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Freeman Dyson: Science on the Rampage
New York Review of Books ^ | April 5, 2012 | Freeman Dyson

Posted on 05/09/2012 10:28:59 AM PDT by neverdem

Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything
by Margaret Wertheim
Walker, 323 pp., $27.00                                                  

dyson_1-040512.jpg

An engraving by William Blake from The Song of Los, 1795

Physics on the Fringe describes work done by amateurs, people rejected by the academic establishment and rejecting orthodox academic beliefs. They are often self-taught and ignorant of higher mathematics. Mathematics is the language spoken by the professionals. The amateurs offer an alternative set of visions. Their imagined worlds are concrete rather than abstract, physical rather than mathematical. Many of them belong to the Natural Philosophy Alliance, an informal organization known to its friends as the NPA.

Margaret Wertheim's book discusses her encounters with the natural philosophers. She is interested in them as characters in a human tragedy, with the seriousness and dignity that tragedy imposes. Her leading character is Jim Carter, and her main theme is the story of his life and work. Unlike most of the philosophical dreamers, Carter is a capable engineer and does real experiments to test his ideas. He runs a successful business that gives him leisure to pursue his dreams. He is a man of many talents, with one fatal flaw.

Carter's flaw is his unshakable belief in a theory of the universe based on endless hierarchies of circlons. Circlons are mechanical objects of circular shape. The history of the universe is a story of successive generations of circlons arising by processes of...

(Excerpt) Read more at nybooks.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; davidgross; diegopirez; freemandyson; godsgravesglyphs; hermannweyl; immanuelvelikovsky; jimcarter; julesverne; lordkelvin; margaretwertheim; pages; petertait; physics; portugal; science; sirarthureddington; stringcosmology; stringtheory; velikovsky; williamblake; williamthomson; xplanets
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1 posted on 05/09/2012 10:29:02 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

For all we know, our math could be wrong. We could be living among beings that have been traveling the stars since the age of the dinosaurs.

Call me dumb, but I’ll support those who think outside of the box.


2 posted on 05/09/2012 10:36:10 AM PDT by wastedyears (There can be only one.)
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To: wastedyears
Call me dumb, but I’ll support those who think outside of the box.

Before you try to go outside the box it helps to know where the inside of the box is.

3 posted on 05/09/2012 10:39:43 AM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: Steely Tom

I have a thermodynamic theory of economics that drives people nuts. I feel for the oddballs, I R one.
http://www.futurnamics.com/biflation.php


4 posted on 05/09/2012 10:48:30 AM PDT by FastCoyote (I am intolerant of the intolerable.)
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To: neverdem
Freeman Dyson does not have a Ph.D. nor a Nobel Prize, probably the world's most emminent physicist with neither. He is also a scathing critic of AGWT orthodoxy.
5 posted on 05/09/2012 10:52:23 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (Rush: If Ward Churchill had a daughter, she’d look like Elizabeth Warren.)
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To: wastedyears

Don’t care about “inside” or “outside” the box, but support the ones who can duplicate their results!


6 posted on 05/09/2012 10:52:37 AM PDT by Little Ray (FOR the best Conservative in the Primary; AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: Steely Tom

I know that far too many scientists believe in the Goldilocks zone, and that for life to happen, the conditions need to be like Earth.

Well, I don’t believe conditions need to be like that on Earth, or a preferable distance away from a star for life to survive.


7 posted on 05/09/2012 10:53:58 AM PDT by wastedyears (There can be only one.)
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To: neverdem

A really neat article.

Note that Freeman Dyson (besides being an elegant writer and a perceptive human being) has little use for the doctrinaire bullying of the global warming alarmists.


8 posted on 05/09/2012 11:04:17 AM PDT by Stosh
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To: wastedyears
For all we know, our math could be wrong. We could be living among beings that have been traveling the stars since the age of the dinosaurs. Call me dumb, but I’ll support those who think outside of the box.

Even if we are held to the speed of light, if we travel to another star system, we'll pobably have the technology to observe undetected; and we'll probably want to.

So I've always supported your theory as a real possibility.

9 posted on 05/09/2012 11:04:43 AM PDT by cicero2k
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To: wastedyears
I know that far too many scientists believe in the Goldilocks zone, and that for life to happen, the conditions need to be like Earth.

Well, I don’t believe conditions need to be like that on Earth, or a preferable distance away from a star for life to survive.

In one of Arthur Clarke's stories, he describes a form of life that might exist on a planet that orbits a far hotter star than our sun, burned to utter desiccation by intense blasts of ultraviolet and soft x-rays. On that planet (he wrote) that life existed as two-dimensional orderly patterns that etched themselves in the surfaces of rocks. Powered by the intense flood of energy all around them, they took a thousand years to complete a single thought... but they didn't care, they had billions of years ahead of them.

Sorry I don't remember what book. It may have been in Childhood's End, or in one of his novellas, like Against The Fall of Night.

10 posted on 05/09/2012 11:11:52 AM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: wastedyears
Just have a look at organisms labeled "extremophiles" for an example of life operating perfectly well in harsh conditions. High temperature, low temperature, high pressure, high acidity, high sulfur, high salinity. Ectothiorhodospira shaposhnikovii and Halobacter halobium are examples that come to mind from my days in grad school.
11 posted on 05/09/2012 11:16:31 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: wastedyears
Oh here, incredible Google found the passage:

Through the clash and tug of conflicting gravitational fields the planet travelled along the loops and curves of its inconceivably complex orbit, never retracing the same path. Every moment was unique; the configuration which the six suns now held in the heavens would not repeat itself this side of eternity. An even here there was life. Though the planet might be scorched by the central fires in one age, and frozen in the outer reaches in another, it was yet the home of intelligence. The great, many-faceted crystals stood grouped in intricate geometrical patterns, motionless in the eras of cold, growing slowly along the veins of mineral when the world was warm again. No matter if it took a thousand years for them to complete a thought. The universe was still young, and Time stretched endlessly before them..."

Childhood's End
by Arthur C. Clarke

Here is the source.

12 posted on 05/09/2012 11:18:54 AM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: Stosh

We need more scientists like Freeman Dyson.

And Richard Feynman.


13 posted on 05/09/2012 11:25:44 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: wastedyears

Here’s a book for you:

Privileged Planet.

You can get the DVD at the library as an intro, but read the book.

The “rules” in our universe are such that those conditions necessary for life are also conducive to exploration and discovery of the universe around us.

The “moon size” “coincidence” will blow your mind.


14 posted on 05/09/2012 11:29:02 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: wastedyears
It has nothing to do with a fairy tale situation. Goldilocks is a fictional character after all. It's much more proper to declare the glory of God and His marvelous creation. Any careful observation of nature provides absolute proof apparent in any micro, or macro study.

Behold, this next week the glory of God will be visible over the western USA. In the form of a unique solar eclipse during daytime, a rare annular or wedding ring eclipse will take place. The Moon's 14,000 miles closer to the Earth than normal. So, the normal solar eclipse's out and light will surround the shadow that completes the circle of a wedding ring. We will soon celebrate a great wedding feast, perhaps next week on May 20th 2012. See my post below for more details.

15 posted on 05/09/2012 11:46:08 AM PDT by STD ([You must help] people in the community…feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless)
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To: MrB

Two weeks from now, on the afternoon of May 20th 2012, the moon will be in its new phase, passing between Earth and the sun.

The result will be a solar eclipse — one that will be visible in a strip of the Western United States, stretching southeastward from the Oregon-California border to Lubbock, Texas.

It should be a spectacular sight, visible from Reno, Albuquerque, Zion National Park and parts of the Grand Canyon — but it won’t be the kind of eclipse you most often see pictured.

Recall that on Saturday the moon, at perigee, will appear 14 percent larger? On May 20, it will seem 14 percent smaller — in other words, not quite enough to block the sun.

The result will be what’s known as an annular eclipse. A blindingly-bright ring of sun (”ring” in Latin is “annulus”) will surround the black disc of the moon.


16 posted on 05/09/2012 11:49:35 AM PDT by STD ([You must help] people in the community…feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless)
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To: MrB; stylecouncilor

Privileged Planet bump....


17 posted on 05/09/2012 12:01:34 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: wastedyears
There is credible evidence there may be life on Titan a moon of Saturn where liquid methane is the solvent.
18 posted on 05/09/2012 12:22:38 PM PDT by Nateman (If liberals are not screaming you are doing it wrong!)
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To: Steely Tom
The Voor from A.A. Attanasio's Radix and The Last Legends of Earth evolved in a harsh environment as well. Their planet orbited a black hole that showered them with radiation. Consequently, life arose inside the mountains on the barren planet, shielded enough from the radiation to be non-lethal, but allowing enough through to supply energy for life.
19 posted on 05/09/2012 12:23:01 PM PDT by EvilOverlord (Socialism makes workers into slaves and couch potatoes into kings)
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To: MrB

Excellent video!


20 posted on 05/09/2012 2:46:26 PM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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