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Time magazine spreads the horse manure

  1. Mar 24, 2014 #1

    phinds

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    Haven't seen this mentioned here yet. This week's Time Magazine has an article on the recent experiment at the South Pole that appears to have confirmed an observation of gravity waves (very cool) and in the first sentence they say that the universe started out as a single infinitely small point.

    So, what do you think? Is their science editor a moron? I vote yes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2014 #2

    Drakkith

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    Send him a message telling him to come here to PF for his "lesson".
     
  4. Mar 24, 2014 #3
    Roflmao good plan
     
  5. Mar 24, 2014 #4

    phinds

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    OOOH ... SUCH a talking to we would give him !
     
  6. Mar 24, 2014 #5

    Chronos

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    I suspect he will add a caveat - the observable universe.
     
  7. Mar 24, 2014 #6

    TumblingDice

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  8. Mar 25, 2014 #7

    phinds

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    Yes, different article and yes, I agree this one is properly written (at a quick glance anyway).

    The one I read is the march 31 hardcopy and the first sentence is

    It puts on no caveat about the Observable Universe and it goes on to say that what changed everything was "a primal explosion".
     
  9. Mar 25, 2014 #8

    bapowell

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    The online Time article also makes the unfortunate mistake of talking about inflation as parts of space flying apart at faster than light speed (even if we grant that expansion is a speed, which it is not, this statement is not unique to inflation).

    This is one of those discoveries that is hard to convey accurately to the lay public.
     
  10. Mar 25, 2014 #9
    Considering it is not a scientific magazine and it targets the public in general, the information doesn't have to be so precise and correct. Anyway, I'm sure that if the editor was here he'd go away crying. Even veteran members get corrected all the time, imagine a journalist.

    cb
     
  11. Mar 25, 2014 #10

    Drakkith

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    Agreed. Mostly at least.
     
  12. Mar 25, 2014 #11

    phinds

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    Veteran members don't say things that stupid. Well, OK, maybe I do sometimes.

    Still, this IS one of the most fundamental mis-statements that you can make in cosmology and it causes continued confusion in the mind of laymen. They read this crap often enough they believe it.
     
  13. Mar 25, 2014 #12

    Chronos

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    Beavis and Butthead astutely observed numbers are stupid - there are too many of them.
     
  14. Mar 26, 2014 #13

    phinds

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    I couldn't agree more. Damn things.

    On a similar note to this thread, I just heard a guy last night on one of those pop science shows saying that when you get an adrenaline rush due to a fight or flight response, you experience what is known as "time dilation".

    Sigh ...
     
  15. Mar 26, 2014 #14

    DrClaude

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    I'll be pedantic and point out that this in itself is in error. Gravitational waves have not been observed. It's their signature in the polarization of the CMB that was observed.
     
  16. Mar 26, 2014 #15

    George Jones

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    But what does it mean to observe something? We see the signature of the stuff that we are trying to observe in other stuff that we use for a detector.
     
  17. Mar 26, 2014 #16
    There are a lot more of us laymen than trained cosmologists in this world. I have been reading this forum almost daily for over four years and freely admit that I don’t understand half of what I read but I keep coming back because I’m interested in the subject and appreciate that which I can comprehend. In my opinion the science publications and programs intended for mass audiences do perform a needed and valuable service. They help me and others to at least conceptualize that which cosmologists cannot explain in common language. If while helping to bridge the communication gap is it really that important to differentiate for example between observable versus unobservable universe, or expansion versus explosion? And I have yet to see a good definition/explanation (by that I mean something a layman can grasp) on this forum whenever the issue of the ‘size’ of the universe at the big bang comes up.

    Let’s cut the science editor of Time Magazine some slack. He does not deserve to be called a moron.
     
  18. Mar 26, 2014 #17

    phinds

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    I disagree w/ much of your post, but that's just opinion for the most part, so I'll stick to this one statement, with which I definitely disagree.

    It has been stated on this forum MANY time, as follows:

    "universe" --- of totally unknown size, possibly infinite, but definitely believed to be at least many times bigger than the observable universe.

    "observable universe" --- a sphere of approximately 47 Billion light years radius, centered on your left eyeball.

    What is hard to understand about either of those?
     
  19. Mar 27, 2014 #18

    Chronos

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    Keep in mind they used to burn people at the stake for not dumbing down science enough to satisfy the temple priests. We have since become so civilized we merely vote down funding for science that is not dumbed down enough to satisfy politicians.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
  20. Mar 27, 2014 #19

    strangerep

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    Probably doesn't answer Chiclayo guy's question. He was asking about the size at the big bang.
     
  21. Mar 27, 2014 #20

    OCR

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    Nothing at all, however... there is a 66.666…% chance it's his right eyeball.
     
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