Scientific Illusions, Scientific Reality

From Is Dark Matter Going the Way of Phlogiston?

There is no exotic dark matter, according to the most sensitive search to date. The ramifications for cosmology are enormous.

A lot of time, money, and effort has gone into looking for something that doesn’t exist. Cosmologists need cold dark matter to make their theories of the big bang work. They need something that doesn’t shine, doesn’t interact with normal matter, but has gravity. And they need lots of it: according to current theory, it outclasses normal matter ten to one. Astrophysicists have pondered what it might be: exotic entities like “weakly interacting massive particles” (WIMPS), axions, and other made-up names for Mysterious Unknown Stuff.

Now, the most sensitive detector has turned up nothing. reports, “Dark Matter Still a Mystery: Most Sensitive Search Yet Comes Up Empty.”

The incredibly sensitive LUX dark-matter detector, buried under a mile of rock, has come up empty on its 20-month search for dark matter — further narrowing down the possible characteristics of the strange substance.

Researchers presented the results today (July 21) at the 11th Identification of Dark Matter Conference (IDM2016) in Sheffield, U.K., which gathers together researchers seeking to understand dark matter, the mysterious material that appears to make up more than four-fifths of the universe’s mass, but which scientists have not observed directly.

Nature is apparently not cooperative with current theory.

Humans chasing illusions are ridiculous… and the public money waster here is pathetic.

I loathe this kind of theft.

On the other hand, it’s better than warfare spending. I’d gladly switch around the US military and science budgets, if only to depower all sorts of psychopaths and have a far better/less Imperial international situation.

So much for human illusions.

Divine reality, on the other hand, is, frankly, terrifying.

Radio bursts: What is the “most perplexing mystery in astronomy”? The answer, according to Nature, is the source of ultra-powerful radio bursts. No theorists predicted these, but they may be common. One of these bursts can emit the energy of 500 million suns in just 5 milliseconds, suggesting that they come from very compact objects. About 20 have been observed so far.

Whatever these objects are, recent observations suggest that they are common, with one flashing in the sky as often as every 10 seconds. Yet they still defy explanation. Theorists have proposed sources such as evaporating black holes, colliding neutron stars and enormous magnetic eruptions. But even the best model fails to account for all the observations, says Edo Berger, an astronomer at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who describes the situation as “a lot of swirling confusion”.

This is exactly the kind of thing designed to give thoughtful, imaginative people the willies.

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