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Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 01:37:04 +0100
Subject: Problem - "Encyclopedia of Life catalogues more than one-third of Earth's species

This claim, like most scientists' well-meaning (or fund-raising) claims is based on ignorance - and it's _known_ ignorance.
It's generally admitted that we don't know how many species exist on Earth's land-masses; new ones are being found all the time, from the tropics to the poles.  Worse, the number of species in the seas, 3/4's of the Earth's surface, has hardly been investigated at all.
So this `more than a third' claim might actually be `less than a 1/10th' (or even 1/100th). - Ray

[UPDATE 08 Oct 2011 - Yup, like we thought - seems that about 9/10ths of all species haven't yet been discovered, so that claim below actually means they've catalogued _maybe_ about 3% of Earth's species - see:
"It is said that about 90 per cent of the earth's species have yet to be discovered."]

Encyclopedia of Life catalogues more than one-third of Earth's species
The field guide for citizen scientists, which aims at bringing all species on the planet together, has reached the 750,000 milestone, Monday 5 September 2011 15.00 BST

An ambitious attempt to create an encyclopedia of every known species on Earth has reached a major new milestone.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EoL) a free and collaborative website, said on Monday it now has pages for each of 750,000 species, meaning more than one-third of all the planet's 1.9m species are now covered.

"EoL is the ultimate online field guide for citizen scientists," said Jennifer Preece, dean of the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. "There are many online sites dedicated to specific groups of species such as insects, birds or mammals. Not since Noah, however, has there been an effort like this to bring all the world's species together."

The site uses content from 180 partners to bring together images, videos and scientific information, including 35m pages of scanned literature created by the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The new site allows members to create their own collection of species.

"The virtual collections put life into meaningful contexts from scholarly ones such as Invasive Insects of North America or Endangered Birds of Ecuador to personal collections such as A Checklist of Trees in My Backyard. Only imagination and energy limit the possibilities," said Jesse Ausubel, vice president of the Alfred P Sloan Foundation which helps fund the EoL.

The EoL's directors say they want it to become a microscope in reverse, or "macroscope", helping users discern large-scale patterns. By aggregating information for analysis, they say the EoL could, for example, help map vectors of human disease, reveal mysteries behind longevity, suggest substitute plant pollinators for a growing list of places where honeybees no longer provide that service, and foster strategies to slow the spread of invasive species.

Founded in 2007, the EoL had 30,000 species pages by the beginning of 2008, making the new version a huge expansion. Renowned the Harvard University biologist Edward O Wilson, one of the driving forces behind the EoL, said the new site "opens EoL's vast and growing storehouse of knowledge to a much larger range of users, including medicine, biotechnology, ecology, and now increasingly the general public".

The EoL has more than 1m more pages in place awaiting content from partners and members. But a recent estimate concluded that there are a total of 8.7m species on Earth, excluding bacteria and viruses, suggesting many more pages will need to be added to EoL in the future.

Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 13:39:32 +0100
Subject: About your recognition of inspirations

Just a thought - about your recognition of inspirations - Ray D

[this is a draft]

Theoretical proposition:  that study / analysis is exactly equivalent to `addiction formation', and that solution / inspiration is exactly equivalent to a `hit' or `high'.

How and Why? In his `Emperor's New Mind' (pages 546 to 550), Roger Penrose lays out some conclusions, based on evidence of his own experiences and those of Poincare, Einstein, Mozart, Hadamard, Galton and others.

He assumes, fairly sensibly, that solutions or `inspiration' can only come after some considerable time has been spent in consideration of the details of any problem (if necessary that includes studying and mastering the background of the `science' or discipline).

He speculated, based on testimony, that such consideration is carried out `non-linguistically' - that is, most people questioned, including Penrose himself, say their thinking did not use any spoken `language' but rather involved the manipulation of pictures or patterns or symbols or structures of some kind (maybe of `sound' with Mozart), and that `translating' that into words - sometimes with difficulty - only became necessary when trying to convey the idea to others.

Then Penrose established that an inspiration or solution comes `in an instant' and is also recognized instantaneously, even though the person might not have the opportunity to examine it at the time.  Interestingly, some of the inspirations quoted were complex and needed quite a long time, several hours in some cases, to be formally verified (or transcribed), notwithstanding the fact that the `thinker' had known immediately, albeit intuitively, that it was `correct' (or a perfect musical piece, in Mozart's case).

So the evidence seems to preclude a detailed `logical' step-by-step achievement of the solution, or even of a `logical' recognition of it, by the thinker.

However, we now know something of how humans get a reward for a substance needed or `desired' by the brain.  The brain shapes receptors so that molecules of the desired substance exactly fit them.  When the molecule arrives at the receptor, the brain gives a reward of `happiness'.  [Unfortunately the receptors can be hijacked and re-shaped by many "drugs", leading to addictions.]

We'll suggest that the same process, or an analogy, could explain several mysteries outlined above.  If the preparatory study of a subject creates a `problem shape' in the brain, then the answer to the problem would exactly fit, delivering the instantaneous recognition noted above, without the need to examine the answer in detail.  That process might also explain the `high' that many thinkers / analysts describe on receiving inspirations.
[this is a draft]

Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 08:08:22 +0100
Subject: More effects of (long) Solar Cycle?

Think he's right (and think those TGFs are from/linked to "blue jets" above big/dense thunderstorms) - Ray
I`d like to focus a bit of the severe weather changes that`s going on these days. For ex up here in the North of Europe ( Sweden ) violent thunderstorms have been going on for the last month, and are now the source of major headaches for train passengers in south-eastern Sweden.

The weather has caused large disturbances in train schedules, which will likely continue all throughout August and September. Trains have been cancelled on several lines in the counties Östergötland and Södermanland south of Sweden. Östergötland is experiencing problems finding buses to replace the cancelled trains, as all traffic in the area is affected by the disturbances. And more is harsh weather is on it`s way.

The violent thunderstorms has also caused the flooding of an equipment shelter in Norrköping, in central Sweden. Another powerful storm wreaked havoc over southern Sweden on Friday night, coming in from the east. A total of 3,000 bolts of lightning were registered over Östergötland, as well as in a smaller area in Stockholm, according to meteorological institute SMHI. "We've got a little depression moving west, which is causing a lot of thunder," said Erica Thiderström, meteorologist at SMHI, to news agency TT.

It seems like these are a new line of thunderstorms, and they are expected to bring more heavy rain to southern and central Sweden. A couple of weeks ago the region struggled to cope with power outages and flooding from a previous batch of storms. Swedish meteorological agency SMHI issued several of warnings during this period for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms for most of much of the Götaland region in central Sweden.

What`s causing this scenario scientists can`t say, but usually a cold front and hot humid weather will fuel severe thunderstorms. But here we haven't had neither? Recent observation proves that powerful thunderstorms on Earth can fling beams of antimatter into space, a new study finds. And these findings could be related to the upcoming sunspot cycles. Another phenomenon occurred similar to the Nordic one, when scientists picked up on the never-before-seen phenomenon by peering at thunderstorms with NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

The antimatter particles were likely created by what scientists call a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF), a brief burst of gamma rays produced inside thunderstorms and known to be associated with lightning, researchers said.

"These signals are the first direct evidence that thunderstorms make antimatter particle beams," study lead author Michael Briggs, of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said in a statement. Briggs presented his team's results here today (Jan. 10) at the 217th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

"I think this is one of the most exciting discoveries in geosciences in a very long time," Duke University's Steven Cummer, who was not involved in the research, in a press conference. It "seems like something straight out of science fiction."

Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2011 09:07:18 +0100
Subject: After the [AGW] hype - some real science work

4 Aug 11 - Writing in the journal Science, Danish researchers say that an imminent tipping point in the disappearance of Arctic sea ice is unlikely.

For several thousand years, there was much less sea ice in The Arctic Ocean - probably less than half of current amounts - and no tipping point was reached.

Sea ice comes and goes without leaving a record, so our knowledge of its historic variations and extent has been severely limited.

But researchers at the Danish National Research Foundation for Geogenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen) have developed an ingenious method for retracing those ancient variations.

By analyzing and carbon-dating ancient pieces of driftwood in Northern Greenland, the team has found evidence that ice levels were about 50% lower some 5,000 years ago.

The driftwood gives a clear, if indirect, picture of the ice loss dating back 11,000 years.

"Driftwood cannot float across the water," said Dr Svend Funder, who led several expeditions to Peary Land in Northern Greenland. "It has to be ferried across the ocean on ice, and this voyage takes several years, which means that driftwood is actually a signal of multi-year sea ice in the ocean."

Named after American Polar explorer Robert E. Peary, Peary Land is an inhospitable and rarely visited area where summer blizzards are not uncommon.

Figuring out the driftwood's origins also yielded important information.

"It's so lovely that drift wood from Siberia is mainly larch and from North America is mainly spruce. So if we see there was more larch or spruce we can see that the wind system had changed and in some periods there was little spruce and in other periods there was lots," said Dr Funder.

As well as the driftwood, the scientists mapped beach ridges for 310 miles (500km) along the coast of Northern Greenland. Today, perennial ice prevents any sort of beach from forming along the coast. But the beach ridges lie behind the present shore, proving that at one time the waves had reached the shore unhindered by the ice.

The researchers concluded that for about 3,000 years, during a period called the Holocene Climate Optimum, there was more open water and far less ice than today - probably less than 50% of the minimum Arctic sea ice recorded in 2007.

"I think we can say that with the loss of 50% of the current ice, the tipping point wasn't reached," said Dr Funder.
--- Large Variations in Arctic Sea Ice: Polar Ice Much Less Stable Than Previously Thought, Study Finds ScienceDaily (Aug. 4, 2011) -

For the last 10,000 years, summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been far from constant. For several thousand years, there was much less sea ice in The Arctic Ocean -- probably less than half of current amounts. This is indicated by new findings by the Danish National Research Foundation for Geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen. The results of the study will be published in the journal Science.

Sea ice comes and goes without leaving a record. For this reason, our knowledge about its variations and extent was limited before we had satellite surveillance or observations from airplanes and ships. But now researchers at the Danish National Research Foundation for Geogenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen) have developed a method by which it is possible to measure the variations in the ice several millennia back in time.

The results are based on material gathered along the coast of northern Greenland, which scientists expect will be the final place summer ice will survive, if global temperatures continue to rise.

This means that the results from northern Greenland also indicate what the conditions are like in the ocean.

Less ice than today
Team leader Svend Funder, and two other team members and co-authors of the Science article, Eske Willerslev and Kurt Kjær, are all associated with the Danish Research Foundation at the University of Copenhagen.

Regarding the research results, Funder says, "Our studies show that there have been large fluctuations in the amount of summer sea ice during the last 10,000 years. During the so-called Holocene Climate Optimum, from approximately 8000 to 5000 years ago, when the temperatures were somewhat warmer than today, there was significantly less sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, probably less than 50% of the summer 2007 coverage, which was absolutely lowest on record.

Our studies also show that when the ice disappears in one area, it may accumulate in another. We have discovered this by comparing our results with observations from northern Canada. While the amount of sea ice decreased in northern Greenland, it increased in Canada. This is probably due to changes in the prevailing wind systems. This factor has not been sufficiently taken into account when forecasting the imminent disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean."

Driftwood unlocks mystery
In order to reach their surprising conclusions, Funder and the rest of the team organised several expeditions to Peary Land in northern Greenland. Named after American Polar explorer Robert E. Peary, the region is an inhospitable and rarely visited area, where summer blizzards are not uncommon.

" Our key to the mystery of the extent of sea ice during earlier epochs lies in the driftwood we found along the coast. One might think that it had floated across sea, but such a journey takes several years, and driftwood would not be able to stay afloat for that long. The driftwood is from the outset embedded in sea ice, and reaches the north Greenland coast along with it. The amount of driftwood therefore indicates how much multiyear sea ice there was in the ocean back then. And this is precisely the type of ice that is in danger of disappearing today," Funder says.

After the expeditions had been completed, the team needed to study the wood they had collected: wood types had to be determined and it had to be carbon-14 dated. The driftwood originated near the great rivers of present-day North America and Siberia. The wood types were almost entirely spruce, which is widespread in the Boreal forest of North America, and larch, which is dominates the Siberian taiga. The different wood types therefore are evidence of changing travel routes and altered current and wind conditions in the ocean.

Beach ridges and wave breaking
The team also examined the beach ridges along the coast. Today, perennial ice prevents any sort of beach from forming along the coasts of northern Greenland. But this had not always been the case. Behind the present shore long rows of beach ridges show that at one time waves could break onto the beach unhindered by sea ice. The beach ridges were mapped for 500 kilometres along the coast, and carbon-14 dating has shown that during the warm period from about 8000 until 4000 years ago, there was more open water and less coastal ice than today.

Point of no return
"Our studies show that there are great natural variations in the amount of Arctic sea ice. The bad news is that there is a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice. And there is no doubt that continued global warming will lead to a reduction in the amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The good news is that even with a reduction to less than 50% of the current amount of sea ice the ice will not reach a point of no return: a level where the ice no longer can regenerate itself even if the climate was to return to cooler temperatures. Finally, our studies show that the changes to a large degree are caused by the effect that temperature has on the prevailing wind systems. This has not been sufficiently taken into account when forecasting the imminent disappearance of the ice, as often portrayed in the media," Funder says.

Research could also benefit polar bears
In addition to giving us a better understanding of what the climate in northern Greenland was like thousands of years ago, it could also reveal how polar bears fared in warmer climate. The team plans to use DNA in fossil polar bear bones to study polar bear population levels during the Holocene Climate Optimum.

The team's findings are to be published in the journal Science.

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Copenhagen.

Journal Reference:
Svend Funder, Hugues Goosse, Hans Jepsen, Eigil Kaas, Kurt H. Kjær, Niels J. Korsgaard, Nicolaj K. Larsen, Hans Linderson, Astrid Lyså, Per Möller, Jesper Olsen, Eske Willerslev.

A 10,000-Year Record of Arctic Ocean Sea-Ice Variability-View from the Beach. Science, 5 August 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6043 pp. 747-750 DOI: 10.1126/science.1202760

Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2011 16:01:13 +0100
Subject: Interesting points re: "Climate" Past + Present

"Dramatic Climate Swings Likely as World Warms: Ancient El Niño Clue to Future Floods" at

mentions some conditions of past geologic time, so did a bit of Wiki clicking and found that it gets steadily warmer as you go back - I got as far as the Jurassic
Geological_Timescale-temps.jpg described at which says that's the period when `modern sea-corals' first appeared in the oceans.

Then, as you can see, both Temp and CO2 were much higher than now, yet sea-corals were apparently quite happy living in warm (acidic?) oceans - which is exactly opposed to what the `experts' are forecasting today, with their doom-laden predictions of coral die-offs.

Seems to me that any coral die-offs today are due to pollution and brutal over-fishing / trawling and mineral extraction methods.  (Not caused by "climate change" at all?)

PS - Looked a bit further, to
and found that various corals have existed since Cambrian times
(check that Geological_Timescale-temps graph at Glacials page), and had ups and downs and some "become common in the Jurassic and later periods" which, as we've already noticed, was much hotter and higher in CO2 than now.


update - 08 Aug 2011
`Severe Low Temperatures Devastate Coral Reefs in Florida Keys'
[text version]

Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2011 16:47:03 +0100
Subject: Switzerland was warmer than today for most of last 11,500 years
Swiss glacier finely tuned to climate changes

( -- During the last ice age, the Rhone Glacier was the dominant glacier in the Alps, covering a significant part of Switzerland. Over the next 11,500 years or so, the glacier, which forms the headwaters of the Rhone River, has been shrinking and growing again in response to shifts in climate.

Until now, scientists have had no accurate way of knowing the long-term history of the glacier. Local records of the ice date back to 1602, and it is clear that the Rhone, like other glaciers in the Alps, has retreated dramatically in the past 150 years. This melting has exposed intriguing clues - remnants of trees from once-forested land, and artifacts of human settlements dating back thousands of years, to times when even more of the land was uncovered and green.

A team of researchers led by two scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have found a novel method to measure this crucial back-and-forth, by measuring isotopes in hunks of stone chipped out from recently exposed bedrock near the edge of the ice. They found that for most of the Holocene Epoch, dating from the end of the last ice age about 11,500 years ago to the present, the Rhone Glacier has been smaller than it is today.

In a paper published last month in the journal Geology, the researchers said that their more robust history of the Holocene glacier fluctuations reflects how sensitive glaciers are to small changes in climate. And, they said, the new method they used to measure glacial movement may allow scientists to make more accurate predictions of what will happen as the earth continues to warm.

Rocks were chiseled from bedrock recently exposed at the edge of the receding glacier. Credit: Joerg Schaefer The findings "may potentially open up our work to application globally at many different glaciers, to begin to piece together a global picture of Holocene glacier advance and retreat," said lead investigator Brent Goehring, a former PhD student at Lamont and now a post-doctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

Co-author Joerg Schaefer, a geochemist and Lamont associate research professor, is concerned the findings could be misinterpreted by skeptics of climate change. They might conclude that, if the glacier is larger than it has been over most of the time during the past several thousand years, then there is little to worry about today.

"Which is simply wrong," Schaefer said.

He said the findings show that even though the climate shifts were relatively mild during the Holocene, "we find that the glaciers really reacted strongly ... telling us they are very, very sensitive to even very small [changes]. With the addition of man-made warming, the glaciers will react catastrophically to what we are doing to the climate."

The researchers chiseled samples from bedrock that had been scraped and scoured over time by the glacier, and most recently exposed in 2005-2006 by the retreating glacier. They pulverized the stone in the lab and measured the isotopes Carbon 14 and Beryllium 10, which were formed in grains of quartz when the ice melted back and the rock became exposed to cosmic rays. This new technique allowed them to calculate how much time the rock had been exposed during the Holocene.

Goehring said he was surprised by the evidence of exposure revealed by the isotopes. The amount of Beryllium 10 and Carbon 14 they found "told us that not only were the surfaces exposed for significant periods of time, meaning the Rhone Glacier was smaller than today, but it also told us that glacial erosion rates were much lower than expected."

The study is the first to offer such detailed evidence of the glacial back-and-forth during the Holocene, Schaefer said, unlike previous studies that have relied on tree rings, glacial moraines and lake sediments. The Swiss Alps record contrasts with the record of glacial movements in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, where the glaciers appear to have been larger than at present for most of the Holocene. That difference offers important clues about the evolution of summer temperatures in mid-latitudes of the Northern and Southern hemispheres, he said.

Goehring hopes to use the cosmogenic dating techniques elsewhere, including Norway. There are numerous records, he said, of farms and farmhouses there being overrun by ice during the unusually cold period known as the "Little Ice Age," which continued into the mid-19th century.

More information:

[BTW - earlier evidence agrees]

Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 11:09:42 +0100
Subject: Talking about Argentina - volcanos (Boris?) and winds
"Earth from Space: A gush of volcanic gas"

which shows the big plume going East, but south of Boris? (against the Earths rotational drag) and then North, nicely explained by these two [images]


Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 22:34:11 +0100
Subject: Biorhythms Half-Lives Brains & ET (HTML, w/links)

From: Ray Dickenson
Date: Sun, 29 May 2011 21:31:12 +0100
Archived: Sun, 29 May 2011 17:37:30 -0400
Subject: Biorhythms Half-Lives Brains & ET

Hello List,
This might not relate directly to ETs, unless it's one of those Earthling peculiarities which they choose to study.  However it does seem to have affected our human 'intellect' from times before we were human, and, as it still exists, continues to affect our ability to accurately observe, and to logically consider events, whether ET created or not.  A final ET connection is made at foot of message.

As you might recall, a few days ago we considered that 'changing half-life' article which shows an annual variation, overlaid with a 33 day 'ripple':

Subsequently I was reminded by Lister Albert Baier that 33 days is one of the three primary biorhythm cycles.  So went to Wiki and found "physical: sin(2πt/23)), emotional: sin(2πt/28), intellectual: sin(2πt/33)" which was almost immediately interesting, and for at least one reason which I couldn't recall at the time.  Now, after more conversation with Albert, I have.

One can make a fairly strong case for the emotional cycle being linked to the lunar month, and for it being tied, until recently, to the ancient estrus/rut cycle which is now almost hidden in humans.  Details at:

That scenario says that humans (and maybe bonobos) have continued to evolve successfully and have kept in synch with the slowly extending lunar cycle.  Whereas most mammals stopped evolving (reproductively at least) some millions of years ago when the month was only about 21 days long.  [The (longer) exceptions to a 21 day cycle were probably constrained by physiological or seasonal conditions making giving birth viable only at specific times of the year.]

So we could posit the 'emotional cycle' in humans only very recently losing synch with the lunar month, leaving it at 28 days.  Which can tempt us to think that the 'physical cycle' must have lost synchronism much earlier, when the month was 23 days (because the Moon is only vital for fertility reasons - see below).

That leaves us with the 33 day 'intellectual cycle' and the (theorized Solar) 33 day half-life ripple.  Unlike the estrus/emotional cycle linkage to the Moon, by purely physical causes (fertility), we need another reason for the linkage between intellect and half-life.

And it's obvious! (when I finally realised).

Half-life is (must be) at least partly dictated by a combo of the strong nuclear force, the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force (which is anyway now combined with electro-magnetism).  When that cats-cradle of forces twitches in any direction it's not just half-lives which change - every cell and nerve linkage in our bodies must be affected, however slightly, and the most numerous and sensitive cells and linkages are in the brain!

So, although I've never been a fan or adherent of biorhythms, it now seems they're based on something more than legends or old-wives tales, and our thinking is affected by a 33 day cycle (and an annual one), as is half-life.

Also, recall speculating much earlier that humans coming too close to a propulsion system consisting of an 'inertial drive' (a change in inertia necessarily changes the momentum of the electron) would find their perceptions and 'intellect' radically interfered with, maybe permanently.

Ray D

--- 31 May, 2011 - 11:41 am

I'm still waiting for an obvious objection to the suggestion (above) that `half-live variation affects our brains'; linking the (Sun's) 33 day half-life ripple with the 33 day `intellectual' Biorhythm cycle.

Here's the objection:  "If the ripple in half-lives does affect our brains, then, because it's a single cause, with uniform physical effects, then surely we should all be affected identically and in synchrony - whereas that Biorhythm cycle is unique, both in amplitudes and timing, for each individual".

Right!  And the objection would be valid - if our brains were identical.  That is, if each brain had exactly the same layout of neurons and, maybe more important, exactly the same complex network of interconnections between all those neurons, and all primed with exactly the same electro-chemical potentials.

However the brain layout is too complex for a blueprint (too few DNA pairs to map it).  Instead each brain is grown `from seed' - resulting in each of us possessing a unique amd indeed fractal brain schematic (like the branchings of a massive oak-tree or the large mycelium under a fairy-ring

Actually you knew that already; looking at folk around you, you see they're all at different positions on this simplified chart of intellectual `temperaments' [from Galen] at temperaments.gif  (with you and me of course being "stable"?).

Therefore, although the 33 day cycle causes a uniform variation in the (nuclear / electromagnetic) cellular workings of our brains, each brain will be affected differently;  i.e. one person being pushed to feeling "optimism" while another is tilted towards "passivity" or "anxiousness" or even "aggression".  Those effects must impinge on our intellectual abilities, sometimes severely, and uniquely for each of us.


[update 11 Aug 2011 - after last period of upsets in UK and around the world, am tempted to think that fairly large segments of humanity can be and are strongly influenced by longer-term Solar [or `Cosmic'] half-life effects - RD ]

Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 22:34:11 +0100
Subject: Re: Is The Sun Emitting A Mystery Particle? (reformatted, w/links)

> From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
> Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 10:50:13 -0600
> Subject: Re: Is The Sun Emitting A Mystery Particle?
>> From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>> Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 21:17:25 +0100
>> Subject: Re: Is The Sun Emitting A Mystery Particle?
>> i) The observed effects correlate with the (seasonal) distance
>> to the Sun. As they don't know what force causes `half-life'
>> anyway, the most likely reason for that observed effect is that
>> the Sun's mass affects (modulates) that basic cause/force. So,
>> by Occam's Razor, there's no need for another mystery force or
>> `particle'. earlier site-ref

> I agree that proposing a new particle is unjustified at this
> point, since we have already identified a class of weakly
> interacting particle emitted by the sun, i.e., neutrinos.
> However, I can't agree that Occam's Razor favors the Sun's mass
> rather than its neutrino flux as the underlying mechanism of the
> decay rate effect. Both essentially hypothesize - without a
> shred of theoretical foundation - a new 'auxiliary' effect of an
> existing phenomenon.

> Indeed, if you review the linked article again, you'll note that
> the effect is cyclic with a period of 33 days, very similar to
> the rotation period of the sun's surface (28 days). While it
> implies a significant differential rotation in the sun's
> interior, this is plausibly consistent with a rotating
> 'searchlight' effect, in which some asymmetry or occlusion of
> the neutrino-producing core is periodically sweeping across the
> line of sight to the Earth. On the other hand, I see no
> mechanism whatever by which the mass of the sun would be
> modulated at this rate, nor how we could possibly have failed to
> detect the effect of such on planetary orbits.

Hi Mike,
First let's look at the total mass of the Sun and its probable real rotation rate:

"the equator of the Sun takes 24.47 days to rotate around the Sun and return to the same position. ...But the Sun's rotation rate decreases as you approach the poles, so it can actually take 38 days for regions around the poles to rotate once."

"The Sun [has] 99.85% of the mass of the solar system but only 1% of the angular momentum."

which means that the outermost surface of the Sun is being dragged around by the angular momentum of the planets.  The inner mass of the Sun will be rotating more slowly, with the active core probably [maybe] being `static'.  Which could mean the Sun's average mass is rotating (and deforming) at a 33 day rate.

[ To confirm that the planets are affecting the surface of the Sun, here's a quote from a largely overlooked piece of recent NASA research:
"despite the widely accepted thought that believes otherwise. Evidence of apparent relations between planet positions and solar activity was observed and presented" site-ref]

Now let's see why `mass' should be so important, and what science knows about the possible relationship between masses and half-lives.  Here's a quote from Prof Ian Stewart (who, with Prof Jack Cohen, is known for helping-out sci-fi writers with their plots):
"There is no physical difference whatsoever between a uranium atom that is about to decay and one that is not about to decay. None. Absolutely none."
I.e. science doesn't know how the atoms of a mass of plutonium conspire, in a synchronized way, to bring about its `half-life'.

Which adds to our list of notable `mysteries of science':

half-life, inertia/momentum, mass/matter, gravity, gyroscopic effect, entanglement, two-slit phenomena, quantized redshift, non-decay of the proton (allied to mass/matter); site-ref

- all unexplained by the `standard model' of modern physics - although brave claims are sometimes made that the "imminent discovery" of the Higgs Boson might explain mass/matter  (that seems to me like exchanging one `magic' for another, since magic particle exchanges do not satisfy my definition of a scientific explanation).

So you can see I'm not trying to add "a new 'auxiliary' effect" - far from it.  What is suggested is merely a most economic explanation; site-ref not least because it might be the one demanded by a whole bunch of shamefully ignored `mysteries' unexplained by the standard model.

Ray D

BTW - News: it seems the creaky `standard model' is to be abandoned. and not before time!  Although plans to replace it with `super-symmetry' have just (today) been squashed by the discovery that `the electron is spherical' news-ref - apparently super-symmetry demanded an ovoid electron.  So the science establishment has now virtually admitted what many folk have been saying for years:  "physics is stuck in a dead-end"

And that those `political' pressures to force scientists to conform (to the now defunct `standard model') have just made things worse - and made the science establishments look ridiculous and totalitarian.

[That stirred up some off-list chat (positive) and this (negative) objection and our reply]

Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 21:52:02 +0100 Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking: Heaven "Is A Fairy Story" For People Who Fear Death!

Right Gene,
All of science, including physics, is merely humans' method of measuring and hopefully understanding what is.

So when an ego-stricken poser or bandwagon (Wiki) rider - like Hawking and Dawkins - makes a claim for science `ruling' anything he's stepped over into fantasy land.  Science measures - it cannot `decide' or `rule' anything.
Ray D

Gene L***r wrote:
> Both statements are obviously false, because science is a
> creation of the human brain, and the universe existed long
> before the human brain came into existence. Therefore, the
> universe existed before science existed, and thus science could
> not possibly have governed the universe before science existed.

Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 00:37:49 +0100

Choong K*** Y*** wrote:
> And yet they still swore by the rules of the book in terms of
> "Einsteinism" when they seems to be heading to some new
> direction, ...

Hi Choong,
a day or so ago was re-reading `The Trouble with Physics' and Smolin gave the reasons for the mess of `mainstream science' (he wasn't as sarcastic as I am below);

Some decades ago ('70s) it was noticed (partly by Vera Rubin), that the outer stars of spiral galaxies were rotating `too fast' for the mass of those galaxies (assuming Newtonian _or_ Relativity gravity).

That left mainstream science with only two answers:
i) admit Newtonian and Relativity `gravity' are wrong, as real gravity is seen to operate differently at larger scales, [or plasma effects dominate];
ii) invent something to make the excess gravity look normal.

Mainstream science chose to invent something: `dark matter'.  The only reason for inventing it was to explain away the excess gravity affecting the outer stars of large spiral galaxies.

Unfortunately the necessary amount of (invented) `dark matter' then caused a further problem: when all the universe's dark and visible matter are added-up the total mass of the universe is so large that it _must_ cease expanding and _must_ collapse.

But that isn't happening, in fact the [perceived] expansion of the universe is accelerating - which left mainstream science with only two answers:

i) admit `dark matter' doesn't exist (leaving only the visible stuff, which is exactly right for the observed universal expansion);
  [BTW - experiments to find Omega (relative`density of the universe) say it's around 0.1 ~ 0.3;  i.e much lower than 1.0 (the `critical value').  Those results also fit with the visible universe - without `dark matter'].
ii) invent something else to account for that expansion (and so cover-up the problem of too much `dark' matter).

Mainstream science chose to invent something else: `dark energy'.   The only reason for inventing it was to explain away the accelerating expansion of the universe, which itself is only a problem because of `dark matter'.

Thing is, as the observed amount of visible matter exactly matches the observed accelaration of the universe
 [and Omega], then Occam's Razor ("choose the simplest explanation") demands that mainstream science should admit that Newton _and_ Relativity are both wrong at larger scales - say for the outer layers of spiral galaxies. [And that `dark matter' and `dark energy' don't exist]

But mainstream science has painted itself into a corner.

From what I can gather - and I heard an interview today about Gravity Probe-B - top-grade scientists believe that Relativity will be proved `wrong' eventually, and also that Quantum will be proven `incomplete'.  That's because a real `Theory of Everything' must be compatible across all phenomena.  And just now Quantum doesn't explain gravity, and Relativity and Quantum don't fit together - so something's got to give.

[BTW - seems it's just Gov't and NASA who're afraid of confessing.  In fact NASA pulled the plug on funding for Gravity Probe-B some years ago, almost as if they didn't want an accurate answer.  It was only completed by Unis working `for nothing' and by philanthropic contributions, but its accuracy is low -  i.e it hasn't "proved" anything, despite the media hype.]


nb. - see `scientific consensus'

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 15:00:26 +0100 Subject: Re: USA Weather - is it still bad?
Although it's titled `Map of the Tornadoes across the South' there looks to be some as far north as NY state and even one in Michigan

Choong *** *** wrote:
> Fact is global weather is not the same anymore since about over
> a year ago, we in Malaysia haven't been in seasonal schedule
> and has been in a "monsoon" like situation with daily rain big
> or small nearly everyday without any semblance of seasonal
> fixture and the current overwhelming storm and tornadoes in the
> USA proof to the fact that nothing is normal already.

Right Choong,
coincidentally just saw this piece (below) about `signs of collapse of a system' from `Science Daily' and, although it's always risky extending from a small system to a much larger one, it might fit the facts -

[ BTW - thought I recognized `bifurcation theory' in that piece below, so looked it up and yes it's all about the `Feigenbaum number' - i.e. the transition to turbulence and chaos in dynamical systems - think there's another `magic number' concerning the bifurcation doubling rate but I've forgotten that guy's name, although I seem to recollect you mentioning it when looking at those weird large-scale `spirals' carved in the desert somewhere (seen on GoogleEarth?)]

Early Warning Signal for Ecosystem Collapse: Fluctuations Before the Fall
ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2011) -
Researchers eavesdropping on complex signals emanating from a remote Wisconsin lake have detected what they say is an unmistakable warning -- a death knell -- of the impending collapse of the lake's aquatic ecosystem. Researchers have found that models used to assess catastrophic changes in economic and medical systems can also predict environmental collapse. Stock market crashes, epileptic seizures, and ecological breakdowns are all preceded by a measurable increase in variance-be it fluctuations in brain waves, the Dow Jones index, or, in the case of the Wisconsin lake, chlorophyll.

The finding, reported April 29 in the journal Science by a team of researchers led by Stephen Carpenter, a limnologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the first experimental evidence that radical change in an ecosystem can be detected in advance, possibly in time to prevent ecological catastrophe.

"For a long time, ecologists thought these changes couldn't be predicted," says Carpenter, a UW-Madison professor of zoology and one of the world's foremost ecologists. "But we've now shown that they can be foreseen. The early warning is clear. It is a strong signal."

The implications of the National Science Foundation-supported study are big, says Carpenter. They suggest that, with the right kind of monitoring, it may be possible to track the vital signs of any ecosystem and intervene in time to prevent what is often irreversible damage to the environment.

"With more work, this could revolutionize ecosystem management," Carpenter avers. "The concept has now been validated in a field experiment and the fact that it worked in this lake opens the door to testing it in rangelands, forests and marine ecosystems."

Ecosystems often change in radical ways. Lakes, forests, rangelands, coral reefs and many other ecosystems are often transformed by such things as overfishing, insect pests, chemical changes in the environment, overgrazing and shifting climate.

For humans, ecosystem change can impact economies and livelihoods such as when forests succumb to an insect pest, rangelands to overgrazing, or fisheries to overexploitation.

A vivid example of a collapsed resource is the Atlantic cod fishery. Once the most abundant and sought-after fish in the North Atlantic, cod stocks collapsed in the 1990s due to overfishing, causing widespread economic hardship in New England and Canada. Now, the ability to detect when an ecosystem is approaching the tipping point could help prevent such calamities.

In the new study, the Wisconsin researchers, collaborating with groups from the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., focused their attention on Peter and Paul lakes, two isolated and undeveloped lakes in northern Wisconsin. Peter is a six-acre lake whose biota were manipulated for the study and nearby Paul served as a control.

The group led by Carpenter experimentally manipulated Peter Lake during a three-year period by gradually adding predatory largemouth bass to the lake, which was previously dominated by small fish that consumed water fleas, a type of zooplankton. The purpose, Carpenter notes, was to destabilize the lake's food web to the point where it would become an ecosystem dominated by large predators. In the process, the researchers expected to see a relatively rapid cascading change in the lake's biological community, one that would affect all of its plants and animals in significant ways.

"We started adding these big ferocious fish and almost immediately this instills fear in the other fish," Carpenter explains. "The small fish begin to sense there is trouble and they stop going into the open water and instead hang around the shore and structure, things like sunken logs. They become risk averse."

The biological upshot, according to the Wisconsin lake expert, is that the lake became "water flea heaven." The system becomes one where the phytoplankton, the preferred food of the lake's water fleas, becomes highly variable.

"The phytoplankton get hammered and at some point the system snaps into a new mode," says Carpenter.

Throughout the lake's three-year manipulation, all its chemical, biological and physical vital signs were continuously monitored to track even the smallest changes that would announce what ecologists call a "regime shift," where an ecosystem undergoes radical and rapid change from one type to another. It was in these massive sets of data that Carpenter and his colleagues were able to detect the signals of the ecosystem's impending collapse.

Ecologists first discovered the signals in computer simulations of spruce budworm outbreaks. Every few decades the insect's populations explode, causing widespread deforestation in boreal forests in Canada. Computer models of a virtual outbreak, however, seemed to undergo odd blips just before an outbreak.

The problem was solved by William "Buz" Brock, a UW-Madison professor of economics who for decades has worked on the mathematical connections of economics and ecology. Brock used a branch of applied mathematics known as bifurcation theory to show that the odd behavior was in fact an early warning of catastrophic change. In short, he devised a way to sense the transformation of an ecosystem by detecting subtle changes in the system's natural patterns of variability.

The upshot of the Peter Lake field experiment, says Carpenter, is a validated statistical early warning system for ecosystem collapse. The catch, however, is that for the early warning system to work, intense and continuous monitoring of an ecosystem's chemistry, physical properties and biota are required.

Such an approach may not be practical for every threatened ecosystem, says Carpenter, but he also cites the price of doing nothing: "These regime shifts tend to be hard to reverse. It is like a runaway train once it gets going and the costs -- both ecological and economic -- are high."

In addition to Carpenter and Brock, authors of the new Science report include Jonathan Cole of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Michael Pace, James Coloso and David Seekell of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville; James Hodgson of St. Norbert College; and Ryan Batt, Tim Cline, James Kitchell, Laura Smith and Brian Weidel of UW-Madison

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 01:31:45 -0000 Subject: "Are U.S. scientists more likely to publish fake research?"

Probably because the `reward' for sci-fraud is much higher in the USA - although where the same influence extends to other countries they seem to exhibit similar high-profile fraud (recall a Japanese cloning/DNA case?) - Ray
Are U.S. scientists more likely to publish fake research?

Nov. 16, 2010
Courtesy of BMJ-British Medical Journal and World Science staff

U.S. scientists are significantly more likely to publish fake research than scientists from elsewhere, suggests a study that tallied officially retracted studies from various countries.

Researcher Grant Steen, of Chapel Hill, N.C. based company Medical Communications Consultants, searched PubMed, a vast U.S. government database of biological studies, for every research paper that had been withdrawn and therefore expunged from the public record between 2000 and 2010.

A total of 243 papers on the database were retracted due to presumed fraud during this period, found Steen's study, published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.  In about 35 percent of these cases, the first name in the list of authors was that of a U.S. scientist.

The many cases in which retraction was due to research error rather than fraud weren't counted, Steen said.

"Perhaps surprisingly, fraud occurs more often in the USA than the rest of the world," he wrote.  "And there was significantly more fraud than error among retracted papers from the USA ... compared with the rest of the world."

Steen also found that the fakes were more likely to appear in leadng publications with a high "impact factor," a measure of how often research is cited in other peer reviewed journals.  Moreover, 53 percent of the faked papers had been written by a first author who was a "repeat offender," and faked research papers were significantly more likely to have multiple authors.

Each first author who was a repeat fraudster had an average of six co-authors, each of whom had had another three retractions, the study found. ---

Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2010 11:08:57 -0000
Subject: Interesting article - "Solar Mystery"

Think they're possibly missing a trick (maybe), so added a note underneath - Ray
Stanford Report, August 23, 2010
It's a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly: The radioactive decay of some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be influenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away.
As the researchers pored through published data on specific isotopes, they found disagreement in the measured decay rates - odd for supposed physical constants.
Checking data collected at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island and the Federal Physical and Technical Institute in Germany, they came across something even more surprising: long-term observation of the decay rate of silicon-32 and radium-226 seemed to show a small seasonal variation. The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer.
On Dec 13, 2006, the sun itself provided a crucial clue, when a solar flare sent a stream of particles and radiation toward Earth. Purdue nuclear engineer Jere Jenkins, while measuring the decay rate of manganese-54, a short-lived isotope used in medical diagnostics, noticed that the rate dropped slightly during the flare, a decrease that started about a day and a half before the flare.
Going back to take another look at the decay data from the Brookhaven lab, the researchers found a recurring pattern of 33 days. It was a bit of a surprise, given that most solar observations show a pattern of about 28 days - the rotation rate of the surface of the sun.

The explanation? The core of the sun - where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos - apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. "It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun," Sturrock said.
If the mystery particle is not a neutrino, "It would have to be something we don't know about, an unknown particle that is also emitted by the sun and has this effect, and that would be even more remarkable," Sturrock said.
also at

Recently seen it re-surfacing as a `shock/horror imminent doom' story, with some folk apparently completely misinterpreting the reported facts.  You can see the effects have probably always been happening but have only now been noticed.
R D.

PS - I have my own theory - that the Sun _does_ cause the variations, not by its emissions but merely by its varying shielding effect on the `binding force' which holds matter / mass together (usually attributed to `Higgs particles').

Seems a lot simpler to me.  [Occam's Razor?]

[Later - That article is being quoted - and maybe misunderstood - yet again, here in May 2011]

Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2010 17:22:15 -0000
Subject: Re: "Abolish Peer-Review"

Ed K***, Ph.D. wrote:
> However, the peer review process falls down most badly with
> anomalous or with paradigm breaking research that upsets that
> current status quo, where strong opinions and beliefs, rather
> than facts, hold sway.

Fully agree, and feel that the system does much damage in the field of physics (maybe call it `post-quantum' / `post-G-R' physics rather than the over-hopeful references to `string' or `M' theories). As Lee Smolin said some years ago, there's been no real advance for a generation (think he mentioned the'70s).

And across all disciplines there would seem to be big problems with practitioners failing to understand the real significance of their claims - pro or con. [Which sometimes implies a loss of contact with basic principles]

That thought was provoked by an article called "Odds Are, It's Wrong - Science fails to face the shortcomings of statistics" By Tom Siegfried March 27th, 2010; Vol.177 #7 (p. 26)

Ray D,_Its_Wrong

"There is increasing concern," declared epidemiologist John Ioannidis in a highly cited 2005 paper in PLoS Medicine, "that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims."
[Stephen Ziliak -] "I found that eight or nine of every 10 articles published in the leading journals make the fatal substitution" of equating statistical significance to importance", he said in an interview. Ziliak's data are documented in the 2008 book The Cult of Statistical Significance, coauthored with Deirdre McCloskey of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

[Bkgrd: - earlier warning & our suspicions ]

Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2010 15:11:43 -0000
Subject: "Abolish Peer-Review"

Was quite surprised, at about 7:20 this morning, to hear the former editor of the British Medical Journal, Richard Smith, call for the Peer Review system of scientific paper publication to be abolished.

He listed all the bad points:  censoring of good ideas, bias towards the `status quo'. abuse through personal antagonisms, _and_ through nepotism and undue respect for established figures etc (along with huge expenses and delays), ending by saying:  "We should publish everything and let the world sort it out by considered analysis, which is what eventually happens in real life".

(He couldn't suggest a replacement for Grant Allocation `peer reviews' - so presumably they will continue to suffer from those bad points)

Ray D

"When we read that a scientific paper has been "peer reviewed" we're meant to think: well, that's OK then, we can trust it."

Former editor of the British Medical Journal Richard Smith says the peer review system has too many problems to be credible and would like to see it abandoned.

[Bkgrd: - earlier warning & our suspicions ]

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