1. The study of the physical universe considered as a totality of phenomena in time and space.
a. The astrophysical study of the history, structure, and constituent dynamics of the universe.
b. A specific theory or model of this structure and these dynamics.
meh?... it'll do.
For me Cosmology is, on the one hand, a study generally relegated to Mathematicians, Theoretical Physicists, Astrophysicists and such; on the other hand, enough mystery exists to elicit work by Artist, Philosophers, Theologians and abstract thinkers in general.
Thanks in no small part to the patient works of Carl Sagan (Cosmos) and Brian Greene (Fabric of the Cosmos) I have been lured out onto the ledge of Cosmological understanding and have learned enough to know I should likely climb back inside my comfort zone, but the view from here is awesome.
It makes my head hurt to even attempt to grasp the theories and concepts with which today's scientists grapple. Ah, but no pain no gain. Why bother? Well, when a person with the intellect of Einstein goes to his grave longing for a "Grand Unification Theory" I say, it must be important. We should probably see what we can do about that. By we of course I mean humanity.
Just when I start to almost (maybe, at some level) get a handle on String Theory and Super String M Theory, I get hit splat upside the head with Brane World theory. [See the The Official String Theory Web Site.] It is not the purpose of this article to educate anyone on these concepts. I only hope to convey that I do have a genuine interest in these subjects and would encourage anyone to exercise their mind by investigating the science of reality. There is no shortage of information available for anyone looking to understand such complex research.
I was not actively seeking enlightenment when I happened upon The Trenches of Discovery website. I was impressed with the site enough to shine the BlogDogIt Spotlight on their efforts. You see, the thing about the BlogDogIt Spotlight is, these are blogs that I am genuinely taken with and am actively following. When I am so moved I will comment and participate with these folks in a constructive manner in an effort to show my support for their labors. That for me is the essence and appeal of blogging.
Shaun Hotchkiss of The Trenches of Discovery was providing on-the-scene coverage of "The universe as seen by Planck" (conference) in Helsinki, Finland. It was in the course of this coverage that I offered up a very disjointed question regarding the implications to Brane Theory and its associated "Big Splat Theory" by way of the much improved CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) data provided by the Planck Satellite Mission. I asked the question simply because I favor "Big Splat." The reason I support the theory is that as complex as the concept is, I comprehend it even better than "Inflation Theory"; it just feels right to me. (I realize this is on a par with saying I root for the Green Bay Packers because I like their uniforms - it is what it is.) I genuinely wanted to know if the experts had found any supporting evidence for my pet extra-dimensional thought exercise.
Not only was my question taken seriously but the evidence seems to indicate that Shaun took "virtual me" along with him to the conference. I was honored that he not only took the time to answer the question I put forth but introduced me to a couple of folks of like mind to myself (albeit of greater intellect.) I have my resarch cut out for me now. [I appreciate that Shaun.] Please read the following excerpt and be sure to frequent The Trenches of Discovery- they really are on the front-lines of discovery!
A commenter (masodo) asked me a question during the conference about something called "the big splat". Now I have to admit that I'd never heard of "the big splat" before he or she asked this question, but google tells me that it is another name for the "ekpyrotic/cyclic" universe, which I definitely have heard of (I think the "big splat" name is before my time).
Masodo wished to know what the implications were from Planck for the big splat and whether it was discussed at the conference.
Firstly, the ekpyrotic universe is a replacement for inflation, but not the big bang. In the ekpyrotic scenario the fluctuations in the universe's density, etc are created during a contraction phase, but then the ordinary big bang still happens after that. Nobody in cosmology doesn't believe in the big bang any more (sorry for the double negative). Nobody. Even the people who used to work on steady-state models now work on oscillating models that are "steady-state" (i.e. periodic) in the long, long, long term. The temperature and polarisation of the CMB has within it evidence of sound waves that were rippling through the universe 14 billion years ago when the universe was ~1000 times hotter than it is now and they look exactly like the big bang predicted they would decades ago. We will definitely gain new understanding into how the big bang happened, what started it, what came before it, etc, etc, but it did happen!
Regarding the "big splat" it wasn't discussed during the conference in a scientific context. Not too many people work on it. If one of those people had been at the conference I'm sure it would have been discussed, but none were. It was discussed a little bit at the coffee breaks but only because Hiranya Peiris (one of the conference guests) was having a public debate with Paul Steinhardt (one of the creators of the ekpyrotic model) over skype and she was canvassing people's thoughts.
The people who work on the ekpyrotic universe (e.g. Steinhardt) have claimed that Planck shows evidence that favours this scenario over inflation. This is not the consensus.
Moreover, both paradigms have issues. Inflation has a problem with initial conditions; that is, the universe has to be in a specific state in order for inflation to begin. It's hard to quantify what a "generic initial universe" should look like so most cosmologists don't worry about this problem. Once that problem is ignored there do exist complete models of inflation that can take us from an inflating universe all the way to today. The ekpyrotic universe is less well developed, but its major problem is that it requires the universe to go from a contracting phase to an expanding phase. I haven't studied the model in detail and the creators of the model have speculative ways for how this could happen, but it does make the paradigm less compelling. Note that there is a qualitative difference in that, once inflation has started, it does work, but this change from contracting to expanding has to happen after the fluctuations in the universe have been generated, so it is a more pertinent problem for the ekpyrotic universe than the initial condition problem is for inflation.
Given this, until evidence does arrive that favours the ekpyrotic universe over inflation the "most probable" paradigm is inflation (at least according to my priors). However, until evidence arrives that overwhelmingly favours inflation, research into alternative paradigms is definitely still worthwhile. No matter how compelling we find it, inflation might just turn out not to be true.
BlogDogIt Note: I have been running into Unhappy Dan for several years now in my travels across the interwebs. I was very glad to run across him again on Technorati, in my search for another stellar blog to shine the BlogDogIt Spotlight upon. Unhappy Dan is primarily a vlogger (video blogger) whose YouTube channel known as SearchForHappy is chocked-full-o-goodness. He has also recently started a new channel called Geeky Inside. Pay a visit to poor ol' Unhappy Dan and he'll take you along for the ride as he travels through life, living the dream...
People say I am mean, cruel, stubborn, etc. I say I am just Unhappy. This blog chronicles my being Unhappy and everything that comes with it. It includes to a Video blog of me and my family, useful links, and unique posts reviewing my daily experiences and point of view.
Today we go shopping for hobby supplies. We went looking for airbrush cleaner and some inks but we end up finding some nifty things along the way. We tried out Michaels and a Ben Franklin craft store and end up being pretty dissatisfied on their pricing for airbrush stuffs compared to DickBlic Online. Both stores had some pretty neat deals on other items but they don’t seem to be the place to go for your airbrush needs.
The endless miles of copper spanned,
beside steel tracks across the land.
While walking the dog today I picked up two aqua-green "Hemmingray 42" telegraph insulators and a "slice" of railroad track (1-1/2" thick.) Not exactly sure what I will do with these but they seemed way too cool to leave laying in the rocks.
Yep... I am still plugging away on those Belgium links over on the Cyberspace-Archeological Dig Site.I thought I would take a little break from that to show you the following funnybone that I dug up linked-to on the page:
We are fast approaching our One Millionth Hit To The System here on BlogDogIt.com so I thought it would be appropriate to discuss our efforts to reduce spam and hacking traffic. These measures have been taken in order to better legitimize the hit-counter so that we might get a feel for the actual human visitors to this site (as opposed to the robotic invaders from outer space.)
I have been using GUS (Geeklog Usage Stats) and Geeklog Ban plugins here since a little before taking our one-half-millionth hit. This system, along with its integral connection to http://whois.domaintools.com/, has allowed the analysis of web traffic and has lead to the identification of cyber-attack sources to this innocent little website. Any particularly persistent brutalizers have been blocked by their specific IP address. As time passes and the list of "bad guys" grows it becomes obvious that an inordinate amount of attacks emanate from within a particular range of IP addresses. When such trends have been discovered, measures have been taken that prevent huge blocks of IP addresses from infiltration.
Ever since instituting the CAPTCHA system on posts and comments the amount of spam making it into the data has all but vanished. There are still some human powered spam submitters but by having all post held for review those are easy enough to find and destroy.
Thanks in no small way to these efforts, I will take pride in knowing that when the hit counter strikes 1,000,000 a very high percentage of those request were made by real live human beings visiting BlogDogIt.com on the off-chance they might find what they were looking for. With any luck they will also discover what they were not necessarily looking for, to wit: This labor of love made available to the masses. That is unless their IP address happens to belong to one of the following blocked ranges of IPs:
It has been a lot of fun (if not a bit like work) over on the Belgium Cyberspace-Archeological Dig Site. I am nearly through the websites beginning with the letter "A" and already feel as though I am getting familier with the Dutch internet scene of a decade ago (or there abouts.) I have been bookmarking as I go and intend to make those links available here on BlogDogIt. That should give the casual Cyberspace-Archeologist a taste of the sorts of artifacts that are to be discovered by the hard-core web-hound. It is a very time consuming project but I have been making a point to post links to highlight some of the goodies so as to show the dig is producing results. (Be sure to check the growing list of those links in the comments section of that story.)
Proving once again that masodo is Scouring the Globe to bring the BlogDogIt followers "Quality Content From A Bit Off The Beaten Path"®, I wanted to share a slide-show of the unique and curious works of the Canadian born artist Rob Gonsalves. I was treated to a very nice collection of his works when I visited Webcome to Achille's pages (in the site's section intitled "SEAMLESS PICS.") A further investigation of Gonsalves brought me to theHuckleberry Fine Art Gallery, Dealers in Limited Edition Giclées featuring the works of this very talented artist.
I am bringing you 21 images that caught my eye. (You may have seen some of these before.)
While poking around the outskirts of McKenna's All Weather Haulage I came across a treasure trove in the form of a list of links for user websites from the Belgian ISP, telenet. I have begun a preliminary excavation of the site and so far have been finding many valuable artifacts. The following BlogDogIt posts represent some of the earliest prizes:
While there are certainly many dead links, there is enough active content to keep a cyber explorer such as myself amused and optimistic for discovery. So most of the sites are Dutch language and many are relating to defunct enterprises of one form or another. There are several sites that represent what can only be described as amateur dabbling in the html black arts.
There is no telling what you might find so use your mouse as your shovel and join the dig! I am including the page http://users.telenet.be/ in an iFrame below. If you find something good post the lucky link in the comment section at the end of this article.
Dig-in but be cautious! Random web-surfing is not for the faint of heart. Be sure your Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware are actively working to protecting you from those hazards of the internet. Do not forget your babelfishor other preferred Rosetta Stone - you just might need it.
An engrossing film noir with Mickey Rooney, Peter Lorre, and Jeanne Cagney. Needing money for a date, Rooney borrows $20 from the cash register, starting a chain of events that includes car theft, burglary, and possibly murder. [IMDB]
From the early 1980's to the late 1990's I spent a good deal of time in the dark. That was par for the course as a photographer in the good ol' Tri-X, Plus-X, D-76 days. Of course I am referring to the work I did as a Black & White Custom Photo-lab Wizard.
It was 1966 when Ray Bright and Ben Lawrence teamed up to start B&L Photographers, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. Both gentlemen where sort of "left hanging" when their employer - The Indianapolis Times Newspaper - closed their doors in 1965 (much to the chagrin of their employees.) By the time I came on board in the 80's they where a rock-solid pillar-of-the-community outfit and landing a full-time gig with these guys was itself a brush with greatness - if it ended there. But the story continues...
<a href="http://BlogDogIt.com/" title="BlogDogIt - Bloggin’ It While Doggin’ It" target="_blank"><img src="http://BlogDogIt.com/images/buttons/BlogDogItTag.png" alt="BlogDogIt - Bloggin’ It While Doggin’ It" /></a>Join The Link Exchange Today! Display the BlogDogIt Tag on your site and we will reciprocate by displaying your 200X50px or 100X100px link. Custom buttons made on request. Contact webmaster@BlogDogIt.com
Get BlogDogIt via RSS Feed
You can Subscribe to the BlogDogIt.com RSS feed by right clicking the Orange Logo above and Copy the shortcut to Paste into your favorite RSS Reader.