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I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year. The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

1. MOST OF THE UNIVERSE IS MISSING Previous | Next

We can only account for 4 per cent of the cosmos

IN 1997, astronomers discovered that the universe is expanding at ever faster speeds. No one knows why this should be: until that point, everyone assumed the universe's expansion would be slowing down after the big bang. The best explanation we have – that some mysterious thing called “dark energy” is causing the accelerated expansion – is no explanation at all because we have no idea what this dark energy actually is.

We can say the same about “dark matter”. If you take our best understanding of gravity, apply it to the way galaxies spin, and you'll quickly see the problem: the galaxies should be falling apart. Galactic matter orbits around a central point because its mutual gravitational attraction creates centripetal forces. But there is not enough mass in the galaxies to produce the observed spin. The best response from physicists is to suggest there is more stuff out there than we can see, and that the gravity of this stuff is holding everything together. Just as they called the mysterious accelerating stuff dark energy, they call this mysterious gravitating stuff dark matter. We’ve been searching for dark matter for decades now, but we still have no idea what it might be.

That may be because dark energy and dark matter, which together seem to make up 96 per cent of the universe’s contents, might be a cosmic mirage. We may find out that the dark energy vanishes in a puff of logic when we rid our mathematics of certain assumptions – such as the assumption that the universe is the same in every direction. Dark matter might be a result of us not quite understanding how gravity works. The issue is still wide open.

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#1 - Posted: 06/08/2008 18:49

This one is so obvious that it's funny.  If there have been at least five generations of stars since the beginning of our current universe and if  40% of those stars and dust in each generation were too small to go nova and just remain cold dwarfs, then only 60% of the remaining mass would go on to form the next generation of stars. By the sixth generation only around 4% of the total mass of the universe would be in the form of bright luminous stars.  The rest would be visually undetecable dark mass.  This 96% dark mass would exert gravity and profoundly affect the visible 4% of universe.  There is nothing mysterious about this.  In fact it has been only in recent years that small cool dwarf stars have been detected near us in our part of the Milky Way and hundreds of smaller objects have just been found in our own solar system.   Since we have no way of knowing how this dark mass is distributed other than indirect observations, much more observation is needed before presenting exotic theories to prop up other theories which are obviously flawed.  While exotic forms of matter and energy may possibly exist in the universe, most of it now appears to be in the imaginations of the theoretical folks as they gaze at their very abstract equations rather than consider a simple answer.   The pioneer anomaly very likely has a similar simple explanation involving the unseen mass of solar wind, dust and other unseen small objects in the outer solar system which haven't been factored into the flight trajectory.

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#2 - Posted: 07/08/2008 02:34

Hey, thanks for clearing that up.  I forwarded your post to the Nobel Prize people and they assured me that your check is in the mail.

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#3 - Posted: 08/08/2008 04:56

Having worked with advanced spectrographic instruments and advanced mathematics for years, I continue to be amazed at those who assume the instrument readouts are accurate and exact.  Every instrument, no matter how well it is designed, has a small amount of error in its results.  Over the years I have found and been involved in correcting problems with some of the most advanced lab equipment in the world.  I have also seen how dramatically the mathematical results and conclusions can be changed by small differences in that instrumental data.   When I took my advanced physics classes, the most important idea taught was to understand what the  possible errors could be in your testing.  If you go through the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, you should be struck by a very important detail.  Most of the measurements and data are from the 1930s and 1940s  when calculations were done by hand and checked and rechecked.  Also well before pocket calculators, PCs, and computer modeling.    In recent  years a disturbing trend has developed in all branches of science. Some rather outlandish scientific claims are being made over very insignificant amounts of information.  Whether it be a small drug study, a Hubble photo or one set of instrumental data, it doesn't prove anything.  It only points out a direction for more intensive study. 

 

The sarcastic comment about sending my previous post about dark matter to the Nobel prize people was obviously written by someone from the armchair scientist crowd who tries to keep up with the latest popsci articles.     Original thinking has become a lost art.  When you can do a little independent research and logically form an opinion of your own, let's hear it.  I won't make fun of you. 

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#4 - Posted: 08/08/2008 07:05

What makes dark matter interesting is that observed phenomenon cannot be explained by simply assuming all the mass is coming from regular matter that is undetectable and still maintain current theories about gravity and energy. So either our understanding of gravity, matter and energy are incorrect or the theories are basically correct and there are unknown forms of matter and energy (aka dark matter, dark energy) that account for the inconsistencies. The cosmological models don't work if you just plug in normal matter (even if invisible) for the missing mass because it would have other effects. This stuff is beyond my understanding as I have no scientific training, I am just mentioning what I think is at the heart of this issue. This has the potential to lead to a breakthrough because it points to a new understanding of known forces or the discovery of new forces.

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#5 - Posted: 08/08/2008 17:06

Having physics and mathematics in my background and, as an engineer, having worked with control systems design for quite some time, error (both human and machine) is a constant problem that plagues us all.  However, the 'disturbances' we see in the universe and have touched on briefly in this discussion, for all practical purposes (a classic engineering phrase), transcend simple mathematical errors.  I fear that, for the time being, we in the science, engineering, physics, mathematics, armchair phylosophy, etc., etc., communities must bow our heads and admit that there are things in this world which we do not yet know--and keep on plugging.  In the meantime, I'd like to have Microsoft defrag the universe.  Once the data's in, then we can all begin our analyses ; )  Now, that should certainly help enlighten us.

 

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#6 - Posted: 10/08/2008 15:50

Moles, no joke (lest not a wiseguy poke at all) but if Microsoft defragged the Universe we would all become snarling Necromongers. Novell built that smooth gap-filling block suballocation right into the NetWare file system - Tip top from then to now even before Gates bought his kludged in defrag technology; even killing the swapfile, entering safe mode to defrag many times wont put NTFS into contiguous order.  Damn - again those 7 deadlies humbled a giant. I just realized thanks to your almost freightening care of "The Universal Data", that had not Ray Noorda tried to bite Bill Gates with a 500megbuck too-soon-technology purchase of UnixWare Labs, toppling Novell globally under NT's frail but polished foot, then Novell would never have snagged Suse Linux. Suse is--well lets let this rest but thanks! And Wow to this site. Hint - if you think operating systems have no place in the lifespan of the human race, well step on out of the hole I just opened and imagine. This is as globally local as it gets.

The most powerful computer globally can do like 1/2 a mouse brain on a maze run for 20 seconds

I'm still thinking on it! - Snake Pliskin

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#7 - Posted: 10/08/2008 16:16

I will be the first to admit that I have nowhere near the expertise that most of the forum contributors have and it is fascinating to read their insight. I think that trying to figure it out is what we’re supposed to do. It thrills the Creator when we discover some of His secrets. But in the meantime…

 

Proverbs 25:2 – “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honor of kings to search it out.”

 

Colossians 1:16, 17 - For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

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#8 - Posted: 12/08/2008 00:03

Phil,

     The highest science class I have had is Physical Science 101, and my highest Math is Mat 110. However, I think I am following you. It is easy for people to criticize the theories concerning something that can not be seen, such as dark matter/energy. I feel you made valid points about sources for errors and their effects on final conclusions. Moles echoed this in stating errors made by “both human and machine.” Funny thing; man is not perfect, man builds machine. How can machine be perfect? Is that a reason to stop trying? On the contrary, all the more reason to keep on keeping on. If it were easy, everyone would be an astrophysicist. Tavi makes a great point to. In this case, we have to make our calculations equal the answers. We can not change the universe or its laws. If we are adding two and two and getting five, then we are missing something. If five is the answer, then one or both of the twos have to be replaced. Also, ColtPython seems to have the attitude that we all need to have. Whether one believes in God, and I firmly do, we need to accept that the universe and all its laws are unchangeable by us. But what a joy it is to learn its secrets. As for Jamie’s pitiable outlook, I would like to leave in the style ColtPython posted with.

“But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” 1st Corinthians. 14:38 (KJV)

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#9 - Posted: 15/08/2008 01:02

What does one really mean when one says the laws of the universe are unchangeable? What do we know of the of the universal laws? I'm with Phil it is all very simple. Why must man make things so complicated?

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#10 - Posted: 19/08/2008 13:27

Nimitz87,

     When I said “the universe and all its laws are unchangeable” I also put “by us” with it. I think that is pretty self-explanatory as to what I meant. Unless you have proof that you or someone else has control space, time, dark matter/energy, gravity etc., then you will have to agree with me. If you are going to quote someone, please be sure to get the whole meaning and not take it out of context. I so hate the quote I am going to use here, but I feel this is a place where it really applies. The universe “is what it is”. Learn about it if you wish. Ignore it if you will. However, since you have stated that you are “with Phil it is all very simple”, maybe you will be “with Phil” and what he stated very well at the conclusion of his second post in reference to the sarcastic comment left for him;

 

“Original thinking has become a lost art.  When you can do a little independent research and logically form an opinion of your own, let's hear it.”

 

     When you question someone else’s opinion, be sure you have one of your own. “It is all very simple” is not an answer, it is just a statement. Telling what “it” is and how “it” is simple would be an answer. Three of your four sentences where questions. I can not answer your last question as I don’t know WHY “man must make things so complicated”. However, I will tell you that one way in which man DOES make things complicated is by asking way too many questions and not trying to find any of the answers. And you can quote me on that.

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