Archive for May, 2010
May starts the 6-month billing cycle of double-charging for electricity. They do this to force customers to cut down on summer usage. This makes no sense since we all need our air conditioners on certain days!
Why do they really do this? Because they can! Take your frustration out on PG&E by voting NO on Prop 16!!! Tell all your friends.
Let us pave the way in giving PG&E a little competition.
Laws of Gravity and the current state of Physics, an Open Letter to All
May 22, 2010 at around 2 AM
I have not been posting as much as I would like and updating Astronomy Online as I should because I have been receiving many e-mails of late with alternate theories of gravity, the Big Bang, and the general state of physics. It hasn’t occurred to me until now about these e-mails I get from people who seem to think that mainstream science has the theories of Universal beginnings and the laws of gravity all wrong.
I think of the man who started it all, Sir Isaac Newton and his triumphant discovery of physics and the derivation of a law of gravity. Hence the word law, something that used to be a theory but can be duplicated in a lab and observed by careful experimental design in the natural world. Proven repeatedly.
For the next few centuries, we have continuously applied these laws to industry and science and have created larger buildings, damns, aircraft, even jet propulsion. Had the law of gravity been incorrect, I suspect many of these technological achievements would instead become monumental failures.
Skip ahead to the former patent clerk that changed the world with an enhanced version of the laws of gravity and physics so that it can be applied to much larger, more powerful things- likes stars and galaxies. He published his theory that was initially rejected by many and Einstein held his breath waiting for an experiment in the natural world that would prove his theory. An astronomer photographing a total solar eclipse was desperately looking for that evidence and it was found when a star closest to the Suns edge was shifted out of place – a bending of light due to intense gravity by the Sun.
It wasn’t relativity that earned Einstein’s place in the annals of Nobel, but the discovery that light is both a wave and a particle. – the birth of the electromagnetic field and the birth of quantum mechanics on a grand scale. It was the photo-electric effect that earned him the Nobel Prize. If relativity was incorrect, I suspect that photograph of the star’s light during the eclipse would not have been affected – thus gravity would not have an effect on a wave or particle. The ripple effect of this would mean the photo-electric effect is nothing more than a parlor trick.
Must we forget the most profound evidence of these laws, proof that we are on the right track – two words , Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
We design space craft to travel the reaches of space – Voyager, the Mars missions, Cassini, New Horizons, and many more. We design the flight paths based on the knowledge of the laws of physics and what we know of gravity and relativity. If we were wrong, I suspect that these missions would be huge failures and NASA would cease to exist.
I find it difficult to think that blind luck has favored human ingenuity, the discovery of the laws of gravity and relativity as failures and to have these successes as shots in the dark.
I applaud your desire to question as this is the essence of science, but we must build on what we know to answer that for which we don’t. Failure to do this and we simply travel in circles.
What is most important is to have a fundamental understanding of the very thing we wish to question. One cannot say its wrong to think the Big Bang is how the Universe started when everything we know so far offers evidence to the contrary. It takes more than an imagination that offers an alternative. It is the burden of that person to offer evidence, not to question mainstream thinking. Those are the rules.
We learn about what we don’t know and come up with theories and evidence based on what we know. A perfect example are extra-solar planets – exoplanets as they are called. There is no telescope man can ever create that will directly see another planet. So how do we know they exist? Because we use what we know. What we know about light and gravity is all that it took to offer evidence of other planets. See my page on exoplanets because repeating it here will not only be too redundant, it will make this log post even longer.
There are sure to be other theories that will make their way to my inbox. To those I say before you send that e-mail – better still, before wording your theory – remember there are loads of data available from the many probes and the Hubble Space Telescope. Google can help you find them. There are also other forms of data collection for more Earth bound theories such as the network of GPS satellites that are precise to microns, the constant Earth-Moon distance measurement from the McDonald Observatory, and the new Einstein probe that measure frame-dragging (a phenomenon predicted by relativity – and yes frame dragging is real).
The data doesn’t lie! So the lesson here is this: learn your fundamentals, be aware of other scientific disciplines such as particle physics, biology and chemistry – all of which can and often does augment and affect astronomy, and be patient. It can take years, sometimes decades to modify a current theory, and they are not always right. Follow this simple rule for success: you have an idea, come up with a theory then do your best to prove it wrong. If your theory passes this test, you may be on to something.
True there are still many questions regarding the Universe, but we will find the answers as we always have – small steps with an occasional breakthrough. Einstein and many modern physicists are hoping for a unified theory, one that brings together both quantum mechanics (sub atomic particles, strong and weak forces, the gravitron, ect.) with relativity (bending of space time, speed limits of light, gravity lensing, black holes, ect.). My feeling is that once we understand the nature of Dark Matter, and find the elusive Higg’s particle at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), we will have our breakthrough!
All you young minds out there, this is what we need to think about! Keep that mind open and learn new things – build on that knowledge. I know we all want to be remembered for something extraordinary, but there is honor in being a part of a whole as well. Not all are destined for greatness, but all men and women are great, remember that.
Jesse Ventura has a website dedicated to his quest for conspiracy theories and truth. One of his posts talked about the "real truth" behind 2012. I read it and found it amusing of course, so I wanted to leave a reply. I was very nice in the reply and discussed flaws such as galactic alignment won’t do a thing, pole shifts (which have happened often in Earth’s history) will do nothing. The Sun will not suddenly become our enemy – the typical stuff. What I did mention about 2012 is that Venus will transit the Sun – a rare and wonderful site to behold.
In addition to what I wrote, I provided links to validate my comments.
Today I was cleaning out my favorites folder and came across a link to that post – I wanted to check back often to see if anyone responded. Well, respond they did – they deleted my reply! And I thought he was open to hear the truth.
Be careful what you read online my fellow readers. Make sure if anyone makes a bold statement, make sure they site their source – the Enquirer is not a valid source so make sure the source is valid. basically if it sounds too god to be true, or sounds to fantastic, it most likely is false and fantastic – as in fantasy.
Thank you all for reading my humble blog, it’s greatly appreciated!
A picture speaks 1000 words. Should something be done to stem the tide of illegals? View the photo below before you decide.
Scary, isn’t is?