Talk:1758: Astrophysics

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"Two days before the release of this comic the YouTube channel Space Time from PBS Digital Studios released a new video with the title Did Dark Energy Just Disappear?. This was based on the press coverage the paper Marginal evidence for cosmic acceleration from Type Ia supernovae got, which relates to the one referenced in this comic for dark matter." This doesn't seem relevant. Dark energy is totally unrelated to dark matter. Schroduck (talk) 14:33, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

I agree. I don't see any connection here either.108.162.237.37 16:02, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
It is the idea that a paper seems to prove a theory wrong and then the press goes out presenting it like a proof instead of asking someone to explain to them why it doesn't fit the data. That is what this comic is about - not dark matter. See the title text. --Kynde (talk) 18:06, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
In my field (medicine) recent studies have shown that there is a 1-in-3 chance of news coverage being correct (or " mostly correct"). Given the atrocious state of medical research due to drug manufacturers financial influence and author bias, it may be difficult to differentiate news reports from random chance...

"What is the flip the table over reference in title text. To make other do the same through mirror neruons? Still new explanation. Add more if you can" "The title text also uses Mirror neurons as a reference to a joke: it suggests to "flip this table", just as a mirror flips the image in front of it." I too want to think there is a joke here about mirror behavior or something but I just don't get it. Somebody's got to come up with a clearer, and funnier, example!ExternalMonolog (talk) 16:31, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

Yup, I too had the same thought as your first statement. If someone flips the table, but mirror neurons exist, then they too will flip the tables. So a flip and a flip would result (assuming nothing was on the table, or stuff was bolted into place) in the same orientation as before. Which would be fine, because in that case - mirror neurons would presumably "really" exist, and there wouldn't be any reason to get angry over postulates which state that they do. However, where do you stop the infinite reflections? On an even number, or an odd number? 162.158.178.119

Seems like awkward timing since https://arxiv.org/abs/1611.02269 was posted 3 days ago, a non-MOND non-dark matter theory coming from Prof. Erik Verlinde, and this particular theory starts from first principles yet matches behavior of galaxies. Anon 16:49, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

The comic doesn't mention MOND that is only in the explanation here. It just say that all data fits with dark matter. The idea is that the department is tired of all the "proofs" that dark matter doesn't exist. Maybe Randall thinks that this new paper is just the next in line and note as explained above this paper has not been peer reviewed. So unless you're and expert and could peer review it then his theory may not fit the data and that is Randall's point. But I'm sure Randall would get your dark matter is still on the table after this paper... --Kynde (talk) 18:13, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

MOND is but one theory among many classical and quantum gravitational theories with differing predictions for galactic rotation and lensing anomalies. There are non-gravitation theories as well. It might behoove some intrepid sole to make a table of theories and dark matter alternatives. Run, you clever boy (talk)

Perhaps Randall is echoing his fellow cartoonist, Scott Adams, when he points out the hypocrisy in science reporting. Recently, Michael S. Kochin exposed government meddling in science reportage among other inconvenient truths. Anyone with an NSF, DoE or EPA grant knows the pressures, as Henry Payne, another cartoonist, points out. FWIW, I side with Bjorn Lomborg, who famously champions a middle way in climate science for the sake of downtrodden peoples around the world. Additionally, Cato provides an IPCC MAGICC climate model simulator for anyone to examine. Should we reconsider this explanation and the explanation for Randall’s Earth Temperature Timeline in this light? Run, you clever boy (talk)

The current explanation doesn't cover the failure of previous experiments to detect dark matter, despite the investment of time, money and effort.  Absence of evidence may not be evidence of absence, but it's fair to say that dark matter as an explanation for observations does technically lack direct evidence/detection.  – 141.101.98.215 20:44, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

That's the rub, isn't it? Even LHC and LIGO detections rely on theoretical templates to enhance event rates. Run, you clever boy (talk)

"Of course phlogiston exists. We haven't any observational evidence for it but any idea that combustion works different doesn't fit the data." "Of course Vulcan exists. We haven't any observational evidence for it but any idea that gravity works different doesn't fit the data." And here we go again. 198.41.239.32 23:46, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

But this was the same way that led us to discover Neptune, Uranus, Pluto, and the Kuiper belt. Theme (talk) 06:49, 12 November 2016 (UTC)
Uranus had been observed on many occasions before eventually being recognised first as a comet then as a planet; no calculation. A calculation did help find Neptune but had also been seen by multiple observers prior to that; there was already real evidence that it existed. Pluto was discovered by accident based on a faulty calculation so you could add it to Vulcan. Nothing in the Kuiper Belt is big enough to cause the perturbations that would allow for their position to be calculated in advance. 198.41.239.32 06:50, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Since the Bullet Cluster has been brought up again, it should be pointed out that it doesn't provide the iron-clad evidence for dark matter that some appear to think it does. Ask a MOND (or MOG)-sympathetic physicist about it and they'll direct you to Brownstein & Moffat, 2007, which claims to provide a modified-gravity model that fits the data just as well (or perhaps even better) than λCDM (dark matter). I'm not going to pretend to be able to assess the model they present (or even really understand it), and I'm shamelessly parroting a recent blog-post and commentary by Sabine Hossenfelder of the Frankfurt Institute of Advanced Study . But I think the idea that the controversy between λCDM and MOG has been settled is perhaps a distortion of the facts, and those who aren't intimately familiar with the field might be wise to avoid treating it as such. Charleski (talk) 10:19, 12 November 2016 (UTC)


Reminds me of https://xkcd.com/675/. -- Benjaminikuta (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Just noticed that this may be the first xkcd comic with a "2x" version for retina displays. astrophysics_2x.png ~Luc [talk] 19:06, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

What about http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/old_days_2x.png ? 108.162.210.196 13:26, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Pet peeve: using brand names to describe generic principles, like "Retina display" instead of "high dpi display". 141.101.104.219 09:47, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps this is a comment on the reluctance of established academic departments to support research that challenges the mainstream, accepted theories. Kind of like how quantized light was dismissed for some twenty years after Einstein proposed it. 172.68.54.134 18:59, 16 November 2016 (UTC)