“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The evolving concept of “The Electric Universe”

The “Electric Universe (EU) is an umbrella term that covers various pseudo-scientific cosmological ideas built around the claim that the formation and existence of various features of the universe can be better explained by electromagnetism than by gravity.

I am not sure where the line is between valid theoretical concepts and the Crank Precipice. This EU theory is interesting but has some serious counterpoints such as:

Nobel-Prize winning physicist, Hannes Alfvén, who pioneered the study of plasmas and founded the field of magneto-hydrodynamics (combining electromagnetism and fluid dynamics), is generally regarded as the ‘father’ of plasma cosmology. The underlying concept is that electromagnetic forces, being much stronger than gravitational forces, control much of the large-scale evolution of the Universe. 

Alfvén has proposed large-scale circuits of currents flowing along magnetic fields as driving mechanisms in active galaxies. Other plasma cosmology advocates, such as Anthony Peratt have developed physics-based simulations of interacting currents forming structures similar to spiral galaxies. Some aspects of plasma cosmology enjoyed a revival of interest in the 1980s but began to die in the 1990s. This loss of interest was very possibly the result of the all-sky microwave maps of COBE and later WMAP, which exhibited no evidence of radio emission from these galaxy- forming currents.

This review is not to deny the real and significant contributions that the studies of plasmas has had in astronomy. Even a simple search of the literature reveals numerous contributions from Alfvén and others. Solar coronal physics is loaded with references to Alfvén waves and the current “ballerina skirt” model of the interplanetary magnetic field was first suggested by Alfvén. But like all competent scientists, they have had ideas in astrophysics that worked, and ideas that failed. The difference between the successful scientists and the unsuccessful or crank is the latter’s continued pursuit of unsupportable claims. Unfortunately, a number of plasma cosmology advocates have fallen into this trap.

But The Electric Sky is worse, for it does a poor job of representing the standard plasma cosmology claims of Alfvén and Peratt. Much of Scott’s material, particularly the Electric Stars claim, do not appear to be part of Alfvén’s cosmology, but part of something far more bizarre which is apparently described under the term “Electric Universe”. From what I can tell, the primary difference between the Plasma Cosmology (PC) and Electric Universe (EU) is the latter moves these cosmic electric currents as the energy source of the stars as well as galaxies and invokes more electrical processes in solar system physics, apparently even influencing planetary orbital dynamics. In this piece, I’ll try to focus my comments on Scott’s book and Electric Universe claims more than Plasma Cosmology in general, though such a separation will probably prove impossible. Scott poorly documents his own evidence and models as well as many of his claims about astronomy. I did manage to track down some original references after a detailed search of available literature through the Astrophysics Data System6. (more here)

The general point is that all human theories evolve within a context of current events,  known technology and observation. Thereafter, the true believers see confirmation everywhere and view all counter arguments as a threat. The real crazies resort to extreme violence to protect their precious beliefs.


  1. The general point is that all human theories evolve within a context of current events, known technology and observation. Thereafter, the true believers see confirmation everywhere and view all counter arguments as a threat. The real crazies resort to extreme violence to protect their precious beliefs.

  2. “It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."
    "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"
    "No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
    "Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
    "I did," said Ford. "It is."
    "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"
    "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
    "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
    "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
    "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
    "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"
    "I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"
    "I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."
    Ford shrugged again.
    "Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."
    "But that's terrible," said Arthur.
    "Listen, bud," said Ford, "if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say 'That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”
    ― Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    So long, and Thanks for all the Fish Quotes

  3. I have seen a couple of the "Electric Universe" videos that are available on the web.

    They were interesting, conceptually.
    Not sure where they rank, factually.

    Do not know how much difference it makes, in daily life.
    More probable than the idea that Lizard shape shifters are ruling the world.


  4. President Bashar al-Assad on Monday accused Israel of acting as "al-Qaeda's air force" for its attacks on regime and Hizbollah positions in Syria.

    Mr Assad repeated previous Syrian allegations that Israel was supporting rebel activity in the country – including by Jabhat al-Nusra, the militant group loyal to al-Qaeda.

    "They are supporting the rebels in Syria. It's very clear," he told Foreign Affairs magazine.
    "Because whenever we make advances in some place, they make an attack in order to undermine the army.

    "That's why some in Syria joke: 'How can you say that al-Qaeda doesn't have an air force? They have the Israeli air force'."

    As has been said by others, it is such an obvious truth.

  5. Walt Whitman sang the electric universe but he was way ahead of his time.

    He was timeless.

    1. Wrong again, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      Walt's time was from May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892

      There was his beginning and his end.
      His work may be timeless, but he had an expiration date.

  6. One of our fellow contributors asked why Sheldon Adelson would be 'singled out in the naming of International political money movers.
    One of the reasons, illustrated below.
    His past employees are 'everywhere', spreading Charlie Chi-coms dollars and influence.

    Boehner, Netanyahu outsmarted themselves

    Boehner's invitation was not so much intended as a challenge to the president's foreign policy; he had some obvious political motives as well. According to Israeli news reports, the idea for the speech was first suggested by Israel's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer.

    Dermer, a former Republican operative and a confidant of both Netanyahu and billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, had apparently proposed the idea of the speech to Republican leaders as early as Jan. 8. An agreement was reached for Boehner to extend the invitation days before the State of the Union — without any notice given to the White House or the State Department.

    The story is an interesting take on Bibi's behavior "It is unprecedented. It is barbaric behavior. It is so impolite that it is disgraceful. It is simply inconceivable."

  7. New York Times - ‎

    BEIRUT - Kurdish fighters expanded their offensive Tuesday after driving Islamic State militants from the Syrian border town of Kobani the previous day, to retake dozens of surrounding villages still held by the militants, activists and officials said.

    Rat Doctrine success!

  8. A federal jury’s decision Monday to convict a former CIA officer for leaking top-secret information to a New York Times reporter was a big win for prosecutors — and for Attorney General Eric Holder’s new approach to handling sensitive cases involving journalists.

    Holder decided to spare the reporter in the case, New York Times correspondent James Risen, from testifying against his sources. The move could become an important part of the soon-to-depart attorney general’s legacy and a guidepost for future government leak cases given that the government won the case without much testimony from the reporter who received the information.

    Holder and his allies are arguing that they have helped secure journalists’ First Amendment rights with the maneuver, but whistleblower advocates worry that the prison time ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is facing in the wake of the trial will wind up silencing federal employees seeking to expose government malfeasance or ineptitude.

    Yes and yes.
    Mr Holder achieving the Administration's objective, without violating the Constitution.
    Not behaving like a real crazy that would resort to extreme authoritative measures to protect his precious beliefs.

    The attorney general’s action was consistent with a series of moves over the past year and a half in which he sought to demonstrate greater sensitivity to the concerns of journalists. The recalibration was prodded not by Risen’s predicament or a sudden bout of introspection, but by a political firestorm that broke out in 2013 over prosecutors’ aggressive investigations of leaks to the Associated Press and Fox News.

    Soon after the jury returned its string of nine guilty verdicts in the CIA leak case Monday, Holder claimed the result vindicated his effort to pursue such prosecutions without trying to force testimony from unwilling reporters.

    “As this verdict proves, it is possible to fully prosecute unauthorized disclosures that inflict harm upon our national security without interfering with journalists’ ability to do their jobs,”
    the attorney general said in a statement.

    Read more:

  9. Signing out for the day.

    It simply isn't worth it, being stalked by rat asshole and forged by someone named 'Bob'.

    Who is obviously rat asshole.

    Cheers ! to all you others....

    Any further Bob comments aren't by me.