VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Salting News with the L Word Life

Small amounts of sodium were detected in ice particles erupting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus.  Deduction: this might lower the melting point of underground ice, forming subsurface pockets of liquid water – perhaps an ocean.  Conclusion: Life!  It doesn’t matter that Enceladus has no other factors conducive to life than water, or that salt is generally […]

We Know Less Than We Think

Strange reports come from science news outlets on occasion that call into question facts we thought we understood.  These raise a question: do we really know what we think we know? Cutting dinosaurs down to size:  Dinosaurs may have been half as heavy as thought, said Science Daily.  Some paleontologists are claiming that widely-used methods […]

This Place Really Has Atmosphere

Of all the bodies in the solar system, only eight have a substantial atmosphere.  If you add in those with tenuous atmospheres, you can add in Triton and Mercury, and maybe a few others, till it becomes pedantic to call it an atmosphere if there are only a few short-lived molecules hovering over a moon.  […]

Planets Can’t Grow Past the Electric Fence

In the artwork, it looks so simple: dust clumps into planets that grow into nice, orbiting solar systems – like ours.  It’s not so simple when you try to nail down the real physics.  Planet-building models have to contend with a host of variables and barriers to growth (accretion).  Another barrier was discussed in Astrophysical […]

“Social Brain Hypothesis” Discredited

According to evolutionary theory, the extra processing required for living in social groups should make brains bigger.  Not so, found a couple of scientists who looked into the question.  There’s no general correlation.     According to Live Science, John Finarelli (University of Michigan) and John Flynn (American Museum of Natural History in New York) […]

Milankovitch Cycles Indistinguishable from Randomness

A claim has often been made by geologists that the rock sediments record cyclical changes in Earth’s orbit.  Milankovitch cycles, named for the man who analyzed them, are a set of regular periodic changes to the orbital eccentricity, obliquity, and axial precession of the Earth over tens and hundreds of thousands of years.  These subtle […]

SETI Invites Alien Talk

They may not be saying much to us, but we can think about what to say to them – aliens, that is.  Space.com reported on the latest project from the SETI Institute: invite people all over the world to ponder, “What would you say to an extraterrestrial civilization?”     The SETI Institute is launching […]

Building Planets: Can’t Make Them, But Hurry

Constructing planets is a delicate business.  Trying to get tiny bits of dust to join up into balls has never been found to work.  It has to work fast, though, because unless the whole planet clears its dust lane, it will be dragged into the star in short order.  It seems you can’t get there […]

State of the Moon Titan Addressed

Each May, a series of articles on major topics of geological interest, written by leading experts in the field, is published in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences.  This year’s issue includes a treatise on Titan, the large moon of Saturn, written by the two titans of Titan science, Jonathan Lunine and Ralph […]

Gravity: A Theory in Crisis

Note: This is **not** a joke.  How could gravity be a theory in crisis?  Isn’t gravity one of the best-understood facts of nature?  Don’t we all avoid jumping off cliffs because of the law of gravity?  Gravity is doing just fine, thank you.  It’s our theory of gravity, and the cosmology built on it, that […]

Mooning the Public: Life Sells

Advertisers have known for a long time that sex sells.  That’s why ads often include a scantily-clad woman standing next to the pickup truck for sale.  It seems that in planetary science, life sells.  An icy moon can be a pretty dull thing, but announce that there might be life there, and eye appeal jumps.  […]

Publish Your Kooky Idea

Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute has a solution for sorting science from pseudoscience: publish.  In the weekly SETI article for April 16 on Space.com, he said he gets lots of wacky theories in the mail and email.  What’s the best way to sift through claims and find the gems?  Publication.     Shostak acknowledged […]

A Darwinist Religious Experience Described

As millions of Jews celebrate Passover, and as millions of Christians gather to celebrate Easter, a Darwinist reporter was experiencing “existential vertigo” – a sweeping sense of dizziness as her imagination zoomed in and out of the implications of her faith.  It may be the closest thing that a secular materialist can call a religious […]

Early Large Galaxies Stun Cosmologists

Cosmology has a kind of Cambrian Explosion of its own to grapple with.  Contrary to expectations, some of the earliest galaxies appear as large as current ones, if not larger.  Astronomers, using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii, examined five galaxy clusters with ages estimated at 5 billion years after the Big Bang.  Statements in a […]

From Dust to St. Patrick in 5 Billion Years Flat

Biblical creationists and evolutionists have one belief in common: we came originally from dust.  How that dust became organized is the difference.  Both views teach that our bodies are comprised of the same atoms found in dust, but creationists say an intelligent designer purposefully molded the dust into a fully-formed man and woman, whereas evolutionists […]
All Posts by Date