astrophysics, mathematics

Astronomy Problem

What is the per year probability, that we will see a star-star occultation between two non-orbitinging stars, inside our Galaxy?

Discus!

http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/peg/open_thread_september_11_september_17_2017/dx11

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astrophysics, logic

Signaling to Aliens

How hard could it be?

I very much love an old idea of dumping plutonium, tons of it every year in our beloved Sun. Nothing bad will happen because of that, only the light of our dear life giving star would be marked this way by some absorption lines.

So, every advanced alien who noticed this strange occurrence would be forced to conclude, that something odd is going on. Plutonium cannot arise in a star by some natural process. It must come from a planet. How and why?

The most sober conclusion for an alien would be – someone intelligent is signaling he is there!

Actually, astronomers have searched for “unnatural” absorption lines in many stars’ light around us, long ago. Nothing has been found. Aliens don’t dump plutonium on their stars.

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astrophysics, geology

Water on Earth

It is from Earth, not from comets, not from asteroids.

There’s more than one million cups of water of it on our planet. Cups as large as the comet was 65 or 66 million years ago. There wasn’t enough time for all our water to be delivered this way. Where in time are you going to put all those alleged events?

None of the latter big bombardment were nearly big enough.

Almost all of our water for the last 4.5 billion years has always been with us. Just as all the sulphur has.

Chemically recombined who knows how, but all the water is originally from here.

(I won a bet on the Extropy mailing list, what Rosetta was about to say, a few days ago. It is in a perfect accordance with what I have written above.)

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astrophysics, physics

Low Level Reasoning

The gloves should be off, when pondering science. No courtesy for authorities, no courtesy for the rest of humanity. Nothing is granted and everybody suspected of treason, including yourself. Still, it is you who is conducting the investigation so you have to have some confidence in good old you.

‘Where were you when your husband was murdered, your majesty?’

‘Do you know who you are talking to?! I am The Queen of England! etc.’

‘Yes. Isn’t she a female version of the Pope in a somewhat smaller church? So, where were you, madame?’

This is the kind of spirit, you have to have, when thinking of fundamentals.

When a character like Sagan or bigger pops up, talking about stars, he is already a prime suspect in the crime of being fundamentally wrong. And wrong he was, as we now know. Not only him, but the whole gang.

For stars never die. And they are never born. Only clouds of cosmic gas get denser in some circumstances and glow more intensely due to the faster fusion. The talk of a dying star can be very misleading. The narrative ‘they convert mass to energy when shining’, is directly wrong. Because even when you ‘convert matter to energy’, the amount of mass does not change. This fact that has been staring at us for a century, has been acknowledged only recently. Stars don’t convert mass into energy. Only some particles transform while  the mass and the energy, which are equal, stay the same! The fact that now the mass-energy is in photons and neutrinos as opposed to atoms of hydrogen doesn’t change this.

Okay, you may say, that’s just nitpicking. It’s irrelevant.

No it isn’t! You want the table to be clean when performing a surgery, assembling a computer chip or dealing with any other delicate matter. Germs and dust may result in failure.

When pondering galaxies, atoms, numbers, sets, dark energy and so on, the table must be even cleaner. Spotting the dirt and being absolutely dogmatic in the matters of hygiene is very crucial.

I am afraid, that Her Majesty has no alibi here. And that the desks are dirty. The good science doctors of today, are as blind as those doctors of medicine from the Victorian era, completely unafraid of the so called microbes.

Astrophysics, as is it is now, is particularly messy. “You know, there might be an infinite number of Universes like ours out there!” they claim enthusiastically.

Excuse me, sir! What infinity are you talking about? The countable one? Do you mean the continuum many? More than that? Something between aleph zero and aleph one, in the Cohenian sense? What the Hell are you talking about? Your desk is as dirty as it can be, and you aren’t afraid that your patient might get infected? Are you sure, that there is a patient at all? Are you sure that the desk is?

Put this way – “There might be an infinite number of Universes near us” – reminds me more of mud wrestling a pig, then of rigorous science.

Another example. Some astrophysicists are equally enthusiastic when telling us about a time in the far future, when there will be no more galaxies visible from Earth, and a civilization will have no way of knowing that they were once plentiful.

Excuse me, sir! Would every far future civilization necessarily prohibit paleontology and other past researching sciences? When and why will all the information about the past be erased?

Even thought you are ‘just talking for the sake of understanding, to the general public now’, your table is dirty. I suspect it might be dirty even when ‘real science’ is going on.

Astrophysics has no preferential treatment here. Chemistry can also be dirty. When they tell us, that some weird quantum effects are responsible for smelling substances, not just chemistry… Sorry, the whole of chemistry is ‘weird quantum effects’. Every single chemical reaction is just a manifestation of electro-weak, strong and gravitational forces interacting. Yes all of them!

Is Math dirty? Oh, yes, it is. Stay tuned for another post exclusively about it.

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astrophysics

Internet Garbage

Be extremely cautious if and when reading the Internet.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/neutrinos-from-deep-space-detected-on-earth-1.2435289?_nospa=true

High-energy subatomic particles called neutrinos from beyond our solar system have been detected on Earth for the first time ever.

The supernova in 1987 has been detected by its neutrinos, FYI.

A substantial part of the media, the internet and even the scientific community appears to be plain stupid. You have no choice but to do the best you can, in avoiding being fooled. Fools are fanatics, they want to recruit everybody into their ranks.

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astrophysics, superintelligence

The Menace that is Dark Energy

It’s been more than a decade now, since we realized that this Universe is probably doomed to be ripped apart by a powerful force, named dark energy.

We don’t know exactly when, but it will most probably happen in the span of the next trillion years. The anti-gravity of dark energy will destroy even black holes and atoms, which would otherwise stay around for many orders of magnitude longer. Now this scenario will unfold  suddenly, our Universe will die in its early infancy, even before all the stars will have exhausted their fuel.

Well, not so fast! There is a way to convert dark energy into ordinary matter-energy. In principle, there is nothing that would prevent us from converting nearly all of it thereby creating twenty times as many galaxies, stars and planets that we currently have. Okay, maybe in some other form of mass-energy, but that’s secondary.

There is little to no dispute about using a rope from here to a distant redshift galaxy and using the resulting force to do some work – a tiny amount, but still.

And we can do it better, much better: instead of a trans-galactic rope, we could use two distant black holes, falling toward each other. Thanks to dark energy, new space is constantly being created between the two. So there is virtually no limit to at how close to the speed of light they will eventually crash. Not exactly at the speed of light, but arbitrarily close.

This means, that their relativistic speeds will give them an arbitrarily large mass, therefore  relativistically multiplying their masses a million times. They could, if there was an unlimited supply of dark energy around. But there isn’t, because we used it and converted it to ordinary mass-energy in the form of a massive black hole.

Perhaps we don’t even need two black holes and a long linear particle accelerator would do. Perhaps we could use dark energy induced space inflation to make a proton to travel at 0.999 of the speed of light – instead of only 0.99 with the same energy input. The difference could only have come from the conversion from dark energy to ordinary mass-energy.

All the above only holds true in the case of the law of Energy Conservation being extended to dark mass and dark energy in the future Quantum Gravity Theory, and that some crucial aspects of General Relativity remain valid.

In that case we will be able to change the fate of the Universe, to make a closed one, from an open one.

It is possible, that some converting processes are already under way naturally. This wild acceleration only begun 5 billion years ago. It started naturally, it may end the same way.

Even if it is us who stop it, it will still be all natural.

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astrophysics, geology, photosynthesis, physics

Evaporating Earth

It is usually assumed, that a lot of space debris lands on our planet each day and enlarges it. Well, it does, but a lot more goes up into the interplanetary space, never to come back.

It does rain on our planet, but the evaporation is more significant, Earth is smaller every day! For about 4 to 5 thousand tons each day, only a small percentage comes down as meteorites.

The vast majority of the escaping mass is hydrogen, at the rate of 50 kilograms per second, due to the escape velocity many hydrogen molecules have, because of their small mass and the thermodynamics of the gases.

This unfortunately also means that almost half a ton of water is lost every second. Since the days of dinosaurs this amounts to a million cubic kilometers of water. Maybe it doesn’t sound much, but otherwise the ocean would be several meters higher. The Earth is slowly drying.

The main driver of this process is photosynthesis, which actually breaks water molecules. A fraction of the hydrogen  produced escapes, the oxygen oxidizes something else and remains here.

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