongthink.

Excerpts:

“There’s experimental or observational science, as we call it. That’s using the scientific method, observation, measurement, experiment, testing,” he said during the debate. “When we’re talking about origins, we’re talking about the past. We’re talking about our origins. You weren’t there, you can’t observe that…. When you’re talking about the past, we like to call that origins or historical science.”

In other words, Ham was saying that there is a fundamental difference between what creationists call the “historical sciences”—areas of study, like astronomy, geology, and evolutionary biology, that give us information about the early Earth and the evolution of life—and other sciences, like physics and chemistry, which appear to be based on experiments done in the laboratory today.

{...} In the first place, science doesn’t involve merely telling stories about history. If it did, scientific explanations might not have any claim to a higher level of veracity than religious stories. The stories that science does tell have empirical consequences, and make physical predictions that can be tested.


{...} my favorite example: the prediction of a genetic relationship between the great apes and humans via a common ancestor, as taught in many (I wish it were all) introductory biology courses. Humans have twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, where all the great apes have twenty-four pairs. If they have a common ancestor, this difference must be explained. One possibility is that two of the chromosomes in the great apes fused together at some point in the human lineage. But this makes two testable predictions. {...}. If fusion had occurred, then one of the human chromosomes should, in its central region, include the remnants of the two fused telomeres, lined up end to end. It also should have, at between roughly a quarter and three-quarters of the way along the chromosome, a structure identical to that of the centromeres of the great-ape chromosomes. This prediction, tested in the laboratory today, and not in the distant past, has been beautifully verified.



{...} think about geology, another bugaboo of the young-Earth creationists. The phenomenon of plate tectonics and continental drift has transformed the field of geology in the past fifty years. {...} continental drift is measurable today. Moreover, given the measurements and the current shape of continents, one can speculate that, in the distant past, at periods determined by measurements made using modern physics and chemistry, which allow us to model the dynamics of the crust and the mantle of Earth, the currently existing continents were fused together {...} This theory makes predictions, most notably that—like the chromosomes—one will find identical geological structures at the edges of the current continents that were once fused. Guess what has been observed?



{...}let’s consider the particles, called neutrinos, coming from the Sun—one of the great astrophysical observations of the past century. It established directly a fact that is at the basis of stellar astronomy, that the Sun’s power arises from nuclear-fusion reactions at its center. The neutrinos interact so weakly that they make it out of the Sun unimpeded after they are produced. If our ideas about the Sun’s power source are correct, each second of each day, six hundred billion neutrinos are going through each square centimetre of your body, originating from the Sun. {...}The Nobel Prize-winning observation of solar neutrinos—made by Ray Davis and his colleagues over a twenty-year period, starting in the nineteen-sixties—was performed using a mammoth tank of cleaning fluid located deep in a mine in South Dakota {...} has established that our detailed model of the Sun {...} is, essentially, correct.

But there’s the rub. The model uses the very same physics that we test with the neutrino data {...} It implies it takes almost a million years for light to get from the center of the Sun, where the energy is generated in the nuclear reactions, to the outside {...} before it escapes for us to see.  Thus, when we feel the warmth of the light from the Sun on a warm day in the summer, we are doing historical science. And, if the Sun were only six thousand years old, it wouldn’t be shining as it is while I sit here and write this in Phoenix. Nor would it be shining in Petersburg Kentucky, on the Creation Museum and Ken Ham. [/New Yorker]

shipperx: (OUAT Regina)
Interesting article at i09 regarding the DNA sequencing of an 8,000 year old skeleton found in Spain.


Excerpts:


One surprise is that the La Braña man had dark skin and blue eyes, a combination rarely seen in modern Europeans. Although today's southern Europeans tend to be somewhat darker than their northern counterparts, they are still relatively light-skinned compared with Africans, an adaptation often linked to the need to absorb more sunlight and so produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. That this feature of the La Braña skeleton might have been widely shared and not just a one-off is also suggested by recent findings, as yet unpublished but posted online in preliminary form, that other European hunter-gatherers also had dark skin and blue eyes.


And news sure to drive posters on MyFitnessPal into frothing ranting kerfuffles:

The genes involved in breaking down starch (the key nutrient in domesticated plants) were in an "ancestral" form, the team reports, meaning that hunter-gatherers were not good at digesting these foods.
shipperx: (Spike- Dru - fascination)

From Discovery.com: 
Genetics Confirm:  All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal

(Not Kidding)

If your heritage is non-African, you are part Neanderthal, according to a new study in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Discovery News has been reporting on human/Neanderthal interbreeding for some time now, so this latest research confirms earlier findings.

Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center conducted the study with his colleagues. They determined some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals, but only in people of non-African heritage.

"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," Labuda was quoted as saying in a press release. His team believes most, if not all, of the interbreeding took place in the Middle East, while modern humans were migrating out of Africa and spreading to other regions.

The ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. They evolved over the millennia mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They went extinct, or were simply absorbed into the modern human population, about 30,000 years ago.

Neanderthals possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool craftsmanship skills, so they must have not been all that unattractive to modern humans at the time.

"In addition, because our methods were totally independent of Neanderthal material, we can also conclude that previous results were not influenced by contaminating artifacts," Labuda said.

This work goes back to nearly a decade ago, when Labuda and his colleagues identified a piece of DNA, called a haplotype, in the human X chromosome that seemed different. They questioned its origins.

Fast forward to 2010, when the Neanderthal genome was sequenced. The researchers could then compare the haplotype to the Neanderthal genome as well as to the DNA of existing humans. The scientists found that the sequence was present in people across all continents, except for sub-Saharan Africa, and including Australia.

"There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals," said Nick Patterson of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Patterson did not participate in the latest research. He added, "This is a very nice result, and further analysis may help determine more details."

David Reich, a Harvard Medical School geneticist, added, "Dr. Labuda and his colleagues were the first to identify a genetic variation in non-Africans that was likely to have come from an archaic population. This was done entirely without the Neanderthal genome sequence, but in light of the Neanderthal sequence, it is now clear that they were absolutely right!"

The modern human/Neanderthal combo likely benefitted our species, enabling it to survive in harsh, cold regions that Neanderthals previously had adapted to.

"Variability is very important for long-term survival of a species," Labuda concluded. "Every addition to the genome can be enriching."


shipperx: (Spike- Dru - fascination)

From Discovery.com: 
Genetics Confirm:  All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal

(Not Kidding)

If your heritage is non-African, you are part Neanderthal, according to a new study in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Discovery News has been reporting on human/Neanderthal interbreeding for some time now, so this latest research confirms earlier findings.

Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center conducted the study with his colleagues. They determined some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals, but only in people of non-African heritage.

"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," Labuda was quoted as saying in a press release. His team believes most, if not all, of the interbreeding took place in the Middle East, while modern humans were migrating out of Africa and spreading to other regions.

The ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. They evolved over the millennia mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They went extinct, or were simply absorbed into the modern human population, about 30,000 years ago.

Neanderthals possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool craftsmanship skills, so they must have not been all that unattractive to modern humans at the time.

"In addition, because our methods were totally independent of Neanderthal material, we can also conclude that previous results were not influenced by contaminating artifacts," Labuda said.

This work goes back to nearly a decade ago, when Labuda and his colleagues identified a piece of DNA, called a haplotype, in the human X chromosome that seemed different. They questioned its origins.

Fast forward to 2010, when the Neanderthal genome was sequenced. The researchers could then compare the haplotype to the Neanderthal genome as well as to the DNA of existing humans. The scientists found that the sequence was present in people across all continents, except for sub-Saharan Africa, and including Australia.

"There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals," said Nick Patterson of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Patterson did not participate in the latest research. He added, "This is a very nice result, and further analysis may help determine more details."

David Reich, a Harvard Medical School geneticist, added, "Dr. Labuda and his colleagues were the first to identify a genetic variation in non-Africans that was likely to have come from an archaic population. This was done entirely without the Neanderthal genome sequence, but in light of the Neanderthal sequence, it is now clear that they were absolutely right!"

The modern human/Neanderthal combo likely benefitted our species, enabling it to survive in harsh, cold regions that Neanderthals previously had adapted to.

"Variability is very important for long-term survival of a species," Labuda concluded. "Every addition to the genome can be enriching."


shipperx: (Spike - Holy Crap)

From Daily Galaxy.com : 

Was Our Universe Created By A Cyclical Collision With A Parallel Universe?


String theorists Neil Turok of Cambridge University and Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton believe that the cosmos we see as the Big Bang was actually created by the cyclical trillion-year collision of two universes (which they define as three-dimensional branes plus time) that were attracted toward each other by the leaking of gravity out of one of the universes. 

In their view of the universe the complexities of an inflating universe after a Big Bang are replaced by a universe that was already large. flat, and uniform with dark energy as the effect of the other universe constantly leaking gravity into our own and driving its acceleration. 
According to this theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets. 

Turok and Steinhardt were inspired by a lecture given by Burt Ovrut who imagined two branes, universes like ours, separated by a tiny gap as tiny as 10-32 meters. There would be no communictaion between the two universes except for our parallel sister universe's gravitational pull, which could cross the tiny gap. 

Orvut's theory could explain the effect of dark matter where areas of the universe are heavier than they should be given everything that's present. With their theory, the nagging problems surrounding the Big Bang (beginning from what, and caused how?) are replaced by an eternal cosmic cycle where dark energy is no longer a mysterious unknown quantity, but rather the very extra gravitational force that drives the universe to universe (brane-brane) interaction. 
shipperx: (Spike - Holy Crap)

From Daily Galaxy.com : 

Was Our Universe Created By A Cyclical Collision With A Parallel Universe?


String theorists Neil Turok of Cambridge University and Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton believe that the cosmos we see as the Big Bang was actually created by the cyclical trillion-year collision of two universes (which they define as three-dimensional branes plus time) that were attracted toward each other by the leaking of gravity out of one of the universes. 

In their view of the universe the complexities of an inflating universe after a Big Bang are replaced by a universe that was already large. flat, and uniform with dark energy as the effect of the other universe constantly leaking gravity into our own and driving its acceleration. 
According to this theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets. 

Turok and Steinhardt were inspired by a lecture given by Burt Ovrut who imagined two branes, universes like ours, separated by a tiny gap as tiny as 10-32 meters. There would be no communictaion between the two universes except for our parallel sister universe's gravitational pull, which could cross the tiny gap. 

Orvut's theory could explain the effect of dark matter where areas of the universe are heavier than they should be given everything that's present. With their theory, the nagging problems surrounding the Big Bang (beginning from what, and caused how?) are replaced by an eternal cosmic cycle where dark energy is no longer a mysterious unknown quantity, but rather the very extra gravitational force that drives the universe to universe (brane-brane) interaction. 
shipperx: (Spike - Holy Crap)

From Daily Galaxy.com : 

Was Our Universe Created By A Cyclical Collision With A Parallel Universe?


String theorists Neil Turok of Cambridge University and Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton believe that the cosmos we see as the Big Bang was actually created by the cyclical trillion-year collision of two universes (which they define as three-dimensional branes plus time) that were attracted toward each other by the leaking of gravity out of one of the universes. 

In their view of the universe the complexities of an inflating universe after a Big Bang are replaced by a universe that was already large. flat, and uniform with dark energy as the effect of the other universe constantly leaking gravity into our own and driving its acceleration. 
According to this theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets. 

Turok and Steinhardt were inspired by a lecture given by Burt Ovrut who imagined two branes, universes like ours, separated by a tiny gap as tiny as 10-32 meters. There would be no communictaion between the two universes except for our parallel sister universe's gravitational pull, which could cross the tiny gap. 

Orvut's theory could explain the effect of dark matter where areas of the universe are heavier than they should be given everything that's present. With their theory, the nagging problems surrounding the Big Bang (beginning from what, and caused how?) are replaced by an eternal cosmic cycle where dark energy is no longer a mysterious unknown quantity, but rather the very extra gravitational force that drives the universe to universe (brane-brane) interaction. 
shipperx: (Doctor Who - 10 and rose)
Watched the HBO movie Eddington and Einstein last night while struggling with my computer (damn thing wouldn't work. It would find the wifi and would say that it couldn't find the internet. Internet provider said they could see my modem and could ping so that wasn't the problem. Ultimately (::fingers crossed:: I think it was just a cable. When I replaced it this morning it finally decided to work again).

Anyway, over all, the movie was pretty good. Plus, Tennant! That said, the movie is also an instance of if you know your history, you begin to say "Wait! That's not the way it happened!" Read more... )
shipperx: (Doctor Who - 10 and rose)
Watched the HBO movie Eddington and Einstein last night while struggling with my computer (damn thing wouldn't work. It would find the wifi and would say that it couldn't find the internet. Internet provider said they could see my modem and could ping so that wasn't the problem. Ultimately (::fingers crossed:: I think it was just a cable. When I replaced it this morning it finally decided to work again).

Anyway, over all, the movie was pretty good. Plus, Tennant! That said, the movie is also an instance of if you know your history, you begin to say "Wait! That's not the way it happened!" Read more... )
shipperx: (Doctor Who - 10 and rose)
Watched the HBO movie Eddington and Einstein last night while struggling with my computer (damn thing wouldn't work. It would find the wifi and would say that it couldn't find the internet. Internet provider said they could see my modem and could ping so that wasn't the problem. Ultimately (::fingers crossed:: I think it was just a cable. When I replaced it this morning it finally decided to work again).

Anyway, over all, the movie was pretty good. Plus, Tennant! That said, the movie is also an instance of if you know your history, you begin to say "Wait! That's not the way it happened!" Read more... )
shipperx: (Default)

Neat little article

At the center of the Milky Way galaxy lies Sagittarius A-star, a supermassive black hole, which undoes any lovely notions of light or creation: because our entire galaxy is held together by an engine of destruction.

A sixteen year study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute tracked the orbits of central stars orbiting the black hole.  Yes, sixteen years, and that's the very smallest of the dimensions involved here {...}  Of all the places in the universe, a galactic core is the most likely place for a vast star to form (and then collapse into a black hole), or for a smaller black hole to consume enough matter to become supermassive.

Once the hole passes a certain size its gravitational attraction will shape the orbits of everything it doesn't eat.  It no longer matters if it was exactly at the center before - it's made itself the center now  It seems inevitable: all black holes below a certain size evaporate, and above a certain size they just keep growing.  Wait long enough and one will turn up.  And eat you.  {...}

Galaxy 0402+379, which is kind of an unimposing name for the greatest unexploded bomb in existence [is a special case].  It doesn't have one supermassive black hole - it has two, and is thought to be the result of a truly massive collision between two galaxies, each with only the standard "one mega-ultra-huge black hole per galaxy".  A galactic collision is the second most amazingly violent event you can think of - the first will be when those two black holes eventually hit each other.  The resulting merger will release energy on an utterly unprecedented scale, and emit gravity waves which will bend spacetime itself.

shipperx: (Spike - Oh No)

LONDON — Famed mathematician Stephen Hawking was rushed to a hospital Monday and was seriously ill, Cambridge University said.

The university said Hawking has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks, and was being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the university city north of London.

"Professor Hawking is very ill," said Gregory Hayman, the university's head of communications. "He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."

Later in the afternoon, Hayman said Hawking was "now comfortable but will be kept in hospital overnight."

Hawking, 67, gained renown for his work on black holes, and has remained active despite being diagnosed at 21 with ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), an incurable degenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

For some years, Hawking has been almost entirely paralyzed, and he communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer activated by his fingers.

Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics _ a "unified theory" _ which would resolve contradictions between Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.

"A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence," he wrote in his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988.

In a more accessible sequel "The Universe in a Nutshell," published in 2001, Hawking ventured into concepts like supergravity, naked singularities and the possibility of a universe with 11 dimensions.

He announced last year that he would step down from his post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title once held by the great 18th-century physicist Isaac Newton. However, the university said Hawking intended to continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Hawking had canceled an appearance at Arizona State University on April 6 because of his illness.

"Professor Hawking is a remarkable colleague. We all hope he will be amongst us again soon," said Professor Peter Haynes, head of the university's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

___

On the Net: http://www.hawking.org.uk

shipperx: (Spike - Oh No)

LONDON — Famed mathematician Stephen Hawking was rushed to a hospital Monday and was seriously ill, Cambridge University said.

The university said Hawking has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks, and was being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the university city north of London.

"Professor Hawking is very ill," said Gregory Hayman, the university's head of communications. "He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."

Later in the afternoon, Hayman said Hawking was "now comfortable but will be kept in hospital overnight."

Hawking, 67, gained renown for his work on black holes, and has remained active despite being diagnosed at 21 with ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), an incurable degenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

For some years, Hawking has been almost entirely paralyzed, and he communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer activated by his fingers.

Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics _ a "unified theory" _ which would resolve contradictions between Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.

"A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence," he wrote in his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988.

In a more accessible sequel "The Universe in a Nutshell," published in 2001, Hawking ventured into concepts like supergravity, naked singularities and the possibility of a universe with 11 dimensions.

He announced last year that he would step down from his post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title once held by the great 18th-century physicist Isaac Newton. However, the university said Hawking intended to continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Hawking had canceled an appearance at Arizona State University on April 6 because of his illness.

"Professor Hawking is a remarkable colleague. We all hope he will be amongst us again soon," said Professor Peter Haynes, head of the university's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

___

On the Net: http://www.hawking.org.uk

shipperx: (Spike - Oh No)

LONDON — Famed mathematician Stephen Hawking was rushed to a hospital Monday and was seriously ill, Cambridge University said.

The university said Hawking has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks, and was being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the university city north of London.

"Professor Hawking is very ill," said Gregory Hayman, the university's head of communications. "He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."

Later in the afternoon, Hayman said Hawking was "now comfortable but will be kept in hospital overnight."

Hawking, 67, gained renown for his work on black holes, and has remained active despite being diagnosed at 21 with ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), an incurable degenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

For some years, Hawking has been almost entirely paralyzed, and he communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer activated by his fingers.

Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics _ a "unified theory" _ which would resolve contradictions between Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.

"A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence," he wrote in his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988.

In a more accessible sequel "The Universe in a Nutshell," published in 2001, Hawking ventured into concepts like supergravity, naked singularities and the possibility of a universe with 11 dimensions.

He announced last year that he would step down from his post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title once held by the great 18th-century physicist Isaac Newton. However, the university said Hawking intended to continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Hawking had canceled an appearance at Arizona State University on April 6 because of his illness.

"Professor Hawking is a remarkable colleague. We all hope he will be amongst us again soon," said Professor Peter Haynes, head of the university's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

___

On the Net: http://www.hawking.org.uk

shipperx: (Default)

From dailygalaxy.com:

Are Supermassive Black Holes at the Center of All Galaxies? New Research Says "Yes"

Astronomers have been studying the largest thing in the galaxy, and despite what you might think, it required very careful and accurate work to find it.  At the center of the Milky Way galaxy lies Sagittarius A-star, a supermassive black hole, which undoes any lovely notions of light or creation: because our entire galaxy is held together by an engine of destruction.

A sixteen year study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute tracked the orbits of central stars orbiting the black hole.  Yes, sixteen years, and that's the very smallest of the dimensions involved here; the black hole itself has a mass of 3.7 MegaSuns, and the unit of distance measurement in the study was the "light month".  Over such scales, entire stars are viewed as "test particles", which is a level of gigantic which only God, and now these scientists, can even conceive of.  The observations also prove that no "dark matter" is needed in the center of the galaxy - it's all regular matter.  Or at least it was until it got crunched up in the cosmic trash compactor that is a black hole singularity.

Scientists believe that most galaxies, certainly all the spiral ones, have such supermassive black holes in the center.  Several have been observed or inferred by their radiation signatures, polar jets or other massively energetic effects.  While the exact mechanics of such singularity-centrality have to be worked out, a simple picture can explain why they should be there.  Of all the places in the universe, a galactic core is the most likely place for a vast star to form (and then collapse into a black hole), or for a smaller black hole to consume enough matter to become supermassive.

Once the hole passes a certain size its gravitational attraction will shape the orbits of everything it doesn't eat.  It no longer matters if it was exactly at the center before - it's made itself the center now. Does this mean that asymmetric dwarf galaxies or globular clusters will eventually develop their own black hole pivot points?  It seems inevitable: all black holes below a certain size evaporate, and above a certain size they just keep growing.  Wait long enough and one will turn up.  And eat you.

There is another special case: Galaxy 0402+379, which is kind of an unimposing name for the greatest unexploded bomb in existence.  It doesn't have one supermassive black hole - it has two, and is thought to be the result of a truly massive collision between two galaxies, each with only the standard "one mega-ultra-huge black hole per galaxy".  A galactic collision is the second most amazingly violent event you can think of - the first will be when those two black holes eventually hit each other.  The resulting merger will release energy on an utterly unprecedented scale, and emit gravity waves which will bend spacetime itself.

shipperx: (Default)

From dailygalaxy.com:

Are Supermassive Black Holes at the Center of All Galaxies? New Research Says "Yes"

Astronomers have been studying the largest thing in the galaxy, and despite what you might think, it required very careful and accurate work to find it.  At the center of the Milky Way galaxy lies Sagittarius A-star, a supermassive black hole, which undoes any lovely notions of light or creation: because our entire galaxy is held together by an engine of destruction.

A sixteen year study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute tracked the orbits of central stars orbiting the black hole.  Yes, sixteen years, and that's the very smallest of the dimensions involved here; the black hole itself has a mass of 3.7 MegaSuns, and the unit of distance measurement in the study was the "light month".  Over such scales, entire stars are viewed as "test particles", which is a level of gigantic which only God, and now these scientists, can even conceive of.  The observations also prove that no "dark matter" is needed in the center of the galaxy - it's all regular matter.  Or at least it was until it got crunched up in the cosmic trash compactor that is a black hole singularity.

Scientists believe that most galaxies, certainly all the spiral ones, have such supermassive black holes in the center.  Several have been observed or inferred by their radiation signatures, polar jets or other massively energetic effects.  While the exact mechanics of such singularity-centrality have to be worked out, a simple picture can explain why they should be there.  Of all the places in the universe, a galactic core is the most likely place for a vast star to form (and then collapse into a black hole), or for a smaller black hole to consume enough matter to become supermassive.

Once the hole passes a certain size its gravitational attraction will shape the orbits of everything it doesn't eat.  It no longer matters if it was exactly at the center before - it's made itself the center now. Does this mean that asymmetric dwarf galaxies or globular clusters will eventually develop their own black hole pivot points?  It seems inevitable: all black holes below a certain size evaporate, and above a certain size they just keep growing.  Wait long enough and one will turn up.  And eat you.

There is another special case: Galaxy 0402+379, which is kind of an unimposing name for the greatest unexploded bomb in existence.  It doesn't have one supermassive black hole - it has two, and is thought to be the result of a truly massive collision between two galaxies, each with only the standard "one mega-ultra-huge black hole per galaxy".  A galactic collision is the second most amazingly violent event you can think of - the first will be when those two black holes eventually hit each other.  The resulting merger will release energy on an utterly unprecedented scale, and emit gravity waves which will bend spacetime itself.

January 2017

S M T W T F S
12 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 09:58 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios