Is not always ‘settled’…

From last July from Ars Technica

On Wednesday, researchers announced the discovery of a new astronomical enigma. The new object, GPM J1839–10, behaves a bit like a pulsar, sending out regular bursts of radio energy. But the physics that drives pulsars means that they’d stop emitting if they slowed down too much, and almost every pulsar we know of blinks at least once per minute.

GPM J1839–10 takes 22 minutes between pulses. We have no idea what kind of physics or what kind of objects can power that.

Full article, HERE.

And from yesterday’s Ars Technica…

Roughly a year ago, astronomers announced that they had observed an object that shouldn’t exist. Like a pulsar, it emitted regularly timed bursts of radio emissions. But unlike a pulsar, those bursts were separated by over 20 minutes. If the 22-minute gap between bursts represents the rotation period of the object, then it is rotating too slowly to produce radio emissions by any known mechanism.

Now, some of the same team (along with new collaborators) are back with the discovery of something that, if anything, is acting even more oddly. The new source of radio bursts, ASKAP J193505.1+214841.0, takes nearly an hour between bursts. And it appears to have three different settings, sometimes producing weaker bursts and sometimes skipping them entirely. While the researchers suspect that, like pulsars, this is also powered by a neutron star, it’s not even clear that it’s the same class of object as their earlier discovery.

Full article, HERE.

So, a ‘chance’ discovery is once again upsetting the science… what a surprise!

Something that ‘can’t exist, but does, and now another one that is even worse. Three ‘modes’, changing polarity, almost an hour between pulses, etc…

Richard Feynman, one of the theoretical physicists who worked on the A-bomb, was the father of quantum electrodynamics, and a Nobel prize winner.

He also came up with his ‘list’ of scientific principles (e.g. first principles).

  • “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
  • “Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.”
  • “Permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure.”
  • “Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, ‘Is it reasonable?'”
  • “There is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science (junk science) … It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty.”
  • “If you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it.”
  • “Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad — but it does not carry instructions on how to use it.”
  • “If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming ‘This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!’ we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination.”
  • “We make no apologies for making these excursions into other fields, because the separation of fields, as we have emphasised, is merely a human convenience, and an unnatural thing. Nature is not interested in our separations, and many of the interesting phenomena bridge the gaps between fields.”
  • “Mathematics is not just a language. Mathematics is a language plus reasoning. It’s like a language plus logic. Mathematics is a tool for reasoning.”
  • “I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
  • “The real problem in speech is not precise language. The problem is clear language.”
  • “The only way to have real success in science, the field I’m familiar with, is to describe the evidence very carefully without regard to the way you feel it should be.”
  • “And therefore when we go to investigate we shouldn’t pre-decide what it is we are trying to do except to find out more about it.”
  • “The exception tests the rule.”
  • “That is the principle of science. If there is an exception to any rule, and if it can be proved by observation, that rule is wrong.”

The last four are, IMHO, critically important and are truly the point of the spear, if you will (or petard, depending on which ox is being gored).

The last few years, there have been a lot of hue, cry, blamestorming, retractions, etc. around different fields of science (you can list them or not) and Alma had a post a couple of days ago HERE at Cat Rotator’s Quarterly, and another HERE at Eaton Rapids Joe, that kicked off my thoughts on this.

I spent over a dozen years developing test matrices based on first principles to test new ‘technologies’, some of which were novel uses of science and technology. Not all of them worked, but we learned from all of them.

Sadly, it seems to me that ‘learning’ is taking a backseat to the $$$ and ‘desires’ of scientists today…

YMMV, I’m NOT a scientist, and I didn’t stay at Holiday Inn Express last night…


Science… — 10 Comments

  1. The answer to the first one is simple. Pulsars depend on their spin for the strength of their bursts. However, the regularity and spacing of their pulses is mostly unrelated to their spin, because it is caused by their precession. We only see their emissions when one of their poles is pointed at us.

    Most scientists are button-counting bottle-washers who quite regularly mistake the map for the territory. This is a statistical certainty as more and more become involved in the profession of science.

    • Accepting funding from persons or organizations that demand a pre-determined conclusion perverts the scientific method, and is far too common of a thing these days. That’s the world for you though.

  2. A year from now, someone will finally realize that they are picking up signals from the microwave in the break room.

  3. It doesn’t act like the definition of a pulsar currently in use.
    A- It’s not a pulsar
    B- The current definition of a pulsar is incorrect
    C- The current definition of a pulsar is not broad enough
    D- Who know what’s going on, let’s get a drink

  4. Follow the dollars. Hope for integrity.
    The winters of 1965-68 an elaborate study of seeding clouds with silver nitrate to see if it would increase snowfall was undertaken. This was centered in Steamboat Springs, CO. The results were inconclusive. I always admired those running the program for their integrity. Today?

    The winter of 1966-67 I was focused on learning to fly. The people running the program needed locals to monitor the equipment along the Continental Divide during storms. Great job! Worked when the weather was bad and flew on the nice days.

  5. And unfortunately too many people are more concerned about getting money and a reputation than about integrity and scientific rigor these days.

    They want shortcuts to success without realizing that true success doesn’t allow shortcuts; the process and the understanding from it are critical.

    Too few people these days care about ethics and morality, which is really going to bite them soon!

  6. Pingback: Science… | The Elegant Ungulate

  7. Pingback: 3-year-old killed in a true rampage killing - what's the motive? - Legally Armed America - The Global Tofay - Global Today

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