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Quark Stars

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the stranger-than-we-can-imagine dept.

Space 243

BigGar' writes "Astronomers seem to have discovered a new type of star. It would lie between a neutron star and and a black hole in the hierarchy of stars and consist of quark matter. Further observations with the Chandra X-ray telescope will be needed to confirm the results."

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yay (-1, Offtopic)

CatKnight (512731) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321460)

my first first post!

Re:yay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321462)


But you will be minus oned faster than you know. hahahahahahahahahaha

Re:yay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321475)


Mr. CaN

Things To Do Today (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321637)

1. Shave pubic region.

2. Enjoy that smooth, silky sensation.

Moderation - A warning from history (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321740)

Visitors to the website slashdot.org [slashdot.org] will by now have surely heard of the act of Moderation. This is where a contributor's post can be 'Moderated' either positively or negatively, depending on how the Moderator perceives the value of the post. There is a sliding scale of total moderation points, from -1 to 5, along with snappy summaries of the reason for moderation, such as "Funny", "Insightful", or the ever popular "Troll". An additional benefit offered to Moderators is the ability to ban a poster from contributing, by negatively moderating enough of his postings in a 24 hour period.

In order to retain some level of fairness for the Slashdot population, the Slashdot Editors (adopting the role of 'Benevolent Dictators') have implemented a scheme whereby regular users of Slashdot, chosen essentially at random, are given the ability to act as Moderators.

This underlines an inherent flaw in the system. Psychological studies have shown that in any community, no matter how small, should a random sampling of people be given the slightest grasp of power, they will immediately abuse it. There is a primal, evolutionary desire in Man to place himself higher than his peers by whatever measurement they can muster. Slashdot Moderation provides the ideal means for which a man can prove himself more equal than others.

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law at such an early point in my thesis, I have no choice but to compare Slashdot Moderation to the systematic genocide of the Jewish community in 1930's Germany.

A bold statement, I admit, and deliberately designed to shock, but I feel the statement is necessary. I shall now offer a more rational explanation, as well as a comparison of the parallels between Slashdot Culture, and the National Socialist regime.

First, some history. National Socialism did not spring up overnight. It grew from a feeling of national bitterness and resentment at the war reparations Germany was forced to make after World War One. Germany was a broken country, populated by desperate starving people. And to the desperate, an extreme ideology begins to seem like a rational choice.

The advent of new technology forces a paradigm shift in the way the beholders of that technology think. The Christianity Meme was made wide spread by the invention of the Gutenberg press. And the rise of National Socialism was made popular because of the invention of Cinema. Here we had a new means to control the flow of information to the populace, that they are willing to unquestioningly listen to due to the 'novelty factor' of moving pictures. It is no coincidence that some of the best Cinematography of the early 20th Century came out of the National Socialist propaganda machine.

Why is this the case? It is yet another fault of man that a new means of distributing memes is perceived, due to the 'newness' of the medium, to have a greater 'validity' than older media. Those harnessing new inventions have the power to win control of the hearts and minds of others.

With the tools in place, who should the National Socialists target? Clearly, as a counterpoint to Man's desire to hold power over others, there is also a desire to resent the success of others. If someone is successful, they reduce the self-worth of their beholders. Although times were harsh in Germany in the prelude to World War II, there were still successful inhabitants of that country. Possessing shrewd business acumen as well as the contacts in other countries needed to maintain support in such a poverty stricken and broken land, who else should deserve the wrath of the populace more than the Jews?

Fast-forward to the latter quarter of the 20th Century. Computing technology is focused in niche markets, and limited to big successful companies like IBM and Microsoft. As the markets were limited, there were also limited opportunities for employment. This gave rise to a rising number of college dropouts, seething with resentment and unable to relate to society beyond the staccato clatter of keyboards and the pallid green glow of an 80x24 text display, and lacking the basic business skills (and a smart suit) needed to secure employment at one of these companies.

At this time, a new invention was beginning to take hold in College campuses throughout the world. The Internet. As with the Gutenberg press and Cinema beforehand, this new technology would grow to spread one of the most virulent memes of the modern age - Open Source Software, created as the antithesis of successful business practise.

So, the parallels between the birth of Anti-Semetic National Socialism and the birth of Open Source Software have been made. Of course, it is easy to claim that A=B without providing further logical evidence in support. So, the next task of my thesis is to provide further parallels, and bring this discourse back to the initial focus on Slashdot Moderation.

Slashdot was conceived, in it's original 'Chips 'n' Dips' incarnation, as a vehemently anti-corporate Open Source website. Roughly 10-15 years down the line from the birth of Open Source, it has become saturated with propaganda, and now forms the centrepiece of the Open Source Development Network. An authority in it's field, Slashdot's success is in no small part due to the ability of the editors to 'pick and choose' valid news articles submitted by users, and present the same old tired "Open Source Good / Closed Source Bad" rhetoric time and time again, dabbling with anti-copyright and the right of the 'common man' to remove an artist's ability to gain compensation for the work. In essence, this is similar to the 'paring down' of artistic worth in 1930's Germany. If no-one is willing to contribute valid and vibrant art to the community, then all art shall become harsh and functional, possessing a certain intimidating aesthetic.

Which leads onto Open Source's shining achievement - Linux. This diatribe is not aimed towards Linux in particular, as it is a well-oiled, well-tuned machine. A technically adept Operating System, it is worthy of admiration by any rational man. The point of this thesis is not to attack the art produced by Open Source coders, which in itself is worthy, but to enlighten all as to the political processes behind the OSS movement.

By the same scale, it is hard to fault Mercedes for the technical excellence of the vehicles which were used by the National Socialist party. But the politics behind the party are what taint the image of Mercedes' vehicles of the era. The Swastika itself is a benign symbol, found this day in such diverse locations as Pokemon cards, but is permanently tainted with the history of the acts made under its auspice. In the same way, companies switching to Open Source solutions will begin to regard the Penguin with the same trepidation as their profits fall.

It should be worth noting at this point that IBM, previously one of the world's greatest companies, has begun reporting servere financial losses, no doubt due to its adoption of Open Source practises. This epoch-making event was NOT reported on Slashdot, even though articles were submitted.

And what of the other great company mentioned above? Microsoft, aka Micro$oft, Mickeysoft, Microshaft, Kro$oft, and many other derogatory and undeserved names. Throughout the previous 25 years, Microsoft has grown from strength to strength, again possessing shrewd business acumen as well as providing products that people want. This makes them the number one target for the OSS movement. Incapable of standing by their own merits, the OSS zealot would rather attack Microsoft as a priority than produce anything of worth for their community.

Slashdot Moderators, crazed with their limited new-found power, exhibit this behavior. It is a sad state of affairs that the majority of article moderations are negative. Where is the positive feedback and sense of social contribution? Nowhere to be found. Moderators are too focused on putting their peers down to make themselves appear superior, rather than doing the hard work and becoming better on their own terms.

As the National Socialists required a scapegoat, Slashdot Moderators require a constant stream of Postings to label '-1, Inferior'. Once a posting is reduced to the score of -1, it becomes invisible to the casual user. Again, this is a parallel to the Ghettoization of Germany upon the election of Hitler.

In essence this would not be so bad, were postings to be evaluated on their own terms. However, alongside the moderation of their postings, each user has a 'Karma' value, namely the sum of their worth to the Slashdot community. As a user's posts are moderated up or down, so their Karma fluctuates. As Karma becomes negative, a user's default posting score is reduced, until they are posting at a default of -1. Again, ghettoizing PEOPLE, not just their opinions.

This ghettoization is reinforced with the often fake belief that a negatively moderated post, and therefore the poster, is a "Troll". (Is it any wonder that such a name has been chosen to describe these people, invoking mental imagery of facial disfigurement and hooked noses?) As the Jews were accused of fraud, dishonesty and being subhuman animals, so too are Trolls accused of FUD, Crapflooding, and obfuscated goatse.cx links. Quite often, these 'undesirables' are capable of providing a valid insightful comment on a topic, but because it is in opposition to the Political dogma of Slashdot they are moderated back into their ghetto. The person becomes moderated, not their opinion.

This is just the thin end of the wedge. Although, as memes are transient, it is difficult to silence an opinion, it is trivial to silence a person. Upon the rise of National Socialism in Germany, the populace were motivated by propaganda into entering the Jewish Ghettos en masse with the sole purpose of causing as much damage as possible to Jewish businesses and residences. This parallels far too accurately with the Slashdot Editor's non-discouragement of the act of IP-banning. As mentioned above, this occurs when an individual user's postings are repeatedly moderated down in a short period. They then become incapable of posting any contributions themselves. In essence, they have been silenced, regardless of the worth of their postings.

Of course, the editors claim that Meta-Moderation is the panacea to solve this clear abuse of moderating privledge. But if a Meta Moderator is presented with a list of moderations that they disagree with, such as this targetted 'silencing' mentioned above, they cannot note them as such without in turn becoming an 'Undesirable' themselves, as too many Disagreements with the Moderation groupthink also result in loss of Karma.

Throughout all of this, the Editors have claimed a false level of detachment from the acts of moderation. In a same way, as the National Socialists gathered their power and began working on their Elite Political wing, The SS, they too remained detached from the civilians working in their name. Why? Because after inspiring the populace to such acts of violence through their propaganda, they could then claim that they were only giving the people what they want.

And then began the next stage of the atrocities. The Gestapo, Germany's secret police, were recruited from the best and the brightest of Germany's elite. As is the case now, the best and the brightest of society were often shunned and ostracized in society. In essence, the Gestapo were a tightly controlled 'Geek Army' of intelligent young men with a burning, seething resentment of normal society. The perfect psychological profile for the cause.

After all, give a normal man (with an active sex life) a gun and he will use it responsibly in self defence. Give a geek a gun and he will behave according to his sociopathic logic and hatred of the world he arrogantly presumes to be distant from. Ask yourself why Slashdot flat-out justified the murder of innocents at Columbine. And then ask yourself why, even for a brief moment, you almost began to sympathize with the killers after Jon Katz' manipulative and pseudo-emotive Hellmouth articles.

How this relates to Slashdot is clear. The majority of Slashdot posters are Sociopathic OSS zealots, unable through lack of social finesse or personal hygiene to mate regularly. Sexually and emotionally frustrated and with grudges to bear, incapable in their blinkered sense of self-righteousness of accepting any dissenting opinion than the OSS cause. Now give these people the opportunity to Moderate these dissenting opinions. Of course they are going to want to silence them, by any means necessary.

Now, the Slashdot Editors have admitted taking this silence of opinion into the next stage, by moderating whole swathes of 'undesirable' posts negatively. And then permanently banning anyone who moderates said posts back up from moderating EVER again! The result of this new policy? The few Moderators with any sense of fairness and decency are removed from the moderation pool, leaving the power ENTIRELY in the hands of the zealots. Clearly, positive moderation is discouraged under this regime, which is a direct parallel with the way the National Socialists moved their own sympathisers into positions of power throughout Europe.

So how does this compare to the genocide performed in Auschwitz and their ilk? I would like at this point to explain that in NO way do I wish to belittle the horrors that were performed in the name of National Socialism. The six million innocents killed were a cry of anguish from which humanity may never recover. And a vast distance in time and scope from a few banned posters on some shitty "My Favourite Links - now with comments" website. But these stories need to be retold before the horror is lost forever.

For the only thing that we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. Time and time again, the St. Vitus dance is played out, we make the same mistakes, and we perpetually fail to see the warning signs.

So, moderators, the next time you moderate a rational, insightful post down, maybe because you disagree with it or because it's posted by a 'Known Troll', just ask yourself this...

"Am I really contributing to the Slashdot Community, or selfishly destroying it?"

Not enough gluons, I guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321465)

How doesn't this throw the entire concept of Quantum Physics out the window?

Re:Not enough gluons, I guess? (1)

andrewtea (208706) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321474)

i still cant figure out why you think it would

Your right it does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321593)

Same with physics itself and science as well. Oh my god, reality is pealing away! Its a miracle...

Mirrored for your pleasure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321466)

(CNN) --Two rogue stars have failed to live up to scientific expectations, compelling puzzled astronomers to fuckin' consider the fucking likelihood that them dildos possess a motherfucking piece of shit new and exotic form of matter.

If confirmed, the fucking discovery would warrant a piece of shit new class of objects, quark stars, which fall somewhere in between neutron stars and black holes in density.

"That bastard would change the fucking family tree a bit and put a fuckin' piece of shit new member in that shit," University of Chicago astronomer Michael Turner told reporters Wednesday.

Neutron stars are the fucking vestiges of immense supernova explosions, collapsed stars with extremely compact cores, denser than all known objects except black holes. Get ready for pain. A teaspoonful of a neutron star would weigh one billion tons, as much as all the fucking cars and trucks on Earth.

At least, until astronomers using the fucking Chandra X-ray Observatory spied two presumed neutron stars, RXJ1856 and 3C58. Based on the fucking known laws of physics, the fucking former appeared much smaller and the fucking latter much colder than them jizzers should.

The fucking strange traits of RXJ1856 and 3C58 suggest that the fucking pair are not neutron stars at all. Caw caw! The ravens are singing, you are a fuck. Them ass-riders could be composed of quarks, or crystals of sub-nuclear particles rather than neutrons.

"Both of these objects have properties which seem to contradict fuckin' what we know about matter," said Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Jeremy Drake.

Quarks are thought to fuckin' be the fucking fundamental building blocks of matter. Them poo pirates combine to fuckin' make the fucking basic subatomic particles, protons and neutrons.

But quarks have remained fleeting, appearing for a fuckin' fraction of a second in a motherfucking handful of laboratories when atomic nuclei smash into one another at incredible speeds.

The fucking quarks that make up conventional matter are called "up" and "down" quarks. Physicists theorize that even more elusive "strange" quarks, possible remnants from the fucking birth of the fucking universe, still lurk in the fucking cosmos.

The fucking Chandra data gives the fucking first evidence that them queefs exist in nature. You are a bitch. But the fucking astronomers caution that the fucking results are preliminary.

"More observations are needed to find out fuckin' what is going on here," Turner said

Re:Mirrored for your pleasure (-1)

BankofAmerica_ATM (537813) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321761)

Your algorithm is transparent to me.

How does this fit in with String theory? (3, Insightful)

Eryq (313869) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321476)

I had read once that black holes could be regarded as super-large elementary particles (described by very few parameters: spin, charge, mass). Would "quarks stars" be something like that, or more like a huge Bose-Einstein condensate?

Jes curious....

Re:How does this fit in with String theory? (2)

bonoboy (98001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321535)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I believe a neutron star isn't one large anything, it's a collection of neutrons, much like any normal matter is a collection of whole atoms. I believe the quark star they're talking about is supposedly another bundle of sub-atomic particles. A singularity supposedly has no size, therefore everything must be superimposed: ie, it's one thing. A Bose-thingimagic is a bunch of things which act like one at a very low temperature, I believe. This isn't either of those two, but an object with size and probably more than one component.

Re:How does this fit in with String theory? (1)

Tribe (135040) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321605)

First off, I don't have an astrophysics degree..yet ;)

If someone were to refer to a black-hole as an elementary particle, imho it is because the tidal forces (the difference in the force of gravity felt between the two ends of a particle) are great enough to literally rip any individual atom within the BH apart - down to its fundamental level - a BH doesn't consist of protons or quarks, just mass located at a singularity. Of course it's been shown that Black Holes can carry a charge, as well as spin, but that is ostensibly independant of the behavior of the black hole as a single point vs say an active star.

It would be more correct imho to think of a "Quark" star along the same lines of a Neutron Star or a White Dwarf (a White Dwarf is supported against gravity via "electron degeneracy pressure"). If this discovery holds, in order of increasing mass:

White Dwarf, Neutron Star, "Quark" Star, Black Hole.

Obligatory Karma Whore Link: http://cosmos.colorado.edu/astr1120/hypertext.html [colorado.edu]

Re:How does this fit in with String theory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321633)

You mean, in order of increasing density.

Next time with RIGOR!

Re:How does this fit in with String theory? (3, Informative)

zCyl (14362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321653)

I had read once that black holes could be regarded as super-large elementary particles

Actually it's that statement you just made that doesn't fit with String theory. String theory predicts that black holes can retain information about the structure of objects that are sucked into them. If this turns out to be true, then they can't be regarded as large elementary particles, since elementary particles must be indistinguishable from each other.

Re:How does this fit in with String theory? (2)

Eryq (313869) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321728)

You're talking about black holes preserving entropy, right?

If we assume that ST is accurate, then I *think* the theory I heard was that a black hole made by collapsing a total of n strings would behave like a point in space containing a *single* string with a LOT of energy...

But it sounds like you're saying that it would really behave more like a point in space where there were still n strings... and thus sufficient complexity to account for the information in the original objects.

Do I have that right?

Re:How does this fit in with String theory? (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321753)

Blockquoth the poster:

If this turns out to be true, then they can't be regarded as large elementary particles, since elementary particles must be indistinguishable from each other...

... unless, of course, the string is vibrating in a complicated mixture of nodes, which is (I think) what the extremal black hole theory claims. Of course that relies on a belief that extremal black hole theory "explains" astronomical black holes, a belief that I cannot share. (Sorry, Amanda :) )

Re:How does this fit in with String theory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321677)

Maybe in the world of mathematics this is so. In the real world however, matter fly into the singularity all the time. Basically what I'm trying to say is that it's more complicated than that of course. We can simplify and come up with average results, but in doing so we lose the details, making the model useless.

After all earth is just an "elementary particle" too right? Except that quite different laws of nature govern macro- and micro cosmos. If you read about quantuum physics, you'll see that there's no such thing as an "elementary particle", just waves of probability. It's convenient for our sanity to think of the world as composed of little "marble balls", but that doesn't make it more true.

Analogies (4, Funny)

tcd004 (134130) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321482)

"Neutron stars are the vestiges of immense supernova explosions, collapsed stars with extremely compact cores, denser than all known objects except black holes. A teaspoonful of a neutron star would weigh one billion tons, as much as all the cars and trucks on Earth."

That would be one impressive teaspoon.

Tall, Blonde and Weaponized [lostbrain.com]

Re:Analogies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321491)

That's not funny Karma whore.
Go suck your mom's cock.

Re:Analogies (1)

rainwalker (174354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321574)

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that the densities of unusual astrophysical bodies are always measured in tons per teaspoon? The same way that the de facto measurement of storage is the Library of Congress (ie, this new optical disc can hold 300 Libraries of Congress!!) or "encyclopedias" (the Encyclopedia Britannica, I presume, and not Worldbook)? Bah. News writers.

Re:Analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321584)

Microsoft's encyclopedia is actually Funk &amp Wagnalls. Look that up in your Expedia!

Re:Analogies (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321654)

Actually you've fallen out of date.
This [cray.com] story, as referenced to Here [slashdot.org] starts using the Human Genome as a standard...

The Library of Congress just isn't big enough anymore. The question is, do we need more books? or less genes?

Re:Analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321679)

Well, Futurama put it differently when the professor described dark matter. I think he said "...an ounce of which weighs over 10000 pounds", or something like that.

Re:Analogies (4, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321763)

That would be one impressive teaspoon.

There is no spoon.


"Up" quarks and "down" quarks. (3, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321484)

Does anyone know if all up quarks are the same as all other up quarks and if all down quarks are the same as all other down quarks? There might be a billion different slight variations of the two kinds. We don't have the equipment to define a quark past a certain level.

I'll say it with a song (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321524)

An All-Linux Think Tank [monolinux.com]
Quark Sing-a-long Written by Lynda Williams
For Jefferson National Lab
Bring Our Daughters to Work Day.

Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top and Bottom!
The World is made up of Quarks and Leptons!
Up, Down, Charm, Strange,Top and Bottom!
Yum! Yum!

Quarks come in six flavors
They live in families of two.
Up Down, Charm Strange, Top and Bottom!
They come in anti-flavors too!

Each family makes a generation
between which is a mass gap.
The up quark is the lightest and the top quark
is the most fat!

The second and third generations
do not live for very long.
That's why everything in the Universe
is made up of Ups and Downs!


Quarks carry a color charge.
They come in red, green and blue.
You'll never see a quark all by itself
cuz they stick together with a strong force glue.

Quarks carry electric charge.
A fraction of electricity.
Quarks combine together so the total charge
is a multiple of unity!

An up, up down makes a proton for a total charge of plus one.
A down, up, down makes a DUD neutron!

Physics is so much YUM YUM PHUN!


copyright 1999 Lynda Williams

Re:"Up" quarks and "down" quarks. (1)

prizzznecious (551920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321532)

Well, there are more than just up and down quarks, you know. There are also strange, charmed, top, and bottom quarks.

I'm no string theory expert, but the impression I've gotten is that quark characteristics are prescribed by precise string oscillations, so until you can show otherwise, you should assume that all similarly flavored quarks are in fact the same.

Re:"Up" quarks and "down" quarks. (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321557)

Well, they can have different 'spin', so they are not all the same.

Re:"Up" quarks and "down" quarks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321581)

I'm sure someone else will have beaten me to it, but quarks also have a "color". (obviously a color as in wavelengths of light but in a named property)

That gives you 3 types of each. Although there's a possibility other properties like color may be discovered to make 2 "up" quarks differ, I'd put money on it being something along the lines of "with respect to property X a quark has exactly one of 2 possible states" rather than anything near a billion different types.

Re:"Up" quarks and "down" quarks. (1)

rainwalker (174354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321588)

There are only a few properties used to describe subatomic particles, many of which have to do solely with its energy level, or position in an atomic shell or something. For example, every electron is exactly the same as every other electron, but there are 4 quantum numbers that describe it (l, m(l), m(s), and s). No two electrons can have the same set of quantum numbers in a single atom (or they would be the same electron), but of course you could have precisely the same quantum numbers in another atom. I am virtually certain that the same general principle applies to quarks. Their classification has nothing to do with the instruments we use to detect them, but rather with the parameters used to define them.

Re:"Up" quarks and "down" quarks. (5, Informative)

zCyl (14362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321597)

Does anyone know if all up quarks are the same as all other up quarks...

Well the up quark, like any quark, is not as cleanly defined as the word "particle" might indicate. The up quark and the properties associated are not just a measure of how much "mass" or "spin" has been shoved into a sphere called the quark. The properties of quarks actually come from an extremely complex cloud of virtual particles that pop into and out of existence in close proximity to the area we call the quark. There seem to only be a few stable configurations of energy, spin, and charge that can result in a quark. The properties of the quarks seem to result from some intrinsic properties defining the way these virtual particles can interact, so you can't just put a little more of something into a quark, because that would require changing the rules of the interactions. Unfortunately, the precise details of all of the above is still a subject of some speculation, since no one quite knows for sure all the virtual particles that can pop in and out and all of their properties.

Hmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321492)


yeah, ok (3, Funny)

doooras (543177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321496)

I guess Armin Shimmerman was pretty cool, but I don't think he's really a star... Or was that a different kind of Quark, that doesn't try selling self-sealing stembolts...

Re:yeah, ok (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321737)

Nah, they're referring to Quark [imdb.com] , a sci-fi comedy from the late 1970s. Whatta classic! :)

Just bitching and moaning, ignore. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321500)

I would just like to point out that I submitted this story over 12 hours ago... :/

/me points to the [REJECTED] tatoo on forehead.

Why can we see it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321502)

This stuff looks dense enough to be a black hole (black hole in the sense of "light can't get out", not necessarily "singularity"). So, what kind of densities do you need to get a blackhole, or does the total mass also enters the equation?

Re:Why can we see it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321528)

Obviously if you can hold a it in a teaspoon, it doesn't have enough mass to stop light.

Mass vs. Density. (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321545)

It's density, not mass, that stops light. A star may have more mass than a black hole, but the gravitational field is at no point strong enough to "stop light", as you put it. (Think Gauss's law---inside a sphere, the gravitational field is influenced only by the matter "under" you.)

--grendel drago

Re:Mass vs. Density. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321556)

It was a joke. If you can hold a teaspoon of a neutron star's matter, you're not going to have any problems doing anything else.

Re:Mass vs. Density. (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321571)

Hey, physicists are known for saying things like "the car drives past the airplane at v=0.6c". In fact, the physics literature is pretty rife with references to ridiculously-dense black-hole matter in the "how big would a battleship be?" or "how much would a black-hole baseball weigh?"

--grendel drago

Re:Mass vs. Density. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321657)

Lets see, either you're making shit up, or the "physics literature" is shockingly wrong (and stupid).

A battleship in a blackhole would be the same size as everything in the blackhole. A point with 0 size and thus infinte density.

Talking about a baseball's weight is irrelevant, since the constituent matter would merge into the singularity, and it would no longer exist as an object that could have a weight.

I'm guessing that you're making shit up. Or perhaps sci.physics.crackpot is the "physics literature" in your mind.

Re:Mass vs. Density. (1)

rainwalker (174354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321604)

Actually, density is basically irrelevant (except in extreme cases) as gravity is a point source....that is, it acts as though all of the mass of the object was concentrated in a single point at the gravitational center of the object.

Re:Mass vs. Density. (2)

zCyl (14362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321632)

density is basically irrelevant as gravity is a point source

That simplification only applies to the mass within a sphere with a radius equal to your distance from the center. For example, if you dig a hole 1 mile into the Earth, and go down this hole, you are no longer subject to the gravitational effects of the outer 1 mile worth of Earth's crust.

This is why density is important in black holes. As a simple way of thinking about it, you need the mass to be in a small enough space such that when you use the simplified center field model, enough mass will be inside the radius for that mass in order to pull light in. If the mass is too spread out, light at the radius for that mass would have some mass closer to the center pulling it down and some mass above it pulling it back up, and there would be no black hole.

Re:Mass vs. Density. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321608)

It's density, not mass, that stops light.

A thrown ball can't escape the Earth, but it can escape from a small asteroid of the same density as the Earth. Methinks that the same applies to light and that total mass has a role to play in black holes.

Re:Mass vs. Density. (1)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321621)

I don't know enough Quantum Mechanics and Relativity theory to be sure, but regular old gravity that affects you and I on the Newtonian model would "suck" the light back in assuming it was strong enough.

The gravity of a spherical object pulls equally in all directions on all of the internal mass. Once outside the mass all of the force pulls on you, and acts just like a point mass. Assuming the mass of this star is stable, thus probably symmetrical and spherical (possibly slightly eliptical in either direction), gravity should still bend it.

That is the way all central forces work. In reality, the mass at the north pole, and the south pole pull you in different directions, just the symmetry of the mass makes it act like a point mass at the center of the earth. The only way the light would be "free" is if the surface that radiated energy of the star is outside of the "point of no return".

Technically speaking, actually every electron is a black hole, it just so happens that the radius where it is is smaller then has any practical. Hell it is smaller then the radius of the electron itself. Same for the earth. Which is why the density what signifies what they refer to as black holes. However, absorbing the photons when they hit the mass isn't the only way to stop light.

Any old object can have more mass then a black hole, there isn't a critical mass where you "become" a black hole. There is a density where you become a black hole. It just happens that once you get a certain amount of mass you end up collapsing into a blackhole because the mass on the outside has no opposite force to oppose the internal collapsing in which I am guessing your average nuclear forces would keep that from happening to most regular objects.


Re:Why can we see it? (2, Interesting)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321609)

If it were dense enough that light couldn't escape, it would form a singularity too. Can't have one without the other, if it's high enough density to trap light, then there are no forces, even at the subatomic level, that can resist the collapse to a singularity. What they are talking about here is a stage that they didn't realize existed, where very dense neutron stars collapse one level further without becoming a black hole.

Of all the billions of stars to choose... (0, Redundant)

Daniel Wood (531906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321503)

3C58 is thought to have originated from a supernova explosion witnessed by astronomers in 1181 AD.

I'm sorry, that just seems like wishful thinking to tie your star to a known event, therefor creating a strong case for you. The chances are less than one in a billion that it was the very same star.

Re:Of all the billions of stars to choose... (1)

NoBeardPete (459617) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321533)

One in a billion? Where did you get that from? Sounds like you're even more full of hot air than you are claiming these astrophysicists are.

It seems quite reasonable that they should be able to get an approximate age for the star. The size of the expanding cloud of debris around it, for one, should allow them to make a very good estimate. So I would imagine they used this, or some other method, to determine that the supernova happened about 800 years ago. So if they know the approximate age of the star, and what part of the sky it's in, and they know that it's close enough to the Earth that it's supernova would have been visible to everyone, and they know that there was one supernova witnessed by people on Earth at that time in that part of the sky, you still think the probability is 1 in a billion?

Re:Of all the billions of stars to choose... (1)

rainwalker (174354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321599)

One in a billion? Where did you get that from?

Don't you know that 62% of statistics are made up on the spot?

Re:Of all the billions of stars to choose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321612)

My research shows it to be much higher. Around 83%

Re:Of all the billions of stars to choose... (1)

Darby (84953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321617)

Don't you know that 62% of statistics are made up on the spot?

Not trying to start a flamewar or anything, but I always heard it was...like...uuhhh... 74%

Re:Of all the billions of stars to choose... (1)

Russ Steffen (263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321550)

Where do you come up with one in a billion? The supernova was observed by astronomers, and even in 1181 AD, they could easily have recorded the region of sky where the event occured. Now if you search the same region even 800 years later, you'll only find a very small number of objects that could possibly be the remnants of a supernova. I'd say that if you find a compact star right where some 800 year old account placed a suprenova, the odds of them being related are much, much higher than one in a billion.

Re:Of all the billions of stars to choose... (3, Insightful)

xX_sticky_Xx (526967) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321552)

It is possible to tie a particular supernova remnant (and this is the only way ultra-dense stellar remnants are created) to an event witnessed in the past; indeed this is often done. Supernovae occur so infrequently in our galaxy (one every 100 to 500 years or so) that it is often possible to do so. For instance, it is very well known that the Crab Nebula [seds.org] is the remnant of the supernova witnessed by Chinese astronomers in 1054 AD.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine (2)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321510)

So why does Quark get a star type named after him.. Who'd he swindle that Deal from? :)

Re:Star Trek Deep Space Nine (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321603)

Erm, the word Quark comes from Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

From the Fourth Chapter of the Second Book:

-- Three quarks for Muster Mark!
Sure he hasn't got much of a bark
And sure any he has it's all beside the mark.
But O, Wreneagle Almighty, wouldn't un be a sky of a lark
To see that old buzzard whooping about for uns shirt in the dark
And he hunting round for uns speckled trousers around by Palmer- stown Park?
Hohohoho, moulty Mark!
You're the rummest old rooster ever flopped out of a Noah's ark
And you think you're cock of the wark.
Fowls, up! Tristy's the spry young spark
That'll tread her and wed her and bed her and red her
Without ever winking the tail of a feather
And that's how that chap's going to make his money and mark!
Overhoved, shrillgleescreaming. That song sang seaswans.

more important things to do in space ... (0, Troll)

jest3r (458429) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321511)

> The quarks that make up conventional matter are > called "up" and "down" quarks. Physicists > theorize that even more elusive "strange" > quarks, possible remnants from the birth of the > universe, still lurk in the cosmos.


I wish that we would spend billions of dollars on getting some 'manned' craft to Mars ... something a little more practical. something that the whole globe can engage in ..

I mean trying to determine if a star 7 miles in diameter 8 billion light years away is made of sub-nuclear particles seems like an effort in futility ..

Re:more important things to do in space ... (1)

prizzznecious (551920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321548)

The study of subatomic particles enables us to manipulate matter more intelligently. This has the eventual possibilities of:

a) allowing us to harness the storied "zero-point energy," which, if possible, would make fusion seem like a stale fart.

b) cool ass shit like time travel.

c) stuff you and I both haven't thought of, because it's inconceivably cool.

While I think going to Mars would be pretty neat, what exactly would it accomplish? We already know there isn't any life there anymore. Going to Mars would be more of a "look what we can do, mom" than anything else.

Re:more important things to do in space ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321551)

In what way is sending a manned craft to Mars practical?

Here's a free clue: it isn't.

Neither is it particularly useful, other than as plot material for the limp-brained Hollywood screenwriters of the future...

Re:more important things to do in space ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321586)

More pactical?

What good will sending a manned craft to mars do. This will at least contribute to our understanding of the universe.

Re:more important things to do in space ... (3, Insightful)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321611)

Excuse me? How is sending some guys to a nearby rock going to advance science more than investigating these strange objects? The article was pretty light on facts, but it looks like these stars could provide a LOT of information about particles that we have a REALLY hard time finding with even the biggest particle accelerators.

And are you suggesting that the work being done in Astronomy/Cosmology in the U.S. is costing BILLIONS of dollars? C'mon, man, get a grip! And I firmly reject the idea that only "humans in space" can effectively explore and exploit worlds outside ours.

If we have learned anything from the last few decades, I think it's that technology is an extension of our senses into the universe outside of our bodies... so why do we have drag our frail monkey-bodies to Mars if we can get the raw data cheaper and more safely with instrumentation? So we can play golf there too?

Re:more important things to do in space ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321701)

Man you didn't get him. He wants to spread his deficient genes throughout the universe and make it all a miserable place ;-)

Re:more important things to do in space ... (1)

supermoose (562109) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321641)

Actually, strange as this may seem, people all over the globe ARE involved in X-ray astronomy. Astronomical observation such as this can help guide and correct our knowledge of physics (and the universe as a whole), something that has the potential to do a lot more for humanity than scuttling around on Mars with a rover full of Murican flags (or getting lost en route - darned metric system!)

Just because you can't immediately see the practical use in one type of research, or even if the people involved can't, does not mean we should abandon it for flashier, more obviously practical things. If you only ask questions that you know the answer to, odds are you won't learn much.

I was about to hit submit, but I have to say as a closing line... a Mars rover would be freaking cool. =) Vroom!

Re:more important things to do in space ... (2)

ZigMonty (524212) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321643)

I wish that we would spend billions of dollars on getting some 'manned' craft to Mars ... something a little more practical. something that the whole globe can engage in ..

I mean trying to determine if a star 7 miles in diameter 8 billion light years away is made of sub-nuclear particles seems like an effort in futility ..

Ok, so *you* can't see an *immediate* application of this science. Wow, that makes it worthless!

I bet research into silicon's semiconductor properties seemed an effort in futility in the early days. "It's not a conductor and it's not an insulator. What good is it?!"

Also, while I want to see a person on Mars, don't confuse it with real science. Sure, we'll find out a few more interesting things about Mars but it's exploration not cutting-edge science. Science isn't here for your entertainment.

Re:more important things to do in space ... (1)

j09824 (572485) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321748)

I wish that we would spend billions of dollars on getting some 'manned' craft to Mars ... something a little more practical. something that the whole globe can engage in.

For the money it costs to send one human, we could send a dozen robotic probes. Let's not waste billions for someone's vanity, or for the entertainment of millions who have read too many science fiction stories.

He has the most personality... (1)

Ratso Baggins (516757) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321514)

but, in that series, you just can't beat Dax in spandex!

Re:He has the most personality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321542)

no shit, bro... i want to count Jadzia's spots... they go all the way down, ya know ;-)

Well... (0)

bananaape (542919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321523)

If most matter is made of quarks, then aren't most stars technically quark stars?

Bound-up Quarks. (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321558)

Quarks tend to be "bound" into either mesons (a quark and an antiquark) or hadrons (three quarks or three antiquarks---protons and neutrons).

I suppose the interesting part here is the enormous energy required to overcome the forces that bind mesons/hadrons together.

Err... that is, if the article is talking about what I think it's talking about. It's 2 AM here, I should be thinking about de Broglie, Schrodinger and Bohr.

Bah. Time for a porn break.

--grendel drago

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321559)

Pass me a glass of quarks, will you please?

Seriously, the criterion for naming these things is "what particle is bouncing around". Quarks in stars are tied in groups of 3, so really the group of 3 is the particle bouncing around. Stars are "hydrogen plasma stars". In a glass of water, the stuff bouncing around are water molecules, so we call it a "glass of water", no a glass of quarks...

Re:Well... (2)

xX_sticky_Xx (526967) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321565)

Well by that definition all stars would be quark stars. The difference is that the quarks in quark stars are not bound together to form neutrons or protons.

Quite an unusual state of matter indeed.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321580)

The name comes from the idea of neutron stars. In what is commonly thought of at the normal state of matter, atoms are forced apart by their mutually repulsive forces. With neutron stars, the gravity is so intense that the repulsive forces are overcome and the seperate atoms basically collapse into one another and form a really big ball of neutrons, hense the name. (Note: I don't know where the protons or the elections go, especially since the electrons are needed to emit the light.) Basically they are speculating that it is the quarks' mutual repulsive forces that are holding the star's mass from collapsing even further into a black hole, singularity, gravastar, or whatever they want to call it nowadays.

Anyways, they are just guessing at this point.

Re:Well... (3, Informative)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321668)

The protons and electrons go through a reverse beta decay to form neutrons and neutrinos. Not all protons and electrons are consumed in this fashion which lets the following ideas progress, the outter shell of a neutron star is covered with a bunch of high energy electrons and protons exisiting in the crust of the neutron star can be in a super fluidic state making the neutron star a gigantic super conductor. Electrons being annhihilated on the surface release X-Rays which get funneled by the intend magnetic field of the super conducting protons into beams which create the effect we dub a pulsar.

I thought black holes didn't exist anymore... (1)

GekkePrutser (548776) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321560)

I was just getting used to that, after the story on slashdot [slashdot.org] ...

Re:I thought black holes didn't exist anymore... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321662)

no black holes? jesus, man... you should see my girlfriend..

Re:I thought black holes didn't exist anymore... (2, Funny)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321672)

From said story:
It seems that there's a growing movement that doubts the existence of black holes

Oh... black holes exist... it's the growing movement, that's the myth.

Quark Matter is Not New (5, Insightful)

dragons_flight (515217) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321569)

Quark stars are a new and interesting idea, but quark matter in general is not a new idea. "Quark matter", more usually "quark plasma" or "quark-gluon plasma", is believed to be the dominant form of matter in the universe just following the big bang. There is also early evidence [web.cern.ch] that it's been witnessed in some of the largest particle accelerators.

In normal matter quarks group together in sets of 3 to form protons and nuetrons. Rare particles, like pions, can be formed from pairs of quarks, but quarks never appear in isolation, for them it's always in groups of 2 or 3. In quark plasmas though there aren't any distinct groups of twos and threes. All the quarks are smushed into a single substance with arbitrarily large numbers of quarks.

One analogy is if atoms are built out of "solid" quarks (in the from of protons and nuetrons), then the quark plasma is like melting them so they all run together. Prior to this announcement the only time that quark plasmas were expected to appear was in the presence of extraordinarily high energies and temperatures.

We could predict that nuetrons stars should exist because the "nuetron degeneracy pressure" which makes them possible was well understood theoretically. The theory that governs quark interaction is known as quantum chromodynamics and is far more complicated. I'm not sure whether anyone knows how to apply it to massive collapsing stars, and it doesn't surprise me if no one ever tried. It will be interesting to see if the existing theory can be made to justify quark stars. If not, well that's when things really start to get exciting.

Re:Quark Matter is Not New (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321658)

Where can I get access to more information in this area. I have been interested in subatomics and quantum physics for a while. But everytime I go looking for the information, I seem to run into a "for the privilaged only" barrier. I suppose if I really tried, I could find a textbook out their. However, university level textbooks have a tendancy to help encourage students to attend lectures to make sence of it.

Re:Quark Matter is Not New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321682)

my god man :

(*) "everytime" is two words
(*) "privilaged" = privileged
(*) wrong "there" used
(*) tendancy = tendency
(*) sence = sense

i would stick to primary school before bothering with those "university level textbooks"

Re:Quark Matter is Not New (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321716)

...but the walk two phar from teh college too the primary school so that I cood smack you're candie ass.

Seriously though, if you demand perfection from everyone all your life, you are always going to be disappointed. Oh, and you should get your priorities straight. Perfect spelling, grammer, and usage are not required for informal communication. The point is comunicating, not "lewkie here, yeserie! I be ejumucated. I be outs smarten da bes of d'em!" "Holyer than thou" attitudes have a tendancy of just pissing people off.

I would not be asking questions if I was perfect and omniscient anyway.

Get a grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321664)

As you say, this is stuff that we thought existed only right after the big bang billions of years ago, or in accelerators for brief nanoseconds. That makes free quarks a legendary, almost intangible state of matter. Now we see a starful of free quarks, and you're not amazed?

Re:Quark Matter is Not New (2, Interesting)

Phase Shifter (70817) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321725)

In normal matter quarks group together in sets of 3 to form protons and nuetrons. Rare particles, like pions, can be formed from pairs of quarks, but quarks never appear in isolation, for them it's always in groups of 2 or 3. In quark plasmas though there aren't any distinct groups of twos and threes.

That's pretty close to the truth, but you missed one important detail.
Pions (and other mesons) are made from a paired quark and antiquark, not two quarks.

Baryons like protons and neutrons are made up of three quarks bound together by their color charges, so for example a proton is (I think) made of two up quarks and a down quark, where you have one quark each of red, green, and blue color charge. Mesons contain a quark and an antiquark of the opposite color (i.e. red and antired).

they spend money on this? (0, Troll)

TheCyko1 (568452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321572)

ok, so people get PAIED to look into telescopes, think of wierd names for stars and theororize about things that can't even get close to?? why do i suddenly want to take a bat to congress...

Re:they spend money on this? (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321583)

why do i suddenly want to take a bat to congress...

Not to mention your first through sixth grade teachers.

Tang! (0, Troll)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321590)

Back off, sucka fool! Nobody touches my "Tang" budget!

--grendel drago

Sounds cool... (3, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321602)

Or as Mr D. Vader would put it:

If you only new the power of the quark side...

Is any of this real? (2, Interesting)

ClubPetey (324486) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321607)

Ok, seriously, I'm not a physicist, but I did pay attention in High School/College, and I have to ask: Do we KNOW any of this stuff. Or is everything just one (educated) guess on top of another.

Yes, we've made some discoveries, and for the most part things can be explained with the current line of thinking in Physics (Newton, Einstein, etc), but that's the problem, things are only MOSTLY explained, and certain keys are missing.

Take Newton, we've got all sorts of formulas, rules, and experiements built upon the concept of gravity. Something which we cannot define, do not know how it is "made" nor where it comes from. Or perhaps think of the stars, do we KNOW that this star is 8 billion light-year away? Or are we just guessing based on some color-shifting theory that seems to work here on Earth, based on guesses about the total mass of the universe (that we can't find some large percentage of...)

What if we humans are all WAY WAY wrong? What if like the "flat-earthers" of centuries ago, we've justified our THEORY of the planets, stars, solar systems, and the universe based on a completely incorrect model just becuase researchers (or humans in general) don't like to admit they are wrong, or that they don't know something? Are there any radical thinkers left? someone perhaps not starting from Newton or Einstein's work and trying to move it forward, but someone with NO preconsceptions, NO ingrained ideas, and NO outside influences?

Actually, nevermind, even if a person like that did exist, he'd be labeled as a quack in the media, shunned and laughed at by acedemia and problably killed by a nervous government.

Just some random thoughts on a quiet night...

Re:Is any of this real? (2, Insightful)

AvatarADVathome (538740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321683)

You say, "Newton, Einstein, etc.", but think about the gap between those two theoretical branches. It's huge! Newton was completely unaware of the principles behind Einstein's work and based his model on nothing but observed phenomena, right? Of course, that doesn't mean that Newton is bunk, just that it's accurate for observed phenomena within a specific range. Einstein's range is much larger, including things that Newton couldn't possibly have measured to note discrepancies. One must assume that future discoveries will continue to provide larger and larger frames of reference, not supplant what we have. However, the change will be in our understanding of the boundary conditions, not of easily observed things. Heck, how are we doing research now? Particle accelerators! That ain't your everyday environment...

Re:Is any of this real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321697)

Confucius say: Man who is paranoid looks back, but never forward.

Re:Is any of this real? (3, Interesting)

dragons_flight (515217) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321708)

Something that one gets used to in science is that you don't know anything in the absolute sense, but you probably do "know" things to the degree that you're willing to base your life's work off of them. On the other hand, if you spend too much time around philosophers, you might end up wondering if the world really exists, or if your senses are accurate, etc.

Doubt goes hand in hand with wisdom. Once one accepts that there is room to question absolutely everything, then you just have to accept the attitude of estimating what is the most likely truth and working from there. In my (admittedly biased) estimation the laws of physics, as currently understood, are almost certainly a good approximation of truth, though certainly not the last word.

In science, careers are made by showing that the established beliefs are wrong. There are lots of people itching to overturn current theories. Sometimes there is resistance if the evidence is weak or the argument complicated, but in the long run scientists are often more likely to admit their mistaken beliefs than the public in general.

If there really is a right answer to the universe then an independant thinker should arrive at similar conclusions to the ones we already have. Unfortunately no man ever born could even learn all the science we have now, so it's nigh impossible to believe that any single person could have the capacity to independantly arrive at more than a very small part of what has already become established doctrine. On the other hand, Ramanujan [wolfram.com] did quite well, and without being shunned or killed.

If some day we do contact an intelligent alien race, that would be other best chance to study an independant notion of science. However, I doubt that they'll offer too many surprises among the areas of science that have been studied in detail.

Re:Is any of this real? (5, Interesting)

gilroy (155262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321749)

Blockquoth the poster:

Ok, seriously, I'm not a physicist, but I did pay attention in High School/College, and I have to ask: Do we KNOW any of this stuff. Or is everything just one (educated) guess on top of another.

Well, there is no revealed truth in science, so we don't ever know absolutely that something is real. It has happened before that a theory turns out to be based on a house of cards. Most of that time, in retrospect, it can be seen that the theory got way out in front of experiment and so was improperly constrained. That is, the less we've studied an area, the more likely the theoriest are wrong. As facts come in, theories get revised or strengthened.

On the other hand, remember that in physics, most "revolutions" change our understanding of how things work but do not invalidate existing theories in their realm of applicability. For example, relativity didn't kill Newtonian theory. Indeed, that's still where we start today in physics education. Why didn't it? Because at human-scale speeds, with human-scale masses, objects obey Newton's Law pretty well... that's the region in which the theory was derived and it fits the experiments there. At the very fast, it breaks down, and then relativity is needed.

Now, we insist the Universe is "really" relativistic at all speeds, so in that sense the new theory wiped out the old. But we also insist that for slow objects relativity must reduce to Newton's Law (and it does). So the earlier theory reamins a useful, if admittedly inadequate, tool.

New Star Trek material! (2, Funny)

Kwirq (43822) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321610)

Whereas before the coolest material they could build stuff out of in Star Trek was Neutronium (Neutron Star matter), such as the hull of the Planet Killer in the old series episode "The Doomsday Machine", know they can build stuff out of quarkonium!! Whee.

I'll go to bed now..

black holes etc. (1)

Tyndareos (206375) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321640)

I know the following isn't exactly about the article, but I've wondered about this for a long time:

What would happen if you start dumping an huge amount of electrons in a black hole? As I understand it, the electrical force is far more powerful than the gravitational force. Therefor I wonder: what would happen if you create this huge negative pole? Would the black hole become unstable, would it eventually become impossible to add more electrons or something else (maybe the question is wrong altogether)? I anyone knows, I'd like to hear.

What?! Unbound quarks?! (1, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321647)

Hum not to rain on anyone's parade but there are two things wrong with this article: First the article states:"The Chandra data gives the first evidence that they exist in nature." in reference to the strange quark. This is dead wrong, go look up a list of known and detected particles and you will find particle composed of, in part or in full, strange quarks, and if they are saying that we have never "seen" one they are right but this new data would not be any better detection than what we already have because: problemnumber two quarks cannot be unbound, if someone observes an unbound quark they are going to stockholm for free next year.

So since I think the ppl involved with the Chandra experiment probably have their heads on straight the problems above are most likely due to an uninformed writer. The best I can figure is that they data suggests that the new object is composed of particles containing strange quarks but not entirely made of strange quarks. It would be easier to figure out if CNN actually gave credit to the ppl they got the story from.

Re:What?! Unbound quarks?! (1)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321678)

1) by "in nature", they mean not created in the lab.

2) quarks can not exist unbound under normal circumstances, but theory has it that they can at high enough energies, and now maybe at extremely high densities (just short of becoming a black hole).

What's the physics behind this? (1)

snol (175626) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321687)

I'm no professional physicist - but I thought I remembered hearing that a neutron star was held stable by the neutron degeneracy pressure counteracting the gravitational forces. Once there's enough mass so that gravity overcomes the degeneracy pressure, there are no more forces pushing particles apart so the whole thing collapses to a mathematical point (black hole.) I'm not really sure how this works either; from what I remember of quantum, degeneracy is more a law than a force - two fermions simply can't occupy the same space, so there's a limit to how dense they can become. In any case, does anyone have any further knowledge of what force might be keeping these denser-than-neutron stars from collapsing into black holes?

Re:What's the physics behind this? (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321759)

Blockquoth the poster:

In any case, does anyone have any further knowledge of what force might be keeping these denser-than-neutron stars from collapsing into black holes?

Well, actually, I think it's.... fermionic degeneracy pressure. The quarks are spin 1/2, too, and "smaller" than the neutrons. So they can cram closer before their degeneracy pressure kicks in.

More in depth report (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3321718)

Here [npr.org] is a more in depth report from NPR's [npr.org] Wednesday broadcast of All Things Considered (in Real Audio format).

Interestingly.. (3, Informative)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3321726)

It wasn't mentioned in the Chandra [harvard.edu] release or the CNN spot, but RX J1856.5-3754 [nasa.gov] is apparently the closest known neutron star. The Chandra site states it's distance at ~400 lyr and the APOD site cites 180 lyr, practically in our back yard!(in cosmological distances anyway)
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