Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Will Future Generations Prosecute Old Climate Change Deniers?

     I can imagine a future say 2070 where some efforts were made to stop climate change but it was not enough.  But the carbon industry was so strong with its large amounts of money.  Because more money could be made using fossil fuels not enough effort was put in reducing carbon dioxide emission.  Lots of renewable energy  was put into the grid.  There were large solar and wind farms.  The mid west and Texas had many wind generators and California led the nation with electricity generated by solar power.  Many people around the world had solar panels on their roofs to help in the generation of electricity.  But carbon dioxide emission was still too much and most of what the climate models predicted occurred.  The earth's temperature continues to rise.  The ice in the Arctic and Antarctic have dramatically melted as models predicted, thus a global rise in sea levels.  Lower areas along the coasts have serious flooding problems and many areas had to be abandoned.    Weather patterns have changed also.  In North America Canada's prairies are now doing what the mid west of the US used to do.   Similar efforts have been happening around the world.  Some regions are now uninhabitable and this forced the mass exodus of millions of people.  Water and food shortages have occurred in many parts of the world causing large regional wars.  The migration caused tens of millions of deaths with possibly billions on the brink of death.  Deadly diseases such as cholera  have spread  All of this could have been stopped 50  or 60 years ago but greed caused a failure to help save the lives of possibly billions of people.  This didn't need to have happened if only policy makers world wide would have listened to the scientists back then.  But climate change deniers were a powerful force and policy makers followed them instead of the science.  Thus the planet was changing in a direction that would dramatically change the future of mankind.

     In the future will they then prosecute the climate change deniers?

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Book review: Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang by Steinhardt and Turok

Competition to the inflationary modelNovember 3, 2014
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This review is from: Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang -- Rewriting Cosmic History (Paperback)
This book is about the ekpyrotic model for the evolution of our universe. It states that about every trillion years or so our universe recycles itself.As the authors say in their glossary "ekpyrosis: a collision between two branes that produces a flat, expanding universe filled with matter and radiation, with a nearly scale-invariant distribution of density inhomogeneities." It is a competing theory to the better known inflationary model of the universe. Both the authors are practicing cosmologists with Steinhardt at Princeton and Turok at the Perimeter Institute. Steinhardt made early contributions to the inflationary model in the early 1980's and is therefore well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the inflationary model. This is a well written book and was a pleasure to read. If you are interested in cosmology this book is a must for you. The level of this book is such that any interested high school student should have no trouble reading this book.

This book is written in a casual style and mentions how the authors first got the idea for their theory while they were both attending a lecture on the overview of string theory. They both went up to the speaker after his talk and asked him questions about strings and branes. Later the authors met at a small physics conference in Finland and started to work out the details their theory. The book describes the various questions that must be overcome such as flatness and thermodynamics. In the past various cyclic models of the universe have been proposed but they were later shown to have flaws. In careful precise wording they explain how they were able to overcome all the previous questions with their new model.

As expected they describe very well the inflationary model since the book compares the two models closely. One of the main differences being that their model has small if any primordial gravitational waves which have been in the news since March 2014 because of the BICEP2 cosmic microwave radiation data which initially claimed to have observed these gravitational waves to only latter say that their results could also be explained by galactic dust. The physics community awaits further data on this subject.

Steinhardt has been a public vocal critic of inflation going so far to say that it isn't even science since one can get just about any prediction from the theory since it is so general in nature. This is also discussed in the book.

My disagreement with the theory is that it is based on string theory and brane theory. There have been no experimental tests that have every shown that string and brane theory have anything to do with reality. There are two wonderful books that show the problems with string theory. They are Lee Smolin's "The Trouble with Physics" and Peter Woits "Not Even Wrong". If anything since this book was written string theory has lost some of the luster it had back in 2007. Nevertheless I would recommend this book since it is quite educational and very well written.