Thursday Throughput for 8/1/19


Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Philip H says:

    ThTh1 – you hit the proverbial nail on the head. Adaptation and mitigation (to say nothing of eliminating emissions in the first place) will take time. They will take effort. They will take political will. and all three are in short supply at the moment.

    And sadly science won’t incontrovertibly know we have passed an tipping point until its well and truly gone.Report

  2. Avatar George Turner says:

    ThTh6: The problem I pointed to in the study last week stems from this:

    Country-specific heritability estimates ranged from 50.9% (25.1%-75.6%) (Finland) to 86.8% (69.8%-100.0%) (Israel)

    So it doesn’t rule out that up to 74.9% of autism in Finland could be environmental, or that 0.0% of autism in Israel is environmental. That seems highly unlikely, if not inexplicable.Report

  3. Avatar veronica d says:

    [ThTh10] — Well that’s odd.

    So what the fuck? Why is our galaxy warped like that?

    We talk a lot about the “hidden order” of nature, but I think perhaps someday we’ll hit a real limit on what we can model. What I mean is, there are perhaps forces so subtle and deep that they can only be observed either on the galactic (or more) scale, or else as “weirdness” at the Planck scale. In either case, we might be able to observe the effects, but never really piece together the underlying dynamics” In other words, we’ll never have a bunch of differential equations that describe a “closed system” that include the hidden effects. We’ll just know they are there, because the closed systems we can model never get the correct answers.

    I’m not sure what to think of this.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      There are other warped galaxies. Note that the study Michael referenced is a much more accurate confirmation of previously existing observations of the Milky Way. One hypothesis that was put forward in the past is the Magellanic Clouds interacting with the Milky Way’s dark matter.

      When in doubt, blame dark matter.


      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        When in doubt, blame dark matter.

        It’s what I do when I do something that annoys my wife.Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        A “drum like” resonance behavior makes a lot of sense.

        It emits very low frequency gravitational waves! I mean, very low frequency.

        Deep in the void, Azathoth is rocking out to the Milky Way’s sick beat!

        To my broader point: if dark matter is “really stuff,” and if it only interacts via gravity, then over time I expect we will come to understand it. It would be hard to observe, obviously — which is kind of the point. But we could observe it precisely via it’s gravitational effect. It would just be a kind of stuff, and “it only interacts via gravity” would be the entirety of its physics. That’s it. That’s all it is. That would be kinda cool.

        However, imagine if dark matter can interact with other dark matter in complicated ways. Now, imagine if these interactions are usually too small to have any effect that can be observed through gravitational changes, but every so often, cumulatively, they have an effect.

        If that happens, it is plausible that physicists will never be able to tease out those forces. In other words, whatever field equations we can write down to describe the whole of the universe, those terms will never show up, since we cannot “see inside them.” Instead, every so often, weird shit would happen.

        (This is probably an obvious thought to real-life scientists, but it’s fun to think about.)Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    ThTh4: Here is a similar object with a viewer so you can rotate the object in 3-space and see what’s going on. The page includes links to downloadable files so you can print your own.Report