Monday, January 25
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Tag: cosmology

Do You Have The GUTs To Walk The Planck?

Do You Have The GUTs To Walk The Planck?

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As a cosmologist, I am an educated but rank amateur. Consequently, I would be willing to bet money that the following remarks and questions will be so naive as to cause the toenails to ache of any actual professional cosmologist, and perhaps make them laugh so hard they will need to avail themselves of a good supply of Depends. I mean people the caliber of, e.g., Andrea Ghez, Alex Filippenko, Kip Thorne, Alan Guth, Vera Rubin, and others of like stature in the pantheon of theoretical cosmology, e.g. faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study. (In fairness, I have met and spoken with Profs. Ghez and Filippenko, and found them extraordinarily approachable, anything but condescending, and strongly predisposed to take lay people’s questions with utmost seriousness. I suspect the same is ...
A Second Bite Of The Gamma-Ray-Burst Apple

A Second Bite Of The Gamma-Ray-Burst Apple

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DISCLAIMER ... From now on, if, in reading these columns, you encounter extraneous hyperlinked ads that have nothing to do with what I am writing about, please understand that I did not insert these ads. They are there because some single-digit-IQ evolutionary dead-end(s) decided to hijack WordPress, my development / writing environment, so as to get some advertising. I have no idea how to remove these abominations. They do not show up as href tags in the HTML. The hijackers owe us all an apology. Let’s lighten up a little on the otherwise-unmitigated pessimism and gloom involved in considering the consequences of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) for galaxies that experience them. The Universe is a big, big place, big enough that, even with GRBs irradiating galaxies, we might realistically ...
God, Magic Slates, And Gamma-Ray Bursts

God, Magic Slates, And Gamma-Ray Bursts

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I have written before here, here, and here – among other places – about the lack of evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in our Galaxy. But recently I watched a potentially game-changing science documentary on Netflix that seems to be critically relevant to the issue of the existence of life, intelligent or otherwise, in our or any other galaxy. The Netflix documentary, which is quite accessible to people with little or no technical knowledge of astronomy or astrophysics, is entitled, somewhat melodramatically, The Real Death Star (hereafter Death Star). I watched Death Star, and began to formulate my own speculations about the possible effects of gamma ray bursts in any galaxy unfortunate enough to suffer one, in particular, the unfortunate consequences for life in general – and in...