Counting faint celestial objects is admittedly hard, but the task should be within the capabilities of expert astronomers. It is, after all, as simple as counting. So much theoretical work relies on accurate counts of what’s out there, they need to get at least in the ballpark. Recent indications hint that their counts have been way off.Galaxies: Pavel Kroupa (U of Bonn) has told his colleagues that counts of mini-galaxies don’t match expectations. In New Scientist, he said, “It is the cleanest case in which we can see there is something badly wrong with our standard picture of the origin of galaxies.” In theory, there should be thousands of mini-galaxies orbiting the Milky Way; in actuality, only 25 have been found. What’s more, they orbit in unexpected ways, casting doubt on standard theories of gravity. Kroupa believes that Newtonian gravitational theory has to be modified to account for the observed motions. The accounting of mini-galaxies, the article said, “has the latest battleground between the proponents of dark matter and theories of modified gravity.” Can something as basic as gravity be questioned? Yes.Stars: 400% off? “Galaxies Demand a Stellar Recount,” announced a Jet Propulsion Lab feature story this month based on a paper in Astrophysical Journal last April 10.1 The upshot is that there appear to be far more small stars than thought – four times as many. Astronomers have been using a ratio of 500 small stars to every giant, but results from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer indicate the actual count might be more like 2,000 to one. Gerhardt Meurer used a fruity analogy: “the melons grab your eyes, even though the total weight of the blueberries may be more.” The recount affects an important parameter called the Initial Mass Function. The IMF is the basis for a great deal of theoretical work. Astronomers think they understand galaxies by looking at the light they can see, but “this common assumption has been leading astronomers astray,” Meurer said. The article said, “This belief, based on years of research, has been tipped on its side with new data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer.” Theories, like vending machines, may not work when tipped on their sides. Many ideas about stellar and galactic evolution have depended on estimates that now appear to be highly oblique.1. Meurer et al, “Evidence for a Nonuniform Initial Mass Function in the Local Universe,” The Astrophysical Journal 695 (2009) 765, April 10, 2009, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/695/1/765.Here are more reasons to be wary of the confident statements of scientists. We can police them when their work produces a cell phone or printer that works or doesn’t work, but how is a layperson to judge a cosmologists’ assertion that dark matter constitutes 95% of reality, or galaxies evolved from mergers of mini-galaxies? Most of us can’t, so we tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and trust their superior knowledge. The training they’ve gone through and the knowledge they’ve acquired do command respect, but it’s dangerous to trust scientists overmuch. There are some things they just cannot know very well. In most respects they are just like normal people: mortal, fallible, and given to overconfidence. Scientific television shows are among the worst for transforming theoretical work into brazen propaganda. Visualization techniques like animation can make dubious hypotheses seem certain. Dust grains can grow into planets right before your eyes (cf 08/21/2009); comets can deliver oceans to the earth, and mineral grains washed into the oceans can morph like magic into living cells (these miracles were all seen on a recent TV show about earth history). Don’t be fooled. Those are tricks by graphic artists, not findings by the Knowers of the Deep Knowledge of All. Here are three warning signs that can help laymen to keep a healthy skepticism when evaluating scientific claims: (1) a new finding undermines long-held assumptions (like those above); (2) a deep, long-lasting controversy is taking place between competing theories; and (3) a scientist says, “We now know….”(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
A six-year-old boy trapped in a 200-ft deep borewell in Pune district was rescued on Thursday after a 16-hour-long operation involving police and disaster response personnel.A crowd looked on as National Disaster Response Force and police officials carried six-year-old Ravi Pandit Bhil, who was stuck at a depth of 10 feet. Ravi, son of a road construction worker, fell into the borewell on Wednesday afternoon while playing near Thorandale village, 70 km from Pune. The NDRF team said the boy was rescued at around 9 am and is in good health. “The operation was very critical and required meticulous planning to avoid any injury to the child,” an NDRF official said.“The NDRF was successful in saving the child. Our team members worked painstakingly, never losing sight of the task.
Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Fultz appeared to roll his ankle in Saturday night’s game and was helped to the locker room by two teammates.He had just signed his contract earlier in the day and was taken for X-rays. The former Washington star had eight points in 15 minutes.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsIt was the last thing the Sixers wanted to see just when they appeared ready to put years of misery behind them. They have dealt with significant injuries to center Joel Embiid and last year’s No. 1 pick, Ben Simmons, over the last three years.The 76ers pulled off a trade with Boston before the draft to move up from No. 3 to No. 1 to take Fultz, the dynamic scoring point guard that team president Bryan Colangelo felt was the perfect piece to put with Simmons and Embiid.a Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next FILE – In this Wednesday, July 5, 2017, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz (7) drives around Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game in Salt Lake City. Fultz needed to be helped off the court with an injury to his left ankle in the 76ers’ summer league game Saturday, July 8, against Golden State. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)LAS VEGAS — No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz will miss the rest of the NBA summer league because of a sprained left ankle.The Philadelphia 76ers say Fultz is expected to return to basketball activities in one to two weeks. Fultz tweeted Sunday : “I’m ok, thank you for all who where worried!”ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ $50 million boxing tournament announces quarterfinal matchups Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR