atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7441: Santa, is it too late? Can I email you a request?

Take this kit, add an "early" Miata, and you have a '30s-style open-wheel race car. Mostly I think you're taking mechanical bits off the Miata and putting them into the kit, then calling a recycler to come and haul away what's left of the Miata--but it looks like a heck of a lot of fun to drive, and I bet building it would be entertaining, too.

It's even pre-painted. Nifty!

* * *

This is very interesting. The idea is that black holes aren't actually singularities, and that their formation is what drives the expansion of the universe. It basically does away with "dark energy", sort of. Instead of "dark energy" being this pervasive field throughout the universe that we cannot detect, it's concentrated in "Dark Energy Objects" (the full acronym is GEODE, GEneric Objects of Dark Energy) and black holes are basically made of the stuff.

The problem I have with all this is the same problem I have with dark matter and energy in general: I don't buy the universe being made of 90% dark matter (or whatever the proportion is today) which is so utterly indetectable that we have never, never, ever seen it, nor have we ever found any direct evidence of its existence other than the fact that it seems to effect light enough that it causes gravitational lensing over extremely long distances (millions or billions of light years). I think "dark matter" is an epicycle to explain a phenomenon which has another explanation that either violates relativity, or else wrecks one of our basic (and cherished) assumptions about how the universe was formed.

Ditto for "dark energy". They need it to explain "cosmic inflation" in the micro-instant after the big bang, and also the apparent acceleration of the universe's expansion, but I think that, too, is an epicycle.

For example, the acceleration of the expansion--has anyone ever taken into account the effect of a galaxy's gravity on the light it emits? When you have a photon traveling 10 billion light-years through the intergalactic void, the gravity of its source has a lot of time to red-shift it. Sure, the force of gravity some million light-years from a galaxy is negligible, but it's not zero. If you're starting from the standpoint of the distribution of matter not being approximately uniform, then you have to take into account the effect that has on it; and if you say that the distribution of matter is even, then what about the relative masses of the two galaxies (Milky Way and the one the light is from)? If the other galaxy is less massive than the Milky Way, the light from it should be blue-shifted. Or am I high?

I don't think the expansion of the universe is accelerating; I think there are factors we're not accounting for.

Further, as I recall, all of this is done to fit with the idea that the universe is closed. It's easier for us if it is not open; but it's possible that the universe is open, as troublesome as that might be, and if it is, then I don't think we need dark matter or dark energy.

Still, I do think it's extremely useful to talk alternatives to gravitational singularities. I do believe that it's possible to have a singularity, and further, because energy has mass, you could have an electromagnetic singularity (a kugelblitz) or weak force or strong force singularities. But I'm not sure what their properties would be. I do know that if you got enough electrons in one spot, you'd have a singularity, because the binding energy would be equivalent to an extremely high mass.

* * *

I was going to say, "The universe does not exist for our convenience," but of course I believe that God did create the universe specifically for us, so that's not really accurate. But it was not built to be easily understandable, either. Besides, right in "Genesis" it tells us that God cursed the Earth because Adam and Eve were buttheads, and I think that "the Earth" actually means "the terrestrial plane" eg the physical universe--at least in Genesis, anyway.

But citing points of religion is not appropriate in a scientific discussion--this is not the late 19th century--which is why I put this bit in another section.

* * *

Anyway it's after 5 PM on Christmas Eve. We got back from a brief trip to my mother-in-law's house, to drop off cookies and a pie; and on the way out I stopped at the grocery store, and picked up a few sundries...including a key lime pie and a cherry pie. So I don't need to, and won't be, making that pan of apple crisp. What I will be doing tonight, though, is wrapping presents and getting the turkey in to brine.

We came home from that errand and I immediately set to getting the LED candles in the windows. I bought another set of 4, so I was able to add the south window in the master bedroom and the living room window that has the Christmas tree in it. So now, all the front windows have candles in them, and I turned them on at a bit after 4 PM, and I'm not going to touch them now until their batteries go dead. If they do as well, this year, as they did last year, that won't be before February or March.

Merry Christmas!

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