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Ghosts: Assholes of the Afterlife | Main | SNL Does Oddly Racial Episode for Black History Month
February 19, 2012

Open Thread

Anybody got any good crackpot theories?

Last week, the moron horde came up with some great crackpot theories, and we even had a few real scientists show up. I thought it might be fun to see what else you guys can come up with.

How about the horizon problem? The horizon problem arises within the context of inflation theory. Inflation theory is a widely accepted part of "the big bang" cosmological model. It was created by Alan Guth, whose last name is the inspiration for--and the real acrostic for--"grand unification theory," or "GUTh." (Some people use "GUT," but they're just trying to rob Guth of his due.)

Inflation theory explains several problems with the original big bang model. First, the horizon problem: This problem states that no matter where you look in the universe, the universe is the same; it's homogeneous. The little differences you see in the cosmic microwave background (the "CMB") are called "inhomogeneities." The reason why that is a problem is because the universe is so large. Look at this picture of the CMB.

Point "A" is 14 billion light years in one direction. Point "B" is 14 billion light years in the other direction. The universe is only 14 billion years old; therefore, at the current size and rate of expansion, no information about temperature from point "A" could have made it to point "B." Point "B" is 28 billion light years away from point "A," and particles cannot travel faster than light. Thus, the "horizon" of a particle at point "A" does not include point "B"; hence, "the horizon problem." Without such communication, there can be no way for the universe to be so uniform.

Inflation theory solves this problem by postulating that there was a period of time very early in the universe when the universe expanded much faster than light, thereby carrying the information with it. Points "A" and "B" used to be very close. During that time they communicated; they were causally connected.

Look at this picture.

The form of a snowflake depends upon the initial condition--the shape of the particle upon which water condenses. It also depends upon subsequent conditions--the temperature and humidity of the air around it. Point "A" in this picture is identical to point "B." (Let's refer to any differences as "inhomogeneities.") Point "A" does not communicate with point "B" in a way that results in their similarity. Ever. Point "A" and point "B" appear the same, because they have to appear that way, given the conditions under which they formed.

In the same way, point "A" and point "B" in the CMB appear identical because they have to, given the conditions under which they formed--conditions that were established at the moment of the big bang. The universe built upon that initial asymmetry in all directions the only way it could, just like the snowflake. There is no reason for an ever evolving, ad hoc explanation of homogeneity that revolves around superluminal expansion.

The flatness problem? I'll think about that later. But it's kind of the same thing. I'm pretty sure.

Who needs these highly trained, so-called "theoretical physicists" with their fancy theories that have spawned dozens of other theories and thousands of papers and articles?

My theory is called "the snowflake theory." You have to call it that. I'll sue if I have to. FBI, CIA, MPAA, Trademark, UN, Guido and Rocko, USDA, oath of office, pinky swear, and FOOB (friend of Obama).

Follow me on Twitter.

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posted by rdbrewer at 02:01 PM

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