Monday, April 06, 2015

The Growth Problem

As far as I can see, the "growth problem" with respect to comets is that without growth, there is no life cycle, and I accept that. That begs the question, however, that if I did not believe comets could grow, I would not believe that there could be a life cycle.

What it comes down to is that comets must have grown, otherwise they wouldn't exist. The scientific consensus is also that their active life is very finite - ie. That within a few million years of having reached the sun's neighbourhood it would either collide with a planet or the sun, or lose all its volatiles, or be ejected. This presumes that the movements, and thus the destiny of individual comets are completely determined by essentially random factors. The trivially nonrandom influences, such as outgassing, spin rate and YORP accelerations can in no way mitigate against this to have comets with features that allow for its continued survival. Essentially it is an "antidarwinist" philosophy. All comets are equally destined to die, regardless of their underlying differences and trivial nonrandomness. 

If we are looking at the comet for a life cycle, we are looking at a tiny slow motion sub segment. If we didn't know what a seed pod for a Brasil nut tree was, it looks lifeless and incapable of growing. Imagine if we could only see different pods at different times after being dropped from a tree, and never be able to see the tree, or even inside the pod. There is hints that the seed pod could break up into smaller seed pods. Clearly seeing where the seed may grow is crucial to working out whether we are looking at a rock, a living thing, a dead part of a living thing, or something which living things could be inside. Failing seeing growth, we could look at the chemistry of its surface, try to see what is inside. However, the two basics of life - reproduction and metabolism are the most crucial. 

Noting that brasil nut seed pods are similar to each other, and different to more obviously lifeless rocks around it is an important technique. Also the porosity of the exterior substance, the evidence that it has a shell and an interior that may have different properties.

This may indicate that if comets are living, it is the internal payload that is the most crucial, and that the only stage that we are seeing is the dissemination of panspermia comet seeds, and that we are seeing it in extreme slow motion. Maybe a molecular cloud passes by every few million years, and the cometary seeds that are lucky enough to find themselves in that cloud get a chance to grow, hence the importance of spreading the comet seeds widely, so that some get a chance to grow to keep the life cycle going.

This is highly speculative, of course, and it has nothing to do with the evidence that can falsify or fit with reproduction and metabolism.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Letting Go of Abiogenesis

In an earlier post in regards to standard evolutionary synthesis, my point was that simple "natural selection" on "random" mutations fails for the very Darwinian reasons the idea originated from. If it ever was the primary mechanism, it would have died out quite quickly from obviously superior mechanisms (that are, nevertheless adaptive in the same intuitive sense for reproductive success). At least, that is my conclusion and thesis.

Looking at a particular *new* *beneficial* mutation that one time or another has to happen on a path to some species to another more adapted to a particular environment, the probablistic difficulties are similar in scope to what is envisaged in abiogenesis, but of course, having working and sophisticated superior mechanisms already in play is different from something where you really only have the laws of physics, chemistry and probability as envisaged with abiogenesis.

All efforts to demonstrate in principle either backwards from the simplest life we know, or forward from the most complex non-living carbon based systems we can imagine, have come up with a blank. It reminded me of the difficulties and paradoxes with Euclid's fifth Axiom, and also the paradox with measurements of the speed of light being constant at different relative speeds. Most who research abiogenesis in some way or another don't perceive the paradox so much as it being difficult to conceive and not having evidence to lead you in any way or another to point in the right direction.

My idea was to, like mathematicians in their time, presuming Euclids fifth axiom false, or Einstein in his time, presuming the speed of light to be constant at all relative velocities. If one presumes abiogenesis as currently framed to be not just difficult, but actually impossible, where does that leave us with naturalistic possibilities with the origin of life?

My idea was to make this a bold falsifiable theory, and hope that some evidence would actually bear on it to rule it out or not. Certainly it makes perfect sense to me, but I want to give all support and aid anyone who thinks it can be proven wrong by some experiment or new observation.

My alternative to a process of abiogenesis to go from no life to chemical life, is instead that chemical life is designed (in an evolutionary process of design) by a life form which is not directly chemical based. I was thinking along the lines of Hoyle's dust cloud life as something at a similar place in idea space. My other thought was that the proximal antecedent to chemical life would use its own life cycle as a kind of template for the first independent living cell, which would have to be something like an amoeba.

When I first saw the image of Hartley 103P with these abiogenesis ideas in my head, I felt that comets were the only real candidate for life's proximal antecedent. Over spans of thousands to millions of years, they use the interplanetary superhighway to move from orbit to orbit expending very little relative fuel. To reproduce, they expend a great deal of energy speeding up their spin in a controlled way, stretching into a bilobed shape then continuing the spin up and stretch until it is two almost independent bodies tethered by a long skinny neck, which tidal alignment would easily sever "the umbilical cord" and the two separate comets would go their separate ways.

In light of this, for most of their lifespan, comets would be completely "dormant" and essentially invisible. Thus dark "asteroids" like Bennu, which is likely to be visited soon enough should have almost all the same features as comets, bar the outgassing. The distinction between live/dormant comets and 
dead asteroids would come down to colour - the lighter they are, the less likely they are to be just dormant, and features dominated by impacts rather than cometary flaking/stretching/outgassing would be a "dead" giveaway.

Anything opposite to this, I would feel would easily falsify my hypothesis. It being based on assuming abiogenesis as currently framed impossible, and comets being the proximal biological precedent. The former being broadly "M life theory" and the latter "living comet theory"

Quite frankly, I'd be very satisfied if they were falsified - my investment in the theories is based on an unshakeable hunch that they are right. I want to find evidence that they are wrong - please help me.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The collisional Problem (reblogged from Scute1133)

original post

CAN CONTACT BINARY THEORY EXPLAIN THE HEAD-TIP AND FRACTURES ON THE ROTATION PLANE? (To be read in conjunction with Part 10). 

2015/01/img_2266.jpg
“The Collisional Problem”. I might have dreamt that up as an apt subtitle for this post because by the time we’re done it will surely be merited but, too bad, I was beaten to it. Those words were already taken as the subtitle for a poster accompanying a talk on 67P’s status as a contact binary. The venue was the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in December 2014 and the verdict on that binary status remains equivocal.

The abstract for the presentation was entitled,”The Nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko : a New Case of Contact Binary?” 

https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm14/webprogrampreliminary/Paper13889.html

It acknowledged that:

“A contact-binary among the Jupiter family comets (JFC) such as 67P would have profound implications since it must be primordial and the comet must have survived a possible history of collisions in the Kuiper belt. The present cumulative distribution function of size of nuclei of JFC comets indeed suggests a collisionally-relaxed population.”

In other words, there is countervailing evidence that militates against the existence of contact binaries in such a “collisionaly relaxed” population.

The collisional problem is, however, just the first of many for the CB theorists. They might be able to attempt an explanation of the rotation plane head-tip and fractures but not without jumping through flaming hoops in the process. They seem up to the task though. The AGU abstract considered the “unlikely…scenario of a re-accumulated body following a catastrophic collision” (because it really ought to have been blown to smithereens by now), as if it was a last resort to explain the two-lobed shape as a contact binary.

True to say, everything should be considered. Asymmetrical erosion (carving out the lobes via lopsided outgassing) was given a fair hearing too. But it seems the notion of ditching both theories altogether and contemplating stretch theory was just one step too far. 

At least one of those authors presented again two weeks later, at the American Astronomical Society’s 225th meeting (AAS 225, 4th to 8th January 2015), still referring to 67P as a contact binary or possibly a single, eroded body. Again, the phrase “a new case of contact binary?” was used, along with the poster, still reminding us of the collisional problem.

But the answer to the collisional problem was on the poster itself! It had a picture of the comet, looking straight down the z axis of rotation. The visible perimeter, the horizon, was therefore the xy rotation plane and the lower-right horizon was where the fractures happen to straddle the neck at 90 degrees. Furthermore, the uppermost tipping of the head kisses that horizon line too, right above the fractures.

That poster was what made me twig the relationship between rotation plane, spin-up, head tip and fractures that lead to this twinned pair of posts. So the answer to the collisional problem is what it was telling us all along- that 67P can’t be a contact binary. But you had to let go of CB theory fully, if only momentarily so, in order to see the hallmarks of stretch theory depicted on that poster. They are crying out at us: rotation plane, head-tip, fractures.

Here’s a tweet of “the collisional problem” poster:

https://mobile.twitter.com/allplanets/status/545637097797730304

Not much AAS 225 or AGU 14 material is available so we had to rely on tweets. I believe that at least two tweeters quoted here were present at the talks and the third, possibly so, or an astronomer with a live feed of some sort. I can’t be certain of this but they all seemed informed and genuine. 

Respondents to the above tweet and elsewhere on the #AGU14 hashtag, some from respected institutions, were happy to support CB theory. One suggested tidal friction leading to tidal locking (of head and body) and then settling against each other. Another supported the asymmetrical erosion tack but no one considered stretching. 

Incidentally, I can’t imagine a secondary with one side as flat as that shown in the photo below, offering that side up to the primary in an attempt to lock tidally. It would be inherently unstable. If it ever locked at all it would only be stable if it was the other way round with the topmost ‘crater’ facing into the neck. The reason it’s stable in stretch theory is because it always had a supporting neck to attenuate excessive tipping via compressive resistance to any downward vector on any side. This would even have been the case when it was ‘weightless’ during the stretch because the ‘locking’ referred to above is in two of the three rotational axes of the head, not its translational stretch. There are signs this compressive resistance did indeed happen because the head tip only went so far. Here’s the photo:

2015/01/img_22231.jpgPhoto from Part 10. Blue dots: xy rotation plane; yellow dots: ends of one fracture among several. 

Of course, this remarkably flat underside of the head can now be seen for what it is. It’s simply the extension of the now well-documented cliff, reemerging on the other side of the neck. This was the first photo to come out that showed it, proving the head lobe has a flat underside all the way across and overhangs the neck evenly on both sides. The entire plane seats itself back down neatly all round the currently visible portion of the comet body and will doubtless prove to do so on the dark side when it comes into view.

At another AAS 225 presentation, 67P was presented as a contact binary, plain and simple. The presenter pointed out that while several other comets had rocks joined end-to-end, this one had one on top of the other so it looked like a sphinx. That’s actually a far from fatuous distinction, though I’m not so sure anyone was aware of the fact. It should immediately point to the reason the head is tipped up at the back and lead on to the underlying mechanism at play: spin-up, leading to head-tip, stretch and transverse fractures. The head was thrown forward during spin-up due to the very fact that it’s “on top” and not at the axis extremity. But this fact becomes clear only if the rotation plane is considered. 

So, yes it does look like a sphinx but the contact binary assumption made on the way to that conclusion is troubling. The “on top” reference was unwittingly portentous but it became just an interesting observation in the absence of any willingness to loosen the grip on CB theory. Here are the relevant tweets:

https://mobile.twitter.com/girlandkat/status/552252787837648896

The presenter went on to say that the fractures in the neck were due to the head rocking against the neck. That’s true up to a point. It’s due to the head tipping forward during the stretch, among other things, but “rocking against” (the tweeter’s words) suggests random movement with no known cause. Here’s the tweet:

https://mobile.twitter.com/lauravican/status/552253732109307906

As if this succession of respected presentations wasn’t enough to leave stretch theory buried for good another American Geophysical Union presentation, on December 18th 2015, managed to take all the evidence as presented in Part 10, which proves the comet stretched and use it, in error, to prove the exact opposite: that 67P’s shape resulted from the head lobe crashing in from the opposite direction. A sure case of a contact binary. Here’s an article from Wired magazine that reported on that presentation:

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/rosettas-comet-shaped-like-duck/

The reasoning went that, seeing as the strata in the head lobe and the body lobe don’t align, they can’t be related and so they must be two different bodies that drifted together. But the only reason they don’t align is the simple fact that the head has tipped up, taking them out of alignment. The Wired article explained that using new images taken with Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera, the presenter and his colleagues found “terrace-like layers” on the comet’s body and that:

“The layering aligns perfectly with parallel lines seen on the opposite side of the body, suggesting that these layers extend through the body as part of its internal structure. Although the head also has layers, they don’t align with those in the body, which implies that the two lobes were once two separate pieces. If the head and body were made from one piece, the layers should extend through both lobes in the same direction.”

This line of thinking presupposes that the only alternative to contact binary theory is asymmetrical erosion gouging a scoop out of a single rock. The only way the presenter could envisage the strata lining up through both lobes was in the scenario where a single body started out with its strata intact all the way across and then this scoop was removed, leaving the two separate lobes but with their strata still in alignment. 

That assumption is what steered the presenter away from the most obvious solution- that the head had tipped up, taking the strata out of alignment. If it was tipped back down by 30-40 degrees and seated onto the body, the strata lines would align perfectly, as demonstrated in part 6 of this series.

But it was the head-tip itself that led him to believe that that strata had always been out of alignment so this crucial piece of evidence that so strongly points to stretch theory was used unwittingly and in error to ‘prove’ instead that contact binary theory is correct.

That is a perfect example of the adherence to a cherished theory blocking out even the very thought processes that might lead to the correct theory- a case of fitting new data to an old way of thinking, rather than letting new information speak for itself.

It is also of note that this hypothesing around the finer points of CB theory is based on the highest resolution photos from the OSIRIS camera on the Rosetta orbiter. Just a few scientists are privy to this data at the time of writing (including those with the collisional problem) and it was my honest opinion that they could not help but alight on stretch theory with the abundance of evidence before them, much of it still to come in the next few parts of this series. 

However, the Wired article went still further:

“The neck of the comet also shows signs of a collision between the head and the body. The region is covered in big fractures, [the ones straddling the xy rotation plane in the photo above] which would have been created by shockwaves that blasted through the comet during a crash. Some of the fractures are also misaligned, suggesting that they belonged to what were separate, smaller chunks that were floating around when the head merged with the body.”

I have never seen a compressive force cause fractures in a concave surface without it resulting in an explosive shearing event. There’s simply nowhere else for the material to go. Witness compression-testing of concrete pillars that aren’t even concave. They explode dramatically. If further compression of the comet’s neck material is invoked to counter that claim, it is self-contradictory because if it can compress still further it won’t fracture. Indeed, with a porosity of 74%, the neck would have plenty of give in compression and at most it would simply bulge out in folds. But it would not fracture under compression unless it sheared violently as well. 

The fractures have clearly resulted from tensile, flexion and torsional forces none of which are compressive (except where flexion compresses the opposite side of the neck). 

Incidentally, the mention that the fractures are ‘misaligned’ is interesting. Their average direction is distinctly at right angles to the rotation plane and in successive parallel lines. Yes, they do make noticeable excursions from that simple large-scale picture, presumably due to structural anomalies, but the overall impression is as presented in the photo above and the others in Part 10 (reproduced below). 

So, according to this second AGU presentation, as well as the head rocking against the neck (on the sphinx), it had first of all collided with the neck, which was apparently ready-formed, protruding into empty space and pointing in exactly the right direction to make the catch. Once captured, the head ended up perfectly centred with its flat plane conveniently facing downwards, allowing it to overhanging evenly all the way round the neck. That’s quite an impressive claim, provoking at least four tough questions.

Moreover, even if the idea of the colliding head causing the fractures appeared to have some merit at first glance, it wouldn’t explain why those fractures are clustered in parallel lines, at one end of the comet, exactly straddling the rotation plane, at 90 degrees to it, sitting right under the most tipped-up part of the head, and found nowhere else on the neck.

That’s six more really tough questions, ten in total, for the CB adherents to answer regarding the collision of head and body- and that’s the real collisonal problem here, the one that truly merits the subtitle.

The simple answer is that this is where the neck stretched the most and the head tipped forward. Stretch theory would not only answer those 10 questions with ease, it would also predict all ten outcomes as being highly likely.

If they did somehow manage to jump through all ten hoops, the CB theorists would then have to go on to explain why the plan-view matches between head and body were irrelevant- along with their corroborating 3D matches (Parts 1-5). Then explain away the ridges that straddle head and body, followed by the matching strata layers (Part 6). After that, the 30-metre uplifted ‘gull wings’ and slurry piles arising, apparently, from gentle sublimation (Part 7). Then the dykes (Part 8), and the missing slabs (Part 9) -of which there are several more to come- and at least three more as yet unpublished pieces of compelling evidence. That’s eleven more hoops, twenty-one in total to date and counting.

Sorry, twenty-two, I forgot the the original “collisional problem”.

In conclusion, stretch theory answers a multitude of questions that contact binary theory cannot hope to address. Yet on January 8th 2015, the day that AAS 225 closed for business, and astronomers and reporters tweeted views of Seattle en route to the airport, stretch theory had yet to see the light of day.

Copyright ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0
Here are the other two photos from part 10:

2015/01/img_22201.jpg

2015/01/img_22251.jpg

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

What is wrong with standard evolutionary synthesis

Preamble:
With this explanation, I will use terms that may normally be associated with informatics. This is strictly in use for shorthand in the same way that "running the program" is expressing the genes that are associated with DNA that may or may not have mutated. It should be in no way taken to mean that it is scientifically accepted to use the arguments made of a Turing machine or computer science to come to conclusions in regards to Dna mechanisms. 
Also, I am not big on citations. I may mention people like Popper, Wickramasinge, Lennox, etc. but not based on their authority on any subject or another. My thoughts are to be considered based on first principles, and perhaps more abstract like in a mathematical argument rather than a debate scored by a selected audience.

Looking at the synthesis in historical terms, it has evolved from Darwinism, where the main thrust is the origin of species. Life on earth, when exposed to a different environment will adapt to that environment over generations. This was documented and well observed in the Galapagos. Extrapolating from the changes in observed Galapagos species from mainland ones, to the length of time of the age of the earth, it is quite logical to extend that process to all known species. Naively, the process was seen to extrapolate back past the Last common ancestor, and Darwinism included abiogenesis in a kind of continuum from no life to the variety we see today. Now, in maths as in science, interpolation is always a safer bet than extrapolation, thus two species which are closely related in time, genetics and space can confidently have intermediates placed in there, and have a rough idea of smaller changes over time leading from one to another. Extrapolation beyond the last common ancestor is a completely different kettle of fish, because we have no evidence to go on at all, but at any rate, in a philosophical sense, belief in evolution is highly correlated to a belief in abiogenesis.
This leads on to the hypothesis of "how" adaptation happens. In the case where a beneficial mutation reflects a particular environmental "selection", I will use the shortcut that the environment "programs" that particular mutation. As said in the first paragraph, this is just a shortcut, in no way am I ascribing informatics to the process. In this sense it just means that selective pressures are colluding to give differential advantage to individuals and/or groups and/or populations that end up with that mutation. For the individual that first gets this mutation, this is like winning at the roulette wheel. Blind watchmaker analogies and the use of the word random imply that there need not, and probably is not any direct or indirect, partial or even trace causal interaction between the environment and the beneficial mutation. It is like the roulette wheels are assumed to be perfectly balanced, the programming is strictly done, and only done by selective pressures, which involves more successful reproduction and survival with than without.
Clearly the "goal" of a beneficial mutation is one which better enables survival in a (perhaps changed) environment, and of course the environment will have the final say, but Darwinially speaking, a more (even trivially more) efficient programming technique than that envisaged, by a "blind watchmaker" will *always* win over the completely causally unconnected technique. Thus just as "fitter" organisms will win over the less fit even at the cost of extinctions of some of the less fit species, so too fitter "programming systems" will win over "blind watchmaker" programming systems.

This is perhaps like saying that roulette wheels are trivially non-level, but professional gamblers that measure the level in secret, and know exactly how to win will consistently end up in front while everybody else will lose to the house.

The "environment" is replete with symbiotic organisms that are both part of the environment, react to environmental cues, cause trivially non-random mutations in other organisms (eg through causing stress, horizontal gene transfer, activity of viruses, transport of mutagens, etc.) and thus can allow organisms to "beat the house" of the blind watchmaker. Species that do not or cannot have these "programmer helpers" will have much less chance to thrive under new environmental stresses. 

This is the crux of my argument that natural selection on random mutations *cannot* explain adaptation that is as efficient as observed in, for example resistance to pesticides, because more efficient adaptations win against naive randomness and brute force selection any day.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Revisiting Ockhams Razor and broader ramifications

 A few years ago, back when I was at a loss as to why panspermia was given such a wide berth from conventional science, especially in concern with abiogenesis, my digging through Wikipedia led me to the conclusion that in choosing between Geogenesis and (other plausible theories that lead to) panspermia, parsimony was said to be invoked. Parsimony was interrelated with Ockhams razor. My perception was and still is that Geogenesis has been given no case to answer in terms of requirement for evidence. Ie. There is no evidence that abiogenesis has happened on Earth or for that matter any Earthlike planet. At the same time, the main case against panspermia is that there is "no convincing evidence" for it, and certainly no evidence for an "alternative mechanism" for abiogenesis (other than perhaps another planet with a mechanism essentially the same as what it would be on Earth) 
I thought it a bit strange that an alternative theory is sidelined completely from mainstream scientific research for the exact kind of lack of evidence that the incumbent mechanism has. No effort to Differentially tally "circumstantial" evidence between what could be a large number of plausible mechanisms and accompanying theories is ever encouraged in a scientific context. When I specifically studied the philosophy behind parsimony and Ockhams razor I came across a descriptive phrase "parsimony would usually imply a shift in the burden of proof". This described precisely what I perceived was happening in many questions between incumbent abiogenesis, evolution, astrobiology, and even astronomical object origins and any alternatives; many of which had some circumstantial evidence in their favour. 

These incumbent ideas implicitly become "new axioms" ie. They are treated as "obviously true" and quite crucially are used to come to conclusions critically dependent on these ideas. Remembering that these axioms have no evidence (any more than other ideas that are rejected) the result is that conclusions become "science" equal to that science that is constantly tested through repeatable observable phenomena.

This has been my basis of rejecting Ockhams razor, particularly for the historical sciences, which are not as subject to constant repeatable observable phenomena. 

Of course, it is not as simple as that and it has been pointed out to me that Ockhams razor is functional. Without it, one cannot reasonably perform science or engineering. Surely, if a theory is falsifiable, false theories will reveal themselves, and we can, for a time, use any plausible theory as a basis for knowledge in a field until the very moment it can be falsified. The problem to me, is that there is a great discrepancy between aspects of science that are verifiable and aspects that aren't. Aspects that are verifiable deserve no doubt to their validity. The probability that they may be completely wrong is negligible to nil. For aspects of science that are not verifiable, these are determined by a number of different philosophical techniques that may be called a great number of things - syntheses, choosing the simplest explanation that fits the data, generalising a principle from convincing anecdotes, consensus of the peer of scientists who have most deeply studied the subject, etc. the truth is, one way or another, they all amount to Ockhams razor, and they all implicitly shift the burden of proof away from the chosen theory where all other plausible theories cannot be verified  including the chosen one. The probability that the chosen theory can be completely wrong, or even impossible, is not calculable by the very nature of the phenomenon that it is explaining, but the thing that is certain is that the probability is many orders of magnitude greater than that which is verifiable.

This is the basis of my thesis that to be of better predictive value, science has to let go of Ockhams razor, and periodically shift the burden of proof back on to incumbent theories. This thesis is based on looking at science from "the outside". That is, it doesn't use one particular branch of science, to show evidence against a theory from another branch. It doesn't use observations (or amassed evidence) interpreted in the context of current incumbent theories to seed doubt on a high profile incumbent theory.

In fact, it takes an intelligent audience of outside observers who are not invested in the historical sciences, especially the status quo, to notice anything awry. Unfortunately, that limits the philosophical counter check to "Ockham razor science" to theistic philosophies with their own chosen "parsimony" which involves or invokes a God explanation explicitly or implicitly. Thus, the "negative" arguments against historical sciences, should be studied safe in the knowledge that the "positive" arguments as to  theistic explanations are doubly "Ockham razor science" and can be safely ignored.

The explanation of why it is scientifically valid, is based on "usefulness". Now if simplifications allows us predictive power, or if the maths works out better or more correctly more often that is one thing. If one is to say that heliocentricity is a "simplification" over geocentricity, this is not what I am talking about. 
If the explanation is that a simplification "works" so should be kept until proven wrong, then well it depends on the nature of the falsifiability of the synthesis in question.
Comparing different examples in history, the scientific and philosophical standard that God's omnipotence can explain one or another phenomena is at one extreme which is not generally falsifiable. Pre-tectonic plate theory geology stuck despite statistically damning evidence that continents thousands of kilometres apart were once connected. I don't see why continuing to think that places like the East Coast of South America and the West coast of Africa were "statistically independent" could possibly be "useful" in a geological sense. A theory without a verifiable mechanism that gives statistically useful results ought to be better than a (wrong) theory with an accepted mechanism that does not give those statistically useful results (also assuming that the synthesis is also not predictive or mathematical in nature), thus the former should be considered the best science can offer rather than the latter.
One question I ask of standard evolutionary synthesis is "how is it useful?", how does it "work" would a similar but importantly different statement be just as "useful" and "work" in the same way? My perception is that the mechanism's usefulness is basically self-serving to the naturist philosophy. And if you add that evolution demonstrates and clarifies the inter-relationship between all the species on Earth, mechanism independent statements are just as useful and work in the same way.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Rosetta Note 3

Things are going well at living comet central:
 1) A whole blog is dedicated to demonstrate forensically that Comet C-P is a single body that has stretched :http://scute1133site.wordpress.com/
This is important to end the rot of speculation about ablation and contact binaries.

2) considerable rotation rate change from differential outgassing over a comet year.
This makes more plausible the centrifugal forces required to stretch the comet over time.

3) the lack of proportionality between surface insolation/temperature and outgassing. This indicates other complex sources of energy other than conduction from the surface.

4) Solid look and feel exterior, but with a very low density interior. Lots of room inside for gas chambers and conduits.

5) an eclectic mix of higher molecular weight gases detected than expected. Again pointing to complex process and energy source.



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rosetta note 2

M
  • Copyright ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0


  
Long comment follows. Since this was my attempt at visualising the minutiae of matching 3d surfaces from a written explanation from A Cooper, and his scute blog has done that rigorously, this is the explanations from the original ESA comment, that has been already expanded on. Short of ESA releasing names for all these features, we are stuck with wordy descriptions, coloured points and numbers.
Marco

Here are all the things that I've been meaning to say for the last few days. I should've copied the original comment and reposted but this comment has more thoughts and questions anyway so here goes. 

The numbered line you have (1-10) is pretty accurate. The only place it went off slightly is in places where I'd made a mistake myself or it was not explained very well. I shall adjust them one by one below with my reasoning. Most are correct or very close. 

1) correct
2) correct
3) correct - spot on. The other side of the lump it's next to is where the last dot of the line in my Part 2 is positioned, the fuchsia dot. 
4) correct
5) correct
6) not quite. My fault. I can see you are following the nicely demarcated apparent shear line as I did. Although it was where the real rupturing happened, it took the adjoining rectangle with it. The perimeter of this rectangle is:

from the correctly positioned '5' hug your way round the mound next to it with the two pimples as far as the longest prong of the three-pronged fork. Travel straight up the fork. Follow the wavy line above it into the shadow. Just as a check- part of that wavy line looks, by coincidence, like a faded '5' just to the right of the pointed shadow. The left hand edge of that faded 5 is one tip of the seagull  wing and the '6' is over the other tip. So 6 is on the line after all but only by chance and out of sequence. 

7) needs to be shunted over to a point in line between the 6 and the 8. 

8) correct. The 8 is actually positioned on the very edge of the head in the foreground but the shear line does run under the head at that point from this camera position's point of view. 

9) correct. But I'm now wondering if this should be a bit further up the little ridge. I can match those little dips in the ridge to the line of dips at the right of the cove in the head but the head ones go further and tip over. Then I realised that the two strange curved rocks sitting on site A had almost certainly come from the continuation of that ridge just off frame to right. One appears to fit into a divot in the side of the ridge and is in keeping with the shape of other formations on the ridge as seen from above. Once in place though, I'm not sure it stretches far enough into this photo to marry to the ridge above. Of course, this is all fine detail. The two ridges almost match and this area around the 9 is getting close to where things get very unclear because just beyond it there should be no matches if a giant slab went missing. Before this point the matches are so evident  that the missing slabs they were married to must have been thin. Site A looks deeper and much more catastrophic which is why....

10) I don't think the head sat quite here. Although this edge that the 10 marks is clearly a shear line, I think the head sat in a line that would mean shoving the 10 to the left till it's just under the actual head in this image. So if the 10 is marking an obvious shear line but isn't where the head sat it means that the giant slab took with it part of the material from this section of the trench, attached to its underside (that's if you buy into the slab theory. I don't expect you to but I seem to remember some positive feedback).

I may be wrong about the 10. But from most angles I can't quite stretch the head rim back to the crater rim in my minds eye so as to seat it down. It always comes up short, cutting across the low trench of the neck before meeting the ridge by the craters for its next likely match. This of course is evidence for a thick missing slab. All the matches are on another chunk flying round on the same orbit! Then again, your picture with the yellow line looks plausible at this point on the perimeter.

 I think the yellow line is perfect where it zigzags at the right. At the left end where it almost appears to kiss the head, it needs to be erased a short distance to where the curve starts and turned to run along the dark strip to the end. Then sharp right at the end of the dark strip, over another dark strip and out of view.

The yellow line goes through the rectangle but your yellow dots straddle it at an angle and end up in the trench. If you look at the picture in my Part 5 that puts a green dot on each corner, you should be able to relate it to your picture because the lighting and distance is similar (although it's viewed from a different point.

The green line is in the trench. You may be thinking of the scalloped triangle edge which would be where the gull wing profile is. That is to be found under the end of the longer yellow line in the yellow V. This denotes one end of tbe rectangle.

 You can see the two semicircular formations peeping out from under the yellow line, which sit against each gull wing. I believe this is dried slurry that was being forced through the stratum layer and pushed up the gull wings. They obviously continue underneath if they fit perfectly at the exit aperture. 

In fact, I believe that all those lines that form the V and the rectangle and the s shape up to your first yellow dot are slurry residue from the exit fissures along a slab that is long gone. This is because they all resemble the one along the back of the rectangle which has very good evidence of being a slurry residue line (it pushed up the frilly edge of the cliff).

Also, I noticed that the only real sublimation activity on the head seems to be in the five craters just above this point. I'm wondering whether this was where the shearing started and the tear worked its way round the perimeter from here. This is typical of many failures like exploding gas canisters. They tear more than explode like a bomb. But there is a momentary explosive rupture before the tear starts. This is what we may be seeing here in this small area. 

I left a comment on the 14th December Rosetta post in reply to Robin Sherman regarding all this. I was suggesting a scenario involving explosive sublimation but seeing as I know nothing about sublimation explosive or otherwise, feel free to take a look and correct me!  

Seeing as I've nearly got as far round as site A, have you got any ideas why it's so flat? I know one can say it's thicker dust or if there was a slab there then it was fracked by gases underneath and it's a smooth stratum. But it's so absolutely flat it puzzles me especially when there's evidence of chaos all around it. 

I'm sure there's evidence staring right at us and we're staring right at it and yet not seeing it. It took me 3 months to realise the gull wings were pushed up but I'd puzzled over those two little semicircular splodges every time I passed over them on my way somewhere else. Same thing with the rocks on site A and the boulder at the back. Now that I fully accept the lobes were joined I'm seeing more things which follow from that, things which you couldn't notice if you were stuck in contact binary mode. 

I tweeted Phil Plait the 'Bad Astronomer' blogger. He sounded very interested but has now gone silent. 
Regards 

Andrew (A.Cooper)
 

 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rosetta notes

Comet breeding campaign. C-P is in the process of reproduction through fission as follows.



Rosetta notes

Comet breeding campaign. C-P is in the process of reproduction through fission as follows.



Tuesday, September 09, 2014

M-Life Theory

LAWKI life - Life as we know it, that is biological carbon based life form as recognised as such on Earth by humans.

M-Life - Life as defined by Marco of which LAWKI life is a subset.

M-Life is simply an entity which demonstrates M-Metabolism and M-reproduction. ie. biological metabolism and biological reproduction is a subset of those.

M-reproduction is simply that there is more than one of the entity in question. The entities could have all been produced at once accidentally and never again or generated by something biological and not be biological itself or whatever - very open definition. Virtually anything that can be recognised as a thing undergoes M-reproduction.


M-Metabolism is a little bit counter-intuitive in some respects, but a subset is definitively metabolism as understood in biology and also chemistry.
M-Metabolism is said to occur if there is an entity which has a definable "inside" and "outside" and energy transformations are seen to make the outside "more random". The boundary between the inside and the outside is, in general, but not necessarily, a natural physical boundary. A physical boundary is the more obvious, but at any rate, there must be more similar entities to satisfy the M-reproduction requirement for M-Life.


The increase in entropy on the outside is generally heat or waste energy that is not reversible in the sense that it will not reverse to be back inside in the same way it exited as a reversible transaction of any sort.


Thus things like suns, stars, even planets, comets, or star clusters, galaxies, or galactic clusters exhibit M-Life - there is more than one of them and they exhibit M-Metabolism.


Note that I have not made specifications on entropy "inside". My main thesis on M-life is that energy or information moved within the entity will have a tendency to be deterministic. Anything non-deterministic will tend to leave the entity. Thus an increase in entropy outside will not be evident inside, and energy transformations will string into a long if then sequence of transactions.
Thus rather than "abiogenesis" just happening through a fortuitous set of circumstances. LAWKI life has been designed, in an evolutionary way, by a form of M-Life.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Evidence that Comet C-P is stretch and pull apart contact binary

From a comment on the Rosetta Blog.

<i>
A.Cooper says:

It seems the head of the 'duck' fits onto the body so I checked all the photos released, taken from many different angles, and have found the following:

I've matched contours along the rim of the head to the same contours around the main body perimeter. I've found humps and depressions on the underside of the head (the cliff) that fit closely with their mirror counterparts on the body. 

I'm therefore near certain 67P/C-G was once a single rock and that the head was stretched away from the body. That would mean 67P/C-G is not a contact binary or a scooped-out rock. </i>

I haven't quite made 3d model and verified this, but it is like the similar - look! Africa and South America match up like a jigsaw - They must have been connected once. Kind of evidence.

I have no doubt that the scientists will verify this. It is just like an Amoeba undergoing fission.




Monday, September 01, 2014

I don't Believe Any of it

Case in point - I no longer believe the "Western Press" is the free press, or believable at all. I used to spend so much time watching news analysis until a few years ago. Now I challenge the basic premises of the article at hand (using logic) and I find them wanting. Not just a little bit wanting, but completely off the wall out and out lies. 

Another case in point - I struggle to even read articles to do with evolution or abiogenesis, because I think they are not being scientific enough. They jump to too many conclusions about the overall structure of the question at hand - not because I think I know the correct structure, but because the structure is never questioned, and is almost certainly wrong.

I don't want to necessarily get into specific examples, but it is quite frustrating to feel like I am the only one who sees a problem. Peer pressure, blindly following authority, parsimony, groupthink, loyalty to country, loyalty to like-minded individuals, inability to overturn a precedent, fitting new data into an old way of thinking, rather than letting new information speak for itself and allow new forms of thinking to shine through. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August astrobiology rant

INot really a rant, but I recommend people keep up with the Rosetta Blog - just google it. Answers to astrobiology start in our studies of comets, one way or another. 

I am at peace with feeling that I know that space scientists, namely what I refer to as the "NASA block" are completely wrong about the distribution and markers of life in the solar system outside of Earth, and of their relationship to and plausibility of "abiogenesis". The "Wickramasinge block" of scientists, plenty of which are ex-NASA astrobiologists, will be demonstrably closer to the ideal of "predicting new facts" when more and more obvious evidence of biology manifests itself both in comets and plenty of other places besides.

Neither of these groups are looking at comets as the proximal precedent to life as we know it, as things that reproduce (in an analogous way to bacterial "fission") , demonstrate metabolism (utilising energy and expelling unwanted waste products) and do something special, ie. use the interplanetary superhighway with the occasional orbit corrections performed by changing the rotation rate and shape of the comet using jets and internal fluid movements. Thus over thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of years, can move from planetary distances, back out to the Oort Cloud and back again. My view is that "comets" are usually completely invisible, and the only ones we see are putting on a show as they are in the process of reproduction, or an orbit correction requiring considerable jet power.

Thus this is why 4 out of 6 comet nuclei visited are bi-lobed, the most detailed views showing the connection between lobes to be smoother and younger and quite circular in cross section rather than looking anything like a "rubble pile" "pristine" , "dirty snowball" "snowy dirtball" "unchanged from the birth of the solar system" . The Whipple model should be dead in the water, but keeps getting propped up as proven by observation, even as observation after observation contradicts it. 

Images that I get when I google "Whipple model" a model with the name Whipple, and a mathematical bicycle model also called the Whipple model.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cherry-Jerry is not an icy dirtball

Here's my latest prediction of the structure of comet Churyumov Geramisenko. It is not a "rubble-pile". It is a complex layered structure. It has an outer protective crust which seals off a certain level of pressure, say 1/100th of an atmosphere or so. Under that is a chambered atmosphere layer. Like a quilt it absorbs impacts and the convection of gas acts like a thermal exchange from the crust to the centre.

The middle of the comet is seperated as the outside into at least 2 sections. There is a fine soil and lakes in each section. Since centrifugal forces approximately match mutual gravitation between the two sections, convection and capillary action drives any movement of fluid and gas, rather than gravity. Jets are driven from a complex network powered from the thermal exchange near the surface but traveling transversely and vertically through various sections.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Liquid water in comets



Conditions required for liquid water is a temperature and pressure above the triple point of water. The surfaces of comets are certainly warm enough, based on measurements taken by probes and earth based. Pressure only needs to be .006 Atmospheres. Since jets are powered by the thermal energy absorbed by the surface, there must be some gas pressure being held in the surface- ie. a subsurface atmosphere. Thus liquid water could flow in the microgravity environment. Some Stardust probe sample return minerals found can only be formed in liquid water. Deep impact probe excavated clays which are suggestive of liquid water. Capillary action, microgravity, centrifugal forces and internal wind would affect the movement of water and material inside the comet.

Long live the wet comet model.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

How does a comet outgass?

From the latest direct evidence from robotic satellites, comets mainly outgass from "jets". Most of the volatiles, dust and larger particles come out of the jets. Some out gassing of volatiles happens in areas with no jets see Hartley. 

The energy for the sublimation of ices happens near the surface (in the top metre or so) based on temperature readings. Thus the volatiles travel from where they are heated under the black surface to the jets, picking up solid particles as they go. There is considerable mass loss in each orbit, while the position of the jets remains relatively stable. Thus the black "skin" needs to shrink with the comet, in the places where the volatiles are sublimated. 

The jets appear not to collapse in on themselves, and thus have a more solid structure around them.

The combination of observations would contradict the models of "fissures" ie cracks. Cracks causing the out gassing cannot be reconciled with the observations of discrete jets and temperature profile. 

Models of regularly collapsing and new jets cannot be reconciled with non gravitational accelerations for Halley class comets that are consistent from apparition to apparition despite substantial mass loss. Jets need to be in the same configuration from apparition to apparition for the adjustments to work the way they do for Halley. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Interview with lead researcher in team which discovered alien intelligent life

Dateline: November 5 2045 Interview between Ivan Felson and Prof Henry Parson.

IF: So, Professor Parson - Have we discovered Alien intelligent life? Should we be afraid or excited? and Can we communicate with them?

HP:To answer these questions - Yes, we believe we have. At this stage we should be excited, not afraid, but we should probably tread carefully, and not yet. We have a few ideas about how we should proceed with communication, but admittedly, we are a bit stumped.

IF: So, before we get ahead of ourselves, how did it all happen, and what have we done in the past that we may regret with our new knowledge.

HP: Well, it all started to dawn on us from the Rosetta probe onwards. Rosetta discovered not just a liquid water core, but four liquid interior water lakes seperated by solid structures. The surface analysis of the chemistry revealed a rich organic chemistry akin to crude oil, with PAH's, long chain hydrocarbons, with optical properties (chirality) just as crude oil from biotic origin rather than racemic as you would expect from synthetic or non-biotic origin sources. 

The surface that the Philae lander was on, was therefore spongy rather than solid. Even though gravity was negligible, it seemed obvious that it would probably eventually sink. Experiments were accelerated and adjusted with the given constraints, and as the comet started to form a coma, the surface started to subside downwards and eventually Philae got subsumed into the comet and could not operate any further.

The orbiting Rosetta craft continued to observe the comet, and its mission was extended and continued to operate for another decade and the whole cometary orbit cycle was observed up close.

At that point, the main regret was not to have specific life detection equipment on board - The spacecraft were not even sterilised as would be normal where possible alien life were to be detected.

With these discoveries, a plethora of new comet missions were financed from all spacefaring nations.

Comets that had already been visited were visited again with orbiters. "peanut shaped" comets Borrely and Hartley 2 were found to have liquid water within both "nuts" and the two ends were noticably further apart, and the neck separating them were thinner. There were various surface structures like jets (round holes in the surface) that had no gas or dust coming out. Finally, a probe was sent into one of those holes and a sample returned with complex DNA similar to a megavirus, as well as biotic material of various kinds.

The shape of the jets below the surface was a network of tunnels something like a huge set of lungs. The shape of the non jet holes were vertical towards the centre of one of the liquid lakes or other. Surface features were sculpted from below - hills welling up from heated hydrocarbon pumping up, and valleys were where warming volatiles were directed towards the "lungs", causing the surface to subsume. The temperature in the interior of the comet remained quite stable, and the liquid lakes stayed a constant volume and overall shape over the period of the comet.

Deep Impact mission appeared to be more of a mistake at this point. We basically shot a copper bullet into what now appears to be a living organism. It is no wonder the comet changed rotation and thus future orbit quite substantially.

2014 was a watershed year for comets - Not only Rosetta, but also the flyby of Comet Siding Spring past Mars also. Comet was also pitch black - Why is that interesting? It was supposedly the first time in from the Oort Cloud. Comets were supposed to be pristine and icy - Time and time again they have proven to be black - the opposite of pristine.

Rosetta took some of the interest away from Dawn's also amazing discoveries at Ceres in 2015. Subsurface liquid water doesn't seem to be such a big deal if it exists on every comet, as well as other places such as Ceres and Jupiter's icy moons. It is just easier to get on, off, and around a comet or dormant comets

Saturday, May 03, 2014

You have to spend money to Make money

The Queensland Government in the campaign for "Strong Choices" and also the federal Government commisioning a report on "cutting expenditure" and what can only be described as levvies, or new taxes. Debt is portrayed as the elephant in the room - the future Achilles heel of the Australian economy on its road to eventual default given "business as usual" or in this case "the current borrow and spend path"

This is a very simplistic and politically motivated picture painted by the current Government. However, it ignores unintended consequences. 

Many more times than it is supposed, an increase in a tax rate ends up reducing the overall tax intake - reductions in expenditure can reduce growth or cause recessions which further reduce tax intake. In essence, inceases in borrowing to invest can actually be a better tactic to bring a country back to "profit", even in a situation in which debt appears already high. Profit, in this case means a budget surplus. 

For all the push for austerity around the world, it doesn't appear to do a lot of good except as a punitive measure for not paying your bills on time. It does not make it easier to pay future bills on time.

The focus has to be on how the expenditure is an investment rather than consumption, and a view of the overall demographic direction of the country. Thus an older retirement age is a must no matter what, but lower pension rate not necessarily so. Of course investing in the youth througn generous family payment and youth allowance is an excellent long term investment, but it is often seen as an indulgent expenditure on middle class welfare.

Thus I am troubled by the simple-minded model of "you have to save money so that you have it to spend on important things later", and I think that Government has to just focus on a wide base of taxation, and long term investments and infrasructure.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why are oil and tar black?

Not sure if Dr Chris Fellows should do this as a research project. The main thing is that I am conjecturing that what makes comet's nucleus' surfaces black is crude oil (in a solid gel form) rather than agglomerated soot. 

I was not sure what it was about crude oil that made it black, but apparently neither is anybody else. I had it in my head that it was the "impurities" that made it black, ie possibly soot particles within the crude oil or something like that, because distilled oil is usually *not* black. Soft enough to absorb micrometeoric impacts, but solid enough that it keeps its form, especially jets, from collapsing in on themselves on a comet.




Why are oil and tar black?

I am afraid that at present, no one can answer this deceptively simple question. Even the most basic structural properties of the asphaltenes and their aggregates remain conjectural. I believe that optical properties reflect collective electronic transitions in the PAH aggregates, but this is nothing more than an educated guess.