Science / Technology

Behold the Power of Sound in Space!

C.E. Dorsett I really don't know how to take this:

A new model developed by Adam Burrows at the University of Arizona and colleagues suggests that sound waves, not ghostly particles called neutrinos, deal the final blow to stars before they become supernovas (Space.com).

[blink, blink] If it wasn't for sound, stars could not explode? Whoa... I just thought this story got a wow factor off the chart. I love it when science completely baffles me.

Stars have it both Ways

C.E. Dorsett Interesting development in Space Science:

A developing star has been found to have two disks of material rotating in opposite directions. The discovery hints at a future solar system with planets going this way and that (Space.com).

Imagine living in a solar system where planets orbit in different direction... imagine the possibilities.

Hypergiant stars may have planets

A chill went through me when I read:

Planets might exist around a blazing hot star so big its diameter exceeds the orbit of Mars, astronomers said Wednesday (MSNBC).

The idea of more planets is thrilling. The more planets, the more possible homes for life. I admit it would be difficult for life to survive near a hypergiant, but the idea is still exciting.

New Planet in our Solar System?

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and 2003 UB313?

German astrophysicists have concluded a space body located in the outer reaches of the solar system has a diameter 435 miles (700 kilometers) larger than Pluto, the smallest planet (CNN).

With the pressure to classify Pluto as a Kuiper Belt object, 2003 UB313 being larger, it is possible 2003 UB313 could be added as a ninth planet, and kick Pluto off the list. Interesting times... I just hope they give it a catchy name first.

Smallest Planet Outside Our Solar System Found

Orbiting a normal star, Astronomers have discovered the what could be the smallest known planet.

The planet is estimated to be about 5.5 times as massive as Earth and thought to be rocky. It orbits a red dwarf star about 28,000 light-years away. Red dwarfs are about one-fifth as massive as the Sun and up to 50 times fainter. But they are among the most common stars in the universe (Space.com).

Why should we care? If there is life on any other world, it will have to be on a planet small enough it is not immediately crushed by gravity. This is a promising sign that at the very least, our methods for detecting planets is becoming more sensitive.

Personally, I believe our future is in space. Inhabitable planets are necessary for that to come true.

unIntelligent Design Devolves

I am sick and tired of people lying! Intelligent Design is not science!! I have to admit that when I was younger, I was on the other side of this argument. I used to think that Evolution and Creationism were both valid theories of origins. What changed? I learned what it means to be a scientific theory, and I learned that many of the critiques I had been taught about Evolution were lies at best and out right forgeries at worse. I was devastated when I learned that many of the counterpoints to Evolution had been invented just to sell books and had absolutely no basis in fact, but life goes on. I still believe in God, but I now know the difference between a philosophy and a theory

philosophy

  1. A comprehensive system of belief that is, generally, divided into five major subtopics: Logic; Metaphysics; Epistemology; Ethics; Politics; and Esthetics
  2. A general principle (usually moral) (Wiktionary)

Compare that to:

theory (plural: theories)

  1. An unproven conjecture. I have a theory about who broke into the school last night, but it's just a theory.
  2. An expectation of what should happen, barring unforeseen circumstances. So we'll be there in three hours? - That's the theory.
  3. (science) A coherent statement or set of statements that attempts to explain observed phenomena, which has testable implications, and which is well tested and widely accepted as true. There is now a well-developed theory of electrical charge.
  4. (mathematics, uncountable) A field of study attempting to exhaustively describe a particular class of constructs. Knot theory classifies the mappings of a circle into 3-space.
  5. (logic) A set of axioms, together with all statements derivable from them. A theory is consistent if it has a model (Wiktionary).

Proponents of Intelligent Design try to confuse the common definition of a Theory with the scientific definition. I am glad to see that the court at least had a dictionary.

DOVER, PENNSYLVANIA -- Dover's school policy of presenting “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution was officially relegated to the history books Tuesday night (Chicago Tribune).

If you are in Kansas, there is going to be a forum on the topic:

Rothschild and Stephen G. Harvey, the other plaintiff attorney, both of the firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, are slated to visit Lawrence on Jan. 28 for “Intelligent Design, Kansas Science Education, and the Law,” a forum focusing on the educational and legal ramifications of the Dover decision and what significance the ruling may hold for Kansans (Lawrence Journal- World).

Be smart and happy, and keep science and religion at arms length from one another.