Solar flares are teleconnected to earthly radioactive decay

From Stanford University News a really wild must read science discovery.
h/t to Leif Svalgaard and WUWT reader “carbon-based-life-form”.

The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements


When researchers found an unusual linkage between solar flares and the inner life of radioactive elements on Earth, it touched off a scientific detective investigation that could end up protecting the lives of space-walking astronauts and maybe rewriting some of the assumptions of physics.

BY DAN STOBER

It’s a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly: The radioactive decay of some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be influenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away.

Is this possible?

Researchers from Stanford and Purdue University believe it is. But their explanation of how it happens opens the door to yet another mystery.

There is even an outside chance that this unexpected effect is brought about by a previously unknown particle emitted by the sun. “That would be truly remarkable,” said Peter Sturrock, Stanford professor emeritus of applied physics and an expert on the inner workings of the sun.

The story begins, in a sense, in classrooms around the world, where students are taught that the rate of decay of a specific radioactive material is a constant. This concept is relied upon, for example, when anthropologists use carbon-14 to date ancient artifacts and

when doctors determine the proper dose of radioactivity to treat a cancer patient.

Random numbers

But that assumption was challenged in an unexpected way by a group of researchers from Purdue University who at the time were more interested in random numbers than nuclear decay. (Scientists use long strings of random numbers for a variety of calculations, but they are difficult to produce, since the process used to produce the numbers has an influence on the outcome.)

Ephraim Fischbach, a physics professor at Purdue, was looking into the rate of radioactive decay of several isotopes as a possible source of random numbers generated without any human input. (A lump of radioactive cesium-137, for example, may decay at a steady rate overall, but individual atoms within the lump will decay in an unpredictable, random pattern. Thus the timing of the random ticks of a Geiger counter placed near the cesium might be used to generate random numbers.)

As the researchers pored through published data on specific isotopes, they found disagreement in the measured decay rates – odd for supposed physical constants.

Checking data collected at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island and the Federal Physical and Technical Institute in Germany, they came across something even more surprising: long-term observation of the decay rate of silicon-32 and radium-226 seemed to show a small seasonal variation. The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer.

Peter Sturrock

Peter Sturrock, professor emeritus of applied physics - photo L.A. Cicero

Was this fluctuation real, or was it merely a glitch in the equipment used to measure the decay, induced by the change of seasons, with the accompanying changes in temperature and humidity?

“Everyone thought it must be due to experimental mistakes, because we’re all brought up to believe that decay rates are constant,” Sturrock said.

The sun speaks

On Dec 13, 2006, the sun itself provided a crucial clue, when a solar flare sent a stream of particles and radiation toward Earth. Purdue nuclear engineer Jere Jenkins, while measuring the decay rate of manganese-54, a short-lived isotope used in medical diagnostics, noticed that the rate dropped slightly during the flare, a decrease that started about a day and a half before the flare.

If this apparent relationship between flares and decay rates proves true, it could lead to a method of predicting solar flares prior to their occurrence, which could help prevent damage to satellites and electric grids, as well as save the lives of astronauts in space.

The decay-rate aberrations that Jenkins noticed occurred during the middle of the night in Indiana – meaning that something produced by the sun had traveled all the way through the Earth to reach Jenkins’ detectors. What could the flare send forth that could have such an effect?

Jenkins and Fischbach guessed that the culprits in this bit of decay-rate mischief were probably solar neutrinos, the almost weightless particles famous for flying at almost the speed of light through the physical world – humans, rocks, oceans or planets – with virtually no interaction with anything.

Then, in a series of papers published in Astroparticle Physics, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research and Space Science Reviews, Jenkins, Fischbach and their colleagues showed that the observed variations in decay rates were highly unlikely to have come from environmental influences on the detection systems.

Reason for suspicion

Their findings strengthened the argument that the strange swings in decay rates were caused by neutrinos from the sun. The swings seemed to be in synch with the Earth’s elliptical orbit, with the decay rates oscillating as the Earth came closer to the sun (where it would be exposed to more neutrinos) and then moving away.

So there was good reason to suspect the sun, but could it be proved?

Enter Peter Sturrock, Stanford professor emeritus of applied physics and an expert on the inner workings of the sun. While on a visit to the National Solar Observatory in Arizona, Sturrock was handed copies of the scientific journal articles written by the Purdue researchers.

Sturrock knew from long experience that the intensity of the barrage of neutrinos the sun continuously sends racing toward Earth varies on a regular basis as the sun itself revolves and shows a different face, like a slower version of the revolving light on a police car. His advice to Purdue: Look for evidence that the changes in radioactive decay on Earth vary with the rotation of the sun. “That’s what I suggested. And that’s what we have done.”

A surprise

Going back to take another look at the decay data from the Brookhaven lab, the researchers found a recurring pattern of 33 days. It was a bit of a surprise, given that most solar observations show a pattern of about 28 days – the rotation rate of the surface of the sun.

The explanation? The core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. “It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun,” Sturrock said.

All of the evidence points toward a conclusion that the sun is “communicating” with radioactive isotopes on Earth, said Fischbach.

But there’s one rather large question left unanswered. No one knows how neutrinos could interact with radioactive materials to change their rate of decay.

“It doesn’t make sense according to conventional ideas,” Fischbach said. Jenkins whimsically added, “What we’re suggesting is that something that doesn’t really interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed.”

“It’s an effect that no one yet understands,” agreed Sturrock. “Theorists are starting to say, ‘What’s going on?’ But that’s what the evidence points to. It’s a challenge for the physicists and a challenge for the solar people too.”

If the mystery particle is not a neutrino, “It would have to be something we don’t know about, an unknown particle that is also emitted by the sun and has this effect, and that would be even more remarkable,” Sturrock said.

Chantal Jolagh, a science-writing intern at the Stanford News Service, contributed to this story.


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320 thoughts on “Solar flares are teleconnected to earthly radioactive decay

  1. “It doesn’t make sense according to conventional ideas,” Fischbach said. Jenkins whimsically added, “What we’re suggesting is that something that doesn’t really interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed.”

    We already know the plot line to this one, just watch the film 2012.

  2. Ah, yes, Horatio. And who knows what else the sun might be “communicating” to the earth and its various physical systems….

  3. You want my guess about what’s going on? (No, came back the answer loud and clear).
    The magnetic fields generated by the sun are affecting just a little bit the electric power generated by the local utility which then affects the performance of their instruments. The yearly change they have measured from season to season does not come from the change in the distance from the earth to the sun but from the change in tilt of the earth’s axis with respect to the suns axis, and 33 day change is, as hypothesized, connected to the rate of solar rotation.

  4. Okay, maybe I’m naive, but I’m not seeing the reason for dismissing this. Nobody had a stake in the outcome. Nobody was even looking for this outcome. And if true, it could be a huge breakthrough on a number of levels.

    As I see it, there are two aspects to this. The first is that the steady decay of radioactive elements may not be as steady as we thought. This, of course, must be determined with with absolute certainty before looking for a cause, although it sounds like they’ve done their research on this. If it’s true, then the second aspect is whether or not the sun is the cause.

    Allowing that they have adequately shown the rate of decay really does change, what concerns me about the conjecture that the sun plays a role in this change is this:

    Going back to take another look at the decay data from the Brookhaven lab, the researchers found a recurring pattern of 33 days. It was a bit of a surprise, given that most solar observations show a pattern of about 28 days – the rotation rate of the surface of the sun.

    The explanation? The core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. “It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun,” Sturrock said.

    Now the decay rate fluctuations don’t correspond to what we know of the sun’s spin. To then turn around and use the decay rate fluctuation to conclude that the core of the sun spins at a different rate is — well, it’s a bit disturbing. A little like trying to look for “lost heat” when the thermometers (and tree rings) are showing a decline in temperature.

    I don’t know if the sun will eventually prove to be the culprit, but I’m quite excited by the apparent variance of decay rates. If true.

  5. WOW….. This seems to be in line with Mr LaViolette:

    Prediction No. 11 (1983): Anomalously young radiocarbon dates are frequently found in fossil remains of Pleistocene megafauna that became extinct at the end of the last ice age. In chapter 10 of his dissertation, LaViolette proposed that a solar cosmic ray conflagration caused the demise of these mammals and their subsequent burial by the action of glacier meltwater waves. He suggested that the neutron shower produced by the intense solar cosmic ray storm (coronal mass ejection) that engulfed the Earth would have radiogenically changed nitrogen atoms in animal collagen into carbon-14 atoms. He proposed that this in situ radiocarbon generation could have made the radiocarbon dates on exposed organic matter anomalously young.

    http://www.etheric.com/LaViolette/Predict.html

  6. And the term “communicating” is used quite often in hard-core physics, and those using it are under no delusion that it refers to communications as the term is more commonly used. It is, for example, used in the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox, in which particles which were once in contact appear to “communicate” with each other instantaneously when the spin of one particle is measured.

    Now when environmental activists talk about Gaia “communicating,” that’s a different matter.

  7. KR says:
    August 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm
    “Thank you for a lovely post. I haven’t had this good a laugh in some time.”

    KR is obviously a deeply profound thinker. Pro AGW perhaps?

  8. Neutrinos are supposed to interact weakly so it is difficult to imagine that they are the culprit. Maybe the solar activity which releases flares is also causing solarquakes which release gravitons (which really interact weakly).

    Where is Einstein now that we need him!

  9. When this gets mentioned in the mass media,I’m certain the report will end with the comment
    “whatever this phenomenon is,many scientists say it will get worse with climate change”
    They said something similar after a T.V. news item about how the Jetstream had brought the heat-wave to Western Russia.

    I wonder if it’s true what I once heard,that when Jupiter and the Sun form a right-angle with the Earth,long-wave radio reception is affected.

  10. For anyone interested in this subject, please explore the website for the Fermilab National Accelerator in Batavia, Illinois:

    http://www.fnal.gov/

    There are some rather remarkable experiments & observations of neutrinos, muons and other particles being made all the time. The gaps in our knowledge are huge , believe me!

    BTW, doesn’t this mess up the dating of Briffa’s proxies?

  11. ZZZ August 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    You want my guess about what’s going on? (No, came back the answer loud and clear).
    The magnetic fields generated by the sun are affecting just a little bit the electric power generated by the local utility which then affects the performance of their instruments.

    I was going to go with a little more direct effect, i.e., CRs/rays/particles etc directly affecting sensors, readings of sensors, slightly shifting the ‘calibration’ if you will … until that aspect is ironed out, all else would be in vain …

    .

  12. Yup, it won’t take long before the power hungry warmist and righteous skeptics turn this one into a fist fight. Warmist will claim that this link is negligable. The skeptics will point to another link between earth and sun. In the end I can’t help but believe that science will be trashed.

  13. I see direct or indirect solar influence on the detection instruments to be more plausible than neutrino tele-connection with the radioactive material. The gas (Geiger counter ) or liquid ( scintillation counter) would likely be more susceptible to influence by variation in solar or cosmic radiation than the dense radioactive material itself. When ruling out environmental influences on detection equipment, solar and cosmic radiation would need to be ruled out as well. This may require more funding and a very deep mine shaft.

  14. If this proves true, does it mean we have a dynamo action going on?
    And this 33 day internal spin, does it ever vary (speed up/slow down) or does that province lie with the more surface parts of the sun?
    If you had a speedup of the outer layer with the inner core that is involved with flux generation/concentration (somehow), that would change the game. It could be enough to snap or scatter magnetic lines, leading to a disrupted/blown solar cycle.
    Right now that SC24 is doing it’s thing again, whatever it is that it’s doing. Mostly misbehaving.
    Now, what do you suppose would be the reaction at neutron detectors when these pre-flare episodes are going on?
    This also has detrimental implications for C-14.

  15. And I was just thinking the other day, ” wouldn’t it be great if someone could invent a solar cell that worked in the dark”. It may be possible after all. Just find out what these little suckers are and then devise a way to put them work.

  16. Hmmmm…

    thinking quantum entanglement may play a role here…

    …also thinking terahertz frequencies hitting isotopes can accelerate/change the rate of decay -nuclear decay batteries come to mind-

    Are these 2 effects involved?

    Are, for example, the isotopes here exposed directly and locally or are one of an entangled pair in the sun being exposed to such teraherz frequencies…and the other here experiencing the same effect remotely?

    Is it not delightful to see the ‘best theories’ man has to offer trashed almost daily by nature?

  17. What I would like to know is what type of clock the researchers use to measure the decay rates. If the clock depends on radioactive decay, the clock itself would be affected by the solar flares and, if so, they should not notice any discrepancy.

  18. This is indeed the most profound and intriguing report I’ve seen for a very long time. Radioactive decay not constant? Who would have picked that? I imagine that, even now, teams of scientists are lining up to test this result.

    I suspect it will turn out to be experimental mistakes or instrument error after all but, if so, please don’t report that too soon – let us have some time to consider the possibilities and speculations first.

  19. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
    August 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm
    BTW, doesn’t this mess up the dating of Briffa’s proxies?

    If if doesn’t mess it up physically, it will surely make many do double and triple-takes on the theory level.
    I can see the lines developing at the Antacid and Aspirin displays as we speak.

  20. david says:
    August 23, 2010 at 9:49 pm
    Yup, it won’t take long before the power hungry warmist and righteous skeptics turn this one into a fist fight. Warmist will claim that this link is negligable. The skeptics will point to another link between earth and sun. In the end I can’t help but believe that science will be trashed.

    Well, judging by the sceptics here, what they’re actually saying is, “Let’s find out more.”

    I don’t believe that will trash science.

  21. Since nobody has said it yet….

    We have modulator/transmitter, and detector.

    Neutrino communications is a possibility.

  22. A couple of things struck me. One was that 33 day cycle. They tried to explain it by saying that the core of the sun may rotate at a different speed to the outer layers (Leif, are you able to comment on that part of the report?).

    The other was the ‘detection’ of the flare a day and a half before it was formally noticed.

    The combination of these two things implies that whatever triggers a flare occurs at least a day and a half before the flare takes place (if the particles causing the decay rate change are neutrinos) OR that whatever is triggering the change in decay rates escapes the Sun a day and a half before the flare takes place (if the particles causing the decay rate change are not neutrinos).

    It is in this area that I think we’ll get our clues on what is going on. If it is neutrinos, then that implies that what triggers the flares takes a day and a half to leave the core and reach the area of the Sun where the flare takes place. If that doesn’t seem reasonable, then that implies that it’s not neutrinos.

  23. A fascinating post. Thanks. Who says all the discoveries are made by people in their 20’2 and 30’s ? Way to go Prof. Sturrock!

  24. Graeme W says:
    August 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm
    A couple of things struck me. One was that 33 day cycle. They tried to explain it by saying that the core of the sun may rotate at a different speed to the outer layers (Leif, are you able to comment on that part of the report?

    The core does rotate a bit slower than the outer equatorial layers, but not that much. On the other hand, the very innermost part has not been measured yet.

    It takes a photon 250,000 years to make it’s way out of the core. A neutrino makes it in a couple of seconds.

  25. I found this article fascinating. What I really liked is that they encountered something they didn’t expect while looking for a way to generate truly random numbers. A variable rate of decay of isotopes? Who woulda thunk it! Seeing as the most common time standard is the average of about 200 caesium clocks located all over the world I find the implications intriguing.

    They have identified an apparent correlation with solar activity but as yet haven’t proven causation. So far I see no opportunities for increased taxation or redistribution of wealth so I suspect it will be difficult to obtain funding for further research. Still…pretty interesting.

  26. It certainly seems that they have stumbled upon something very strange and consequently very interesting too.

    And I do not question their results: they seem to be meticulous physicists.

    But it is far too soon to jump to conclusions.

    As they state they have checked their detectors carefully and it does not appear that they are in error.

    But how can they be sure?

    If such an effect exists it might well affect the detectors rather than the radioactive decay rate. And you cannot tell which it might be since apparently all the detectors they used work on similar principles. And you cannot readily calibrate that even against no input signal because there is no guarantee that the detector[s] would show any effect beyond registering zero with no active input. That is they might only fluctuate in response to some outside effect if they have a signal to detect.

    The first test must therefore be to see if the effect can be discerned using another kind of detector which should not be affected by the unknown but supposed cause of the fluctuation: radioactive calorimetry to detect the decay rate by the production of heat springs immediately to mind.

    This may or may not be practical although given the scale and the sort of figures they are quoting it should be: although not used much these days it is a very sensitive technique with a fast response time.

    Otherwise we will have to think of something else.

    That something odd is going on I am fairly certain but what it might be I am not at all sure. It just might be a genuine Boojum, in which case we are going to have to modify our theoretical notions, but my instinct suggests it’s a common or garden Snark.

    Kindest Regards

  27. Anthony Watts says:
    August 23, 2010 at 9:59 pm
    Since nobody has said it yet….

    We have modulator/transmitter, and detector.

    Neutrino communications is a possibility.
    ——-
    REPLY:

    Thanks for that, Anthony! The physicists at Fermilab are actually coming close to that concept, please see:

    http://www-numi.fnal.gov/

    Neutrinos blasting between Minnesota and Illinois….it’s an amazing experiment with some fantastic apparatus!!

  28. The explanation? The core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. “It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun,” Sturrock said.
    Are there other indications that the core of the sun rotates more slowly or does he just make up an ad hoc explanation?

  29. “”But there’s one rather large question left unanswered. No one knows how neutrinos could interact with radioactive materials to change their rate of decay.””

    Wasn’t neutrino induced radioactive decay the basis for the original solar neutrino experiments?

  30. Something is wrong on the conclusions of the researchers. They say the Sun rotation rate of the core is slower than in the surface; however, that declaration seems to not be real.

    The information recovered by SOHO indicates that the rotation rate at the Sun core is faster than in the rest of the radiative envelops; it would mean a rotation period briefer, not lengthier, than 25.05 days:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/316/5831/1591

    On the other hand, the Earth is engulfed by the Sun’s atmosphere; therefore, it could be a kind of “communication” between the Sun and the remainder bodies of the solar system. Perhaps it could be the explanation to Dr. Bond’s iron stained grains; who knows?

  31. “The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer.”

    This is the clue.
    Radioactive decay is constant.
    Time (for the observers) changes, depending on their distance to the massive source of gravity. Gravity is a curvature not only of the space but also of the time, remember?

  32. P.S. In this context I would also recall the “blue shift” of the Pioneer’s constant-frequency signal, registered by NASA as Pioneer left the Solar system and went farther and farther from the effects of the Solar gravitational field.

    P.P.S. The Hubble’s “red shift” is of the same origin, in my opinion, and the Big Bang theory is a tortuous attempt to marry modern physics and anthropocentric creationism.

    Now everyone and his dog will nail me to the cross and laugh at me. Go ahead, I’ve heard it all.

  33. Fascinating, thanks for posting! If radioactive decay is variable, not only may c14 dating be less reliable, but even our timekeeping based on atomic clocks. The definition of a second becomes relative!

  34. It just seems too good to be true. What is the news from the Melvin Dumar Institute of Science in Utah?

  35. Great post it’s by scientists talking to each other and sharing what they find (interesting and puzzling) that we gain knowledge and understanding of the world around us. Just shouting you’r wrong I’m right and no I won’t let you see my data does no one any good.

    As I say of relativity it’s all aunts and uncles to me.

  36. Nasif Nahle: thanks, I glanced through that paper, but it doesn’t mention the solar flare part of the story, does it?

  37. Everybody just knows that the rate of decay of radioactive isotopes has a known, steady value. It’s been a well established fact for decades. It’s settled science.

    Whoops — no sooner is the science settled and along comes someone to upset the applecart.

    So much for settled science — that concept is a contradiction in terms.

    Ever notice how reality has a way of taking a bite out of everyone’s assumptions when they’re not looking?

  38. . . . where students are taught that the rate of decay of a specific radioactive material is a constant. This concept is relied upon, for example, when anthropologists use carbon-14 to date ancient artifacts and . . .

    So the Earth really could be only 7000 yrs old.

    I should have asked them about that when I visited the moon landing sound stage at Johnson Space Center.

  39. CRS, Dr.P.H. August 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    For anyone interested in this subject, please explore the website for the Fermilab National Accelerator in Batavia, Illinois:

    http://www.fnal.gov/

    I wonder if the Fermilab IT people will be mystified by the sudden burst of traffic to their site?

  40. Does anyone know how big the measured effects really are? It could be important to know before speculations grow too much.

  41. Alexander Feht says:
    This is the clue.
    Radioactive decay is constant.
    Time (for the observers) changes, depending on their distance to the massive source of gravity. Gravity is a curvature not only of the space but also of the time, remember?

    P.P.S. The Hubble’s “red shift” is of the same origin, in my opinion…

    Good guess. How would we test that? I’m NOT laughing.

  42. Frank Lee MeiDere

    You are right about our intentions. A discovery that can tie the sun to nuclear decay on earth, also implies that the sun can have other, as of yet, little understood effects. To me that is very exciting, and it is simply a beautiful discovery. However, anyone claiming that the sun can have a direct impact on earth, unfortunately, also might step on the toes of warmist.

    Thanks again! Just a bit cynical here.

  43. You would think the overall decay rate of 14C would remain, just that perhaps there is a fluctuation up and down at the detail level. Over the Holocene 14C & 10Be agree with each other which is also backed up by the planet positions, so Briffa’s timing should be good.
    But if it can be shown that the Sun’s core spins slower and its speed varies over time then we would have something….especially if that change coincided with solar slowdowns.

  44. Alexander Feht says: August 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm
    “The Hubble’s “red shift” is of the same origin, in my opinion, and the Big Bang theory is a tortuous attempt to marry modern physics and anthropocentric creationism.”
    I would have to agree with Alexander. If you need to invent “Dark Matter” to hold a theory together it’s probably time to start looking at the possibility of a rice bubbles universe. Snap, crackle and pop. Like what Einstein said first, before consensus came into play.
    Similarly if you need to invent a water vapor feedback effect to hold your climate theory together…

  45. Thoughts:

    1) The observed variation in decay rates (found via trying to obtain random #s from radioactive isotopes) needs broad confirmation by replications and some alternate approach confirmations.

    2) The observed variation in decay rates is on a ~33 day recurring pattern. Rotation of sun was suggested as the possible cause, however, the sun is not currently known to have that period of rotation. Perhaps more knowledge of sun could show parts of sun rotate at ~33 days. However, rotation is not the only process in nature that can cause recurring patterns. Recurring patterns can also be caused by pulsing due to feedbacks. Also, modes of vibration/pressure fluctuations can take on harmonic aspects. Locking into sun rotation is early days, perhaps.

    3) The variance in isotopic decay rates has been observed for only a very short time. Does it vary on longer timescales at higher amplitudes than the ~33 day recurring pattern? Does longer term variation yield a more fruitful path to show the physical mechanism that causes the variation?

    4) There is a lot of appeal to me in this article of the pure enjoyment of pursuing knowledge for its own sake. I can really just forget climate here. Forget how to apply this knowledge to benefit. I can just enjoy the thing that is nature and our human ability to delve in her wonderful depths.

    John

  46. “The explanation? The core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. “It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun,” Sturrock said.”

    I’d be interested to know what explanation mainstream solar physicists might put forward as to how a more slowly spinning core could maintain faster spinning outer layers.

    What physical mechanism could account for this?

    Leif? Anyone?

  47. Well, if you want this particle physicist’s opinion, assuming that the effect is real, it is a space time and gravity effect.

    Neutrinos interact very weakly with matter in general and certainly could not affect decay rates.

    The “decay rates are constant” is dependent on the assumption “space time is constant” i.e. gravity does not change. The same with the velocity of light, we call it constant, except it is so only where space time is stable. It is affected by the geometry of gravity.

    If the effect is real, it might be the first proof of gravitons, and in this sense the professor is right, except that the particles are not unknown but expected.

    Scenario: the nonuniform rotation of the inner sun core creates gravitational fields that radiate gravitons and induce flares because of compressions and relaxations of the plasma. Gravitons affect the decay rates where they pass ( atoms at earth bobbing up and down with the distortion of space time).

    An independent confirmation of such a scenario would be the measuring of the velocity of light on earth for a few sun rotations.

    I am good at guesses:) or what?.

  48. tallbloke says:
    August 24, 2010 at 12:42 am

    “The explanation? The core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – apparently spins more slowly than the surface we see. “It may seem counter-intuitive, but it looks as if the core rotates more slowly than the rest of the sun,” Sturrock said.”

    I’d be interested to know what explanation mainstream solar physicists might put forward as to how a more slowly spinning core could maintain faster spinning outer layers.

    What physical mechanism could account for this?

    Leif? Anyone?

    Angular momentum conservation?

  49. Interesting and rather unexpected as everything big in science.

    Most probably, it is their Geiger counters that are influenced by the sun, not the isotopes.

    However, if this is not the case… Others must repeat the experiment with different diagnostics.

  50. [moderator – here is a new version with spelling mistakes corrected – thanks!]

    Dr. Dave says:
    August 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Who woulda thunk it! Seeing as the most common time standard is the average of about 200 caesium clocks located all over the world I find the implications intriguing.

    I believe that cesium clocks use the crystalline vibrations of cesium, not its radioactive decay, as the time signal.

    This is fascinating indeed, perhaps one of the biggest challenges to physics if proved true. It could turn out to be a boring artifact e.g. solar magnetism affecting electric power as suggested by ZZZ (although I think this unlikely, radioactive decay is in discreet disintegrations and represents a digital signal, it seems improbable that small electric power variations could affect this in high precision instruments – as they might affect an analog signal – especially as such instruments often run on smoothed UPS power supply). If it is real, it is huge.

    Some modes of radioactive decay e.g. beta are accompanied by neutrino emission. But others not. It would be interesting to see if all decay modes respond in the same way.

    Alexander Feht’s suggestion of a time change doe to solar distance and gravity is interesting, it would explain the correlation with the earth elliptical orbit but not the response to solar 33 day rotation or to solar flares of a few days duration – if these observations are confirmed.

  51. a jones says:

    The first test must therefore be to see if the effect can be discerned using another kind of detector which should not be affected by the unknown but supposed cause of the fluctuation: radioactive calorimetry to detect the decay rate by the production of heat springs immediately to mind.

    Another idea would be to fire neutrinos, etc. at the detectors and see if they are affected.

  52. “The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer.”

    I guess the first thing to do is work out if it varies by location on Earth, or is everything moving so fast there would be no detectable difference?

    Fascinating, thank you Anthony and Leif. More solar articles please!

  53. Why does it have to be the sun affecting the elements on earth. Why not that they are both being affected by variations in the birkland currents. Why assume that our sun is important at all.

  54. “” Alexander Feht says:
    “The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer.”

    This is the clue.
    Radioactive decay is constant.
    Time (for the observers) changes, depending on their distance to the massive source of gravity. Gravity is a curvature not only of the space but also of the time, remember?””

    I think this is a red herring. Under both special and general relativity the time measured by local clocks of a local physical process would not change vs the relativistic change of the local physical process they were measuring so you wouldn’t perceive the relativistic change in decay rate.

    Like measuring the contraction in the Michelson-Morley experiment. If you are using a ruler sitting with the rod both the ruler and the rod would shrink so you’d perceive no change in the rod’s length.

    We should have put the experiment on Voyager. Now who didn’t think of that?(;>)

  55. Interesting but badly written this seems to make no sense:
    “…noticed that the rate dropped slightly during the flare, a decrease that started about a day and a half before the flare.”
    And this is an un-substantiated conclusion:
    “The decay-rate aberrations that Jenkins noticed occurred during the middle of the night in Indiana – meaning that something produced by the sun had traveled all the way through the Earth to reach Jenkins’ detectors. ”

    There also seems to be at least 3 variables:
    Earth seasons
    Solar flares
    Solar rotation

    But very interesting, we know so little, so much left to discover. Will read more about this.

  56. Doesnt this mean that carbon dating can be thrown out the window as we dont know solar activity for the past? Doesnt this call carbon dated Paleo data into question, or at least the accuracy of the calculated dates?

  57. Preposterous ridiculous poppycock! Are these quacks & charlatans seriously suggesting that there is something about the Sun that we actually do not understand, & that such a most unlikely (95% confidence) discovery, could potentially affect things here on good old Earth? Surely not! Must go, the awfully nice lady in the white coat says it’s time for my medication.

  58. I had to look to see if this was an April fool. Assuming it isn’t this is incredible stuff.

    This appears to be the first evidence that the rate of decay can be affected by the “environment”. And it is more puzzling that the rate appears to drop during a flare because on the surface this implies that the presence of something is preventing decay!!!!!!

    More likely there is a decrease in something during the flare which normally stimulates decay – but this is starting to sound a bit like laser physics, but for particles and not photons!!! Wow! Does this mean we might one day see a paser (particle amplification by stimulated emission R???)

  59. Very interesting. Very epic consequences. So how much of the decay formally known as random is in fact dependant on outside interaction? A tiny bit, or are all decays a result of a neutrino capture, from a solar neutrino wind that is near constant?

    This would explain the ‘case of the missing neutrinos’ problem, scientists were looking in the wrong place for them.

    Anyone got counter arguements for this paper yet?

    http://donuts.berkeley.edu/papers/EarthSun.pdf

    “Nobody had a stake in the outcome. Nobody was even looking for this outcome. And if true, it could be a huge breakthrough on a number of levels. ”
    Seiko and Sekonda could be attempting to take out the atomic clock manufacturers, by claiming all atomic clocks are invalidated by this discovery, therefore improving the market for quartz vibration watches.

  60. There can be other things we don’t know, like what happens with matter at extremely high pressures. It may ahave crystalline phases even though it’s extremely hot. It might be a slushy ball in the middle instead of splashy liquid.

  61. Frank Lee MeiDere says:
    August 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Okay, maybe I’m naive, but I’m not seeing the reason for dismissing this. Nobody had a stake in the outcome. Nobody was even looking for this outcome. And if true, it could be a huge breakthrough on a number of levels.

    Yes, you are being naive. Young Earth Creationists were looking for this and have a big stake in the outcome. It’s dismissed by most scientists out-of-hand simply because of the religious implications. Constancy of physical constants in all times in all places is axiomatic in physics. Experimentally we’ve only measured them in one remote corner of the cosmos during one brief moment in history.

    This isn’t a new discovery. The seasonal variation in measured decay rates has been known about for quite some time. Even more interesting is that the radio thermal generators (RTGs) in the Voyager spacecraft (which are exiting the outer bounds of the solar system after travelling for decades) are not performing as expected and no one knows why. Either the thermocouples which produce electricity from heat in the RTGs are performing outside the well-tested envelope or the radioactive core that produces the heat is not decaying at the expected rate. The only difference between the RTGs on Voyager I and II and other RTGs is that the Voyager RTGs are much farther from the sun than any of the others.

    If the physical constants in nature aren’t really constant then the widely accepted history of the universe gets the legs pulled out from under it.

    I’m an agnostic so I have no stake in this either way although on a personal note I wouldn’t at all mind seeing the smug atheist elite in the sciences get egg on their faces in the hope that it might restore some badly needed humility and realization that they don’t have all the answers. Hubris is rampant in academia and from my POV it’s self-proclaimed and largely undeserved.

  62. Being a dummy in regard to science I have learned one thing from this post. I was wrong to believe that the centre of a spinning ball/disc rotates slower than the extremity.
    I was also wrong some years ago when I believed carbon dating was accurate, until they changed the method, or isotope, they used for something better. What a waste becoming interested so late in life.

  63. Like a lot of science throughout history…

    An interesting observation, whilst ACTUALLY looking at something else…
    Raises some questions worth investigating..

    Ie they made all the right initial thought, ie check instrumentation, etc..

    Might be nothing, could be interesting. no controversy, except amongst the physcics crowd, perhaps

  64. Interesting, to say the least!

    BTW, first it ws clouds and now, “All of the evidence points toward a conclusion that the sun is “communicating” with radioactive isotopes on Earth, said Fischbach.”

    For all you paranoid people out there, the universe is talking behind your back.

  65. I remember reading about the decay-rate change about a year ago. It’s not 2010-new.

    Alexander Feht says: August 23, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    “The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer.” This is the clue. Radioactive decay is constant. Time (for the observers) changes, depending on their distance to the massive source of gravity. Gravity is a curvature not only of the space but also of the time, remember?

    I think it is a puzzle still. I’m not convinced by your arguments and I doubt that the maths actually stacks up, though it looks plausible.

    What I see little mention of, here, is the possible contribution of “fringe” scientific research around the zero point field postulate of Quantum Mechanics, that shows “telecommunications” between human thought and particle behaviour have been shown to exist in scientifically-meticulous, statistically-significant experiments – many experiments too, from many sources, not just a few from one source. In this view of reality, “telecommunication” links are not impossible. And at the very least, if correlation is statistically significant, there must be a cause somewhere.

    I was fascinated reading “The Field” which touches all this; but it is, I feel, only a door-opener. My assessment is pretty much at the Amazon three-star level in that respect. However, if anyone thinks they can completely dismiss that beautifully readable book, I’d like to know exactly on what grounds. No doubt it has faults in the details, but to me it passes what Eschenbach calls the commonsense test. The real issue IMHO is that the book upturns the current paradigm of the nature of physical reality – and is not written by a “scientist” and, indeed, the science standards are patchy – but the book opens valid and interesting doors which science papers written in incomprehensible science jargon do not.

  66. The normal ballet dancer effect of increasing rate of spin by pulling in their arms gives the intuitive idea that the centre of the sun ought to be spinning quicker as rotating hydrogen was pulled in under gravity. ie conservation of angular momentum. But what happens when you consider a body undergoing nuclear fusion where the hygrogen becomes the denser helium and higher atoms. This activity is most intense in the core of the sun and as density increases through this action so rotation would slow so as to conserve angular momantum. Just a thought.

  67. Dr. Dave says:
    August 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    (…) Seeing as the most common time standard is the average of about 200 caesium clocks located all over the world I find the implications intriguing.

    Alexander Feht says:
    August 23, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Radioactive decay is constant.
    Time (for the observers) changes, depending on their distance to the massive source of gravity. Gravity is a curvature not only of the space but also of the time, remember?

    The first tangible proof of the Time Waves?

    Regards

  68. I haven’t looked at the originating papers, but I’m just slightly confused that people are confused how neutrinos might have small but noticable effects on nuclear decay rates. That’s actually how we detect neutrinos – by the effect they have on nuclei. But, as I said, I haven’t read the originating papers.
    Another slightly confusing apparent contradiction: the article states that decay rates appear to *drop* slightly with the increased neutrino flux associated with a solar flare, but then also states that decay rates were faster in Winter than in Summer. Of course, it doesn’t state which hemisphere it’s referring to, but I assume Northern – and up here the Earth is closer to the sun in Winter (more neutrinos) than in the Summer – so those statements appear to contradict one another.

    Have I got something wrong?

  69. Alexander Feht, blaming it on time effects by gravity is an interesting avenue.
    There is a group in gravity studies that believe there is a ‘push’ gravity field, which tries to explain what gravity is. A retired geophysics professor first told me about it and directed me to this website:
    http://www.blazelabs.com/f-g-intro.asp
    He also proposed an experiment measuring gravity during a solar eclipse, or constantly for 24 hours or longer, as a way to investigate variations in gravity measurements.
    I am not qualified to comment on this theory but it was the comment by Alexander that triggered the memory.

  70. Actually, the definition of a second always was relative – both specially and generally – but the atomic clock is based on electronic, not nuclear transitions. So this discovery – if borne out – has no direct impact on atomic clocks. Don’t get the words “atomic” and “nulcear” confused – they don’t mean the same thing.

  71. Neutrinos are fermions and hence acknowledge the Pauli Exclusion Principle, but beyond that they react to little else. This would seem to suggest that neutrino wave-functions are truly enormous in size and that the universe is a ‘Fermi gas’ of neutrinos (similar to electrons in a metal).
    A neutron decays to an electron, a proton and a neutrino (add anti- as required), however it could be seen as a neutrino and a neutron having a capture event. From this viewpoint decay rates would depend on the capture cross-section which would vary with neutrino density.

  72. Continuous variable fluxus in the hitherto unknown solar magnetic field line x is
    exerting enough gravitational forcing on earth’s radioactive particles so much so that the rate of decay is slowed enough to be measured and happens regularly enough so that a pattern emerges to be visible in the statistical plot.

    The crystal crowd will now be able to start their sessions on a more opportune moment to fully get the most of the Sol’s “anti-decaying” “life force” and start getting even “younger” the older they get. :p

  73. This analysis of Solar Neutrino events shows no periodicity in solar neutrino counts at 33 days or any other period less than 1 year.

    There is one periodicity at a year because of the Earth’s eccentric orbit around the Sun and can be calculated from the neutrino flux variation – which is done in the paper.

    Why didn’t the team check whether solar neutrinos had a 33-day cycle before assigning them as a cause? Baffling.

  74. This is old knowledge – Ralph Juergen wrote about this effect decades ago – it’s the electric field, and it’s magnitude, that determines whether a sub atomic particle escapes from a nucleus.

    Go research the links on Plasma Physics at http://www.thunderbolts.info for published data on this. Search for Ralph Juergens specifically!

  75. Since most detectors of nuclear decay events are inherently quantum in nature (i.e., they measure individual events, not an analog current related to a flux of events) it difficult to see how a “calibration” effect on the instruments influenced by the Sun could be at the heart of the matter – assuming their is a robust effect.
    Also – how exactly is this supposed to effect Briffa cone data? The rings are dated by counting them, not radioactively.

  76. Very plausible. the universe is mostly about change. All those constant factors in all those equations could just as easily be discontinuous with their average state generally being a constant. Schrodinger and his friends may also be involved. Just another part of the matrix but perhaps with a way to predict the particular observation.

    And, depending on one’s theory of how stars form, it’s perfectly sensible a star’s core may slow after attaining a certain angular velocity. It would seem the Sun is far from steady state with it’s rotation undergoing very significant changes if it follows what some say is it’s most probable path. Even entropy may have some input.

    And it would seem, for a change, this would be something humans could actually set up confirming observations since, unlike tree rings, flares do happen many times within a human adults lifetime.

  77. In addition: Changes in the Solar electric field magnitude determine the change in radioactive decay of nuclei immersed in that solar field.

    The Solar electric field strength itself is dependent on the current density it is being powered by.

    But it raises another problem – radiometric dating – and its assumptions that radiometric decay is invariant.

    These data show it isn’t.

    But that’s science folks, where there are no abosolutes except in human gullibility.

  78. It can’t be true, where’s the computer modelling?

    Modern scientists don’t actually look at data and do real experiments do they?

  79. If there is a 33 day signal coming from the solar core, then it has an inhomogeneity, no matter what the particle or wave involved consists of. This is good news for people looking for a mechanism for a barycentric motion effect on solar activity.

  80. Merrick says:
    August 24, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Actually, the definition of a second always was relative – both specially and generally – but the atomic clock is based on electronic, not nuclear transitions. So this discovery – if borne out – has no direct impact on atomic clocks. Don’t get the words “atomic” and “nuclear” confused – they don’t mean the same thing.

    Thanks. Old fool of me, so much for the Time Waves. ;-)

    Regards

  81. Data that do not agree with the solar flare correlation for alpha and beta decays:

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1006/1006.2295.pdf

    A.G.Parkhomov
    Institute for Time Nature Explorations.
    Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.
    http: // http://www.chronos.msu.ru

    Results obtained with multichannel installation created for long-term studies of various processes, are collated with the data published by J.H. Jenkins and E.Fischbach, who found a decrease of 54Mn radioactivity near the time of series of solar flares between 5 and 17 December 2006. Analysis of the data from our installation in December 2006 has not revealed any deviations from the usual behaviour of the count rates for 90Sr90Y, 60Co and 239Pu sources. The same can be said of the data collected during the period of highly powerful solar flares between 19 October and 4 November 2003. Apparent drops in the count rate were detected between 10 and 12 May 2002 while registering the activity of 60Co and on 19 and 20 June 2004 for 90Sr-90Y source. Around the time of these events, no observations of large solar flares were reported. Thus, proposed link between the drop in the rates of radioactive decay and appearance of solar flares could not be confirmed. From obtained outcomes follows, that the radioactivity drop effect, if it really exists, is rather rare, and that the reason calling this effect unequally influences various radioactive sources.

  82. Louis

    Before you accept the idea of solar neutrino modulation of radioactive decay, first you must check whether solar neutrino emission has a 33-day cycle. As you can see from my previous post, no it doesn’t.

    And no-one is in a position to check the data. Try it.

  83. Merrick says:
    the atomic clock is based on electronic, not nuclear transitions.

    Ah, of course. Silly me.

  84. This is a relativistic effect due to accelerations of our solar system. Time contractions are measurable effects that make it appear there is a cycle to the radioactivity. My best guess. We may never know for sure.

  85. Wow, if the experiments are proved correct when repeated, this could provide support for Miles Mathis theory that Newton’s famous gravitational equation is a compound equation that expresses both the gravitational field and the E/M field, which can be separated mathematically.

    Link to paper here:-

    http://milesmathis.com/uft.html

  86. It is called…Magnetics

    Current science somehow is under the impression that molecules have the room to slam together inside the suns core at tremendous pressure without the inclusion of rotation.

    The study of rotation does a great many “funky things” that mainline science has yet to look at.

  87. Lots of things are discovered by accident.

    So now carbon dating is not as sure thing as was thought?

    What we know about global warming, you could write a program and then a paper. What we don’t know, now that would fill several libraries. And shouldn’t we pay attention to the latter, when embarking on the latest ‘eureka, I have found the answer’. We just may not know.

  88. Despite my hypotheses of Sun- Earth electro-magnetic linkage I am sceptic on this particular issue, at least until we know more details.
    Radio active decay produces alpha and beta particles and gamma rays.
    – Alpha particle consists of protons neutrons usualy bound together into a particle identical to a helium nucleus.
    – Beta particles are high-energy, high-speed electrons or positrons
    – gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation of high frequency.
    Alpha and beta are charged particles and both are deflected by the geomagnetic field, which varies with seasons and during strong flares may even change as much as 10% depending on latitude. The effect would be greatest on the alpha particles since they can travel only a few centimetres in the air.
    Cesium-137 decays mainly by beta emission, so it is the gamma radiation intensity which is the critical factor in ascertaining stability of its decay.

  89. Sturrock then looks at the next fifty years. He notes the disparity between “enormous public interest” and the miniscule attention paid to the field by the scientific community in general. […] He suggests that even a small amount of consistent funding for UFOs is both appropriate and likely to yield scientific results. Certainly they have been reported for a longer period of time and by many credible sources. link

    Peter Sturrock’s interest in a subject may not be a strong signal there is actually anything there.

  90. Aren’t you glad that the science of ‘this’ isn’t settled? (And a few trillion other things?)
    Gives one a reason to get up in the morning. I used to get up and look out the window to see what the weather was. I don’t do that now because it’s all ‘settled’ and no fun anymore. It’s ‘bad’ when things get ‘settled’. It takes so much out of life.

    It all probably has more to do with the Earth’s ’tilt/orientation’ and ‘gravity’ at the Sun’s Core, then again it might not.

  91. The most interesting idea I see in this is the idea that detection equipment is varying in response to solar activity. but it still begs the question of ‘how?’

  92. This is an effect which can in principle be tested in labs here on Earth.

    If the form of connection from the Sun to radioactive materials on Earth is supposed to be the neutrino flux from the core of the Sun, then it should be pretty straightforward to place suitable radioactive materials into a dense neutrino flux generated from a particle accelerator such as those at CERN or Fermilab.

    Particle physicists have conducted experiments with neutrino beams for many years and as a result, setting up such experiments is not particularly exotic. The neutrino beams can be switched on and off at will and it should be simple to check the decay rates of a radioactive sample when the beam is on and when it is off.

    If this effect is true, then it will raise some very interesting questions relating to quantum mechanics and the behaviour of fundamental particles within the atom.

    Off the top of my head, while neutrinos interact very weakly with regular matter, they do interact to some extent – there is the possibility that neutrino scattering occurs from particles within the atomic nucleus which might have the effect of ever-so-slightly exciting those particles and making it easier for them to decay than if they were undisturbed. The implication is that decay rates should be lower where the neutrino flux is lower – ie the further you get from the Sun, in the case of the solar system.

    All good exciting fundamental physics.

  93. This is certainly fascinating stuff. Could it be yet another scientific consensus that will turn out to be completely wrong? Only time will tell….
    It would be nice to know how large the changes were. They are described as being small, but no figures were given. Most likely the changes are extremely small, and there would be no significant impact on carbon dating – assuming the effect is real.
    Of course, these findings are entirely consistent with two well-known laws of science:
    1. Everything is a function of everything else.
    2. Every constant is a variable.
    Chris

  94. I am no physicist but how can the Sun’s core rotate more slowly than the outer layers? The shear forces would seem to be impossibly destructive and/or dissipative. The Sun coalesced from a spinning disc of gas. We see lots of those in space. Does any of them exhibit that kind of backward distribution of rotational speed?

  95. hunter August 24, 2010 at 5:46 am

    The most interesting idea I see in this is the idea that detection equipment is varying in response to solar activity. but it still begs the question of ‘how?’

    What does a survey of possible ‘particles’, rays, etc flowing form the sun reveal? All particles mind you … even those which might be presumed at first face to have no effect on a sensor element … then, evaluate the effect those have on the sensor element (e.g. Geiger tube, scintillation counter photo detector etc) … these supposed ‘effects’ on radioactive decay may be due to direct affects on the instruments influenced by particles/energy heretofore assumed to have no influence on said instruments …

    Perhaps a ‘blind’ experiment is in order; a control and a test case: one with a ‘placebo’ radioactive sample and another same size-same shape active sample … study the ‘readings’ for a couple of periods (33 days) for which the effect is ‘claimed’ …

    .

  96. Fascinating! Thought provoking and a wonderful exercise in contemplation for all of us, individually and collectively. There are some really great points, counterpoints and positings going on here.

    I do have one question that I, through mall-blindness (I get lost in my keystrokes through the comments sometime) or it’s absence I haven’t seen mentioned. How does the proposed difference between solar surface rotation and core rotation compare with the differences in the Sun’s polar and equatorial rotation rates?

  97. 1) Explanations in terms of relativistic time rates won’t work: your clock will slow by the same factor as the radioactive decay.
    2) Explanations in terms of environmental effects on instruments won’t work: the measurements are done by counting.
    3) Explanations in terms of variations in the cosmic ray background affecting the detectors’ counts could work; but it would be so easy to check for and eliminate such errors that it would be hard to believe this wasn’t done as a matter of course.
    4) Explanations in terms of stimulated decay are not outrageous: half lives are only constant in the absence of significant interaction with subatomic particles or other nuclides (nuclear fission is a classic example of stimulated decay, neutrino detectors another). Whether the effect of neutrinos, gravitons, etc., on these radionuclides is quantitatively sufficient is another matter; it would seem unlikely, but for neutrinos at least it would not be hard to test.
    5) The Ap. Phys paper did not measure the same decays, so does not actually contradict the original measurements; it is not unreasonable to suppose that the cross-section of the relevant interactions might be very different for different radionuclides, and it would be no coincidence that the effect should be discovered first in those nuclides in which it is strongest.
    6) My conclusion: the effect could be real, but probably isn’t.

  98. Are we sure the sun’s inner-most core is spinning? Maybe it is not and the rest is spinning around it like the stars spin around the center of our galaxy or clouds around a hurricane . What causes the spin anyway?

  99. @Dave Springer – You are spot on, in my opinion. We have two flying testbeds of this theory out there right now – Voyager I and II. If this is a particle interaction sourced from the sun, then a basic hypothesis might be that 1/r^2 comes into play here and that the decay rate on the RTGs should be changing at a relatively constant rate.

    @Mike Edwards – I agree. This is testable. We already have neutrino detectors set up. Perhaps some experiments attempting to correlate this effect?

    That said, I imagine that, if this effect is real and not some instrumentation artifact, then it will probably come down to a field effect from the magnetohydrodynamic nature of the Sun and not particle interaction.

    We shall see. This will be fun to watch. If it is an effect that could be harnessed, imagine the nuclear “waste” treatment options that open up? Great stuff.

  100. son of mulder says:
    August 24, 2010 at 1:20 am
    If you are using a ruler sitting with the rod both the ruler and the rod would shrink so you’d perceive no change in the rod’s length.

    We should have put the experiment on Voyager. Now who didn’t think of that?

    That’s right, once and for all. So it is no use to bring up that attempt to explanation any more. OK?

  101. Michael Mann is my favourite space cadet and everytime I hear about another UFO being shot down in the MSM I get very ancious!

    Anyway, the way i understand it:
    The CO2 AGW theory is a ‘default’ theory. The earth was warming (upto about 1995) and as no other candidates could be found, CO2 was given the prize by default as to the cause of the warming. There is very little HARD science to back up their theory and growing mountains of evidence that it is complete horse manure. WHat is growing is a belief that the Sun is some how the cause and the sun is affected by outside influences on it thus causing the cycles. But the TSI of the sun varies by .1 (unsure of the metric…. .1% of TSI?) and pertubations on the earth require a .6 variance of the TSI. So…..what is the link? I did propose half jokingly to Leif that maybe it’s quantum entanglment on a large scale of clumped matter ‘seperated at birth’ but remaining entangled whereby changes in the particle in the sun ergos down here on earth. We agreed(!): the idea was complete nonsense. As is AGW

  102. Don and Jack Morrow: I am OK with the idea of Sun spinning, and even OK with the idea of the Sun’s core spinning at a different rate than the outer layers (it’s a ball of gas, i.e. a fluid, things can move at different speeds in different parts of the fluid). And this would all obey the law of conservation of angular momentum. Which is the school lesson with the spinning skater. But that law means the things closest to the axis spin *faster* not slower. So ‘xactly what is going on?

  103. @oMan: Well, remember, the Sun is not really a ball of “hot gas” – it is an intensely charged sphere of plasma, which has a huge mangetic field, is broken into conductive layers of plasma which can affect rotation. Angular momentum of course comes into play, but the electric and magnetic effects must not be neglected.

  104. son of mulder says:
    August 24, 2010 at 2:59 am

    The normal ballet dancer effect of increasing rate of spin by pulling in their arms gives the intuitive idea that the centre of the sun ought to be spinning quicker as rotating hydrogen was pulled in under gravity. ie conservation of angular momentum. But what happens when you consider a body undergoing nuclear fusion where the hygrogen becomes the denser helium and higher atoms. This activity is most intense in the core of the sun and as density increases through this action so rotation would slow so as to conserve angular momantum. Just a thought./

    Hmm..density maybe, but the mass doesn’t increase, does it? On the contrary in fact. (Remember m=E/c².) To preserve momentum – wouldn’t it have to rotate even faster if it gets denser?
    If the supposedly neutinosprinkling core indeed has a so much slower rotation, there has to be another explanation and probably not an obvious one.

  105. Dave Springer says:
    August 24, 2010 at 2:26 am
    “Constancy of physical constants in all times in all places is axiomatic in physics. Experimentally we’ve only measured them in one remote corner of the cosmos during one brief moment in history.”

    Physics is more open-minded than you might think. Cosmological theories in which fundamental “constants” vary secularly with the age of the universe have been taken very seriously over the past century. However, they tend to make strong predictions that have been empirically falsified. Fundamental constants have been experimentally measured over billions of parsecs of space, and hence billions of years of time, out to redshifts in excess of 3, where relativistic cosmological effects become dominant. In some cases, such as the fine structure constant (of considerable relevance to radioactive decay), these measurements are extraordinarily precise. Their constancy is very well-established.

  106. ….so what is the ‘medium’ by which two particles are said to be entanglement? (are they actually physically connected or does it work by ‘frequency’ communication) What is it’s maximum range? What is it’s power/strength? Does it work at speeds faster than the speed of light?

  107. Chris Wright says:
    August 24, 2010 at 6:05 am
    This is certainly fascinating stuff. Could it be yet another scientific consensus that will turn out to be completely wrong? Only time will tell….
    It would be nice to know how large the changes were. They are described as being small, but no figures were given. Most likely the changes are extremely small, and there would be no significant impact on carbon dating – assuming the effect is real.

    Yeah that was the point I made to my YEC scientist friends. Even if it’s real (I think it is) it isn’t going to compress billions of years into thousands of years.

    Of course one can’t say that with absolute certainty. We don’t know what is causing the effect and therefore can’t say anything about the limits of the effect. For all we know the effect is unlimited and the cause could have been very abundant or intense in the past. I just try to keep an open mind and acknowledge there are more things in the universe than are dreampt of in science.

  108. So are they proposing that nutrino flux supresses decay?

    It would be interesting to see if a decay rate variation has been detected at UW-Madison (just south of the straight line path of the nutrino beam from Fermilab to Soudan, MN) since the MINOS experiment started. (or perhaps the beam spread is not wide enough to encompass the UW-campus)

  109. Paul Birch says:
    August 24, 2010 at 8:15 am

    “Physics is more open-minded than you might think.”

    I think physicists are the most open minded of all. However they’re not immune to the political consequences of giving ammunition to the non-academic side of the so-called culture war so they tend to keep their non-mainstream thoughts out of the press and confine it to discussion with other physicists. The fine tuning problem is a case in point. It’s widely acknowledged among physicists and there is no satisfying answer for it. Pressed to list the possibilities (there are four in the running) Intelligent Design is one of those four. The others are, off the top of my head, a theory of everything that requires the cosmological constant to have the value that it does, an nearly infinite number of universes with a nearly infinite range of physical constants, and one more that escapes me at the moment.

    “Cosmological theories in which fundamental “constants” vary secularly with the age of the universe have been taken very seriously over the past century.”

    Agreed, but they are viewed askance. As an example one physicist I know who publishes his black hole heresies through Arxiv informs me that any physicist who doubts that black holes actually exist or that naked singularities do exist he’s pretty much placed in the “crank” category in the back of people’s minds.

    “However, they tend to make strong predictions that have been empirically falsified. Fundamental constants have been experimentally measured over billions of parsecs of space, and hence billions of years of time, out to redshifts in excess of 3, where relativistic cosmological effects become dominant.”

    Actually that’s circular reasoning. You are using axioms in physics to support the notion that red shift is an accurate, reliable measure of distance (and hence time). What if the speed of light isn’t constant at all times in all places in the history of the universe? What’s that do to the theory behind the Hubble Constant?

    One example I found somewhat difficult to argue with is a picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the aftermath of a small galaxy that plowed through a large one. The larger galaxy appears like a pond that had a pebble dropped into it. The velocity of the propagating ripple is calculable and so is the distance away and velocity of the small galaxy. Unless the ripple is travelling far in excess of the speed of light then the collision happened several hundred million years ago.

    “In some cases, such as the fine structure constant (of considerable relevance to radioactive decay), these measurements are extraordinarily precise. Their constancy is very well-established.”

    They are only established at this time in history in this corner of the universe. That’s the whole point. At one time classical Newtonian mechanics was tested to extraordinarily precise values that appeared to explain the orbital motions of things. Then along came Einstein with a wacky theory of relativity that made certain predictions that no instruments were able to measure at the time. Today we routinely have to make corrections to atomic clocks (GPS system) that exist in reference frames (gravitional field strength and relative velocity) that are not very much different from each other (orbital velocity relative to the ground and gravitational anomalies due to differences in mass underlying the satellite as it travels over different regions of the earth).

  110. Why would a 33 day core rotation affect neutrino production? Is there a bump in the core that sends more neutrinos?

    How about a 33 day throb or pulse (expanding and contracting) like heart beat?

    Now we need to analyze the Sun Spot peaks and minimums to see if the neutrinos are more prolific during the peak and less during the minimum. Perhaps we can actually gather real data to understand the Sun; verses the computer Sun models.

    Do the same people that created the AGW models create the Sun models??

  111. Espen says:
    August 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Nasif Nahle: thanks, I glanced through that paper, but it doesn’t mention the solar flare part of the story, does it?

    No, it doesn’t; it mentions only the correlation between radioactive decay rate and the distance Earth-Sun and they found nothing.

    In 2007, SOHO researchers discovered that the solar core spins faster than the outer layers, which is at odds with the argument of this article. The observation from SOHO information was published on Science:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/316/5831/1591?cookietest=yes

  112. From wikipedia – Solar sidereal rotation period
    * 25.05 days at equator
    * 25.38 days at 16° latitude
    * 34.3 days at poles
    Since the surface rotational speed is variable, why is everyone assuming that the “core” rotational speed is uniform at 33 days?

  113. Chris says:
    August 24, 2010 at 8:39 am
    “So are they proposing that nutrino flux supresses decay?”

    Enhances.

    That neutrinos stimulate beta decay (and K-capture) is a necessary corollary of the standard model. The catch is that the reported effect seems to be much larger (by orders of magnitude) than would have been anticipated. So to make the mechanism work one would have to assume some resonant cross-section amplification, or interaction with a flux of something other than ordinary neutrinos.

  114. Neutrinos cannot work in the scheme.

    No need for experiments, as some have asked.
    One could calculate the effect with Feynman diagrams. There is already one weak interaction vertex in the decay diagram. Introducing a second one , which would be needed when one tries to calculate the effect of the neutrino from the sun vertex, will take the probabilities to vanishing values, not the 0.2% effect that is claimed.

    Only space time distortions, classically, and gravitons quantum mechanically could change decay rates in correlation with such distances, imo.

  115. @Paul Birch (con’t)

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that we have working knowledge that allows us to predict the behavior of matter & energy with accuracy & precision good enough to land a man on the moon, exploit quantum tunneling to make non-volatile memory chips (FLASH), and things of that nature. But at the same time as our instruments improve and we explore the proverbial edge of the envelope we see strange & unexpected things. Galaxies in the local cluster don’t move as they should relative to each other and their observed angular velocities should tear them apart. Hence we had to invent “dark matter” to explain it but we still have little clue about what dark matter really is other than some form of baryonic matter that appears to cluster in the neighborhood of galaxies and can only be detected through gravitational anomalies. There’s ostensibly 5x more dark matter than visible matter in the universe. Then there’s the recently detected acceleration of the expansion of space which is an even bigger, deeper mystery wherein the culprit is called “dark energy” which appears to be non-baryonic homogenously distributed energy of some sort that acts only over very great distances and eventually becomes stronger than gravity. If we use mass-energy conversion (e=mc^2) we find that 70% of the mass/energy in the observable universe is dark energy which is something we know nothing about and isn’t part, parcel, or predicted by the standard model. Quite frankly when we have no explanation of 95% of the “stuff” that makes up the observable universe that says to me that we are 95% ignorant. It’s like trying to make a map of the ocean floor and the life that exists there when all you have any direct knowledge of is the froth on the surface.

    Then there’s Voyager and Pioneer anomalies. They aren’t moving at the expected velocities, they aren’t in the expected positions, and their RTG power supplies aren’t performing as expected. And the only thing that’s different about them is that they are closer to interstellar space (or farther removed from the sun) than anything else we launched on an outward trajectory. These were totally unexpected things and the best explanation so far is that axiomatic physical constants are not really constant but are rather influenced by some strange and unknown cause the sun is throwing off into the inner solar system that diminishes with distance from the source.

    Given that we have no test theory of gravity in general (only a so far undetected “graviton” as the tranmission mechanism) and no theory of quantum gravity, no explanations for a wide range of phenomenon, I can only say that physics is very far from complete. We aren’t just filling in details. We are fundmentally ignorant and have only working knowledge that applies to this very limited regime in time and space and every time we push our working knowledge beyond the edge of the established envelope we get a big fat surprise.

  116. God sits back and watches as the ants scurry about with more ferver as he pokes a stick into their decay rate.

  117. This is weird; and I like Anna’s input.

    See Anna, just when you thought you could relax, and do some knitting, all of a sudden your past catches up with you; and you have to do that Greek aha! thing.

    I’m too rusty to have caught the Feynman thing Anna, but let’s suppose it was some other critter. I could imagine some intruder acting to stimulate a decay event; but they say that the decay rate slows; so it would have to be an inhibitting reaction.

    Assuming all the data proves real and all those other disclaimers, this is likely going to shake up some ideas.

  118. @Michael Flagg (at August 24, 2010 at 7:42 am)
    We have two flying testbeds of this theory out there right now – Voyager I and II. …

    In response to Jenkins et al., Peter Fleischer had examined if Cassini RTG decay rates depend on 1/r², with negative results (here: http://arxiv.org/abs/0809.4248).

    But Jenkins et al. then found (here: http://arxiv.org/abs/0808.3283v1) the effect was phase shifted by 90°, with maximuma and minima around vernal and autumnal equinox — maybe a directional effect?

  119. It’s interesting to read all of the opinions above. Let’s suppose the observations (the effect) of variable decay rate is real. The original results are confirmed to be true. We can even suppose that the cyclic variability might be strongly supportive of some solar linkage.
    That (to me) raises two questions (at least).
    1/ What is happening on the sun; to be sending us these messages ?
    2/ What the blazes is the mechanism involved in the variable decay rate ?

    At the moment (given the above scenario), I find the second question a darn side more fascinating than the first one.

    Maybe it’s because that happens at our end of the laboratory; while we don’t have many observers out at the other end.

    But what is fascinating here at WUWT, and all its pseudo spellings is the parts of this story that each poster seems to have latched on to. I’m guessing (the WAG) that you have to solve question #2 first before you need to worry much about #1.

    Me, I can plead almost total ignorance; so I may just pick up my knitting and watch this in my armchair on the front verandah.

    Nice way to start the day though.

  120. Many people mention some sort of common sense test. This is irrelevant as our brains evolved to detect and understand the conditions which were relevant to survival and reproduction. This encompasses nothing in the area of high energy physics (or planetary climatology). Tests are only possible using machinery and mathematics.

    Results that are counterintuitive are certain to arise (general relativity for example). Argument can be made with such theories on the grounds of math or science (which really should be considered the same thing if the science is done properly and given sufficient time to filter out observational error). An example would be the recently posted statistical attack on the Mann “hockey stick” which shows the problems in the math that was used. That a given observation doesn’t “make sense” is irrelevant for any conclusion that doesn’t affect what we observe in our lives every day.

    For the proposed link between solar radiation of any type and radioactive decay I would expect a data set containing a fairly continuous set of observations of decay rates and distance to be useful. It would be easy and probably not too expensive to launch a radiation detector with a sample of cesium at the sun, and another one a few million km’s behind it to adjust for cyclicality and other variations in solar activity. This should provide a usable set of numbers, but I won’t waste any time trying to predict the results.

  121. I’ve been lurking here since Nov 2009 and if I’ve learnt anything, it is “we didn’t expect it, we can’t explain it, so it must be caused by CO2 and the ensuing CAGW” – simples.

  122. Robert of Ottawa says:
    August 24, 2010 at 12:00 am
    CRS, Dr.P.H. August 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    http://www.fnal.gov/

    I wonder if the Fermilab IT people will be mystified by the sudden burst of traffic to their site?
    ——
    Nah, no problem! They have some stout IT folks over there (I’m on campus quite often, the library is a wonderful place to do some work!)

    Fermilab’s servers were recently pummeled when some science blogger mistakenly announced that Fermilab had discovered the mysterious Higgs Boson (“God particle”), please see:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/large-hadron-collider/7888012/Higgs-boson-discovery-rumours-false-say-Tevatron-scientists.html

    There are so many influences that we are just learning about, including the existence and influences of dark matter!! I invite all WUWT readers to really mine the website, and subscribe to the free e-newsletter “Fermilab Today” via this link:

    http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/

    Very pertinent to these ongoing discussions at WUWT! Cheers, Charles the DrPH

  123. I’m amazed at this in more than one way.

    That with all the years spent looking for neutrinos, and how so few “captures” were made in that time. That enough “neutrinos” interacted or communicated with the material in their lab is…nothing short of amazing!

    To be able to predict a solar flare in advance? Holy smokes – if this observation were to bear out, that is a very big discovery. Tied in with the core rotating at a different rate than the zones above it…. wow.

    All in all, this is basic science being re-examined and coming to the realization that we know so little.

    I like that. I like that a lot.

  124. “It doesn’t make sense according to conventional ideas,” Fischbach said. Jenkins whimsically added, “What we’re suggesting is that something that doesn’t really interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed.”

    Don’t ask me why, but this brings to mind astrology… something that science says can’t work, but millions of people swear does, indeed, work. Science has always maintained that astrology can’t work because there is no known mechanism for the planets and Sun to affect humans, their predispositions and what happens in their lives. That conclusion was drawn several decades – if not centuries – ago, and science has leaned on that earlier conclusion ever since.

    With these discoveries and others like them happening from time to time, science continually shows that previously unknown connections/mechanisms are out there, waiting for some -often accidental or serendipitous – credentialed scientist to have it fall in his/her lap.

    When some new effect comes along, are their any scientist out there who runs over the things previously ruled “impossible,” just to see if it might change things? Of course, not. To touch those embargoed ideas, even with a ten-foot test tube, would risk that scientist’s credentials.

    . . . I am just askin’. . . and laughing.

    EVERY YEAR. EVERY YEAR. EVERY YEAR.

    Every YEAR, an article like this comes out. Some years we get more than one. And some scientist is quoted as saying something like, “Well, we were dumbfounded when this happened, and now we have to throw out everything we think we knew about this and start over again.” (Think comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994…)

    We’ve ALL read this kind of article before. Everyone here.

    And every time we do, we see scientists putting on their, “We are just numb nuts in this vast universe” faces. The the very next day they put their normal faces on again – the faces that tell us that scientists are wise and all-knowing, and tell us “Don’t ask such stupid questions, layman!” and “We are the experts!” and “Move along; there is nothing to see here.”

    I even have a folder on my PC labeled “SCIENCE DOES IT AGAIN.”

    * * * *
    BTW:
    1. Just WHY do they assume it is a PARTICLE? (not a wave?)
    2. And WHY do they assume it went THROUGH the Earth? (not an effect that somehow went around the Earth, possibly via the atmosphere or one that is deflected by geomagnetism? or one that effects the entire Earth’s magnetic field? or _____?)

    Such narrow minds. And with their jumping to conclusions, off they go, galavanting after some windmill to fight. Sound familiar? Detect something new, jump to a conclusion… Will they blame it on human activity?

    ARE – Anthropogenic Radioactive Effect. Wait and see. . .

  125. The story begins, in a sense, in classrooms around the world, where students are taught that the rate of decay of a specific radioactive material is a constant. This concept is relied upon, for example, when anthropologists use carbon-14 to date ancient artifacts…

    I hate to inform this author, Dan Stober, but Carbon 14’s half-life has LONG been known to not be constant. The period from 32,000-40,000 BP is especially problematic, in that they have trouble dating artifacts in that period. It is not known for sure why, but some suspect a nearby supernova flooded the Earth with high energy particles that screwed with the atmospheric Nitrogen-to-Carbon transformation process.

  126. Dr. Lurtz says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Why would a 33 day core rotation affect neutrino production? Is there a bump in the core that sends more neutrinos?

    How about a 33 day throb or pulse (expanding and contracting) like heart beat?

    —————-

    Dr. Lurtz ,

    Yes, why fix on a rotation of the sun at 33 day period, at which it isn’t yet known to rotate?

    Alternately, since no 33 day rotation is observed yet, why not equally speculate about a pulse dominated by feedbacks. Or why not some harmonic vibration at a 33 day frequency?

    See below my earlier comment:

    John Whitman says:
    August 24, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Thoughts:

    . . . . [edit] . . . 2) The observed variation in decay rates is on a ~33 day recurring pattern. Rotation of sun was suggested as the possible cause, however, the sun is not currently known to have that period of rotation. Perhaps more knowledge of sun could show parts of sun rotate at ~33 days. However, rotation is not the only process in nature that can cause recurring patterns. Recurring patterns can also be caused by pulsing due to feedbacks. Also, modes of vibration/pressure fluctuations can take on harmonic aspects. Locking into sun rotation is early days, perhaps. . . .[edit] . . .

    John

  127. “Philip T. Downman says:
    August 24, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Hmm..density maybe, but the mass doesn’t increase, does it? On the contrary in fact. (Remember m=E/c².) To preserve momentum – wouldn’t it have to rotate even faster if it gets denser?”

    I see where you’re coming from but with fusion you get extra heat so the denser core gets move out and slows whereas the outer volume is not affected to the same affect so the core slows reletavily.

  128. I’ve read with amusement as some people here invoke some sort of relativistic mechanism for this apparent discrepancy in radioactive decay. However, unless I was asleep in my “Modern Elementary Physics” class, relativity can’t be invoked unless the observer and the phenomena being observed are separated by a significant frame of reference. If both are stationary (or the change is constant) with respect to each other, the time shift will be constant, hence no variable change in decay rate.

    Certainly, a solar flare won’t significantly change the space/time continuum of the earth relative to the sun.

  129. One of the best posts so far!! So many questions raised, so few answers. So many ideas from the comments.

    Particle entanglement, gravitons, time dilation, dark energy. Many potential issues. Some physicists postulate that the speed of light may itself may not be constant in higher energy situations (FTL theory) and particle entanglement is an observed phenomina of quantum physics. Time dilation has been observed to effect the decay of radioactive particles when accellerated to high percentages of the speed of light, from the frame of reference of an outside observer, of course. Gravity also has similar effect. Length distortion is also an issue at relativistic speeds and gravity. Lots to think about. Settled science, huh?

  130. Dave Springer says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:08 am
    “I think physicists are the most open minded of all. However they’re not immune to the political consequences of giving ammunition to the non-academic side of the so-called culture war so they tend to keep their non-mainstream thoughts out of the press and confine it to discussion with other physicists.”

    It has very little to do with any “culture war”. The problem is that seriously trying to discuss such issues with non-physicists leads to endless frustration, because they do not understand the background and have no order of magnitude feel for the pertinent phenomena, and so are apt to go off into irrelevancies (eg, the reliability of carbon dating – upon which this thread’s reported effect would have no significant impact). And if the press picks it up, they are sure to get it wrong.

    ““Cosmological theories in which fundamental “constants” vary secularly with the age of the universe have been taken very seriously over the past century.”
    Agreed, but they are viewed askance.”

    Cranks who continue to adhere to them after they’ve been falsified are viewed askance. The same way AGW believers should now be viewed.

    ““In some cases, such as the fine structure constant (of considerable relevance to radioactive decay), these measurements are extraordinarily precise. Their constancy is very well-established.”
    They are only established at this time in history in this corner of the universe. That’s the whole point.”

    No, they are established over practically the whole visible universe over practically its entire history. That’s the whole point. The whole edifice hangs together. If there were any inconstancy in them, the very stars and galaxies could not exist as we observe them. Change any one of those “constants” and the knock-on effects change everything.

  131. @ John Whitman August 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

    The observed variation in decay rates is on a ~33 day recurring pattern. Rotation of sun was suggested as the possible cause, however, the sun is not currently known to have that period of rotation. Perhaps more knowledge of sun could show parts of sun rotate at ~33 days. However, rotation is not the only process in nature that can cause recurring patterns. Recurring patterns can also be caused by pulsing due to feedbacks. Also, modes of vibration/pressure fluctuations can take on harmonic aspects. Locking into sun rotation is early days, perhaps. . .

    John –

    A.) They seem to have jumped to a conclusion, yes.
    B.) There may be some linkage with Jupiter
    C.) From Stanford’s own

    Rotation (as seen from the Earth):

    Of solar equator – 26.8 days
    At solar latitude 30 deg – 28.2 days
    At solar latitude 60 deg – 30.8 days
    At solar latitude 75 deg – 31.8 days

    This last number implies some the polar region may be rotating at close to 33 days. (The article does not resolve it to any decimal place; perhaps it is 32.8 or something close.) This could be a clue suggesting that the effect is coming from the Sun’s pole(s).

    If so, that could open up whole new vistas for looking at the Sun – what part do the poles play? All of our attention has gone into mid- and low-latitude phenomena, including sunspots.

  132. Feet2theFire says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

    This last number implies some the polar region may be rotating at close to 33 days. (The article does not resolve it to any decimal place; perhaps it is 32.8 or something close.) This could be a clue suggesting that the effect is coming from the Sun’s pole(s).

    Rather it would suggest an analogy to a rotating sphere: the speed at the equator is maximal, at the poles it is the speed of the axis , i.e. 0.

  133. @ a jones says August 23, 2010 at 10:22 pm:

    The first test must therefore be to see if the effect can be discerned using another kind of detector which should not be affected by the unknown but supposed cause of the fluctuation: radioactive calorimetry to detect the decay rate by the production of heat springs immediately to mind.

    Just thinkin’. . . . The effect is noticed with radioactive isotopes, and evidently quite a few of them. But there may be other isotopes not affected, and there may be non-radioactive ones that might be used to check the (assumed) Cesium-137 clocks against. (I personally don’t know what would be measured in non-radioactive ones…) Thus, it may be possible to calibrate the clock, rather than use a different one.

    Many different directions this one can go, methinks. They just need to list all the possible specific directions and prioritize them, and then start working their way through them. So far it sounds like it is all what one scientist I knew referred to as “intuitive” hypothesizing – which he would use to narrow down possibilities, before attacking the most likely ones. On more mundane stumpers that process worked well.

  134. George E. Smith says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:47 am
    “I’m too rusty to have caught the Feynman thing Anna, but let’s suppose it was some other critter. I could imagine some intruder acting to stimulate a decay event; but they say that the decay rate slows; so it would have to be an inhibitting reaction.”

    The decay rate is faster in winter than in summer. The Earth is nearer the Sun in winter than in summer (assuming they mean Northern hemisphere winter and summer). So the decay rate is greater when the neutrino (or other) fluxes are greater. The neutrinos (or whatever) are (apparently) stimulating the decay, which is just what they should do. Anna’s Feynmann diagram argument is merely one way (a good way) of seeing that the magnitude of the effect to be expected is very very small, and thus unable to explain so comparatively large an effect. I do think it would be sensible to carry out a simple experiment with a neutrino beam, though – just to make sure we’re not missing something major in the physics.

  135. @Nasif Nahle says August 23, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Espen… Read insurgent’s post:
    August 23, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Seems to have already been disproved:
    Evidence against correlations between nuclear decay rates and Earth–Sun distance

    http://donuts.berkeley.edu/papers/EarthSun.pdf

    Reading the paper as best I can, it does not in anyway refute any of the speculations Jenkins was making. It only addresses the issue of the DISTANCE from the Sun to the Earth:

    In conclusion, we find no evidence for correlations between the rates for the decays of 22Na, 44Ti, 108Agm, 121Snm, 133Ba, and 241Am and the Earth–Sun distance. We set limits on the possible amplitudes of such correlations (2.5–37) times smaller than those observed in previous experiments [1–3]. Our results strongly disfavor the suggestions by Jenkins et al. [4] of an annual variation based on a previously unobserved field produced by the Sun or the annual variation in the flux of solar neutrinos reaching the Earth.

    Recently, Cooper [8] performed a very clever analysis of decay power data obtained from the 238Pu thermoelectric generator aboard the Cassini spacecraft. The results of this analysis also strongly disagree with the hypothesis of a correlation between nuclear decay rates and the distance of the source to the Sun.

    The paper disproved something else altogether.

  136. Great article. It’s nice to see there are still some questions to be answered in science. Oftentimes everyone gets stuck in the accetable theory of the day and uses their constants as if there were still not so much we dont know. We are just barely scratching the surface Earths influencers.. and to consider anything constant is IMHO foolish.

  137. meemoe_uk

    Anyone got counter arguements for this paper yet?

    http://donuts.berkeley.edu/papers/EarthSun.pdf

    The Berkeley authors seem to be using some sort of non-standard manufactured version of a statistical test.

    They form a null hypothesis that there is no correlation between the rates and time (the null is represented by a flat curve) and an alternative hypothesis that the rates change (according to what appears to be a scaled version of a sinusoidal curve).

    What they do next is a puzzle. They calculate a “correlation” between the data and the “hypothesis” for each of the two hypotheses. E.g., in the first case, the correlation with the null is 0.9999 and with the alternative 0.3389 (with each correlation having an associated chi-square value). Their conclusion from this is that “the null hypothesis is strongly favored over the Jenkins [alternative] hypothesis.

    What I don’t understand is where these correlations come from. I can see how one could calculate a correlation between a sequence of data values and the corresponding sinusoidal curve value at the same time point, but how on earth can you calculate a correlation with a flat zero slope line?

    Where can you find a good statistician to explain this to me?

  138. anna v says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:27 am
    “Neutrinos cannot work in the scheme.”

    Maybe the scheme is wrong. There was only one type of neutrino recently. Last time I checked there are now three flavors which result from mutations in the first? In 1969 they had no mass or charge, only a “spin”, now perhaps they have some mass? At least I have seen that postulated. My only issue is that the “schemes” equations that we work with seem to be put together so they do work, until they no longer work, then we are forced to come up with new ones that work for the new observations. Nothing wrong with that. Keep an open mind. Perhaps the “scheme” needs another look.

    Personally, if the results are not artifacts, I’ll bet on quantum effects of some type. Particle entanglement, tunneling, discontinuity of space or perhaps fields theory which I never understood.. Your guess will be better than mine.

  139. John Walker’s Hotbits webpage at http://www.fourmilab.ch/hotbits/ generates true random numbers from radioactive decay.

    Fortunately, in light of this new development, his method does not require knowing the decay rate of the isotope he uses. Instead he just measures the relative length of time between two successive pairs of clicks, and scores it as a 0 or 1 depending on which is longer. And in order to compensate for a declining rate as the material decays (or now a variable rate as the earth circles the sun or the sun rotates!), he alternates the rule for assigning 0’s and 1’s. 8 bits make a random byte and so forth.

    The process is slow, but his website will send you 2K bytes never used and never to be used by anyone else. These can be used to seed long-cycle numerical random number generators, to generate never-before-generated strings of pseudorandom numbers.

  140. “Alexander Feht says:
    This is the clue.
    Radioactive decay is constant.
    Time (for the observers) changes, depending on their distance to the massive source of gravity. Gravity is a curvature not only of the space but also of the time, remember?

    P.P.S. The Hubble’s “red shift” is of the same origin, in my opinion… ”

    You must be a BBT sceptic.
    For the BBT sceptics try this;

    http://davidcrawford.bigpondhosting.com/

    http://davidcrawford.bigpondhosting.com/index_files/cc2.pdf

    Maybe his theory can explain it.

  141. cesium clocks around the planet do run at different rates relative to eachother, if you google it somewhere you can find a map that keeps track

    and if the change of decay rate were due to a change in the actual passage of time, it would of course be undetectable because the clock would also change rate.

    of course, maybe time itself doesn’t speed up or slowdown, it’s only the clocks that run faster or slower.

    my own bet is that it an electromagnetic effect, some change in the sun causing a mass/charge change which increases/decreases the rate of decay. but then the clock should still change as well. hmmmph.

    very intriguing post!

  142. “”” peterhodges says:
    August 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm “””

    Peter, Radioactive decay is a NUCLEAR effect not an ATOMIC effect; so the likelihood of EM radiation getting to the Nucleus of the atom which is umpteen orders of magnitude smaller than the atom, is rather small. Not that it is zero since the nucleus can emit gamma rays; but we are talking energetic intruders if it were an EM effect.

    There’s the other problem that if you try to explain it with some sort of nuclear reaction to an incoming particle; there’s the question of the reaction products; whcih surely would have been detected already if that were the mechanism.

    Anna didn’t rule out a neutrino reaction; but implied that the probablility of such would be much lower than what the effect apparently is.

  143. Well on the assumption that this “neutrino” (could be something else) generator is sat on the surface of the core, and is exhibiting this periodicity – then that implies the core is significantly opaque to neutrinos. If not, then we just have a generator moving in a very small circle a very long way away, which IMHO wouldn’t cause a significant change in particles received.

    As for the core rotating more slowly than the extremities, don’t the planets do this anyway using the “wind” mechanism?

    Finally, http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC7.htm – does this bulge just rotate on its own, or does it point at something?

  144. son of mulder (and Philip T. Downman):

    You assume that events on microcosmic scale (such as radioactive decay) necessarily happen within the same time frame as their macro-cosmic observation. This is, certainly, a point of view promulgated today in schools and colleges.

    But how do you know?

    P.S. Philip T. Downman, tell yourself, what explanation is right for you to bring up or not. Giving such imperative directions to others is rude, and has no place within an intelligent conversation (that is, if you hope to create an impression that you are an intelligent person).

  145. “”” Paul Birch says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:59 am
    George E. Smith says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:47 am
    “I’m too rusty to have caught the Feynman thing Anna, but let’s suppose it was some other critter. I could imagine some intruder acting to stimulate a decay event; but they say that the decay rate slows; so it would have to be an inhibitting reaction.”

    The decay rate is faster in winter than in summer. “””

    Paul, I’ll buy that. The way I read the story, I got the feeling they were talking about a short transient slowdown rather than something more of a cyclic event. I guess I focussed on the sun rotations of 33 days, and had visions of some sort of beam effect; so I missed that the observed slowdown is in sync with the earth orbit.

    Pretty weird though if a neutrino can go through the whole earth without hitting anything important; that it can cause a nuclear event is crazy; well at least often enough to be observable.

    And then there’s the question; if it is a neutrino event which species of neutrino would it be. I’m not familiar enough with the details of the standard model to have a clear picture of what the weird neutrinos do; but if it is radioactive decay, then it would seem to be just an electron neutrino.

    I’ll let you and Anna figure this one out; I’ll be in the bleachers cheering.

  146. @ Jim G says August 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm:

    anna v says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:27 am
    “Neutrinos cannot work in the scheme.”

    Maybe the scheme is wrong… Keep an open mind. Perhaps the “scheme” needs another look.

    Personally, if the results are not artifacts, I’ll bet on quantum effects of some type. Particle entanglement, tunneling, discontinuity of space or perhaps fields theory which I never understood.. Your guess will be better than mine.

    It appears that they tried to float an Earth-Sun-distance hypothesis, and it got shot down last year in a peer-reviewed paper. The article left out the Earth-Sun-distance, so it appears they have given up on that one. It seems like they are possibly floundering for explanations and the neutrino concept is the best one they could come up with. If so, they must really be stretched out, if they have to posit that something not known to interact with matter is the cause.

    I agree with anna v on the neutrino angle.

    On tough problems out there on the edge, I have come to think it is usually a matter of figuring out what questions to ask, eventually reducing it down to one last and really good question – one that is not on the horizon early on. Until that time, all that can be done is to be methodical with questions and experiments, to solidify what you can and falsify what you can, to narrow it down eventually. Like some others here, I don’t like that they are speculating in public – not very good science, if you ask me.

    It is VERY COOL that there is this new phenomenon, but if they don’t know, they should be saying things like, “It is a perplexing problem that we are doing our best to solve; it has elements in it that seem contradictory, and all those need to be ironed out. Applying the scientific method will zero us in on the answer, in time. [In the meantime, WE NEED GRANT MONEY!]”

  147. anna v says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Feet2theFire says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

    “Rather it would suggest an analogy to a rotating sphere: the speed at the equator is maximal, at the poles it is the speed of the axis , i.e. 0.”

    I think you are talking radial velocity in your “speed”. How do you measure the radial velocity of an infintesimally small immaginery point without even a delta M radius? I would think it would be undefined and is of little consequence until you are at least that delta M distance from the axis at which point it has some radial velocity, delta V, and can have some consequences relative to the issue.

  148. “”” Paul Birch says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:34 am
    Dave Springer says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:08 am
    “I think physicists are the most open minded of all. However they’re not immune to the political consequences of giving ammunition to the non-academic side of the so-called culture war so they tend to keep their non-mainstream thoughts out of the press and confine it to discussion with other physicists.”

    It has very little to do with any “culture war”. The problem is that seriously trying to discuss such issues with non-physicists leads to endless frustration, because they do not understand the background and have no order of magnitude feel for the pertinent phenomena, and so are apt to go off into irrelevancies (eg, the reliability of carbon dating – upon which this thread’s reported effect would have no significant impact). And if the press picks it up, they are sure to get it wrong. “””

    I couldn’t agree more. The errors in RC dating that arise from the non-constant rate of 14C production in the atmosphere from Nitrogen would simply swamp any effect this new phenomenon might have on dating. And studies like the Bristle Cone pine dating have done a lot to linearize the 14C time scale but have hardly eliminated it.

  149. Feet2theFire says:
    August 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I hate to inform this author, Dan Stober, but Carbon 14′s half-life has LONG been known to not be constant. The period from 32,000-40,000 BP is especially problematic, in that they have trouble dating artifacts in that period. It is not known for sure why, but some suspect a nearby supernova flooded the Earth with high energy particles that screwed with the atmospheric Nitrogen-to-Carbon transformation process.

    Stober is referring to the C14 decay rate, the number of years for half of a big bunch of C14 atoms to decay.

    You’re talking about the C14 generation rate which is more variable than people first assumed.

    Together they determine the amount of C14 vs C12 (or C13) in various plant and other matter, and that’s what people use in radiocarbon dating.

  150. George E. Smith says:
    August 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Pretty weird though if a neutrino can go through the whole earth without hitting anything important; that it can cause a nuclear event is crazy; well at least often enough to be observable.

    Well it may be that neutrinos do interact more with matter than supposed, but not in a significant lasting way unless the matter is already primed.

    A bit like how rain is felt much more when you’re dry, than when you’re wet.

  151. “”” Feet2theFire says:
    August 24, 2010 at 10:51 am
    The story begins, in a sense, in classrooms around the world, where students are taught that the rate of decay of a specific radioactive material is a constant. This concept is relied upon, for example, when anthropologists use carbon-14 to date ancient artifacts…

    I hate to inform this author, Dan Stober, but Carbon 14′s half-life has LONG been known to not be constant. The period from 32,000-40,000 BP is especially problematic, in that they have trouble dating artifacts in that period. It is not known for sure why, but some suspect a nearby supernova flooded the Earth with high energy particles that screwed with the atmospheric Nitrogen-to-Carbon transformation process. “””

    Hold it there pardner; you just jumped into a cholla cactus bush there.

    The 14 C radiocarbon dating system depends(ed) on tow things. #1 the known constant half life of 14C beta decay (5770 yr) and #2 the (previously) assumed cosntant rate of production of 14C from Nitrogen in the atmosphere.
    Until maybe now, the half life of 14C has NOT been shown to be non constant; but it is well klnown that the production rate of 14C is quite non-constant; and the dating uncertainties stem for the variable rate of production; and NOT on a variable rate of decay.

    The problem was resolved for some periods of time (unfortunately relatively recent) by dating the individual tree rings from Bristlecone pines taken from the White Mountains of California; but they only go back about 5000 years.

    Since the rings can be counted to get an exact age, and then each rign RC dated, the time scale can and was for that period linearized.
    A significant result of that correction was to revise the history of technology in Southern Europe and the Middle East.

    Prior to correction pottery kiln residues and shards obtained from mesopotamia and places in Spain indicated that a particular pottery technology had migrated from the middle east up into Spain.

    After the RC time scale had been corrected it was found that indeed it was the Spanish artifacts that were the oldest; and the direction of the Technology had gone the other way from lower Europe into the Middle East.

    So it is the generally unknown and vartiable rate of 14C generation in the atmosphere that is the cause of the discrepancies; not changes in the half life of 14C.

    And yes I would think that 40,000 to 32,000 years ago would be way beyond the reach of any plant correction strategy. I’m told that there are Creosote bushes that may be 20,000 years old; but I don’t know how you independently date those.

    And I’m not up on other dating schemes for ancient artifacts that old.

  152. As for those claiming cosmic rays or EM fluctuations causing the instruments to go out of calibration, note that the flares are detected a day and a half prior to the flares occurence, so unless you are positing that the Earth’s EM field reacts a day and a half before a CME gets here, that isn’t possible.
    The flare evidence really debunks that 2008 paper that tries to pre-debunk this study.

  153. Paul Birch says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Dave Springer says:
    August 24, 2010 at 9:08 am

    ““In some cases, such as the fine structure constant (of considerable relevance to radioactive decay), these measurements are extraordinarily precise. Their constancy is very well-established.”
    They are only established at this time in history in this corner of the universe. That’s the whole point.”

    No, they are established over practically the whole visible universe over practically its entire history. That’s the whole point. The whole edifice hangs together. If there were any inconstancy in them, the very stars and galaxies could not exist as we observe them. Change any one of those “constants” and the knock-on effects change everything.

    Paul, please.
    How many times has the Hubble ‘constant’ been changed in the last 60 years? Let alone :
    “over practically the whole visible universe over practically its entire history”
    Did the sky fall as a result? No.
    If there is a problem these days, then the Masters of the Universe simply sprinkle some extra ‘dark matter’ or ‘dark energy’ around like Faerie Dust as required to save the theory from failure. They won’t change the Hubble ‘constant ‘ again, unlesss they really have to

  154. Shakespeare said it best:

    Horatio:
    O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

    Hamlet:
    And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

  155. Assuming the effect is real, I would suggest setting up an experiment with lots of different isotopes to see which ones show the largest changes in decay rate and thus make the best detectors. Aside from any insights that experiment would produce, a good detector could be launched on a couple of probes to see how the effect varies with Earth/Sun distance or whether it depends more on radial position around the sun.

    I’m also very curious about how the magnitude of this effect would’ve been different in the early solar system (with a faint sun) and how that might have affected our radioactive-decay based estimates of age. I doubt the changes would be large, however, because these estimates are based on isotopes with very long half-lives , which by definition are almost stable, and since stable isotopes don’t decay at all they definitely aren’t affected by the sun.

  156. tallbloke says:
    August 24, 2010 at 12:42 am
    I’d be interested to know what explanation mainstream solar physicists might put forward as to how a more slowly spinning core could maintain faster spinning outer layers.

    What physical mechanism could account for this?

    Leif? Anyone?

    No explanation, but a boatload of galaxy differential rotation diagrams show the very same distribution of speed.
    The core of spirals are found to rotate slower, pick up speed as the outer core/spiral arm boundary is reached, then proceed to run at the highest rotation rate until the end of the arms provide no more redshift data observational opportunities.
    And now, one is right back to the enigma of the very thing that dark matter was proposed to explain.
    Welcome to the secrets of the universe we don’t understand….yet.

  157. Supposing this effect is real, it is great to see _science_ in
    action. We need more of that.

    WRT “spooky action at a distance”, when I speak with young
    native German speakers, they have no idea there is any such
    phrase in their native tongue.
    When Bismark united Germany, he pledged that the new
    German state would use one particular form of the German
    language. Bismark and Einstein used the other form, the one
    that was tossed out. Practical knowledge of pre-WWI Bavarian
    German seems to have vanished by 1980. So only English-
    speaking physicists know the phrase. Very odd.

    33-day periodicity can be explained by postulating that there
    are 3 or more layers of the sun, and that the layers, or shells,
    do not move at the same speed. Or that the layers are not
    uniform in mass, or that the layers are not uniform in their
    neutron-emission abilities.

    For variable mass example, just look a the external weighing
    of flywheels on V8 engines. For variable speed and variable
    mass rotation with rotational asymmetry, consider the oft-used
    planetary gear set with a single planet gear and weighted carrier.
    (Look inside the automatic transmission of your car for an
    example.)
    Another example would be a bottle rocket inside a beach ball.
    Or perhaps 2 of equal mass and equal neutrino emissivity.

    Does something like the hot spot that is Hawaii exist on the
    sun? Perhaps there is something.

  158. vukcevic says:
    August 24, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Dr. Lurtz says: August 24, 2010 at 9:11 am
    Why would a 33 day core rotation affect neutrino production? Is there a bump in the core that sends more neutrinos?

    Yes, it has a bump which slowly (at decadal rate) drifts along heliocentric longitude.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC7.htm

    Interesting Vuk, I record the Carrington Longitude of all recurring regions on the Layman’s page. The “bump” as displayed in your link lines up precisely with “region 1″ that has been the most active recurring region with the largest spot area’s of SC24 (1035,1040,1045)

  159. As Joe Public…thank you all for airing your thoughts. It’s very kind. It’s a delight for someone such as myself who has been elimated from the discourse all my life to finally get a ring-side seat to this kind of deliberation. I saw earlier someone had complained about airing speculative theorys to the public. I feel the public represents distributed processing and their various skills perhaps relevant. But as a public service, we get to taste the joy of discovery.

  160. Regarding some of the discussion of the Big Bang,dark matter, and some some of the other conventionally accepted , but problematic notions of modern physics, I really only “know enough to be dangerous”, so I can’t contribute anything worthwhile myself. I did come across something a few weeks ago that seems, at least potentially, to be quite interesting. I noted it in a comment on the “Tips and Notes” but it didn’t garner any attention. Given that there appears to be a number of folks with specific knowledge in the area posting on this thread I’d be interested in your reaction to this. Here is my T&P comment.

    Dave Wendt says:
    August 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    This is not really climate related but it could be a profoundly interesting bit of science if it pans out

    http://www.physorg.com/news199591806.html

    “By suggesting that mass, time, and length can be converted into one another as the universe evolves, Wun-Yi Shu has proposed a new class of cosmological models that may fit observations of the universe better than the current big bang model. What this means specifically is that the new models might explain the increasing acceleration of the universe without relying on a cosmological constant such as dark energy, as well as solve or eliminate other cosmological dilemmas such as the flatness problem and the horizon problem.”

    I lack the capacity to adequately analyze how likely this work is to be correct, but I’m kinda rooting for this guy because I’ve always felt the Big Bang Theory was an indication of a fundamental weakness in our supposed “knowledge” of the universe.

  161. “As Joe Public…thank you all for airing your thoughts. It’s very kind. It’s a delight”
    Jim Public agrees.

  162. To Yarmy

    You wrote of “Fischbach’s erstwhile claim of a fifth fundamental force…”

    He wasn’t the only one fooled. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, quite a few papers were written about fifth force experiments. One that I have a print copy of was:

    Liu Y.C., Yang X.-S., Zhu H., Zhou W., Wang Q.-S., Zhao Z., Jiang W., Wu C.-Z.,”Testing non-Newtonian gravitation on a 320 m tower”, Physics Letters A., vol. 169, 131-133 (1992).

  163. If the sun affects the rate of radioactive decay, then it must affect the earth core where most of the heat is generated by radioactive decay. If there are long term significant variations, then could there be volcanism changes also? Is it possible that this effect affects the rate of energy flowing from the core to the surface and then out to space?

  164. The russian paper I quoted above does not show the seasonal etc effect claimed for general alpha and beta decays.

    The presentation of anomalous rates is of specific isotopes of manganese and silicon etc.

    What is the possibility of these isotopes being contaminated by other radiative substances? Beats in two or three or more decays could result in 0.2% of changes, and we are back into “correlation is not causation”.

  165. Dave Wendt says:
    August 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I checked the link you gave.

    It is an interesting solution.

    One has to realize that the so called Big Bang theory is just a specific solution of the general relativity equations that has predominated because it fitted most of the astronomical/cosmological observations.
    If other solutions of the general relativity equations fit the data better, i.e. explain rotational imbalances without needing a dark mass hypothesis, they will eventually prevail. If they just solve one aspect but a number of other observations contradict the solution, which I am in no position to know, then the Big Bang will prevail by inertia.

  166. rbateman says:
    August 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    “tallbloke says:
    August 24, 2010 at 12:42 am
    I’d be interested to know what explanation mainstream solar physicists might put forward as to how a more slowly spinning core could maintain faster spinning outer layers.

    What physical mechanism could account for this?

    Leif? Anyone?”

    No explanation, but a boatload of galaxy differential rotation diagrams show the very same distribution of speed.
    The core of spirals are found to rotate slower, pick up speed as the outer core/spiral arm boundary is reached, then proceed to run at the highest rotation rate until the end of the arms provide no more redshift data observational opportunities.
    And now, one is right back to the enigma of the very thing that dark matter was proposed to explain.
    Welcome to the secrets of the universe we don’t understand….yet.

    Interesting observation. I have always wondered why, if dark matter is 75% of the universe it is not 75% of the sun’s innards:).

  167. before leaping to a new particle that penetrates the Earth, I’d suspect an old particle modulating something in the Galactic Cosmic Stuff / Rays and that “stuff” then modulates the decay rate. Solar wind blows “out”, so on the dark side you would have less of it in the earths shadow.

    Oh, and on modulation with “winter”: Winter in which hemisphere?….

    Just saying… if it’s winter in both hemispheres, well, I don’t think it’s orbital…

  168. Alberta Slim,

    Thank you for the link to Crawford!

    I didn’t know that my intuitive thinking is along the lines already considered by serious astrophysicists. This is encouraging.

    Though, actually, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the Big Bang theory is full of worms. How our descendants will laugh at us!

  169. This is old news to both the cold fusion researches that subscribed to Infinite Energy magazine a few years ago, and the creationists. I’m both. We’ve been looking at things that change radio active decay for years.
    The moon can influence the decay of some short lived samples. If the moon gets between the sun and some samples the decay rate changes. It does not matter which side on the planet your samples on. It has to be neutrinos.
    Vezzoli, G.C.
    Radioactive Decay of Po-210 and Co-60 at Two U.S. Observation Stations in
    the Path of the Umbra/Penumbra of the Total Eclipse of the Sun of Decem-
    ber 4, 2002 in Southern Australia, May/June 2005, 11, Infinite energy 61, p 48.

    http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue61/index.html

    The sample size was to small to give much detail and those aware of this effect were not funded to check further. Mentioning an interest variable radioactive decay has gotten university professors dismissed as creationists. That is ‘dismissed’ as in ‘fired’ not just ‘ignored’. Watch your step.

    Those working with cold fusion discovered that radiative decay rates can be manipulated by electrolysis in the Gleason process. The active electrode is Zirconium.
    Radioactivity Remediation—Cincinnati Group Infinite Energy Magazine Issue 13/14 Double Issue March-June 1997 pp 16-28.

    Gleeson, Stan
    A Body of Evidence in Support of LENT, 1997, 3, Infinite energy 17, p 52-53.
    That can’t be neutrinos. Stan Gleeson past away some years ago unfortunately.
    And you thought it was only happening in climatology. Pal Review has tried to shut this work down since the early 90’s.

  170. Pardon me for asking two obvious questions. First, what’s so magical about the sun? Second, if solar nuclear chemistry can influence terrestrial nuclear chemistry rates, could we observe the same effect near a commercial nuclear power plant? If someone gets his hands dirty and does the actual experiment, and if the answer to my second question is yes, then we’re one step closer to upgrading this fascinating hypothesis to a full-fledged theory.

  171. anna v says:

    If other solutions of the general relativity equations fit the data better, i.e. explain rotational imbalances without needing a dark mass hypothesis, they will eventually prevail. If they just solve one aspect but a number of other observations contradict the solution, which I am in no position to know, then the Big Bang will prevail by inertia.

    That’s how is should be, not how it is. There have been so many ad hoc accretions to the current gravitation only paradigm to save the data that it gives the illusion of being able to explain more than alternative hypotheses, when in fact it can’t, because the ad hoc adjustments rob it of explanatory power. As we notice when we bump into anomalous results like this one.

    rbateman says:
    August 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    No explanation, but a boatload of galaxy differential rotation diagrams show the very same distribution of speed.
    The core of spirals are found to rotate slower, pick up speed as the outer core/spiral arm boundary is reached, then proceed to run at the highest rotation rate until the end of the arms provide no more redshift data observational opportunities.
    And now, one is right back to the enigma of the very thing that dark matter was proposed to explain.
    Welcome to the secrets of the universe we don’t understand….yet.

    Anna v
    Interesting observation. I have always wondered why, if dark matter is 75% of the universe it is not 75% of the sun’s innards:).

    The only person who has successfully modeled the evolution of a spiral armed galaxy from simple first principles is Anthony Peratt on the Los Alamos super computer using plasma physics principles.

    http://www.ieee.org/organizations/pubs/newsletters/npss/0306/peratt.html

    Mainstream cosmologists don’t like electrical engineers encroaching on their turf however.

  172. [[[CRS, Dr.P.H. asked “BTW, doesn’t this mess up the dating of Briffa’s proxies?” ]]]

    I’m a young earth creationist. Creationist dating messes a lot of stuff up but Briffa’s proxies are safe. Too young. The effects increase with apparent age so anything AD is relatively safe. Note also the sign of this effect is wrong to matter.
    The Briffa Carbon 14 dates could be out a little due to various effects. Fossil C12 eruptions from the Arctic sea bed, Changes in C14 production rates due to changes in the earth magnetic field intensity (confirmed change), selective up take of carbon 12 over carbon 14 in some species. The Briffa trees should be checked for that. Its a new problem. If there are errors in the assumed norms of carbon 14 production, persistence and decay then the effects are cumulative for older samples thus dates BC drift far further per-century BC fowling archaeology up and geology.

    http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-questions-and-answers

    Most creationist think there is a large error with the ice cores, their drilling into ice age ice and assuming is uniformly deposited over millennia. Its probably a few hundred years of ice age ice with 3000 years of compressed snow on top.

    http://creation.com/the-lost-squadron

    P.S. Briffa’s safe anyway; Mann’s algorithm ignored the mean and found the outliers. Dating is irrelevant if they’re using made up data.

  173. Z says: August 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm
    Finally,

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC7.htm

    – does this bulge just rotate on its own, or does it point at something?

    It is not pointing to anything known, rotates with sun, currently at ~ 240 degree heliocentric longitude, it slowly changes its coordinates with the passage of years.

    Geoff Sharp says: August 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm
    Did you do the research behind this graph?

    No. The effect has been known to solar scientists for long time, SDJ from SC24 produced a file from Debrecen records, which I adapted for polar diagram.

  174. “Alexander Feht says:
    August 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    son of mulder (and Philip T. Downman):

    You assume that events on microcosmic scale (such as radioactive decay) necessarily happen within the same time frame as their macro-cosmic observation. This is, certainly, a point of view promulgated today in schools and colleges.

    But how do you know?”

    Not ‘know’ but assumption of causality, until I see evidence that Schrodinger’s cat can be poisoned before the microcosmic radioactive decay that triggers the macroscopic poison release has happened.

  175. Since the flare is a day and a half after the slowing is detected, you can’t discount the possibility that the trigger is communicated to the sun as well as the earth, and it takes the sun a while to build up the flare. Guess I’d best go make a tinfoil hat.

  176. tallbloke says:
    August 24, 2010 at 2:50 pm
    Paul Birch says: “No, they are established over practically the whole visible universe over practically its entire history. That’s the whole point. The whole edifice hangs together. If there were any inconstancy in them, the very stars and galaxies could not exist as we observe them. Change any one of those “constants” and the knock-on effects change everything.”

    “Paul, please. How many times has the Hubble ‘constant’ been changed in the last 60 years”

    First, the Hubble “constant” is not a fundamental physical constant; it’s a cosmological parameter with -dH/dt/H~10E-10/yr. It is well known to change over time. Second, changing an estimate is not the same as estimating a change. Some parameters, like H, are hard to measure accurately. Even the gravitational constant G is known only to ~1 part in 2000, yet it’s (lack of) variation across time and space, deltaG(x,t)/G, is nevertheless well established, because the uncertainty in the absolute value of G cancels out in the ratio.

  177. Hey Barry L,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/23/teleconnected-solar-flares-to-earthly-radioactive-decay/#comment-464899

    There are some things might want to consider about LaViolette and the death wave. Why did humans not die out? And there are some other sources of 10be…

    An Interstellar Origin for the Beryllium 10 in CAIs and Implications for our Solar System.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003AAS…203.0701D

    Beryllium 10 is a short-lived radionuclide (1.5 Myr half-life) that was incorporated live, at the birth of the solar system, into calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) in meteorites. The initial ratio of 10Be/9Be was 1 x 10-3. Beryllium 10 differs from other radionuclides in meteorites (e.g., aluminum 26) in that it must be formed by spallation reactions and not by nucleosynthesis, e.g. a supernova. Previous analyses also ruled out galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) as the source of the beryllium 10 and concluded that spallation reactions must have occurred in the solar nebula, due to energetic particles from the early Sun. We re-examine this conclusion by calculating the contributions from GCRs, both from spallation reactions and from trapping of 10Be GCRs as they lose energy passing through the molecular cloud core from which our solar system formed. To do so, we constrain the flux and composition of GCRs 4.5 Gyr ago and use numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations of star formation to calculate the time-varying rate of entry of GCRs into a molecular cloud core. We find that spallation reactions by GCRs can account for 20% of the meteoritic 10Be in CAIs, and trapping of 10Be GCRs can account for 80%. Our uncertainties are about a factor of three. We conclude that contributions to 10Be from GCRs cannot be ruled out, and are capable of explaining all the 10Be in CAIs. These findings, together with the recent discovery that meteorites contained live iron 60 when they formed, strongly imply that our solar system formed in a high-mass-star forming region, near a supernova.

    Key thing here is that Beryllium 10, irridium, nickel and gold is present in comets and meteorites. There is 10be in some volcanic activity.

    Once upon a time there was this comet larger than Earth running around between the Sun and Jupiter that came apart a few thousand years ago. This is well known in professional circles, they just haven’t put it all together. Its bad, bad news to cross the core stream. I think its a possibility that this thing pulled Earth off its orbit, Malankovitch style.

    http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/seri/MNRAS/0251/0000636.000.html

    http://stevepace.intuitwebsites.com/

  178. OK, here is a bit more of why it cannot be neutrinos.
    Neutrinos couple to other matter only with the weak interaction and gravity.

    Here are the coupling constants http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/forces/couple.html
    if strong ( nuclear) is 1.
    electromagnetic is 1/137
    weak is 10^-6
    gravity is 10^-36

    A Feynman diagram is a prescription of how to construct the integral whose square is the crossection of a reaction happening. Coupling constants enter as factors, and each interaction gets its coupling constant. Now radioactive decays already have a weak constant. If a neutrino is introduced in the diagram, a second weak constant, multiplicative, appears so that gives a 10^-12, the square of that to get the decay function makes it 10^-24 without counting diminutions due to the shape of the functions under the integral. The neutrino effect is a 10^-12 factor smaller than the original decay probability. ( that is why it goes through the earth interacting very seldom)
    They are talking of 0.2% variations.

    It cannot be neutrinos. Gravitons, gravitinos etc have not been seen and cannot be calculated with the normal Feynman recipe.

    I have a second Feynman story, the first is irrelevant to the discussion, while this is, slightly. It is straight from his mouth.

    During the, I think it was called the Manhattan project, when they were scrambling to create the A bomb, all physicists were employed in doing the laborious cross section calculations, integrals within integrals, that took the best of them ( I think Schwinger and Bethe were there at the time) at least a week to calculate.

    Feynman said that he clearly remembered when the idea of the diagrams came to him whole, ( I suppose like Athena from the head of Zeus). He said he remembered his position on his bed, his blue jean legs up the wall.

    He started going to the meetings and reproducing the calculations the others had taken a week to do, overnight. When he got confidence that his method worked he started teasing them, by working on the problems and coming up with the solutions the next day.

    This he related to us at the workshop, back in the 1980s, whence I have the first Feynman story.

  179. “This is indeed the most profound and intriguing report I’ve seen for a very long time. Radioactive decay not constant? Who would have picked that? I imagine that, even now, teams of scientists are lining up to test this result.”

    Well, it’s not quite as wacky as all that… as far as I know, the actual mechanisms for why/when radioactive decay happen are completely unknown, which is why scientists have to simply assign it a rate… a probability of decay within a given time period.

    It could be that there’s a most definite trigger… maybe a decay only happens if a neutrino happens to interact with a given radioactive particle, juicing it enough to split up. The black box of radioactive decay has always bothered me. Chemistry doesn’t work like that… inputs lead to outputs in a very repeatable and understandable method.

    While there could be detection issues, I’m intrigued that science might finally be focussing on an actual mechanism for a fundamental atomic behavior.

  180. Joke: I hear Gore requested a refund of the cost of Patchy Moral’s book saying ‘i read it and tried it and it didn’t work….especially in Seattle!’

    Anyway….remember this puppy:
    ‘………Using Very Low Frequency (VLF) wire antennas that resemble clotheslines, Prof. Price and his team monitored distant lightning strikes from a field station in Israel’s Negev Desert. Observing lightning signals from Africa, they noticed a strange phenomenon in the lightning strike data — a phenomenon that slowly appeared and disappeared every 27 days, the length of a single full rotation of the Sun.
    “Even though Africa is thousands of miles from Israel, lightning signals there bounce off Earth’s ionosphere — the envelope surrounding Earth — as they move from Africa to Israel,” Prof. Price explains. “We noticed that this bouncing was modulated by the Sun, changing throughout its 27-day cycle. The variability of the lightning activity occurring in sync with the Sun’s rotation suggested that the Sun somehow regulates the lightning pattern.”

    I wonder it these two stories are connected? However, I feel this story is wrong about the Telleconnected decay and the lightening phenom is ‘weather’ related.

  181. ..and With Anna all but removing Neutrinos as the prime suspect…this is really intriguing. Looking forward to Leif showing up.

  182. Paul Birch says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:00 am

    First, the Hubble “constant” is not a fundamental physical constant; it’s a cosmological parameter with -dH/dt/H~10E-10/yr. It is well known to change over time.

    Not by the amount it has been changed by the shifting goalposts of the BB theory though. And if it’s a ‘parameter’ these days, it used to be a ‘constant’. That’s why it was called ‘the Hubble constant’, not ‘the Hubble parameter’.

  183. anna v says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:43 am
    “OK, here is a bit more of why it cannot be neutrinos.”

    It cannot be ordinary neutrinos unless the theory of how they interact or the theory of beta decay is wrong or in some crucial aspect incomplete. However, it would be arrogant to claim that the theory cannot be wrong, without first putting it to experimental test. That means subjecting radionuclides to neutrino beams and checking that there is no stimulated decay beyond that to be expected under the theory. If the beam is bright enough (I don’t know what current technology can manage) one might also be able to confirm the theoretical prediction for the stimulated decay. Very roughly, this would seem to require putting ~1E12 neutrinos through a nuclide over its half life (that is, a rate ~1E12/T1/2) – reduced by the accuracy with which the decay rate can be measured (say ~1/1000). For Ra-228 (T1/2~6.7yr), assuming an effective nuclear radius ~15fm and atomic radius ~220pm, that would imply a brightness or beam density ~1E12/2E8/1000*2E8~1E9 neutrinos/m2/s. So far as I am aware, this has not yet been done, although induced decays have of course already been investigated (and are regularly employed in neutrino detectors).

  184. While we are here: I do propose that Patchy Moral’s romance novel was the first ever Quantum Book owing to it’s short shelf life!

  185. johnnythelowery says:
    August 25, 2010 at 6:50 am
    Looking forward to Leif showing up.
    With due respect to my old friend, Peter Sturrock, I do not believe there is any substance to this story. I’m keeping an open mind about it [in contrast to many other claims where my mind is less open], but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that does not seem to be there at this time. Sadly, many of the comments here show the dismal level of scientific literacy found among the populace today, in conjunction with the extraordinary post-modernism that seems to have gripped people.

  186. tallbloke says:
    August 25, 2010 at 7:18 am
    Paul Birch says: “First, the Hubble “constant” is not a fundamental physical constant; it’s a cosmological parameter with -dH/dt/H~10E-10/yr. It is well known to change over time.”

    “Not by the amount it has been changed by the shifting goalposts of the BB theory though. And if it’s a ‘parameter’ these days, it used to be a ‘constant’. That’s why it was called ‘the Hubble constant’, not ‘the Hubble parameter’.”

    It was never considered to be fundamental physical constant; it was always understood to depend on the age of the universe (for any non-steady-state cosmological model). It was historically called a constant because that’s how it showed up in the empirical plot of galactic redshift versus distance.

    You still haven’t grasped the distinction between changing an estimate and estimating a change. Suppose you estimate the height of a building by pacing out from it base and holding up a thumb at arm’s length. Your estimate is not going to be very accurate. If you return with a laser theodolite you will then get a much better estimate; but you wouldn’t claim that the height of the building had actually changed between your two observations. Indeed, even without sophisticated equipment, and even without ever calculating how tall the building was, you could easily prove that the building had not changed in height over the past sixty years, by noting that a photograph taken from the same spot showed the building’s outline unchanged against the mountains in the background.

  187. Considering the isotopes are reacting prior to the sun’s flaring, wouldn’t it be more plausible to suggest that this “unknown force” isn’t emanating from the sun, but rather moving the other direction?

    Seems possible to me that anything which could influence radioactive decay rates would play merry hell with solar reactions too… and if you look at it as something extrasolar that passed through Earth and then the Sun, at least we don’t have to toss causality out the window.

  188. Reading the website (google search is so easy), you see such a long list of possible, fairly mundane possibilities, it is both amazing and interesting to see that we latch on to the most exotic, i.e. a radical alteration of the basic laws of physics. We humans love drama in our lives. We’re all Paris Hilton Wannabes.

  189. Paul Birch says:
    August 25, 2010 at 7:56 am
    You still haven’t grasped the distinction between changing an estimate and estimating a change.
    I don’t think [I could be wrong] that this is the real issue. It seems that the issue is one of agenda [post-modernism http://www.leif.org/EOS/2010EO330003.pdf ]. If you push pseudo-science then it is convenient to label real science as pseudo-science as well, so that there is no difference in outlook and anything goes.

  190. Leif: You know Paul Sturrock and his name hasn’t certified it for you, so,…..us neither then. Nor did it as someone commented. I think it’s been since 2006 that they’ve had this data. But, he’s a solar expert and the whackyness didn’t pass over his head. He’s well aware of the implications of this. So, lets just say that the observation is correct, what do you think? and What are the implications especially for the TSI contended issue? And who is working on this issue do you know?

  191. son of mulder,

    Be careful about your assumptions of causality. Polarized light pulse arrives at the end of the optic fiber before it has been generated. This fact is repeatedly confirmed by several independent laboratories.

    What do we know about causality in a quantum world? Curvature of time is the simplest explanation for a few seemingly inexplicable experimental paradoxes observed in recent years.

  192. johnnythelowery says:
    August 25, 2010 at 8:55 am
    Peter Sturrock
    So, lets just say that the observation is correct, what do you think? and What are the implications especially for the TSI contended issue? And who is working on this issue do you know?
    The effect is so small that it is hard to state that the data is ‘correct’. I don’t think the effect has been established to the point that many are working on it. This is [at the moment] fringe-stuff. If true, it would very exciting, but would not ‘overturn’ science as we know it, because, again, the ‘effect’ is very small.

  193. Alexander: You math is correct but your physics is abominable! How do you explain this phenomenon you mention?
    ‘……Polarized light pulse arrives at the end of the optic fiber before it has been generated. This fact is repeatedly confirmed by several independent laboratories…..’

    Thx.

  194. Leif: Interesting answer. Are you seeing this(given it’s not complete rubbish) as a quantum…spooky…etc. effect as hinted at in title ‘telleconnect’ or as neutrino/particle physical collision effect? And, what about that proposal of dark matter keeping the sun interior cooler proposed by someone (whom I’m sure you know) which explains why the corona is hotter?

  195. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 25, 2010 at 7:53 am

    “Sadly, many of the comments here show the dismal level of scientific literacy found among the populace today, in conjunction with the extraordinary post-modernism that seems to have gripped people.”

    Can you please give some examples of the poor science and post-modernism you have in mind?

    I have found this post and comments on it well informed and stimulating. Many of the commentators are well respected WUWT regulars.

    We have, possibly, a new phenomenon prompting some new thinking. For example, I was directed to this which I thnk is brilliant.

    http://www.physorg.com/news199591806.html

    Maybe you are not interested in new theories about the sun and the universe in case yours are proved wrong. That would be poor science.

  196. @ Jim G says August 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm:

    anna v says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Feet2theFire says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

    “Rather it would suggest an analogy to a rotating sphere: the speed at the equator is maximal, at the poles it is the speed of the axis , i.e. 0.”

    I think you are talking radial velocity in your “speed”. How do you measure the radial velocity of an infintesimally small immaginery point without even a delta M radius? I would think it would be undefined and is of little consequence until you are at least that delta M distance from the axis at which point it has some radial velocity, delta V, and can have some consequences relative to the issue.

    Jim G –

    Of course the radial velocity at the pole is zero or infinitesimal. I was not implying it was necessarily FROM the pole, with its 0.0000 km radius. The effect does not have to be coming from the rotational surface, whether at 0.000 meter depth or 10,000km depth. But it might be coming from near the pole.

    Still, rotational effects can create effects right at the axis. While not wanting to go into it, look at the jets coming out of black holes. Is there a periodicity to that? I don’t know. I doubt anyone has looked for that. Electrical flow in generators comes from rotational effects, but is axial. The Earth has its Auroras; while connected to the poles, I don’t know if they are directly tied to the rotational pole. It is more likely they are tied to the magnetic pole. Perhaps the Sun has a magnetic pole offset from the rotational pole.

    All of these are questions I don’t know the answer to – I’m just tossing out ideas like Jenkins is.

    The numbers from Stanford seemed to approach ~33 days as a limit, so it appeared there was some possible connection there…

  197. Roger Clague says:
    August 25, 2010 at 9:32 am
    Can you please give some examples of the poor science and post-modernism you have in mind?
    Here is a small selection:
    Barry L says:
    August 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm
    tesla_x says:
    August 23, 2010 at 9:51 pm
    M. Simon says:
    August 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm
    Alexander Feht says:
    August 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm
    Mike McMillan says:
    August 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm
    Geoff Sharp says:
    August 24, 2010 at 12:21 am
    Konrad says:
    August 24, 2010 at 12:29 am
    Louis Hissink says:
    August 24, 2010 at 3:30 am
    Louis Hissink says:
    August 24, 2010 at 3:38 am
    tallbloke says:
    August 24, 2010 at 3:52 am
    RalphieGM says:
    August 24, 2010 at 4:53 am
    Joe Lalonde says:
    August 24, 2010 at 5:07 am
    vukcevic says:
    August 24, 2010 at 10:22 am
    Michael Flagg says:
    August 24, 2010 at 8:02 am
    tallbloke says:
    August 24, 2010 at 2:50 pm
    tallbloke says:
    August 25, 2010 at 12:17 am
    wesley bruce says:
    August 25, 2010 at 12:27 am
    Volcano guy Ed Murphy says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:21 am
    tallbloke says:
    August 25, 2010 at 7:18 am
    Alexander Feht says:
    August 25, 2010 at 9:06 am
    Feet2theFire says:
    August 25, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Maybe you are not interested in new theories about the sun and the universe in case yours are proved wrong. That would be poor science.
    I actually alerted Anthony to this [see at top].

    Perhaps Doug said it well:
    Doug Proctor says:
    August 25, 2010 at 8:38 am
    Reading the website (google search is so easy), you see such a long list of possible, fairly mundane possibilities, it is both amazing and interesting to see that we latch on to the most exotic, i.e. a radical alteration of the basic laws of physics. We humans love drama in our lives. We’re all Paris Hilton Wannabes.

  198. “”” Feet2theFire says:
    August 25, 2010 at 9:48 am
    @ Jim G says August 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm:

    anna v says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Feet2theFire says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

    “Rather it would suggest an analogy to a rotating sphere: the speed at the equator is maximal, at the poles it is the speed of the axis , i.e. 0.”

    I think you are talking radial velocity in your “speed”. “””

    Well not to be nit picky ; hell why not ; I don’t think we are talking about radial velocity either; which does not have to be zero at the axis.

    Would “curcumferential vleocity” fit the bill better.

    There now; isn’t that more comfortable; but I’m still not offereing that as a mechanism.

  199. “”” anna v says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:43 am
    OK, here is a bit more of why it cannot be neutrinos.
    Neutrinos couple to other matter only with the weak interaction and gravity.

    Here are the coupling constants http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/forces/couple.html
    if strong ( nuclear) is 1.
    electromagnetic is 1/137
    weak is 10^-6
    gravity is 10^-36 “””

    Thanks for that link Anna.

    How weird that the Electromagnetic Coupling constant is our old friend, the fine structure constant; which has a checkered history of its own.

    George

  200. Oops, typo! For the rate of change of the Hubble constant above I meant to put -dH/dt/H~1E-10/yr, not 10E-10 (ie., of order the reciprocal of the age of the universe). That’s what I get for writing 10**-10 first, then thinking it looked messy and deciding to put it in exponent notation instead.

  201. Could this be related to the reason why AGW’s sea level monitors, mounted on docks moving up and down by plate tectonics, say the sea level is drowning the Maldives and other volcanic islands, not the islands are sinking…..yet my sea level hasn’t perceptably changed in Charleston, SC, USA in my lifetime of 64 years?

    Maybe the unknown particles from the sun are causing the sea level monitors to read falsely when added to political agendas!

    Can these particles melt Arctic ice fields?

  202. anna v says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:43 am

    … Now radioactive decays already have a weak constant. If a neutrino is introduced in the diagram, a second weak constant, multiplicative, appears so that gives a 10^-12, the square of that to get the decay function makes it 10^-24 without counting diminutions due to the shape of the functions under the integral. …

    It cannot be neutrinos.

    I’m sorry, but you’re assuming that the decays involved here are only influenced by the weak force – if that were true then all beta decay rates would be the same, for all isotopes. This is clearly not the case.

    The decay rates are also influenced be the energy potential in the nucleus that undergoes the decay. This is what gives different radioisotopes different decay rates. Now introduce a neutrino flux into the situation and ask what influence neutrinos scattering off the particles in the nucleus might have. The effect of the neutrinos is to alter the energy of particles they scatter off – changing the energy state may well affect the decay rate.

    But we don’t need to debate this one. Much more straightforward to go do the experiment and see what actually happens – stick a sample of some radioisotope in a suitable neutrino beam and see what happens to the decay rate. Hell, we can envisage a series of measurements like this varying the neutrino beam energy, the flux density, etc and observing the effects. I feel some beautiful papers emerging from the mist…

  203. How do the emissions from the sun differ with respect to solar flares and the wind from a coronal hole?

  204. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 25, 2010 at 8:43 am
    It seems that the issue is one of agenda [post-modernism http://www.leif.org/EOS/2010EO330003.pdf ]. If you push pseudo-science then it is convenient to label real science as pseudo-science as well, so that there is no difference in outlook and anything goes.

    Having witnessed the antics of the AGW ‘real climatologists’ over the last 10 years and institutional astronomy behaving like C16th italian cardinals confiscating Galileo’s telescope by denying Halton Arp telescope time to prevent him discovering more inconvenient empirical facts, I am forced to agree that to maintain the dominance of its preferred theories, institutional science does indeed employ the ‘anything goes’ principle.

    But is it ‘real science’?

  205. tallbloke says:
    August 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm
    I am forced to agree that to maintain the dominance of its preferred theories, institutional science does indeed employ the ‘anything goes’ principle.
    That you got this backwards just proves my point.

  206. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm .
    That you got this backwards just proves my point.

    What you are seeing is the reflection of your own nonsense.

  207. tallbloke says:
    August 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm
    What you are seeing is the reflection of your own nonsense.
    And rude they are too. Goes with their territory, I guess.

  208. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 25, 2010 at 2:23 pm (Edit)

    tallbloke says:
    August 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm
    What you are seeing is the reflection of your own nonsense.
    And rude they are too. Goes with their territory, I guess.

    You’re the specialist, at rudeness. Still, you have to bluster your way along with a failed theory somehow I suppose.

  209. [Most] Scientists are ALWAYS alert to possible violations [or strange things] of the fundamentals of their science.
    Are you a member of a political party, a member of the Science Soviet or the Pope who speaks “Ex-Chatedra”?
    We must repeat, after Galileo: “E pur si muove”!!

  210. noaaprogrammer says:
    August 25, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    Does our galaxy have a black hole at its center? Do black holes have spin?,/i>
    Send it to Bill O’Reilly’s show, to the no-spin zone! :-)

  211. Enneagram says:
    August 25, 2010 at 2:38 pm
    Are you a member of a political party, a member of the Science Soviet or the Pope who speaks “Ex-Chatedra”?
    Another flamer…

  212. noaaprogrammer says:

    “Does our galaxy have a black hole at its center? Do black holes have spin?”

    Yes, there is a black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Someone posted a pic a few months ago, wish I’d saved it.

    And IIRC, black holes have spin, charge, mass, angular momentum, and all the zeroes snipped from Zimbabwe dollars. That’s why they get really big.

  213. George E. Smith says:
    August 25, 2010 at 10:54 am
    “”” Feet2theFire says:
    August 25, 2010 at 9:48 am
    @ Jim G says August 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm:

    anna v says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Feet2theFire says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

    “Rather it would suggest an analogy to a rotating sphere: the speed at the equator is maximal, at the poles it is the speed of the axis , i.e. 0.”

    I think you are talking radial velocity in your “speed”. “””

    In any event, as long as we need to invent “dark matter” and “dark energy” and cannot explain quantum tunneling and entangled particle communication as well as a multitude of other issues, I do not believe we should mock ideas that do not conform to present equations and their explanations of the physical world. That was my only real point. My favorite examples are the flybys of distant astronomical bodies which invariably disprove previous theories of what they are and how they developed etc.

  214. Leif Svalgaard
    August 25, 2010 at 10:22 am
    Roger Clague says:
    August 25, 2010 at 9:32 am
    Can you please give some examples of the poor science and post-modernism you have in mind?
    You list 21 posts.
    The posts you listed are not a selection of poor, pseudo- or post-modern science. They are ALL the posts that support the plasma/electromagnetic theory of cosmology. They are post you don’t agree with. You add a few oddities to damn by association.

    They oppose the conventional Big Bang theory that you, as a mainstream astrophysicist must use.

    You say

    If true, it would very exciting, but would not ‘overturn’ science as we know it, because, again, the ‘effect’ is very small.

    The ‘effect’ of Einstein’s relativity theory is very small but ‘overturned’ Newton’s theory. It is consistent repetition, interesting predictions and falsification that are critical. It is not the size of the effect.

    We latch on to the most exotic, i.e. a radical alteration of the basic laws of physics. We humans love drama in our lives. We’re all Paris Hilton Wannabes

    You use insults, defer to authority and damn by association. These are tactics, commonly seen used by ‘warmists’, and are not part of science.

    AGW and The Big Bang are history. Wise up.

  215. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm
    How about some substance, staying on topic?

    Substance? About imaginary particles that behave like waves? You jest.

    Whatever reality these itty bits of imaginary stuff are supposed to reflect is getting up to, it doesn’t fit neatly into the mathematical boxes constructed to contain it. No surprise there then.

    I do have admiration for the cleverness and imagination of those who construct the theories, I just wish they wouldn’t confuse the model with reality, and then act all surprised when it doesn’t behave as expected. And I also wish that they’d concentrate on sorting out their stuff rather than lashing out at people with different ideas about how the universe might be conceptualised.

  216. Roger Clague says:
    August 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm
    They are ALL the posts that support the plasma/electromagnetic theory of cosmology. They are post you don’t agree with. You add a few oddities to damn by association.
    They do make up a sizable fraction, is repetition a mark of quality?

    The ‘effect’ of Einstein’s relativity theory is very small but ‘overturned’ Newton’s theory. It is consistent repetition, interesting predictions and falsification that are critical. It is not the size of the effect.
    On cosmological distances the effects are dominant, not small.

    AGW and The Big Bang are history. Wise up.
    I don’t think they are related in any way.

    tallbloke says:
    August 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm
    And I also wish that they’d concentrate on sorting out their stuff rather than lashing out at people with different ideas about how the universe might be conceptualised.
    There are many different ideas about the Universe: Creationism, Tuesdayism, Electric Universe, Iron Suns, Astrology, etc. Science has its own take on that based on precise measurements and theories that are confirmed in great detail. Not every idea carries the same weight nor should be accorded the same credibility.

  217. Drat, another slip-up! I do wish we had preview and edit functions. The requisite neutrino beam density I gave above should have been ~1E9 neutrinos per second per atomic cross-sectional area ~ 7E27/m2/s. My mistake – I should have ignored the atmic size (which is irrelevant) and stuck with the nuclear size, giving 1E12/2E8/1000/(15E-15)**2/pi~7E27/m2/s. Which seems on the high side. At ~1E15W/m2 (for energies ~1MeV) that’s more than a trillion times higher than the solar flux, but for a pulsed and concentrated muon beam it should nevertheless be feasible.

  218. Didn’t Dr. Svalgaard talk of different ‘colours’ of neutrinos?

    Is this an energy related thing?

    DaveE.

  219. If I may say…..AGW and the BB might be related via the TSI as AGW is a beneficiary of the pegging of TSI to .1% of W/m2 and TSI, if the Sun was to blame for the global warming/change, would need to be .6% W/m2. As there is no mechanism to account for the gap, ergo, ……CO2 must be the cause. But the TSI as measured may not be the whole of the TSI story. And that pegging @ .1% is contested anyway(Scafetta, etc). I don’t know if Scarfetta doubts the SM but there are a few guys on here doubt the Standard Model and therefore, put the Sun back in play as to the cause of all the warming (which hasn’t happened since 1995 (CRU-Cambridge)). So. Scarfetta…. where are you?

  220. ….not sure if that is correctly put but that is the gist of this AGW / Solar issue as I see it. I copied and kept the thread with Scrafetta on the TSI issue. I shouldn’t speak for these other guys either but doubts of the Big Bang I take as doubts of the Standard Model itself.

  221. I sometimes wonder, I really do.

    If you observe such an unusual effect the first step is to make more observations using different measuring techniques, there is no difficulty in this instance.

    If the effect is shown by all the different methods of observations you can devise then you probably have a real effect.

    If it is only shown by one kind of measurement you have a problem with that measuring technique: and there is no effect except possibly on those measuring instruments.

    Which may or may not be caused by little green men in Mars but in our electronic age usually comes down to digital dysfunction: better known to my generation as finger trouble.

    That is how physics is done. And until this has been done thoroughly you cannot go forward.

    Otherwise it’s all Star Trek stuff: fine entertaining hokum maybe but nothing to do with physics or science more generally.

    Kindest Regards

  222. Every time Leif Svalgaard starts posting (and posing), interesting and friendly conversation becomes impossible. It’s like having an asbestos lawyer as a dinner guest.

  223. Well….there is WUWT Posting Rule # 8:
    ‘….When everyone is happy swimming around in the pool pretending it’s a jacuzzi, having a right old time, no one is allowed to pee in said pool. Even accidentally. Especially off the high board!!!…’

  224. I don’t see any problem with Leif’s post. If you don’t know your facts and you put out WAG’s then you deserve a tongue lashing. If you want to speculate then have something to back it up. I thank Leif for his posts and attempting to keep a lid on the WAG’s. By the way for those who may not know WAG = Wild Ass Guess

  225. …..Anyway.. I have often wondered at the role personal confidence has to play in science and also religion. And find this exchange to be fascinating from that view point alone. Anyway. Why would someone as distinguished as Peter Sturrock attach his name to this rather bizarre paper? I just can’t get my head round this whole thing.

  226. I agree with Jim. As frustrated and insulted as you all feel, be confident and come back with science. We are all watching.

  227. A very intriguing article. It would be interesting if natural decay was a particle interaction rather than a random event. The main reason the Earth still has a molten core is radioactive decay. If the sun regulates radioactive decay then what of Venus which is much closer. The radioactive elements would have decayed at a faster rate, heating the planet. Also, this may have exhausted the radioactive elements leading to a cooling of the core, which would eliminate the magnetic field. It would be interesting to send a probe with an atomic clock towards the sun and see if the rate of decay alters.

    There was a recent BBC science program called ‘Is Everything We Know About The Universe Wrong?’. Although the Standard Model still holds sway, with the addition of dark matter, dark energy and now dark flow, it is looking less like an elegant theory and more like Frankenstein’s monster! So much so that scientists are beginning to accept that it is probably wrong. Great for theorists – they have a blank sheet of paper and can start again from scratch.

    It will be interesting to see what theories will spring up. It is also a good example of what TRUE scientists do – if the theory doesn’t fit the facts start looking for better theories.

    My own ideas tend towards the radical : Time is a property of matter only; the speed of light is zero – relative to the Big Bang [zero time]; the constant ‘c’ is the rate of expansion of the universe and so is variable over time; etc. Probably rubbish but nice to know that nothing is ‘settled’.

  228. True scientific approach toward a bunch of competing theories requires that we pick the simplest one of those that fit observable experimental data and correctly predict new experimental data.

    In cosmology, such a theory is the curvature theory of the stable Universe. It doesn’t require any contrived additions to the general relativity, such as accelerated expansion, dark energy, dark matter, or creation disguised as a beginning of time. It postulates that the curvature of space-time itself interacts with photons moving through vast intergalactic distances, making them shed small amount of energy on the way. This simple and clear postulate allows for exact explanation of all observable cosmological phenomena, predicting all important parameters, such as Hubble’s constant, intensity of the cosmic microwave radiation, its temperature, etc., much better than the “mandatory” Big Bang dogma. It also explains many things that the more fashionable theories try to ignore and shrug off (such as Pioneer 10 blues shift effect).

    BBT has established itself in modern cosmological circles for exactly the same reason that made the AGW theory “mandatory” in the climatological community: conformism. Conformist’s ind doesn’t want to find the truth, it wants to construct a theory, however cumbersome and implausible, that would satisfy psychologically and financially the greatest number of (influential) people, and antagonize the least amount of (influential) people. Hence the George Lemaître’s Big Bang. (He came up with it after several long consultations in Vatican.) BBT is the consensus theory. It has nothing in common with the factual truth.

    The wildest guess of all is to mistake consensus for reality.
    The most cowardly behavior of all is to aggressively defend the status quo.

    “OBJECTS ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.” It is amazing that so many people read these words on their cars’ curved rear-view windows every day, and still don’t get it. When we look into the night starry skies, we look at the curved three-dimensional surface of the four-dimensional Universe, the same way we look at the curved two-dimensional surface of a rear-view mirror in the three-dimensional worlds. On both surfaces, the farther are the objects, the more the appearance that they are located at ever greater distances from us, the faster they seem to “run away.”

    P.S. On the lighter note:

    If we are to believe that, indeed, Christmas Eve
    Celebrates what, in fact, has been done,
    Then the time of Big Bang we could certainly hang
    Circa March 27, 01.

  229. Sorry, I was typing it too fast, and forgot the punchline:

    If we are to believe that, indeed, Christmas Eve
    Celebrates what, in fact, has been done,
    Then the time of Big Bang we could certainly hang
    Circa March 25, minus 1.

    There!

  230. Mike Edwards :
    August 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Your point was covered under “not included the effect of the functional forms under the integration”.

    You cannot get away from coupling constants, and the square of 10^-6 of the extra vertex necessary to describe any interaction with a neutrino flux.

    BTW weak and electromagnetic interactions are known to many decimal places, and can be calculated as such, it is the legacy of LEP the validation of the Standard Model.

  231. johnnythelowery says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:49 pm (Edit)

    If I may say…..AGW and the BB might be related via the TSI as AGW is a beneficiary of the pegging of TSI to .1% of W/m2 and TSI, if the Sun was to blame for the global warming/change, would need to be .6% W/m2. As there is no mechanism to account for the gap,

    Actually, there is:
    Nir Shaviv, Racah Institute of Physics, Using the oceans as a calorimeter, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and studiously and repeatedly ignored by Leif Svalgaard:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/calorimeter.

    David A. Evans says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm (Edit)
    Didn’t Dr. Svalgaard talk of different ‘colours’ of neutrinos?
    Is this an energy related thing?

    Different ‘flavours’. There’s salt’n’acetic acid, cheese’n’peptic acid and glucose’n’fudge.
    It’s Quarks which have colours, spins and directions. And attributes like ‘strangeness’ and ‘charm’. It’s the psychologisation of sub atomic physics.

    Then there’s the other shower of itty bits you get when you spend a few billion chucking energy packets into walls. Damn clever stuff. Problem is, the detectors which are carefully designed to find the expected itty bits after the atoms are smashed also find unexpected itty bits, and don’t find lots of other itty bits they are not designed to look for, which introduces confirmation bias. A lot these bits are only there for a moment, and then ‘POOF’, wink out of existence in recombination reactions with other itty bits flying around in the electromagnetic soup. It’s hard to make sense of, but by ignoring some bits and concentrating on others, some sort of order is wrought from the chaos.

    Maybe some of the ignored bits cause changes in the rate of decay of radio-active material. It would be expensive to build detectors to look at the myriad of other bits too, our Pro Vice Chancellor of Physics winces every time the high energy physics guys go to him with a proposal for a new bit of kit.
    “Why can’t you be more like the philosophy of science guys” he complains
    “All they ask me for is paper, pens and waste baskets”.

  232. Hmm. No one seems to have mentioned Riofrio’s cosmology, which predicts black holes inside the sun and Earth, a novel varying c explanation of ‘Dark Energy’, the Pioneer anomaly, a precise value for the baryonic matter fraction etc. The closet point made here appears to be that of Alexander, although he has not been clear that this must be a quantum gravitational effect rather than a classical one. And the SM does NOT explain the behaviour of neutrinos … just check out the latest MINOS and MiniBooNE results.

  233. Kea says:
    August 25, 2010 at 11:56 pm
    And the SM does NOT explain the behaviour of neutrinos … just check out the latest MINOS and MiniBooNE results.

    No problem, the SM will simply get the chef to come up with another flavour to explain the anomalous result. Of course, as they run out of ‘classics’ like beef’n’onion, and are forced to go for more exotic ones like prawn cocktail, there is a danger the hoi polloi might rumble the game…

  234. johnnythelowery says:
    August 25, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I agree with Jim. As frustrated and insulted as you all feel, be confident and come back with science. We are all watching.

    Actually, I’m proud to be included on Leif’s black list, not once, but four times! ;-)

  235. Kea says:
    August 25, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Neutrino oscillations are part of quantum dynamics and within the SM. An old story.

    There is a misunderstanding of how the scientific method works. It works building up on previous knowledge, not by demolishing all previous knowledge when a new effect is found.

    The previous knowledge of astronomy was not demolished when the heliocentric system was shown to be the truth. It was adapted to that coordinate system.

    Newtonian gravity was not demolished when general relativity was devised. It was assimilated as a limiting case of it.

    Classical mechanics still computes with enormous precision where it applies, it was not demolished when quantum mechanics became necessary.

    In the case under discussion, the weakness of the neutrino coupling is not disputable, and will remain whether the standard model becomes a limiting case of the string theories or of a future theory not yet imagined.

  236. Paul Birch says:
    August 24, 2010 at 11:34 am

    No, they are established over practically the whole visible universe over practically its entire history.

    That’s utter nonsense, Paul. Let’s take a galaxy a billion light years away. Can you tell me what it looks like today? Of course not. Assuming that it is indeed a billion light years away and assuming that the speed of light is constant then you can only tell me what it looked like 1 billion years ago as that is the only information about it that has reached us today.

    And I must reiterate that you are still using circular reasoning – assuming that which is to be proven.

    And no, the whole edifice doesn’t hang together. If it did then dark matter and dark energy would not have been invented as placeholders for unexplained, unexpected observations.

  237. anna v says:
    August 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm
    Interesting observation. I have always wondered why, if dark matter is 75% of the universe it is not 75% of the sun’s innards:).

    Dark matter is 20% of the universe. It’s thought to be baryonic. Dark energy is 70% of the universe. No one knows what the hell it is. Visible baryonic matter, that which we normally think of as what makes up the whole universe, is actually only 5% of the universe if our observations and axioms are sound. Dark matter and dark energy are only observed indirectly by gravitational anomalies. The validity of these observations rely on our knowledge of gravity being perfect. So we end up with two choices – invent new forms of matter and energy to account for the observations or invent a new theory of theory of gravity to explain them.

    On the question of why the sun’s innards aren’t 95% (fixed that for ya) dark matter and dark energy the answer to that is that dark energy is thought to be uniformly distributed throughout the universe. A whole lot of it altogether but vanishingly little in any comparatively tiny volume of space. Dark matter, if that’s real, clusters in and around galaxies but again it’s very dilute in any comparatively tiny volumes such as the volume of the sun.

  238. Experimental test of neutrino stimulated decay (under conditions appropriate to the conjectured solar effect) would be more difficult than I initially appreciated. The snag is that in order to get a collimated beam of neutrinos one would need a highly collimated relativistic primary beam of eg muons (otherwise the decay neutrinos would spray out in all directions). This is easy enough, but then the neutrinos will themselves be “relativistic” (that is, of high energy ~1GeV, say, much more energetic than the fusion-generated solar neutrinos). Stimulated and induced decay modes at these energies will still be calculable and measureable, but would not directly confirm the behaviour expected at lower energies. It would still be worth doing, though.

  239. Dave Springer says:
    August 26, 2010 at 2:55 am
    Dark matter and dark energy are only observed indirectly by gravitational anomalies.

    In fact, they are not observed at all, directly or indirectly, but inferred from a set of assumptions which include the weakest of the fundamental forces being the only one which matters at interstellar scales.

  240. Alexander Feht says

    “BBT has established itself in modern cosmological circles for exactly the same reason that made the AGW theory “mandatory” in the climatological community: conformism”

    Big Band Theory (BBT) was invented by a priest. It was at first called ‘the hypothesis of the primeval atom.’

    It replaced Christianity as the state religion of the West around 1930. Fred Hoyle, who supported the steady state theory, was ridiculing the theory when, unfortunately, he gave it the catchy name the Big Bang Theory in 1949.

    AGW replaced BBT as the West’s state religion around 1990. This was at the time scary atheist communism collapsed and could no longer be considered a threat. So we were told to fear fresh air by our new priests, so called ‘climate scientists’.

    Christianity from 0- 1930
    BBT from 1930-1990
    AGW from 1990-2010?

    It is encouraging that religions are having shorter lives.

  241. Dave Springer says:
    August 26, 2010 at 2:16 am
    Paul Birch says: “No, they are established over practically the whole visible universe over practically its entire history.”

    “That’s utter nonsense, Paul. Let’s take a galaxy a billion light years away. Can you tell me what it looks like today? Of course not. Assuming that it is indeed a billion light years away and assuming that the speed of light is constant then you can only tell me what it looked like 1 billion years ago as that is the only information about it that has reached us today.”

    Yes, we can tell you what it looks like today. Not in particular detail, but in general, because we know what similar, closer galaxies look like. We can see the same physical phenomena occurring over billions of parsecs of distance at both the same time (or same redshift) and at vastly different times up to billions of years apart.

    “And I must reiterate that you are still using circular reasoning – assuming that which is to be proven.”

    No, I’m not. It doesn’t matter what the distances actually are or what the redshifts mean. The fact is that we can measure things like the fine structure constant throughout the entire visible universe, and find them to be constant (within the limits of experimental error).

    “And no, the whole edifice doesn’t hang together. If it did then dark matter and dark energy would not have been invented as placeholders for unexplained, unexpected observations.”

    They haven’t been. I’ve explained this before. The astronomical dark matter required by the observations is quite ordinary matter which happens not to be in main sequence stars or which is hidden by dust, etc., and which we have always known to be present, because we can observe much of it in our local neighbourhood. The weirdified “dark matter” and “dark energy” is largely an invention of theorists who don’t like what the cosmological observations are telling them (that the universe is open and qo small). They are not required by the observations, and the Big Bang theory works quite well without them. But whether or not they exist, astronomical observations are physically consistent only with fundamental physical constants that don’t vary significantly over time and space (conceivably they might vary in an inflationary phase of expansion, or in the depths of black holes, or something, but not in ordinary galactic and intergalactic environments). It is important to appreciate that, despite areas of uncertainty and even complete ignorance, despite puzzles and anomalies like the quasar alignments that suggest that at least some redshifts may not be entirely cosmological, there is a great deal that we do know, to a high level of confidence, and a great many theories we can positively rule out. Most fringe theories are in that category; they are inconsistent with what we do know, and thus plain wrong, however elegant or attractive they might seem, or however many oddities they might seem to explain. Most of them are merely recycled versions of old theories long disproved.

  242. Roger Clague says:
    August 26, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Christianity from 0- 1930
    BBT from 1930-1990
    AGW from 1990-2010?

    It is encouraging that religions are having shorter lives.

    Maybe we are rapidly approaching the DUH (Dogmatic Universe Horizon).

    I predict a New Renaissance heralding the growth of new cosmological thinking, the sweeping away of ‘Global Warming Art’, and the birth of a new post-positivist school of free enquiry, embracing the plurality of possible interpretations of phenomena as a benefit to the cross fertilisation of ideas unfettered from the agendas of institutions.

    In fact it’s already happening in the blogosphere.

    :-)

  243. EM attraction is gravity at the 39th power. Neither dark matter needed nor any nanny inventions of presumptuous kids, pretending they are sages for using entangled and esoteric equations. Just think on the simplicity of the Monocord of Pitagoras: There he found all the laws of the universe, that self conceit makes impossible for fools to understand. Just explain how Thales, about six hundred years BC found that water was icosaedric. It doesn´t matter how many gadgets or computer games kids have we have not progressed in the comprehension of the cosmos.
    However, if you need contemporary theories without phantoms coming from the twilight zone, see:

    http://www.milesmathis.com/lostmass.html

    http://www.holoscience.com/

  244. What do all the Big Bang heretics here think of Johan Masreliez’ Expanding Spacetime Theory? Looks like a fascinating alternative to BBT from the little I have read (and understood, I only took an introductory astronomy course at the university). I haven’t been able to google up any really severe rebuttals to the EST theory – so if you know of any, please post them (and btw Masreliez can explain the Pioneer anomaly with his theory).

  245. What differentiates scientific theories from theological theories and religions is the construct of mathematics.

    To people with little or no mathematical ability the strength, resilience and utility of mathematically founded theories is as much a leitourgy as is theology. This is a mistake.

    The Big Bang Theory may prove not to be the solution nature has chosen of the fundamental equations of the universe, but it is a solution and many observations have fitted like a jigsaw puzzle into its format.

    It shows great naivety to bunch physical theories with religion.

    Popularization of science does not mean that everyman can partake of the knowledge of science like a smorgasbord open to all, without paying the dues of years upon years of studying mathematics and physics etc.

    Science is not something that can be bought and sold, not something that can be discussed ad infinitum in coffee shops. It is something one has to put elbow grease and many years of solving puzzles , before mastering it, and having the tools at hand to be able to discuss with other hard working geeks about theories and the fit to data.

  246. Enneagram :
    August 26, 2010 at 5:49 am

    It is interesting that string theories, the latest theories in elementary particles that aim at including quantized gravity, are mono-chord theories. All particles are vibrations of a string/chord.

  247. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 25, 2010 at 4:03 pm
    Science has its own take on that based on precise measurements and theories that are confirmed in great detail.

    The precision of the measurements is a joy to behold. The engineers are doing a good job.

    Not every idea carries the same weight

    True, especially when you simply conjure up most of the weight out of thin air to give your theory more gravitas.

  248. tallbloke says:
    August 26, 2010 at 8:09 am
    That is true: Gadgets work thanks to engineering and heuristics, the rest is just imagination and self deceit.

    Dreaming….I’m always dreaming….

  249. tallbloke says:
    August 26, 2010 at 4:23 am

    In fact, they are not observed at all, directly or indirectly, but inferred from a set of assumptions which include the weakest of the fundamental forces being the only one which matters at interstellar scales.

    I almost wrote dark matter & energy are “inferred from” observed gravitational anomalies instead of “observed indirectly from”” so I’m not inclined to disagree with you that it was a poor choice of words.

  250. anticlimactic says:
    August 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    A very intriguing article. It would be interesting if natural decay was a particle interaction rather than a random event.

    “Interesting” is an understatement. We need to be clear what “random” means in this context. The jury is still out on the philosophical question of determinism so when you hear “random” it’s shorthand for “unpredictable by any known means”. It’s also a bit paradoxical in that it’s unpredictable by quantum mechanical analysis but has heretofore been one of the most predictable things for statistical mechanics. The implications of radioactive decay being throttled by some unknown means is huge especially if we can generate the means artificially. The practical applications of easily controlling nuclear decay rate are enormous. Imagine a nuclear reactor that instead of having complicated mechanical systems of control rods and cooling water could be throttled up remotely via some sort of particle beam or field generator where if the throttle fails it becomes harmless instead of possibly going into meltdown.

  251. Dave Springer says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:34 am
    “Imagine a nuclear reactor that instead of having complicated mechanical systems of control rods and cooling water could be throttled up remotely via some sort of particle beam or field generator where if the throttle fails it becomes harmless instead of possibly going into meltdown.”

    We don’t have to imagine it. That’s how nuclear reactors work. The decay of uranium by fission is “throttled” by neutrons. While nuclear bombs often have a separate neutron source to make sure the reaction happens fast enough.

  252. anna v says:
    August 26, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Science is not something that can be bought and sold, not something that can be discussed ad infinitum in coffee shops. It is something one has to put elbow grease and many years of solving puzzles , before mastering it, and having the tools at hand to be able to discuss with other hard working geeks about theories and the fit to data.

    If you replace the word science with religion then that strongly resembles what theologians will say to you. So Anna, have you put years and years into the study of theology, epistimology, and so forth? If not then by your own admission you are not qualified to speak about it. Yet you have. Hypocrisy is rampant.

  253. @Paul

    I’m quite well aware that nuclear reactors are throttled by neutron flux. I’m quite well aware that graphite rods are inserted more or less deeply into the reactor pile to absorb more or less neutrons. If you continue talking down to me I’m going to start returning the favor. Fair warning.

  254. You know, quantum/particle physics is beyond my education in nuclear engineering, so I’m not even going to posit a guess at what’s going on here.

    I personally found the piece interesting and also note that is has no immediately recognizable connection to the climate. Isn’t it AMAZING how these guys can ask “way out there” scientific questions like “how?” and “why?” and even say “we have no idea” when it isn’t a “climate change” issue?

    This reminds me of what I learned that science really is. Observe an anomaly, report, question, control an experiment, observe again, report again, answer old questions and ask new ones, repeat. As a scientist, you’re out of a job once the debate is settled…

  255. @Paul (con’t)

    Now I must question your understanding of what intense neutron flux does to the materials that make up the reactor control and safety mechanisms. Metals that make up pipes and valves and welds in the coolant delivery system become brittle due to it and subject to catastrophic failure. Same goes for the mechanisms and structure that raise and lower control rods. That’s why reactors have melted down. There’s no sure failsafe mechanism. It’s a hideously expensive maintenance nightmare as the reactors have to be shut down and everything tediously inspected and/or replaced at regular intervals.

    Now contrast this with a neutrino beam can modulate the reaction rate. Neutrinos don’t do jack diddly squat to degrade materials. They pass through normal matter like it like it wasn’t there. So just as an example you could have a neutrino generator located outside the containment vessel and it could safely throttle the reaction and if the generator fails the reaction just stops or slows down enough so that it’s effectively halted. I’m not saying that’s possible but if it were possible it would radically alter the way nuclear reactors are built and operated. Other practical possibilities include turning long-lived radioactive waste products into short-lived products or rendering them non-radioactive altogether and thus solve the large, continuing, and growing problem with spent fuel storage and disposal.

  256. If these findings call into question the ‘half-life’ of certain elements used to determine the age of the earth – is the accepted age of our planet called into question too?
    ec

  257. Dave Springer says:

    anna v says at 7:46 am:

    Science is not something that can be bought and sold, not something that can be discussed ad infinitum in coffee shops. It is something one has to put elbow grease and many years of solving puzzles , before mastering it, and having the tools at hand to be able to discuss with other hard working geeks about theories and the fit to data.

    “If you replace the word science with religion then that strongly resembles what theologians will say to you.”

    With possibly the exception of anna’s first sentence above [some scientists use unethical scare tactics to generate grants, showing they can be bought and sold], I happen to agree with what she wrote, including the preamble to her quote above:

    What differentiates scientific theories from theological theories and religions is the construct of mathematics.

    To people with little or no mathematical ability the strength, resilience and utility of mathematically founded theories is as much a liturgy as is theology. This is a mistake.

    The Big Bang Theory may prove not to be the solution nature has chosen of the fundamental equations of the universe, but it is a solution and many observations have fitted like a jigsaw puzzle into its format.

    It shows great naivety to bunch physical theories with religion.

    Popularization of science does not mean that everyman can partake of the knowledge of science like a smorgasbord open to all, without paying the dues of years upon years of studying mathematics and physics etc.

    There is faith [religion] and there is skepticism [science]. They are not the same. Those pushing their post-normal, faith-based CAGW pseudo-science while they jettison the scientific method are simply Jim & Tammy Faye-style preachers in white lab coats, trading their ethics for grants.

  258. Dave Springer says:
    August 26, 2010 at 10:41 am “Now I must question your understanding of what intense neutron flux does to the materials that make up the reactor control and safety mechanisms.”

    I never said anything about them. However, fail-safe methods of control are available. The simplest is thermal expansion; for many kinds of reactor, if the core overheats it expands, or produces vapour bubbles in the coolant, causing more neutrons to escape, or fewer to be moderated, and thus immediately shutting down the reaction. One could also quite easily build a reactor with no internal control mechanisms, using a neutron beam from outside as the “throttle”. IIRC there are specialised research reactors that do just that. Although it is true that a simple failure of such a control beam will shut down the reactor harmlessly, it is also true that a surge in the beam could (in principle) cause a super-critical out-of-control chain reaction (something of the sort can happen with nuclear weapons, in the process known as “fratricide”, where the neutron flux from a nearby explosion triggers a premature and partial detonation). There’s no reason to suppose that the control beam route must be superior to the simpler mechanical arrangements (if it were, we’d probably already be using it in commercial power plants).

    “Now contrast this with a neutrino beam can modulate the reaction rate. Neutrinos don’t do jack diddly squat to degrade materials. They pass through normal matter like it like it wasn’t there.”

    Neutrinos don’t do diddly squat to modulate fission either. If they did – if you had a beam powerful enough to cause such an effect (which would mean a trillion times more powerful than a neutron beam to do the same job) – it would also powerfully induce beta decay in the reactor materials (and all the way through the Earth). You’d get essentially the same problems as you do with neutrons, only worse. Also, the amount of energy you’d be throwing away in the neutrino beam would vastly exceed the energy you’d get from the reactor. Even if the reported decay rate effect were real, and caused as conjectured by solar neutrinos (which is very unlikely), it would still be far too weak an effect to be of much if any practical use.

  259. John Walker of the Hotbits site that generates random numbers by radioactive decay has weighed in on the new report, at

    http://www.fourmilab.ch/fourmilog/archives/2010-08/001250.html

    He wishes it were true because it would be scientifically interesting, but has grown skeptical of small effects observed with large noise by instruments that may be environmentally influenced (eg by known variations in background cosmic rays).

  260. 300 Comments! WOW! So if this is a repeat, go ahead and delete it.

    But is not the “universal” time kept by basically radio-active clocks around the world? Or is it a different aspect?

    I am wondering how accurate the clocks are now.

  261. tallbloke says:
    August 26, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Maybe we are rapidly approaching the DUH (Dogmatic Universe Horizon).
    Would not that be “Dogbert Universe Horizon”? ;)

  262. PhilJourdan says:
    August 26, 2010 at 1:56 pm
    “But is not the “universal” time kept by basically radio-active clocks around the world? Or is it a different aspect?”

    Atomic clocks. Different mechanism. Caesium clocks are the most common, and 1 second is 9,192,631,770 periods of the electromagnetic radiation (ie., 9GHz radio waves) corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. Accuracies down to ~1 part in 10^16 are achieved.

  263. Dave Springer says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:16 am

    tallbloke says:
    August 26, 2010 at 4:23 am

    In fact, they are not observed at all, directly or indirectly, but inferred from a set of assumptions which include the weakest of the fundamental forces being the only one which matters at interstellar scales.

    I almost wrote dark matter & energy are “inferred from” observed gravitational anomalies instead of “observed indirectly from”” so I’m not inclined to disagree with you that it was a poor choice of words.

    Dave, I wasn’t taking a shot at your choice of words. I was just reinforcing your point, and adding another.

  264. tallbloke says:
    August 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm
    In fact, they are not observed at all, directly or indirectly, but inferred from a set of assumptions which include the weakest of the fundamental forces being the only one which matters at interstellar scales.
    You conflate the words ‘observed’ and ‘inferred’. We have never observed gravity at the surface of the Sun [27g], but infer it from the Sun’s gravity at the Earth and the radius of the Sun.

  265. About inferring and observing:

    We each of us sit inside a marvelous biologic machine that allows us to define the word “observe” when what we are doing is “infer” from an incredibly complicated system of electromagnetic and chemical inputs; we infer patterns into such a logical order to be able to discuss the observation of the gravity of the sun. The discussion itself comes through the exchange of inferences through the non chaotic complex biological system that we, each of us, are.

    It is a matter of convention then, what one means by “observe”, not of absolute definition. A convention that is different between lay persons and scientists.

  266. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    “We have never observed gravity at the surface of the Sun [27g], but infer it from the Sun’s gravity at the Earth and the radius of the Sun.”

    I might get nitpicky here and say that we have observed gravity at (or close to) the surface of the Sun, by observing the gravitational deflection of starlight passing the Sun’s limb. Of course, there are inferences involved in that calculation too.

  267. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    You conflate the words ‘observed’ and ‘inferred’.

    No I don’t.
    My “observation” (thank you anna v) about ‘observation and inference’ was regarding ‘dark matter’ and interstellar cosmological issues, not the relative surface gravity of the Earth and the Sun. The ‘woollyness factor’ involved in the inference of one is much removed from the other. You are conflating reasonable Newtonian engineering estimates with ad hoc hypotheses designed to save the Big Bang theory.

    anna v says:
    August 26, 2010 at 9:17 pm
    It is a matter of convention then, what one means by “observe”, not of absolute definition. A convention that is different between lay persons and scientists.

    I take a cosmologist’s statements beginning with “It is observed that” to mean
    “This is what we have calculated, and it may be right, given that we haven’t totally messed up on assumptions A,B,C,D…N)

    I would advise all lay people (who on the whole seem to have more common sense than the average cosmologist anyway) to do the same.

  268. Paul Birch says:
    August 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Ok, thanks. I knew the clocks were based on some atomic aspect, just unsure what. It is reassuing to know that I can still set my watch by them. ;)

    Very much appreciate the explanation.

  269. tallbloke says:
    August 27, 2010 at 4:06 am
    I would advise all lay people (who on the whole seem to have more common sense than the average cosmologist anyway) to do the same.
    Common sense is a poor guide in physics, where many phenomena defy ‘common sense’, e.g. in quantum mechanics, relativity, even simple things like “heavier things fall faster that light things”.
    The assumptions underlying modern cosmology are that the laws of Nature are the same everywhere and the General Relativity holds. There are no indications that these assumptions are incorrect.

  270. ” Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

    The assumptions underlying modern cosmology are that the laws of Nature are the same everywhere and the General Relativity holds. There are no indications that these assumptions are incorrect.”

    Yet we can’t unify GR & Quantum. This is either because we’ve not cracked the problem yet or maybe one or both is incorrect at some fundamental level.

    That would certainly still be consistent with the laws of nature being the same everywhere but not necessarily that GR is correct.

    Both Quantum and GR are very successful theories for practical purposes doesn’t make them right.

    Because GR & Quantum are formulated so fundamentally differently and attempts to find more fundamental unifying mathematical structures has not been successful eg String Theory or Twistor Theory, then there must come a point when it is reasonable to look for possible fundamental reasons why not. What are the mathematical assumptions that we make? To me the one that sticks out like a sore thumb is the assumption that space-time is differentiable, the whole basis of Riemannian geometry.

    By analogy fine sand can behave like a fluid to some extent but we can see the limitation of the fluid model. The conflict between GR & Quantum may demonstrate such a limitation and open the possibility for the seemingly impossible.

  271. son of mulder says:
    August 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm
    Yet we can’t unify GR & Quantum. This is either because we’ve not cracked the problem yet or maybe one or both is incorrect at some fundamental level.
    More likely that they have different domains of applicability.

    The conflict between GR & Quantum may demonstrate such a limitation and open the possibility for the seemingly impossible.
    But cannot be taken as making the seemingly impossible plausible.
    There are no indications that QM makes GR inapplicable at intergalactic distances [or even just across the street].

  272. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    “More likely that they have different domains of applicability. ”

    For most practical purposes yes but that is no reasonto assume thay are independent at root.

    Leif then says,
    “But cannot be taken as making the seemingly impossible plausible.
    There are no indications that QM makes GR inapplicable at intergalactic distances [or even just across the street].”

    It’s not a question that one make the other inapplicable, we simply assume that say GR is applicable at intergalactic distances and when we perceive inconsistencies with expectation we invent say ‘dark matter’ to resolve the problem. Or with Quantum we introduce renormalization without a reason other than that it gives an observed answer.

    Both examples that give a clear indication that we have a hole in understanding of the basic principles of both theories let alone the ability to unify them.

  273. Up to a few years ago there was no way to quantize gravity, i.e. a method that one could use to to expand the solutions into a perturbative series with diminishing values and prove that the series was finite and bounded. That is why Feynman diagrams with gravitons do not work. The problem is that the graviton is a spin 2 particle and that introduces infinities.
    Strong interactions, because of the coupling constant of 1, also had a problem in series expansion, until QCD with asymptotic freedom was found, which allowed calculations where the Feynman diagrams are not real prescriptions for integrations but just iconic representations

    Then string theories, known theoretically from the 70’s, were discovered to allow the quantization of gravity and at the same time allowed embedding the standard SU3XSU2XU1 model. A large part of the theoretical effort in particle physics is expended in studying and trying to calculate using string theories. Some models predict mini black holes, which decay very fast thermodynamically into a large multiplicity of known particles. Had I not retired and were still working in my last experiment for the LHC, ( it takes decades to plan and build and run an experiment in high energy physics these days, as well as hundreds of people) this would have been my research interest.

  274. son of mulder says:
    August 28, 2010 at 12:49 am
    when we perceive inconsistencies with expectation we invent say ‘dark matter’ to resolve the problem.
    Dark matter was not ‘invented’ because of inconsistencies in GR, but based on observations, e.g. gravitational lensing. That we cannot ‘see’ the matter in light is not important for its discovery; we often deduce [i.e. ‘see’] the existence of unseen companions by their gravitational effects.
    The acoustic peaks in the CMB power spectrum [ http://www.leif.org/EOS/PHTOAD000061.pdf ] depends only on freshman-type physics and not on GR. But the main argument is the many cross-checks that give a robust overall, coherent picture.
    Of course, if you were to maintain that the laws of Nature vary in unknown ways with location and with time then you may claim that nothing is ever understood. And there I will not follow you.

  275. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

    “Dark matter was not ‘invented’ because of inconsistencies in GR, but based on observations, e.g. gravitational lensing.”

    In fact it was first proposed by Fritz Zwicky in 1934 to account for evidence of “missing mass” in the orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters ie GR predictions didn’t match observation.

    Another similar example is the postulation of Dark Energy.

    Your comment
    “Of course, if you were to maintain that the laws of Nature vary in unknown ways with location and with time then you may claim that nothing is ever understood. And there I will not follow you.”

    On that I fully agree with you.

    But what we have is the dilemma of whether you postulate the existence of something
    which we can’t/haven’t demonstrated/detected locally or whether you modify the mathematical theory to match observations, in line with the principle that physics is the same everywhere.

  276. son of mulder says:
    August 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm
    whether you modify the mathematical theory to match observations, in line with the principle that physics is the same everywhere.
    There has been no modification to the mathematical theory for dark matter or Big Bang. The standard model of fundamental particles is empirically derived.

  277. Was this fluctuation real, or was it merely a glitch in the equipment used to measure the decay, induced by the change of seasons, with the accompanying changes in temperature and humidity?

    “Everyone thought it must be due to experimental mistakes, because we’re all brought up to believe that decay rates are constant,” Sturrock said.

    Why do they need to be constant? We’ve been brought up to believe this because the theory of evolution must be protected at all cost. Time is the holy grail for the theory, a foundation stone. True we should make sure that the science is sound, but we should not try to bend it to suite a pet theory. The evidence should drive the theory, or dismiss it.

    Have we truly put the time in to cross examine these methods of dating? Have all our dated samples been contaminated by an outside element(s)? Does it mean we’ve been using a rubber ruler all this time? What else could affect these dating methods? Just how old is that rock or fossil?

    It will be interesting to see how the ‘creation verses evolution’ divide use this data. Imagine, if this is unanimously confirmed among the scientist, what will happen to all those books, articles, media presentations etc.

  278. Don Smith says:
    September 12, 2010 at 2:28 am
    Have we truly put the time in to cross examine these methods of dating?
    The effect [even if real] is so small that it will have almost no measurable effect on the dating [this is why it is so hard to prove the effect in the first place].

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