Questioning Earths Privileges
September 20, 2002
51; Two articles this week downplayed considerations that would make the Earth seem like a special place in the universe. Both have ties to NASA. Are life-friendly stars limited to a narrow band in the galaxy called the Galactic Habitable Zone (GHZ)? NASA-supported Astrobiology Magazine cast doubt on the idea. Citing a study […]
Dark Energy Is Embarrassing
July 20, 2002
Robert Scherrer is trying to come up with a theory that combines dark matter and dark energy, reports Space.Com. “It is somewhat embarrassing to have two different unknown sources for the dominant forms of matter and energy in the universe. On the other hand, that may just be the way things are. We don’t get […]
Inflation: Cosmic, Comic, or Cosmetic?
March 20, 2002
The science media seem beside themselves with enthusiasm over some dots and lines. When scientists analyzing data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) told reporters they determined the polarization of certain points in the cosmic microwave background, one could almost hear the yawns. But when they suggested that this tells us something about what […]
Is Dark Matter Going Out of Style?
January 20, 2002
Dark matter has been a staple in cosmological theories for decades. One of the initial reasons was that galaxy rotation curves could not be explained without it. Another was that galaxy clusters, to be held together over long ages, needed more “stuff” to bind them. Finally, Big Bang cosmologists invoke copious amounts of dark matter […]
Reality or Hubris in Scientific Claims?
January 20, 2002
51; The amount of trust the public puts in scientific claims stems partly from their incomprehensibility. The claims presented in scientific papers are often so dense and abstruse as to be unapproachable by all but specialists. Undoubtedly many people trust scientists because of their specialized education, their knowledge of mathematics, their special equipment, and their […]