Monday, August 2, 2010

A new idea on Dark Matter/Dark Energy

Well, hopefully new. I'm avoiding googling up keywords so that I can not even accidentally modify my concept with some one else's ideas. I'll do some search engine work after I post this, and see what I get, and will comment any findings.

To be clear, I came up with this idea today, 02 August 2010, while visualizing certain physics concepts in a non-traditional manner. Namely, the image of space-time as a 2-dimensional fabric, with mass as a third dimensional force that bends and warps it towards the mass. I will explain my imaging and thought process step by step, and state my final idea at the end.

The 2D model has a couple of flaws. 1) Obviously, space alone is three dimensional, and time is a fourth, so we are severely compressing dimensions in the model. 2) It implies an external 'down' direction. So I created a new model in my head. I started with a 3D grid in a cube, something like a a fictional holographic projection. When I place a mass-model (a blank, dark grey sphere) in this cube, the grid lines simply bend towards the object from all directions, bending more sharply the closer they are to the object and the more massive the object. This is a slightly more accurate representation of the space-time distortion caused by mass.

Now, do to a conversation I had earlier in the day, I imagined what effects hypothetical 'negative mass' matter would have, should it actually exist. Zero mass is all flat lines, and positive mass bends ST (Space-Time) towards itself, so negative mass might bend space away from itself.

This would cause the ST grid lines to distort away from the mass object. Two given points in the space-time fabric would move apart from each other. Which is a solid description of Inflation. Which is currently hypothesized to be caused by dark energy.

My idea replaces Dark Energy (and possibly Dark Matter, will go into details in a moment) with the existence of Negative Matter, whose existence, while not directly predicted, is very certainly allowed by relativity, and is an actual requirement for certain mathematical equations describing how wormholes might form or other forms of FTL and/or time travel. It has the same conceptual effect as Dark Energy, and fits with known mathematical physics models. This gives it an appeal of simplicity. However, some one with a heavier math background is going to have to do the number crunching to see if it fits.

How this might also replace Dark Matter: If the galaxies are being pushed apart by space-time around them being expanded by the existence of NM(Negative Matter) in large quantities, then that same NM would also be creating 'hills' around the 'valleys' of the galaxies, making a much steeper climb for any star that might otherwise be able to escape the galaxy's gravity. Thus you no longer need the gravitational effect of Dark Matter. Instead of DM(Dark Matter) holding the galaxies together, NM pushes the galaxies together. Part of the test of this idea would be to see if this can properly account for with regards to the already measured light distortions that have already been measured as part of the search for proof of DM.

This part I believe has already been speculated upon before, but if NM actually exists, it would have a certain amount of 'anti-gravity' effect. Mind you, a pound of NM would (probably) not fly off the earth's surface (at least, not very far) if left unattended, but it would flatten out ST around it a little, making everything else weigh a little bit less in the process. Much math would have to be done to be certain of the probably effects.

The concept is elegant and simple in many ways. And NM would be dark because light would automatically be bent away from it, instead of towards it. It would tend to spread out thinly, pushing away from itself as well as positive matter. And over all, be as hard to detect directly as both DM and DE.

Now to go see if I can poke any holes in this with some research.

Monday, June 21, 2010

MidAtlantic Broaband

I am blogging today after my long absence (do mostly to being away from home), in order to complain about a company that is making my business (well, military) trip one step less pleasant.

I am staying at the Sheppard Inn on Sheppard AFB. They use MidAtlantic Broadband ( ) as their internet provider, by placing individual (and already near-dial-up slow) DSL routers in each room.

Since I arrived on May 25th, I have been able to use my PS3 as my (admittedly limited in capability) internet machine. Last night this ceased to be the case. After calling the front desk, I was given MidAtlantic's service number (1-866-435-7548), and upon calling them, I was informed that gaming platforms are not supported, do to the bandwidth that gaming on them supposedly takes up. Let me count the serious flaws in this logic...

1) Most glaringly, many online gamers use PCs for their gaming (in addition to 1st person shooters, we have WoW, Guild Wars, Final Fantasy 11/14, and the many, many 'free to play' MMO games)

2) PCs draw additional bandwidth, in the form of being able to download lots of large files for a variety of purposes. For many people, if not most, the PC represents the greater use of bandwidth.

3) One can use PS3s and XBoxes as internet machines, for surfing the web.

4) If this was such a critical, and longstanding issue, how was I able to blindly use the PS3 for the past 3+ weeks?

MidAtlantic Broadband has failed in its customer service, and badly, both by providing such poor, limited service in the first place, and then further limiting it by denying service based on the platform you use.

And I believe that this has been deemed illegal, falling under the same regulations that denied phone companies the ability to deny their customers service if they did not use that phone company's phones.

And I am most definitely MidAtlantic Broadband's customer, however unwillingly, as my payment of my room also pays for my internet connection, or in this case, lack there of.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How Corn supports Evolution

Corn, aka Maize, is a rather interesting and unique supporter of modern Darwinian Evolution.

Corn literally can not exist with out human kind, and specifically, humans with agriculture. The mutation that created the original spexies known as Maize requires deliberate intervention and preparation by another species (namely, humans) in order to continue to successfully reproduce.

Which means that Maize could not have come into existence until after humans had started farming.

either it evolved from other grains at a lucky place and time, quite possibly one of a multitude with corn being the only one we know about because it's the only one that was in the right place at the right time.

Or, it was placed via some direct but undocumented visitation from an intelligent designer at just the right point. in time, and there were never any similiar genetic variants that simply died off. Yeah, that's a magic man did it argument.

"Expelled", Darwinism, and ID.

Humans being what we are, we like absolutes in 'wrong' and 'right'. It's to bad that such absolutes are often rather misleading, even destructive.

So let's start off with my view point. I'm a 'Darwinist' in the sense that I find biological evolution from a single celled organism to be the most likely explanation for the origin of life, with the assistance of some form of intelligent intervention to be very unlikely. As previously discussed, I am an atheist as well.

Now, I'm quite willing to talk and discuss and argue with people who are interested in discussing Intelligent Design in a scientific manner. Of course, the greatest challenge to that idea that needs to be overcome is the necessity for direct physical evidence of a Designer, and to the best of my knowledge, we have none. A supposedly simpler explanation for how biological mechanisms were formed is far from direct enough. Leaving it up entirely to the evolutionary mechanisms that are in place that we know exist is simpler from the view point of not adding another agent of unknown qualities into the mix. And I have a whole slew of other arguments, that would continue to distract from the focus of this post

Scientific debate of ID is hindered by two things. First, and in my mind primarily, is the section of ID that is creationism trying to masquerade as something scientific. That approach is "and of an Intelligent Designer seems possible, why couldn't it be God! and if it's God, then look at this bible..."

They screw up the real ID scientists who find aspects of microbiology to be more easily explainable if there was some one who designed it.

That combines with the animosity between science and the church (which is ironic due to many famous scientists such as Galileo and Newton being religious, but is the church's own fault for attacking the early scientists so harshly) to create a backlash against any one who mention ID in a scientific publication or paper.

This backlash is itself unscientific. Unfortunately, humans are flawed creatures, and often in vigorous defense of an ideal, we act like those whom we originally set ourselves against. Loosing tenure for the slightest mention of researching the possibilities is not a good way to run things. Let them do research, bring up their evidence and arguments, then proceed in a proper, scientific method, using critical thinking skills, to hash it all out.

Go watch Expelled. Truly, it's not as one sides as many claim. It's flawed, and I'd love to get into that in another, very long post sometime, but all pro-ID siding that it may be taking aside, the primitive blackballing of IDers that the documentary seems to expose is not something any one who considers themselves a scientist should take part in.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Downsides to equality.

Something I was reading brought this up, and it didn't take long for me to decide where I stood intellectually, even if my emotional reactions do not quite match. It has to do with violence between genders.

of course, first a disclaimer, in general, violence is the wrong solution to most problems. Moving on...

"It's never OK to hit a woman." This is part of the code of being a gentleman, or being chivalrous, or various other codes that put the man in the position of protector over the weaker woman.

Yet it is also the cry of many feminists and other groups that push equality...

the problem is, any time you specifically say something is not right to do against women, you imply it is OK against a man. and this is not equality. Saying 'it's never OK to hit a person." is at least not hypocritical.

Under circumstances where it is OK to hit a guy (say, a mugger, or attacking you with a knife, or what ever.) , it is OK to hit a woman. This is not abuse, or at least, not any more abusive than it is against guys. True equality comes with bad things sometimes too. The gentleman who would never hit a woman, is also the same guy who assumes that a woman is a delicate creature that needs protecting. It's a built in assumption to the phrase "never hit a woman".

My emotional reaction is such that I'm still going to be 10 times more reluctant to hit a woman than a man, due to my upbringing, but for true equality, any phrase that treats women differently than men needs to be dropped or modified, as we continue moving forward.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On Colonizing/Terraforming Mars

Colonizing Mars usually conjures up one of two ideas: life lived in large transparent domes, or some how terraforming mars with out massively altering the planet. The possible necessity of the first, and the difficulties in the second, arise from mars be small and cold. Which is related to how small it is as well. This combination has also left Mars with no magnetosphere to protect from harmful radiation.

So I've given some thought to a relatively radical idea on how to improve Mars in the long term, and I have some ideas on massive terraforming that would require no one be situated on the surface of mars while in progress.

You send crews out to the asteroid belt, and start aiming asteroids towards Mars (possibly through attaching small ion drives, possibly via a single push with a craft, many options are available). And you let these big space rocks hit Mars.

This is a fairly massive solar system engineering project, you are trying to dump a good chunck of the asteroid belt onto Mars, enough to build up it's gravity to a decent size. And in the process, possibly heating it up a fair bit (that's a lot of kinetic energy being transferred on each hit). This is a some what slow, and possibly rather expensive, project. Costs can be mitigated a little by doing the least work required to set a collision course. But that generally means it takes longer for said asteroid to get to Mars.

I can imagine a lot of people thinking of this as not very practical, but I believe I am simply looking at the longer term issues here. Yes, there is a small possibility we cna reheat mars's surface enough to get an atmosphere going again etc, but it is so small that any human-habitable atmosphere will begin leaking off, and that still doesn't help with the radiation problem.

The asteroid bombardment would fix the gravity based issues, supply more water, and possibly, maybe, give Mars enough energy to warm up its core and produce a magnetosphere once more. I don't know the numbers and formulas that need massive crunching to figure out the probability of this happening.

Of course, by the time we are in a technological position to perform this terraforming, we'd have had a chance to explore mars more, learned most of what we can, and gone deep enough to be sure that microbial or bigger life didn't simply follow Mars's fading warmth down deep into the crust & mantle. There may yet be (probably rather small) things living deep, deep underground.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Atheism and Me

There are many people who describe themselves as Atheist. Then there is the definitions they are labeled with, which often do not match. So, here is what I consider the accurate definitions of various theistic types.

Theist: Believes that there is some sort of Divinity.

Atheist: Has no religious belief system.

Anti-theist: Believes that there absolutely no sort of divinity at all

I am not an anti-theist. There is no definitive way to prove that there is no sort of divinity at all in all of existence. Lack of proof is not proof of lack. This applies to both sides of the coin. There is no proof that there is a god, there is no proof that there is NOT a god.

Now, I will say that I do not believe that there is a god that literally matches any current religious document. The old pantheon religions tend to speak of deities that live specific places and have specific forms, etc, and the worlds described there-in do not exist.

But this can be said of any religion based off the Torah / Old Testament as well. The sky is not a Vault above the flat plane of the earth, there are no Waters Above, and we've established solid evidence that humans evolved from other creatures and that the universe is a lot more than 6000 years old. So basically, there is no God who did the things specified through out much of the bible, because the events there in have been disproven.

Scientology fails this test too. In addition to the lack of evidence of any of this alien activity they claim exists, specific devices they claim prove their claims, are bogus (as per this YouTube clip on the E-meter).

So there is my specific disbelief in religions as so far claimed & described by man. But, if you ask this question, things change: "In or beyond this universe, does there exist an entity (or multiple entities) so far beyond our comprehension, understanding, and power that it could only be considered God or A God?"

I have to say, in all fairness and because I have a scientific frame of mind, to say "I don't know." Mind you, I don't consider it probable, but it is not impossible.

The who believe ardently that there is no such thing as god, that it truly is impossible for such a being to exist, are Anti-Theist. And while their view points may be inspired by the findings of science, in the strictest sense it is not scientific, as they believe in something which is not provable.

But one should also consider the arguments represented Here and Here, which make good points about how one who makes a claim about the positive existence of something needing to be the one who presents Positive proof.