CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceBud Selig has written an autobiography. If the excerpts in Sports Illustrated are accurate, baseball’s ninth commissioner was a gloomy Gus during Barry Bonds’ 2007 run-up to his record-breaking 756th home run.“This wasn’t the Bataan Death March,” Selig writes. “Nobody was going to die or be forced into hard labor, But the summer of 2007 was unpleasant for me, and when I look back, that’s putting it mildly. It was one …
An astrophysicist explains that the predominance of matter in our universe is just weird, and has no explanation.The big bang should have produced equal parts matter and antimatter, but it didn’t. If it had, our universe might not be possible, because the oppositely-charged particles would have annihilated each other in a blaze of energy. Antimatter is so rare, that if it survived, annihilation events would be visible throughout the universe, but we don’t see them. This failed prediction of the big bang theory has been known for decades. What is the latest thinking about it?Before getting into the meat of the issue, we can dismiss a new claim from CERN put forth in Nature that “Physicists see new difference between matter and antimatter.” The alleged difference in some D meson particles “is too small to completely explain the dominance of matter,” they admit, “but it presents a new avenue to unravelling the problem,” according to a particle physicist. There’s nothing solid to lean on. They only found a new storytelling platform.In the short term, the finding will also help theorists to better understand the mechanism behind this behaviour in D mesons and similar particles — it is the only laboratory example of nature ‘choosing’ matter over antimatter that physicists have been able to confirm.The announcement on March 21 was apparently a reason to clap and drown their sorrows in drink (they broke out the champagne, the article continues). But “The effect in D mesons is so small that it is technically extremely difficult to measure.” It opens the possibility that somebody made a calculating mistake in their heavily theory-laden methodology.Expert Voice: “We Don’t Know”In Space.com‘s “Expert Voices” series, astrophysicist Paul Sutter admits that the “antimatter problem” in astrophysics remains unsolved:The origins of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter is an outstanding problem in physics. A problem that pushes the boundaries of current knowledge and pushes our understanding of the universe into some of its earliest moments. A problem that, you could say, really matters.Now that we have seen his conclusion, let’s look at his list of weird ideas that big-bang cosmologists have considered in their attempts to figure it out:1. Sutter doesn’t like the response that our universe was just born this way. “‘That’s just the way it is, folks’ isn’t the most compelling argument in scientific circles,” he quips.2. Maybe “something happened,” he says, appealing to the Stuff Happens Law. “A strange process that produced more matter than antimatter.” That seems hardly better than #1. “It would indeed have to be a very peculiar set of conditions to cause such an imbalance,” he confesses.3. Maybe a perfectly-balanced event broke the rules of physics. This begins sounding like intelligent design.Whatever interaction, whatever process, led to matter’s ultimate victory had to be strange indeed. It had to start with producing not just an excess quantity of regular matter, but also an excess quantity of charge to counterbalance it. Otherwise, because total charges must stay the same throughout a process, that matter-loving route would’ve been perfectly balanced by a twin antimatter-loving road.4. Maybe the antimatter went away. Sutter offers some “hints and suggestions” about the weak force permit speculating, but it’s not enough.We understand these interactions only dimly, especially the way they would occur in the early universe, but even there our best guess for its matter-favoring ability put it far, far below the minimum needed to explain our present situation.Credit: Illustra MediaIn a 7.5-minute video in the article, Paul Sutter humorously yet seriously explains these problems, but ends with an admission of ignorance. He shrugs and says, “This is an unsolved problem in physics.” Unsolved for secularists, that is; and it has been for decades.Theistic answers do not reduce to “That’s just the way it is,” because God had a purpose that we can infer from the evidence. If you see a stack of rocks defying all known laws of physics, you can infer that someone did it, even if you didn’t watch the process. You could guess that the person did it to mark a trail, or to make a piece of art. The finer the details, the more purpose you can infer. Something as finely tuned as our universe shouts design.If you prefer, you can believe “something weird happened” and chalk it up to the Stuff Happens Law. Or, you can believe God designed our universe so that it would be habitable. The latter has the advantage of Eyewitness testimony. God told Isaiah that He didn’t make the world in vain; He made it to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). The plan in the mind of God came first; the organization of matter was fit to accomplish that purpose. Intelligence and mind has the causative power to organize matter to fill requirements for an intended result. If you prefer sitting in ignorance with the big bang cosmologists, be our guest. Just don’t call it science.Exercise: Answer an atheist who says, “Sure, we don’t know the answer, but isn’t it better to admit we don’t know and keep looking rather than give up and say, ‘God did it’?”. (Visited 517 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Ray Maota The leaproach looks like a cross between a cockroach, a cricket and a grasshopper. UCT’s Prof Mike Picker and Dr Jonathan Colville show off their discovery. (Images: UCT) MEDIA CONTACTS • Prof Mike Picker UCT Faculty of Science +27 21 650 2712 RELATED ARTICLES • UCT MBA among world’s best • Prestigious award for UCT project • SA unearths 18 new species • Scientists abuzz over mosquitoA University of Cape Town (UCT) professor and a former student have again made entomological history by discovering the world’s first jumping cockroach, now named the leaproach (Saltoblattella montistabularis).Prof Mike Picker, from UCT’s zoology department, and Dr Jonathan Colville discovered the intriguing insect, which has since been added to the list of top 10 new species for 2011 by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University.The previously unknown bug was first spotted leaping around at the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town in 2006, as the pair searched for flies during a research project.Their first discovery was the new suborder Mantophasmatodea – comprising carnivorous insects known as gladiator bugs or heelwalkers – in South Africa in 2002.The two biologists described their discovery in the German scientific journal Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny in 2010. The publication was formerly known as Entomologische Abhandlungen.Picker and Colville wrote a second paper with Malcolm Burrows from Cambridge University, this time detailing what makes the little bug such a good jumper and also its relation to what is believed to be the only other known jumping cockroach, the late Jurassic 160-million-year-old fossil Skok svaba. This extinct creature was first described in 2007.Unique creatureSpeaking of their latest find, Picker said: “We were sweep netting and saw something that at first looked like a grasshopper, but when we got it back to the laboratory it became clear it was a cockroach, closely related to the common roach but with sophisticated hind legs and the ability to jump many times its own height.”The leaproach measures a modest centimetre in length, and looks like a cross between a cockroach, a cricket and a grasshopper. Its Latin name is derived from Saltoblattella which means jumping small cockroach, while montistabularis refers to the place it was discovered.Colville said: “Superficially it resembled a cricket, but not quite.”The leaproach shares certain features with grasshoppers – large muscular hind legs for jumping; bulging eyes; toes that allow them to grip before and after jumping; and a strengthened antennae base which supports the delicate appendages during jumping.There are about 4 000 to 5 000 species of cockroaches but so far only the leaproach is able to jump in the same agile manner as a grasshopper.The IISE’s Quentin Wheeler said: “Most people do not realise just how incomplete our knowledge of Earth’s species is. We are surrounded by such an exuberance of species diversity that we too often take it for granted.”Spectacular insect faunaPicker described the Cape’s insect fauna as “spectacular and distinctive”, and added that up to now this natural wealth has been under-appreciated.With the leaproach discovery in the Table Mountain park, a World Heritage site, the pair suspects that other species may be waiting to be discovered.Picker and Colville believe that their discovery highlights how little is known about the Cape fauna, which could be home to more interesting species than even the celebrated Cape Floral Kingdom.“Thus far, the leaproach is only known from that single locality, adding to the impressive biodiversity profile of this World Heritage site,” said Picker.Although there is the potential for other discoveries in the area, he cautioned ambitious scientists that Table Mountain is a highly protected area and plants and animals can’t be removed from it without permission.Top 10 New Species for 2011The leaproach has now been named as one of the Top 10 New Species for 2011 by the US-based IISE. Each year the IISE releases a list of what it considers to be the 10 best natural finds of the year before.Although the final list is chosen by a committee, anyone may nominate a species, provided that it was described for the first time during the year in question.Three other African species were included – Philantomba walteri, a new species of duiker first seen at a bushmeat market in Benin; Darwin’s bark spider (Caerostris darwini), a type of orb weaving spider native to Madagascar; and the pollinating cricket (Glomeremus orchidophilus) from Réunion, the first of its kind seen to pollinate the orchid Angraecum cadetii.The list is rounded out by the bioluminescent mushroom Mycena luxaeterna from Brazil; a bacterium known as Halomonas titanicae which is one of several that’s eating away at the sunken Titanic; the two-metre-long monitor lizard Varanus bitatawa from the Philippines; the Peruvian leech Tyrannobdella rex; the underwater mushroom Psathyrella aquatic, found in the US; and the pancake batfish Halieutichthys intermedius, found in the Mexican Gulf.
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