Anti-electric universe

December 29, 2018

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 6:56 am



A few things first before the review of the book. I have listened to all episodes of the podcast that is over 700 episodes which is over 1000 hours of listening. Also I am least Facebook friends with a couple of the members of the SGU, Evan and Jay, I mostly just send happy birthday messages and are you alright messages if something is going on. I would like to meet them in person someday that is probably unlikely. Also For Perry DeAngelis the late Rogue, “Monkeys rule, birds drool.” Also in this review I will add my own personal experiences.



Steve lied to me, he said on the podcast that this was going to a graphic novel with pop-ups, just kidding. Steve’s point was that in the past he believed authority figures and what they said as fact but a lot of it was wrong. This an example of argument from authority which people use a title or position as a reason why people should take what they say as fact. Or people just take what some people say as the truth. This is wrong you should verify what they say and just not take their word for it. I have experienced this in my life either as a child when someone who was spreading rumours and gossip about me by saying they knew me better than I knew myself, this happened in college as well. Another time was when I was discussing evolution with a creationist, who happened to have gone to an university in a bigger city and thus he thought he knew better.



The book is divided up into different sections. The first section is about the tools needed to be skeptic. The second section is about the adventures members of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe had over the years. The third section is about problems with the media presenting science and skeptical issues. The fourth section is how some of the issues dealt with by skeptics can be fatal. And the final section is advice on how to deal with people in real life.



The first section starts with how the brain can fool you. Such as how people think that memory is a perfect replay of what happen in the past. Most of the time it is full of mistakes or omits details or loses details over time. There have been times when people tried to make think that the memories I had doing certain activities like walking home from school I made up or got it from the TV. The thing is I had many eye witnesses who say me walk home including one of the teachers at the school who was also my neighbour. Pareidolia or seeing patterns that are not there. Hypnagogia this is when you are half asleep and the brain is acceptable to seeing or experiencing things that are not there. An example is when people see aliens in their bedroom or in an alien spaceship. When I was small I thought Santa moved me from one room in my house to another, I probably did it myself while half awake on Christmas Eve.



There are three other subsections to this section. The second section is on some of faulty lines of thinking that people use to defend their ideas. These include motivated reasoning, logical fallacies,anomaly hunting and other a few others. One example from my own life is the first year at one college I was doing fairly well in the quizzes for the course but the night before the midterm my roommate bugged me to go out partying and the next morning I did poorly on it. The next year I tried to explain this to some people but one really didn’t think it was the case mostly because he liked drinking and partying. He was motivated to reason this way because if partying and bugging people was linked to bad grades, they would probably mean some changes.



The third subsection of this section deals with where does the line between science and pseudoscience lay and how pseudoscientists abuse the tools of science and use bad evidence to support their claims. In this section p-hacking is described, pseudoscientist will try to get the p-value to the value of 0.05 which is the lowest value to considered credible. Also in this section conspiracy theories are discussed, and witch hunts. Anecdote which is a persons story of what happen, this is often considered a low value form of evidence, it is good to start an investigation but proof that the belief is true. When I worked at a call center we would get prank and nuisance calls all the time, some of the other workers would say it was the full moon. Then I would go “ we get them all the time.” And the response would be well my relative worked at a hospital as a nurse and they get crazies only on the full moon. Probably some confirmation bias and postmodernism thrown in as well.



The last subsection deals with iconic tales from the past to demonstrate how people allowed themselves and others for various things. The Clever Hans effect came about because someone wanted to prove animals could be trained to demonstrate human like intelligence, but didn’t realize he was giving signals to the horse. Other examples that are giving are pyramid schemes, quantum woo and free energy which often are used to defraud people of their money. Another is cold reading and in this area I have a couple of examples. At one college I attended I spent most of the time in physics society room. This was a place to do work, spend time and some to wait for their ride home. Their was one engineering student who like tarot cards. She offered to do readings for a couple of us on a couple of afternoons. I agreed to do a reading and what I remembered is she dealt the cards. When the cards were down there would be something like death. Death in this context meant change and she would ask is there change coming up in your life. It was a tool to ask the questions for a cold reading. Also when working at the call center one of the co-workers went to psychic fair with a friend. She sat down at one of the booths and psychic asked is there someone in your life whose name starts with an “L”? She said,”Yes, Lance.” The psychic went on about Lance. Lance whole name is Lancealot a poodle.



The second major section is about each of the rogues individual tells of skepticism. The first story is about Steve’s investigation into GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organism ). These have been changed by modern science to increase crop yields, resistant to diseases or pests like insects. There is resistance to these crops because people think these crops will do damage to them. These crops have been tested over years and nothing has been found to do any harm to people. I would like to add, they anti-gmo crowd have fairly public spoke people like the TV show Bones will make the occasional comment about it. Here in Canada we have David Suzuki who has been a science communicator here who has voiced concerns over GMOs. The second tale is about a Free energy device and is Perry’s tale. These devices claim that you can get more energy out then you put in, which violates the second law of thermodynamics. These schemes come in many forms and still exists, the harm in most cases is the bank account. The third tale is Cara’s tale of all health woo being done in Hollywood from fad diets to the anti-vaxx movement. The next three come Bob, Evan and Jay.(You’ll read to hear those stories)



The third section deals with science and the media. One issue is false balance, if their is story about that deals with global warning reporters usually have a global warming denier with a climate scientist on giving there views. This makes it look like that both sides are equal while in reality 97 percent of climate scientist view global warming as fact. There is nowadays many sources of news and some are more trustworthy than others. Some go out and fact check while others just make facts up to support their views on what they are reporting on. In science journalism there has been an increase in sensationalism. One example in the book is when a ninth planet has been found in the out solar system, this was a mathematical model, no one has found this planet with a telescope yet. My favourite on is that a study said there is no life in the universe, again a mathematical study with no observational data. One I fall for was that they found the chemical precursors to life was found on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which wasn’t the case.



The next to last section deals how pseudoscience can lead to death. Such as Naturopathy which is when people ignore modern medicine or with modern medicine use things like herbs and other natural substances to cure diseases. Or use rituals like exorcism to deal mental health issues, or deny certain diseases exists and most of this leads to death or suffering of some kind.



Is the book worth the purchase, oh yes. I personally had to travel about 220 kms and wait almost three months because of financial reasons. Steve’s style is informal and informative and also encourages the use of the internet to demonstrate some things. I think this is a good companion to Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World, written over 20 years ago. This book is more of how to deal with these situations day to day and Demon Haunted World was Sagan. When it was written there was probably only a few known skeptics. Now we have many more candles in dark such the SGU, mythbusters and other groups all over world. Since I listen the podcast I know they have tried to get a TV show but most of the time TV producers want them to be a token skeptic on a show. The only question I left to ask since this was a guide to the Universe, which way to Wolf 359?



December 17, 2018


Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 7:41 pm

In a bout of insomnia I started to look thru some old movies to see which one I wanted to watch and found the original Stargate movie. This movie came out about 25 years ago, while I first saw it about then in my college dorms TV room on VHS, yes that dates me a bit. You will notice the old monitors on the computers but that is probably the main thing that dates this movie.


The main premise of the movie is based off of Erich Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods, which came up with the idea that most ancient structures were built by aliens. The ancient aliens of modern times is based off of this as well. The underlying premise that the ancients outside of Europe could not figure things out is insulting to ancient peoples and is racists. The three TV series that spun-off from the movie that go into Atlantis and crystal skulls.


The main concept of the movie is that aliens built the pyramids were built by aliens to land there ships on and eventually brought a Stargate to Earth. A Stargate is a round stone and metal ring that creates a wormhole to another Stargate on another planet. This allows people just to walk to other planets. This allowed the aliens to transport humans to other planets for slave labor. The aliens themselves are worm like beings that take over humans. There are some humans that get used as incubators or as hosts for the aliens. The ancient Egyptians overthrow the aliens and buried the Stargate.


In 1928 American archaeologists uncover the cover stones and the underlying Stargate. In the 1990’s the American Air Force put the Stargate in the bottom of a missile tube. After a couple of years of study they find an archaeologists who thinks the pyramids were made by aliens. When a probe is travelling it is said it is going to the far side of the Universe were galaxy was probably meant. He is invited to the top secret location and within a couple of weeks he figures out the Stargate. Then they travel to the planet whose address is written on the cover stone. They find a tribe of humans there and free them also the archaeologist falls in love and stays on the planet.


As mentioned there were three TV series based off of the movie. The characters of O’Neill and Jackson are brought back, the first series. They fight the Goa’uld to free humans around the galaxy, on the way they make allies, enemies, some that don’t care and explore space and themselves. This series lasted for 10 years and have over 200 episodes. The two series takes part on a city in a far away galaxy on a mostly water planet in a city in an ocean called Atlantis. They other on takes part in the far reaches of the Universe. All are watching and probably one of the best science fiction franchises and that came out of the 90’s. It is probably the most relatable to people who don’t watch science fiction because it is based off of people and institutions of modern times. The most remarkable character in the series is probably Sam Carter, an astrophysicists, officer, pilot and a woman who had lines in the first episode like “just because my reproductive organs are on the inside” and “you wouldn’t believe what we had to Macgyver together..” while looking right Richard Dean Anderson. Generally if you find this on Netflis or similar outlets or on DVD it is worth watching.

December 16, 2018

‘Twas a night before Christmas (sort of)

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 11:32 pm


 ‘Twas the night before Christmas
Dr. Gay was finished her podcast
hopefully getting the funds at last.
Out in Colorado Phil Plait.
was with goats really late.
Fraser was out in BC getting ready for some hangouts.
Then I spied a sleigh pulled by nine Honda fits.
There was Geo and Randi in the front seat.
“Take my seat I’ve gotta get back to the heat.”
Then we took off to the land of Oz.
Then I needed a pause.
We saw Richard and Maynard.
Sunning themselves in the yard.
Then we took off over Asia and the Europe’s other side.
Then we were in the land of Merseyside.
Then we met Alice, Mike and Marsh.
Whose talk on placebo was harsh.
There is also Singh and Cox
who I not going to rhyme.
Then over the Atlantic we could not find the guide
So we listened to some Skeptics guide. (lazy I know)
There was the brothers Novella and Cara talking about reason
while Evan was dreading the upcoming season.
Then over the radio we heard the local science talker.
Form the school I went to Dr. Thacker.
Then I got off near the border.
Because I am not a passport holder.
All I had to say was
“Merry Christmas and good night.”

December 13, 2018

Things that Don’t Make Sense

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 2:11 am

First thing to discuss is that mentions that the Thermosphere is 1500 C and she asks “Why don’t the satellites melt?”. The thing is that you need the air to make contact with rocket or satellite to heat up the metal to melt it, the atmosphere in this layer is sparse that there is not enough contact to effect the metal. Also the mesosphere is closer to the Earth than the thermosphere. Also she discusses the temperature of stuff in space by using the day side and night side temperature of the moon, I’ll let her have that but she didn’t do any research into satellites to find out that they have various controls on the temperature to make sure they do not get too hot or cold and generally called TCS or thermal control systems.


Then she tries to discuss how rockets are lunched, The first thing is she states the rocket since it is on the Earth has the same speed as the Earth of 1600 km/hr. The rocket relative to the Earth when it launches has zero speed. The reason of the rocket is accelerate the rocket to a speed so that either it orbits or the payload escapes the Earth’s gravity. She goes onto a analogy of a merry-go-around. She says that the rocket or satellite is like dropping a ball off of the merry-go-around. It is actually like throwing a ball while on a merry-go-around, if you throw the ball with enough speed for it to go straight this is like when a rocket has enough energy to keep going into interplanetary space this called the escape velocity. If the ball does not enough speed the ball will fall back to the Earth. If you throw Things Thathe ball with just enough energy and if you have a string tied to the ball it will stay up going around the merry-go-around this is when a satellite goes into orbit.


Satellites are used for GPS, communications, weather satellites and space observatories some pointing back to the Earth. Some people use them for the internet but this is done by radio waves. Lasers are used in the internet but this is done in fibre optics and are underground not in space.

December 3, 2018

Nope, Cassini Was In Outer Space.

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 10:48 pm

First thing as a citizen of the world you should know there are other agencies and other groups who study the sky, like European Space Agency (ESA), JAXA the Japanese space agency, the Canadian space agency, thousands of professional astronomers all over the world and millions of amateur astronomers from all over the world. I myself have shown many people Saturn thru a telescope and it is a round object with rings on either side. Most of these groups would like to find something that the others haven’t because that would mean more funding. But there are times that agencies will work together Cassini is one of these projects, the main body of the probe was made by NASA and the other part called Huygens which landed on Titan Saturn’s largest moon was made by ESA. One big error some of the alternate theory community make is that these probes are just there to take pictures. These probes are loaded wit as many instruments as possible to detect and measure particles in the space the probe flies thru, even the speed that the probe can be used to detect variations in the gravity of the planet it travels around. The measure in gravity can give you an indication of the mas distribution and density of the planet in that region which would give an idea on the what that are is made out of. Cassini was crashed into Saturn not to hide anything but it probably had all kinds of bacteria on it and in future scientists would like to test the moons of Saturn for life but if the probe hit the surface of a moon, the moon would be considered contaminated with Earth life so it was sent into Saturn where there is likely no life. Also because the Earth is rotating there has to be multiple locations on to pick up the transmissions from Cassini. Another Common assumption that people make is that the scientists using observatories like Hubble and Cassini work directly for NASA, usually they work for universities and get grants. Then they use some of their grant money to get time on Hubble or whatever observatory they need to use. For Hubble after a year in most cases the scientist releases the raw data to the public.

Most of the video she clearly demonstrates that she really doesn’t know what she is talking about such as how photos are taken and quantum mechanics. First we will deal with the photo taken and processing. The images were taken by a ccd camera, it is the same as the camera in cell phones. These the devices record images by when a photon hits the surface of the chip and converts the energy of a photon into electrical energy. To get a color picture, different filters are used usually RGB also on what the scientists need from the images. On cameras that you use everyday the filters are spread out over the surface chip, in something Cassini or Hubble they take an image with a red filter over the entire chip, then the blue and then the green. There are usually a dark frame and flat frame taken with the camera, these frames are used to cancel out errors on the chip and if there is anything on the lens of the camera used such as dust. The images are processed in a computer program, sometimes several images are combined to make a large detail image, the colors in the images are usually adjusted so they image represents what the object looks like but sometimes the images have some artistic license is used in publications.

The major area the present has some troubles with is quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics dealing with sub-atomic and atomic particles. In this regime particles act like particles and a wave. In the regime particles do not behave exactly like they do in our regime, particle and quantum physicists used probability functions to figure out where the particles are and their interactions with other particles. Another thing this presenter seems confused about is Young’s double slit experiment. When a stream of particles comes to a barrier with a hole or slit the particles will behave as if the slit is the source of the particles. If there are two slits the particles will behave as if both slits are the sources of the particles. When this happens the waves will interact with on another. In some places the waves will either add together or cancel each other out. The part about how you need a conscious observer to make a photo real seems like she is misinterpreting the Schrodinger cat thought experiment. And Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The uncertainty principle states if you know the location of a particle you cannot know precisely the momentum of the particle within a certain range. Schrodinger and Einstein did not like the idea that there was uncertainty so Schrodinger came with a thought. Lets say there is a box inside the box there is a cat and a vial poison, you don’t if the poison has been released so you can’t know if the cat is alive or dead at the same time. There is nothing in either that states it has to be conscious being, just something observing it.

I really don’t think this person is trying to misled others but has been misled herself by others or she just doesn’t understand what she is saying. The problem with some of the pseudoscience is the money that is wasted by buying it or the time it takes to try to inform people where they are wrong.

Something on the lighter side

October 3, 2018

The Demon Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 2:06 am


This essay will be Carl Sagans last book A Demon Haunted World, this was written right before Sagans death in 1996 and is some parts are written with his wife Ann Druyan. I personally wish this book was written several years before and I know about it. This book is about how to look at things logically, how not to allow your own biases get in the way of analyzing the data and sciences role in society, Even Carl Sagan admits he as a human as made mistakes over the years. Another example he uses is Fred Hoyle who help us understand what happens in the core of stars, thought that bacteria and viruses came down from comets.

I have had a number of times in own life that I had wished I have known some of material covered in the book, specially during my first year at university. During that year I was living in dorm which had mostly older students, grad students, teachers and a couple of law students. One of which was a person who was there to get a teaching degree, he got undergrad the University of Toronto in science and he was a creationists. Being a creationists is not a bad thing, I had friend before this who we often discuss creationism vs evolution. The main argument that he was right was the fact he went the bigger university in the bigger city. Also that year one night I was talking with some friends and the conversation went into reproduction. His brother and sister in law were using a method to prevent another child, if they got rhythm wrong another baby was on the way. This person also was from the big city, the doctor and a teacher of the friend telling them this was a good option and the had to right because they were all from the big city and I was from rural New Brunswick. Both of these are example of arguments from authority which is one of the many fallacies Sagan discusses in the book.
There have been other versions of this argument over the years they have been that just said that “I know you better than you know yourself”, these people just as an excuse to try to make me normal by constantly bugging me, the thing is I probably have social anxiety and depression this made it worse over time. Sometimes it is they read a book or heard something on the news. One person came up with a theory the only reason I graduated university is that I was promoted for social reasons. They heard a news report the previous night that said in some schools in the United States they were doing this, so therefore since my school was close to the border they must be doing the same thing.

Another main theme of the book is what science is. Science is a method to figure out how universe works. It is not memorizing the names of all the names of plants and animals or recited PI to the nth place. It is not what some people think that is just math, math is just a tool used to help describe the universe. Science starts with questions like “How does..?”, “When did …?”,” What causes …?”. Then a series of observations or experiments happen then a conclusion is drawn hopefully inline with the data and not just pulled out of the air. We are born with some instinct of to do science, children are full of questions and love to explore and experience lots of new stuff, but over time a lot of them lose this because it does not seem cool or there is much award in society. The !klun san tribe in Africa use observations of animals tracks and animal behaviour to figure out which one to hunt. They do not prey to a god or gods, use astrologer, it is just logic, training and observation.

Also discussed in the book is the interaction between science and society. Most of this discussed from the perspective of the United States because Sagan was an American and the primary audience was an American audience. The forefathers of US either scientists or had some understanding of science and appreciation of science. They knew for a society to flourish a couple things were needed. One was the separation of Church and State. In there recent history there were a number of wars fought over which interpertation of a holy book was right with the backing of nations of Europe. Plus there had to right of free speech which always people say what they want no matter how much it makes your skin crawl. Along with free speech the people need to be able to read and understand what is said, most groups recognize the way to get ahead is literacy. In the southern states it was illegal to teach the slaves how to read because most slave owners knew if the slave knew how to read it would be a good thing. As soon as the slaves were freed the literacy rate among slaves took off. Nowadays in the states there seems to a group that seems to want to cut science spending if does support their views or does not have immediate benefits either to the military or the economy. Take the SSC that was being built in Texas up to 1993 when the funding was cut after 2 billion dollars was already spent, so money was wasted and no science was done so both sides lost.

This book is trying to point out the demons in each of us and the demons in society. And trying to improve our way to prevent these demons taking over. There are some issues that I probably will discuss when I read the Skeptics Guide To The Universe Book. These issues include the rise of the skeptics, the rise of antiscience in forms like the antivax movement, the use of social media to spread skepticism the fight over evolution in the schools in the US and the rise of geek culture. I enjoy this book every time I read it and I know I have stuff I wish I did differently. He are few woods from the man himself.

September 17, 2018

The Big Splat or How Our Moon Came to Be

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 2:47 am

The Big Splat or How Our Moon Came to Be

This might be a series of reviews and overviews of science and skepticism books. Right now I am starting with books that I have handy to me so they will a bit outdated. Hopefully in October when the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast book comes out I will get as soon as possible and before that I will read A Demon Haunted World.

This overview is of The Big Splat or How Our Moon Came to Be by Dana MacKenzie in 2003. I have read this years ago while working at call center. This is basically a history of our views of what we thought of the moon over the last 2500 years. It starts in Greek times and finishes in the early 2000’s. The story does mention of the usual suspects in planetary science and astronomy such as Kepler, Galileo, Newton and Darwin (probably not the one you are thinking of.).

The first couple of chapters of the deals with how for until recently in human history how the moon was the only light at night and then how Greeks brought the moon back to Earth from the gods. The Greeks originally thought that all the celestial bodies were gods, the god of the Moon was Artemis. Then a meteorite came down to the Earth, this one was different then any previous meteorite. First it landed in Thrace, second people found it. It also fall when the Greeks the group that controlled this area started to try to explain things by natural reasons rather than supernatural reasoning. Anaxagoras one of the first physici, he eventually figure that the moon, the sun, stars and planets were made of solid matter. After this there were two different schools on what the heavens were made up of and the other still wanted to believe that heavens were made out of the same stuff as the Earth.

The next major set of developments came about almost two thousand years later. It started with Nicolas Copernicus who came up with the idea that the planets including the Earth orbited around the sun and not everything orbiting the Earth. The next development came bu Johannes Kepler. Kepler started hos career as a math instructor in a school. One day he had the thought the orbits could fitted by the platonic solids. He got the attention Tycho Brahe who was the astronomer to the Emperor of Austria
and Kepler his assistant. After Tycho passed Kepler inherited Tycho’s observational data including that of Mars. Kepler tried to fit the observations to an orbit of a circle but couldn’t find out how. He eventually considered the eclipse which is a slightly squashed orbit. He then realized that the a planet orbiting the sun would cover the same are over the same time. Another relationship he found was that the square of the time it took a planet to orbit a star was equal to the cube of the radius of the orbit. The major player was Galileo, he did not invent the telescope or the first to point at the moon or the havens.
But he was the first to realize that the objects moving around the planet Jupiter to be orbiting around Jupiter itself. Galileo wrote a 40 page pamphlet describing his discoveries and his telescope design. Kepler wrote a pamphlet in response in which he described a better arrangement of lenses to improve Galileo’s telescope. Kepler last major installment in the tale of the moon was a Sci-Fi story which he tells of a traveler to the moon and his meeting the inhabitants of the Moon. This actually got his mother in trouble because of the method he described tot he moon looked a like witch craft, eventually she got out of the charges.

The next major contribution was done by Issac Newton. He didn’t really make any great discoveries about the moon but how things orbit. When an object orbits another object there is force towards the object in the center, the force decreases by the square of distance between the two objects and the force is dependent on the force of the two objects. He also along with Leibniz of Germany the new branch of mathematics called calculus. Immanual Kant and Marquis Laplace thought the solar system formed by a spinning collapsing cloud of gas and dust, they came up with the theory independently within years of each other, knowledge took a lot longer to get around. They figured that the moon formed in a region near Earth in this theory This was the coaccretion process was refined. The major refinement was worked out Roche. Roche discovered if a moon comes to close to the planet it is orbiting the moon would break apart. The most famous example of this Saturn’s rings which are 2.46 the radius of Saturn. To do this to the moon it would be 2.49 the radius of Earth because our moon. He figured that the it was the sun’s tidal force and the not the force from the Earth had a greater effect on the forming Earth -moon system. His calculations showed the Earth had in influence on objects within 237 times its radius.

The next major theory came form George Darwin son of the one that wrote something about natural selection. George become of the great mathematician of his era and got intrigued by the tidal forces between the Earth and the moon. He realized that the interaction between the two was slowing down how fast the Earth was revolving around its axis and how long moon was taking to orbit the Earth so one day the two would be the same of 55 days. This also meant as you went back in time the Earth would be rotating once in 5 hour and 36 minutes. Darwin thought that at one point the was ejected from the Earth. At around the same time the discovery of radioactivity and and radioactive elements. It was discovered that Uranium decayed into lead at a certain rate and the age of the Earth was figured to be 4.47 billion years which was off because the decay process wasn’t fully understood at the time.

The next theory how the moon came to be was the capture theory. This theory was first brought about T.J.J See. See was from the southern states and named after two confederate generals. When went to Germany for graduate school and was told not to think about planetary formation because it was a dead end instead he went to study binary stars. He discovered over 400 pairs of stars orbiting each other. He was invented to work at the university of Chicago to help setup an astronomy department there. He convinced a business man by the name Yerkes to donate the money but because of politics at the university Hale was named his supervisor. Eventually he ended up working for the US Navy at mare Island as a time keeper for most of the west coast of the US. While there he had time to write articles for the local paper and came up with the idea that the moon was captured and Darwin’s and other math is wrong. He published his theory in the self published volume,Evolution of Solar Systems, vol II, The Capture Theory. He stayed his post until his death in 1962. Starting in the mid 1950’s a German high school teacher Gerstenkorn started to do calculations on the capture theory later MacDonald in England partnered with him to to do the model on computers. These models showed that the moon would have to come within the Roche limit a few days each orbit and it could survive without breaking up, the moon would of heated by 2000-5000k which would melt the surface of the moon and the would have been travelling +/- 5% the speed of the Earth at the time.

Around this time Otto Schmidt one of the heroes of the Soviet Union was allowed to open a research institute outside of Moscow. One the researchers was Safronov. Safronov Started to do his calculations on planetary development without computers. His calculations showed that a field about 250 time s the radius of the Earth surround the Earth until it formed the moon. The major contribution his model introduce was collisions between objects was possible this explained way Uranus rotates with one pole pointed to the Sun rather then pointing at a 90 degree angle.

The Americans and the Russians got into a race of who would do what first in Space and this led to the Americans putting 12 men on the moon in late 60’s and early 70’s, there was another mission that was suppose to go there but had some issues. While the astronauts were on the moon 841 lbs of samples were returned to the Earth from different locations on the Moon. These samples showed the mare or seas were made up from magma flows and 3.6 billions years old and regolith which is 4.5 billion years old and thicker near the highlands at 10-15 meters and about 5 meters in the mare. Regolith was formed from meteorites colliding with the moon. They found that 98% of the moon was composed of 4 minerals, plagioclase feldspar (CaAlSi2O8), Olivine( (Mg,Fe)2SiO4. Pryoxene (FeSiO4 or CaSi4O6), and Ilmenite (FeTiO3). Before the astronauts could go they needed to know where to land. In 1963 William Hartmann went to the University of Arizona to study at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under Gerard Kuiper. One of Hartmanns first jobs was to take photos taken of the moon and to transfer them to a globe. While doing this they figured Mare Orientale was formed by a 90 km asteroid hitting the moon. Hartmann’s next job was too count the moon was to count the amount of craters in certain areas to find an estimate of the age of moon, the more craters the more time it had a chance to get hit by the asteroids. He came to the idea that the mares were about 3.6 billion years old before the astronauts went to the moon. When moon exploration was winding down Hartmann and Davis worked on refining Safronov’s model. Their model showed a lager body that started to form around the Earth this object later got the name Thea. It took some time but it eventually became to be the concensus of how the moon was formed.

Our current understanding of how the moon was formed started when the solar system was formed. A cloud of material started to form where the Earth-moon system is now. When the Earth got to be about 90 percent the size its present size Thea collided with the Earth, the Earth got most of the iron out of the two. For the next 50 million years the debris from the collision of two are finished forming the two present day objects. Four hundred million years later a bombardment of materials hits the Earth and moon for about two hundred million years. Two million years later the radioactive elements of uranium and thorium melt areas where the mares are today and eventually cool off. Since about 3.2 billion years ago the moon settled down pretty much with the impact here and there.

The book is a good read and is good at explaining things and I enjoyed every time I read it. I once did attend a talk Given by Eugene Shoemaker. It was given in my first year of university and I was 1 in hundreds in the theater (it was a room used for a lot of first year university talks ). In the last section the author discusses the moon hoax theory that no one has been to the moon. The evidence does not support such claims. Because I did not far so well at university I tried to get out of my system it didn’t really work and started to read astronomy magazines then started to follow Phil Plait who is the reference part of this book. His first book was on the arguments of the hoax believers and the reasons they are wrong, so there was some influence of this story on even my life. If you have a chance to read this book , pick it up and read it you might become a lunatic. [/p]

September 5, 2018

Some Reasons why intelligent Design is Not Science.

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 1:38 am

In the morning the first thing I do is get the newest episodes I listen to, and sometimes check youtube for new videos, plus this morning I was waiting for a friend to post his most recent video about his car dealership. I mostly watch stuff on star trek, star wars, history and a few other topics. This morning I was saw a video about the history of the Celts. This peaked my interest because I have some Celtic in me (English, Irish and Scots) so I watched the video then saw another video about “Why Intelligent Design is not Science” this peaked my interest again and watched it, there goes the morning.

Intelligent design was brought about in the United States to do an end run around the first amendment in the Constitution which separates church from state. It was already determined that creation teachings were not allowed in the science classroom because it was not science. So a new tact was taken and that was a re-branding creationism as intelligent design. This was brought to a head in court case in Dover PA in the 2000’s. Some members of the school board arranged for an additional textbook called the “ The Pandas Thumb.” In the rush to publish the text book creationists was changed to “cdesign proponentist” and the judge saw this as an attempt to sneak creationism into the science classroom. I not hear to criticize peoples beliefs or thoughts everyone is entitled to their views and to make carpet statements would be unfair.

The first two examples they use is SETI and archaeology. SETI or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is the search for life other than our own in the universe. The intelligence that they are searching for beings like ourselves. This is done by looking for planets around other stars and looking for the tell tale traces of life from the spectrum of the light from the planets, or detecting any radio transmissions that these civilizations might be emitting. Archaeology is the study of ancient man, this is done by the study the bones and artifacts left by ancient man. Most of the ancient tools were stone tools and archaeologists study to know the difference between regular stones and the ones worked by the hands of man. Another example this video uses is that of Stonehenge. Stonehenge is a group of stones arranged in a circular pattern in Wiltshire, England. The stones were moved there, dressed and stood up by human hands. They stones can be determined if they were there naturally or moved there by their chemical make-up. The main difference between this type of intelligence and the one behind intelligent design is that of natural vs. supernatural. The natural intelligences have an influence of the natural world and can be measured and they supernatural intelligence can not be measured and outside the realm of science.

The next two examples they use are string theory and multiverse theory. Both are theoretical constructs to explain some things in physics. String theory basically is that all subatomic particle vibrate like strings and if change the vibration of a string you can change what type of particle it is like an electron can be turned into proton. String theory at this point can be tested because the energies involved to test it. The multiverse theory is that there are multiple universe existing and this can not be tested because there is no way of travelling between universes at this time. The major difference again is that their theory depends on something that can not be tested now or ever.

The next examples is that what I like to call scientist are just people after all. One claim they have is that Brian Green, Richard Dawkins and Neil Degrasse Tyson have stated that the universe is a computer simulation. This is probably them wondering why the universe is so set up for life like ours in the universe, this is often to referred to as the anthropocentric principle. If gravity was stringer the universe would be a giant ball of matter or if gravity was weaker everything would just be a fine mist in the universe. Or if the attraction between the the electron and proton were less atoms would be much larger. There is no evidence of it being a computer simulation so at the moment a lot of people are saying not. Another example they use is Francis Crick who co-discovered the structure of DNA in the 40’s. He thought that the life here came from somewhere else, this is called panspermia. He also thought aliens brought life here, and since this is untestable and there is more evidence life came form here this is probably not the case. Scientist are people too so they can weird and scientific thoughts as well.
A couple of last notes since intelligent design is not testable it is unlikely to be correct and is not scientific. The friends video I was waiting for is a creationists. During grades 7 to 11 I had a friend who I use to discuss this stuff with all the time.

August 15, 2018

Yes Flat Earth, Again.

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 8:01 pm

In this interview Ross and Carrie interviews Jeran Campanella a flat-earther, One thing he goes on about is how scientist are taught to believe that things are round. Scientist are not taught to think that things like the Earth are round but are taught how to observe and measure things then to come to conclusion. Scientist are taught that most likely the answer the more probably that is the right answer. One area of astronomy that demonstrates this is the history of Exo-planets.



As far back as the Greeks people noticed that the ships sails would slowly go down below the horizon. Also many notice during a lunar eclipse the shadow across the moon had a curved edge from where ever you observed it from. Also Eratosthenes (276BC-195BC) using a sticks shadow at two points, one in Alexandria and the other at Aswan both in Egypt and found the size of the Earth. The experiment that is discussed in the podcast is a variation on the sails going down in the distance.



Early in the twentieth century Peter Van de Kamp of Swarthmore University thought he found a planet, then another planet and then a whole system around Barnards Star. Barnards Star is unique in that is has the highest proper motion for any star. Proper speed is the component of speed that is independent of the motion of a star going around the center of a galaxy. Van de Kamp thaought he saw the path of the star to wobble as it was going thru the galaxy. Latter it was found to be there was a fault in the plates that the images were taken on. Astronomers used to use glass plates to develop the image of a star, now it is a CCD chip. Another story of planets that weren’t was in the ’90’s. A pulsar astronomer thought there was a wobble in the signal from a pulsar, a pulsar is a neutron star that emits a beam of radio waves at a steady pattern. The pulsar would have a change that would indicate something orbiting about once a year. When the astronomer was about to announce to the would of this object around a pulsar he realized that he didn’t get take into account the Earths orbit. He got up to the podium and announced his mistake and got cheers.



August 9, 2018

Admiral There be Whales

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidlpf @ 10:43 pm

(The future website the pictures will be done a little better)

First thing of course something from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the one with the whales.

First thing we travelled down from St Stephen to St Andrews NB down the route 127. On the way down it was so foggy that you couldn’t see the top of Chamcook Mountain or the St. Croix Island (a failed french colony in 1603). Once we got down to St Andrews and got a parking spot. St Andrews is a town that depends heavily of tourist activities so it can busy place on the weekend. There are several whale watching tours in the area, one is on a sailing vessel, a couple use zodiac type of boats and the other two are boats that have an enclosed lower deck and an upper deck. The one we went on had an open upper deck. We went on this tour because well my sister and brother in law(BIL) were working for them. The route for the tour went out around Deer Island and then between Deer Island and Campobello island. For the the first part of the tour I went to the upper deck.





One the out around the first island we saw a bald eagle right before we came to salmon cages. Another industry in the area is aquaculture with cages throughout the Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay and my sister and BIL work during the week for of the companies that do this. One the way to the area we would find the whales we saw a few porpoises behind the boat. As we got closer to where it opened to the Bay of Fundy we started to see whales first was minke whale, minkes are smaller then the other whale we saw which was the Humpback whale. Minkes grow from are usually 6-8 meters long and sometimes to about 10m also the can be as massive as 4-4.5 tons. Minkes when the dive just show their dorsal side and do not show there tails. The way to identify them is markings on the their dorsal tail. The one we saw on this day was one called slice because most of the tail was sliced off or did not develop in the first place. After a few sightings of slice we moved on to where the other boats were. Then we saw the first sighting of V the humpback whale. It made a couple of arcs above the water and then made his terminal dive for several minutes. On his way down he showed his tail and this how you identify the whale. V has a notch out of his tail so this how it gots it name. Humpbacks are longer and get up to 12 meters long and much more massive. Then someone notice V over by the cliffs on Campobello Island and few blows out of the blowhole. Then I went downstairs because my seasickness kicked in. Then V showed up one more time between us and another boat maybe 100-130 m apart, and made another terminal dive.

After this we went out to a couple of islands as the BIL said they were running out of names for the islands so one that was covered with spruce trees was called spruce island and the other sandy island. Then we went to a fishing weir which is an old style of fishing herring. The herring go into a chute and goes into the weir and swim around in the weir until there are enough fish. In the past they call a local company to come in and suck them up to made into sardines and other snacks. Now the herring caught this way are used for bait for lobster fishing. Also on spruce island there was another bold eagle (I swear the BIL and the eagle have the same eyesight), Then we went around Deer Island, we encountered the ferry to the island. We travelled beside it for a while then went behind passed over it wake and passed the ferry. As we were approaching St. Andrews some smoked salmon pate was served I declined because my stomach was doing flip flops, then some ice tea which helped. Then on wards back to the dock.



This is one 3 hour tour that you will enjoy. A few side notes there is a tidal bore which is the second biggest whirlpool but only really appears during flood tides and we were going out just after high tide, so if you want to see that find out the tide schedule. Also a pair of binoculars would be good plus if you are going to invest in a new camera, get before you go out. Also if you need to take some motion sickness medicine before hand, also hold off on the upper deck until when you start to see whales.


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