Black Holes and Mumbo-Jumbo

The non amateur stuff. Hawking, black holes, that sort of thing

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Cliff
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Black Holes and Mumbo-Jumbo

Post by Cliff »

Dear al
Wearing my natural philosophers hat makes me feel superior to ordinary astronomers and scientists. Although I am having problems getting the hat on my head.
However, being a great believer in "occams razor" I tend think simplest is best and generally the answer.
I read fairly recently that although the idea of black holes goes back at least to the 18th century, the early ideas were very simplistic. (of course they did not actually call them Black Holes in those long gone days.
Anyway the modern astronomers and scientists, having given themselves another fancy title "cosmologists" seem to suggest the old ideas were very limited. We now have "somebodies" radiation associated with black holes and they even talk about "worm-holes" leading to other universes.
Well, it is starting to sound like a bit of mumbo-jumbo to me. Applying occams razor i suggest black holes are the ultimate weapon. Beyond that it really is conjecture. Who says religion is something devised by man to satisfy some spiritual need. Worm holes make religion seem quite respectable to me.
Best of luck from the Grumpy Ol;d Codger Cliff
davep
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Re: Black Holes and Mumbo-Jumbo

Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:Applying occams razor i suggest black holes are the ultimate weapon.
Can you explain how that is an appliction of Occam's Razor? What you've said here seems to be an explanation that has multiplied the entities -- which, on the surface, would seem to be the opposite of applying Occam's Razor.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep
As regards to Black Holes being the ultimate weapon. I am told that Jack the Ripper actually used Occam's razor and he never got caught!
More (or less anon!)
Best wishers from the Grumpy old Codger Cliff
pete-6
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Post by pete-6 »

One of my favourite SF stories involving the use of a Black Hole as an 'ultimate weapon' is Larry Niven's The Hole Man, one of the short story anthology: A Hole In Space

Unfortunately, the 'science' behind it has not quite stood up to the test of time, having been caught out by Stephen Hawking's work since it was written.
Pete
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Pete
Nice to hear from you again.
I hope my two previous emails were not taken too seriously.
I actually have great respect for some cosmologists.
Including Dr Halto Harp, some of whose ideas I am at odds with.
I once got the chance to talk with him and we even had a short natter about Edwin Hubble who Dr Arp in his younger days knew.
However, I tend to be a bit wary of what I will call some "way out" ideas, even though some may be backed by exotic mathematics.
I have tremendous respect for mathematics by the way, even though I have always found it a desperate struggle.
That is not to say I condemn the "way out theorists" completely outright, but I am inclined to feel some of the ideas may be interesting in a curious way, but a bit too far sighted to be of much real use (at least in the immediate foreseeable future). Although me having said that I would be the first to admit that progress in many scientific fields in recent modern times has been incredible. However, I think one of the problems of today is that young people, seeing the reality of cinema special effects expect too much. Just recently I aked someone what they thought about the new "war of the Worlds" film they had just seen at the cinema. the answer "the special effects were fantastic" - was enough to put me off.
I suppose i will eventually watch it on the Telly.
With regards to your reference to Sci-Fi, I must confess I am no great lover of any fiction. Although I have enjoyed reading one or two fiction books over the years. Perhaps my problem is that I am a very slow reader. It takes me all my time to half read all the montjly magazines I get plus too many other purchases in the "popular science" sections of bookstores.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Nostalgic Old Codger Cliff
davep
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:I hope my two previous emails were not taken too seriously.
My apologies. I had got the impression that your first post was attempting to make a reasonably serious point.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Dave
Funilly enough, it was, ie. meant to be taken seriously but not extremely seriously.
One of my feelings is that I personally do not have the academic knowledge nor the understanding to necessarily appreciate all these things. However, by the same token I also think that sometimes even the cleverest of people can get things very wrong. Sometimes the obvious gets missed and sometimes things seem to right for the wrong reasons.
Many years ago my old boss told me a story.
During the war ie WW2, he was staioned at RAF airfield on a remote Hebriean island. Apparently there were a few aircraft hangers on the airfield. In accordance with what was standard practice at the time the hangers were open fronted. I suppose that may have been to enable aircraft to be scrambled quickly - that is just my guess by the way. Anyway one of the ordinary ranks who happened to have been born and bread in the Hebrides was concerned because he reckonned that the island could experince extremely strong winds. So he wrote to the Air Ministry suggesting that they should put strong doors on the hangers to reduce the chances of wind damage. The Air Ministry effectively wrote back telling him to keep his nose out. Not long afterwards there were strong winds and the hangers and several aircraft inside them were wrecked. when the hangers were rebuilt the air ministry put doors on them and some other hangers in vulnerable places.
Sorry it is not an astronomical story. Some of us do tend to wander as we get older. So I hope you will be tollerant!
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
davep
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:One of my feelings is that I personally do not have the academic knowledge nor the understanding to necessarily appreciate all these things. However, by the same token I also think that sometimes even the cleverest of people can get things very wrong. Sometimes the obvious gets missed and sometimes things seem to right for the wrong reasons.
Obviously (possibly with the slightly change from "can" to "do get things very wrong"), which is why I asked what I did.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep
I admit that "can" and "do" are pretty short words but I am completely lost.
I can only fall back on my limited understanding again.
Best wishes from the as usual Grumpy Old Codger, Oh! I think the name is Cliff, but it might be best if someone can comfirm that.
Help anyone?
davep
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:I admit that "can" and "do" are pretty short words but I am completely lost.
Sorry if what I wrote was confusing. I was simply agreeing with you that the "cleverest of people can get things very wrong" but that, rather than the possibility of being wrong implied by "can", I think there's the inevitability of being wrong (hence me adding "do").

I think it was Richard Muller in the book Nemesis: The Death Star - Story of a Scientific Revolution (excellent book, terrible title) who wrote about trying to have one new idea about something a week and that it didn't matter how wrong the idea was -- the important bit was having it and testing it. That way, once in your lifetime, you stand a good chance of coming up with a killer idea. I think he said it was Luis Alvarez who instilled this in him.

It was in that spirit that I asked the question I did about your idea of the application of Occam's Razor to Black Hole theory.
Last edited by davep on Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep
You mention the Nemisis star book as being a good read. I will keep that in mind. I feel certain I read a review of the book recently and it sounded very interesting (must have been a fairly recent astronomy mag).
My trouble is that I am a desparately slow reader and I have umpteen books I still have not read properly. I go into our local Waterstones at least once a fortnight (my wife would say twice a week) and other book shops in between. I always see at least a couple of books I would like to buy and just have to stop myself (if I can). Even then I probably buy someting in a cheap book discount shop.
As for magazines I get millions of em.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
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