Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Electric Universe Interview @ Exposing Pseudo-Astronomy, Part 2

Stuart Robbins has posted part two of his interview with me on the Electric Universe.  Check it out at:

Podcast Episode 116: The Electric Universe, Part 2, with Dr. Tom Bridgman

We were getting into the second hour of the interview, and it's beginning to show for me.  I was starting to tire so I had a lot of 'you knows' and tended to diverge from topic.  However, I'm generally pleased with the result.

Thanks Stuart!


SelfSim said...

It seems the consistently inconsistent, and (perhaps) deliberately confused 'Michael' Mozina, has responded with his usual slippery word salad here:

(I'm not sure if external links will work in this post?)

Quoting Mozina:
"Contrary to your {ie: Tom's} oversimplified notion of moving plasma moving in straight lines near stationary magnetic fields, the protons and electrons don't flow in nice little straight lines, they flow into the Earth along the *flow patterns" that are created by the circuits in the magnetosphere that dump current into the aurora."

Goodness knows exactly what that is supposed to mean ...

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To SelfSim:

Mr. Mozina is apparently mixing several ideas I discussed on solar system scale vs. near-Earth scale.

I highly doubt I said the electrons flow along *straight* lines in reference to Earth's magnetic field, though I probably did for the Sun which has a significantly weaker magnetic field and so any inbound trajectories would at worst be a gentle curve across much of the solar system. For low energies, the particles will follow along the field lines, but for high energies, particularly the many millions of volts in electric sun models, they will travel more direct paths which will still intersect the night sides of the planets. I have some estimates of gyroradii for some lower electron energies documented in this comment. At relativistic energies, the gyro-radii will scale roughly with energy, so at 600 million volts, the gyro-radius for electrons would be 600 times larger than for 1 million volts. If Mr. Mozina wants to argue different, he is welcome to present some actual numbers, preferably those which can be compared to satellite measurements. If he is trying to turn the entire argument based on his interpretation of my statement, then he's doing the equivalent of arguing that the existence of mountains disproves that Earth is round.

If Mr. Mozina wants to claim this influx powers the aurora, he might want to check the actual amount of power in the aurora
(Astronomy Cafe: How much power do aurora produce and can we use it?) which translates to 1 watt/(25 ft^2)*(25 ft^2/2.3 m^2) = 0.43 watts/m^2. For comparison, the Earth receives about 1300 watts/m^2 from solar irradiance.
Also, according to satellite measurements, the major flow to the nightside of Earth is kind of a 'backwash' of plasma trapped in the magnetotail at low energies (kiloelectron volts and lower) and this is seen in the models as well (Several NASA Spacecraft Track Energy Through Space). Note that none of these models include the multi-million electric voltages invoked by 'Electric Sun' advocates. All electric fields are local fields created by the plasma configuration. The high energy (giga-electron volts) is dominated by cosmic rays which has very little total energy, compared to solar output (Electric Sun: Energy Budget from KNOWN Sources).

Funny, I thought Mr. Mozina had actually READ Birkeland's work:

The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition (1902-1903), pg 720:
"According to our manner of looking at the matter, every star in the universe would be the seat and field of activity of electric forces of a strength that no one could imagine.
We have no certain opinion as to how the assumed enormous electric currents with enormous tension are produced, but it is certainly not in accordance with the principles we employ in technics on the earth at the present time. One may well believe, however, that a knowledge in the future of electrotechnics of the heavens would be of great practical value to our electrical engineers." [italics mine]

Birkeland admits he doesn't know how any of his stellar models would work with the understanding of electromagnetism of his day. The revision to Maxwell's equations for which he hoped did not happen. A coherent understanding of atomic physics and nuclear structure were still a decade and more away. Quantum electrodynamics would largely map Maxwell's equations to the sub-atomic scale, producing only limited changes in large-scale phenomena.

highencast said...

Hello Dr. Bridgman, do you have any information regarding EU's claims of an "electric sculpting" of the Martian surface? I am specifically referring to the content produced in their videos such as this:


I looked around your site but was unable to find any information regarding this. Thank you!

SelfSim said...

Thanks Tom.

Some pretty pertinent facts and figures there, (which I hadn't noticed before).

If one can actually succeed in quietening the EU noise on the web, one finds that there are some pretty amazing parts of the Cosmos plasma puzzle coming together quite nicely!


W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To SelfSim,

I see further along the discussion thread you provide that Mr. Mozina is also trying to claim a recent Planck result is evidence for the Peratt model...

PLANCK spots hot gas bridging galaxy cluster pair
and the original paper is here "Planck intermediate results. VIII. Filaments between interacting clusters"

Related publications:

Constraints on the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich signal from the warm-hot intergalactic medium from WMAP and SPT data

The Signature of the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium in WMAP and the Forthcoming Planck Data

The ACTUAL report is this is a region of hot gas, temperature corresponding to 7 keV (= 81 million K), and density 3.7e-4/cm^3, possibly due to a past interaction between the clusters. They are consistent with simulation results of interacting clusters. No mention of any currents. It is the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect - photons are preferentially scattered to higher energies when passing through a hot plasma (Wikipedia: Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effect). This was a measurement of the THERMAL Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect (tSZ) as opposed the weaker kinematic SZ effect.

Again, we see Mr. Mozina 'reinterprets' the reports with no consideration of the actual science behind it.

Can the results be interpreted in the context of the Peratt model? Only with a lot of ignorance or outright lying.

- These 'filaments' END between the two galaxy clusters. Does that mean they are the 'batteries' for the system? If so, what is generating the voltage difference between them to drive the current?

- why don't we see the filaments extending BEYOND the two clusters to power more galaxies?

- In the study of 25 cluster pairs, they conclusively found only TWO connections. Not very encouraging stats for the Peratt model which required most or all galaxies to be powered by these currents.

- In the study, the closest clusters examined were at z=0.0353 and the closest with a connection was at z=0.0514 (~220 Mpc for H0=70km/s/Mpc). If these 'filaments' are connecting all galaxies, why don't we see anything closer?

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To highencast,

I've not written much on this since much covers planetary science and geology where my background is not as strong. Stuart might be able to write much more on this.

In terms of claims about impact craters, I've written how the energy of impact of a large object is more than enough energy to completely vaporize the object. That analysis is available in "The Electric Sky: Short-Circuited" available at this link.

As for electric scarring, there are two issues:

1) How much energy is needed to move, or vaporize, large quantities of dirt or similar soil/rock/etc?

2) Are there naturally occurring electrical phenomena which can deliver the appropriate energy density and total power to displace or vaporize rock and soil to create large geological features?

I've seen no real evidence that #2 is possible by natural means. Even laboratory demonstrations of electrical etching don't correlate the amount of electrical energy required to the amount of material moved or vaporized.

Just rough estimates I've tried to make suggest more of electrical energy is lost ionizing material rather than moving it. This makes electrical methods of geological change far more expensive in power requirements than mechanical and chemical methods.

Hope that is some assistance. I might write more in the future if I can ever find details on the power requirements and material displacements created in electric etching.

SelfSim said...

Thanks again for your response Tom. I took the liberty of posting parts of it on the CF thread .. but alas, Mr Mozina had nothing constructive to offer in reponse, (surprise, surprise).

Of more significance is this fairly recently presented paper by Don Scott, called "Magnetic Fields of Birkeland Currents":


In all my days, I have never seen a more fundamentally flawed, confused piece of mish-mash in all my life! You may want to have a look at it, and add it to the rest of your critiques of Dr Scott's musings ... its another EU 'classic'!
PS: Apologies if you've already commented on it ..

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To SelfSim,

I've looked at Scott's "Birkeland Currents" paper. I'd practically have to write a course in partial differential equations (wikipedia, Wolfram Mathworld) to demonstrate all the failures in that analysis.

The problems with Don Scott's 'reinterpretation' of the Voyager results:
* Electric Universe Fantasies & Heliopause Electrons
* Electric Universe Fantasies & Heliopause Electrons. II.
and also discussed in comments here:
* The Sad State of the Electric Sun(s) - Not So Bright

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To SelfSim:

From ChristianForums:

Mozina: "Sure we observe them in *every* image. In fact *all* that shows up in *any* microwave image are the suns and the dust and the *threads* that emit them. You guys keep *ignoring* the fact that every single sun and dust particle in the universe is an actual emitter of microwaves. You instead *assume* that every photon in the 'scrubbed' microwave images comes from some mythical magical surface of last scattering. The only reason to you don't 'see' them is because you cannot see the forest from all of the trees!"

So Mr. Mozina wants to claim even the closest trees are invisible!? (Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background)

Here's the raw (i.e. 'unscrubbed') skymaps from which the CMB maps are constructed.
* Five separate wavebands collected for WMAP: WMAP CMB images
* Nine separate wavebands collected for PLANCK: PLANCK data

Even the raw input data are available for anyone who wishes to explore different analyses! Yet I find no actual maps from the Electric Universe supporters, just excuses.

So the question for Mr. Mozina is still "where are the current streams connecting the galaxies?"

To make it easier for him, how about for just some of the closest galaxies? Where's the Peratt microwave emitting thread through the M31 & M33? The two nearest spiral galaxies should have the brightest and largest filaments visible from Earth. The Andromeda galaxy (M31) is about 4 degrees wide in longest dimension, that's eight times larger than the full Moon! M33 is about twice as wide as the full Moon. The current streams themselves should be far longer! Where are they?

Does Mr. Mozina need something bigger to find? How about find the filaments powering the Virgo cluster (Wikipedia)?

Hard up for facts, Mr. Mozina again grasps at some discovery to divert attention. And again, it is a discovery that refines, but does not overthrow, our view of stellar population (NASA: Galaxies Demand a Stellar Recount). So they found more red dwarf stars than they expected compared to local star surveys? They found more of the SMALLEST, LOWEST MASS, and FAINTEST stars with the newer, more sensitive instruments (ADS: Evidence for a Nonuniform Initial Mass Function in the Local Universe).

Mr. Mozina thinks this rather minor revision to the standard model is evidence for his claims? I've never seen a stellar mass distribution or IMF function published by ANY Electric Universe supporter.

Again, Mr. Mozina essentially tries to use the existence of mountains to prove that the Earth is not round...

As for why I don't join Mr. Mozina's mud-wresting match in the so-called 'Christian' forums
1) No scientific debate has ever been decided by the type of debate Mr. Mozina is proposing, only by answering challenges as noted above.
2) Pseudoscience, 'Debates' & Unintended Consequences
3) Mr. Mozina is not my target audience.
4) Considering how much Mr. Mozina has distorted the research of others as noted above in an attempt to evade the implications of his own claims, I'd hardly call it a forum for an honest debate.

SelfSim said...

Re: Tom's August 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM reply (on Scott's Birkeland Fields paper):

Yes ... it appears Mozina has escalated my comments on this paper to EU Headquarters (TBolts), here:


After reading the posts there, motivation welled up, resulting in more ordered thoughts being recorded in a thread at CFs called, 'Scott's EU Birkeland Current Blunders', here:


How someone can commence an attempt at a serious analysis, based on a completely false initial postulate and not detect it during that very analysis is frankly, astounding!

Scott should pay credit to his 'exempt' peer review status and make this paper a submission to the next Ig Nobel awards in Physics .. in a category somewhat along the same lines as the 1994 Physics submission of: "Whether earthquakes are caused by catfish wiggling their tails":


W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To SelfSim,

Other priorities have bumped ahead of late, so I won't get around to my analysis anytime soon.

Scott addresses no boundary conditions which would determine the scale of the structures - he's basically having this current fill all of space, which make it difficult (impossible?) to relate current density, and radius, to anything else we can measure.

Note that beyond comparisons to any circular structure, Scott does no comparison of claimed strength of these currents and measured values.

Bessel's equation is a common part of the solution in many systems with axial symmetry including fluid mechanics and deformable-body mechanics, so you expect similar structures for systems like fluids and gases on spinning planets as well as impact waves. In those cases, researchers have actually compared the results of the equations with actual measurements of wind speeds, etc.

- Wikipedia: Vibrations of a circular membrane
- MathPhys Archive: Modeling a Vibrating Drumhead I

But biggest problem is the issue of stability of this configuration.

For 'force-free', the assumption is that the magnetic field is parallel to the current. Actually, I'm not sure if that can ever be absolutely true for any arbitrary current configuration and intensity. But Dr. Scott forgets that constraint and starts talking about the magnetic field winding around the current - a violation of the constraint in his solution, in addition to his claims that the configuration moves plasma around.

In reality, 'force-free' also means that the magnetic field created by the current is small compared to the magnetic field parallel to the current. Therefore, the magnetic field imposed exterior to the current configuration must be significantly larger than the magnetic field created by the current itself. This is also a stability condition for this configuration as described in many texts on the topic.

This is the case in environments like the aurora. The current of the incoming electron beams may be large, but the magnetic field it creates is still small compared to the planetary magnetic field that acts to stabilize it. It enables aurora to persist for a time as a reasonably stable structure.

SelfSim said...

Thanks Tom.

Rather interestingly, it appears that the solution for a force free field in cylindrical co-ordinates, (which Scott uses), was originally developed by S. Lindquist in two papers, as follows:

i) S. Lundquist, 'Magneto-hydrostatic fields', Ark.Fys. 35, 361 (1950) and;
ii) S. Lundquist, 'On the Stability of Magneto-Hydrostatic Fields', Phys.Rev. 83, 107 (1951).

Unfortunately, Dr Scott seems to have neglected citing the above references in his paper and as a result, the EU brethren at TBolts (and CF) seem to now think Scott was the originator (thereby elevating his EU ranking).

This is a classic example of how blatant, misinterpreted plagiarism, by a so-called 'EU Theorist', has directly fed into the eagerly awaiting, and gullible minds of EU Enthusiasts.

The (now) annual EU concert regularly puts this kind of tripe on center stage, thereby further incubating more misinformed nonsense, as the audience eagerly seeks 'evidence' by gazing at astro images. Once again, the content goes unchallenged by EU brethren .. After all, that would be kind of blasphemous, eh?


W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To SelfSim,

Thanks for the info on the Lundquist papers. They were not in my collection. I've got the 1960 paper on a force-free field model for solar flares by Gold and Hoyle and loads of other papers by Sweet, Chandrasekhar, and a few others.

Force-free field configurations are now one of the standard 'simple models' which is covered in virtually any plasma physics course (but probably not by any electrical engineering courses). It's described in J.D. Jackson's "Classical Electrodynamics", as well as Krall & Trivelpiece "Principles of Plasma Physics" and Sturrock's "Plasma Physics: An Introduction to the Theory of Astrophysical, Geophysical and Laboratory Plasmas", to name just a few on my bookshelves.