What We Don’t Know

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Back in August 2010, WUWT ran an article wherein it was claimed that variations in the sun changed the rate of radioactive decay. This, of course, flew in the face of years and years of experimental evidence, starting with the Curies, that the rate of radioactive decay is constant, unaffected by pressure or temperature or anything else.

However, this claim that the sun could change radioactive decay rates was shortly challenged by a follow-up article at WUWT and then a second follow-up, both of which threw cold water on the idea.

dark energy matterFigure 1. Mass of the universe, by type. SOURCE

So I was interested to stumble across an announcement issued by Purdue University in August 2012, which strongly confirmed the reality of the phenomenon. Purdue has applied for a patent for the use of this effect as a means to supply advance warning of solar flares.

I found this most interesting, however, not because it affords a chance to have warning of another Carrington Event, although that would be great in itself. Instead, I found it interesting for a curious reason involving the mechanism whereby the sun is able to affect the rate of radioactive decay.

The thing I really like about the mechanism, about the way that the sun is able to influence the rate of radioactive decay, is that we don’t have any idea what it is or how it works.

Truly. Nobody has a clue. It was first noticed in 2006, and to date we have no idea how the sun does it. But Purdue says it clearly, repeatably, and demonstrably works. When the sun changes, radioactive substances all over the world change their rate of decay.

There have been years and years of attempts to see if we could artificially change the rate of radioactive decay. Obviously, if you could do that, it would be incredibly useful. But despite experiment after experiment, no one has ever discovered any combination of environmental variables that would change the rate of radioactive decay … until now, or so it seems at this time.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t think that the sun rules the climate, and I’m not discussing the sun for that reason. I’m not one of the “It’s the sun, stupid” folks. I don’t think any of the forcings rules the climate—not the sun, not CO2, not methane, not volcanoes, none of them.

Instead, I think the earth’s temperature is set by interlocking homeostatic mechanisms. These natural and poorly studied emergent phenomena have laughed off the effects of huge meteor strikes, and long-term vulcanism, and a slow rise in the solar output, and kept the earth within a surprisingly narrow temperature range at all scales, from centuries to millions of years. We think nothing of the fact that next year won’t be much different from this year … and yet that stability, of plus or minus one tenth of a percent in the global average surface air temperature variation over the last century, is actually quite surprising and demands explanation.

So I’m not talking about the sun affecting the climate. I bring up this question of the sun affecting the rate of radioactive decay for one reason—to highlight just how much we don’t know about this marvelous, mysterious infinity that surrounds us. People talk about Trenberth’s famous “missing heat”, where he described one of the many parts of climate science that is poorly understood—energy that he says is incoming but can’t be found or accounted for.

But given that we seem to have misplaced both the dark energy and the dark matter that make up 96% of the mass of the universe … well, when you can’t find hide nor hair of almost everything the universe contains, that kinda makes not finding a few zetajoules in the climate system pale by comparison …

Let me take another example. In 2010 it was discovered that thunderstorms function as huge natural particle accelerators. Who knew? Here’s a description of the mechanism:

… when particularly intense lightning discharges in thunderstorms coincide with high-energy particles coming in from space (cosmic rays), nature provides the right conditions to form a giant particle accelerator above the thunderclouds.

The cosmic rays strip off electrons from air molecules and these electrons are accelerated upwards by the electric field of the lightning discharge. The free electrons and the lightning electric field then make up a natural particle accelerator.

The accelerated electrons then develop into a narrow particle beam which can propagate from the lowest level of the atmosphere (the troposphere), through the middle atmosphere and into near-Earth space, where the energetic electrons are trapped in the Earth’s radiation belt and can eventually cause problems for orbiting satellites.

I loved that last bit. Using a giant particle accelerator to affect a satellite? Good science fiction, but utterly outrageous that it’s actually happening. One way to recognize emergent behavior is that it is not readily predictable from a knowledge of the conditions. I’d say a thunderstorm suddenly forming a giant particle accelerator that can blast a satellite, well, that would definitely qualify as unexpected and not predictable … and here’s another one.

Thunderstorms give off burst of gamma rays. They found out by accident a few years ago when the gamma ray satellite “Fermi” looked at the Earth. Not only that, but the gamma rays in turn give off bursts of antimatter, which get shot off into outer space …

fermi gamma ray antimatter

I’ve had no success trying to establish the amount of energy in one of these terrestrial gamma-ray bursts, no clue. But there are about 1,100 of them per day, and although they are short they are very energetic … so how much energy is lost to space that way?

I find both of these phenomena quite interesting in that they appear, at least, to be a way that the world loses energy to space that is not accounted for in the usual budget. Among other things, we’re blasting positrons into space … go figure.

Remember that the tropical thunderstorms are an emergent phenomenon. They are formed and cluster around the hot spots, so they are removing energy directly where it is needed. As a result, although it may not seem like a lot when it is averaged over the surface of the planet, in the area where it is happening it is very significant.

Here’s another way the planet loses energy that’s not in the conventional accounting. Consider lightning. My back of the envelope calculations show that at something like 5 billion joules per strike, it accounts for about 0.2 W/m2 of energy averaged over the earth’s surface. Some of that is released in the form of heat, and some in the form of light … and that’s where it gets interesting, because something like half of that light will be radiated upwards. You can see it clearly from the space station.

Now, very rough calculations I’m sure someone can improve upon, if light is half the lightning energy and heat is the rest, and half the light escapes to space, that’s less than a tenth of a W/m2 … but again, that’s averaged around the globe. The thunderstorms mostly occur in certain areas and certain times where they are needed to cool the surface. And in those areas and times, the loss of energy to space in the form of light could easily reach several watts per square metre.

I bring up all of this stuff because it’s unknown, it’s stuff we barely understand, or not even that much. But it’s hard for me to describe the point I’m trying to get across, so let me give a couple of quotes that may explain it. First, from the famous scientist J. B. S. Haldane:

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

I find that greatly encouraging. It means there will always be new things to find out. Like the poet Robert Browning said,  “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a meta phor?”

Then we have the famous scientist William Shakespeare, who might have been describing the sun affecting radioactive decay when he has Horatio say: :

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.

I suspect that eventually we’ll figure out just how it is that the sun is able to affect radioactivity, something that we thought could not be affected by anything. Of course, by then there will be some new phenomenon that’s just as mysterious.

And in the meantime, as we discover any new and fascinating thing about the climate, it seems to me that we should “as a stranger give it welcome”.

My point relates to the famous claim by Gro Harland Bruntland, the chief climate cheerleader for the IPCC, who said:

So what is it that is new today? What is new is that doubt has been eliminated. The report of the International Panel on Climate Change is clear. And so is the Stern report. It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act (Brundtland 2007).

Well … no. Doubt has not been eliminated, nor will it ever be … and that’s great news.

And as for the consensus of more than 97% of scientists, you know, the ones who said that nothing could change the rate of radioactive decay? …

It’s doing about as well as consensus science ever does, meaning it’s right until it’s wrong, and in neither case does it affect the truth on the ground.

My best to all, keep up the questioning,

w.

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198 thoughts on “What We Don’t Know

  1. If the sun changes the rate of radioactive decay then all of the age measurements made by radioactive dating are wrong. But by how much?

  2. A question: What was the estimated strength of the Carrington flare? In the last 24 hours we have had 3 X-flares up to a maximum of X-3.2.

  3. Jimmy Haigh. says:
    May 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    If the sun changes the rate of radioactive decay then all of the age measurements made by radioactive dating are wrong. But by how much?

    My guess would be tenths of a percent, but I doubt if it is known at present.

    w.

  4. Willis. Perhaps a little too energetic this time, not enough mass. Sometimes the wind blows a little too hard.

    Yes, these are very cool phenomena, but to just throw it all out there on the table and then ask us to make something out of it is a little bit over the top. It’s in fact mildly insulting.

    Emergent phenomena. Oooh. I’ve heard people toss about cool phrases for decades parading ideas like little princes craving attention and praise. Spare me. Climate is not controlled by the Sun? And not by other external factors? Dude. Ice age. Remember?

    You did spark some thoughts, but it’s mostly mental self-abuse. Feels good, but doesn’t produce offspring. So the thought was neutrinos affect the rate of decay. How do we test that? All you can do is look for correlation. Who has a neutrino gun? So there we are, dead in the water real fast.

    Willis, my friend, we love you and your writing. Remember you big fella man, but not too big. None of us are. But keep writing, and all the other things you do.

  5. I don’t think that the sun rules the climate, and I’m not discussing the sun for that reason. I’m not one of the “It’s the sun, stupid” folks.

    Just as this post suggests previously unimaginable effects of the Sun on radioactive decay, previously unknown amplification mechanisms of solar activity on climate have recently been described, including via ocean oscillations, atmospheric oscillations such as the Madden-Julian oscillation and Quasi-biennial oscillation, stratospheric ozone, and sunshine hours/clouds. Although no doubt much of climate is due to negative-feedback homeostatic mechanisms and chaos, ruling out solar activity as the primary driver may be premature.

  6. If the sun changes the rate of radioactive decay then all of the age measurements made by radioactive dating are wrong. But by how much?”

    We already know that radiocarbon years and calendar years, mostly due to variations in the intensity of cosmic ray (also mostly, but not exclusively, due to solar variation) . They can be calibrated by dating tree-rings. That’s a field where tree-ring research is actually useful.

    Offhand I can’t think of any good method to calibrate other radioactive dating methods over longer periods. We don’t have any annual varve series longer than a few tens of thousand years. In any case this effect is almost certainly to small to matter to radioactive dating. Even the very best dates have an uncertainty on the order of one percent.

  7. Thank you Willis for bringing this up. Obviously, black holes and black energy are just shameless cover-ups for the incompetence of mainstream physics, brilliantly exposed by Steven Crothers:

    But there is a less obvious fallacy that stems from our culture’s desire to describe unknown effects with statistics. Used this way, statistics smothers information.

    “… variations in the sun changed the rate of radioactive decay.”

    Not only variations in the sun, but of even greater import is the orientation of the lab taking the measurements relative to the sun (time of the day, longitude). Not only the sun, but everything there is. Not only radioactive decay, but pretty much everything you can measure.

    Simon Schnoll, my family’s science mentor, has been measuring these effects for 60 years.

    Here is a small sample:

    http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2012/PP-30-02.PDF

    If you can tolerate the captions I slapped together for his TV interview in Russian, you will be amazed by the emerging new worldview:

    (click on the CC button to enable captions)

  8. There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

    Douglas Adams of course.

  9. Hi Willis
    From time to time I look at solar X-ray flux, 3 X-class bursts in a short time, and they are getting stronger too

    If sun does anything as suggested, a natural experiment may be under way as we read your article.

  10. Within Earth’s 259 trillion cubic miles of mostly molten rock are 700,000 cubic miles of fissionable Uranium and Thorium which, if varied, would case the base state changes for glacial/interglacial cycles. This described in “Motive Force for All Climate Change” posted in May 2009. In a Universe were there are very few constants, it is absurd to think that fissionable material, under varying temperature, pressures and particle bombardments MUST have a constant decay rate. Our experience with nuclear bombs and power plants confirms variable decay rates.

    @ Jimmy Haigh….Carbon 14 dating is based on a constant ionization of atmospheric N14 by cosmic rays, which are not constant. The C14 is then entered into the food chain by photosynthesis giving all concurrent lifeforms the same level. One curious anomaly is that fresh killed Antarctic seals and penguins give a C14 age of 3000 years old. The only current explanation for this is in “The Proxy Crock” articles at Canada Free Press. The fission decay within the Earth produces new “elemental” atoms, some of which would be Carbon atoms with non-terrestiral isotope ratios. These lower C14 ratio atoms are released, as say CH4, at undersea vents, digested by Archaea and thereby reduce C14 ratios for the entire Antarctic food chain.

    Thankfully not ALL science is settled, for discovery and imagination are good human ambitions.

  11. I suspect that eventually we’ll figure out just how it is that the sun is able to affect radioactivity

    I don’t think that is it. I don’t think solar activity changes rates of radioactive decay. I think that the same thing that causes changes in radioactive decay ALSO causes changes in solar activity. Maybe we pass through a denser field (for lack of a better word) of some particle we haven’t discovered yet that causes changes we can measure in radioactive decay and this same thing eventually causes some change we can notice in the sun.

    I would look for variations in volcanic activity related to changes in solar activity and possibly changes in climate. Reason I say this is that there might be some weakly interacting particles that pass through Earth that do two things: 1. they might change the rate of radioactive decay and therefore change the amount of heat production deep inside Earth and 2. these particles might generate heat deep in the densest parts of Earth through impacts with atoms.

    I think we see the evidence of this, but maybe don’t have the cause/effect exactly right. For example: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/20/a-link-between-climate-and-volcanic-eruptions-is-found/

  12. There are known unknowns, things we know we don’t know and unknown unknowns, things we don’t yet know we don’t know.

    That Rumsfeld bloke wasn’t daft you know.

  13. Ken says:

    > …whither the cesium clocks, then?

    Don’t worry about the caesium clocks — they are more stable than radioactive decay. I would worry more about decay-based random number generators because they turned out to be far from random. But even a cesium clock will show the same pattern of influence by the sun, planets and stars — although at a much lower scale. In a quartz clock, you will see the pattern if your measurements are accurate to the 7th digit, in a cesium clock, to the 14th digit (or so); in a biochemical reaction, you’ll need only one or two. The mechanisms vary but the pattern of variance ends up being similar for all and .specific to a certain time and location on the surface of the earth. It repeats itself with all known astronomical periods, including sun cycles.

    I’m just parroting Shnoll; better listen to him.

  14. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
    In Shakespeare’s time ‘philosophy’ meant roughly what we mean by ‘religion’ today. So try saying the famous quote, changing ‘your philosophy’ to ‘your religion’, emphasising ‘religion’ rather than ‘your’. It helps to change from ‘your to ‘yr’.
    It was a bold thing to say then, but subsequently has been interpreted merely as a comment on Horatio’s limitations.

  15. These authors have published 3 or 4 other articles on this subject looking at different elements. A 2013 article focused on Cs137 measurements made at a German lab. The authors found NO evidence that the annual variation existed for Cs137. That same laboratory and instrument measured decay rates for 7 other elements, and the authors show figures suggesting that one of these does show the annual oscillation, but only for a few years within the 9-year measurement period. So the effect seems not only to be rather weak and subject to disappearance in some years but also varies by element. The authors claim that this shows the variation cannot be some environmental (temperature, humidity…) effect because that would affect all elements in the same way.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096980431200591X

    I note that the abstracts of most of these other articles continues to mention solar influence, but the word “neutrino” does not appear except in one case.

    The fact that all these articles seem to have the same three authors (Jenkins, Fischbach, Sturrock) reminds me a bit of Fleischman and Pons. There was also the neutrino faster-than-light speeds eventually traced to a poor cable connection in one of the instruments. The likelihood is that this phenomenon will end up in the same graveyard as these two.

  16. My first thought, is that since nearly all the matter in the earth originally comes from the sun (apart from a few stray comets), the matter in the earth and the matter in the sun are possibly connected in some way at the subatomic level, like the ‘action at a spooky distance’ that occurs in quantum mechanics.

    After all, with radioactive decay we are dealing with stuff at the quantum level. So if something happens in the sun, this might explain why radioactive decay changes on the earth-the two are connected in a ‘spooky way’-to use (was it) Einstein’s term?

    (On another, very ‘fringe idea’ , we have no idea how life itself started, one very fringe idea is that the molecule replicating process began at the subatomic level early in the formation in the sun, and continues on earth where conditions are right, but again, at a subatomic level. (In other words, one wont find any evidence of how molecules start to replicate on the earth, unless one reproduces the early conditions in the sun). i.e. the carbon molecules may be replicating due to unknown effects that were present in the early formation of carbon in the sun. Of note, is that some scientists have described the way carbon atoms form in stars as extremely unusual-so unusual they describe carbon forming process in stars, which is necessary for life, ‘as a put up job’…and ‘someone has been monkeying with the laws of physics’, …..but that’s another story)

  17. Ken,
    Cesium clocks don’t use radioactive decay. They depend on the movement of electrons in the cesium atoms between to particular energy states. In particular, this is an effect of the electromagnetic force. The sun’s effect on radioactive decay is probably mediated through the weak nuclear force.
    ++PLS

  18. Perhaps the ubiquitous zero point energy field density is not homogenous, and such variation, as crosspatch alludes to in principle, could affect all solar system atomic matter as it passes through intragalactic space.

  19. Figure 1: a classic case of reverse engineering of the reality to fit a dogmatic model.

    Mechanism linking solar activity and the rate of radioactive decay: pace of time changes as the amount and distribution of energy (including mass) changes in the surrounding space? If couple of feet of difference in height over the surface of the Earth is enough to register a difference in the pace of time, why a spike of Solar activity wouldn’t do the same? Rate of radioactive decay theoretically always remains constant but the pace of time (influencing the observer’s measurement of the rate of decay) fluctuates a little.

  20. Thunderstorms
    It seems to me that you are talking electric discharges between Earth and Space.

    When the sun changes, radioactive substances all over the world change their rate of decay means that there must be an elctric connection. Only elctricity can act that fast.

    But I understand this blog has a problem with the electrical universe where there is no need for dark matter nor dark energy nor black holes.

  21. All things are so very uncertain, and that’s exactly what makes me feel reassured.

    Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter

  22. Hi Willis, you say that if radioactivity could be altered and manipulated it would be a good thing.
    I can not tell much, but a friend and I have been running experiments for two years and are doing just that. That we are doing it is special, that we as yet do not know the why we are able to do this has bothered us. Our last experiment is running and if it too is successful we will release our results and methods, for others to figure out the why. It is certainly possible.

  23. More like the sun is interfering with the measurement of decay? Totally ignorant here…

  24. Does this supposed amount of Dark Matter/Dark Energy consider Plasma Physics- the most powerful effects (measurable in a laboratory) in the universe. Probably not. I only read the online content for Electric Sky- which suggests exotic sources of effects due to gravity such as Black Holes, Dark Matter are largely unnecessary to produce the structure of the universe.

  25. Jimmy Haigh. says:
    May 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    If the sun changes the rate of radioactive decay then all of the age measurements made by radioactive dating are wrong. But by how much?

    ========================================

    Good point Jimmy. The measurements are a bit wrong anyway for a variety of reasons. For example, small uncertainties in the measurement of quantities of isotopes. Or leakage of gases like Radon or Argon out of the sample during decay if they are involved in the decay chain. Etc.

    Conceptually, this just broadens the error band — whose size is probably at least a bit underestimated to begin with because it only reflects things that are known to be issues and requires guessing at mechanisms and magnitudes.

    How big is the increase in uncertainty? Who the hell knows? I’d guess it’s small, but how would I (or anyone else) know for sure?

  26. Gene Selkov,

    Many thanks for the 7-part TV series with Simon Scholl. A madman of course, but perfectly delightful. He seems to have been very happy doing his thing despite utterly no respect from anyone. His cycles seem to be ore related to the sidereal day (23 h 56 m) than the solar day, which causes him to think of the space-time continuum being anisotropic, rather than thinking of purely solar influence. I wonder if the Jenkins-Sturrock group can measure precisely enough to differentiate a 24-h day from a 23 h 56 m day. It would open up other influences than solar neutrinos. Anyway, I hope some day Scholl’s life work will score some small triumph.

  27. If the sun does not ”rule” climate then where does the heat come from to run climate. It may not be the major driver, there are clearly minor drivers not from the sun, but it the only source of heat. Also since we still do not understand all solar output influences on the climate how can you make that statement?
    Perhaps radioactive decay can be changed by solar nutrino output and varying this changes the decay rates. First catch your nutrino.

  28. John Moss says:
    May 14, 2013 at 12:09 am
    “There are known unknowns, things we know we don’t know and unknown unknowns, things we don’t yet know we don’t know.

    That Rumsfeld bloke wasn’t daft you know.”

    Aye.

  29. All very thought provoking – thanks Willis!

    I like crosspatch’s thought:

    crosspatch says: May 14, 2013 at 12:02 am

    I don’t think that is it. I don’t think solar activity changes rates of radioactive decay. I think that the same thing that causes changes in radioactive decay ALSO causes changes in solar activity. Maybe we pass through a denser field (for lack of a better word) of some particle we haven’t discovered yet that causes changes we can measure in radioactive decay and this same thing eventually causes some change we can notice in the sun.

  30. http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q3/new-system-could-predict-solar-flares,-give-advance-warning.html

    The group found evidence of the same annual and 33-day effect in radium-226 data taken at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig, Germany, and those findings were published in 2011. They also found an additional 154-day recurring pattern in both the Brookhaven and PTB data, published in 2011, which they believe to be solar related and similar to a known solar effect called a Rieger periodicity.

    I found a periodicity of about 146 days in Arctic ice coverage. I will have to look at this again see how accurately I had determined that figure.

    The 33 day solar period is also interesting when much of climate science is working with monthly averages of various quantities. If whatever this is can affect something as fundemental as radioactive decay, it could be having a profound affect on a lot of other things too.

    I’ll have to check this through but taking “monthly” averages with an average length of 30.4 days of some quantity influenced by a 33day periodicity will produce a false signal at about 12.27 months. That will resonate with the annual variations and produce a resonance of about 30 years.
    Add to that the various lunar periods which are of the same order and you have a pantheon of mysterious powers at work.

    The word stochastic is often used to dismiss anything that does not fit CO2 driven AGW from consideration. Much of what is happening in climate is neither random nor chaotic, we simply aren’t looking hard enough.

    Willis’ post is a timely reminder of the need to recognise how little we know about climate and the laws of nature in general and that any claims that “the science is settled” are either foolish arrogance or down right dishonesty.

  31. The whole dark matter / dark energy conundrum basically means there is something fundamentally wrong with our understanding of basic physics. I don’t think there is either such entity lurking in such massive quantities yet undetected and undetecable.

    After the constancy of the decay rate being put into to question the next thing that needs reviewing is the constancy of the speed of light. The belief in the constancy of the speed of light is what causes need for all the dark stuff to rig the equations that don’t explain observations.

    Just as Einstein brought corrections to newtonian physics, we now need to be ready to make corrections to general relativity.

  32. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a metaphor?
    Marshall McLuhan
    A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?
    Robert Browning –“Andrea del Sarto”
    Between the two who is the fourth rater — both as artist and thinker?

    We shape our tools and they in turn shape us
    Marshall Mcluhan
    Man is still man after ages of time
    Eugene WR Gallun
    The argument is whether or not clothes make the man.

    Marshall McLuhan and Timothy Lear crawled out of the same 60’s garbage dump. An academic who attempts to be a cultural hero is only seeking the praises of unformed minds — having given up on impressing his intellectual superiors. Unfortunately these two have gotten some academic play because of the destruction of the academic disciplines by the left. When your degree of adherence to left wing politics determines your chance at tenure then academia gets flooded with really stupid people.

    The article you wrote has nothing to do with McLuhan. It was a mistake to reference to him. That was the one “clang” in an otherwise beautiful piece of music.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  33. Jimmy Haigh. says: May 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    “If the sun changes the rate of radioactive decay then all of the age measurements made by radioactive dating are wrong. But by how much?”

    One of their papers is here. They give a ±1% annual range. The orbital eccentricity effect is likely to be greater than solar variations. So probably, very little.

  34. Purdue has applied for a patent for the use of this effect as a means to supply advance warning of solar flares.

    They obviously don’t make scientists like Tim Berners-Lee anymore.

    I suspect that eventually we’ll figure out just how it is that the sun is able to affect radioactivity, something that we thought could not be affected by anything. Of course, by then there will be some new phenomenon that’s just as mysterious.

    Yes, and it’ll be worse than we thought, and we’re all going to fry, and it’s all our fault. Environmentalist like to keep the fear factor ramped up.

  35. My point relates to the famous claim by Gro Harland Bruntland, the chief climate cheerleader for the IPCC, who said:

    “So what is it that is new today? What is new is that doubt has been eliminated. The report of the International Panel on Climate Change is clear. And so is the Stern report. It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act (Brundtland 2007).”

    No fool like a wise fool. ™

  36. And just to add to have an open mind when stating ‘I’m not one of the “It’s the sun, stupid” folks.’ because from the Forbes article ‘If it’s not neutrinos, then it may be that the sun is emitting some other mystery particle heretofore unknown and unpredicted.’.

  37. Solar neutrino detectors have been demonstrating a highly correlated relationship between low-order solar cycle oscillations and Chlorine-37 to Argon-37 event rates since the late 1960s. It’s a real effect- neutrino counts appear to vary inversely with the sunspot cycle.
    But given the episodic nature of solar neutrino activity, I thought that expect any significant link between solar-neutrino flux and more general radioactive decay rates had been ruled out by the absence of reasonable supporting evidence.
    Your Purdue link implies that researchers have now demonstrated solar-neutrino effects on the decay of Cl-36, Si-32, Ra-226 and Mn-54 to Cl-54.
    I understand that you are not talking about the sun affecting the climate through this mechanism, but the possibility of effects on vulcanism is intriguing.

  38. There are some chemical effects that can change nuclear decay rates. This has been well known for decades. A review article from 1972: “Perturbation of Nuclear Decay Rates”,
    Annual Review of Nuclear Science, Vol. 22: 165-202 http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.ns.22.120172.001121 The full articl is paywalled. Here’s some lecture notes from University of Washington that give data for radioactive beryllium: http://depts.washington.edu/chemcrs/bulkdisk/chem418A_win09/notes_Topic_07_Chemical_Effects_on_Isotopic_Decay.pdf

  39. Decay rates are stochastic, averages only. But if they’re “enforced”, a surplus in solar element decay would be balanced by planetary decreases, and versa vice, or SLT.
    ;p

  40. New age woo strikes again!
    Otherosters have pointed out this is like the cold fusion nonsense. Only two researchers still claim an effect on decay rates, nobody else credible has confirmed the effect and most seem to think they are ‘detecting’ false correlations between random variation and orbital/solar effects.
    Or that some of the measurements, not the decay rate, are affected by solar activity.

    And as for the idea that tropical thunderstorms are transfering climatically significant quantities of energy from the surface to space….
    A simple back of an envelope calculation would show you that there are several orders of magnitude difference, its like claiming the flashing indicators on a car can affect the fuel consumption.

    Here are a few certainies.
    The amount of energy added to the climate system is increasing.
    The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere us increasing.
    The increasing CO2 causes the increase in energy.
    The CO2 rise is anthropogenic.
    Our civilisation is based on very stable climate sustaining an agricultural infrastructure.

  41. But then, if it has no explanation, is weird and a rare event lacking in data, it doesn’t exist, and we serious guys should get Bush with Real Stuff. Right?

  42. This has huge implications for timing events in Earth History. It may even mean that we have overestimated the age of the Earth if the Solar activity has been greater in the past.

  43. Scientists say that there is some powerful omnipresent presence in the universe holding it all together. We can’t see it, can’t detect it but we know it’s there. They call it ‘dark energy’.

    Christians call it God.

    The Bible says: In the beginning there was the word. The word was God and God was one with the word.

    Scientists say : in the beginning there was a bang. It was a big bang.

    On a philosophical level I can see absolutely no difference between the two accounts.

    Now, I’m not a christian and I’m not arguing either way. But a lot of semi-literate people who are in awe of science make disparaging remarks about scientists who are also religious, without apparently realising that fundamentally the two world views are saying the same thing in different language.

    Science has brought us wonderful things but on the fundamental questions we don’t seem to have made much progress.

    As Willis points out here, what we know is far exceeded by what we don’t know. Climate is no exception.

  44. Willis, pair-production places a lower bound on those thunderstorm gamma rays if they are producing antimatter, electron+positron masses or greater.

  45. Maybe it’s not changes in the rate of radiative decay, but changes in space/time.

  46. It wasn’t that long ago that the concept of microbursts was derided by the meteorological community, until Fujita proved their existence by simply photographing the pattern of damage they caused from an aircraft.

  47. Willis

    I’ve had no success trying to establish the amount of energy in one of these terrestrial gamma-ray bursts, no clue

    That’s because like some posters already wrote, you are talking about things that are FAR above your head.
    The gamma ray in the antimatter hypotheisis come from e+ + e- => 2 phi
    If one neglects the kinetic energy of e+ and e- then the energy of both photons is trivially about 1 MeV (1.6 x 10^-13 J / anihilation event).

    But despite experiment after experiment, no one has ever discovered any combination of environmental variables that would change the rate of radioactive decay

    Ridiculous. We are talking only about beta decay here and not radioactivity in general (because there is still alpha and gamma decay).
    And it IS known what the beta decay rate depends on – it is the coupling constant for weak interactions. And it is also know that this coupling constant varies slightly with energy. So it is actually known since about 50 years that the decay rate is not rigorously constant.

    . Instead, I found it interesting for a curious reason involving the mechanism whereby the sun is able to affect the rate of radioactive decay.

    You are digging deeper. As mentionned above it is not radioactive decay in general but only beta.
    The variation measured is small well within the variability mentionned above and explained by the Standard Model.
    Now correlation is of course not causation.
    The only way the Sun could affect a nucleus energy are neutrinos (all other energy transfers are much too weak to perturb nuclear energy levels).
    However the efficient cross section for neutrinos interactions is extremely small – the popular media like to write that almost all neutrinos travel through the whole Earth like if it was not there.
    So the probability that solar neutrinos interact massively with all nucleuses of some specific element in order to modify their energy is zero for all practical purposes. This is excluded both empirically and theoretically.

    So we have something like the sensationnal announce a year ago that neutrinos emitted in Geneva and captured in Italy were travelling faster than light. Unprecedented, ground breaki ng, Einstein was wrong etc etc. Of course it was shown later that the measure was an artifact.
    This sun- beta decay correlation is for me (in that order)
    – an artifact
    – a real phenomenon that has nothing to do with the Sun itself (and even less with the hypothetical dark matter)
    – a fake

    Last but not least. Willis I mostly enjoy your posts because you have a solid common sense. But you really embarass yourself and misguide readers by posting your non sensical musings on technical matters which involve knowledge of quantum mechanics and high energy physics. The common sense doesn’t help there the least bit and you should be aware that you simply are not competent to comment on these matters that are far beyond your knowledge. WUWT should be kept to a minimum scientific standard and guest posters be intelligent enough to know when to speak and when not.

  48. Einstein showed us that when identical excited states of quantum systems are in close enough proximity (in Minkowski space), the spontaneous decay of one system can stimulate the simultaneous decao of the adjacent system. This is the basis for the phenomenon called “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, aka lasers.
    The same principle applies when the systems are unstable nuclear isotopes aligned in a magnetic field. When a triton (tritium nucleus) decays it emits an energetic electron which *could* stimulate the emission of another electron from another nearby triton, effectively shortening the half-life of the triton. The main requirement for a chain reaction to occur would be high triton particle density in identical quantum states, achieveable by the high strength magnetic fields and high pressures found within the sun.
    By extension, any other radioactive particle could also have its half-life shortened similarly. It remains to be seen whether earth-bound magnets such as those used in NMR studies could achieve the necessary particle densities and quantum alignment of any specific radioisotopes.

  49. I suggest amateurs should be somewhat careful questioning fundamental physics.
    Fundamental physics govern simple grade 7 experiments in the same way as it governs more complex systems (like the climate).
    And any scientist worthy of that title will assure you that the beauty of science is that the more we know, the more we know that we do not know.
    (God does not play into this whatsoever he’s just an oversimplification of certain spurious correlations.)

  50. @- Greg Goodman
    “Scientists say that there is some powerful omnipresent presence in the universe holding it all together. We can’t see it, can’t detect it but we know it’s there. They call it ‘dark energy’.
    Christians call it God.”

    Roadies call it ‘Gaffa Tape’, it has a light side and a dark side and holds everything together.

  51. Classic “understatement”:

    “Since neutrinos have essentially no mass or charge, the idea that they could be interacting with anything is foreign to physics,” Jenkins said. “So, we are saying something that doesn’t interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed. Either neutrinos are affecting decay rate or perhaps an unknown particle is.”

  52. Good essay but a bit understated. I still maintain Semmelweis is the best example of the consensus being wrong. That wrong headed consensus killed untold numbers of people including Semmelweis himself.

    For millenia “scientists” thought the brain was a device for releasing excess heat.

    But theres a more basic question. Are humans perhaps fundamentally incapable of comprehending the universe or some of its constituent phenomena?

    Why is it assumed “we” will explain everything? Thats like a five year old assuming he’ll one day be a billionaire.

  53. izen says:
    May 14, 2013 at 3:43 am

    New age woo strikes again!
    Other[ p]osters have pointed out this is like the cold fusion nonsense.

    And yet half a dozen companies are launching industrial-level LENR products for sale this year (2013) or next. Whence your definition of “nonsense”? Perhaps you should consider weak atomic forces rather than remain stuck in the realm of strong forces.

    Greg Goodman says:
    May 14, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Just as Einstein brought corrections to newtonian physics, we now need to be ready to make corrections to general relativity.

    Yet neither Einstein nor Planck could calculate Planck’s constant, a number that was simply pulled out of thin air. However, Frank Znidarsic, a modest electrical engineer, uses only Newtonian and Hamiltonian equations and results obtained from cold fusion and anti-gravity experiments to calculate Planck’s constant directly (among other things). Here’s the first in a 23(?)-part series that explains the theory and eventually the elegant mathematics:

    Michael says:
    May 14, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Does this supposed amount of Dark Matter/Dark Energy consider Plasma Physics- the most powerful effects (measurable in a laboratory) in the universe. Probably not. I only read the online content for Electric Sky- which suggests exotic sources of effects due to gravity such as Black Holes, Dark Matter are largely unnecessary to produce the structure of the universe.

    A demonstration of these, along with a theory called “Primer Fields” that supposedly eliminates the need for dark matter and black holes can be found in a fascinating yet unfinished series of videos starting here:

  54. First question, one that hasn’t been posed for too long a time: is Pi a whole number?

  55. Thank you Tomvonk for bringing some science to the discussion. I found both the article and most comments appalling. The mains constants of nature are not uncharted territory; to find even a small discrepancy in radioactive decay would be a major news, and are consequently tested all over the world, all the time. Yes we need to keep our minds open but as Carl Sagan said not so much that the brains fall off!

  56. Dark matter and galaxy rotation curves:

    Basically the outer stars of all galaxies rotate far too fast for the amount of known mass there. The further you get from the center, the slower should be the orbital speed, but, inexplicalby, after a certain point of charting speed vs distance from the center, the curve flattens out.

    Simplified curves are shown in Wiki article below, but some much better illustrations (curve overlaying galaxy pictures) are in Vera Rubin’s work, which I can’t find it now.

    The rotation speed (under our present knowledge) can only be accounted for by the presence of a huge amount of extra mass, hence ….. Dark Matter!

    Vera Rubin, by the way, thinks the physics is wrong!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy_rotation_curve

    Some more curves here: http://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Sept05/Sofue/Sofue4.html#4.2

  57. Johan i Kanada says:
    May 14, 2013 at 4:59 am

    I suggest amateurs should be somewhat careful questioning fundamental physics. Fundamental physics govern[s] simple grade 7 experiments in the same way as it governs more complex systems (like the climate). And any scientist worthy of that title will assure you that the beauty of science is that the more we know, the more we know that we do not know. (God does not play into this whatsoever he’s just an oversimplification of certain spurious correlations.)

    I assert atheists have more faith than God-fearing people. God-fearing people can attribute the universe and all its complexities to God the Creator; whereas honest atheists must recognize and rely on “magic”. I would like you to explain more about this “magic”.

  58. Greg Goodman says:
    May 14, 2013 at 2:51 am
    The whole dark matter / dark energy conundrum basically means there is something fundamentally wrong with our understanding of basic physics.
    ============
    The modified twin paradox and the mach principle argue strongly that gravity itself is the ether, and motion is absolute in respect to the ether. The standard twin paradox does not consider the case where the twin on earth is experiencing a constant 1 g acceleration and the twin traveling in the space ship also experiences constant 1 g acceleration on an elliptical path reaching say 0.8c before eventually returning to earth. If motion is truly relative then neither twin should age differently because they are both experiencing 1g of acceleration and there is nothing to say one twin is moving at 0.8c and the other is not. However, we would expect the twin in the space ship to age slower. This contradicts the notion that motion is relative.

    The Mach principle asks a simple question. Why do the stars stand still when we stand still and why do they move when we rotate? Does this not describe an absolute frame of reference? The Mach principle holds that the combined gravity of the universe forms an absolute frame of reference due to frame dragging, which appears to have been confirmed by Einstein in his letters to Mach. A body inside a hollow, rotating sphere would be dragged by the gravity of the sphere until it was rotating at the same speed as the sphere, giving the illusion that both the sphere and the object were standing still. However, this rotation would cause objects not dead center in the sphere to want to accelerate outwards due to centrifugal force towards the edge of the sphere, duplicating the effect that scientists currently call dark energy.

    What we call dark energy is centrifugal force on a massive scale, resulting from the absolute motion of the universe. We live inside a rotating hollow sphere and we are rotating with it.

  59. @- Rocky Road
    I would like you to explain more about this “magic”.

    Any sufficiently advanced science/tchnology looks like magic to the ignorant.

    It does the rep of WUWT no good at all, just confirms the suspiscions of the mainstream science crowd to report on crank science like this. The fact that there may be commercial enterprises trying to get money outof this proves nothing about the reliability of the ‘science’. There are still people willing to put money into cold fusion and zero point energy devices, much to the benefit of the promoters of that nonsense, but with no actual energy produced or used!

  60. one problem with centrifugal force explanation for dark energy is that it is limited to the plane of rotation, requiring that the universe be a sphere within a sphere within a sphere on to infinity. this suggests that our universe is not unique, but rather contained withing a larger universe.

  61. Thank you Willis. A most important & thought provoking article.

    Gro Harlem Brundtland, with Maurice Strong, is a principal architect of UN Agenda 21, the plot for global domination through one world govt, the forced reduction of world population by 93% according to the Georgia Greatstones, the abolition of private property including land, & the abolition of the family.

    A good introduction to these two characters & the UN Agenda 21 plan to the political level:

    http://www.mindsofliberty.com/2013/02/agenda-21-destroying-nations-and-working-for-world- government-under-the-guise-of-saving-the-planet/#sthash.7SmXwalW.dpbs

    An excellent expose to the commercial & banking levels, which I posted in for the mods to look at yesterday:

    http://www.thrivemovement.com/the_problem-gda

    Also, a video duration 2 hrs 12 mins & well worth it, showing medical & energy science suppressed for commercial & political reasons, & suggesting peaceful methods of protesting & derailing this murderous plot, a la Gandhi or Martin Luther King:

    http://www.thrivemovement.com/the_movie

    Real quality work by Foster Gamble of the Proctor & Gamble folk. He didn’t go over to the dark side. :)

    Gro Harlem Brundtland is more of an architect than a cheerleader Willis, as a 3 time prime minister of Norway, & long time Vice President of Socialist International, she is a rather formidable woman.

    Finally, for UK readers, the EU is part of the plot, & has been a pack of lies foisted on the British public since the 1960s. From McMillan to Cameron, a plan to surrender sovereignty. The depths of this evil plan are simply staggering:

    http://www.brugesgroup.com/mediacentre/?article=91#preface

    Last but not least, a site that is interested in UK Independence & wellbeing:

    http://www.ukcolumn.org

    Keep em coming.

    Regards,
    JD.

  62. “Truly. Nobody has a clue. It was first noticed in 2006, and to date we have no idea how the sun does it. But Purdue says it clearly, repeatably, and demonstrably works. When the sun changes, radioactive substances all over the world change their rate of decay.”

    It is obviously not the sun affecting the rate of decay but rather that the sun and the Earth are affected by the same field. As the Solar System wanders through that field and encounters ripples in it all nuclear reactions are affected.

    Similar to the “Slow Zone” and the “Beyond” in Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Beyond The Deep.

  63. izen says:
    May 14, 2013 at 5:49 am
    “It does the rep of WUWT no good at all, just confirms the suspiscions of the mainstream science crowd to report on crank science like this.”

    Attempts at censorship by a lousy concern troll. Go away.

  64. ken nohe says:
    May 14, 2013 at 5:29 am
    “Yes we need to keep our minds open but as Carl Sagan said not so much that the brains fall off!”

    says a Carl Sagan, premier proponent of the worst computer model of the Earth ever that he used to “prove” his nuclear winter conjecture…

  65. If changes in the Sun can alter radioactive decay rates, how would that affect Carbon Dating? I hate to mention it but the likes of Kent Hovind (aka Dr Dino) have been claiming for many years that Carbon Dating is flawed, that the rate of decay is not constant and therefore cannot be used to rule out a 6000 year old Earth.

    Now please don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming that the Earth was created 6000 years ago. I am just saying that they have been saying that the rate is not constant, and have been dismissed out-of-hand, yet here we are discussing that very thing. Funny old world.

  66. I agree with Tom Vonk above, but I lack his apparent depth of knowledge of physics.

    I’m a Purdue engineering graduate from a half century ago, but have never considered Purdue as a likely source for major physics breakthroughs. Pretty good for training us engineers though.

    I suspect Lubos Motl will shred this result on his blog if it comes to his attention. As with Greeks and gifts, it’s best to avoid amateur physicists bearing revolutionary theories.

  67. Fishbach has a history of claiming tiny new effects that violate known physics. In the late 1980s he was finding evidence for a fifth force, even weaker than gravity. This was in addition to the four known forces: strong, electromagnetic, weak, and gravity. Sprinkle salt on page while reading.

    “Introduction to the Fifth Force.” E. Fischbach and C. Talmadge, in 5th Force – Neutrino Physics, Proceedings of the XXIIIrd Rencontre de Moriond, Les Arcs, France, 23-30 January, 1988, edited by O. Fackler and J. Tran Thanh Van (Editions Fronti`eres, Gif-sur-Yvette, 1988), pp. 369-382.

  68. Re radioactive decay.

    I’ll throw a “wild-ass-guess” into the mix… the universe is full of dark matter and dark energy, which exert “pressure” on our particles. Generally it’s constant. Lets assert that the solar flare produces a spike in energy that pushes back on that pressure for a short time, making it easier (ie. more likely) for the particles to overcome the nuclear forces that keep the radioactive particles bound.

    The result would be that during a flare, radioactivity increases.

  69. I don’t think that the sun rules the climate, and I’m not discussing the sun for that reason. I’m not one of the “It’s the sun, stupid” folks.

    But, but…

    block out the sun (maybe put the moon in between the sun and Earth) and what happens? The area in the sun’s shadow becomes measurably cooler.

    While the sun may not “rule” the climate while it is relatively stable, even small fluctuations in it will produce a measureable change.

    I agree – it isn’t only the sun, but virtually all of the other climate effects certainly feed off of the sun do they not?

    Sorry, don’t mean to derail the topic, but I believe we must be careful to not underestimate the sun’s effects.

  70. @- DirkH
    “Attempts at censorship by a lousy concern troll. Go away.”

    Okay, you are right, reporting crank science is not really a concern for WUWT. Its reputation amongst the mainstream science community is not going to drop any lower as a result.
    It cant.

  71. Think about the way a Geiger-Muller detector works. A thin wire in the center of a small diameter tube with a high voltage charge from the wire to the tube. When ionizing radiation passes through the tube, a gas molecule is ionized (an electron is “released”) and a discharge takes place. This causes a drop in voltage which is counted.
    When I was in the Navy I built a relaxation oscillator from a standard neon lamp (like you see in a pilot light or signal light or even some of the more common, orangish colored, night lights) a capacitor, resistor and a 90 volt battery. After playing around with the capacitor and resistor, I got it to flash at exactly 60 times per minute. I was a Nuclear operator and wondered if it would do the same thing as the Geiger-Muller detector. So I placed it as close as I was allowed to get to the reactor. The lamp flashed faster, and the rate also depended upon the power level of the reactor. Although the radiation level was not strong enough to cause continuous discharge of the lamp, the radiation level was changing the level at which the lamp discharged, and thus the frequency of the flashes.
    Using this as a basis, here are my thoughts on why an atom will change its decay rate. We still have no clear idea how magnetism works. Yes there are theories, but just that – Theories. Is it possible that when the magnetic flux level from the Sun changes it will also change the energy needed or the level at which an atom decays? Photons, radiowaves, etc. are all “electromagnetic” waves. Is magnetism just another form of an electromagnet wave? Does it influence the behavior of an atom similar to the ionizing particle whizzing past it in the Geiger-Muller tube? This is something that could easily be tested by placing a radioactive source in the field of a supercollider magnet and measuring the decay rate.

  72. 1. The missing mass / dark matter issue dates back to the 1930s and Fritz Zwicky. He used the Virial Theorem to show that clusters of galaxies were unstable, based on the Eddington mass-luminosity rule. Vera Rubin found a similar discrepancy when it became possible to do velocity spectra for the arms of spiral galaxies. As one astronomer quipped; the only problem is that our rules are off by 10^110 power. The dark matter / dark energy postulates just replace one puzzle with another one.
    2. The carbon 14 dating was shown long ago to be variable. Questions about relative ages of henges (early observatories) were seriously contradictory. When correlations were done with dendrochronology (tree rings), the discrepancies are obvious. The current theory is that atmospheric carbon 14 production varies with cosmic radiation, but how would you check for cosmic ray variation? There are serious discussions going on now about where cosmic rays come from.
    3. What IS going on in the far reaches of the universe? Is the fine structure constant not constant? How come the red shift / luminosity ratio does not seem to be constant? These are big questions, and there is little agreement thus far about any answers.This has only recently become an issue, as our ability to detect supernovas in exceedingly distant galaxies has blossomed with new technology.
    4. Are we seeing what we think we are seeing? Look at any of the Hubble Deep Field images and tell me what you think.
    5. In the last 100 years, science has been far better at providing new questions than providing new answers, that is for certain!

  73. If you want to change the “NATURAL rate of radioactive decay”, you build a nuclear bomb or a nuclear power plant. These tend to accelerate the NATURAL rate.

    Extreme UV from the Sun enters the upper atmosphere; the “almost cosmic rays” disrupt atoms freeing neutrons. The neutrons enter the radioactive elements that we measure. Guess what, a speed up of NATURAL radioactivity.

  74. Thingadonta said:

    “My first thought, is that since nearly all the matter in the earth originally comes from the sun (apart from a few stray comets), the matter in the earth and the matter in the sun are possibly connected in some way at the subatomic level, like the ‘action at a spooky distance’ that occurs in quantum mechanics”

    My understanding is that the sun primarily produces helium from its beginning until now. More aged stars (red giants, for example) produce the other lighter elements, and then the heavier elements require a supernova. I don’t think the sun produced much of any of the matter of Earth, although most everything in our solar system perhaps came from the same gas and dust cloud produced from earlier star deaths.

  75. Thanks Willis, way cool! What we don’t know is more interesting than what we do. It is easy to forget how little we do know, when we suffer the delusion of being in control of our destinies.

  76. This is another case of constants that vary, even though scientists tell us they are constant. I was just watching Rupert Sheldrake’s TED Talks presentation, in which he recounts how he found this via the British Museum that the speed of light varied between 1928 and 1945, and how he took that finding to the head of the British Metrology panel. He also points out (without discussion) that Big G – the gravitational constant, also varied by 1.3%.

    The YouTube is at

    Steve Garcia

  77. Fred Berple,

    You wrote “The standard twin paradox does not consider the case where the twin on earth is experiencing a constant 1 g acceleration and the twin traveling in the space ship also experiences constant 1 g acceleration on an elliptical path reaching say 0.8c before eventually returning to earth.”

    I am unsure whether you are implying that the twin on Earth is experience 1 g of acceleration due to the Earths gravity alone, and therefore this is equivalent to accelerating at 1 g in a space ship. Are you saying that if you take this equivalence into account, both twins should be of the same age?

    You would be wrong to do so, because you have failed to see where symmetry is broken. The best way to examine the situation is if each twin could observe the clock ticking on the other twins reference frame. Let us accept a priori that when the reference frames are moving apart they observe each others clocks ticking slow relative to their own, and when they are approaching, the clocks appear to be ticking faster.

    As the space traveller moves away, each twin observes the other twins clock ticking slower. So far, both frames are symmetrical. Now imagine the space traveller has reached his destination and stops before turning around. The space traveller immediately sees the earth twins clock now ticking at the same rate as his own. However, the light from the space ship will take time to reach the earth – say x years. Until that light reaches the earth, the earth bound twin still sees the space traveller as moving on the outward journey, and his clock moving slower.

    The symmetry is broken, since the earth twin sees the space travellers clock ticking slower for longer than the space traveller sees the earth twins clock ticking slower. By the same reasoning, on the return journey, the space traveller sees the earth twins clock tick faster immediately he starts moving, but the earth twin won’t see the space travellers clock tick faster until the light has reached him. Overall, by the time the space traveller has return to earth, he has seen the earth twins clock tick faster for a greater part of the time he was away, and the earth twin has seen the travellers clock tick slower for longer. It must be that when they come together, the space traveller is indeed younger.

    It is important to realise that gravity and acceleration is not needed (and is irrelevant) to the discussion of time dilation and the twin paradox. It is only relative motion that matters and is a logical inference from the finite and constant speed of light.

  78. @ TomVonk

    Your attack against Willis is unwarranted. WUWT is a most welcome and largely open science discussion forum. Posters, readers and commenters come from a wide range of experience, providing a much needed MULTI-DISCIPLINE perspective. We all welcome constructive additions to an uplifting dialogue for us all.

    “It is known what the beta decay depends on – it is the coupling constant for weak interaction….and….this coupling constant varies slightly with energy”

    IF A CONSTANT VARIES…IT IS NOT A CONSTANT. The fact that ONE parameter is known to effect decay rates, should compel the curious to question that we have adequately examined ALL of the factors that cause the decay rate changes. Many reject the “all knowing” aspect of a wide range of “settled science”, including decay rate and decay BY-PRODUCT ELEMENTAL ATOM RATIOS. Wiki lists twelve “daughter” atoms from Uranium decay, but is this the limit under ALL conditions ? ? ?

    In the pie chart on matter, note that stars are claimed to be only 0.4% of the total matter and that gas and DARK matter compose 26.6% in the big bang model. It is curious that this large amount of fictional matter does not block light from the presumed edge of the Universe, now approaching 14 billion years. Even the “father” of the big bang rejected this fable…see, “Mysterious Dr X Says Universe Is NOT Expanding” at Canada Free Press. We have many gilded ox to gore.

  79. Great article! Just one more proof that whenever we accept that “the science is settled” we step away from science and step into the realm of religous fervor. To me, a clue is whenever observational data does not fit our present concepts of how things work and we are required to make up new “things” to fit the data, we may want to question if our concepts might be missing something. Dark matter and dark energy visa vi our understanding of gravity are an excellent example.

    Where is Dr. Leif on this solar finding? Perhaps delayed at the altar of existing accepted theory? I await a zinger from His Nibbs.

  80. Thanks TomVonk

    “So we have something like the sensationnal announce a year ago that neutrinos emitted in Geneva and captured in Italy were travelling faster than light. Unprecedented, ground breaki ng, Einstein was wrong etc etc. Of course it was shown later that the measure was an artifact.
    This sun- beta decay correlation is for me (in that order)
    – an artifact
    – a real phenomenon that has nothing to do with the Sun itself (and even less with the hypothetical dark matter)
    – a fake

    ###########

    it is a good thing that TomVonk and other scientists do not follow Poppers rules or Feynman rules.

    When an observation conflicts with theory you have 3 choices, not 1.

    A) question your data
    B) modify your theory
    C) Toss the theory

    And you will only do C if you have a viable replacement that explains as much as Theory C

  81. From the particle accelerators above the clouds article, “The zone above thunderstorms has been a suspected natural particle accelerator since the Scottish physicist and Nobel Prize winner Charles Thomson Rees Wilson speculated about lightning discharges above these storms in 1925.”

    This article (which talks about sprites) is a bit of a surprise, since when sprites were seen about 15-10 years ago they were seen as a surprise at that time. The writing is ambiguous: Did Wilson speculate on the lightning discharges POSSIBLY existing? Or was he aware that the sprites existed and then speculated on the natural particle accelerator being the cause? Either way he got it pretty much right.

    Steve Garcia

  82. Joseph A Olson says: May 14, 2013 at 8:26 am

    In the pie chart on matter, note that stars are claimed to be only 0.4% of the total matter and that gas and DARK matter compose 26.6% in the big bang model. It is curious that this large amount of fictional matter does not block light from the presumed edge of the Universe, now approaching 14 billion years. Even the “father” of the big bang rejected this fable…see, “Mysterious Dr X Says Universe Is NOT Expanding” at Canada Free Press. We have many gilded ox to gore.

    Interesting to note that dust is theorized to produce a red shift – so perhaps that is really what we see in our ‘expanding universe’?

    Redshift by cosmic dust supports the death of the Big Bang Theory

    The death of the Big Bang Theory predicted by Zwicky in 1929 and proclaimed by Marmet 20 years ago is supported today by QED induced redshift of galaxy light in cosmic dust that negate Hubble’s expanding Universe based Doppler shift…

    http://www.prlog.org/10568265-redshift-by-cosmic-dust-supports-the-death-of-the-big-bang-theory.html

  83. TFN Johnson says:
    May 14, 2013 at 12:34 am

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.

    In Shakespeare’s time ‘philosophy’ meant roughly what we mean by ‘religion’ today. So try saying the famous quote, changing ‘your philosophy’ to ‘your religion’, emphasising ‘religion’ rather than ‘your’. It helps to change from ‘your to ‘yr’.
    It was a bold thing to say then, but subsequently has been interpreted merely as a comment on Horatio’s limitations.

    Regards, TFN. In Shakespeare’s time, “religion” meant roughly what we mean by “religion” today. If Shakespeare used another word, I’m assuming that’s not accidental, and thus if he’d meant “religion” he would have said so …

    w.

  84. This calls for an experiment.

    1. Fine tune the methodologies for measuring and recording the rates of change of radioactive decay.
    2. Conduct parallel experiments on Earth and Mars to determine if distance affects the effect.

    Mars is about 4 light minutes further from the Sun so you have to do a really good job on Part 1 before you attempt Part 2.

    If the effect is delayed by about 4 minutes on Mars then you will know it is an effect the energy flux from the Sun. If the effect is simultaneous then you will have something much more interesting.

  85. @Vince

    “Now imagine the space traveller has reached his destination and stops before turning around.”
    “It is important to realise that gravity and acceleration is not needed…”

    How does one stop and turn around without acceleration?

  86. johnmarshall says:
    May 14, 2013 at 2:20 am

    If the sun does not ”rule” climate then where does the heat come from to run climate. It may not be the major driver, there are clearly minor drivers not from the sun, but it the only source of heat.

    Thanks, John. Think of it as a car with cruise control, going down the road at sixty miles an hour. Despite the fact that the heat clearly comes from the gasoline, the gasoline isn’t controlling the speed … the cruise control is doing that.

    Similarly, although the heat in the climate system clearly comes from the sun, it’s not controlling the temperature … the interlocking thermostatic mechanisms are doing that.

    All the best,

    w.

  87. Willis: I think you might find this paper “interesting”, and stimulating. I know Dr. Oriani. A distinguished Electrochemist, over 300 publications (back when it meant something, and peer review was helpful, not just enforcing of orthadoxy!)…a couple of Textbooks on electrochemistry and corrosion. Head of the “corrosion research department” (a sub-division of the ChemE department, at the U of MN for almost 30 years).

    http://iccf9.global.tsinghua.edu.cn/lenr%20home%20page/acrobat/OrianiRAenergeticc.pdf

    Suffice it to say, there is NO KNOWN source of Alpha bursts which would cause the tracks seen on his CR-39.

    Hope you find that enlightening. Might even connect with the Antimatter and Gamma rays from T.Storms observations.

  88. TomVonk says:
    May 14, 2013 at 4:45 am

    “That’s because like some posters already wrote, you are talking about things that are FAR above your head.”

    Tom it appears that your brilliance equals your condescending attitude. The hypothesis is that brilliance minus condescending attitude equals less professional respect. In other words, you can disagree like a true professional or just be peevish expressing your exceptional knowledge.

  89. I just finished the article, and all the comments up to this point.

    Dudes! Thanks for the entertaining start to the day. Excuse me, now, while I take Willis’ advice and “go figure”.

  90. izen says:
    May 14, 2013 at 3:43 am

    New age woo strikes again!

    Indeed, see your wooful claims, viz:

    The amount of energy added to the climate system is increasing.

    And you know this how? How are you determining that e.g. the energy added is increasing, rather than claiming that the energy lost is increasing? Or perhaps in and out are staying the same, but the internal working of the system have shifted? You are just spouting comforting words, without anything underlying them but your woo …

    The increasing CO2 causes the increase in energy.

    Again, you don’t have a scrap of data to show this is true, to show that CO2 is the causative agent. And given the paltry showing of the last decade and a half of flat temperatures, you are fast losing even any correlation, much less causation.

    Our civilisation is based on very stable climate sustaining an agricultural infrastructure.

    Actually, our civilization has already survived many significant climate changes, and will no doubt survive many more. In particular, the BEST temperature data says the land temperature went up two degrees in the last two centuries … and that’s the amount that is supposed to be hugely dangerous.

    So we’ve just survived what alarmists describe as huge climate change with basically positive results and no catastrophes, and thus your claim is very obviously falsified.

    There’s some “new age woo” for you, izen … and it’s all yours.

    w.

  91. Max™ says:
    May 14, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Willis, pair-production places a lower bound on those thunderstorm gamma rays if they are producing antimatter, electron+positron masses or greater.

    Not sure what that means, but it seems clear that thunderstorms are indeed generating antimatter …

    w.

  92. You’ve missed several things out of your pie chart (helpfully labelled “figure 1″).

    Pixie dust accounts for 3.4% of the mass of the universe.
    Unicorn’s farts account for another 0.2%.

    Let’s face it, the scientists don’t have much of a clue what’s going on. Theory and observation don’t match up. So the answer, at the moment, is that the observations must be wrong. So there’s lots of dark, invisible stuff theorised to fill up the gap.

    When it comes to astrophysics, I don’t really care that they talk cr*p. I don’t really care that they drip hubris. It doesn’t really cost me. Unfortunately, this kind of egoistic make-believe has transferred to a branch of science that demands changes to my life-style.

  93. “It’s doing about as well as consensus science ever does, meaning it’s right until it’s wrong, and in neither case does it affect the truth on the ground.”

    Well, Willis, science is not the search for the truth about nature; it is the attempt to interpret nature. Science, then, is a collection of interpretations, not the reality itself. If you look back in the textbooks 125 years (I have to some extent), you will find that the certainty/consensus then was every bit as high as it is now. That was, after all, the period when a US Congressman wanted to eliminate the US Patent Office because everything that needed inventing had already been invented. Brain dead? Certainly. We now know that a VERY sizable portion of what the interpretations 125 years ago were wrong.

    It is the certainty about us knowing all the Big Stuff – thinking that pervades science today – that is a claim by scientists that is as wrong as 125 years ago, and as wrong as religious ideas were all along.

    The framework of Gradualism/Uniformitarianism is pervasive in science today. Yet 30 years ago paleontologist Stephen J Gould had to address the fact that the vast majority of evolution occurred during momentary surges such as the Cambrian Explosion. In between the explosions of species almost nothing happened. The evidence on the ground conflicted with Darwinian evolution almost before Darwin had personally evolved into ashes and dust. The Gradualism had to be “adjusted”, and Gould called the adjustment “Punctuated Equilibrium” (PE). It meant that Gradualism is the normal static state, but when change comes it comes with a bang.

    Many biologists and paleontologists still adhere to the pre-PE viewpoint, even though there is much evidence arguing against them. They still try to use what I call a “paradigm crowbar” to fit the inconvenient facts into Gradualism.

    Similarly, the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (referred to as the YDB, for YD boundary, which is considered to be the very beginning of the Holocene, the present geological age) is a punctuation in both natural history and the history of man, if found to be true (which seems to be increasingly probable). The YDB interprets the evidence to read that at about 12,900 years ago a large comet or meteor impacted in North America, likely on top of the Laurentian Ice Sheet, and causing an extinction event of both Clovis Man and 33 types of megafauna in North America, including the mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers.

    The YDB event was not something anyone went out to find; it just fell out from of the evidence. The lead author of the YDB is nuclear scientist Rick Firestone of Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, wasn’t looking for an impact event, but was only trying to explain some weird variations (non constants, btw) in the “constant” value of C14 decay. He ended up looking along two avenues: supernovas and impact events, both of which are known to affect radioactive decay. Upon recruiting other scientists from other disciplines, they found enough evidence to conclude that a YDB event was likely, and then went out to find out what further evidence could be found. They found in the sediments – right at the point where they suspected something happened – a previously ignored “black mat” layer in the sediments. The black mat has since become a notorious battleground between Gradualist thinkers on one side and what must be called Catastrophsists or Punctualists on the other side. The black mat showed spikes in what are normally seen as impact indicators – hexagonal nanodiamonds, He3, Iridium. carbon spherules, Platinum family elements, and more.

    It is ironic that the black mat has become a battleground, because a similar (and the only other) layer, one with elevated levels of Iridium, was determined to be strong evidence for the dinosaur killer comet/meteor of 65 million years ago. One would have thought they would have noticed the black mat higher up, somewhere in the world, and begun to ask, “Does this one also indicate an impact event?”

    Literally, the “truth on the ground” led some researchers to a new interpretation, one that was not even on the horizon 15 years ago. Even when the evidence is right under our noses and – literally – IN the ground, it can be overlooked by researchers who are lacking the imagination or perspective that might raise an eyebrow.

    Science keeps finding reasons for punctualizing evolution and Gradualism in general. This makes Gradualism a good science for static periods but a poor interpretation for big events.

    It also makes Gradualism itself a punctuated equilibrium. I was never a great fan of Stephen J Gould, but in recent years I’ve learned to appreciate him more and more.

    BTW:
    The YDB is still a controversial subject. So much so that Wikipedia has an editor who constantly erases any references to it that are not in keeping with HIS viewpoint. Wikipedia refuses to do anything about it. Anthony and others here will be familiar with that sort of bias at Wikipedia. The YDB will remain a controversial subject until a crater is found – which may be impossible because of the miles-thick ice sheets that covered N.A. and was likely where the impact occurred. Yet, independent researchers continue to find large amounts of supporting evidence/data. The skeptics on that “catastrophic” subject are – in an ironic reversal – are the consensus folks.

    Steve Garcia

    P.S. IMHO, the principle of Punctuated Equilibrium will one day become the overarching paradigm in all of the natural sciences, one that says that while Gradualism rules for vast tracts of time, events DO happen that change many things, and then Gradualism rules again for another vast tract of time – but with many things changed. Perhaps, at that time, when a punctuation is proposed the skepticism will be less intransigent.

  94. We had a long thread about “Thunderstorms generating antimatter” some long time ago. I don’t know that anyone ever answered my question at that time, but I’ll ask it again.

    There is bound to be some background level of matter/antimatter annihilation around us all the time. The annihilation of electrons with positrons produces the gamma rays, which are indirect evidence of antimatter. The measured level of gamma radiation coming from thunderstorms, at the time of our last thread, was very small. To prove it not being the result of background events one ought to monitor thunderstorm free regions of the atmosphere and show that the level of gamma ray production is much lower than that found in thunderstorms. Has anyone done this and published the results?

    It seems far fetched to say that this natural particle accelerator can start down in the troposphere. Particle accelerators require very high vacuum in order to work. Without high vacuum the accelerated particles, ions and electrons, lose energy repeatedly and rapidly in collisions with nearby particles. What results is something that must appear a lot like–lightning. Maybe it is lightning. At any rate it is a lousy accelerator that operates in the normal vacuum found even as high as the mesosphere.

  95. TomVonk says:
    May 14, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Willis

    I’ve had no success trying to establish the amount of energy in one of these terrestrial gamma-ray bursts, no clue

    That’s because like some posters already wrote, you are talking about things that are FAR above your head.

    You know, Tom, I didn’t read one word further than that. That kind of arrogance and puffed-up self-importance goes straight in the trash in my world.

    It might be true that it’s FAR over my head, but when a gentleman like you comes along acting like that?

    Directly into the circular file, I didn’t even read it.

    You’re a smart guy, Tom, and I may be missing the scientific news of the century, but that’s OK—I’ll get it from someone else.

    I’m happy to get schooled in any of this, and I make no bones about my lack of a proper education. I’m totally self-educated in science, other than Physics 101 and Chem 101 that I took 45 years ago.

    But if you want your message to get across in this forum, let me suggest that you leave out the patronizing patriarchal insults.

    Thanks,

    w.

    PS—After re-reading this, I thought “Maybe I’m being too hard on Tom”. So I went back and read your whole post. And after reading the whole post, I still didn’t find out the answer to the question that you think is so trivial …

    So in short, you’re quite happy to abuse me for not knowing the answer to a question, but you didn’t answer it either. It was a simple question, too—how much energy is lost through the gamma-ray bursts and the resulting generation of antimatter?

    Or for that matter, how much energy is lost by the natural particle accelerators blasting into the upper atmosphere and outwards?

    Looks like my first inclination was the right one. I missed nothing by putting it into the circular file. You didn’t answer the question, and you find the Purdue results unbelievable … so?

    I’m not claiming that the Purdue finding about the sun affecting radiation won’t be overturned, Tom, that’s the nature of science … but it won’t be overturned by your taking time out of your busy schedule to insult me, while not answering my question and providing nothing else to support your claim other than your incredulity.

    Because in an incredible world where thunderstorms can form particle accelerators that blast clear to outer space, I fear that your incredulity doesn’t impress me much …

  96. Johan i Kanada says:
    May 14, 2013 at 4:59 am

    I suggest amateurs should be somewhat careful questioning fundamental physics.

    I suggest you are misplacing your suggestion.

    I am an amateur scientist, and quite proud of that. However, I am merely reporting the results of several years of work by the scientists at Purdue. If you have a beef with their claims and ideas, you should take it up with them.

    Please report back their response to your claim that they are “amateurs”, I’m interested to see what they might say.

    w.

  97. Simply put, Willis, if a photon produces antimatter, it had to have at least as much energy as the mass of an electron plus a positron, which sets a lower bound for the energy output of this phenomenon.

    I gotta agree with the general mood about the electric universe junk showing up, only a matter of time before that starts devolving into full on anti-relativity bs.

    We still have no clear idea how magnetism works. ~OldNuc

    >.>

    Magnetism is an exchange of virtual photons, photons have momentum, add momentum to one side of an object, take it away from the other, what happens?

    When scientists use the term “theory”, they mean “an explanation of some phenomenon which has survived rigorous experimental testing without falsification”, not “some random stuff I thought sounded right”, as it is so often used elsewhere.

    General Relativity is a framework which provides mathematical support, predictive power, and experimentally testable concepts. It has been tested in numerous fashions for most of the last century, it has yet to be falsified, so we say that it is a successful theory of gravity.

    Similarly with Quantum Electrodynamics and more and more so with Quantum Chromodynamics, both of which deal with interactions within what is commonly known as the Standard Model of Particle Physics, of which we recently had yet another experimental test of a prediction.

    The finding of a particle fitting the properties and mass of the Higgs was boring for many, yet another confirmation of a very successful theory, but also a blow to those hoping for some exciting signs of new physics to investigate and discover. They may yet be there to find, but opening that last door to find a well made bed with a well behaved Higgs snoozing away means we’ll have to work that much harder to knock down a wall and make a new door or something.

    Walking in on a Higgs being strangled by supersymmetric particles, now THAT would be exciting!

    • Max says:

      > Magnetism is an exchange of virtual photons, photons have momentum, add momentum to one side of an object, take it away from the other, what happens?
      >
      > When scientists use the term “theory”, they mean “an explanation of some phenomenon which has survived rigorous experimental testing without falsification”, not “some random stuff I thought sounded right”, as it is so often used elsewhere.

      Priceless. Do you truly fail to see how ridiculous this sounds? Virtual photons are suddenly real, have momentum, and explain magnetism. Cool. Everything you really wanted to know about magnetism.

  98. re Ken wotsisname and Izen…………………….BESIDE THE FREACKING POINT!

    If you actually READ the article, you’ll see that whether the phenomenon occurs or not is utterly beside the point being made.

    All the same, this underlines my view that the better illustration of the fallacy of validity by consensus in science is that of Semmelweis. No scientist today can deny he was right. But almost every scientist in his lifetime did deny he was right, ultimately leading to his incarceration in a looney bin. Moreover Semmelweiss was not right by chance, but because he tested his hypothesis with large scale experiments priducing unequivocal data which the consensus crowd chose simply to ignore because it did not suit them. Ultimately, they didnt want to make the effort of washing their hands before clinical procedures. Untold numbers died as a result. This consensus persisted for many years.

    Coming on here whining like little dweebs about “kwank thwience” wont change history.

  99. Johan i Kanada says:
    May 14, 2013 at 4:59 am

    I suggest amateurs should be somewhat careful questioning fundamental physics.

    Johan, in case you want to contact these “amateurs” and set them straight, here are their names from the Purdue press release:

    Since then, researchers have been examining similar variation in decay rates before solar flares, as well as those resulting from Earth’s orbit around the sun and changes in solar rotation and activity. The new findings appeared online last week in the journal Astroparticle Physics.

    “It’s the first time the same isotope has been used in two different experiments at two different labs, and it showed basically the same effect,” Fischbach said. The paper was authored by Jenkins and Fischbach; Ohio State University researchers Kevin R. Herminghuysen, Thomas E. Blue, Andrew C. Kauffman and Joseph W. Talnagi; U.S. Air Force researcher Daniel Javorsek; Mayo Clinic researcher Daniel W. Mundy; and Stanford University researcher Peter A. Sturrock.

    Or you and Tom Vonk could express your disdain directly to the journal involved, Astroparticle Physics, you can tell them they are amateurs and he can explain how it’s FAR above their heads …

    Finally, let me remind people why I am reporting this finding. It’s not because I “believe” it—clearly it is tentative and it might be overturned tomorrow. That’s how science works.

    I brought it up for another reason. From my head post:

    I bring up this question of the sun affecting the rate of radioactive decay for one reason—to highlight just how much we don’t know about this marvelous, mysterious infinity that surrounds us.

    w.

  100. Max™ says:
    May 14, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Simply put, Willis, if a photon produces antimatter, it had to have at least as much energy as the mass of an electron plus a positron, which sets a lower bound for the energy output of this phenomenon.

    Simply put, Max, that’s the second time you haven’t answered the question—how much energy is released in a terrestrial gamma-ray burst? Less posturing and more answers, please.

    I gotta agree with the general mood about the electric universe junk showing up, only a matter of time before that starts devolving into full on anti-relativity bs.

    Perhaps if you were to quote or otherwise specify what you are vaguely referring to as “electric universe junk”, the rest of us could understand what you are mumbling about. Until then, it’s just hand-waving.

    I’ve reported on three different phenomena, all of which (as far as I can tell) are real—an effect of the sun on radioactive decay rates, the formation of natural particle accelerators by thunderstorms, and the production of antimatter by gamma-ray bursts. I have no idea if you are talking about any one of these, all of them, or something else entirely.

    Finally, the climate has a large and very poorly understood electrical component, particularly involving thunderstorms. Handwaving away the effect of electricity when the subject is thunderstorms? Sorry, that won’t wash even if you call it names like “electric universe junk”. For example, it has recently been shown that many of the small particles carried aloft by thunderstorms are moved by the electric field in addition to the ascending air, and thus reach much higher altitudes than they would without it … and that is not “electric universe junk”, it’s essential to understanding how the climate works.

    w.

  101. Brilliant TomVonk: This is not an article about how much we know, but about how much we don’t know. I agree with you that a radioactive decay – described as a quantum tunneling effect – should happen at a constant rate, determined only by laws of quantum physics. That is, assuming that a particle in a potential well does not interact with anything. Is this always the case?

    We assume that billions of neutrinos are constantly bombarding us, and also nuclei of beta-radioactive elements. Very little is known about neutrino interactions – or neutrinos themselves. For almost all we know the neutrino mass may be zero; the simplest way to explain “neutrino oscillation” is to postulate that it is not zero.

    Can you guarantee that the rate of beta decay must be constant in this real world?

  102. NotARealClimateScientist says:
    May 14, 2013 at 9:23 am
    @Vince

    “Now imagine the space traveller has reached his destination and stops before turning around.”
    “It is important to realise that gravity and acceleration is not needed…”

    How does one stop and turn around without acceleration?
    ======================================================
    Well yes, as is often the case in flying out a reply on a blog, words are not carefully enough thought through.

    What I am trying to say, is that one does not need to involve acceleration into any equations to understand time dilation, which can be deduced from special relativity alone.

    I agree entirely – it is the body that has undergone acceleration that experiences time dilation. What I was getting at, was the post by Fred Berple who appeared to be implying that because the earth bound twin also undergoes an acceleration due to gravity, then there should be no way of distinguishing which twin undergoes time dilation (if I have misunderstood Fred, my apologies).

    I was trying to convey to the reader, how symmetry is broken in this twin paradox. And it is because when the space traveler stops, they do not both see each others clocks change tick rates at the same time. The one who stops sees his twin’s clock stop immediately, but the one who does not stop (ie earth bound), does not see the twins clock change until the light has traveled that distance to reach him.

    Regards

    VC

  103. The thing I really like about the mechanism, about the way that the sun is able to influence the rate of radioactive decay, is that we don’t have any idea what it is or how it works.

    Very good.

  104. Lance Wallace,

    I am glad you liked Simon’s talk. I am not sure whether he is happy or frustrated, but I know he finds satisfaction in having proved to himself that those utterly bizarre results were not his errors. He just tried to be a good student, but failed: good students do what they are told and ignore that insignificant fluff. His own mentor’s advice was: “Make fewer measurements, and you’ll have fewer problems!”

    > His cycles seem to be more related to the sidereal day (23 h 56 m) than the solar day, which causes him to think of the space-time continuum being anisotropic, rather than thinking of purely solar influence.

    In fact, he sees both, as well as many longer periods. He told me that in some lab set-ups, sunrise or moonrise make the instruments go mad, like in a quake. So will sunset, moonset or new moon. Historically, the sidereal day period was not the first to be discovered. They found it fairly recently when they started doing massive experiments with fast automated sampling.

    > I wonder if the Jenkins-Sturrock group can measure precisely enough to differentiate a 24-h day from a 23 h 56 m day.

    I can’t see why not, unless they use so little radioactive material that their events become too rare. On the surface of it, it looks like one of Simon’s early experiments. They have either not heard of him or simply wanted an independent verification.

    I have just found that a translated version of Simon’s book has just been published last year. The translation was done by non-specialists, so bits of it may sound strange, but it’s great that it exists the way it is:

    http://ptep-online.com/index_files/books_files/shnoll2012.pdf

    Chapters 5 and 6 show the data for circadian periods, but you may need to glance at the leading chapters to understand the meaning of those graphs.

  105. it is a good thing that TomVonk and other scientists do not follow Poppers rules or Feynman rules.

    When an observation conflicts with theory you have 3 choices, not 1.
    A) question your data
    B) modify your theory
    C) Toss the theory

    And you will only do C if you have a viable replacement that explains as much as Theory C

    When Feynman made the flat, terse pronouncement that “the key to science” is that when theory conflicts with observation, “it’s wrong” (wrong being the theory), he was obviously doing so for the dramatic effect he so loved. To think that Richard Feynman, in actual practice, would have neglected A & B before going on to C is naive in the extreme; ditto for Popper and his rule of falsification. Also, I don’t see why it should be necessary to have a “viable replacement” theory before tossing a shaky theory.

    Tom Vonks’ assertion that

    This sun- beta decay correlation is for me (in that order)
    – an artifact
    – a real phenomenon that has nothing to do with the Sun itself (and even less with the hypothetical dark matter)
    – a fake

    while omitting the obvious first possibility – that creditable researchers discovered a real phenomena which is driven by the sun – is bizarre.

  106. Lance Wallace: The fact that all these articles seem to have the same three authors (Jenkins, Fischbach, Sturrock) reminds me a bit of Fleischman and Pons.

    Clearly, it isn’t a reliable phenomenon until other labs have shown it so. However, the fact that no mechanism is known is not a compelling argument. Lots of relationships have been discovered prior to their mechanisms being discovered: think how much time passed before there was an adequate explanation of radioactive decay itself. Even now the understanding is insufficient to predict when a particular atom will decay.

  107. It is a widely believed myth that nuclear decay rates are not affected by anything. The atom bomb is the most obvious proof that the rate can be accelerated quite dramatically. Nuclear reactors are a common and more mild example.

  108. johnmarshall says:
    May 14, 2013 at 2:20 am

    If the sun does not ”rule” climate then where does the heat come from to run climate. It may not be the major driver, there are clearly minor drivers not from the sun, but it the only source of heat. Also since we still do not understand all solar output influences on the climate how can you make that statement?
    Perhaps radioactive decay can be changed by solar nutrino output and varying this changes the decay rates. First catch your nutrino.
    —————————————————————-
    This. Solar neutrino rates appear to be variable. Neutrinos ONLY interact via the weak force. Radioactive decay is via the weak force.

  109. Willis:

    The cosmic rays strip off electrons from air molecules and these electrons are accelerated upwards by the electric field of the lightning discharge. The free electrons and the lightning electric field then make up a natural particle accelerator.

    A few years ago, a physicist friend told me that the latest thinking on lightning is that it is actually facilitated by cosmic rays: Air is a very good insulator, so much so that physicists struggled for quite a while to develop a reasonable theory for lightning propagation, until the idea was hit upon that cosmic rays actually create a path of highly conductive ionized air (and since cosmic rays branch out endlessly through thousands of nth-order collisions, lightning will similarly branch and re-branch). Could the same cosmic ray that creates a path for the lightning also provide the free electrons for the natural particle accelerator(and why would they be accelerated just upward?)?

  110. Thanks Willis, another delightful peer into our ignorance.
    Your postings serve beautifully to highlight the human choice of wonder versus authority.
    I’m guessing that the more rigid a persons reality, the less likely they are comfortable with accepting their/our ignorance.
    I am fascinated by the possibilities implied, energies unknown roiling the atmosphere.
    Energy interactions between the orbs.
    The dynamics of a water world shall continue to reward inquiring minds.

  111. Johan i Kanada says:
    > I suggest amateurs should be somewhat careful questioning fundamental physics.

    Only somewhat careful? I just wonder what are the downsides of not being careful at all. Since this sounds like an admonition from a senior fellow, I want to be properly warned. What exactly is going to happen if I am not careful? The gods of physics will frown on me? The sky will fall? Will I I lose my grant money? I’ve got none. Will we no longer be friends? Don’t mean to be disrespectful, but scare me properly, please. Wagging your finger is not enough.

  112. Radioactive decay is determined by quantum mechanics (quantum tunneling [see Gamow, 1927], a probabilistic system. The probability that a decay might coincidentally agree with a rare correlation to another phenomena does not demonstrate a cause. The Sun does not modify radioactive decay (at least in this universe). “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”

    There I’ll stop practicing physics without a license.

  113. I think that ‘dark matter/energy’ is just a modern version of ‘the aether’ or planetary epicycles. It is a kludge to make up for the fact that the operative theory is wrong.

    If only I knew what the right theory was!

  114. Willis, I also am disappointed with this article because it mixes apples and oranges. Your plot about our ignorance of the way the cosmos works , where most of the circle is defined so that observations agree with General Relativity and kinematics is correct. What you gloss over is our extensive and well established knowledge of particle physics, encapsulated in the Standard Model ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Model ). This represents thousands upon thousands of experiments and has been theoretically framed for many years now. In a similar way that a good householder knows his backyard we know a lot about particle physics. Now cosmologists and astronomers use particle physics to model the cosmos, but their framework is huge and many changes may appear in the future.

    Certainly this specific observation about beta decay rates, if corroborated by many independent experiments in the future, cannot be due to the weak interactions of neutrinos. It is called weak interaction because it is so much weaker than the electromagnetic one that the probability of a neutrino to interact with a nucleus is 10^-8 smaller than the interaction of a photon (http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/forces/couple.html ). Neutrinos see mainly empty space even if they are many (6.5 × 10^14 m^‒2 s^‒1 http://physics.uoregon.edu/~soper/Sun/solarneutrinos.html ) since there are of order 10^23 nuclei in a mole of matter.

    One has to explain too that “constant” does not mean constant with energy. In particle physics it means the coupling constant for the expansion of the quantum mechanical solutions for that given energy transfer: constant versus the other variables in the solution. All coupling constants are expected to change/run as the energy transferred rises , and have already been seen to do so ( .http://www.clab.edc.uoc.gr/materials/pc/proj/running_alphas.html ) .at the energies we have explored.

    Now I also with TomVonk think that this so called effect will

    1)either go the way of the faster than light neutrinos
    2)or will be repeatedly corroborated and thus will need a theoretical explanation, certainly without neutrinos.

  115. Mosher said:
    When an observation conflicts with theory you have 3 choices, not 1.

    A) question your data
    B) modify your theory
    C) Toss the theory

    Feynman is assuming you’ve already done A), and he assumes B) and C) to be the same, since both are possible when “Wrong” (as he says in that famous, awesome video!). Nice try though.

    • Bruckner8 replies to Steven Mosher:
      > Mosher said:
      >> When an observation conflicts with theory you have 3 choices, not 1.
      >>
      >> A) question your data
      >> B) modify your theory
      >> C) Toss the theory
      >>
      > Feynman is assuming you’ve already done A), and he assumes B) and C) to be the same, since both are possible when “Wrong” (as he says in that famous, awesome video!). Nice try though.

      Both these remarks illustrate beautifully what is wrong with mainstream physics: it does not want to be tossed. The practitioners of the postmodern physics only care about theory matching data (if that), but instead of looking for a better theory to match new discrepant data, they prefer to coerce and torture the existing (fundamental and unquestionable) theory until it matches the data to within the error of measurement. Thus we get constants that are not constants, extra terms, meaningless transformations, extra dimensions, supercalculus, perturbations, strings — just to name a few of the spectacularly bizarre forms of mental diarrhoea that are piled together to match a pair of numbers. When there is a match, it is called “prediction”. When it matches here but blows there, it is claimed that the corresponding “singularities” must exist in nature and a Nobel-winning discovery is claimed. Einstein can’t be wrong. Nobody with his name enshrined in Wikipedia can be wrong. You can’t toss those things; you have to build upon them.

      I don’t think Feynman really thought B and C were equivalent, but he himself was predominantly a B-man.

  116. Willis Eschenbach says:

    May 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

    johnmarshall says:
    May 14, 2013 at 2:20 am

    If the sun does not ”rule” climate then where does the heat come from to run climate. It may not be the major driver, there are clearly minor drivers not from the sun, but it the only source of heat.

    Thanks, John. Think of it as a car with cruise control, going down the road at sixty miles an hour. Despite the fact that the heat clearly comes from the gasoline, the gasoline isn’t controlling the speed … the cruise control is doing that.

    Similarly, although the heat in the climate system clearly comes from the sun, it’s not controlling the temperature … the interlocking thermostatic mechanisms are doing that.

    All the best,

    w.

    Willis –

    While you weren’t responding directly to my post on May 14, 2913 at 7:25am above, John Marshall and I were both addressing the same point.

    The problem with what you’ve stated is the fact that the sun is not a constant source and fluctuates often.

    In your analogy, while the “heat clearly comes from the gasoline” (for climate, it comes from the sun), the gasoline would have a fluctuating octane rating that would be enough to effect the efficiency of the engine while travelling down the road with the cruise control set (as do many factors relating to climate).

    I hope I don’t sound argumentative, but I feel it is important that while we don’t agree with the simplistic “It is the sun, stupid” concept, we do recognize that it all starts with the sun.

    Regards,

    John .

  117. Max™ says:
    Magnetism is an exchange of virtual photons, photons have momentum, add momentum to one side of an object, take it away from the other, what happens?
    —-
    Funny with those virtual photons. I especially like the explanations where one is told that by throwing photons between particles one can achieve attraction between particles. Somebody from Fermi lab tried to explain the situation as:

    I suggest to think of two people, each one standing on a boat in the middle of a lake. Then one person throws a basketball to the person in the other boat. What will happen?

    The boats will move away from each other. The person throwing the ball will move against the direction the ball is moving, the person catching the ball will move in the same direction as the ball is thrown. The basketball carries energy and momentum, and the two boats seem to “repel” each other.

    How can an exchange of a photon describe the attractive force between two objects with opposite charge?

    Well, think again about two people standing in two different boats. Now imagine them standing with their backs turned toward each other, and one person is throwing a boomerang. Throwing the boomerang this person will move towards the other boat as he gets a push against the direction he threw the boomerang. The boomerang, being in the air, flies a curve, and it will eventually arrive at the person in the second boat. Catching the boomerang this person will now be pushed towards the person that threw the boomerang, and they both move closer to each other, they “attract” each other.

    Summary: A photon can act either as a basketball or as a boomerang, depending on the charges of the two objects that exchange that photon.

    As a physicist I would call bullshit to that explanation. In a “real world” (whatever that is) you need something to force your photon to change its direction twice during the flight. What are the forces that allow the photon to be emitted say towards the west away from the first particle and allowing the second particle that is located to the east of the emitting one to receive it from the east.

    This is a nice quasi explanation that shuts off the brain of interested students trying to understand what really happens. Of course the result is very easy to calculate but the explanation is nothing but a smoke screen. Personally I simply don’t think that simply because a mathematical process gives the correct answer the mathematical “model” necessarily represents reality.

    Does anybody have a better explanation for attraction through exchange of photons that doesn’t involve magic? I am really genuinely interested in a better explanation ;) !

  118. sa says:
    May 14, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Williston,
    correlation is not causation.

    True, but it’s a strong hint where to start looking :)

  119. JohnWho says:
    May 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    … The problem with what you’ve stated is the fact that the sun is not a constant source and fluctuates often.

    In your analogy, while the “heat clearly comes from the gasoline” (for climate, it comes from the sun), the gasoline would have a fluctuating octane rating that would be enough to effect the efficiency of the engine while travelling down the road with the cruise control set (as do many factors relating to climate).

    Thanks, John. Actually, the whole point of cruise control is that imbalances between the load and the engine are automatically compensated for. As a result, a proper cruise control will pay no attention at all to the octane rating. If the fuel is weak, it just delivers more of it. So your claim is incorrect, root and branch.

    I hope I don’t sound argumentative, but I feel it is important that while we don’t agree with the simplistic “It is the sun, stupid” concept, we do recognize that it all starts with the sun.

    John, it is just as important to recognize that in a governed system, variations in the input (whether from solar, volcanoes, CO2, or whatever) are offset by opposing shifts in things like albedo and thunderstorm onset time and variations in the El Nino/La Nina pump and the like.

    w.

  120. I am surprised Tom V responded in the condesending manner he did. It is not his normal M.O. Most of all this is far beyond the average person. ( Me, (-; ) However I did wish to begin to understand how much energy is involved in such transactions as what is described as within and well above thunderstorms.

    Tom V, if you are there, and capapable of articulating an answer to that in a way that climate scientist (see, I am not raising the bar to high) can understand, it would be much appreciated. However such a response should begin with an apology to Willis. (everything you wished to say could have been said with respect, it was not.)

    At your service
    David

  121. Ok I’ve tested the link and you will have to copy and paste in the whole address to access the page

  122. PaddikJ says:
    May 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm
    …A few years ago, a physicist friend told me that the latest thinking on lightning is that it is actually facilitated by cosmic rays:

    If so, this answers the mystery of how thunderstorms generate antimatter. The cosmic ray is the source of the antimatter. Cosmic rays have plenty of energy to create all sorts of particles as they pass through the atmosphere.

    BTW, Paddikj, the electrons accelerate upward if upward is opposite the direction of the electric field. (We define the field direction for positive ions.)

  123. Both Selkov and Berple illuminate the danger of amateurs critiquing basic physics. Selkov says dark energy and black holes a fiction!! He is a good example of one who is overmatched by the subject,imo..You can’t just make guesses Boys!
    Dark matter, far from being fictional is essential.
    My former roommate Jack Sarfatti, is a well known theorist who is working on an extension to QM
    i I tried to explain dark matter as virtual electron-positron pairs (mostly) and dark energy as virtual light – both inside vacuum. Hence no WIMPS ever detected (apart from physics faculty ;-)). Also discussed new high frequency Hawking radiation prediction (peak wavelength (LA^1/2)^1/2 compared to Hawking’s A^1/2, where A = area-entropy of black hole horizon, L = coordinate length cutoff. Note that (LA^1/2)^1/2 = proper thickness of the black hole horizon. Also discussed dark energy density hc/Lp^2A as Hawking radiation back from our future de Sitter horizon in contrast to WMAP CMB as retarded radiation from our past particle horizon (after surface of last scattering).

  124. Alexander Feht says (May 14, 2013 at 1:07 am): “Rate of radioactive decay theoretically always remains constant but the pace of time (influencing the observer’s measurement of the rate of decay) fluctuates a little.”

    Fred Allen says (May 14, 2013 at 4:29 am): “Maybe it’s not changes in the rate of radiative decay, but changes in space/time.”

    Changing space/time would presumably affect both sample and nearby observer/dectectors, making the effect undetectable. Also the effect would have to vary with the earth’s orbit around the sun to cause the reported seasonal variation.

    In the thread accompanying the first WUWT article, it was suggested that the Voyager probes’ radioisotope thermoelectric generators be checked for evidence of the effect, but apparently there are too many confounding factors. The second article reported the failure to find a neutrino influence on decay of gold-198. As TC and Izen point out above, the reported results apparently haven’t been replicated outside the original group.

    Wamron says (May 14, 2013 at 11:15 am): “All the same, this underlines my view that the better illustration of the fallacy of validity by consensus in science is that of Semmelweis. No scientist today can deny he was right. But almost every scientist in his lifetime did deny he was right…”

    To quote Dr. Isaac Asimov, “Though many of the products of genius seem crackpot at first, very few of the creations that seem crackpot turn out, after all, to be products of genius.”

  125. Willis, like a kid on Christmas morn, I look forward to your posts. No exception, this. Even better, you tell deserving folks to ‘pound sand’ with such delightful flair — or is that flare? Keep writing!

  126. Gene Selkov said:
    I don’t think Feynman really thought B and C were equivalent, but he himself was predominantly a B-man.

    Wow, both you and Mosher are touchy on this; something so simple. “If observations don’t match the theory, the theory is wrong.” What is so difficult about that? Of course the observations are assumed to be valid, or the statement is incorrect from the git-go. And the theory IS WRONG…whether not the observer chooses to modify (most likely, duh!), or throw away (maybe it has been modified a number of times!) is not even in question…that’s pure science, and up to the Scientist. It doesn’t change the truth of the simple statement.

    This is almost silly, like arguing that a “real” coin can land in its side, not come down when tossed, or roll away to a space not permitting observation, lol. You want points for “thinking outside the box” when you know darn well what Feynman meant, and that he’s correct. The epitome of pomposity, really.

    [Formatting fixed. -w.]

  127. Gary Hladik says:
    May 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm
    Changing space/time would presumably affect both sample and nearby observer/dectectors, making the effect undetectable.

    Not necessarily. Radioactive decay may be a quantum process independent of the macro-cosmic fluctuations of time caused by large masses and energy flows. Time could be a very different thing on subatomic, stellar, and galactic scales. Faster-than-predicted by models rotation of outer galactic spiral arms could be also explained by the difference in pace of time.

    I am reluctant to discuss anything in this thread, given the amount of nauseating obsequiousness coming from Mr. Eschenbach’s admirers. It just chokes me, sorry.

  128. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 14, 2013 at 10:32 am
    It was a simple question, too—how much energy is lost through the gamma-ray bursts and the resulting generation of antimatter?

    When a gamma ray disintegrates to produce an electron and a positron, the total mass that is created is 2(9.11 x 10^-31 kg) = 1.822 x 10^-30 kg. According to Einstein’s equation E =mc^2, the total energy that is lost is 1.822 x 10-30 kg(3.00 x 10^8 m/s)^2 = 1.6398 x 10^-13 J.
    This is the minimum energy that is lost in the production of an electron and a positron. The energy of a photon is given by the formula E = hf, so the frequency of this photon has to be f = E/h = 1.6398 x 10^-13 J/6.6260754 x 10^-34 Js = 2.47 x 10^20 Hz to 3 significant digits.

  129. Well, Willis, this is an example of electric universe nonsense starting to creep into the thread, essentially it is a bunch of ridiculous assertions about galaxies creating matter which fakes redshifts and stars spit out planets and Einstein was wrong because magnets, and lots of other silly bunk like that. I wasn’t saying what you were posting was the same as the Thunderbolts nonsense, your posts range from interesting observations to unlikely but interesting if confirmed phenomena, and at no point did you jump from “the sun seems to affect the rate of certain types of radioactive decay” all the way to “therefore Einstein was a kook and gravity doesn’t exist” like the electric universe folks do.

    As for the other part…

    The energy of those gamma rays isn’t something I can easily put an upper bound on, I suppose it may have seemed like I was being just being vague, but electron masses are commonly used as a rough unit in particle physics.

    By mass-energy equivalence, the electron volt is also a unit of mass. It is common in particle physics, where mass and energy are often interchanged, to express mass in units of eV/c^2, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum (from E = mc^2). It is often common to simply express mass in terms of “eV” as a unit of mass, effectively using a system of natural units with c set to 1 (hence, E = m).

    For example, an electron and a positron, each with a mass of 0.511 MeV/c^2, can annihilate to yield 1.022 MeV of energy. The proton has a mass of 0.938 GeV/c^2. In general, the masses of all hadrons are of the order of 1 GeV/c^2, which makes the GeV (gigaelectronvolt) a very convenient unit of mass for particle physics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronvolt

    If the events involve gamma rays and anti-matter, you can work out a low end of a gigaelectronvolt per event.

  130. Alexander Feht says:
    May 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    … I am reluctant to discuss anything in this thread, given the amount of nauseating obsequiousness coming from Mr. Eschenbach’s admirers. It just chokes me, sorry.

    And yet, here you are …

    If it really nauseated you as you claim, you’d go and puke somewhere else, and I wouldn’t be bothered with your weak stomach. I say this because in the past you’ve been a fairly uniformly shrill, divisive, and unpleasant commenter. I see that time has not changed your ways. Once again you claim you want to leave because of how terrible this place is, and once again you’d rather stay and bitch and whine about things instead.

    I’m not sad that you are choked up and nauseated, sorry. On my planet, that’s good news. Your disgust is generally a good indication that I’m doing something right.

    Go ahead and leave, Alexander, you won’t be missed on my part. But if you want to stay around, leave out the nasty insults … you’ll only get them back in spades. Karma’s a bitch that way …

    w.

    REPLY: Mr. Feht is welcome to leave at any time if he simply wants to denigrate. – Anthony

  131. Alexander Feht says: May 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Time could be a very different thing on subatomic, stellar, and galactic scales. Faster-than-predicted by models rotation of outer galactic spiral arms could be also explained by the difference in pace of time.

    Here you go on to prove one of Willis’ main points – How little we know …. and, great ideas, now please explain them. Dark matter seems a far simpler explanation at this stage, right?

    I am reluctant to discuss anything in this thread, given the amount of nauseating obsequiousness coming from Mr. Eschenbach’s admirers. It just chokes me, sorry.

    One of the great attractions of Willis is his ability to draw the common man (that’t be me) into his discussion and his thoughts …. I imagine others in here could make hundreds of amazing points in a story, but if it is only to be read by the elite few they are not succeeding in getting points across to the rest of us.

    Further on Tom Vonk’s statement; (paraphrased):

    “Well, some of us know a bit more than the rest of you, but we can’t explain it, because you wouldn’t understand it anyway, and even then, we still don’t know how much there is that we don’t understand!”

    While I appreciate the call to caution, if not the tone, it is not so helpful to some of us.

    Out of necessity and interest, then, I’m going to keep reading and pondering and enjoying the things Willis brings up. And encouraging him to keep doing what he does.

  132. Gene Selkov says:
    May 14, 2013 at 2:51 pm
    “Both these remarks illustrate beautifully what is wrong with mainstream physics: it does not want to be tossed. ”
    This is a prejudice on your part.

    You would be surprised on how many physicists start physics with the intention of tossing out from relativity to quantum mechanics. That is why a huge bruhaha happens whenever a controversial discovery is mooted., as the fastest than light neutrinos recently brought to size, and cold fusion when it first appeared. When cold fusion first appeared all the solid state physicists in my department started research on the subject and were all excited that something new at last appeared. We were all disappointed.

    If you look at the history of physics two things are important for progress:

    1) correct data
    2)theories that describe existing data and predict new phenomena to be measured

    A theory can never be proven. It can be validated by the data but even one falsification is enough to disprove it. That is why we put quotation marks around climate “science”. It has been falsified on many points but is still going strong as if it is not torpedoed by the data.

    History of physics shows that what happens after the falsification
    1)might be epicycles on the old theory
    2)drastically new theories which, and this is important, at the limit of validity of the old theories mathematically merge with them

    Examples for 2) quantum mechanics merges with classical mechanics at the limit of validity
    classical electrodynamics with quantum electrodynamics etc.( A very good blog entry on how we get classical fields from quantum mechanical fields can be found here http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-classical-fields-particles-emerge.html ).

    Thus the old theories which fitted the data before the drastically new ones appeared are reduced in their region of validity, not trashed, because in a sense they encapsulated a lot of measurements in their description, a short hand of measurements so to speak.

    I was amused when playing with a computer planetarium to see all those epicycles there when the geocentric system was chosen. Even the maligned epicycles are there in all their glory, because of course they should be, they were encapsulated measurements. The difference between the two frameworks is in the mathematical description of the data which in the case of heliocentrism is not only descriptive but also predictive .

    Now as an experimentalist I know first hand the excitement of seeing something new in the data that would stomp current theories and the excitement that produced. I also know the deflation when other experiments did not corroborate our findings and further statistical analysis showed the datum to be a statistical fluctuation, the probabilities being estimated wrongly.
    I also know how technical errors can introduce excitement of new discoveries and the deflation that follows. So extraordinary experimental claims, as this decay rate is, require extraordinary experimental checks by different groups in many locations. This has not happened yet, so tooting ones horn like this announcement is a grant catching mechanism at the moment, imo.

    To comeback to your original statement , science fortunately is not postmodern . It is what it has been since the age of enlightenment.

  133. anna v., as always good to hear from you. I was in agreement with much of what you said. However, this bothered me:

    Thus the old theories which fitted the data before the drastically new ones appeared are reduced in their region of validity, not trashed, because in a sense they encapsulated a lot of measurements in their description, a short hand of measurements so to speak.

    Consider the theory of illness before Pasteur or Semmelweiss. Noxious fluxes in the air and the like. Trashed by their discoveries. Consider the idea that continents never move. Rubbished completely. How about phlogiston? Is it “reduced in its region of validity”, or is it on the trash heap of history.

    Sometimes old theories just get modified. Other times, they are nothing but junk once the new theory is accepted.

    w.

  134. Max™ says:
    May 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Well, Willis, this is an example of electric universe nonsense starting to creep into the thread, essentially it is a bunch of ridiculous assertions about galaxies creating matter which fakes redshifts and stars spit out planets and Einstein was wrong because magnets, and lots of other silly bunk like that. I wasn’t saying what you were posting was the same as the Thunderbolts nonsense, your posts range from interesting observations to unlikely but interesting if confirmed phenomena, and at no point did you jump from “the sun seems to affect the rate of certain types of radioactive decay” all the way to “therefore Einstein was a kook and gravity doesn’t exist” like the electric universe folks do.

    Thanks for the clarification, Max. Certainly there is a lot of unsupportable and very questionable stuff out on the fringes of science. And in fact, the slow process by which observation of an unknown phenomenon goes from anecdotal to scientific is an interesting study in itself.

    For me, I don’t mind too much if people want to expound on their own theories, as long as the exposition is short and polite. Yes, you get a lot of nonsense that way … but that’s what science is about, separating the wheat from the chaff.

    And the people who populate this site are good at that separation. Stuff that is off the rails usually gets either ignored or shot down in flames. It’s the beauty of crowdsourcing the peer review. As I have found at times to my sorrow, any mistakes are inevitably found and pointed out, often in capital letters, by the argus-eyed denizens of the intarwebs.

    Heck, we’ve had head posts that from my perspective were nothing but cyclomania. And not even good cyclomania at that, but amateur cyclomania on steroids … but there’s no better cure for that than sunshine. People keep saying oh, publishing that stuff makes the WUWT site look like kooks … I disagree.

    How better to expose the flaws of that kind of ideas than to put them in front of the hungry lions?

    In addition, it makes the site look honest in that we take on bad science from both sides of the climate divide, bad science from skeptics as well as from AGW supporters.

    This is not a site for proclaiming scientific truth. It is a site for transparently expounding and attacking and defending and exploring various scientific ideas and theories. The cream will rise, the quacks will continue to quack, and science will move forwards.

    Best regards,

    w.

  135. Max™ says:
    May 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    … The energy of those gamma rays isn’t something I can easily put an upper bound on, I suppose it may have seemed like I was being just being vague, but electron masses are commonly used as a rough unit in particle physics.

    By mass-energy equivalence, the electron volt is also a unit of mass. It is common in particle physics, where mass and energy are often interchanged, to express mass in units of eV/c^2, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum (from E = mc^2). It is often common to simply express mass in terms of “eV” as a unit of mass, effectively using a system of natural units with c set to 1 (hence, E = m).

    For example, an electron and a positron, each with a mass of 0.511 MeV/c^2, can annihilate to yield 1.022 MeV of energy. The proton has a mass of 0.938 GeV/c^2. In general, the masses of all hadrons are of the order of 1 GeV/c^2, which makes the GeV (gigaelectronvolt) a very convenient unit of mass for particle physics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronvolt

    If the events involve gamma rays and anti-matter, you can work out a low end of a gigaelectronvolt per event.

    Thanks, Max. A gigaelectronvolt is a very small amount of energy, about 1.6-10 joules.

    So if that’s the minimum, it’s indistinguishable from zero.

    I was actually after something else, the average energy given off by a terrestrial gamma-ray flash. From your interesting explanation, which I appreciated, we know the minimum … but what’s the average size?

    Best regards,

    w.

  136. Willis, I am only speaking of physics and mathematically modeled sciences. The mathematical models are a way of economically containing a lot of experimental measurements. A model can be a theory if it is also predictive. Take a mathematical model of the surface of an island, it can be done . That model has the measured parameters of the island but certainly is not predictive, its extrapolations may or may not show other islands but nobody expects them to be there. If ever there is a mathematical theory predicting islands, this mathematical model should be part of it :).

  137. @- Willis Eschenbach

    “The amount of energy added to the climate system is increasing.”

    And you know this how? How are you determining that e.g. the energy added is increasing, rather than claiming that the energy lost is increasing? Or perhaps in and out are staying the same, but the internal working of the system have shifted? “

    Semantic quibbling is not useful. Energy IS being added to the climate system however you want to describe that process. The ERBE experiments first showed that and further direct observations have confirmed it.

    @-

    “The increasing CO2 causes the increase in energy.”

    Again, you don’t have a scrap of data to show this is true, to show that CO2 is the causative agent. And given the paltry showing of the last decade and a half of flat temperatures, you are fast losing even any correlation, much less causation.”

    Tyndall.

    @-

    “Our civilisation is based on very stable climate sustaining an agricultural infrastructure.”

    Actually, our civilization has already survived many significant climate changes, and will no doubt survive many more. In particular, the BEST temperature data says the land temperature went up two degrees in the last two centuries … and that’s the amount that is supposed to be hugely dangerous.”

    Civilisation has only arisen since the exceptionally stable climate of the Holocene. During 50,000 years of human existence during several ice-ages and interstadials agriculture and city state civilisation never arose. There may be other reasons for that than just climate stability, but it is certainly a factor. The rather small variations seen in the climate over the last six millennia have resulted in massive collapses of previous civilisations. Do you really think history supports the idea that human civilisation is resilient in the face of agricultural collapse or environmental degradation? If so I have some prime coastal swampland or midwest dustbowl I could sell you…

  138. A big Thank You to everyone that has commented on this thread, this layman learns every time he comes here, must be something to do with the hosts open and honest mind to science.

  139. Willis

    So in short, you’re quite happy to abuse me for not knowing the answer to a question, but you didn’t answer it either. It was a simple question, too—how much energy is lost through the gamma-ray bursts and the resulting generation of antimatter?

    First. I didn’t abuse you. On the contrary I concluded that I generally liked your posts and your common sense. I can even tell that I specifically liked your “thermostat hypothesis” and am convinced that this kind of non linear processes is what governs the climate dynamics. That and the oceanic oscillations.

    However I also wrote that there are domains where common sense alone doesn’t help and actually misleads. This is typically quantum mechanics and the Standard Model mentionned by AnnaV too. Going into this terrotory with ONLY the common sense leads to either embarassing oneself or saying non sense or both. As that’s what you did,, I stated a fact that these things were (obviously) far above your head.
    I am surprised that somebody who swears by facts and empirical evidence feels a statement of fact as “an insult”. It clearly isn’t and wasn’t intended as such but yes, I confirm, you misunderstood about everything that could have been misunderstood about beta decay,dark matter and anti matter.

    What is specially annoying and misleading in your post is you writing that “We don’t understand this or that” only because you don’t understand this or that.
    The purpose of my post was basically to say that many understand what you don’t and to give some answers.
    Like AnnaV rightly wrote later – beta decay is explained und understood by the Standard Model.
    Anecdotically the famous “god particle”, the Higgs boson recently found at the LHC, was “only” the Standard Model Higgs what dispapointed some scientists which hoped to see some new physics (actually supersymmetry and the dark matter explanation) “beyond” the Standard Model.

    So no,, the beta decay rate constant is actually not a constant even if the name stayed for historical reasons and this was known for decades etc etc.

    And yes, I did answer your question. Please note that I don’t comment on the particle pair creation by thunderstorms because that would lead too far. I just assumed that the hypothesis is right.
    You confuse gamma and antimatter. What Fermi shows is a positron count. So I interpreted your question as “What is the energy in the antimatter flow ?”.
    The positrons in this hypothesis are created (necessarily) by 1 MeV photon (double of the positron energy because there is also an electron created but not detected) – this is energy lower bound.
    The Fermi count is given by FC = Nb positrons/µs
    Assume that an average duration of one thunderstorm is N (seconds).
    Assume that the average number of thunderstorms per year is M.
    Then the average released “antimatter energy” per year is : FC x 10^6 x N x M x 1 MeV.
    Of course as you don’t exacly know N and M, you’ll get vast uncertainty bands but the order of magnitude will be right.

    • TomVonk says:

      > However I also wrote that there are domains where common sense alone doesn’t help and actually misleads. This is typically quantum mechanics and the Standard Model…

      These are the domains where common sense (or any sense) has been specifically outlawed since Bohr and Heisenberg. “Shut up and calculate” is the new scientific method. Fair enough. Just don’t expect us to applaud you for your discoveries of text-messaging particles, virtual particles, zero-sized particles, particles without mass, particles interfering with themselves, infinite mass, time dilation, and other mathematical beauties. I will happily admit those ideas to be over my head. Paradoxes are over my head, too, and are boring. All they tell me is their authors can’t think straight.

  140. All,
    Meant no disrespect to anyone, I just think that speculations on fundamental physics from amateurs does not add any value.
    Moreover, it does not help our “cause” (i.e. to promote a more rational, pragmatic, and evidencd based approach to CAGW).
    Regarding “what we don’t know”, I repeat my opinion that “any scientist worthy of that title will assure you that the beauty of science is that the more we know, the more we know that we do not know.”

  141. Izen, as an outside observer, I think I should point out to you that your performance on this thread was so abysmal that I doubt Willis will even bother to apply the coup-de-grace to your feeble, pathetic and outdated assertions.

  142. Willis says…Thanks, Max. A gigaelectronvolt is a very small amount of energy, about 1.6-10 joules.
    So if that’s the minimum, it’s indistinguishable from zero.”

    Yes, but this is for the amount of energy gained (or lost) by the charge of a single electron moved across an electric potential difference, is it not? I have no idea of the total energy involved.

  143. Anna V.

    Explain to me:
    1. What causes CHARGE.
    2. What causes the Yukka Potential.
    3. What order there is in the nuclear structure (the Nuclear Many Body Problem).
    4. What causes gravity. (Weak forces)
    5. What causes “magnetic force lines”.
    The whole premiss of the particle bangers is based on 1/r i.e., as you get small and smaller the “binding energy” goes up. They can tell you the “structure” of elementary particles, but CANNOT come up with a comprehensive theory for the structure of the nucleus in a multi-Boson atom (say carbon, iron, lead).

    WHAT forces cause “high energy” interactions? Things in the GeV range? How important are they overall? INSIGNIFICANT compared to compression due to a weak force, gravity. The “standard model” has super Nova making elements > iron, as fusion stops at iron. We’ve observed maybe 4 super nova in the last 2000 or 3000 years, best estimate. Yet now we have 2500 planets found around suns in our galaxcy.

    The particle bangers and the cosmologists are FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS AND WHOLES. And yet you treat their pronouncements as “religious belief”. Hail Mary, Hail Hawkins. Me, I say, thanks for Willis and for Julian Barbour!

    The particle “bangers” have been doing their “high energy dance” based on the FAULTY assumption

    • Max Hugoson: let’s be grateful to Anna V. — she gave us a beautiful explanation of what modeling is. Extension of validity is a great concept.

      I’d love to know what Anna thinks about charge, but let me jump in and refer you to a man who can show you what charge is not:

      http://www.ivorcatt.co.uk/x343.pdf

      Ivor Catt, like Anna, is an experimentalist who (unlike Anna?) “doesn’t get it”. A very wise man, although not very well organised — good luck navigating through his web site.

  144. David says:
    May 15, 2013 at 4:56 am
    Yes, but this is for the amount of energy gained (or lost) by the charge of a single electron moved across an electric potential difference, is it not? I have no idea of the total energy involved.

    When an electron accelerates through a potential difference of a gigavolt, it gains an energy of 1 gigaelectronvolts. In units of joules, you can apply E = qV = 1.60 x 10^-19 C x 10^9 V = 1.6 x 10^-10 J.

  145. @- philincalifornia
    Thank you for your critique. As an outsider here myself I do wonder if your view might be coloured by disagreement with the points I make.
    I have observed before that reminding people here what is positively known about the climate, and pointing out that they are a minority fringe compared with the weight of mainstream science sometimes garners negative reactions.

  146. Gene Selkov

    Just don’t expect us to applaud you for your discoveries of text-messaging particles, virtual particles, zero-sized particles, particles without mass, particles interfering with themselves, infinite mass, time dilation, and other mathematical beauties. I will happily admit those ideas to be over my head. Paradoxes are over my head, too, and are boring. All they tell me is their authors can’t think straight.

    Well that’s modern physics for you even if “infinite mass” doesn’t exist neither do “zero sized particles” (this would violate the Uncertainty principle).
    .And the beauty of it is that it makes predictions that have been experimentally verified with an ever increasing accuracy over 100 years.
    After all there is no reason why Mother Nature should pay attention to your demands that the microscopical world must behave like what your everyday’s experience is telling you at your scale.
    The language of physics is definitely mathematics. At macroscopic scales you can supplement that with eyes an ears but at nuclear scales you have only your brain.
    So yes, the Aspect experiments have no equivalent or analogy in your (macroscopic) world but this doesn’t prevent them to exist and make perfect sense for who knows the language they speak.

    I can even tell you that there is “worse” for common intuition than the mere Standard Model – it is quantum gravity (string theory) but there is no law forbidding humans to try to understand and to model Nature’s behaviour at the Planck’s scales.
    It just puts a constraint on the ability and time investment to learn the language and here the technicalities are above my head too so I won’t give my uninformed opinion about what we know or don’t know in this domain.

  147. Max Hugoson says:
    May 15, 2013 at 7:02 am

    “Anna V.

    Explain to me:
    1. What causes CHARGE.
    2. What causes the Yukka Potential.
    3. What order there is in the nuclear structure (the Nuclear Many Body Problem).
    4. What causes gravity. (Weak forces)
    5. What causes “magnetic force lines”. ”

    A blog entry is not a substitute for years of graduate study.

    This said, one has to keep in mind that physics answers in the end only “How” questions. From a huge number of data mathematical models have been constructed into theories predicting not yet seen behavior, dependent on very few axioms. “What” questions finally hit on the axioms, and the word axiom itself means that there is no further explanation.

    All that physical theories can do is explain within their axiomatic construct the observed behavior of particles and matter, how from the axioms and postulates one arrives to the observed behavior. In a similar way a map describes the territory but is not the territory. At the same time to be useful and not a mapping of known facts a physical theory has to be predictive and yes our particle theories are predictive ( as well as all the classical theories).

    I think Tom Vonk is correct. People should acknowledge their limits of understanding: I can enjoy a symphony orchestra but would be really stupid to assume that I can play an instrument without training or read the symphony’s notes and lead the orchestra.

  148. Tom Vonk, I note your long response above.

    I had started out with you with this interaction

    I’ve had no success trying to establish the amount of energy in one of these terrestrial gamma-ray bursts, no clue

    That’s because like some posters already wrote, you are talking about things that are FAR above your head.

    Naturally, other than abusing me for my lack of knowledge, you didn’t answer the question. So in my stupid way that is FAR below you, I asked the question again.

    I note that despite my asking again, and despite how FAR above me you claim that your mental actuity reaches, you still haven’t answered my question.

    You’re happy to waste electrons bloviating on how all of this sciencey stuff is all too much for my lack of eddication … but you didn’t answer the question either.

    Gosh. I get more abuse and still no answer, while you prance around acting like you are the king of science … you claimed when we opened this dialog that the reason I couldn’t answer the question was that things were FAR above me.

    So … if my lack of college is why I can’t answer the question … why is it that YOU can’t answer the question either?

    w.

    PS—Just how much education does one need to read an estimate of how much energy is released by gamma ray flashes, or released by anything for that matter? I don’t need a PhD to read something like “terrestrial gamma-ray flashes on average release about X joules per flash”, do I? Because if you read my question, that’s all I was asking for.

    I can’t answer the question because I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO FIND THE DATA, Tom, not because of lack of mental acuity. Read the damn question again. I didn’t ask for an explanation of the procedure, just for an estimate of the amount of energy released.

    So in fact, it appears like my question itself is FAR above your abilities, Tom … you thought I wanted understanding or an explanation, when all I was asking for was data.

  149. anna v says:
    May 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

    … I think Tom Vonk is correct. People should acknowledge their limits of understanding: I can enjoy a symphony orchestra but would be really stupid to assume that I can play an instrument without training or read the symphony’s notes and lead the orchestra.

    anna, this is far below your usual style. I despise this kind of scattergun condemnation you are engaging in.

    If you are not willing to specify exactly what someone said that you are referring to, don’t bother lecturing us about what’s right and wrong. It just makes you look pompous. From your mumbled imprecations I can’t tell if you are talking about me, about Tom Vonk, or about someone else entirely.

    If you want to make an accusation, at least have to courage to make it specific, anna. Accusations about “people” don’t cut it. Vague accusations that may or may not include me or anyone else are the antithesis of science. I know you can do better.

    w.

    PS—Tom Vonk thinks I’m too dumb to listen to the symphony orchestra, while it appears he can’t even understand my question … or at least is unwilling or unable to answer it.

    I asked, simply, for the amount of energy released in an average terrestrial gamma-ray flash. He thinks that single number is FAR above my understanding …

    You sure you want to follow his lead? Because you will assuredly sink in my estimation if you do.

  150. From the top of this marvelous Willis Eschenbach’s post:
    “…this claim that the sun could change radioactive decay rates…”
    — and then —
    “…an announcement issued by Purdue University in August 2012, which strongly confirmed the reality of the phenomenon. Purdue has applied for a patent for the use of this effect as a means to supply advance warning of solar flares.”

    Intuition holds that all physical processes are interrelated in some way, some more than others. Radioactive decay happens inside the space-time continuum, which is greatly influenced by the gravitational well of Sol — the sun. Earth has a gravity well, too, but it is massively (pun intended) dominated by Sol’s gravitational effects.

    [Massive simplifications past here:]
    The fusion reaction of Sol is in a quasi-equilibrium, where photons from the core push the plasma out, away from the core. This lessens the pressure in the core, which in turn decreases the rate of reaction, lowering the temp, if you will. This decrease in the core reaction produces fewer photons to push the plasma, and so, the plasma drops in toward the core (gravity works!), which increases the reaction.

    Sol is an expanding and contracting hydrogen fusion reaction, until we switch over (with popping) to a helium fusion reaction. While Sol’s mass stays relatively constant, Sol’s density is also relatively stable.

    The CAGW folks decry the output of the sun is too constant to drive earth temperature changes, but we scientists [reality adjusts our beliefs] hold that the sun’s fusion reaction controls the ice-age and warm period behavior.

    What is the relationship between all this? Clearly Purdue believes that something on the sun can alter the rate of decay on earth. Perhaps there is some as yet unexplained field-effect? This is a very bad analogy, but given a volume of gas in a balloon at a pressure, the balloon size will expand if the ambient pressure is decreased, and the balloon size will shrink if the ambient pressure is increased.

    Clearly we have yet to discover the mechanism, and perhaps even the methodologies required to discover what else we don’t know. I have never been one to accept chest beating by some scientists. I’m more of the mind that we know so very little. Granted, we know more than humans did in the 1800s, but I hope that in 2300, that they will laugh at what we “know,” and realize that in time, what they “know” will also be seen as quaint beliefs.

  151. Based on what was presented, would it not be just as reasonable to assert that the sun does not change the rate of radioactive decay, but that the sun changes the speed of time, so that the rate of decay over time stays constant. I’m not suggesting that idea; I’m only asking if it is not just as logical.

  152. Well, if the rate of decay is affected, i.e. change of quantum forces on the subatomic level, then it also stands to reason that the gravity is affected as well. Any change in quantum forces governing individual atoms would also change their weak force collectively. Meaning the gravitational constant for the planets (solar system) has changed which should be detectable by observing the change in orbital patterns. G = 6.673×10-11 N m2 kg-2 Now that’s a big Fracking deal.

  153. Gene Selkov says:
    May 13, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks Gene for the link to Steven Crothers videos. Glad to know I’m not the only one sceptical about evaporating black holes and such.

  154. Vince Causey says:
    May 14, 2013 at 8:25 am
    As the space traveller moves away, each twin observes the other twins clock ticking slower. So far, both frames are symmetrical. Now imagine the space traveller has reached his destination and stops before turning around.
    ============
    No, I said the traveler in the ship was on an (near) elliptical course with constrant 1G acceleration that returned to earth (and stopped at earth). The direction of the rocket motor would be continually adjusted during flight to maintain the 1G and return for a soft landing on earth. Depending on the shape of the ellipse the ship could appear to stop for an instant at the point of furthest travel, or not. It makes no difference.

    Both twins would experience constant 1 g acceleration for the entire time and according to GR it matters not the least if this is due to gravity or acceleration. That was the key insight in Einsteins formulation of GR. And according to SR there is no preferred frame of reference and nothing to establish that the twin in the ship is moving and the twin on earth is standing still. From the twin in the space ships point of view it is the earth that is moving and the ship that is standing still. From the space ships point of view it would be the earth that stops at the point of furthest travel and begins to return to the ship.

    So, under this example, there should be no difference in time for either twin, but it is commonly accepted that there will be. That the twin in the ship will age the slowest. Which if true establishes that there is a preferred frame of reference as per the Mach Principle. The frame of reference is established by the net gravitational force of the universe.

    Dark energy thus results from the inertia (centrifugal force) of the matter in the universe within a rotating gravitational field. The resulting “dark energy” is not a real force, it is simply the result of the matter in the universe expanding outwards at ever increasing speed as it moves away from the center of the rotation. Like placing marbles on a Lazy Susan and starting it rotating. The marbles will expand outwards from each other at ever increasing speed, exactly as we observe and mistakenly attribute to dark energy.

  155. A bit more on Dark Matter: … models, of course…. simulations show black holes grow faster than their surrounding galaxy …. due to the presence of dark matter.

    “…..the standard idea — that a galaxy’s properties and the mass of its central black hole are related because the two grow in parallel — will have to be revised. In our model, the black hole grows much faster than the galaxy. So it could be that the black hole is not regulated at all by the growth of the galaxy. It could be that the galaxy is regulated by the growth of the black hole.”

    The astronomers saw two things happen. First, gas and dust in the center of the galaxies condensed to form a tight nuclear disk. Then the disk became unstable, and the gas and dust contracted again, to form an even denser cloud that eventually spawned a super-massive black hole.

    The implications for cosmology are far-reaching, Kazantzidis said.

    “For example, the standard idea — that a galaxy’s properties and the mass of its central black hole are related because the two grow in parallel — will have to be revised. In our model, the black hole grows much faster than the galaxy. So it could be that the black hole is not regulated at all by the growth of the galaxy. It could be that the galaxy is regulated by the growth of the black hole.”Blockquote>

    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/galmerge.htm

  156. Both twins would experience constant 1 g acceleration for the entire time and according to GR it matters not the least if this is due to gravity or acceleration. ~ferberple

    Acceleration along a curving path is detectably different from acceleration along a straight path.

    Both twins would travel a certain 4-dimensional distance between two spacetime events (a 3 dimensional position + a specific time), and that distance between two events is known as the interval, and the interval between two events is invariant.

    The twins travel between the two events, with spatial and temporal components to each journey, the twin who follows the circular trajectory follows a longer spatial trajectory, so if they wind up returning to the same event as the other twin, they necessarily followed a shorter temporal path, and thus experienced less time.

  157. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

    “anna v says:
    May 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

    “” … I think Tom Vonk is correct. People should acknowledge their limits of understanding: I can enjoy a symphony orchestra but would be really stupid to assume that I can play an instrument without training or read the symphony’s notes and lead the orchestra.””

    anna, this is far below your usual style. I despise this kind of scattergun condemnation you are engaging in. ”

    Willis , I am sure I was replying to specific post of Max Hugoson ,
    May 15, 2013 at 7:02 am , who is pontificating way out of any reasonable data base of knowledge . I did not want to use the pronoun “you” as too confrontational and used the impersonal “people”.

    In this thread there are many answers that are overboard in pontification on things they know little and maybe nothing about, in this sense “people” includes them also from lack of ability to easily start quoting all their statements.

    It IS my belief that everybody, Tom Vonk included who did not want to pontificate on string theories, me, who have less of a data base and facility in physics than Tom Vonk, should talk within their data base of knowledge with certainty, and when outside of it should use “imo” to show that there is small certainty in their statements.

    This is a general board and I do not want to be confrontational, as I would be in a physics forum, but I do have to stress that physics uses mathematics, with theories that end in Quod Est Demonstratum ( QED) at the end, but does not stop there: it compares the predictions of the theories with the real world data, again using mathematical tools and rejects the theories with a single falsification, even though mathematically they are perfect. If people go around saying that two and two makes five of course the majority will have a strong opinion on this statement, since arithmetic is within most peoples knowledge data base. Physics is not, people have to spend years accumulating this knowledge and it is natural that, as physicists, we react strongly to science fiction scenaria or hand waving criticisms of which there are plenty here.

    I think I did post on your article specifically: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/13/what-we-dont-know/#comment-1305311

  158. Willis, just for you, to see how a physicist thinks even when a bit out of his/her data base or forgotten data base due to age:

    In my reply to your post I state “that the probability of a neutrino to interact with a nucleus is 10^-8 smaller than the interaction of a photon “, an estimate I made from coupling constants. I am still,off and on, looking up neutrino cross sections, because I realized after posting that there could be terms that are linear in the coupling constant when the expansion is squared and therefore the difference in the cross section ( the size the nucleus appears to the incoming particle) between electromagnetic and weak would be, as far as the coupling constants go only 10^-4. Why am I bothering since qualitatively the result is the same? Because I want to be accurate, to have accurate data in my data base..

    With the mentality of physicists like this you should understand it if we come out grumpy and cross at hand waving physics arguments.

  159. Willis

    You’re happy to waste electrons bloviating on how all of this sciencey stuff is all too much for my lack of eddication … but you didn’t answer the question either.

    Now you are beginning to rant. It seems to me that your pride or something very equivalent was wounded and you become so focused on it that you loose all critical sense and become even unable to read and understand. It certainly comes over like a tantrum with no rational arguments.

    No I don’t waste electrons more than you do. But yes, I ll repeat it again.
    This “stuff” is obviously too much for you and you’d do yourself a service to either avoid it or to learn something. Like AnnaV said, 3-4 years of studies could give you the basics.
    That’s a honest advice. You take it or leave it, it’s not my problem..

    If you listened to your brain instead of your emotions, you would have noticed that I did more than only answering some unimportant questions even if I didn’t go down to every detailed explanation.

    I asked, simply, for the amount of energy released in an average terrestrial gamma-ray flash.

    – For the anihilation it’s 1 MeV/event. For the gamma flash due to utrarelativistic electrons – few dozens of MeV. Say between 10 and 100/flash. This is an answer. Get it ?.
    Now it is surely not the case that 1 flash = 1 lightning and there are surely papers allowing to estimate what factor should be used and you could have found them if you knew what to look for.
    If you want to understand why and how these things happen and eventually write a post about what we (you) don’t understand, do your homework.

    – For the anti matter energy (which you mixed with gamma even if it should be a completely separate count) this depends of course on the specific energy spectrum of a given lightning and it is more difficult. But Fermi gives the count (presumably) per event or lightning. Here too I gave you an aswer.because the Fermi count makes an estimate possible by taking some hypothesis.
    Beyond that I am not interested enough to read papers about more details

    I will even give you a bonus answer on an interesting question you didn’t ask. The antimatter energy is lower than the gamma ray energy. This is because you have a cut off for pair creation at 1 MeV. So the pair creation can be only done by the tail end of the gamma energy spectrum.

    Etc

  160. Curious, not one highly educated folk here has tried to answer how much energy is released by gamma ray flashes. Personally I found that question to be the most interesting part of the post, while I am still trying to understand if some new observation with regard to the Solar influence on radiactive decay was observed.

    Anna thinks that people should be upset if anyone says two plus two is five. I disagree. To be upset, instead of a calm explanation of why four is the correct answer, is to to display a profound personal ego attachment to ones own perception of “what I know”. Also, to insult, such as this is far beyond you, so do not even try, just accept, destroys any intrest in learning, at least from that person.

    On the other hand, if the person who is stating that five is the answer to the simple question, also wants to change the economy of the entire world, based on that wrong answer, then I understand getting upset with them.

  161. Not sure if I would call myself highly educated, just a college student atm, but several posts, including my own, have mentioned that pair production sets a lower bound, but I assume like myself they aren’t eager to set a hard upper limit because nature likes to laugh at you and prove you wrong when you do that.

    Not enough data for me at least to give anything as an upper bound with any sort of confidence.

    Oh, and I noticed I slipped in GeV where it should have been MeV, whoops, Protons/Neutrons are ~GeV range, Electrons are only half ~MeV range, derp on my part.

  162. David says:
    May 16, 2013 at 3:43 am

    “Curious, not one highly educated folk here has tried to answer how much energy is released by gamma ray flashes.”

    at least two people have given in energy units the amount of energy of each gamma turning into an electron positron pair and thus contributing to the exaggerated “antimatter beam”http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/fermi-thunderstorms.html . These “beams” are certainly not the main energy loss from electromagnetic radiation to space as extra cross sections are involved , the gamma ray has to find a nucleus to conserve momentum in the pair production and high atmosphere does not have too many of them. . http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/fermi-thunderstorms.html . The main energy will be carried by the gammas to space, the pair production is a detecting method for the existence of these gammas.

    Total even energy given here http://vlf.stanford.edu/research/terrestrial-gamma-ray-flashes is of order of 10 kjoule. With 500 or so such events a day on the whole of earth not too much energy per day ( 500kilowatts, if the burst lasts 10 miliseconds ) is lost to space from this phenomenon.

    I have to say that all this took a bit of arithmetic after a search on google for terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.

    And , David, I did not say people would be upset , I said they would have a strong opinion on arithmetic which they would defend, quietly or not according to their character..

  163. TomVonk says:
    May 16, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Willis

    You’re happy to waste electrons bloviating on how all of this sciencey stuff is all too much for my lack of eddication … but you didn’t answer the question either.

    Now you are beginning to rant. It seems to me that your pride or something very equivalent was wounded and you become so focused on it that you loose all critical sense and become even unable to read and understand. It certainly comes over like a tantrum with no rational arguments.

    No I don’t waste electrons more than you do. But yes, I ll repeat it again.
    This “stuff” is obviously too much for you and you’d do yourself a service to either avoid it or to learn something. Like AnnaV said, 3-4 years of studies could give you the basics.
    That’s a honest advice. You take it or leave it, it’s not my problem..

    If you listened to your brain instead of your emotions, you would have noticed that I did more than only answering some unimportant questions even if I didn’t go down to every detailed explanation.

    Well, that’s an interesting attempt at attacking me, but that’s not an answer to my question …

    I asked, simply, for the amount of energy released in an average terrestrial gamma-ray flash.

    – For the anihilation it’s 1 MeV/event. For the gamma flash due to utrarelativistic electrons – few dozens of MeV. Say between 10 and 100/flash. This is an answer. Get it ?.

    Sorry, that’s not an answer either. It’s a guess. Do you not understand the question? What you report is your unsupported guess for the amount of energy released by some unknown amount of ultrarelativistic electrons, which you yourself are unable to limit to within one order of magnitude. You guess, I repeat guess, that it is ten to one hundred MeV… what field do you work in where that would qualify as an answer? You have no data to back that up, you’re just guessing. As my friend TomVonk says … “Get it?”.

    Now it is surely not the case that 1 flash = 1 lightning and there are surely papers allowing to estimate what factor should be used and you could have found them if you knew what to look for.

    I see. You can’t find the answer, and you can’t even find the paper that has the answer, so now you’re telling me to look it up … and you abuse me for asking the question? Who is looking dumb here, when I ask a simple question and get nothing but bafflegab from you?

    If you want to understand why and how these things happen and eventually write a post about what we (you) don’t understand, do your homework.

    Did I ask “why and how these things happen”? I don’t remember asking that. You want to pretend my simple request, for an average amount of energy per lightning-induced gamma ray flash, is asking for why and how gamma-ray flashes operate.

    - For the anti matter energy (which you mixed with gamma even if it should be a completely separate count) this depends of course on the specific energy spectrum of a given lightning and it is more difficult. But Fermi gives the count (presumably) per event or lightning. Here too I gave you an aswer.because the Fermi count makes an estimate possible by taking some hypothesis.

    Bullshit. I specifically separated the gamma-rays and the antimatter. And I asked for an answer, not a possible route to possible answer if I take some unspecified “hypothesis”. You are just bobbing and weaving because you don’t have an answer.

    Beyond that I am not interested enough to read papers about more details

    I will even give you a bonus answer on an interesting question you didn’t ask. The antimatter energy is lower than the gamma ray energy. This is because you have a cut off for pair creation at 1 MeV. So the pair creation can be only done by the tail end of the gamma energy spectrum.

    And I should care why? This last “bonus answer” is just number-free scientese intended to prove you are smart. It may well be true, but so what? You haven’t said why it should make a difference or what your point is.

    Sorry, Tom, but that post was nothing but handwaving. You haven’t answered my question in any way, shape or form. Here’s how you can tell.

    An answer to the question would have the form “An average terrestrial lightning-induced gamma ray flash has been measured to release X joules in the form of gamma rays”.

    Neither you nor Anna nor Max™, despite your protests, have provided anything like that. All any of you have given me is a minimum value, for the one-pair situation … so what? If I were interested in a minimum value I’d have asked for that.

    w.

  164. anna v says:
    May 16, 2013 at 5:03 am

    …. Total even energy given here http://vlf.stanford.edu/research/terrestrial-gamma-ray-flashes is of order of 10 kjoule. With 500 or so such events a day on the whole of earth not too much energy per day ( 500kilowatts, if the burst lasts 10 miliseconds ) is lost to space from this phenomenon.

    THANK YOU, ANNA. Gold stars for you, the first one in with the answer.

    And dang … why was that so hard? You’d have thought I was asking for an explanation of string theory or something, rather than the results of a freakin’ measurement …

    So TomVonk, eat your heart out. Anna answered my question, complete with citation.

    You know the question I mean, Tom, the one you couldn’t answer—the question you wanted to abuse me for having the temerity to ask from the depths of what you see as my profound ignorance? Yeah, that question, the one you say I’m supposed to have to study for five years to understand the answer …

    Now truly, Tom … was it that difficult? You do understand that the above short paragraph and citation was all I was asking for, and that instead of an answer, all I got from you was alternating insult and handwaving? Get it?

    Gotta say, Vonk … you’re a smart guy, but you haven’t done your reputation any favors with your actions here. Heck, even your guesses (10 to 100 MeV, or about 10-11 to 10-13 joules) were about 15 orders of magnitude smaller than the actual answer (10 kJ per event) … and you think I need education?

    w.

  165. Willis Eschenbach :
    May 16, 2013 at 9:32 am
    The event is the whole Terrrestrial gamma-ray flash, whose duration is 10 miliseconds.

    The 1 MeV is the necessary mass to create the pair, which is a small part of the positron flux. It is not clear how many positrons appear per flash but the positron flux is a tiny part of the total electromagnetic radiation released as gamma rays in the flash. That is why there is such a large difference in the orders of magnitude.

  166. Anna says…”I have to say that all this took a bit of arithmetic after a search on google for terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.
    And , David, I did not say people would be upset , I said they would have a strong opinion on arithmetic which they would defend, quietly or not according to their character..
    ————————————————————————————————————
    Anna, thanks for your posts, and as a lay person I appreciate all the input politely given to polite society in rational discussion. This post by Willis is certainly that, and any and all correction by those with deeper and broader knowledge is appreciated. All Tom V had to say was words to the effect of…”In this subject of physics there are many misconceptions that happen between the press, and those commenting on it, here are some corrections to those misconceptions. Somehow I think that Tom V does not comprehend that this is not what he did at all. (I think it may be the Sheldon Cooper Syndrome) and not intentionally insulting, but to anyone capable of catching a clue, Tom Vs comments were deeply condescending and as unnecessary as they were rude.

    At any rate I think that when you say … “they would have a strong opinion on arithmetic which they would defend, quietly or not according to their character” you are reinforcing my point, which is that when anyone is not arrogantly stating a concept, no matter how wrong they are, to react with offended condescension, instead of rational discourse is to display poor character.

    All the best
    David

  167. yuck, I should have read before posting, forgive the typos… and redo of last paragraph…

    At any rate I think that when you say …” they would have a strong opinion on arithmetic which they would defend, quietly or not according to their character” you are reinforcing my point, which is that when anyone is not arrogantly stating a concept, no matter how wrong they are, to react with offended condecension, instead of rational discourse is to display poor character.

    [Fixed, I think … including the mis-spelling of “condescension” in the replacement paragraph, I do love having a spell checker, wouldn’t have caught it otherwise. -w.]

  168. “So what is it that is new today? What is new is that scientific doubt has been eliminated with political means. The report of the political established and political driven International Panel on Climate Change is clear. And so is the political Stern report. It is political irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to think and question the political constructed seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis and science is over. Now it is time to act and open the national doors for international marxism(Brundtland 2007).”

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