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Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2015 20:53:41 -0500 (CDT)
New Wolfram Summer Programs announced


Wolfram will be offering four unique summer program opportunities this June and July. These programs will be held at Bentley University near Boston, Massachusetts.

* Wolfram Science Summer School:
since 2003, a unique educational and career opportunity to learn and do an original project at the frontiers of science, primarily for college and graduate students:
https://www.wolframscience.com/summerschool/

* Wolfram Innovation Summer School:
a new program in which students learn hands-on from senior staff at Wolfram how to apply Wolfram's unique approach to creating ideas and turning them into products and companies:
http://education.wolfram.com/summer/innovation/

* Mathematica Summer Camp:
from the creators of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha, a project-oriented camp for high school students, teaching cutting-edge programming and mathematical computation:
http://mathematica-camp.org/

* Wolfram Tech Innovation Summer Camp:
a new camp providing a unique opportunity for entrepreneurial precollege students to learn about innovative technology and how to create it:
http://education.wolfram.com/summer/techinnovation/

For details, please visit the FAQ pages or contact us:
mailto:Wolfram

Sincerely,

Carol Cronin
Education Administrator
Wolfram Summer Programs
http://education.wolfram.com/summer

-------------------
Wolfram Research | 100 Trade Center Dr. | Champaign, IL 61820




Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:13:49 -0000
Subject: "Evolutionary tree: Humans may have evolved with plant genes, study claims


Follow-up to that HGT story, and it recalls a forecast made some years ago after reading Stephen Jay Gould's description of how we - vertebrates (mammals say) and insects and even molluscs like squids and octopuses - all share a common genetic switch that grows our - very different - eyes:

From www.perceptions.couk.com/thefly.html#eyes
It turns out that there is a DNA pattern that starts eyes growing in all three phyla!

They're of a type called `hox genes'. And their action means our common ancestor already `grew' eyes as routine.
QUOTE - "the fly version will induce eyes in vertebrates, and vice versa"
UNQUOTE.
Although the author goes on to warn "The end results will vary substantially" - as you might imagine!

Remember that old sci-fi horror film?
Cheers
Ray


http://rt.com/uk/240553-plants-humans-related-genes/
RT | Published time: March 13, 2015 17:24
Evolutionary tree: Humans may have evolved with plant genes, study claims

Humans may have evolved with the genes of plants, fungi and micro-organisms, according to a consensus-challenging Cambridge University study.

The study into the literal roots of mankind builds on, and to some extent confirms, the findings of a 2001 investigation into whether or not humans could have acquired DNA from plants.
It was heavily criticized at the time for being too weedy.

It is now accepted in some quarters that up to one percent of our genome could have originated in plants by way of horizontal genetic transfer, or HGT, a complex process in which particular bacteria transfer information about DNA.

The research suggests that humans, like certain other species, carried the DNA of organisms which lived in their surrounding environment rather than obtaining it through the much more linear process of breeding and descent.

In a statement on the University of Cambridge website, Dr. Alistair Crisp, lead author of the project undertaken by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, said: "This is the first study to show how widely horizontal gene transfer occurs in animals, including humans, giving rise to tens or hundreds of active 'foreign' genes."

"Surprisingly, far from being a rare occurrence, it appears that this has contributed to the evolution of many, perhaps all, animals and that the process is ongoing. We may need to re-evaluate how we think about evolution." In an article for the Genome Biology journal published Friday, the authors of the report further explained: "HGT occurs at low, but appreciable, levels across all the animal species we examined; it has occurred over time and is still occurring; it mainly originates from bacteria and protists; and the genes concerned frequently code for enzyme activities."

"Interestingly, overall levels of HGT do not appear to be conspicuously different in vertebrates and invertebrates. This is surprising given the difference in complexity between the groups, but may be explained by the observed older HGT in primates, suggesting that the vertebrate HGT may have occurred at an earlier stage of vertebrate evolution."
---





Date: Sun, 15 Mar 2015 18:24:15 -0000
Subject: "Whales on the Wrong Side of the World


Ha!  Scroll down to final five paragraphs - it's an admission that between 10,000 yrs ago and 5,000 yrs ago it was much WARMER than now!

[Alarmists have been frantically denying this fact for last ten years, claiming that any warm periods were only local and not affecting the whole Earth at all.]

Ray


http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/10/whales-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-world/
Whales on the Wrong Side of the World
by Carl Zimmer
In May 2010, a whale showed up on the wrong side of the world.

A team of marine biologists was conducting a survey off the coast of Israel when they spotted it. At first they thought it was a sperm whale. But each time the animal surfaced, the more clearly they could see that it had the wrong anatomy. When they got back on land, they looked closely at the photographs they had taken and realized, to their shock, that it was a gray whale. This species is a common sight off the coast of California, but biologists had never seen one outside of the Pacific before.

Aviad Scheinin, one of the marine biologists on the survey, posted the news on the web. "Nice Photoshopping," someone replied.

Three weeks later, Scheinin got one more bit of news about the whale. It was photographed off the coast of Spain, having traveled 1864 miles. Then it disappeared.

After three years, a second gray whale appeared off the coast of Namibia in 2013. Comparing photographs, scientists could see that it was a different animal than the one that visited Israel. After lingering along the coast of Namibia for a month, the whale vanished.

These two sightings have left whale experts startled. In an interview with the Orange County Register, one scientists compared the feeling to walking down a street in California and seeing a giraffe.

But according to a new study, these two whales may be a hint of the new normal. Gray whales may be poised to move into the Atlantic, because we're opening a path for them through the Arctic. But it's not an unprecedented invasion. To some extent, it's a case of history repeating itself.

California's gray whales give birth each winter in the lagoons of the Baja Peninsula. Then they migrate up the west coast to the Arctic for the summer. They power these tremendous migrations - the longest of any mammal - by ramming their mouths into the sea floor and filtering out tiny crustaceans from the sediment. When they rise back up to the ocean's surface, they bring with them wide muddy plumes.

Aside from the California population, the only other known population of gray whales is a small group of animals on the western side of the Pacific. But scientists have had hints for a long time that gray whales might once have lived in the Atlantic as well.

In the eighteenth century, whaling ships off the coast of New England chased what naturalists at the time referred to as "scrag whales." Their descriptions of scrag whales are a match for gray whales. In the 1800s, fossil-collectors picked up whale vertebrae on the coast of England. Many years later, paleontologists found that the bones belonged to gray whales.

These findings suggested that gray whales once lived in both the Atlantic and Pacific. That's the case today for other filter-feeding whales (known as baleen whales). Species such as humpback whales and fin whales split into Atlantic and Pacific populations a couple million years ago and have remained distinct ever since.

Scientists suspected that gray whales spread across both oceans millions of years ago. Later the planet has cooled, creating an icy Arctic that formed a barrier between the two populations. The gray whales of the eastern Pacific would migrate as far north as they could manage before reaching the ice, and then head back south. Presumably the Atlantic gray whales had a similar migration. Isolated for millions of years, the gray whales of the two oceans might well have evolved into different species. If that were true, then whalers must have driven the Atlantic gray whale species to extinction, while sparing the Pacific one.

To explore the mystery of these whales further, a team of researchers has taken a fresh look at the fossils of Atlantic gray whales. Instead of just observing the anatomy of the bones, the scientists probed them for ancient DNA. They also measured the amounts of carbon isotopes in the bones to determine their age. The fossils ranged in age from just a few hundred years old to over 50,000 years old.

The scientists were able to use all this information to draw a family tree of gray whales, showing how Atlantic and Pacific gray whales were related to each other. They could also estimate how long ago the branches split apart.

The gray whale's tree turned out to be different from those of other baleen whales. The Atlantic and Pacific populations of gray whales are not a pair of ancient, distantly related lineages. Instead, the Atlantic gray whales are actually made up of at least four different lineages. And each of the Atlantic branches is most closely related to a different branch of Pacific gray whales.

In other words, Pacific gray whales have periodically swum across the Arctic Ocean and into the Atlantic and established populations that survived for millennia. The scientists can identify several waves of immigration. One took place about 79,000 years ago, and then three others happened more recently, between about 10,000 and 5,000 years ago.

The timing of these colonizations is telling: the whales appear to have moved into the Atlantic whenever it was warm enough for them to get through. Between 135,000 and 70,000 years ago, the climate was so warm that the Bering Strait was open year-round, giving gray whales access to the Arctic Ocean. Once these gray whales got to the Atlantic, they then endured until at least 5,000 years ago.

Then a new ice age began. Glaciers grew, sea levels dropped, and gray whales could no longer get across the Arctic. Sixty thousand years passed before the ice age ended with a sudden burst of warmth. And that's when new waves of gray whales came into the Atlantic. The Arctic then cooled somewhat, closing the door once more.

Now we are warming the Arctic again by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If history is any guide, global warming in decades to come may open up the Arctic for Pacific gray whales, some of whom may wander off their regular migrations and end up in the Atlantic.

These gray whales will encounter an ocean far different from the ocean their cousins arrived in thousands of years ago. They will have to deal with busy shipping lanes where they may get killed in collisions, along with oil drilling and industrial fishing operations. On the other hand, the authors of the new study predict that the gray whales will have lots of good habitat to live in. As sea levels rise, there will be more shallow shelves where the whales can scoop up mud to find food. Today, a gray whale outside the Pacific seems like a case of Photoshopping. Soon, however, we may be photoshopping a whole ocean of whales.
---





Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:30:15 -0000
Subject: `Obsolescence of knowledge': Study reveals there are too many studies


Well, comparing `science' with `media culture' (as the article does) will show you that, like the media, most `scientific' claims are over-hyped rubbish!

[Earlier evidence says that up to 80% of published medical science claims are false - either just wrong (but made to attract funding) or actively faked - see www.perceptions.couk.com/ioannidis.txt]

More evidence of crappy `modern science' is listed below article
Cheers
Ray D


http://rt.com/news/239841-research-many-studies-information/
Published time: March 11, 2015 20:33
`Obsolescence of knowledge': Study reveals there are too many studies

Though one might assume an ever-increasing torrent of studies promotes knowledge, it actually seems to have the opposite effect. US and Finnish researchers have found that science could be in decay, as scholars can't keep pace with scientific literature.

It took an entire study to find that the number of studies exceeds the ability of scientists to digest published literature. The research, dubbed `Attention decay in science,' was recently published online by professors from universities in Finland and California.

The "thorough study of the life-cycle of papers in different disciplines" - clinical medicine, molecular biology, chemistry, and physics - stresses that new studies are simply "stealing" the attention of scholars, so the life-cycles of papers has dropped since the 1960s.

"The exponential growth in the number of scientific papers makes it increasingly difficult for researchers to keep track of all the publications relevant to their work," the authors wrote in the study. "Consequently, the attention that can be devoted to individual papers, measured by their citation counts, is bound to decay rapidly."

Scientists have previously warned about the effects that the digital age, including the exponential growth of information, is having on culture and the human mind. However, this is the first indication that the sufferings of science are the same.

"New papers have higher citation rates for the first few years, whereas over longer periods of time old papers have higher citation rates," the authors concluded, proving human love for verified knowledge.
---


www.perceptions.couk.com/peer-review-bad.txt
www.perceptions.couk.com/peer-corrupt.txt
www.perceptions.couk.com/religion.txt
www.perceptions.couk.com/fear-fakers.txt
www.perceptions.couk.com/system-bias.txt
www.perceptions.couk.com/peerreview-again.txt
www.perceptions.couk.com/fakenat.txt





Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2015 08:34:37 -0000
Subject: "Youngest, most distant galaxy ... surprisingly mature (and dusty)


What the article doesn't say is that this is merely the latest of many "distant galaxies" that _should_ look young (if the Big Bang theory was correct) but DON'T! - They look like mature galaxies, like our Milky Way.

And that repeated fact, along with many others (like the continual finding of really huge cosmic structures (`walls' of billions of galaxies, and `filaments' composed of billions more, all too big to have formed in the claimed `age of the universe') is overwhelming evidence that the Big Bang (and the rest of the `standard model' of cosmology) is simply not true.
Ray


http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/03/02/one-of-the-youngest-most-distant-galaxies-ever-observed-is-surprisingly-mature-and-dusty/
Speaking of Science | By Rachel Feltman March 2
One of the youngest, most distant galaxies ever observed is surprisingly mature (and dusty)

Astronomers have spotted a galaxy so distant that we can observe it as it was near the dawn of time. But instead of looking like other infant systems they've seen, the galaxy is surprisingly far along in its star production.

This could mean that galaxies evolve more quickly than previously assumed -- and if other early galaxies churned out stars at the same rate as this one, astronomers may be more capable of observing them than we'd thought, too. The new findings were published Monday in Nature.

Galaxy A1689-zD1 is so distant that you can barely see it in the massive Hubble image above. But it sits behind a massive cluster of galaxies called Abell 1689, which is so big that it acts as a gravitational lens and magnifies the light of A1689-zD1 by over nine times.

Because A1689-zD1 is so distant, the traces of it that reach us today show the galaxy as it was just 700 million years after the birth of the universe; when the cosmos was a mere 5% of its current age.

But the galaxy has a ratio of something called cosmic dust that astronomers would only expect to see in a much older galaxy.

These particles, which are made up of elements like carbon, silicon, magnesium, iron, and oxygen, are absolutely essential to the formation of life. These elements are formed in the hearts of stars, then pushed out into clouds of dust and gas when the stars explode. These clouds seed new stars, and astronomers thought (based on previously observed ancient galaxies) that it would take generations of star birth and deaths to evolve the heavier elements that they see in A1689-zD1.

"Although the exact origin of galactic dust remains obscure," lead researcher Darach Watson of the University of Copenhagen said in a statement, "our findings indicate that its production occurs very rapidly, within only 500 million years of the beginning of star formation in the Universe -- a very short cosmological time frame, given that most stars live for billions of years."

Watson and his colleagues believe that previous galaxies of this cosmic age may have been too large to show typical evolution. The smaller A1689-zD1 is more of an average system, at least size-wise, so it may be more representative of the early universe as a whole.

If that's the case, we may have hopes of seeing many more of these early galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which was used to study A1689-zD1. That's because active galaxies are easier to spot: When the ultraviolet light of young stars hits nearby cosmic dust, the result is the emission of far-infrared light. With more active stars and more dust, there's more far-infrared for ALMA to spot.
---





Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2015 10:48:59 -0000
Subject: "Sun's Impact On Climate Is Greater In Cool Periods


Duh!  They finally realized that the Sun, source of the Solar System's heat, directly affects Earth's climate, on both long and short-term scales.  Well, congratulations!

BTW - the longest-term records seem to show that when our climate improves (gets warmer), then plant life increases (especially in the oceans, which can have MORE plant life than dry land), and THEN carbon dioxide increases (because plants use and then make CO2 in decay).

So it's likely that most of the smooth increase of CO2 in last century or so (despite huge changes in human activities) has been due to the slow rebound of Earth's temperatures from the Little Ice Age (rebound starting c. 1850).

BTW2 - we humans, like all living things on Earth, are MADE of carbon; so the more the better, so long as oxygen production (by plants) also continues.
Cheers
Ray


http://www.science20.com/news_articles/suns_impact_on_climate_is_greater_in_cool_periods-153591
By News Staff | March 1st 2015 07:30 AM
Sun's Impact On Climate Is Greater In Cool Periods

The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interactions that control our climate. We don't really even understand the impact of the sun - it is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler, according to a new paper in Geology.

There has been discussion as to whether variations in the strength of the Sun have played a role in triggering climate change in the past, but more and more research results clearly indicate that solar activity - i.e. the amount of radiation coming from the Sun - has an impact on how the climate varies over time.

In the new study, researchers show that, during the last 4,000 years, there appears to have been a close correlation between solar activity and the sea surface temperature in summer in the North Atlantic.

This correlation is not seen in the preceding period.

Since the end of the Last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago, the Earth has generally experienced a warm climate. However, the climate has not been stable during this period, when temperatures have varied for long periods. We have generally had a slightly cooler climate during the last 4,000 years, and the ocean currents in the North Atlantic have been weaker.

"We know that the Sun is very important for our climate, but the impact is not clear. Climate change appears to be either strengthened or weakened by solar activity. The extent of the Sun's influence over time is thus not constant, but we can now conclude that the climate system is more receptive to the impact of the Sun during cold periods - at least in the North Atlantic region," says Professor Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz of Aarhus University.

A piece of the climate puzzle
In their study, the researchers looked at the sea surface temperatures in summer in the northern part of the North Atlantic during the last 9,300 years. Direct measurements of the temperature are only found for the last 140 years, when they were taken from ships.

However, by examining studies of marine algae - diatoms - found in sediments deposited on the North Atlantic sea bed, it is possible to use the species distribution of these organisms to reconstruct fluctuations in sea surface temperatures much further back in time.

The detailed study makes it possible to draw comparisons with records of fluctuations of solar energy bursts in the same period, and the results show a clear correlation between climate change in the North Atlantic and variations in solar activity during the last 4,000 years, both on a large time scale over periods of hundreds of years and right down to fluctuations over periods of 10-20 years.

The new knowledge is a small but important piece of the overall picture as regards our understanding of how the entire climate system works, according to Professor Seidenkrantz.

"Our climate is enormously complex. By gathering knowledge piece by piece about the way the individual elements work together and influence each other to either strengthen an effect or mitigate or compensate for an impact, we can gradually get an overall picture of the mechanisms. This is also important for understanding how human-induced climate change can affect and be affected in this interaction," she says.
---





Date: Sun, 1 Mar 2015 14:42:28 -0000
Subject: Epigenetic vs. genetic (and ET)


Interesting - a nice try (at mapping epigenetics) yet a bit ambitious at this stage of our knowledge.   Still, we know enough now to see that the fashionable idea that "genes" (DNA) dictate our fate is quite wrong.  It's becoming clear that most of our traits: body size, brain uses, food tastes and appetites (and even sexual direction), are in fact dictated by epigenetic (chemical inputs OUTSIDE OF our cell nucleus DNA); influences usually caused by the environmental conditions (food amounts and types, chemical surroundings etc.) experienced by our parents, grandparents or even much further back.

Even sexual direction (_not_ libido) is caused by `nurture' not `nature' - i.e. statistical analysis of rearing & educational methods employed by various social groups shows that the preponderance (maybe 99%) of extreme and unusual sexual direction (homo-pedophile) is caused by training very young males in `elite' or `Spartan' single-sex schools - see `historical + modern'.
(The remaining 1% of `abnormal' direction is due to hormonal damage or birth/medical `accidents'.)

So all those `old-wives tales' about influences on the unborn child (and their descendants) turned out to be true!.
Ray

PS - some folk (inc. Lee Smolin) have said we can't fully answer Fermi's Paradox (where are the ETs - if any?) until we've checked all the `junk DNA' in all Earth's animals - because the occasional ET visitor (once every 100 million years estimated) might have left a long-lasting message in that "junk". - RD

PS2 - being about 75% `Norse' I occasionally experience the "Viking shield-hand cramp" - a slight tightening of the muscles leading to little-finger of left hand. The legend of the "Viking shield-hand" is probably untrue, yet it would be interesting to know the real cause. - RD


http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530094.700-huge-epigenomic-map-examines-lifes-impact-on-our-genes.html
18 February 2015 by Catherine Brahic

Huge epigenomic map examines life's impact on our genes

THE nature versus nurture debate is getting a facelift this week, with the publication of a genetic map that promises to tell us which bits of us are set in stone by our DNA, and which bits we can affect by how we live our lives.

The new "epigenomic" map doesn't just look at genes, but also the instructions that govern them. Compiled by a consortium of biologists and computer scientists, this information will allow doctors to pinpoint precisely which cells in the body are responsible for various diseases. It might also reveal how to adjust your lifestyle to counter a genetic predisposition to a particular disease.

"The epigenome is the additional information our cells have on top of genetic information," says lead researcher Manolis Kellis of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is made of chemical tags that are attached to DNA and its packaging. These tags act like genetic controllers, influencing whether a gene is switched on or off, and play an instrumental role in shaping our bodies and disease.

Researchers are still figuring out exactly how and when epigenetic tags are added to our DNA, but the process appears to depend on environmental cues. We inherit some tags from our parents, but what a mother eats during pregnancy, for instance, might also change her baby's epigenome. Others tags relate to the environment we are exposed to as children and adults. "The epigenome sits in a very special place between nature and nurture," says Kellis.

Each cell type in our body has a different epigenome - in fact, the DNA tags are the reason why our cells come in such different shapes and sizes despite having exactly the same DNA. So for its map, the Roadmap Epigenomics Consortium collected thousands of cells from different adult and embryonic tissues, and meticulously analysed all the tags.

So far, they have produced 127 epigenomes, each corresponding to a different cell type, from brain cells to skin cells. That's a big advance on the 16 published in 2012 by the ENCODE project, which are included in the new map.

The consortium also cross-referenced these healthy epigenomes with previous data on the genetic components of dozens of diseases, including type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease and Alzheimer's disease (see "Alzheimer's epigenetics").

The results, says Kellis, allow doctors to see what cell types are likely to be disrupted in people with these conditions. For instance, they suggest disruptions in the epigenome of the brain's cingulate gyrus cells may play a role in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature14248).

Richard Meehan of the University of Edinburgh, UK, says the work offers "incredibly valuable information which will be absorbed and debated for years to come". He suggests that one day doctors will look at your epigenomes during routine health checks to suss out how the nature versus nurture battle is playing out inside your cells. These scans would reveal your genetic predisposition to certain conditions, and how your lifestyle is affecting those risks.

By adjusting your choices accordingly, you will be able to delay disease, or minimise its effects for as long as possible. "It's not going to move any further forward the point at which your life ends, but make the years up to that point - years that are spent in physical decline - a whole lot better," says Meehan.

"You see this on Star Trek," he adds. "Nobody lives any longer but they just seem to be healthier up to the point where life, unfortunately, passes away."

This article appeared in print under the headline "Map tells us how life nudges genes"

Alzheimer's epigenetics While you can't change the genes you were born with, you might be able to alter your epigenome - and its influence on your health - through tinkering with your lifestyle.

Studying cells from people with Alzheimer's and a mouse version of the disease highlights both immune cells and brain cells as key players. This finding supports other studies suggesting that an immune disorder is at least partially responsible for Alzheimer's.

Manolis Kellis and his team at MIT (see main story) were able to identify both genetic and non-genetic effects. While the immune disruptions were coded in the cells' genetics, the changes in the brain cells appeared to be influenced by environmental inputs like diet, education, physical activity and age, and are probably associated with epigenetic changes (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature14252).

"We have an interplay between genetics and epigenetics," says Kellis. "You might not be able to do anything about the genetic but you might be able to do something about the epigenomic by - I don't know - maybe reading more books."
---





Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:08:14 -0000
Subject: Fake Science & Consensuses


Last night was quickly dipping into Lee Smolin's `Life Of The Cosmos', an interesting & maybe controversial `general science' book.  Re-found this, which I marked for today's use:

"As it is usually taught to students, Newton's physics does not make complete sense, for they are almost never told the full story.  Position, velocity and acceleration are usually introduced as if they have simple and obvious meanings, but they do not.  Even more difficult are the concepts of force and mass [and therefore of `inertia' - RD], the definitions given of them in textbooks are almost always circular.  The students are seldom told that if they are puzzled it may be for good reason, or that the things that confuse them have been debated for centuries.  Some figure it out for themselves.  Many go away with an unjustified sense that they cannot learn science."

[For examples of `circular arguments' and `begging the question' see www.perceptions.couk.com/begged.txt - RD]

Yup, and that applies to many, maybe most subjects taught under the name of `science' - including soft sciences like economics, social sciences, history & political science etc.  I.e. the tutors and lecturers are mouthing `consensus' views which are usually crap - safe, fashionable conformist crap!

[Have already said my piece on `mediocre science consensuses' - at www.perceptions.couk.com/uef/ansci907.html#med-sci - RD]

For instance, at the very smallest level at which we can measure and experiment, the scientists have NO IDEA what's really happening!  They claim knowledge, or at least a logic to their theories but it's all based on mis-perceptions of some simple (and true) apparent transformations of electrons into photons and vice versa.  On that basis the `particle physics' theory has been built, needing magic "gluons" (to hold matter together), and equally magic "gravitons" (to cause gravitational attraction between masses).  And how are they supposed to work their magic?  By magic `particle exchanges' - which don't really happen!  You can tell the `particle theory' is rubbish because it can give NO explanation for the sizes and masses of any of the hundreds of claimed particles.

[For more see www.perceptions.couk.com/uef/parts.txt - RD]

And at the very largest scale we can (so far) envisage, the cosmologists are contradicting themselves on every question (often deciding to quietly "forget" or even suppress the evidence - like many huge cosmic structures way too big to have been assembled during the claimed age of the universe).  Speaking to students or the public they claim absolute knowledge (called the `standard model') but only by ignoring facts which point to the universe being much bigger and older than they claim, and more facts putting in severe doubt the validity of `red-shift' interpretations used to bolster that `standard model'.  Any scientists objecting are frozen out by denying them telescope time and suppressing their attempted publications.  Many careers are being ruined to keep up a false pretence.

[Maybe see www.perceptions.couk.com/uef/ansci903.html#no-bb2 for details of the brave folk who've been suppressed so far, like Halton Arp was, for more see www.perceptions.couk.com/creation.html#updates and maybe www.perceptions.couk.com/uef/exred.txt - RD]

So, that initial Smolin quote has got me thinking about the messy can-of-worms called modern science - which today is being used (as religion used to be) by lying venal politicos to `justify' all kinds of oppressive, harmful and expensive programs (affecting working taxpayers, BUT NOT the politicos, their corporate friends or the academics in their ivory towers).

Cheers
Ray D





Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2015 07:27:09 -0000
Subject: "Most of Great Lakes surface frozen for second straight year


Well, as I look at the evidence, don't see "global warming" very much.

[Mind you, the Earth is still rebounding from the `Little Ice Age', as Iceland is finding out (they are returning to good agricultural possibilities of long, long ago), so some overall warming is to be expected - due to the Sun's changes and NOT to "greenhouse gasses".]
Ray


http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/daily_updates/article_19bf48c2-b995-11e4-b07c-9b8d1e2e89ae.html
Most of Great Lakes surface frozen for second straight year
Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 12:44 am | Updated: 12:45 am, Sat Feb 21, 2015.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - For the second consecutive winter, bitter weather threatens to turn the surface of the Great Lakes into a vast, frozen plain. Nearly 81 percent of the lakes' surface area was covered with ice, the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory reported Friday. That was down slightly from more than 85 percent the previous day - a glitch that probably happened because strong winds broke apart some ice and created open spots detected by satellites, said George Leshkevich, a physical scientist with the lab in Ann Arbor.

But with forecasts calling for frigid weather at least through the end of the month, the ice cover may keep expanding, he said. It's grown rapidly as temperatures have plunged this month, nearly doubling over the past couple of weeks.

Records show the lakes' most widespread freeze was 94.7 percent in 1979. The ice cover topped out at 92.2 percent last March.

Significant portions of the lakes typically froze over decades ago, Leshkevich said, but the frequency of severe winters has declined since the late 1990s.

"Two almost record-setting years back to back would be very unusual," he said.

One likely explanation for the rapid buildup this month is that 2014's freeze lasted so long - Lake Superior wasn't completely ice-free until June - and summer was so mild that the lakes didn't absorb much heat, he said. "So we started this season with below-water temperatures to begin with."

The ice blanket reaches across more than 90 percent of Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie, while Lakes Michigan and Ontario are more than halfway covered.

It has produced some spectacular visual images, from ice caves along the Lake Michigan shoreline to a glacial buildup making it appear that Niagara Falls had frozen in place.

But it's a headache for the Coast Guard, whose cutters open channels for vessels hauling vital cargo such as heating oil and road salt. The Detroit-based tug Bristol Bay has struggled for days to free the Arthur M. Anderson, a freighter stranded about 70 miles east of Cleveland in ice up to 10 feet thick. The Canadian Coast Guard has dispatched an icebreaker to assist.

The job has taken so much longer than expected that the Bristol Bay's crew ran low on food and had to receive a delivery by helicopter, which lowered supplies in their rescue basket.

Things will get even busier in mid-March, when the shipping season begins for the lakes' regular traffic of vessels carrying iron ore, coal, grain and other bulk cargo.

"We're probably going to be looking at situations like we had last year, where we had to put together convoys - lots of vessels together to make it through." Coast Guard spokesman Lorne Thomas said.
---





Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2015 06:06:36 -0000
Subject: "Hadron collider set for triumph `bigger than Higgs boson'


Ha!  After reading a withering critique of so-called `particle physics standard model' (by Profs Stewart & Cohen) I've become downright sceptical - see home-made critique below this short article reference:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/hadron-collider-set-for-triumph-bigger-than-higgs-boson-10047710.html
Hadron collider set for triumph `bigger than Higgs boson'

A sub-atomic particle even more stunning that the Higgs boson could be discovered this year according to scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern.
(more at page ...)
---


A personal take on:
PARTICLE PHYSICS
Particle physics has three problems which its scientists dare not acknowledge.
-
These scientists take atoms - accelerate them in fields which smash them into other particles coming the other way or at the far end of a long tunnel.

They carefully watch / film the resulting effects (mostly electro-magnetic) and then decide which new particle they have "discovered".
-
Problem #1 - That is equivalent to arranging a plane crash, picking up the resulting shreds, and then announcing that these mangled shreds are discrete components of some (unknown) operating mechanism.

Say they found a piece of melted plastic and metal, fused into a ball [maybe it had been an arm-rest].  They then look for ways that ball of plastic and metal could interact with other previously examined shreds to make that (unknown) machine work.

That's problem #1 - the ball of plastic and metal didn't exist before the crash.  Although it had been part of a greater whole - a seat arm-rest (a proton say), the metal-and-plastic ball was `manufactured' by the conditions of the crash!

So when particle physicists announce discoveries you know one thing - that "new particle" is _not_ a component of ordinary `real' matter which you and me are made of.

Although somewhere in the universe, where conditions are like in that experiment, a shred of matter could and probably does exist - temporarily - which looks like that "particle".
-
Problem #2 - Particle physicists have had to invent a logic and language which doesn't actually work in the real world - for the reasons outlined above.

I.e - "gluons" and "gravitons" don't exist and can't exist - for reasons & background see www.perceptions.couk.com/uef/index.html

In reality, one force pushes matter together _and_ endows it with `inertia' and `mass', so that matter can then create a `shadow' in that force - a shadow which we call `gravity'.  Mainstream science hasn't yet realized that's the reason why gravitational mass is exactly equal to inertial mass - a great mystery, because science thinks that gravitational forces are separate from electro-magnetic forces (which define `inertial mass').
-
So the particle physicists need to claim "gluons" and "gravitons" exist, with "gluons" to hold matter together and "gravitons" to attract other matter, to fit with the dogmatic `logic' of their imaginary particle exchanges.

New students are trained (indoctrinated) in that `logic' and may believe it to be true - but each time they make a more expensive experiment, they'll "discover" - i.e manufacture - new particles which don't fit their carefully contrived Standard Model.

[See www.perceptions.couk.com/uef/ansci8.html#news-el re failures of the `Standard Model']

The reason they always find new unexpected particles is because their pseudo-science is false and therefore cannot predict anything they didn't know about already.
-
Problem #3 - They've promised the politicians that ultimate power will be found by their "particle experiments" - and the politicians, always hungry for power (and new ways of killing people), have thrown billions, or trillions now, of our tax-money into these very expensive particle-collider tunnels.

Now the "business" of particle physics is riding a tiger, and daren't stop, for an obvious reason.

They _have_ to keep on announcing `new discoveries' of "new particles", because otherwise they would be forced to tell the politicians, and eventually us, that the whole mess of particle physics is unusable and impractical nonsense, based on misconceptions and a false `Standard Model'.

Cheers
Ray D





Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:31:15 -0000
Subject: "Astrophysical jets driven by the sun


Yup, have been shouting about "jets" for years.  They exist on _all_scales, from
i) `blue jets' emitted from top of thunderclouds,
ii) to the invisible and low-level `thrusts' along the axis of our Moon (shown by dips in medium-energy neutrons at both lunar poles - which NASA loudly trumpeted as a "definitive sign of water at the poles" only later, after a rebuttal [from me and maybe others], changing that to to "possible sign of water"),
iii) to the polar radiation (along the axis) coming from Saturn and more dramatically from Jupiter,
iv) to visible jets from neutron stars' poles,
v) to the huge (many, many light years long) plasma jets from the cores of active galaxies (even our quietish Milky Way has incipient jets from its poles - resulting in two huge polar "bubbles", probably of virgin hydrogen (formed from the plasma in the jets)
- and now we see them coming out of the Sun.
Ray


http://phys.org/news/2015-02-view-solar-astrophysical-jets-driven.html
A new view of the solar system: Astrophysical jets driven by the sun

As the sun skims through the galaxy, it flings out charged particles in a stream of plasma called the solar wind, and the solar wind creates a bubble extending far outside the solar system known as the heliosphere. For decades, scientists have visualized the heliosphere as shaped like a comet, with a very long tail extending thousands of times as far as the distance from the Earth to the sun. New research suggests that the sun's magnetic field controls the large-scale shape of the heliosphere "much more than had been previously thought," says Merav Opher, associate professor of astronomy and director of the Center for Space Physics at Boston University (BU). In the new model, the magnetic field squeezes the solar wind along the sun's North and South axes, producing two jets that are then dragged downstream by the flow of the interstellar medium through which the heliosphere moves.
...
"Jets are really important in astrophysics," Drake adds. "And from what we can tell, the mechanism that's driving these heliospheric jets is basically the same as it is in, for example, the Crab Nebula. Yet this is really close by. If we're right about all of this, it gives us a local test bed for exploring some very important physics."

"It's also exciting that these jets are very turbulent, and will be very good particle accelerators," says Opher. The jets might, for example, play a role in the acceleration of so-called anomalous cosmic rays "We don't know where these particles are accelerated; it's a bit of a puzzle," she says
...
More information:
"Magnetized jets driven by the sun: the structure of the heliosphere revisited,"
Merav Opher, James Drake, Bertalan Zieger and Tamas Gombosi
Feb. 19, 2015, Astrophysical Journal Letters.

http://iopscience.iop.org/2041-8205/800/2/L28/article
Journal reference: Astrophysical Journal Letters
Provided by Boston University





Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2015 04:59:23 -0000
Subject: "Spy agencies could be funding geo-engineering


Well, well - acute observers will know that this sort of thing usually takes years to surface, most often decades.  So, were we tapping the zeitgeist a few years ago when we speculated on a secret scheme to throw the world into an Ice Age?

Check 2010 mails - www.perceptions.couk.com/metamail93.html#ice-age.
Ray


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/spy-agencies-could-be-funding-geoengineering-research-in-pursuit-of-weaponising-the-weather-scientists-claims-10047544.html
http://tinyurl.com/ngdbdmk
LOULLA-MAE ELEFTHERIOU-SMITH | Sunday 15 February 2015

Spy agencies could be funding geo-engineering research in pursuit of weaponising the weather, scientists claims

A senior American climate scientist has spoken of the fear he experienced when US intelligence services apparently asked him about the possibility of weaponising the weather as a major report on geo-engineering is to be published this week.

Professor Alan Robock stated that three years ago, two men claiming to be from the CIA had called him to ask whether experts would be able to tell if hostile forces had begun manipulating the US's weather, though he suspected the purpose of the call was to find out if American forces could meddle with other countries' climates instead.

During a debate on the use of geo-engineering to combat climate change, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California, Prof Robock said: "I got a phone call from two men who said we work as consultants for the CIA and we'd like to know if some other country was controlling our climate, would we know about it?

"I told them, after thinking a little bit, that we probably would because if you put enough material in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight we would be able to detect it and see the equipment that was putting it up there.

"At the same time I thought they were probably also interested in if we could control somebody else's climate, could they detect it?"

Professor Robock, who has investigated the potential risks and benefits of using stratospheric particles to simulate the climate-changing effects of volcanic eruptions, said he felt "scared" when the approach was made.

"I'd learned of lots of other things the CIA had done that haven't followed the rules and I thought that wasn't how I wanted my tax money spent. I think this research has to be in the open and international so there isn't any question of it being used for hostile purposes."

Forms of geo-engineering could be used to offset the effects of global warming, using methods including scattering sulphur particles in the upper atmosphere to re-direct sunlight back into space; seeding the oceans with iron to encourage the spread of carbon-hungry algae; and creating reflective areas on the Earth's surface.

The long-term effects of such strategies are largely unknown however, and many experts have expressed fears that these techniques would carry a great risk.

Professor Robock's concerns come as a major report on geo-engineering is to be published this week by the US National Academy of Sciences. Among the report's list of sponsors is the "US intelligence community", which includes Nasa, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the US Department of Energy.

The professor alleges that the CIA told a colleague of his that it wanted to fund the report, but claimed that it did not want this fact to be too obvious - he added that the CIA is "a major funder" of the report which "makes me really worried about who is going to be in control".

He claimed the US government had a proven history of using the weather in a hostile way, citing the action of seeding clouds during the Vietnam War to muddy the Ho Chi Minh foot-trail and attempt to cut it off, as it was used as a supply route [by] the north Vietnamese.

He claimed the CIA had also seeded clouds over Cuba "to make it rain and ruin the sugar harvest".

The CIA was not available for comment at the time of publishing.





Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2015 08:09:40 -0000
Subject: "Climate Skeptics Know More About Global Warming


Well, well!  You couldn't ask for a sharper example of ignorant MSM journos serving the interests of propagandists who want us all ignorant.

How so?  Well - check the final para, where Bastasch repeats a lie.  He says
"Global warming believers...were more likely to correctly answer the question, `What gas do most scientists believe causes temperatures to rise?' The correct answer is carbon dioxide"

NO IT'S BLOODY NOT - THAT GAS IS WATER VAPOUR!
[Any scientist worth his pay knows that - but they daren't stress it these days - too inconvenient.]

Water vapour is much more abundant than CO2 (maybe ten or a hundred times, depending on seasons), AND water vapour reflects heat all across the spectrum, while CO2 only reflects heat at two narrow frequency bands, so water vapour is a much better `greenhouse gas' - thankfully!

That's because all that water vapour has kept Earth's temperature about 33° warmer for hundreds of thousands of years - otherwise the equator would be frozen over.
Cheers
Ray


http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/13/study-climate-skeptics-know-more-about-global-warming/
DailyCaller | MICHAEL BASTASCH | 11:14 AM 02/13/2015
Study: Climate Skeptics Know More About Global Warming

A soon to be published study in the journal Advances in Political Psychology found that skeptics of man-made global warming scored slightly better on questions about climate science than people who believe that humans are causing irreversible warming.

Yale psychology professor Dan Kahan asked 2,000 respondents nine questions on where scientists stood on global warming. Those who were skeptical of global warming got 4.5 questions right on average, compared to global warming believers who got four questions right.

Kahan said in his study that the debate over global warming has become so politically driven that people pick their sides based on political leanings rather than what they perceive the science to actually be.

"The position someone adopts on [global warming] conveys who she is - whose side she's on, in a hate-filled, anxiety-stoked competition for status between opposing cultural groups," writes Kahan.

"It is really pretty intuitive: who wouldn't be insulted by someone screaming in her face that she and everyone she identifies with `rejects science?'" Kahan adds.

Over the years, the public has become increasingly skeptical of claims made by climate scientists and environmentalists that human activities are destroying the planet. A recent CNN poll found that 57 percent of Americans don't see global warming as a threat to their lives.

A recent Pew Research Center poll found that there is a 37 percentage point gap between the public's and scientists's beliefs on global warming. Only 50 percent of Americans thought global warming was mainly caused by humans, compared to 87 percent of scientists who said warming was primarily man-made.

Pew also found that tackling global warming ranked second-to-last on Americans' choices of what policy priorities President Barack Obama should pursue. Global warming ranked higher than global trade, but below things like scientific research and fighting terrorism.

Kahan's study should come as no surprise, as a 2012 study found that global warming skeptics knew just as much about science as believers. Unlike the past study, Kahan's specifically asked questions about global warming science.

"It's easy to believe in the religion of global warming," Roy Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told FoxNews.com. "It takes critical thinking skills to question it."

For example, Kahan found that skeptics were more likely than believers to know that global warming would not "increase the risk of skin cancer." Skeptics were also more likely to correctly answer that if the Arctic melted, it would not cause sea levels to rise.

Global warming believers, on the other hand, were more likely to correctly answer the question, "What gas do most scientists believe causes temperatures to rise?" The correct answer is carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring greenhouse gas that is also emitted by burning fossil fuels.
---





Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 10:33:04 -0000
Subject: Science Scandals


Hello Roy.  Nope, I tend not to post if I've not got anything to say - but coincidentally early today saw a reference to Hannes Alfvén and his followers who are demonstrating the cosmic importance of huge electrical plasmas.

To recap on mainstream dogma: physicists claimed (as they do now) that only gravity shapes the formation of large structures like planets, stars, galaxies, super-clusters etc. but in c. 1970 Vera Rubin was observing Andromeda (closest large spiral galaxy) and found the outer parts of the disc and arms were rotating at same speed as inner parts.  Under gravity rules they should be going more slowly as you move outwards.

[So the mainstream had to invent `dark matter' and then (as a consequence of that) go on to invent `dark energy' - all without a shred of evidence - see ansci8.html#grav-t.]

Yet Hannes Alfvén's followers have proved that massive electric plasmas will shape matter into `galactic' shapes (matching Halton Arp's catalogue of galaxies) and further, that those `electrically-shaped galaxies' will naturally hold together in such a way that they rotate as a unit - so the speed stays the same going outwards, just like in Andromeda and all other spiral galaxies (like ours).

But, although Alfvén had a Nobel for his early work, he was denied publication for his plasma theory stuff (as are his followers today) because the mainstream have too much invested in `gravity only' theories (not to mention spurious 'dark matter' etc.) and are terrified of plasma / electric theories.

All that sci-scandal is described very clearly in the first section (`Of Bangs and Braids') of a book called "Kicking The Sacred Cow" by James P Hogan which I was glancing thru at breakfast time today - it's a book worth many re-reads and has plaudits from many `science mavericks'.

(There's a revealing section on the despicable treatment of Velikovsky - who was to be proved right in all or most of his forecasts while the lying mainstream scientists (including Sagan), who ganged up on him, because he wasn't a member of the priesthood, were all eventually proved wrong (especially Sagan's lies/mistakes? about Venus: temps, atmosphere, surface composition, rotation etc.)

Cheers
Ray


BTW - personally think Sagan started off as a good guy, but later `hubris' got the better of him - and it now seems others think that too.   PS would usually rather believe R.A.W. (when he was serious), on matters of importance. - RD




Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2015 11:58:48 -0000
Subject: "ALIENS must be AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds


Yup, not a spoof - just checked it's in NEWS (many citations of the journal item) and even in WIKI as an update.
Ray
[BTW - maybe also check truths below]


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/05/helloo_aliens_average_star_has_two_potentially_earthlike_habitable_worlds/
http://tinyurl.com/pvdcsjm
ALIENS must be AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds
They're evidently here - nothing else makes sense
5 Feb 2015 at 10:57, Lewis Page

Boffins in Australia have applied a hundreds-of-years-old astronomical rule to data from the Kepler planet-hunting space telescope. They've come to the conclusion that the average star in our galaxy has not one but two Earth-size planets in its "goldilocks" zone where liquid water - and thus, life along Earthly lines - could exist.

"The ingredients for life are plentiful, and we now know that habitable environments are plentiful," says Professor Charley Lineweaver, a down-under astrophysicist.

Lineweaver and PhD student Tim Bovaird worked this out by reviewing the data on exoplanets discovered by the famed Kepler planet-hunter space scope. Kepler naturally tends to find exoplanets which orbit close to their parent suns, as it detects them by the changes in light they make by passing in front of the star. As a result, most Kepler exoplanets are too hot for liquid water to be present on their surfaces, which makes them comparatively boring.

Good planets in the "goldilocks" zone which is neither too hot nor too cold are much harder to detect with Kepler, which is a shame as these are the planets which might be home to alien life - or alternatively, home one day to transplanted Earth life including human colonists, once we've cracked that pesky interstellar travel problem.

However there exists a thing called the Titius-Bode relation - aka Bode's Law - which can be used, once you know where some inner planets are, to predict where ones further out will be found. Bode's Law was actually used by astronomers to discover Uranus here in our solar system.

Assuming Bode's Law works for other suns as it does here, and inputting the positions of known inner exoplanets found by Kepler, Lineweaver and Bovaird found that on average a star in our galaxy has two planets in its potentially-habitable zone.

That doesn't mean there are habitable or inhabited planets at every star, of course. Even here in our solar system, apparently lifeless (and not very habitable) Mars is in the habitable zone.

Even so, there are an awful lot of planets in the galaxy, so some at least ought to have life on them, and in some cases this life ought to have achieved a detectable civilisation. Prof Lineweaver admits that the total lack of any sign of this is a bit of a puzzler.

"The universe is not teeming with aliens with human-like intelligence that can build radio telescopes and space ships," admits the prof. "Otherwise we would have seen or heard from them.

"It could be that there is some other bottleneck for the emergence of life that we haven't worked out yet. Or intelligent civilisations evolve, but then self-destruct."

Of course, humans - some approximations of which have been around for some hundreds of thousands of years, perhaps - have only had civilisation of any kind in any location for a few thousand of those years. Our civilisation has only risen to levels where it could be detectable across interstellar distances very recently.

There may be many planets out there inhabited by intelligent aliens who either have no civilisation at all, or only primitive civilisation. There may be quite a few who have reached or passed the stage of emitting noticeable amounts of radio or other telltale signs, but those emissions either will not reach us for hundreds of thousands of years - or went past long ago.

It would seem reasonable to suspect that there are multitudes of worlds out there where life exists in plenty but has never become intelligent, as Earth life was for millions of years before early humans began using tools really quite recently.

But the numbers are still such that the apparent absence of star-travelling aliens could make you worry about the viability of technological civilisation if, like Professor Lineweaver, you learn your astrophysics out of textbooks and lectures (and publish your research, as we see here, in hefty boffinry journals like the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society).

But if movies, speculofictive novels and TV have taught us anything here on the Reg alien life desk, it is that in fact the galaxy is swarming with star-travelling aliens (and/or humans taken secretly from planet Earth for mysterious purposes in the past, or perhaps humans from somewhere else etc).

The reason we don't know about them is that they don't want us to. And that leads us to the most myst<break>

Lewis was filing this copy when he got a phone call and had to go out. That was a while ago. We're sure he'll turn up sooner or later, but in the meantime we thought we'd pop this up while the press release was still reasonably current. -Ed
---





Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:45:21 -0000
Subject: "Kepler-438b: Astronomers Find Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Yet


Ha! This talk of `habitable zones' around stars is facile and deeply misleading.

TRUTHS:
a) Earth is NOT IN our Sun's `habitable zone': our orbit is way too cold and we would be `Snowball Earth' without the greenhouse effect (mainly due to water vapour - the most efficient and plentiful "greenhouse gas" in our atmosphere - but climate alarmists don't tell you that);

b) In the mega-hot vicinity of the Sun, if Mercury say was tidally locked (one side always facing the Sun) then the area between "day and "night" sides would be habitable;
also way out in the icy wastes around Jupiter, Saturn etc. there are large moons being heated by gravitational tides and also by internal nuclear forces and so they might well have habitable conditions below their ice-covers or just underground.
Ray


http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/science-kepler-438b-most-earth-like-exoplanet-02387.html
Kepler-438b: Astronomers Find Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Yet
Jan 8, 2015 by Sci-News.com

An international team of astronomers led by Dr Guillermo Torres of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has discovered eight new extrasolar planets - designated Kepler-436b to Kepler-443b - in the habitable zone of their stars.
Among these eight, the scientists identified one - Kepler-438b - that is the closest analog to Earth found to date.
(more at page...)





Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:47:00 -0000
Subject: "British belief in climate change at highest level in past decade


The public is fooled again.  The climate is ALWAYS changing - as `one of the world greatest climatologists' [Hermann Flohn] stressed a while ago.  Like he said, we can't EVER expect a "return to some non-existent norm".

So all talk of "change" is meaningless, especially when we realize the Earth is presently COLDER than for most of the last ten thousand years.
Ray
[PS - Here's the data: www.perceptions.couk.com/glacials.html (without hype or political propoganda); and here's some opinion, including Hermann's: www.perceptions.couk.com/try-logic.txt]


http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/29/british-belief-in-climate-change-at-highest-level-in-past-decade-survey
http://tinyurl.com/p8t7mah

British belief in climate change at highest level in past decade - survey
Poll finds 15% say climate change is major threat in next two decades, jumping to 29% for people with direct recent experience of flooding

Britons are more likely to agree the climate is changing than at any time in the past decade, with nearly nine in 10 people saying climate change is happening and 84% attributing this somewhat or entirely to human activity, new research has found. Two-thirds say they are concerned by global warming.

When asked to name major threats to the UK in the next two decades, 15% of those polled listed climate change without prompting, putting it in fourth position behind immigration, the economy and health. But among people who had direct recent experience of flooding, the number nearly doubled, to 29%.

Nick Pidgeon, professor at Cardiff University, who co-authored the research, said this showed that there was a clear link between last year's severe flooding incidents, which left thousands homeless, and the perception of global warming.

"An association between last year's winter flooding and climate change has been forming in the minds of many ordinary people in Britain, who also view these events as a sign of things to come," he said.

This link should be used by scientists and politicians to reinforce their message that action on carbon emissions is vital, he added. "In my view they [scientists] should be a bit more decisive in saying extreme weather is one of the risks of climate change," he said. A poll last August found the floods had caused 27% of the UK public to increase their belief that climate change was manmade.

The science of climate change "attribution" - linking specific extreme weather events to the effects of global warming - is making substantial progress, so it is becoming increasingly possible for scientists to tie particular weather patterns to climate change.

Across the UK, only about 14% of the population take the opinion that climate change is not caused by human activity. That shows a very broad agreement with climate science, which dipped briefly from 2011 to 2013, when close to a fifth of people said climate change was mainly or entirely the result of natural processes.

The Ipsos MORI survey questioned 1,002 respondents from across the UK, together with another 995 people from five areas of England and Wales that were afflicted by last year's winter flooding. Of the latter group, 135 respondents had suffered directly from the flooding last winter.

A large majority (75%) of the general sample said the floods were some of the worst events to have happened to the UK in recent years, and 82% said the country had not been prepared for them. Only 36% thought the affected regions had coped well with the impact of the floods. Nearly two thirds (63%) said the floods were caused, at least in part, by climate change.

Most people are also willing to take action on greenhouse gas emissions, and to have the government and businesses take action, the Cardiff poll found. More than eight in 10 said they would buy more energy-efficient appliances and cut down on energy use at home, while 53% said they would be willing to make significant lifestyle changes to address climate change. Four in 10 said they would reduce the amount they travel by car.

Three quarters of people said they supported the UK signing up to international agreements to limit emissions, with 14% neutral and only 7% opposed. On subsidies for wind farms and other renewables, people are split down the middle: four in 10 people support tax increases to pay for more renewable energy, with a similar number opposed and a further fifth neutral. Nearly half support road pricing schemes, with 18% neutral and a third opposed.

When asked what they would do about climate change, including options to change to a green energy supplier or sign a petition, only 14% said they would contact their local MP on the issue. This could provide a clue as to why so many MPs, Conservatives especially, are able to be markedly more sceptical on climate change than the electorate - if voters are not telling them it is an issue they care about, they may be more likely to follow their own inclinations or be swayed by lobbyists.
---





Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 10:43:52 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Now accepting applications for Wolfram Summer Programs


We are pleased to announce that applications are currently being accepted for the 2015 Wolfram summer programs.

The 13th annual Wolfram Science Summer School is a three-week, tuition-free program to be held in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Wolfram Science Summer School is hosted by Stephen Wolfram, world-renowned author of A New Kind of Science (NKS), and Wolfram Research, makers of Mathematica and the computational knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha (both powered by the Wolfram Language).
http://www.wolframscience.com/summerschool

We are looking for highly motivated individuals who want to get involved with original research at the frontiers of science.  Over the past 12 years, our participants have included graduate and undergraduate students, postdocs, industry professionals, and high-octane developers from diverse backgrounds who share a common passion to discover and explore cutting-edge ideas.  This year we will have two programs within the Wolfram Science Summer School:  one program for pure science and another for technology development.

If accepted to the Summer School, you will work directly with others in the Wolfram community, including Stephen Wolfram and a staff of instructors who have made significant contributions to NKS, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Language.  You will develop a complete, original project that could become the foundation of future research or development.

Apply online at:
http://www.wolframscience.com/summerschool/application.cgi

The Mathematica Summer Camp will be held for two weeks in July in Boston, Massachusetts.  This program is for advanced high school students ages 16 and 17, though exceptional younger students will be considered.  Students will have the opportunity to learn the Wolfram Language used by Mathematica, work with Wolfram mentors, and interact with other students with similar interests.  Applicants are expected to have taken advanced courses in mathematics, science, or computer science.

For more information and to apply, please visit:
http://www.mathematica-camp.org

Questions? Please send email to wolfram-education@wolfram.com,

Sincerely,

Todd Rowland, PhD
Wolfram Science Summer School Academic Director

Catherine Boucher, PhD
Wolfram Science Summer School Program Director
Mathematica Summer Camp Program Director

Crystal Fantry
Mathematica Summer Camp Program Director


-------------------
Wolfram Research | 100 Trade Center Dr. | Champaign, IL 61820




Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:39:47 -0000
Subject: "UK and USA likely to survive climate change apocalypse


Facile rubbish!  Earth's temps are rebounding from the Little Ice-Age freeze-up and long-term effects are totally unknown (apart from the overall small global warm-up).

I.e. complex systems - like climate, clouds, human social systems, consciousness - are non-computable (cannot be expressed mathematically), so the Sahara itself _could_ return to its earlier lush forest condition, with large lakes and rivers.

What they've actually measured is politically-correct gov't spending in-line with biased `scientific advice' (mostly driven by politics) - which might all be a waste of money or even actively counter-productive.
Ray


http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/551951/UK-survive-climate-change-new-study-Eco-Experts
UK and USA likely to survive climate change apocalypse, says new study [page has maps etc]

THE United Kingdom and USA are two of the top ten countries in the world most likely to survive a climate change apocalypse, according to a new study.

The UK was placed seventh, while the USA was ranked eighth, out of 178 countries that were ranked on a map, depicting which places would fare best and which countries would be facing worst conditions should the effects of global warming become life threatening.

Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark were all dubbed to be best equipped to adapt to environmental threats, taking four out of five of the top spots on the survival scale.

But the UK and USA were not far behind with both countries being 80 per cent ready for a climate change apocalypse.

Most notably, Norway has topped the list for the past 20 years, while the highest the United Kingdom has ever previously ranked was number 10 in 2004.

In contrast, much of sub-Saharan Africa is said to be most at risk of potential weather disasters due to its little defence currently in place.

Jon Whiting, of the Eco Experts, who compiled the research, said: "Hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, droughts and flooding are all real dangers for some of these areas, and this is compounded by a lack of national strategy to counteract the effects."

The research took into account location, terrain, carbon footprint and national resources in order to rank the countries.

The map data is based on findings compiled by the ND-Gain Index, which has monitored 45 internal and external indicators of climate change exposure of 192 countries from 1995 to the present.

Their index is built on two variables - `vulnerability' and `readiness'- for which a country gets a separate mark for each.

These scores are then tallied up to produce an overall total indicating how the nation would fare.

TOP TEN COUNTRIES READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
1. Norway (82.7)
2. New Zealand (82.2)
3. Sweden (81.6)
4. Finland (81.5)
5. Denmark (81.4)
6. Australia (80.1)
7. United Kingdom (80.0)
8. United States (78.9)
9. Germany (78.8)
9. Iceland (78.8)

TOP TEN COUNTRIES LEAST READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
169. Guinea-Bissau (37.3)
170. Afghanistan (35.6)
170. Haiti (35.6)
170. Niger (35.6)
173. Sudan (35.5)
174. Central Africa Republic (34.0)
174. Democratic Republic of the Congo (34.0)
176. Burundi (33.8)
176. Eritrea (33.8)
178. Chad (31.6)
---





Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2014 11:02:43 -0000
Subject: "EXCLUSIVE: Ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is 'not melting', says global warming expert


Ha! You can expect more contradictory waffle from the alarmists (they've sold their souls to the politicos who want science `justification' for huge tax rises and even bigger payouts - from our money - to their rich friends in the `global warming industry').
Ray


http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/548516/North-South-poles-not-melting-Dr-Benny-Peiser
EXCLUSIVE: Ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is 'not melting', says global warming expert
Published: 07:01, Thu, December 25, 2014

In fact, the poles are "much more stable" than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought.

For years, scientists have suggested that both poles are melting at an alarming rate because of warming temperatures - dangerously raising the Earth's sea levels while threatening the homes of Arctic and Antarctic animals.

But the uncertainty surrounding climate change and the polar ice caps reached a new level this month when research suggested the ice in the Antarctic is actually growing.

And there could even be evidence to suggest the polar bear population is not under threat.

Ted Maksym, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, conducted a study in which he sent an underwater robot into the depths of the Antarctic sea to measure the ice.

His results contradicted previous assumptions made by scientists and showed that the ice is actually much thicker than has been predicted over the last 20 years.

Dr Benny Peiser, from the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), said this latest research adds further proof to the unpredictability of the supposed effects of global warming.

He said: "The Antarctic is actually growing and all the evidence in the last few months suggests many assumptions about the poles was wrong.

"Global sea ice is at a record high, another key indicator that something is working in the opposite direction of what was predicted."

He added: "Most people think the poles are melting... they're not. This is a huge inconvenience that reality is now catching up with climate alarmists, who were predicting that the poles would be melting fairly soon."

Separate satellite data released this month showed evidence that at the other end of the globe, the ice in the Arctic sea is also holding up against climate change better than expected.

The data from the European Space Agency CryoSat-2 satellite suggests that Arctic sea ice volumes in the autumn of 2014 were above the average set over the last five years, and sharply up on the lows recorded in 2011 and 2012.

According to this research, Arctic sea ice volumes in October and November this year averaged at 10,200 cubic kilometres.

This figure is only slightly down on the 2013 average of 10,900 cubic kilometres, yet massively up on the 2011 low of 4,275 cubic kilometres and the 6,000 cubic kilometres recorded in 2012.

Dr Peiser, who believes the threat of global warming has been overstated by climate scientists, described this occurrence as "some kind of rebound" adding that no-one knows what will continue to happen to the poles.

He added: "This depends on whether or not we have further warming to come... and this is not certain.

"We do not know what the climate will be in 10, 20 years."

As well as melting ice, scientists have also been concerned about the population of the polar bears is rapidly decreasing.

But a previous report this summer by Dr Susan Crockford, an evolution biologist at the University of Victoria in Canada, suggested that the polars bears are actually a "conservation success story".

She told the GWPF that the current polar bear population is "well above" the official estimate of 20,000 to 25,000, and could be as high as 27,000 to 32,000.

Dr Peiser said: "People said the poles are melting, so therefore the polar bears will become extinct. They are actually doing very well."

However other experts have questioned the accuracy of the latest reports and say it is too early to declare there is no problem with the poles.

Professor Peter Wadhams, a Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University, suggested the research from the Antarctic is based on thick ice which had previously not been sampled by scientists.

He confessed that while the Antarctic sea ice area is increasing, experts do not know how thick the ice really is because they lack the means to measure it.

The reason for this is that "satellites don't work for Antarctic ice thickness because the ice is too wet, while submarines are forbidden to go there", he explained.

He also added that these recent figures on the Arctic "mean little" on their own, and that the trends should be looked at from a wider range.

He explained: "I would say the consensus view of climate scientists is that the trend of area and thickness in Arctic sea ice is very strongly downwards, despite this year's partial recovery.

"It is best to look at five-year running means since annual fluctuations mean little."
---





Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:27:51 -0000
Subject: FWD - "Life on Mars? Chinese scientists find new evidence


Interesting - and they sound quite confident - scroll down to last sentence for a top guy's opinion.
Ray


http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sci/2014-12/15/c_133856651.htm
English.news.cn 2014-12-15 18:54:54
China Focus: Life on Mars? Chinese scientists find new evidence

BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Did Mars ever harbor life? Scientists have found new evidence for possible life on the Red Planet in a piece of Martian meteorite that landed on Earth after about 700,000 years of space travel.

According to research carried out by teams of Chinese, German, Swiss, and Japanese scientists, more than 10 pieces of coal-like carbon particles, thinner than one-tenth of the width of a strand of hair, were found in a thumb-sized piece of the meteorite.

"We used advanced equipment to determine the carbon particles are organic matter, and to rule out the possibility of graphite, which is inorganic," said Lin Yangting, a lead scientist of the research team from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"Furthermore, we found an enrichment of the light carbon isotope in the organic matter," said Lin. "It's so exciting! This could be a promising indicator of life on Mars."

The lighter the carbon isotope, the greater the possibility of biological activity, while a heavy carbon isotope indicates the opposite, Lin said. Paleontologists analyze ancient rocks' carbon isotope ratio to determine the date of Earth's earliest life forms.

He explained that organic matter like coal and petroleum on Earth are formed as a result of biological activity. But not all organic matter is related to biological activity. Organic compounds have been synthesized in labs. Carbon isotopes are a key indicator in judging whether organic matter resulted from life.

Lin's research team published their findings this month in the professional journal "Meteoritics & Planetary Science."

They used the NanoSIMS, an ion microprobe that can analyze particles smaller than one-millionth of a meter, to analyze their elemental and isotopic composition. "No one has ever seen the organic carbon components in the stone with such clarity," Lin said.

But could the signs of life have come from Earth, rather than Mars? What if the stone was contaminated immediately when it landed on Earth?

Lin's team ruled out this possibility by analyzing the hydrogen isotope in the organic compounds.

"It has a Martian fingerprint, different from the one on Earth. So we say the organic compounds come from Mars," Lin said.

Previously, scientists had claimed to find organic compounds or signs of life in Mars meteorites, but were met with doubts. Lin says his team's findings need further testing.

More than 120 pieces of Martian meteorite have fallen to Earth, according to the meteorite database of the Meteoritical Society. They were blasted off the planet when asteroids hit Mars.

"Most of them were recovered after staying for a long time in Atlantic ice or hot deserts," Lin said. "People have no idea when they came to earth and, year by year, they may have been contaminated by substances on earth."

But the piece Lin's team looked at is quite special. The meteorite, officially named Tissint, is new to Earth, with witnesses who saw it fall.

At about 2 a.m. local time on July 18, 2011, a bright fireball was observed by several people in the region of the Oued Draa Valley, east of Tata, Morocco, according to the Meteoritical Society, an organization that records all known meteorites.

It was first yellow in color, and then turned green, illuminating the entire area before it appeared to split into two parts, said eyewitness Aznid Lhou.

Three months later, nomads began to find fresh, fusion-crusted stones near Tissint village.

Chinese scientists bought some of them from meteorite collectors for research. The stones are mostly coated in a glistening black fusion crust, and in some places the crust has broken, revealing a pale gray interior.

Though there have been four other meteorites with witnesses before Tissint, the most recent was more than 51 years ago, Lin said. "Tissint is a new Martian meteorite that can supply us with fresh samples."

"At first we were looking for traces of water in it, and accidentally found carbon particles. That's a rare case," Lin said. Though scientists have confirmed that Tissint formed six hundred million years ago on Mars, it's still unclear when the organic carbon components came into being.

Scientists say the surface of Mars has not been suitable for life for the past three billion years. "If life existed after that, it might have been living underground," Lin said.

The red planet resembles Earth in many ways. It is made of rock, and it has an atmosphere and weather systems.

In recent years, Mars orbital and rover missions have brought abundant evidence of water or methane on the planet -- potential signs of primitive life.

The Mars Odyssey probe, launched by the United States in 2001, discovered a vast amount of ice beneath the Martian surface.

In 2003, NASA launched two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and both found signs that water once flowed on the planet's surface.

In 2004, the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft detected plumes of methane gas on the red planet, while the Mars rover Curiosity, which landed on the planet in 2012, has not found direct evidence of life.

Aside from sending spacecraft to Mars, the other approach is to analyze fallen martian meteorites, the only available rocks from Mars, Lin said.

"Lin's team's new finding in Tissint is so far the most inspiring evidence for life on Mars," said Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's lunar exploration project.

Despite the inspiring findings, Lin admits that they cannot draw a final conclusion about life on Mars until they analyze samples collected directly from Mars.

But the 52-year-old scientist seems confident. "If I were to make a bet," he said, "I would wager that there was once life on that planet."
---





Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2014 12:11:51 -0000
Subject: FWD - New Moon `mood-flip'?


Anniversary - A couple of years ago posted a one-line update to a piece of on-going research (in alternative science page):

QUOTE
That theoretical forecast seems to be borne out at least anecdotally : - by testimony (from a reliable friend who happened to be a neighbour of a `disturbed person'); she had reported `regular outbursts of laughing & shouting at Full Moon, and weeping and destructiveness at New Moon'.

Update 15 Dec 2012 - Events have prompted a quick review of recent indiscriminately destructive shootings / killings which seem to fit the `mood-flip' / depression profile:
Columbine - April 20, 1999
Virginia Tech - April 16, 2007
University of Alabama - February 12, 2010
Tucson - January 8, 2011
Aurora - July 20, 2012
Sandy Hook - December 14, 2012

Checking with a Moon-phase calendar - moon_phases_calendar.phtml shows all are closely around the New Moon period.
UNQUOTE


For your info. - the next New Moon is forecast for Dec. 22 (+ the seasonal stresses many folk feel about then might make that a dangerous time).
Ray





Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 09:49:09 -0000
Subject: FWD - "Bad science reporting blamed on exaggerations in university press releases


We've spoken about this before - both the hyped / fake claims made by `scientists' needing funding +/or tenure, and the hack journalists too ready to accept fake `consensuses' from mediocre scientists (just because it's easier and also politically safer).
Ray


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/bad-science-reporting-blamed-on-exaggerations-in-university-press-releases-9913336.html
STEVE CONNOR | SCIENCE EDITOR | Wednesday 10 December 2014

Bad science reporting blamed on exaggerations in university press releases

Press releases written by academic institutions with the help of their own academics contain many of the exaggerated claims about health and medical science that end up in newspaper reports, a study has found.

Although scientists are most likely to blame journalists more than any other source for hyping research results, it is in often their own university press office where the hype began, the findings suggest.

In an attempt to sort out fact from exaggeration, researchers analysed 462 press releases issued by 20 leading British universities in 2011 to see how the claims matched up to the original scientific paper they were designed to publicise.

The researchers also analysed the corresponding press coverage to see how often the exaggerated claims in press releases made it into any of 12 major news outlets, including the main national newspaper broadsheets and tabloids, BBC online and the Reuters news agency.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), divided claims into three types of "inflation": those that gave direct advice to readers when none was suggested in the original research paper; those that exaggerated cause-and-effect when the link was only an association; and those suggesting that the findings were applicable to humans when in fact the study was only done on animals.

They found that 40 per cent of press releases contained exaggerated health advice, 33 per cent contained exaggerated claims about cause-and-effect, and 36 per cent contained exaggerated inferences to humans from research on animals, compared with the corresponding peer-reviewed journal articles.

"Although it is common to blame media outlets and their journalists for news perceived as exaggerated, sensationalised, or alarmist, our principle findings were that most of the inflation detected in our study did not occur de novo in the media but was already present in the text of the press release produced by academics and their establishments," the researchers write in the BMJ.

To their surprise, the researchers also found that an exaggerated press release did not have a greater chance of media coverage and they failed to find that caveats in a press release - which were rare and included in only about one in 10 releases - decreased the chances of a study being covered by a news outlet.

"Changes in presentation style between peer-reviewed papers and press releases are expected in order to spark the interest of journalists. But seeking simplification and stimulating interest does not justify exaggeration," the researchers said.

Professor Petroc Sumner of Cardiff University, the lead author of the study, said that university press offices have to perform the difficult job of promoting new findings and the scientists involved, but this should be no excuse for exaggeration and hype.

"We probably have to accept there will have to be a balance. A newspaper readership is not going to be interested in the dry articles published in an academic journal," Professor Sumner said.

"Some exaggeration will creep in and we're not going to blame the press offices for doing their job. A lot of academics don't engage with a press release," he said.
---





Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2014 11:13:41 -0000
Subject: "Magnetic Pole Flip 530,000 Years Overdue & Happening Now?


Thanks to those who posted this video on FB - it got me thinking - Ray
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGKKzsRjJ_Y
NOVA Magnetic Pole Flip 530,000 Years Overdue & Happening Now?


Yup, big-sci doesn't know reasons for many things (like the geo-magnetic field, longterm cool/warm cycles etc).  So what they do is look at the past and usually make forecasts based on that - so the mag-field will MAYBE flip (and hopefully not just disappear altogether, leaving us to get fried by radiation).

Sadly, due to greedy and unscrupulous politicos (and many mediocre, uninformed but fashion-following scientists), they DON'T do that if they think they can create a panic (and make money from us).  So in the '70s they tried shouting "An Ice Age Is Coming!" - with the implication that massive spending was needed to preserve agriculture - see page from Newsweek April 28, 1975 - www.perceptions.couk.com/imgs/cooling1.pdf titled "The Cooling World", and similar scary big-sci stories from '71 & '74, at www.perceptions.couk.com/cold-clim-fears.txt.  A video from that period is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqsRD4HPtH0

Now they're trying to say we face a global burn-up/scorch-out - but that's NOT what the past says.  Check the graphs, at http://kaltesonne.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/don1.gif maybe (from scholarly page www.kaltesonne.de/temperatures-over-the-past-10000-years/) or same thing at gisp2-ice-core-temperatures2.jpg and you'll easily see what's actually happening.

The Earth is gradually warming-up after the Little Ice Age (when piss-pots froze solid under folks beds, and many rivers were hard much of the year) - but it's still not gotten anywhere near as warm as it was before the Little Ice Age.

Then, in the `Medieval Warm Period' (see www.eh-resources.org/timeline/timeline_me.html#mwp), agriculture was booming, populations were rising and thriving and cities and cathedrals rose around Europe - when it was much WARMER than now!

Maybe check image www.climatism.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Dansgaard-Temperature2-300x146.jpg at page "Facts About Global Warming" http://www.climatism.net/facts-about-global-warming/

So take a pinch of salt with any alarmism from mainstream media (MSM).  It comes from the same opportunist liars - glib greedy politicos and crappy mediocre scientists - who've tried it all before.
Ray





Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 22:23:02 -0000
Subject: "Where Are the Hurricanes? U.S. Goes 9 Years Without a Category 3 Storm


Seems only a few years ago we were hearing claims of massive hurricane increases, along with huge temperature rises - due to CO2?

(Actually, if you check the data:   CO2 increases _follow_ temp. rises, but after a substantial timelag - many thousands of years.)
Ray


http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/where-are-hurricanes-u-s-goes-9-years-without-category-n259166
Where Are the Hurricanes? U.S. Goes 9 Years Without a Category 3 Storm The mellow 2014 Atlantic hurricane season ended Sunday (Nov. 30), marking a record-breaking nine years since a Category 3 hurricane (or stronger) made landfall along U.S. coastlines.

The last was Hurricane Wilma in 2005 (Sandy was not a hurricane when it hit the northeast in 2012). The United States has never recorded a nine-year period without a hurricane touching its shores. The prior record for the longest stretch, from 1861 to 1868, was set during the Civil War, according to Colorado State University climatologists.
(more at page ...)





Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2014 15:35:26 -0000
Subject: FWD - "New Clock May End Time As We Know It


This article revisits some of the paradoxes of time: like, caesium clocks in aircraft run faster or slower (w.r.t. an earth-bound clock) depending on if they are headed east or west.

But if `time' is flowing differently in different places then how does quantum mechanics (which only allows one universal time) actually work?

[QM is the reason matter - including our bodies - holds together:  you can see that would need and permit only one `time'.]
Ray


http://www.npr.org/2014/11/03/361069820/new-clock-may-end-time-as-we-know-it
November 03, 2014 5:04 AM ET

New Clock May End Time As We Know It

"My own personal opinion is that time is a human construct," says Tom O'Brian. O'Brian has thought a lot about this over the years. He is America's official timekeeper at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

To him, days, hours, minutes and seconds are a way for humanity to "put some order in this very fascinating and complex universe around us."

We bring that order using clocks, and O'Brian oversees America's master clock. It's one of the most accurate clocks on the planet: an atomic clock that uses oscillations in the element cesium to count out 0.0000000000000001 second at a time. If the clock had been started 300 million years ago, before the age of dinosaurs began, it would still be keeping time - down to the second. But the crazy thing is, despite knowing the time better than almost anyone on Earth, O'Brian can't explain time.

"We can measure time much better than the weight of something or an electrical current," he says, "but what time really is, is a question that I can't answer for you."

Maybe its because we don't understand time, that we keep trying to measure it more accurately. But that desire to pin down the elusive ticking of the clock may soon be the undoing of time as we know it: The next generation of clocks will not tell time in a way that most people understand.

The New Clock
At the nearby University of Colorado Boulder is a clock even more precise than the one O'Brian watches over. The basement lab that holds it is pure chaos: Wires hang from the ceilings and sprawl across lab tables. Binder clips keep the lines bunched together.

In fact, this knot of wires and lasers actually is the clock. It's spread out on a giant table, parts of it wrapped in what appears to be tinfoil. Tinfoil?

"That's research grade tinfoil," says Travis Nicholson, a graduate student here at the JILA, a joint institute between NIST and CU-Boulder. Nicholson and his fellow graduate students run the clock day to day. Most of their time is spent fixing misbehaving lasers and dealing with the rats' nest of wires. ("I think half of them go nowhere," says graduate student Sara Campbell.)

At the heart of this new clock is the element strontium. Inside a small chamber, the strontium atoms are suspended in a lattice of crisscrossing laser beams. Researchers then give them a little ping, like ringing a bell. The strontium vibrates at an incredibly fast frequency. It's a natural atomic metronome ticking out teeny, teeny fractions of a second.

This new clock can keep perfect time for 5 billion years.

"It's about the whole, entire age of the earth," says Jun Ye, the scientist here at JILA who built this clock. "Our aim is that we'll have a clock that, during the entire age of the universe, would not have lost a second."

But this new clock has run into a big problem: This thing we call time doesn't tick at the same rate everywhere in the universe. Or even on our planet.

Time Undone
Right now, on the top of Mount Everest, time is passing just a little bit faster than it is in Death Valley. That's because speed at which time passes depends on the strength of gravity. Einstein himself discovered this dependence as part of his theory of relativity, and it is a very real effect.

The relative nature of time isn't just something seen in the extreme. If you take a clock off the floor, and hang it on the wall, Ye says, "the time will speed up by about one part in 1016."

That is a sliver of a second. But this isn't some effect of gravity on the clock's machinery. Time itself is flowing more quickly on the wall than on the floor. These differences didn't really matter until now. But this new clock is so sensitive, little changes in height throw it way off. Lift it just a couple of centimeters, Ye says, "and you will start to see that difference."

This new clock can sense the pace of time speeding up as it moves inch by inch away from the earth's core.

That's a problem, because to actually use time, you need different clocks to agree on the time. Think about it: If I say, 'let's meet at 3:30,' we use our watches. But imagine a world in which your watch starts to tick faster, because you're working on the floor above me. Your 3:30 happens earlier than mine, and we miss our appointment.

This clock works like that. Tiny shifts in the earth's crust can throw it off, even when it's sitting still. Even if two of them are synchronized, their different rates of ticking mean they will soon be out of synch. They will never agree.

The world's current time is coordinated between atomic clocks all over the planet. But that can't happen with the new one.

"At this level, maintaining absolute time scale on earth is in fact turning into nightmare," Ye says. This clock they've built doesn't just look chaotic. It is turning our sense of time into chaos.

Ye suspects the only way we will be able to keep time in the future is to send these new clocks into space. Far from the earth's surface, the clocks would be better able to stay in synch, and perhaps our unified sense of time could be preserved.

But the NIST's chief timekeeper, Tom O'Brian, isn't worried about all this. As confusing as these clocks are, they're going to be really useful.

"Scientists can make these clocks into exquisite devices for sensing a whole bunch of different things," O'Brian says. Their extraordinary sensitivity to gravity might allow them to map the interior of the earth, or help scientists find water and other resources underground.

A network of clocks in space might be used to detect gravitational waves from black holes and exploding stars.

They could change our view of the universe.

They just may not be able to tell us the time.
---





Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2014 17:08:00 -0000
Subject: `Dispatches from the Front Line of Science'


http://www.amazon.com/The-Never-Ending-Days-Being-Dead/dp/057122055X
Just read (twice) Marcus Chown's `Dispatches from the Front Line of Science' (main title - "The Never-Ending Days of Being Dead") where he covers the cutting-edge theories interesting top scientists (and scaring some) today.

Won't comment on most of it (try Amazon reviews) but it did give a reasonable description of Stephen Wolfram's ideas: -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Wolfram#Complex_systems_and_cellular_automata

Basically, Wolfram (a child prodigy and mathematical genius who's _really_ upset a lot of scientists [who criticized his big book _before_ they'd read it - just like Velikovsky's] has proved that only _simple_ phenomena are amenable to scientific (i.e. mathematical) description - using equations etc.

That is, throwing a baseball / cricketball is a simple event which can be isolated from surroundings and expressed in an equation which will give you the ball's locations, or velocities, or accelerations.  But complex phenomena - like turbulent fluids (oceans/atmospheres etc), most biology, culture, consciousness etc - are NOT expressible by equations.

Reason is - they are engendered by the re-iteration of simple programs, over and over again, which causes complex results to emerge, in time.  But you can't reduce the activity to a mathematical short-cut - you simply have to let the programs play out until the results emerge.

So Wolfram seems to have theorized (hope he'll forgive me if I'm misreading it) that the whole universe might be the result of ONE simple program (maybe only four lines of it) being reiterated for some billions of years.

So first the program, maybe spontaneously arising in a primal force, (or maybe operated by a superior intelligence), jiggles the force to create first electro-magnetism, then simple matter (hydrogen - one proton, one electron), after which nuclear forces (and gravity) are automatic further products, along with the whole periodic table of familiar matter.

The stage is now set for the emergence of organic life - produced by further jiggling of the same simple program - and organic life will develop intelligence and consciousness (because they give evolutionary advantage).  Which leads to US.

But the simple program is still operating (unless that putative superior intelligence switched it off).

So, should we be expecting another echelon of development, of life and intelligence, maybe in an extreme mode of matter like plasma, to be arising now?
Perhaps in planetary cores? (or the interior of stars?).

If so, will it be the second - or the third?

THIRD?  How come?  - Well, forgot to mention - in the primal stage, before any `secondary forces' existed, the program could've jiggled the primal force into self-regenerating patterns (like standing waves which could maintain themselves by absorbing vibrations from outside) which could develop intelligence and consciousness (because that would give advantage in finding those external vibrations, and in "eating" them).

And that first echelon of intelligent life and consciousness would've been (and might still be) very powerful, not only because they are embodied in the primal force which gives matter, mass and inertia / momentum, but because they are also invisible to us and have the power to absorb our thought processes ("vibrations") maybe as food.  And they've had a good head start - of many billions of years.
Ray

BTW - a few years ago, before knowing Wolfram's full thoughts, had developed that same theme into a scenario - at friend-foe.html and haven't got around to amending it after reading Wolfram's latest.
RD






Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2014 10:00:34 -0000
Subject: "universe could become a void of nothingness


Ha!  Excuse my derision / scorn.  These sci-publicity hunters have a bad track record:  first they invented "black holes" just because the concept was scary and sexy - without checking the basic physics of spinning masses ("black holes" can't + don't exist - as being gradually realized, even by Hawking);  then they invented "dark matter" to try to bring the matter content of the universe to their higher `preferred level' (problem was: that meant the universe was expanding much too fast for all that extra matter);  so then they had to invent "dark energy" to account for the faster expansion.

Things is: without "dark matter" or "dark energy" the universal matter-content _and_ expansion is just about right for the amount of matter we can see - so, by Occam's razor any competent scientist should say "we've got it wrong - let's scrap it and start again".
Ray
(see note below item ...)

http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/529902/Universe-swallowed-up-by-dark-energy
Scientists have claimed that the universe could become a void of nothingness, as the dark matter of which the universe is built on is slowly being erased by dark energy.

The shocking report, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, showed that dark energy grows as it interacts with dark matter.

As the dark energy grows, it slows down the growth of structure in our atmosphere - meaning that we could be left with a universe with almost nothing in it.

Professor David Wands, director of Portsmouth's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, said: "This study is about the fundamental properties of space-time.

"On a cosmic scale, this is about our universe and its fate.

"If the dark energy is growing and dark matter is evaporating we will end up with a big, empty, boring universe with almost nothing in it.

"Dark matter provides a framework for structures to grow in the universe. The galaxies we see are built on that scaffolding and what we are seeing here, in these findings, suggests that dark matter is evaporating, slowing that growth of structure."

Prof Wands said the traditional study of cosmology was thrown upside down in 1998, when researchers announced that the rate at which the universe was expanding was speeding up.

The idea of a constant dark energy throughout space-time then became a standard model of cosmology, but since then, the growth of cosmic structures and galaxies have been slower than expected.

He said: "Since the late 1990s astronomers have been convinced that something is causing the expansion of our universe to accelerate.

"The simplest explanation was that empty space - the vacuum - had an energy density that was a cosmological constant.

"[But] there is growing evidence that this simple model cannot explain the full range of astronomical data researchers now have access to - in particular the growth of cosmic structure, galaxies and clusters of galaxies seems to be slower than expected."

However, Professor Dragan Huterer, of the University of Michigan, confessed that while the results surprised him, there is still more research that needs to be done to fully understand dark energy.

He said: "The paper does look very interesting.

"Any time there is a new development in the dark energy sector we need to take notice since so little is understood about it.

"I would not say, however, that I am surprised at the results, that they come out different than in the simplest model with no interactions.

"We've known for some months now that there is some problem in all data fitting perfectly to the standard simplest model."
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N.b. - Since gov'ts took over sci-funding (and politics began to rule tenure _and_ projects) the `scientists' are mostly mediocre hacks trying to follow fashion, scared to offend the politicos - so they follow `consensus'.
BUT, as most of them are uninformed _and_ mediocre, their consensus is worthless. - RD






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