Sunday, August 27, 2017

Gravitational Waves II - Gossip Over Colliding Neutron Stars

Rumors Swell Over New Kind of Gravitational-Wave Sighting

Gossip over colliding neutron stars has astronomers in a tizzy

Astrophysicists may have detected gravitational waves last week from the collision of two neutron stars in a distant galaxy—and telescopes trained on the same region might also have spotted the event.
Rumours to that effect are spreading fast online, much to researchers’ excitement. Such a detection could mark a new era of astronomy: one in which phenomena are both seen by traditional telescopes and ‘heard’ as vibrations in the fabric of space-time. 
Astronomers who do not want to be identified say that NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is rumoured to have spotted γ-rays emerging from the same region of sky as the potential gravitational-wave source—gossip which a senior Fermi member declined to comment on.
When the scientists at LIGO made their claims about having detected gravitational waves as result from the merging of two black holes, one of my criticism was that there was no additional evidence for such an explanation and that I would have expected to see a gamma-ray-burst at the same time, which was not the case. This time however there are rumors that a GRB was indeed detected at the same time as the event at LIGO. Does this change my assessment of the observation and the capability of LIGO? 
- Yes, it does. If the rumors are true and a GRB is confirmed by the Fermi telescope, then LIGO was able to make a correct prediction strengthening the theory that what they measured were indeed gravitational waves. As a scientist I need to be willing to change my initial theory as soon as new evidence becomes available.
- A simultaneous detection of an event at LIGO and a GRB would indicate that LIGO was able to measure gravitational waves. However it does not tell us what event exactly caused these gravitational waves. The merging of two neutron stars is a plausible explanation, but the observation is not a sufficient proof for it.
- Anyway the oscillations that have been detected in this event were significantly different from the earlier ones, which is why the LIGO scientist explain it with the merging of lower mass neutron stars instead of black holes. Since black holes do not exist in the way how most of today's astrophysicists imagine, while there is ample proof for the existence of neutron stars (pulsars), this explanation is far less questionable than the one of earlier events. And the lower frequency of the oscillation indicates that it was a completely different event this time. Therefore there is no reason to change my assessment of the earlier ambitious announcements of having detected merging black holes. These claims were not supported by sufficient evidence and therefore based on sloppy scientific methods. 
- If the Fermi telescope confirms a GRB, then we know how real gravitational waves look like and that they have to coincide with gamma ray burst, as I have apparently correctly predicted in my first post about this subject. It also shows that the first two observations were wrongly interpreted by the scientists at LIGO. It would have coincided with a far stronger GRB, if it had been caused by two black holes. The last event was farther away and is supposed to be caused by two neutron stars, which have a lower mass. How much stronger would have been the GRB of merging black holes.
Some astrophysicists may claim that merging black holes have no GRB because the radiation gets swallowed by the gravity of the black holes. But someone who makes such an argument only shows that he does not understand what black holes are. As even Stephen Hawking, the main proponent of "black holes", has confirmed, nothing ever gets swallowed by a "black hole", because nothing can ever pass through its horizon, which should always have been obvious for anybody who understood Einstein's General Relativity. What is called a "black hole" is neither black nor a hole. If anything at all it is dark red (extremely red-shifted), and nothing can ever completely disappear in it.
Therefore merging "black holes" would cause an extremely strong gamma ray burst, much stronger than that of merging neutron stars. Even if half of the energy gets red-shifted and ends up as undetectable long-wave radiation, there would still half of the energy be emitted as gamma rays. We did not detect anything like that the last two times, so the explanation as merging black holes was wrong.
- It remains to be seen, whether or not whatever the Fermi telescope has seen coincides with the observation at LIGO. It could be the first evidence for gravitational waves, but we need to be careful not to over-interpret the observation with far-fetched explanations.

Another question that we need to ask is: Why do we need to know all this? Does a phenomenon that does not affect us in any way justify the immense expenses or would the money not be better invested in the colonization of Mars? Science should not be about the collection of useless knowledge; science should advance our civilization. What does not affect us, does not require our attention.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Human Civilization Over 30,000 Years Older Than Thought

Evidence that ancient farms had very different origins than previously thought

Dramatic new hypothesis could change the way we understand human history.
It's an idea that could transform our understanding of how humans went from small bands of hunter-gatherers to farmers and urbanites. Until recently, anthropologists believed cities and farms emerged about 9,000 years ago in the Mediterranean and Middle East. But now a team of interdisciplinary researchers has gathered evidence showing how civilization as we know it may have emerged at the equator, in tropical forests. Not only that, but people began altering their environments for food and shelter about 30,000 years earlier than we thought.
It all started about 45,000 years ago. At that point, people began burning down vegetation to make room for plant resources and homes. Over the next 35,000 years, the simple practice of burning back forest evolved. People mixed specialized soils for growing plants; they drained swamps for agriculture; they domesticated animals like chickens; and they farmed yam, taro, sweet potato, chili pepper, black pepper, mango, and bananas.
Those who read my book "Chronology of the Empire" might notice that the new time frame of human civilization coincides exactly with the theory that I presented in my book a few years ago. I had the year 45,360 BCE (beginning of the age of Sagittarius 0)as the beginning of human civilization. The number was deducted from hints in Sumerian mythology and the Kings List of Berossus and other Babylonian sources.
The so called Neolithic Revolution is the resurgence of humanity after the Great Flood, which was a very reel event that has been described independently by civilizations all over the world. This global disaster apparently refers to the end of the last glacial period, which had cataclysmic effects on the climate, the shape of the coastlines and human society.
In face of this new research everything falls in place and makes sense.
It is wrong to discard all mythology as fairy tales, because this was simply the way how history was remembered in the early days of human civilization. The questionable way how historians cherry-pick arbitrarily names from the same kings lists declaring some of them historic and others mythological fabrication has always astonished me. All Egyptian rulers in Manethos's kings list after Namer (=Menes) are historic, all dynasties before Namer on the same list are mythology. This is a totally arbitrary judgement that I am not willing to agree with. A historian should not discard kings, because he does not like the names, because they are the names of the Egyptian gods.
I am not saying that the theory in my book is true, but it made predictions, of which one has just been confirmed by this new study of Patrick Roberts and his team from the Max Planck Institute. So it fares better than the conventional theories about the beginning of human civilization, which regularly get disproved by new discoveries.
It will be interesting to see what else archaeology will reveal about the origins of human society in the near future.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Death Of Science As We Know It

The "March for Science"

Thousands of scientists, students and activists gathered Saturday in downtown Los Angeles for the March for Science, one of more than 500 such events being held around the world.
After a rally in Pershing Square, the march began at 11 a.m. with participants walking about seven blocks to City Hall, where several speakers were to address the crowd. Afterward, demonstrators will return to Pershing Square for presentations on air quality, dinosaurs and how to spot “alternative facts” on the Internet.

Today is a sad day in modern human history. We are witnessing the death of science as a field of research. Gone are the times of Galileo Galilei when the modern scientific method was developed, when science served the expansion of human knowledge.
Today's "March of Science" has  finally turned Science into a political ideology. Science (from lat. scientia = knowledge) is openly advocating for left-wing politics. It is not about knowledge anymore, not about research, it is about ideology.

We could have seen it coming with more and more pseudo-sciences like climatology, gender studies, dubious "social sciences" and theoretical physics with its unfalsifiable theories claiming their place in Western universities. Many professorships and positions in scientific institutions had become a comfortable source of income without the need of ever coming up with independently verifiable results. Fifty years ago science produced practical applications, today science produces theories, paper and colorful computer animations.
And these self-declared experts who have become so comfortable in their  professors' chairs suddenly feel the pressure to produce tangible results or lose funding in the "Trump era". Of course this can be a scaring experience, especially if someone has never actually worked in the private sector and lived  on  the public budget throughout his lifetime. So it is no surprise that these people are now mobilizing to support a leftist ideology, which was far more sympathetic towards them.

But these "scientists" marching for a leftist cause do not understand that they destroy every last bit of credibility that science has enjoyed until know.
Climatology for example has always been suspected to be politically motivated and funded only with the condition of a predetermined result of the research. If there had been the need of any further proof that it was based on politics rather than facts, then this "March for Science" just provided it by revealing the political motivation of these scientists to the public.

But the negative consequences for human progress are far worse. By turning science into an ideology and bringing all scientific knowledge into discredit, they have now provided the enemies of science with a perfect argument. Now every creationist can rightfully say that science is nothing but an ideological belief and that evolution was just as questionable as climatology or gender studies. It has now become impossible to distinguish what is based on facts and what is based on ideology, because scientists have revealed themselves as political activists.
The proponents of "intelligent design", homoeopathy, astrology, parapsychology, theology, "hollow earth theory" and whatever superstitious belief may exist, can now claim that all justified scientific criticism of their pseudo-science was politically motivated, since science is nothing but an ideology to begin with.

We have now entered an age of absolute relativism. There is no truth anymore, no facts, nothing is certain, everything is just a belief. And all beliefs are equal and unverifiable. This is the result of turning science into just another political ideology.

Now I have to admit that I hold a scientific decree myself (graduate biologist = Master of Science), which would also make me a scientist. However from today on I cannot help but feeling embarrassed by this designation. I do not want to be placed into the same category as those political activists who call themselves "scientists".
Therefore I think, we who are interested in expanding our knowledge by research, experiments and observation as well as logical deduction cannot continue to use the discredited term "science" for what we do. Maybe it is better to call it "natural philosophy" again, as it was called centuries ago.

Science is now about ideology and beliefs, only natural philosophy is still about knowledge and research.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Historical Parallels Rome - USA

It appears that the United States are bound to repeat the history of ancient Rome. The parallels are overwhelming and allow us to male predictions for the future with quite a high probability.
Currently the US is in a situation that can be compared with the end of the Roman Republic in the first century BCE.
The country is extremely polarized after extreme political leaders. In the US these were George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in Rome C. Marius and L. Cornelius Sulla. In the US it is between conservatives (including the Tea Party movement) and the liberals. In Rome it was between the Optimates (establishment) and the Populares. Even the names are scaringly similar, since Donald Trump has repeatedly been called a "populist".
The country is dominated by political violence and neither side respects the democratic constitution, in Rome as today in the US. The latest example is the disrespect for the elected president and the attempts to deligitimize him. In turn Donald Trump calls a federal judge a "so called judge" questioning his legitimacy.

So what can we expect for the future, if history follows the precedent of Rome?
We have already seen that many liberals consider to impeach Trump, before his term is over. In ancient Rome the Pompey faction in the Senate deposed C. Julius Caesar as proconsul of Gaul and declared him "enemy of Rome".

If Trump is impeached by the US Senate, we can be quite sure that he will not just accept this decision, but instead question its legitimacy as it seems to be his habit. Just like Caesar he has the major part of the military behind him. Trump is improving his relations with the US military and law enforcement almost daily, while the liberals have alienated the police by their support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement that is responsible for several terror attacks against the police. Caesar in his time had the command of the best Roman legions and they believed in him personally. When he was formally deposed, he took his elite Legion XIII Gemina, crossed the Rubicon and marched to Rome. The Pompey faction had not enough forces to oppose him and abandoned the capital. Caesar declared himself dictator and defeated Pompey afterwards in the resulting civil war.
This is exactly the scenario the US is heading for, if the liberals continue with their idea of impeaching Donald Trump.
He is not going to accept an illegitimate impeachment. He will use the military that is loyal to him to occupy Washington D.C. Then he will rule with martial law. Even if there is an armed uprising like in ancient Rome, the odds are on his side.

The example of Rome also shows us the inevitability of history. Even when Caesar was murdered, it only resulted in a new civil war, and at its end Augustus was Emperor. Even if Trump is killed, nothing will stop the course of history. His followers will use even more force and at the end the US will be an Imperium ruled by an emperor.

The end of the republic is inevitable, if the US follows the current course. Only overcoming the polarization and the violent extremism of the leftists and normalizing the presidency of Donald Trump could stop this development. But it does not look like this is to happen.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Dyson Sphere Around KIC 8462852 Debunked

The USS Enterprise discovers a Dyson sphere in an episode of Star Trek - Next Generation

Two years ago astronomers detected a strange star called KIC 8462852. This star behaves in a very unusual way. It shows unusual fluctuations in brightness and becomes significantly dimmer in an astronomically very short time (14% in 100 years).
The first explanation that our "scientists" came up with was the hypothesis that they might have discovered a so called Dyson Sphere, an artificial megastructure around a star that collects all energy that it emits. Such a concept was first suggested in 1960 by the British mathematician Freeman John Dyson and has since then been subject of several science fiction novels.
What else would have come to mind as explanation? A Dyson spheres even appeared in an episode of Star Trek, and if this does not count as a proof of its existence...

Unfortunately for our science fiction fans who these days prefer to call themselves "scientists" another real scientist called Brian Metzger from the Columbia University came up with a much more boring explanation. A star getting dimmer could simply be explained by a planet falling into the central sun of its solar system. Therefore we have no explanatory need for any alien megastructures.

On the positive side reason has prevailed and put a weird hypothesis to rest by a quite simple explanation. On the negative side this shows us what kind of mindset is common among today's scientists. Instead of giving simple and plausible explanations for observations, they use odd observations to support weird and far-fetched theories from a SciFi universe.
And this is not the first example of this kind. We may perhaps remember the case of oscillations ins an oversized interferometer being explained with the gravitational waves of two "black holes" merging with each other millions of light years away with no other observation to support this awkward hypothesis. I reported about it in an earlier post of this blog. To explain the observation with a more likely, but admittedly more boring seismic event did not cross their mind.

This is the sad state of today's post-modern science. It is closer to science fiction than to true science or engineering.

Of course the existence of a Dyson sphere around KIC 8462852 has not been disproved with certainty. But if we have the choice between a far-fetched hypothesis from a SciFi novel or the trivial event of a planet falling into a star, which of the two explanations should we choose as rational beings?
A scientific mind also has to take probability into account. And while a Dyson sphere has a probability far closer to 0 than to 1%, the overwhelming probability points to the simpler explanation of a planet being swallowed by a star.