Inside science news

Science discoveries

At May ^th ... Nigel Calder queries if the number of scientific breakthroughs is not keeping apace with the rusing number of scientists, and why is that? Is science more highly organised and able to resist new ideas? In other words, in spite of all the new scientists in diverse parts of the world science has become skill at blocking new knowledge and new ideas.

Nigel Update

At we have a post on Einstein and attempts to prove him wrong - but his theory stubbornly remains resistant to detectable error. Next, 'Do clouds disappear when cosmic rays get weaker?' is based on the Henrik Svensmark hypothesis that cosmic rays seed the formation of low clouds. Repeated attempts to prove his theory baseless after research at different times have failed to find the expected decreases in low cloud cover - and are therefore said to debunk Svensmark.


At ... another wrinkly has set up a blog, Nigel Calder, a former editor of New Scientist and co-author with Henrik Svensmark of The Chilling Stars. He is too obviously a sceptic - and a welcome addition to a motley band of pensioners determined not to let the AGW frenzy run amok. He intends to embrace all kinds of science subjects so this is a site worth a regular visit. For example, he begins with a study on the way flocks of pigeons switch and change leaders - no single bird is dominant.

Early Earth

At April 30th it asks, 'Were Comets incubators of Life on Earth?'. The fact that life apeared soon after the termination of a long bombardment from space some 3.8 billion years ago suggests incoming comets and asteroids may have delivered the compounds necessary for life on earth to develop. However, the origin of life theory favoured by scientists depends on their field of speciality. Oceanographers like to think it began in a deep sea thermal vent, biochemists prefer a warm tidal pool, and astronomers looks towards comets.

High Noon at the Royal Society

This information is biased as it comes from a book, Alexander Thom:Cracking the Stone Age Code, by Robin Heath, Bluestone Press, St Dogmaels: 2007, on the basis the author was an aquaintance and admirer of said person. Why this is a post at this moment in time is because of the behaviour of the Royal Society on the subject of global warming (aka climate change) and their role in the 1700s in trying to suppress research into longitude.

Cold Fusion ... a short article on the rebirth of Cold Fusion under the banner of LENR. Cold Fusion got such a bad reputation a few years ago the people concerned, who doggedly stuck to the research in spite of everything, have been forced to pretend that what they are working on is not cold fusion - but it is cold fusion. Under a different name. Sounds as though it still has a long way to go.

On the Perils and Pleasures of Confronting Pseudohistory

In the journal Historically Speaking, Ronald H. Fritze writes:

"The controversy surrounding the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky is a case study of how not to debunk incorrect and fantastical theories. [..]"

"Worlds in Collision was Velikovsky’s first book to present these planetary and cosmographic hypotheses while rejecting the orthodox concept of gravity. Astronomers and physicists responded with outrage. Professors threatened to boycott the textbooks of Velikovsky’s publisher Macmillan. That resulted in Macmillan moving the book over to Doubleday, a publisher not in the textbook business, where it continued to experience brisk sales. Article after article appeared in newspapers and magazines stridently attacking Velikovsky, but the effect was counterproductive. To the uncommitted, it appeared that the experts were simply asserting their superior knowledge to the public without bothering to prove Velikovsky wrong. The attacks on Velikovsky came across as arrogant and bullying. As a result, they aroused sympathy for the author, making him something of a martyr."

"On the Perils and Pleasures of Confronting Pseudohistory" by Ronald H. Fritze in:
Historically Speaking, Volume 10, Number 5, November 2009
E-ISSN: 1944-6438 Print ISSN: 1941-4188