The Plasma Universe Wikipedia-like Encyclopedia has some interesting entries (see www.plasma-universe.com/Dusty_plasma/ ). This one, with the title 'dusty plasma', sets out to describe precisely what this phenomenon is – and it raises some interesting possibilities. It is apparently a combination of plasma and micrometre sized particles. Such dusty particles can be charged and combined with plasma they will behave like plasma – and even acrete into larger particles, or grains. Dusty plasma can carry a current – or form liquid and crystalline states, plasma crystals, and charged dust grains. Such dusty plasma, it continues, is a feature of comets, planetary rings, exposed dusty surfaces, and the zodiacal dust cloud. It also applies to dust in interplanetary space – such as the material left behind by the passage of comets. This opens a box of tricks – the zodiacal dust cloud as a bright feature as envisaged by Clube and Napier, and what would happen when the earth's orbit encountered streams of dense meteoric material as in the case of the Taurids (at some stage, or stages, in the past). Indeed, even the Geminid meteor stream that earth encountered in December must figure in such an explanation. Shooting stars are remarkably bright but the actual meteorite is very often extremely small – a mere fleck of dusty debris. What would happen in the kind of scenario as outlined by Moe Mandelkehr in SIS journals and in his book, The 2300BC Event? He claimed it involved a dense stream of meteoric material and the creation of a temporary ice ring around the earth that glowed like gold (during the day) and like silver (at night) – a feature of the sky that entered into mythology. The drawback with the Mandelkehr hypothesis is that he is describing a single event – and ignored the more obvious connection with a multitude of such events – going all the way back to the Ice Age.
Whilst on the subject of electricity and plasma in space you may like to go to www.rensu.com/general78/exped.htm for a look at some of the tribulations enountered by an EU proselytiser when promoting the Electric Universe theory to people with apparently closed minds. The short piece by Chris Reeve (who we met yesterday) follows behind the main story-line, and he describes how he is regularly derided as a 'troll' – as well as other more unlikely expletives, such as psychopath. This is very reminiscent of the AGW/sceptic debate, where each side are accused of being trolls and butting in, or making silly comments the majority of the readers of the blog might disagree with – very often quite passionately. Persistent trolls can spoil a thread, a deliberate wrecking tactic. Hence, we can only assume that some blogs don't appreciate a bombardment of comments on the Electric Universe – in the same way Georgie boy at the Guardian gets rather peeved with the sceptics who regularly snipe at him. Often deservedly so – but that is not the point. None of this of course has anything to do with exactly who is the truthful one – and who is spouting nonsense. Only time will tell. Whatever, the Electric Universe appears to have an intractable problem in that large numbers of bloggers interested in cosmology aren't listening to them – but switching off when the subject rears its head. This is precisely what Wal Thornhill addresses in his video clip at www.thunderbolts.info (see yesterday). They are confronted by a consensus that is almost as powerful as the AGW lobby – but without the big money involved. The problem in getting the message across suffers from the same failure in its critics to actually read what the other side is saying. This is habitual in AGW circles – they even review sceptic books without actually opening the cover. This is precisely what Wal says is happening on pro-orthodox sites where any assault on what is learned in classes is taken as a personal affront. Unfortunately, in these kind of things, it is not a case of all and everything, orthodox versus unorthodox. In the end it will be a bit of this and a bit of that and a general recognition electricity has an important role in the universe.