Dark Matter

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Dark Matter is a place holder for an anomaly, essentially for a problem where galaxies spin faster than they should (according to our normal laws that serve us well day to day).  The leading theory to explain it is a ‘new’ type of matter – one that only interacts weakly with normal matter.  Theorists like this solution because it helps explain other things such as the way galaxies are seeded and the general ‘clumpyness’ of the structure of the universe.

However it may just as well be that we misunderstand how gravity works on larger scales.  We tend to think of atoms a bit like solar systems, the old Rutherford model.  But in some ways they are more like mini galaxies, with stuff held within ‘arms’ of strange stuff moving around in strange ways – certainly strange if you want to see particles as fixed balls of stuff.  In fact, with particles things are so strange that most physicists have stopped trying to understand it.  The fact that the maths is so reliable and drives the modern world of mobile phones etc has lead to a famous response to those trying to understand whats actually happening of “shut up and calculate”.

Its possible that galaxies behave differently simply because of their scale (just as atoms behave differently at the very small scale).  The combination of the supermassive black hole at the centre (still something of a mystery itself) combined with the sheer mass of the galaxy produces its own dynamics.  Maybe the whole thing pulls space itself around due to some critical limit of gravity.  Or maybe there is some version of fluid dynamics where the stars and planets are a bit like water molecules in a whirlpool.

The area I find compelling to explain dark matter (and a couple of other areas) is extra dimensions. The maths of string theory point this way, although they can be tweaked in so many ways that the physics gets lost. The fact that gravity is so weak would make perfect sense if it leaked between dimensions. Galaxies could spin so fast if matter/energy in other dimensions was ‘holding them together’ in some way. And there other speculative hints around, such as quasi crystals.

Maybe even areas of quantum mechanics such as entanglement can make more sense with extra dimensions (although this is considered a ‘hidden variable’ interpretations which many view as ruled out). To me it seems like there is some kind of connection between extra dimensions and Bohm’s enfolded holographic universe. Logically these are opposite theories – but they could also be two sides of the same coun.

We sometimes have trouble understanding where we stand as observers – but I will save diving into ontology and epistemology for another time.

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The Flood

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Having just watched the film Arrival (where times arrow is a bit more of a loop), and currently reading a book which includes an “Ark”-like spaceship called the Gilgamesh, I started thinking about the various stories of a global flood in history, from the earliest right through to Plato’s Atlantis.

There must have been many great floods in the past, whether caused by earthquakes or landslides, rain or astroid impacts.  However we have legends and stories of a single great flood that covered the whole world. The biblical story of Noah adds a promise from god not to flood the whole world again.  The strange thing of course is that the whole world does not seem to have been flooded at the same time.

So if we for a moment take these stories out of the allegorical context they are often placed in, is “the whole world” more a reference to the end of the ice age as the waters rose – surely explosively at times ?  There do seem to be events such as the breaking out of the ice age Black Sea that could account for these stories (as the known world for many was indeed flooded).  At the time most settlements would be on coasts and next to low lying rivers, and so the whole ‘known’ world to these people would literally sink under water as the post ice age world melted.

However the thought of time as a river (where the start and end can be seen by an observer above) gave me another option – of these accounts of floods being more like prophesies.  Suddenly these stories of a global civilisation, advanced in technology but also in ‘loose morals’, becomes our times, with global warming being just one of the many ways we are causing problems to the planet and its wildlife.

If you narrow in on the biblical story, Noah creates the Ark which symbolically saves all the animals and specifically saves some of the people – those trying to live for something more dignified than self gratification.  Those saved become the twelve tribes of Israel.  Anyone who knows the bible will know how god makes an original promise to these twelve tribes and their descendants, but then says this promise will be renewed and opened to the whole world – the “new covenant”.    This is the “new jerusalem” – part of a new heaven and a new earth.  Whereas the old covenant was written on stone and kept in a temple, the new covenant is written on the hearts of all who are ‘born again’ in Jesus. This is a birth to and of the spirit, but it is also linked to a baptism in water.

Quite a verge into speculation there and I have no idea whether it works consistently, but there is something compelling in it.

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