Plasma cosmology

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Astronuc

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(b) Would it be fair to say that some scientific journal editors are not experts in all the fields they include articles on?
Certainly. There is usually an editorial board, and even then members of that board may pass along a paper to others who have the key expertise on a particular topic. I've reviewed papers in my field precisely on that basis.

I would appreciate a couple of examples that highlight why you consider this. I'm not being argumentative, but constructive criticism is always useful.
I will provide an example.
 
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Furthermore, you are not making a good case for your site or PU/PC. Please don't take offense, but based on the following I have to wonder if you just do not understand what you are reading, or just don't care for the details.
With respect to 5 x 105K, I went to the first ref, The Interstellar Medium By James Lequeux, which I expect to be a reliable source.
Are you saying it's not a reliable source because it is not peer reviewed? I thought academic books were adequate, and the one cited is published by Springer, relatively recently in 2005, and its editor Dr ames Lequeux has been Editor–in–Chief of Astronomy and Astrophysics.(http://unjobs.org/authors/james-lequeux)

HOWEVER, the 5 x 105K is mentioned in conjunction with hot gases. From the text (starts on previous page) surrounding the table of the first ref [Lequeux], "Most of this matter is confined in the disk, but some exists in the halo which contains, in particular, an important fraction of the hot gas. . . . For the hot and warm atomic phases, the pressure P is such that P/k = nT ~ 5-20 x 103K cm-3. Conversely, the pressure is considerably higher inside ionized nebulae (H II regions) and molecular clouds." The implication is that hot gases are limited to very specific areas, within a galaxy.
Sorry, I got the impression from your original statement that all the interstellar medium was neutral atoms at 3.7 K, and I was showing that there are regions that aren't.

I also note from the page previous to the table that is says that "The medium between the stars [..] is made of dust and gas that are generally considered to be well mixed [..] in reality the components are partly mixed" (ref) To me that reads as a mix of ionized gases and neutrals, ie. a partially ionized plasma.
 
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Nereid

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Astronuc said:
Mr. Tresman, I should have indicated in my statement "the problem is not your site, per se", however since I made that statment, I did review some of its content, and I find it troubling. For now, I regret that I have to say that it does not meet PF's standards for scientific rigor and credibility.
I would appreciate a couple of examples that highlight why you consider this. I'm not being argumentative, but constructive criticism is always useful.
I am not Astronuc, and can't speak for him; nor am I a PF Mentor, so what follows is a purely personal opinion ...

Earlier in this thread I made some comments on your website, and you were kind enough to reply. From those replies, I concluded that the purpose and scope of your website is quite specific, and focuses almost exclusively on a set of Alfvén's ideas (which, of course, include rigorously developed plasma physics theory, papers on the match between theory and observations, and speculations that explicitly go beyond both).

May one conclude that the criteria you use for selecting material to include to present explicitly and expressly lead to the exclusion of material - whether papers published in relevant peer-reviewed publications or not - that:

+ identifies and characterises internal inconsistencies in Alfvén's 'Plasma Universe' ideas

+ identifies and characterises inconsistencies between Alfvén's 'Plasma Universe' ideas and physics theories which have overlapping domains of applicability

+ identifies and characterises inconsistencies between Alfvén's 'Plasma Universe' ideas and good, relevant observational results?

An example of the last might (and I stress might) be the blackbody SED, dipole, and angular power spectrum of the CMB*.

In any case, per a post or two of mine (and of yours), above, given that the express intent of your website is partly historical, you do not include any material on the many ways we now know Birkeland's published works are inconsistent with both Alfvén's own 'Plasma Universe' ideas (especially in some of the developments of plasma physics) and in situ magnetospheric and IPM observational data.

As we discussed, this difference of approach and purpose, between your website and PF, is nothing more than that - a difference of approach and purpose.

However, this difference leads - inevitably, I think - to Astronuc's conclusion.

*For avoidance of doubt, I do not know if Alfvén's 'Plasma Universe' ideas can be - or already have been - developed to the point where all of these are accounted for, to within the relevant error bars; nor do I know whether the CMB is within the domain of applicability of Alfvén's 'Plasma Universe' ideas.
 

Ivan Seeking

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My apologies regarding Plasmasphere. I reversed the penalty but the ban was not lifted. I just realized what happened and have corrected the situation.
 
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As we discussed, this difference of approach and purpose, between your website and PF, is nothing more than that - a difference of approach and purpose.
I would argue that the approach is irrelevant, a citation stands by itself. As an example, Ivan Seeking has noted that "Wiki is not a credible scientific reference. However, it is allowed within a context that is already well understood"(post). Two examples:

  1. So if there is a general discussion on, for example, "double layers", and the context is acceptable, then the Wiki article on "double layers" may be an adequate reference, as I hope it is in this example just given.

    As it turns out, I contributed a lot of information to the Wiki article, and a very similar article appears on my own Web site. But you are suggesting that same article on my site is inadmissible because of my approach, whereas it is acceptable on the Wiki site.
    .
  2. Let's suppose we're discussing chemical separation in space. One mechanism that I am aware is "Marklund convection", a type of plasma convection. Again if the context is right, then a link to a Wiki article on the subject could be in order. Except that there isn't one.

    I could link to a peer reviewed article on the subject, such as Marklund's original paper in Nature (ref), but unless you subscribe, many on the forum will not be able to get access.

    Indeed, I am not aware of any source which provides (a) an overview, and (b) relevant peer reviewed sources... except my site. But the information is inadmissible because of the approach to my site.

While I appreciate the need to screen out "popular" web sites whose information may be poorly synthesized by the contributor(s), I do feel that in this case, my own site provides valuable, checkable, peer-reviewed information.
 

Nereid

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Nereid said:
As we discussed, this difference of approach and purpose, between your website and PF, is nothing more than that - a difference of approach and purpose.
I would argue that the approach is irrelevant, a citation stands by itself. As an example, Ivan Seeking has noted that "Wiki is not a credible scientific reference. However, it is allowed within a context that is already well understood"(post). Two examples:

  1. So if there is a general discussion on, for example, "double layers", and the context is acceptable, then the Wiki article on "double layers" may be an adequate reference, as I hope it is in this example just given.

    As it turns out, I contributed a lot of information to the Wiki article, and a very similar article appears on my own Web site. But you are suggesting that same article on my site is inadmissible because of my approach, whereas it is acceptable on the Wiki site.
    .
  2. Let's suppose we're discussing chemical separation in space. One mechanism that I am aware is "Marklund convection", a type of plasma convection. Again if the context is right, then a link to a Wiki article on the subject could be in order. Except that there isn't one.

    I could link to a peer reviewed article on the subject, such as Marklund's original paper in Nature (ref), but unless you subscribe, many on the forum will not be able to get access.

    Indeed, I am not aware of any source which provides (a) an overview, and (b) relevant peer reviewed sources... except my site. But the information is inadmissible because of the approach to my site.

While I appreciate the need to screen out "popular" web sites whose information may be poorly synthesized by the contributor(s), I do feel that in this case, my own site provides valuable, checkable, peer-reviewed information.
I think we're talking at cross-purposes, iantresman.

Of course specific parts of your website may be just fine, in terms of meeting PF's standards for scientific rigor and credibility ... after all, as you have said, a widely cited Alfvén paper, on plasma physics say, most assuredly meets PF's standards for scientific rigor and credibility, whether it's mentioned on your website or appears as a hyperlink in one otherwise devoted to porn (I'm turning up the contrast, to make my point).

But then you don't need a separate website to be able to cite such a paper - any one of the standard databases would do (such as http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html" [Broken], for preprints).

The mismatch in scope and objectives, between your website and PF, comes into play whenever you go beyond a link to a paper.

Of course, any particular part of your website may be just fine, in terms of PF's standards ... or it may be the epitome of 'not fine' (or anything in between). The point is that only by painstakingly going through every aspect of that page/section/whatever could anyone work out which.

Why is that? Because of the criteria you have used to select the material to compile.

And to repeat: those criteria - for selection, display, and comment - are perfectly valid, legitimate, and so on, for the scope and purposes of your website. But PF has a different scope and purpose.

Perhaps an analogy might help.

The internet is full of press releases (PRs) on astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, etc from NASA, the ESA, ESO, various universities, publicly funded research establishments, privately funded projects, ... Some of those PRs are superlative, in terms of the accuracy and precision of presentation of the scientific results they seek to communicate. Some, sadly, are anything but1 ... and most are somewhere in between.

The point is, without digging into the content of a particular PR, in some detail, you can't tell which is which.

Your website is like PRs, in respect of the correspondence to PF's standards for scientific rigor and credibility.

Let's look at your example on double layers.

It may be that it is, as you say, among the best on the internet in terms "provid[ing] (a) an overview, and (b) relevant peer reviewed sources".

It may be that it is missing some of the most important, most pertinent peer-reviewed sources.

It may be that many of the peer-reviewed sources are of marginal relevance, or no relevance at all.

It may be that the overview contains some serious mis-understandings.

And so on.

The point is that no one can tell, simply by reading that part of your webpage ... and only someone very familiar with the subject would know, at a glance (the rest of us would have to go through it, item by item).

To repeat: in my personal view, Astronuc's conclusion is inevitable, given the difference in scope and purpose between your website and PF.

1 One of my pet peeves is the over-use of 'breakthrough' and 'surprise'; it's a bit like how almost every IT company is 'leading'
 
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ZapperZ

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What Nereid has described is what I had always called "legitimate sources for illegitimate reasons". We have seen this repeatedly where credible sources have been used in ways that do not reflect what that source is implying or even in ways in which is wasn't meant to be used.

I have had to do very frequent explanation to people who pointed to various websites on creationism that argued that evolution violates Thermodynamics 2nd law. While these websites certainly cited standard physics texts or even reputable physicists, their usage of the legitimate sources is horribly wrong!

So simply arguing that your website has reputable sources isn't enough.

Zz.
 

Nereid

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Not just the existence of a difference in scope and purpose

I forgot one thing ...

iantresman,

While the admitted and objective difference in scope and purpose of your website and PF would - in my personal view - lead to Astronuc's conclusion anyway, there is a stronger reason for that conclusion, based on the specific scope and purpose of your website.

Unless I have misunderstood - and please correct me if I have - the specific scope and purpose of your website will inevitably lead you to explicitly and deliberately exclude material - whether published in relevant peer-reviewed journals or not - that is not in support of Alfvén's 'Plasma Universe' ideas ... and the more powerfully such materials demonstrate inconsistencies (internal, with good theories where the domains of applicability overlap, with good experimental and observational results), the more certain you are to exclude them.

If I have understood the scope and purpose of your website correctly, then these inevitable exclusions make it clear that your website cannot meet PF's standards for scientific rigor and credibility.
 

Nereid

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Mentor(s): can this thread be now closed?

If PlasmaSphere or henxan has anything to add, after it's closed, perhaps they could PM one of you, and it could be added.

And if iantresman could explain how - in any essential way, pertinent to Astronuc's conclusion - my posts on that contain key misunderstandings, that too could be added.

Otherwise, the sooner we can have proponents of 'EU theory', 'Plasma Universe', 'the bulk of the total energy release of the sun comes from an external energy source (flowing electrons)'1, etc present (in the appropriate section of PF) such a case, referencing papers published in relevant, peer-reviewed journals, the sooner we can discuss the scientific merits of such a case (or lack thereof).

1 to quote one post, from another, non-EU, discussion forum, by a person who also claimed that this is a key aspect of 'EU theory'
 

Nereid

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Nereid's role - a clarification

Some folk, reading this thread for the first time, may get confused over my (Nereid)'s role.

In several posts, in this thread, I stated "nor am I a PF Mentor" (or similar); yet the "PF MENTOR" bar below my handle, and that handle being green, seems to belie those words! :confused:

Here's the full story.

On 30 March, 2004, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=17346" "Nereid - New PF Advisor!".

On 21 September, 2004, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=43999" "Please congratulate Nereid! She's been promoted to super mentor!"

On 25 April, 2006, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=118680" "[...] it is necessary that I step down as A&C Mentor. I will leave as soon as a replacement Mentor is ready to take over."

On 18 January, 2008, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=209421" "[...]Nereid [has] come out of retirement to rejoin the PF staff! :)"

So, my posts in this thread, prior to this one, were made while I was not a PF Mentor.
 
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Nereid

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General advice on posting 'EU', or 'PU', or similar content, in PF

Re-reading this thread, I feel that while all the relevant questions posed in it have been answered1, the answers are scattered across many posts, which posts also contain much that is not directly relevant to the answers.

So I'm writing this, in my (re-)new(ed) role as PF Mentor, to provide a succinct summary.

First, to all who wish to post, in any section of Physics Forums: please be sure to read https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5374"! And follow them. If in doubt, PM a Mentor or an admin, and ask for clarification.

There are two such which have particular pertinence, the one on Overly Speculative Posts, and the one on Advertising/Spam; in https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1564761&postcount=87" (in this thread) I explain why PF members wishing to discuss EU/PU/PC/etc ideas here need to be particularly mindful of these two.

Second, what about whether EU/PU/PC/etc is special in some way?

More specifically:

Q: Should Physics Forums allow 'Alfvén's plasma universe' to be discussed, in any of its physics sections, under different rules than apply to ideas in the same domain?

A: No way! The methods of each branch of science apply equally to all ideas within their respective domains of applicability.

And the same goes for "plasma cosmology" too: the primary sources must remain papers published in relevant peer-reviewed journals, with preprints, conference proceedings, and standard physics textbooks being (usually) acceptable secondary sources. Whether an idea explicitly or implicitly follows Alfvén's research programme (to borrow a term from Lakatos) or paradigm (Kuhn) - or not - should not, ever, be a criterion for assessing pertinence.

More generally, should anyone, new PF member or old, wish to discuss 'Electric Universe' or 'Plasma Universe' ideas, or ask questions about them, they should do so within the same framework as any other discussion of, or questions on, physics (or philosophy) in the relevant section of PF. If your 'EU theory' idea cannot be supported by at least one primary source, do not write posts about it. If in doubt, PM a Mentor and ask for clarification.

In this thread some papers presenting a hypothesis on the physics of (spiral) galaxies were cited. If iantresman, Plasmasphere, or any other PF member would like to discuss these, please start a new thread in https://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=68".

In this thread 'Birkeland currents' were mentioned, several times. If iantresman, Plasmasphere, or any other PF member would like to discuss these, please start a new thread in https://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=68".

A final note: we are Physics Forums; here, physics rules!

What does this mean, in practical terms?

An answer, as an example: if you want to discuss a hypothesised role of magnetic fields in the rotation of spiral galaxies, you need to be prepared to discuss physics (and the astronomical observations which may be used to test any such hypotheses); if you want to discuss 'Birkeland currents', you need to be prepared to discuss plasma physics (and the in situ space probe data which may be used to characterise these). If you don't know much physics, PF is a good place to learn ... though it may be a good idea for you to get something like the equivalent of a BSc (with a major in Physics) before you tackle spiral galaxies or the physics of planetary magnetospheres.

1 Within its scope; questions on the content of 'plasma cosmology' (PC), 'plasma universe' (PU), 'electric universe' (EU), (and so on) are beyond its scope.
 
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