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Scientists Solve Mystery of Star Formation Near Black Holes

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-add-water-and-near-infinite-density dept.

Space 88

eonlabs writes "A new paper has been published on the formation of stars in close proximity to a supermassive black hole. Their formation has not been well understood until now, but with the help of a year of supercomputer time, scientists have been able to model the interstellar processes needed to produce them. The results not only match up well with earlier observations, but provide clues as to how their formation is remotely possible. It also helps clear up previous research in this area. 'The simulations...followed the evolution of two separate giant gas clouds up to 100,000 times the mass of the Sun, as they fell towards the supermassive black hole. ...The disrupted clouds form into spiral patterns as they orbit the black hole... In these conditions, only high mass stars are able to form and these stars inherit the eccentric orbits from the elliptical disc.'" The paper itself was published in Science, but you'll need a subscription to read more than the abstract.

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Interesting (-1, Flamebait)

LightWing (1131011) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719299)

Sounds kind of like a giant spiral fractal. So it took a year just to calculate this?

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719437)

So it took a year just to calculate this?

Yes and we're ecstatic that it was possible to do so without O(e^n) and taking more than our lifetime.

This is both useful and impressive. That is all.

complexity analysis, you imposter (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719851)

Yes and we're...

Oh, you are, are you?

...ecstatic that it was possible to do so without O(e^n) and taking more than our lifetime.

This type of simulation is very common in computational astrophysics from stellar scale to large-scale structure, and everything in between. The two common computational techniques are the particle mesh methods. It's easy to think about the complexity of the particle problem: every particle interacts with every other particle, giving O(n^2), which is unworkable for even moderate values (astrophysically speaking) of n.

Judiciously sacrificing a little accuracy for a lot of efficiency gets you down from O(n*n) to O(n*log n) calculations. Mesh and hybrid methods used in MHD and FD simulations are similarly tractable; that is, only just, if you have a lot of processors for the (*moderately*) large n in what is now very attainable memory.

No part of the complexity analysis of any of these physical processes is super-polynomial. So I don't think you know what you're talking about, and I certainly don't think you're Ian Bonnell or Ken Rice, nor apparently even a student with basic experience with either complexity analysis or the basic physical concepts being modelled (on a computationally-large scale).

I haven't read the paper yet, but this isn't exactly a bolt from the blue for the researchers; they've published other papers on this subject matter which are typical for the field. They're working on the same problems as lots of people, using the same methods as lots of people, and only "ecstatic" about the whole affair when they actually get supercomputer time, again like other people.

This is both useful and impressive.

It is not at all impressive, which should be obvious to anyone actually doing this research. It would take a very naive and conceited individual to trumpet this research as such if it were his own.

That is all.

Your modesty and lack of impersonation are noted by all.

I know there are at least a few Slashdot readers who use this sort of thing in their work; maybe one will chime in here if the record isn't already straight enough.

Re:complexity analysis, you imposter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720097)

Is parent really a troll? If so, he did a much better job than his parent.

Re:complexity analysis, you imposter (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722505)

We all want our children to do better than us.

Re:complexity analysis, you imposter (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24722669)

Is parent really a troll? If so, he did a much better job than his parent.

Her parent. In threads, it is always a daughter. Unless it is a zombie, in which case you can assign either gender. The 'daughers' of zombies can also be referred to as spawn (you can use either gender), and the 'parents' of spawn can be referred to as overlords (GP = great overlord, GGP = grand overlord, GGP = dire overlord, and so on).

Super and Massive (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719301)

My star formed near a super massive black hole last night. Her name was Latrina.......

Re:Super and Massive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719695)

According to the study, she must be huge!

Oh Please (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719387)

It really disturbs me how ignorant scientists really are about the universe. All these guesses that get passed around as facts until we realize we've been totally wrong and replace broken "facts" with updated "facts" that are still wrong.

Re:Oh Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719441)

When are they passed around as facts? Who said that and when?

Give me names and dates or otherwise you're full of BS.

Re:Oh Please (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719443)

It really disturbs me how ignorant scientists really are about the universe. All these guesses that get passed around as facts until we realize we've been totally wrong and replace broken "facts" with updated "facts" that are still wrong.

Bueller? Bueller? I mean...evolution? evolution? Evolution is gospel in the world of science. Not believing in the faith of evolution is blasphemy and heretics will be punished.

Re:Oh Please (2, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719495)

Evolution is gospel in the world of science. Not believing in the faith of evolution is blasphemy and heretics will be punished.

I'm not a scientist, but even I know evolution is simply accepted - by some - as the best current explanation for our existence, and will be revised or replaced the moment a better explanation comes along. This is a good thing.

Re:Oh Please (0, Redundant)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723657)

...as the best current explanation for our existence....

Based on the worldview that the universe is a result of time and chance with no possibility that thought in a mind played any role whatsoever. Any notion of the involvement of intelligence is rejected as abominable heresy by the evolution faithful.

Re:Oh Please (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#24755225)

Any notion of the involvement of intelligence is rejected as abominable heresy by the evolution faithful.

No, it's rejected as baseless nonsense. Bring some real, testable evidence to the table, and maybe people will listen. And no, the bible doesn't count.

Re:Oh Please (2, Insightful)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719527)

No, it is a theory, but by far the best one we have that fits the observable universe. But if you choose to believe the universe was created by the flying spagetti monster 75 years ago as the pastafarians do, or some variant thereof by all means, be my guest. Just don't pass it off as science.

If you have done some research that radically overturns an established theory, (say quantum mechanics) great - publish it. But your theory had better fit the observable universe better than than the established one. (Quantum mechanics does)

Re:Oh Please (2, Insightful)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719669)

I just want to add that creditable scientific theories exist due to their supporting factual evidence. This is why evolution itself is considered well supported in the same way theoretical gravity is supported by factual evidence.

Note that this is for evolution by itself, specifically human evolution has many pieces to the puzzle (pieces meaning factual evidence), but are missing a few currently. And you know what? theories "evolve" at the same time that new evidence is brought up. So for the top parent, go back to your damn bible and read up. Leave science alone. You believe, after all, that you were created from dirt, correct? It is extremely obvious that your skull is filled with it. Now there's an example of a theory supported by evidence (you ignorance).

Re:Oh Please (1)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720005)

to expound further - both science and religion are theoretical. in my opinion, science has more supporting evidence. scientific theories have a tendency to be disproved and replaced, as do religious beliefs (well, becomes more derivative). if any part of the formula is wrong (pertaining to both science and religion), it shows the fallibility of said theory/faith.

Re:Oh Please (5, Insightful)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720213)

Please point out a theory in religion. I gave my examples - in evolution and gravity - they simply explain the natural phenomena of evolutionary mutation and gravity. you give yours. The first challenge, that I'm interested in is finding the natural phenomena.

Definition of faith [reference.com]

Definition of theory [reference.com]

The same? I think not. Let me know when you come up with proof that one religion overpowers the rest in factual evidence that supports it. Again, you don't know what the hell a scientific theory is at all.

No, I'm no science student. I simply follow specific definitions, and I remain a skeptic to everything. I don't believe or have faith in evolution. I simply accept evidence. It may morph in the future as more evidence comes in, but it will never make it "wrong" - for according to the concept of a scientific theory - hypotheses are supposed to evolve. The same with quantum mechanics - I am no believer in it, so I simply follow what has been proven in the physical world. Can a man walk on water? I sure would like to see it. Is there an immortal being for who I am a servant to? I sure as hell would like to see this person in the physical world, then existence of immortal creators will be an obvious fact.

Not to get too off-topic, but I find the Bible, Torah, and Koran the best collection of moral tales (moral as in the morality 2000 years ago) that have ever been discovered. The immoral concepts you learn from them show that YHWH, God, and Alah did not create man in their own image, but in fact man created YHWH, God, and Alah in their own image.

Personally, I would pick a woman goddess to worship. They seem to know how to take care of things pretty damn well.

Re:Oh Please (1)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720481)

if you read my comment- i pointed out that religions are derivative. today, the main three (judaism, christianity and islam) are all based on the old testament. the stories the old testament are a reinterpretation of the various religions of the time (most notably the egyptian religions). i also pointed out that science is also faith based. scientific theory (as well as religion) keeps evolving. theories are replaced all the time. the very word theory: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation/: an unproved assumption - is indicative of this. scientist do have faith in their theories, and sometimes this faith is misplaced. nothing is absolute- skepticism should alone warrant this "fact".

Re:Oh Please (2, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722925)

today, the main three (judaism, christianity and islam)...

Main three? The top three are # Christianity (2.1 billion), Islam: (1.5 billion), and what the adherents.com refers to as "Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist" (1.1 billion). [adherents.com] Skipping over the secular/none of the above category, Hinduism (900 million) would be next.

Judaism is way down the list at number 12 (14 million). Calling it one of the main three is far off base.

Re:Oh Please (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723915)

...scientist do have faith in their theories......

They do indeed, but this faith is not based on the evidence, but on the underlying worldview of a scientist.

A scientist who believes there is no God, that is an atheist, will interpret the evidence gathered by observation and experiment through that lens. He will attribute everything that exists as having arisen by processors of time and chance.

A scientist who believes in an eternal transcendent Creator God, will interpret the same evidence to show careful thought and design.

Re:Oh Please (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720529)

The immoral concepts you learn from them show that YHWH, God, and Alah did not create man in their own image, but in fact man created YHWH, God, and Alah in their own image.

I wish I had mod points. This is my view of religion too. Given the similar precepts among all religions with exclusion to the deity's moniker, I don't think it's out of line to think that tribal leaders dictated the best behavior desired and that was passed along so long that it went from word to form.

Re:Oh Please (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#24732533)

What I have a problem with is the fact that evolution, already being entrenched, enjoys so much popularity that it is automatically given the benefit of the doubt. Anything else gets saddled with the burden of proof.

Until someone actually PROVES evolution, doesn't hte burden of proof remain against it?

There are many cases in law where the burden of proof crushes those who cannot bear it, and legal precedent is established in many cases, irreversibly, because "you just couldn't prove it". With "statutes of repose", basically whatever the judge decides, given his limited insight into the facts of the case, becomes the "truth", and even if the judge gets something factually wrong (or, the jury), in many cases you cannot appeal a finding of fact, because the legal system arrogantly presumes the word of a jury or judge to be supreme and infallible.

Science can work the same way if the "jury" happens to be the status quo believing community. Many cases arise where brilliant minds such as Galileo are shunned, and in some cases, even persecuted for daring to contradict established doctrine. People were hanged, drawn, and quartered for that...not merely embarrassed in a debate.

I see the same thing happening today. Personally, I do not know one way or the other about evolution OR intelligent design. However, since nobody has proven EITHER of them, I find it unfair that evolution enjoys a presumption of being right, while anything else that goes against it must bear a greater burden of proof. As far as I'm concerned, they are BOTH theories and they should BOTH be treated skeptically, instead of one or the other being paraded out as fact.

Not believing in evolution has real consequences. In science class, you damn well say and write whatever the teacher tells you to. If the book says the statue of liberty is made of stone (this happened once), you lose points on a test if you tell the truth. Unless, of course, you challenge it. At that point however, you become a nail waiting to be pounded down. Authority figures can and do influence knowledge using criteria other than truth.

So here we have students being indoctrinated by evolution, which I have personally seen as introduced as FACT, not THEORY. You can flunk science class if you don't agree with what your teacher says.

Re:Oh Please (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#24755813)

Until someone actually PROVES evolution, doesn't hte burden of proof remain against it?

Umm, in science, you don't prove a theory. You acquire evidence and validate or invalidate the theory based on it. Theories must also make predictions that are testable. A good theory is able to explain, within it's framework, all observations related to it. That's it, that's all. And evolution most certainly must stand up to this scrutiny (and has done so remarkably well... only a few other theories have been so successful; relativity and quantum mechanics come to mind).

Your obvious confusion is that you're using the colloquial term "theory", as opposed to the scientific term "theory". The former is used to indicate a guess, an idea with no basis. The latter is a rigorous scientific construct that is immensely powerful.

So, evolution is a scientific theory because it makes predictions (eg, antibacterial agents triggering the upswell of resistant strains) that can be tested (just go to a hospital), and is able to explain observations (the tree of life) within it's framework. The same can't be said for religion (last I checked, intelligent design has made no testable predictions).

I do not know one way or the other about evolution OR intelligent design.

Clearly, given that you're under the mistaken impression that evolution hasn't stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny since it's very inception.

I find it unfair that evolution enjoys a presumption of being right, while anything else that goes against it must bear a greater burden of proof.

Do you also find it unfair that the theory of heliocentrism, or a spherical earth, enjoys the presumption of being right, while anything else that goes against them must bear a greater burden of proof?

In science class, you damn well say and write whatever the teacher tells you to.

I know! It's like Math teachers insisting that the square root of 9 is 3. I say it's 2, and who are they to say I'm wrong? Damn those authority figures!

Re:Oh Please (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#24756461)

You may find it amusing to use sarcasm, however, it wasn't quite such a laughable matter for Galileo.

I only hope that modern times are better. Given our history of persecution, I have my doubts.

And FYI, there have been cases of teachers being wrong. Just recently in spring quarter in Calculus II, I caught my teacher making a major blunder on a function's graph. I called him out on it, my classmate was pretty much annoyed at my not letting it go. When I was proven right, I was vindicated.

Had my instructor been dictatorial, I would likely have flunked that class. Unfortunately, there are probably cases where creative thought is shunned. It may just be rumor, but I have a feeling that kids in, say, North Korea do not enjoy such freedom.

Re:Oh Please (2, Interesting)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723837)

...factual evidence...

  There is no such thing as factual evidence, only just plain evidence. Evidence can only be believed not proven.

(...evolution itself is considered well supported...)

Evolution is widely believed, but that does not mean it is correct or the only possible interpretation of the evidence.

(...You believe, after all, that you were created from dirt....)

Apparently you don't know that some good fertile dirt capable of growing the good things you like to eat, is not too different from the elemental makeup of your own body. After all, you are what you eat. We all eat what came up out of the ground (dirt). Therefore, this is good evidence for the biblical interpretation of what you are made of, dirt!

Your shame however is, that your mind is filled with dirt by putting other people down who believe differently than you.

Re:Oh Please (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#24724373)

Please, do propose an alternate interpretation of the evidence for evolution WITHOUT calling in some kind of "magical happening" simply because you (or a random book) says it happened. We have observations of all kinds of DNA spontaneous mutations, e. coli evolving into a new species before our eyes [newscientist.com] , and many other things that say "Yes, what we've proposed for evolution fits all known facts and weathers the experiments we conduct to test and investigate it". You know, science.

Religion isn't testable. That is why it is not science. You can't disprove a belief, you can disprove science all you want. Come up with evidence that evolution is false (such as an experiment that others can repeat reliably), and the theory will go out the window. Until then, get a fucking clue, and stop thinking that simply because someone believes something that it should be instantly validated and accepted at the same level as prevailing theories that HAVE withstood experimental rigor.

Re:Oh Please (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24727117)

....We have observations of all kinds of DNA spontaneous mutations, e. coli evolving into a new species before our eyes [newscientist.com], and many other things that say "Yes, what we've proposed for evolution fits all known facts and weathers the experiments we conduct to test and investigate it".....

The scientists saw some characteristic changes in these e-coli bacteria and INTERPRETED that through their evolutionary worldview glasses.

Other scientists, with just as many degrees to their name, having an intelligent design worldview will interpret that same experiment by saying that all living things have an amazing adaptability. They would also point out that the bacteria were still essentially e-coli, not some other kind of bacteria, such as coccus or spirochete. No evolutionary changes have ever been observed outside of the bounds of some very narrow groupings of life-forms.

Scientists have bred millions of generations of fruit flies, subjecting them to radiation and chemicals. These stimuli have caused a wide variety, often grotesquely malformed fruit flies. However without a single exception, these were still always fruit flies, and nothing but fruit flies. Never, in all the experiments has anything other than fruit flies been produced. This is strong evidence that God indeed created living things to reproduce after their kind, just as it is stated in the Bible. The biblical word translated "kind" is not necessarily the same as the scientific definition of "species".

These sorts of experiments have not only be done with fruit flies, but also with many other creatures. Darwin observed that the beaks of finches change according to the type of food available. This is correct, but can again be interpreted and attributed to the adaptability of living things. The birds were never anything but finches, after their kind, which is finches.

Those with the evolutionary worldview will give this as an example of evidence to support their interpretation of their BELIEF.

The Bible is not intended to be and must not be used as a science textbook, but wherever it does touch science or history, it has never been shown to be wrong. Like any other writing, it is subject to interpretation according to the interpreter's worldview.

how speciation works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24730325)

The scientists saw some characteristic changes in these e-coli bacteria and INTERPRETED that through their evolutionary worldview glasses.

Other scientists, with just as many degrees to their name, having an intelligent design worldview will interpret that same experiment [through their creationist worldview glasses].

Reality is a certain way no matter how anyone interprets it. You are trying to play down the logical reasoning for belief that Darwinian evolution correctly explains reality so that the lack of logical reasoning for belief that creationism correctly explains reality doesn't look bad by comparison.

No evolutionary changes have ever been observed...

They certainly have! The only way you can escape this fact is to define "observation" so narrowly as not to include the observations such as the tree-like progression of biological morphology through geological time (as recorded in the geophysical record), the distribution over time of DNA (mitochondrial and nuclear) to different parts of the world, the agreement between the way we observe variations of life forms to occur and the way population genetics predicts these variations should occur, and a host of other things.

Scientists have bred millions of generations of fruit flies...

First off, no single line is this many generations long. Second and moreover, scientists have not subjected them to selection pressure different from that to which fruit flies are already well adapted. It is not surprising in the least that accelerating the mutation rate without changing the selective pressures should produce no viable flies very different from the originals already well adapted to it by millions of years of selection.

These [artificial] stimuli have caused a wide variety, often grotesquely malformed fruit flies.

Evolution works because 1) genes change, and 2) the environment imposes selection pressure favoring the reproduction of certain genes while disparaging the reproduction of others. It doesn't matter what genes are available for selection if there is selection pressure against all of them but the one you started with.

You need to understand why there are distinct species in the first place, and why and how they change over time. We don't see a continuum of shapes between tuna and leopards because there is not a continuum of ecological niches in the environment. Between the niches, there is selection pressure against any shape that genetic variation happens to offer up, so those genes don't get reproduced.
(That's what speciation is.)

Selection pressure molds anything that swims for its food into good swimmers, and anything that runs for its food into good runners. But shapes (thus genes) for good swimmers and runners are largely mutually exclusive; optimal for each is suboptimal for the other.
(That's why speciation occurs.)

Other selection pressures, such as available food sources, depend on what *other* contemporaneous species are like, and ultimately on the environment. The only steady change is slowly, over time. The sudden appearance or disappearance of food or habitat or disease can create or destroy new niches discontinuously, perhaps shifting them so much that an existing genetic "island" (species) cannot adapt, and becomes extinct. This has already happened to the vast majority of species that have ever lived.
(That's why the speciation changes, in fits, over time.)

However without a single exception, these were still always fruit flies, and nothing but fruit flies. Never, in all the experiments has anything other than fruit flies been produced.

1) Most (but not all) experiments which involve mutating fruit flies, or anything else for that matter, seek to understand the role of certain genes by finding out what happens when they break; not to observe selection pressure operating on genetic variation in the process known as evolution.
2) Most (but not all) genetic changes are detrimental, with a small fraction being beneficial. In the lab as in nature, random changes are mostly bad changes, and most of the results produce few or no fertile (or even living) offspring, if any, for anyone to call anything a fruit fly or otherwise. Beneficial mutations are few and thus rare compared to harmful mutations.
3) In light of speciation, you can now understand how fruit fly mutation experiments a) make so few mutations that the only ones to show up are bad ones, b) make no changes in selection pressure, giving them no reason to change from their starting form, which is already essentially optimal.

This is strong evidence that God indeed created living things to reproduce after their kind, just as it is stated in the Bible.

It is evidence that evolution occurs just as we think it does. The Bible doesn't agree with this understanding. Even the Pope and thus the Catholic Church accept the proposition that evolution happens, despite what the Bible says. I wonder how you can presume to call him a heretic while you have "true" insight that he and the majority of the world's Christian theologens lack. Evolution is a process that cannot help but happen though mutation, recombination, and selection. It's so clear and obvious that even scrupulously syncretizing theologens have no choice but to accept it. You can't change reality, but you can change your mind.

The biblical word translated "kind" is not necessarily the same as the scientific definition of "species".

So Bible apologists hope, and a restriction they've thus relaxed in light of evidence against an exact interpretation of "kind".

These sorts of experiments have not only be done with fruit flies, but also with many other creatures.

Thus broadening the evidence supporting the position that evolution works as we think it does, at the expense of the position that "God did it". Speciation and the origin of species is a gap now spanned by our understanding, into which no god (or follower) can remain. The fog of ignorance is lifting, and we can see the details of places that were once mysterious.

Those with the evolutionary worldview will give this as an example of evidence to support their interpretation of their BELIEF.

It is not mere belief as in faith. Some beliefs (whether correct or incorrect) are arrived at by reasoning, while other blieves (whether correct or incorrect) are not.The former are reasoned belief, while the latter are "mere" belief based on faith without evidence. You seem eager to latch onto any evidence that might qualify your belief as reasoned, but also eager to belittle mutually exclusive reasoned beliefs as "mere" belief, attempting (ironically) to bring it down to the level of your only refuge, which is unreasoned, faithful belief.

Wherever [the Bible] does touch science or history, it has never been shown to be wrong.

The bible makes very specific claims about the nature of reality. It claims that Earth was created in 6 days' time, which contradicts our understanding of how matter and energy have been arranged over time, and how the majority of species lived and went extinct over billions of years. It even makes claims that simple physiology refutes, if anyone had only bothered to check before Biblical canon was established. To claim the Bible is not wrong about these things (and very many others) is to claim that our scientific understanding is wrong. They cannot both be true.

Like any other writing, it is subject to interpretation according to the interpreter's worldview.

But like any other writing, its correspondence to reality is not subject to any interpretation at all. We can compare the Bible's claims about reality with reality and see where it gets things wrong. An observer's worldview might affect how "good" they think reality is to some degree, but the worldview has no bearing on what reality actually is. Some worldviews aid the observer in understanding reality, while others most certainly hinder this understanding. You can have reason or Christian literalism or Islamic literalism or shamanistic literalism or any other spiritual literalism, but only one.

Re:Oh Please (0, Troll)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24724539)

The mystery is not "solved", because there is no way to test the hypothesis. It's "commonly believed to be true" is a more accurate description. Ref: Global warming, global cooling, global climate change or whatever the grant-getters/carbon traders/chicken littles are calling it today.

Re:Oh Please (2, Insightful)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723761)

.... But if you choose to believe....

that everything else in this universe is a product of time plus chance is that science or is it philosophy?

(...But your theory had better fit the observable universe better...)

Observing the facts and doing experiments of science, but interpreting these facts is philosophy based on the worldview of the person doing the interpreting.

A person who BELIEVES that the universe came about by processes of time and chance, will interpret the facts and observations through that lens of this belief. A person who BELIEVES that the universe came about by careful thought and planning, will also interpret the facts and observations through that lens of that belief.

The actual experimental evidence and the observation is the same for both worldviews, but give rise to different theories.

Re:Oh Please (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#24724383)

That's stupid. Evolution has NOTHING to do with the beginnings of the universe. See the Big Bang Theory for something along those lines, which has much, much less evidence for it than evolution does.

Evidence is evidence, period. Science works because it takes all the evidence, and then fits a theory to it. If ANY evidence points differently than the theory (after the evidence has been experimentally and separately verified by many, many people), the theory is either thrown out or modified. With your "careful thought and planning" model, there is NO WAY to disprove it, therefore it is NOT science. Evolution happens, period. WHY it happens is a theological question to some, and immaterial to most others. Denying that it DOES happen in the face of all the evidence is just blatant stupidity.

Re:Oh Please (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719931)

It really disturbs me how ignorant scientists really are about the universe. All these guesses that get passed around as facts until we realize we've been totally wrong and replace broken "facts" with updated "facts" that are still wrong.

Just what do you mean by this, in connection with this article? To me it says that they have a bunch of "facts", ie. observations, and now they have a simulation that produces results that look like said facts. What is your complaint?

Re:Oh Please (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723635)

.....All these guesses that get passed around as facts ....

It doesn't quite work that way. First they make some assumptions (guesses) which could fit into a supercomputer. Finally at long last the supercomputer comes up with a result which is then used for more assumptions in a BS article like this.

but you'll need a subscription... (2, Insightful)

pagaboy (1029878) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719475)

you'll need a subscription to read more than the abstract.

Slashdot gets worse: now we can't RTFA. Not that that'll make the slightest bit of difference to anyone's comments.

Re:but you'll need a subscription... (0)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719491)

That's ok, nobody reads the article anyway. People on Slashdot think they are right and no article, read or unread, can change this.

Re:but you'll need a subscription... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719541)

That's ok, nobody reads the article anyway. People on Slashdot think they are right and no article, read or unread, can change this.

Incorrect. Only myself and those that agree with me are actually right.

Re:but you'll need a subscription... (1)

goto begin (1338561) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719865)

Chances are, if you can understand the article then you probably work somewhere that has a subscription to access it.

Re:but you'll need a subscription... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720429)

Thats a pretty silly assumption, especially for a good paper, which have a user friendly verbal description of the findings, backed up by a more thorough technical description.
The real problem though is that most journal articles have very low SNR, so you often need to scan through 10's or 100's of articles to find useful information, at $35 a pop this is untenible. If the journals had more reasonable pricing structure (say $1 per article), they'd probably make way more money, and no one would be complaining.
The $35 dollars was a reasonable price when somebody had to physically photocopy the article and mail it to you, but with emailed PDF's the marginal transaction cost is almost zero.

Confucius say (1, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719535)

Confucius say "Bright light near hole remind me of gynecologist."

wasting their time (0, Flamebait)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719585)

clearly god did it :)

Re:wasting their time (3, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719709)

clearly god did it :)

clearly Joe Pesci did it :)

There; you mde an accidental typo that just had to be corrected.

Re:wasting their time (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719747)

yes, i too just noticed that i made a typo in pointing out a typo... It's CowboyNeal's fault.

Re:wasting their time (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24725181)

So Joe Pesci is not God after all?

Re:wasting their time (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 5 years ago | (#24812547)

Michael Jackson is. Both white and black and loves kids!

I'm god... (1)

meuhlavache (1101089) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719715)

... and I make you write this reply!

Another explanation of remotely possible formation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719699)

The results not only match up well with earlier observations, but provide clues as to how their formation is remotely possible.

Well, the formation of stars in close proximity to supermassive black holes is only remotely possible, because there's possibly no supermassive black hole in direct vicinity to us dwarfed humans.

Now, I for one welcome our supermassive ... etc.

Let me guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24719783)

The butler did it!

Re:Let me guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720995)

oh dear, did he spill something on the universe again? i'll have to talk to him about that someday.

Re:Let me guess? (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24721109)

No no no, in the kitchen with the candlestick ; )

Optimism at it's best (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719787)

"but you'll need a subscription to read more than the abstract"

That, AND a super massive brain.

Re:Optimism at it's best (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720069)

My brain is super dense. Does that count?

Re:Optimism at it's best (2, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720289)

Why? Astrophysics isn't that hard: you just need a good understanding of calculus (differential equations for best results) and humility enough to look up obscure terms. I think anyone of average intelligence could learn enough to get the gist of a research paper, if not to spot errors or produce results himself.

We really ought to teach calculus as part of the standard curriculum. It'll help demystify science and help everyone.

Re:Optimism at it's best (1, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720569)

We really ought to teach calculus as part of the standard curriculum. It'll help demystify science and help everyone

I entirely agree; It has gone on too long now where people hear the word calculus and instantly freeze up thinking "oh i wont be able to do it!". Granted some people might not be geared towards thinking the way you need to think for calculus, but I'm pretty sure its a much smaller segment of the population that fits that description than society thinks. Many people hear of integrals or transforms and simply sieze up without actually finding out if they CAN do such things when they apply themselves.

I'll never really understand that defeatist kind of mentality either. It seems to be the same pattern in peoples heads that causes issues with tech support. How many times have you had to explain to someone something that was written out exactly in the error message they received as they didn't read it at all because "I'm not good with computers!"?

Sucks. Personally, i would love to see a world where education starts off with Critical Thinking, Basic Statistics and Probability, and THEN moving on to the factual details for all other subjects. Starting with critical thinking and ingraining scientific views of statistics and probability at an early age would probably go a long way towards demystifying all branches of science.

Too bad that would make masses harder to predict though as people might start thinking for themselves on a regular basis. Apparently we can't have that =(

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722231)

I'll never really understand that defeatist kind of mentality either. It seems to be the same pattern in peoples heads that causes issues with tech support. How many times have you had to explain to someone something that was written out exactly in the error message they received as they didn't read it at all because "I'm not good with computers!"?

To be fair, this is mostly a fault of software programmers: 99% of the error messages are gibberish nonsense, so the best strategy for a common user is to simply ignore them and look for expert help. See User Error [wikipedia.org] for the mindset (in developers) that produces that situation.

With respect to maths, my experience is that the defeatist attitude is caused by woeful teachers. Personally, I would love to see a world where teachers would be able to teach about Critical Thinking, Basic Statistics and Probability in an effective way.

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722355)

With respect to maths, my experience is that the defeatist attitude is caused by woeful teachers.

I never even got through pre-algebra because I couldn't understand my instructor (well, maybe one word in five) and had a class of about 40 people. Oddly they tried to place me in second-year Algebra when I went back to college and finally scratched up a worthless degree, so obviously I can use a little bit of it.

There's also the fact that we teach to maybe two types of learning out of a dozen to forty different ways (depending on who you believe.)

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24724789)

I had a lousy teacher for Trig and Algebra. It is not an exaggeration to say that this guy screwed up many classes of kids in his time there. I later heard that he had suffered a series of small strokes as he got older, and should have retired or gone on disability, but he was within a few year of retirement. Rather than show the guy the door early with only a partial pension, they let the guy continue to teach until full retirement, during which time he continued to worsen. Kids who were brilliant A students struggled to pass his classes, because they had to teach themselves the material after he failed to teach it correctly. Of course, with his seniority and the strength of the teachers union, they may have had no choice but to keep him on.

I think there is something endemic to the US school system that ensures that the worst teachers never leave.

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722457)

From the other perspective, though, how are you supposed to describe an error in twenty words or less? People at work ask me a question, and I can see them lose interest before I've gotten more than five words out. They don't understand the problem, and they don't care - they just want it fixed, even if they can't tell you what it is that's broken.

I hear "are you doing something with the 'system'? It's really slow" a few times a week, where the system could be: the internet, email server(s) (they refuse to believe we have more than one, so I stopped trying to explain to them that there is a web interface if our desktop email app/server dies... I just placed that webmail link on their desktop to mess with them, really.), our accounting application, our POS app, Windows, or their screensaver. It's all just 'the system', and most users stop caring at that point.

How would you like me explain to them that the desktop email application cannot connect to its pop server, but the webmail server has an imap connection to the primary email server, in ten words or less that they're not going to read anyways? I'm over simplifying the whole thing, but my point is that you can't instruct someone who doesn't have any intention of doing anything other than calling me to say "the system isn't working."

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24730413)

how are you supposed to describe an error in twenty words or less?

A good error message isn't supposed to describe the error, it's supposed to describe the solution. The right answer is to give instructions as of what the user can do to fix the problem (that includes calling the expert if the solution is out of reach to the user knowledge).

You not having a clue about the right course of action is proof that developers shouldn't be involved in anything in relation with user interaction, be it error reporting, widgets layout or timing of interface events. (Yes, I know programmers love doing all that, but it's a mistake. The design should be left to someone with at least some basic training in psychology and/or ergonomics).

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#24736461)

[...] Yes, I know programmers love doing all that, but it's a mistake. The design should be left to someone with at least some basic training in psychology and/or ergonomics

Actually, I know that I have no talent for it, and would rather avoid it at all costs... but that doesn't convince the powers that be (or the users themselves) to keep me away from the front ends.

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

Jerry Beasters (783525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723481)

Calculus IS part of the standard curriculum in most districts.

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24721671)

A person of average intelligence simply can't learn calculus. I'm considered above average, but it took me two tries to pass Calculus I, a C- in Calc II, and finally a horrendously low F in differential equations pressed me to give up. (Throw in an F in physics, and three consecutive flunkings of data structures, and that's why I ended up a philosophy major... where I got near-perfect grades.)

Re:Optimism at it's best (2, Insightful)

Jerry Beasters (783525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723475)

I am of greater than average intelligence and the "calculus" you speak of is completely incomprehensible to me. You must really think highly of yourself if you think that just because you're good at something everyone else must be good a it or they aren't of even "average intelligence."

Mod me a troll if you want, but you know I'm right.

Re:Optimism at it's best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24724283)

Going by your comment history, I somehow doubt you're of above average intelligence. Your statements on calculus only support this theory. In fact, I cannot think of a single person who, bragging about being of "above average" intelligence, actually was.

Re:Optimism at it's best (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#24724403)

Greater than average intelligence? What makes you say that? Really, if you can't understand even the rudimentary elements of calculus, why would you think you're above average, and not simply lazy, or possibly you have some kind of learning disability, which would make you decidedly BELOW average in many things?

Re:Optimism at it's best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24733041)

f = x
f' = 1
me no get

They are not stars they are ori supergates opening (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24719855)

They are not stars they are ori supergates opening

Re:They are not stars they are ori supergates open (1)

bugeaterr (836984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720499)

bORIng are the bORI.

ehh, anybody looks like a star next to a black hol (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720087)

but thanks for your support.

Re:ehh, anybody looks like a star next to a black (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720679)

Does this explain Hollywood's support for Obama?

Booo!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Once elected, no tax dollar will escape his gravitational pull.

Hissss!

Sorry, couldn't resist again.

I just love subscription-based science.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720477)

Thanks for posting.

Does this explain Hollywood's support for Obama? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720549)

Does this explain Hollywood's support for Obama?

Booo!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Once elected, no tax dollar will escape his gravitational pull.

Hissss!

Sorry, couldn't resist again.

Formation Near Black Holes (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 6 years ago | (#24720553)

... would be a good name for a band.

Sounds like Plumbing to me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24720709)

The action of the gas clouds as the are drawn closer to the black hole, as described in the article, can be demonstrated sprinkling pepper into your commode and flushing it. Who'd 'a thunk it?

Just messin' with ya, Einstein (3, Insightful)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 6 years ago | (#24721343)

The paper itself was published in Science, but you'll need a subscription to read more than the abstract.

It's ironic that of all of the ways that we as a society could choose to fund our primary scientific journal, the method we did choose is based on keeping scientific results away from people who are interested in science.

Re:Just messin' with ya, Einstein (1)

teridon (139550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722491)

From where do you think the funding should come?

Science is available at my local public library. Granted, right now it only goes back 2 years, but the library only has so much space for periodicals.

I'm a bit lucky -- my place of work provides online access to nearly every scientific journal out there. Public libraries sometimes do the same thing as my place of work; i.e. you can probably access Science online from your library's computers.

Re:Just messin' with ya, Einstein (1)

ashfields (1174609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722493)

Wrong. You have to pay for food too. That doesn't mean someone is keeping it away from you. It just means you have to give something to get something. Food for money, science for money.

But yeah, copyright gets in the way here. One more reason to abolish it.

Re:Just messin' with ya, Einstein (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723989)

...Food for money, science for money....

Except that most of science that is written up in these journals is paid for by the taxpayers. Then these elite so called "scientific journals" where this taxpayer supported work is reported, charge exorbitant fees for said taxpayers to have access to the fundamental work the taxpayer has paid for already. I think that all scientific reports which contain even one red cent's worth of science done at taxpayers expense should be free to all taxpayers.

Re:Just messin' with ya, Einstein (1)

vikstar (615372) | more than 6 years ago | (#24724009)

People interested in science enter research careers and have access from their universities or research organisations. People who are not scientists but are interested in science will use these resources for entertainment purposes, not to advance the body of knowledge. To this end, you do not need to subscribe, you can purchase the article for US$10.

Re:Just messin' with ya, Einstein (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731029)

"People interested in science enter research careers and have access from their universities or research organisations. People who are not scientists but are interested in science will use these resources for entertainment purposes, not to advance the body of knowledge."

Sheesh. With that attitude, do you seriously wonder *why* people in the street think scientists are 'elitists'? No scruffy unwashed masses allowed in OUR little club, no sir. They might be ENTERTAINED by knowledge! The horror! Knowledge must be locked up and kept secure lest it be defiled by grubby minds.

Thank God for Wikipedia. I've actually learned things by reading it. Stuff they never taught me in high school science.

Re:Just messin' with ya, Einstein (1)

vikstar (615372) | more than 6 years ago | (#24732031)

What are you talking about? They are allowed, you can pay $10 for the article. This is pretty cheap for an article. Universities and research organisation have to pay for the subscriptions. Can you go to a bookstore and lift a book of the shelf and just walk out without paying? Maybe you think the music industry is elitist requiring you to pay $1 for each song?

Also, many scientists have their own versions of submitted papers on their website, if they are allowed, which you can download and read. It is the publisher of the paper that makes the rules and you have to follow them when you sign away the copyright for publication. Some publishers require you to pay hundreds of dollars as an author to be able to put your paper on your website for others to freely download. So don't give me that "scientists are elitists" bullshit.

For you, maybe (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 6 years ago | (#24733303)

Not all of us grew up in wealthy families. For me, $10 per article might as well have been $10000 per article...

SSSPam (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 6 years ago | (#24721817)

but you'll need a subscription to read more than the abstract.

So in other words I'll have to give my email address to YET another anonymous entity in the hope that they'll just send me information relative to the topic I was originally interested in, and NOT sell my email address along with a million others to the closest available spammer who wants to make my "appendage" more appealing to the female populous ... What are the odds ?

You know, I am SO TIRED of having to sign up for everything with my email address ... why not at least giev me the benefit of the doubt as an actual HUMAN BEING, and at least give me a preview (not the full blowjob, just a little ahhh , ahhh in the words of Chris Rock), BEFORE having to sign my sould away to the devil (and his 1000 spamming cousins).

How about we do the internet a favour, and have a centralised list of GENUINE people who don't wish to be spammed, just to receive info on the topic they are REALLY interested in ? Even subscription based, it's got to be better than the current bullshit ?

Re:SSSPam (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 6 years ago | (#24722579)

"So in other words I'll have to give my email address to YET another anonymous entity"

For an anonymous entity you use an anonymous email addy (hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc)

and I for one welcome our anonymous, star creating, overlord entity that lives near black holes.

Re:SSSPam (1)

Noren (605012) | more than 6 years ago | (#24723963)

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that no email address is needed to subscribe to Science magazine!

The bad news is that you'll have to pay for it. This is not NY Times, this is actual cash. You need to use a different rant for this one.

Re: Computer models (1)

gryf (121168) | more than 6 years ago | (#24737293)

The nice thing about how computer models are used in astrophysics is that we don't set public policy by them. It's especially nice that these models actually match observed phenomenon.
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