Sunday, March 10, 2013

Research mode again...

In spite of the suspicions of many cranks and crackpots, I do not spend all my time on this blog or perusing forums. 

Unlike some of the cranks that comment on or otherwise complain about this blog, I've not only read the papers I cite, but a few of the follow-ons and source references as well.  I've just found a new dataset which will cause more grief for some crank science recently discussed on this site.  Assembling these more complex posts can take days, even weeks, to research, run simulations, and generate graphics to support the eventual writing (and I actually have logs and backups to verify it should anyone try to claim otherwise).  I have noted this fact many times before…(see Projects and Progress..., Winter Hiatus: November-December 2012).

So while I continue this research, I'll post some other recent goodies of possible interest.

In Entertainment News...
I went to a science comedy show last Friday - Dr. Pete's "Feel the Power of the Dork Side".  A very good, and humorous, look at science and science education.

Rumors of the Big Bang's death have been greatly exaggerated
Peter of Eye on the ICR takes on the issue of the recently discovered large quasar group in a very good article, pointing out how this is not the first time creationists have claimed the 'Big Bang is Dead'.

On the flip side of this, there are those who want to claim the Big Bang itself is a creationist cosmology, one aspect of which I deal with in Is Big Bang Cosmology a 'Creationist' Model?

Galloping onward…
Duane T. Gish dies (NCSE).  Gish's debate tactic of dumping large numbers of arguments on an opponent in an attempt to keep them always on the defensive became known as the Gish Gallop (RationalWiki).  It is a tactic used by crank sciences beyond creationism.

For when it's not a rhetorical question - you want to do the Math!
I try to do simpler demonstrations of the power of physics and mathematics in ruling out various crank claims.  This capability also extends to explaining everyday things.  There is a version of the popular XKCD cartoon that stretches the idea to some not so everyday things.  Check out What-if @ XKCD.  Just some of the recent thought-provoking questions:  How much would the sea level fall if every ship were removed all at once from the Earth's waters?  If the Hubble telescope were aimed at the Earth, how detailed would the images be?  Every now and then we have to insert a leap second because the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. Could we speed up Earth’s rotation, so that we do not need Leap Seconds?

Death from the Skies
After the 2012 Doomsday debacle (see If you believe the World is going to end on December 21…), Dr. David Morrison takes on the chronic doomsayers at Cosmophobia: An unreasoning fear of the Cosmos.

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