Scientific Potpourri: July 24, 2013

Is the universe not expanding after all?

Is the universe not expanding after all?

Universe May Not be Expanding After All.  From Nature Magazine:  It started with a bang, and has been expanding ever since. For nearly a century, this has been the standard view of the Universe. Now one cosmologist is proposing a radically different interpretation of events — in which the Universe is not expanding at all.  Christof Wetterich, a theoretical physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has devised a different cosmology in which the Universe is not expanding but the mass of everything has been increasing. [Editor’s Note: While the headlines are attention grabbing and deeply profound if true, read the full article to see why this has not gotten more publicity.  The theory is not able to be tested so this theory is closer to metaphysics than actual science.]

New Traits Evolve for No Reason.  From Science World Report:   Species constantly adapt and evolve, developing new traits and features over long periods of time. Yet scientists have long wondered exactly how these new traits emerge. Now, researchers have taken a closer look at these traits in order to find out how they might have been created.

New Moon Discovered Around Neptune in Old Hubble Images.  From Scientific American:  The Hubble Space Telescope has revealed a small, never-before-seen moon around Neptune, boosting the giant blue planet’s total satellite count to 14 satellites, new photos reveal.

Lizards Show Evolution is Predictable.  From Science Daily:  If you could hit the reset button on evolution and start over, would essentially the same species appear? Yes, according to a study of Caribbean lizards by researchers at the University of California, Davis, Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts.

but on the other hand . . .

The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity.  From Quanta Magazine: Conventional wisdom holds that complex structures evolve from simpler ones, step-by-step, through a gradual evolutionary process, with Darwinian selection favoring intermediate forms along the way.  But recently some scholars have proposed that complexity can arise by other means—as a side effect, for instance—even without natural selection to promote it. [Editor’s Note:  Interesting theory but it does not really change Darwin’s core biological theory]

How Mars’ Atmosphere Got So Thin.  From Science Daily:  A pair of new papers report measurements of the Martian atmosphere’s composition by NASA’s Curiosity rover, providing evidence about loss of much of Mars’ original atmosphere.

A Warmer Planetary Haven Around Cool Stars, as Ice Warms Rather Than Cools.  From Science Daily:  In a bit of cosmic irony, planets orbiting cooler stars may be more likely to remain ice-free than planets around hotter stars. This is due to the interaction of a star’s light with ice and snow on the planet’s surface.

Snow in an Infant Solar System: A Frosty Landmark for Planet and Comet Formation. From Science Daily:  A snow line has been imaged in a far-off infant solar system for the very first time. The snow line, located in the disc around the Sun-like star TW Hydrae, promises to tell us more about the formation of planets and comets, the factors that decide their composition, and the history of the Solar System.

Catholics Have Better Sex.  From U.S. News:  Devout, married Catholics have the best sex of any demographic group, the Family Research Council said at an event Wednesday, pointing to a collection of studies from the last several decades.  [Editor’s Note:  OK, this is not a valid scientific survey but it is an interesting conversation topic and a strong evangelization tool :-).

About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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3 Responses to Scientific Potpourri: July 24, 2013

  1. Erik Andrulis says:

    Thanks for sharing these stories, esp. the universe expansion one and the Zimmer article. Off to read.

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