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New fangled computer modelling and science

26 June 2014
Inside science

Apparently, the BBC have recently issued a response to a complaint by the Green lobby, complaining about an interview in which Lord Lawson allegedly led listeners astray. This is all part of the campaign to silence dissent on CAGW – as so much money is riding on the scam and it must continue if wallets are not to be depleted. The complaint appears to be that Lawson was unqualified to speak on the climate – even though he had written a best selling book on the subject. The BBC accepted, it went on, they should have made the point anything Lawson might have said about lack of global warming was 'not supported by climate models …' as well as 'most scientists'. It seems like a sort of two edged sword – climate science itself was not contradicted (how can it be as global temperatures have not risen for a number of years) but climate models were. The 'sin' committed by Lawson was not that he denied climate science itself – but the output of the models did not  support sceptical views. Is the BBC turning itself into a figure of fun by elevating models to first grade science – and downgrading real science to a secondary role?

Computer modelling and simulations is now used in many of the sciences – from medical to cosmological. At http://phys.org/print322991914.html … we have some clever modelling by an astronomer at Cardiff University. He has simulated the behaviour of giant O-type stars which have short but very active lives cycles (it is thought). O-type stars heat up any interstellar gas in their vicinity and it destabilises to the extent it inhibits any further star formation. It is modelled – not observed. It is presented as reality – but is it true?

At http://phys.org/print322934129.html … we have a super computer simulation of dark matter by physicists at Durham University. Again, it is heat from early stars that are being blamed for the lack of stars – galaxies of stars in this case. The heat is so intense it kills them at gestation – or something like that. The problem, as visualised, was there was only a limited number of small galaxies out there, or the halos that spawn them. It is just the fortunate few  that manage to slip past the cosmic furnace and these go on to form the galaxies that we see through the universe. He says, 'we have found that most dark matter halos are quite different from the chosen few that are lit up by starlight' and 'thanks to our simulations we know that if our theories of dark matter are correct the universe around us should be full of dark matter halos that failed to become galaxies. Perhaps astronomers will one day figure out a way to find them …'. This is a pretty remarkable statement as it is saying, we know they exist because our computer told us so. We can't observe them, neither dark matter or halos, but they must be out there … and they may be observed at some indeterminate time in the future. In that context the BBC statement is not so incongruous.

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