14 October 09 (pm)

Injury update: forgot to take NSAIDs today; that is an excellent sign.

Science: sometimes ideas that are widely held ARE challenged; this is how.

General relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity and spacetime, has been pretty successful over the years. It’s passed numerous tests in the Solar System, scored a Nobel-worthy victory with the binary pulsar, and gets the right answer even when extrapolated back to the first one second after the Big Bang. But no scientific theory is sacred. Even though GR is both aesthetically compelling and an unquestioned empirical success, it’s our job as scientists to keep probing it in different ways. Especially when it comes to astrophysics, where we need dark matter and dark energy to explain what we see, it makes sense to put Einstein to the most stringent tests we can devise.

So here is a new such test, courtesy of Rachel Bean of Cornell. She combines a suite of cosmological data, especially measurements of weak gravitational lensing from the Hubble Space Telescope, to see whether GR correctly describes the behavior of large-scale structure in the universe. And the surprising thing is — it doesn’t. At the 98% confidence level, Rachel finds that general relativity is inconsistent with the data. I’m not sure why we haven’t been reading about this in the science media or even on other blogs — it’s certainly a newsworthy result. Admittedly, the smart money is still that there is some tricky thing that hasn’t yet been noticed and Einstein will eventually come through the victor, but this is serious work by a respected cosmologist. Either the result is wrong, and we should be working hard to find out why, or it’s right, and we’re on the cusp of a revolution.

The article goes on to talk about the different kinds of curvature (curvature due to curved space and curved time) and shows a graph of the data which shows an unexpected peak.

But the bigger point is that this challenge is going through the peer review process; that is something that crackpots and the crackpot enablers will never understand in 1,000,000 years.

Political Cooperation: Senator Kerry and Graham on Energy:

However, we refuse to accept the argument that the United States cannot lead the world in addressing global climate change. We are also convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution.

Our partnership represents a fresh attempt to find consensus that adheres to our core principles and leads to both a climate change solution and energy independence. It begins now, not months from now — with a road to 60 votes in the Senate.

It’s true that we come from different parts of the country and represent different constituencies and that we supported different presidential candidates in 2008. We even have different accents. But we speak with one voice in saying that the best way to make America stronger is to work together to address an urgent crisis facing the world.

This process requires honest give-and-take and genuine bipartisanship. In that spirit, we have come together to put forward proposals that address legitimate concerns among Democrats and Republicans and the other constituencies with stakes in this legislation. We’re looking for a new beginning, informed by the work of our colleagues and legislation that is already before Congress.

First, we agree that climate change is real and threatens our economy and national security. That is why we are advocating aggressive reductions in our emissions of the carbon gases that cause climate change. We will minimize the impact on major emitters through a market-based system that will provide both flexibility and time for big polluters to come into compliance without hindering global competitiveness or driving more jobs overseas.[…]

Failure to act comes with another cost. If Congress does not pass legislation dealing with climate change, the administration will use the Environmental Protection Agency to impose new regulations. Imposed regulations are likely to be tougher and they certainly will not include the job protections and investment incentives we are proposing.

The message to those who have stalled for years is clear: killing a Senate bill is not success; indeed, given the threat of agency regulation, those who have been content to make the legislative process grind to a halt would later come running to Congress in a panic to secure the kinds of incentives and investments we can pass today. Industry needs the certainty that comes with Congressional action.

We are confident that a legitimate bipartisan effort can put America back in the lead again and can empower our negotiators to sit down at the table in Copenhagen in December and insist that the rest of the world join us in producing a new international agreement on global warming. That way, we will pass on to future generations a strong economy, a clean environment and an energy-independent nation.

Airline Pilots and Pay: this post by Michael Moore alerted me to the problem; there was also a New York Times article about what has happened to an established pilot. I honestly didn’t know this; I thought that pilots made a ton of money.

Politics Bradley graduate Jim Ascot is running for the IL-7 US House position.


October 15, 2009 - Posted by | Democrats, economy, Illinois, injury, politics, politics/social, republicans, science, statistics

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