Monday, February 15, 2016

Gravity Waves

Turns out, February has been a banner month for the proving of long-standing theories.

First, gravity waves from a billion light years away provided the final confirmation of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.  From the New York Times:
Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory

A team of scientists announced on Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago. (Listen to it here.) It completes his vision of a universe in which space and time are interwoven and dynamic, able to stretch, shrink and jiggle. And it is a ringing confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory.

More generally, it means that a century of innovation, testing, questioning and plain hard work after Einstein imagined it on paper, scientists have finally tapped into the deepest register of physical reality, where the weirdest and wildest implications of Einstein’s universe become manifest.
Second, a teevee signal from South Carolina provided the the umpteenth piece of indisputable proof that the Republican Party has lost its damn mind.  From Dr. Krugman in the New York Times:
How America Was Lost

But simply pointing to rising partisanship as the source of our crisis, while not exactly wrong, can be deeply misleading. First, decrying partisanship can make it seem as if we’re just talking about bad manners, when we’re really looking at huge differences on substance. Second, it’s really important not to engage in false symmetry: only one of our two major political parties has gone off the deep end.

On the substantive divide between the parties: I still encounter people on the left (although never on the right) who claim that there’s no big difference between Republicans and Democrats, or at any rate “establishment” Democrats. But that’s nonsense. Even if you’re disappointed in what President Obama accomplished, he substantially raised taxes on the rich and dramatically expanded the social safety net; significantly tightened financial regulation; encouraged and oversaw a surge in renewable energy; moved forward on diplomacy with Iran.

Any Republican would undo all of that, and move sharply in the opposite direction. If anything, the consensus among the presidential candidates seems to be that George W. Bush didn’t cut taxes on the rich nearly enough, and should have made more use of torture.

When we talk about partisanship, then, we’re not talking about arbitrary teams, we’re talking about a deep divide on values and policy. How can anyone not be “partisan” in the sense of preferring one of these visions?

And it’s up to you to decide which version you prefer. So why do I say that only one party has gone off the deep end?

One answer is, compare last week’s Democratic debate with Saturday’s Republican debate. Need I say more?
So here we have two phenomena.  Both have been extensively explained and predicted for years.  Both are observable and measurable.  Both have have been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. And, yes, both involve objects so dense that they warp the fabric of reality and neither light nor facts can escape their grasp, 

One of them is celebrated as a triumph of science, while the other is denied -- obsessively and  hysterically -- by a Beltway media who would rather lose a limb than admit Liberals have been right about the Right all along.

I guess it's a good thing that Fox News, Hate Radio, Comcast and the Koch Brothers aren't ideologically and financially motivated to deny the existence of general relativity,  Otherwise we'd be up to our eyebrows in frauds-for-hire like Hugh Hewitt and Ron Fournier filling the world with dark tales of Liberal scientists making it all up because they're in the pocket of Big Gravity.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I find your last paragraph an apt prediction of the behavior of the Usual Suspects (which WBAGNFARB), given that they are ideologically and financially motivated to deny the existence of anthropogenic global warming, and are doing exactly that.

Firesign said...

I give up, what's that too long to type acronym stand for?

Neo Tuxedo said...

That classic Dave Barry descriptor "would be a good name for a rock band" (about which the former guitarist of the Federal Duck, and frequent guitarist of the Rock Bottom Remainders, knows something).

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"Would Be A Great Name For A Rock Band"

I would guess that Firesign is no Dave Barry fan (come to think of it, I haven't visited Dave's blog in a while).

Tommygun said...

I fail to understand all the hoopla over proof of gravitational waves. The existence of gravitational waves was proven in episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation nearly 30 years ago.

trgahan said...

"Any Republican would undo all of that, and move sharply in the opposite direction."

Anyone really interested in what any Republican President will do, at minimum, if they were elected just look at Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, etc. The actions of those governors are baseline policy.

The media (the same people who discussed Nelson Mandela's "terrorism" before his body was even cold and are now 24/7 mourning the loss of our "intellectual giant" justice) will swing back to ca. 2000-2005 "We Won, You Lost. FUCK YOU!" coverage/analysis by reporting the only people complaining about cut services, poisoned water, debt, etc. will be liberals and THOSE people. All of whom hate this country, 'natch.

marindenver said...

As a long-time astrononomy nerd I was awed by the discovery of the long-predicted gravitational waves. Listening to the faint but definite symmetrical blips in the midst of all that static was awesome. Apparently the earth is even shaking a little bit like a ball of jello but much too little for anyone to notice (as someone who lives way too close to the Yellowstone Caldera that kind of stuff makes me nervous. Of course if that puppy goes off we will all live way too close to it.)

The experimental physicists have really been rock stars in the scientific world lately with all their particle discoveries, including the boson, and now this. Plan to enjoy it while it lasts if we don't get a Dem president and more Dems in Congress. Funding for this kind of non-creationist crap will go right out the window if we don't win at all levels in November.

dinthebeast said...

Good call. They suck like a black hole on acid.

-Doug in Oakland