Monthly Archives: December 2015

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Current star formation requires ‘some’ amount of heavier elements. However you need stars to create these heavier elements. This leads to the problem which came first, the first stars or the first heavier elements. One theory is that since ‘dark matter’ is about 90% of the matter in the universe maybe there were originally ‘dark stars’ made out of dark matter and these stars were far larger than any stars today. These stars would have exploded after very short lives of only thousands of years and because they were so large their supernovae may have created the first heavier elements of matter needed for the current star formation process that is currently in our universe.

(The Great Courses – The Life and Death of Stars)

The weak Nuclear Force is the ONLY force with this same ‘handedness’.

Many molecules in nature occur in mirror images of themselves. The molecules look exactly the same except for this ‘handedness’ which is similar to your right hand looking like your left hand in a mirror image. These molecules all occur in exactly the same ratios. However these molecules in life only occur in one ‘handedness’. Living cells almost always choose right-handed sugars over left and left-handed amino acids over right. No one knows why this is the case. Non living stuff does not show any preference of left or right.

(The Great Courses – Origins of Life)


The beginning of Islamic factions

The Islamic world is split into two main factions, the Sunni and Shia. The original reason for this split was the disagreement over who should succeed Mohammed after he died. The Sunni favored a hereditary succession while the Shia favored a ‘best man’ succession. The Shia were successful in their desires at first even though a descendant of Mohammed did lead Islam at a later time.

(The Great Courses – Islam)

It could be raining water atoms instead of drops

One molecule of water is two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom. The two Hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the Oxygen atom which makes a water molecule polarized.  The side with the Hydrogen atoms is positively charged while the other side is negatively charged. This allows water molecules to bind together easily with the positive side of one water molecule lining up with the negative side of another water molecule. This polarization is what allows rain drops and clouds to form. Without the polarization the water molecules could not combine to form these water drops.

(The Great Courses – Origins of Life)

The expanding atmosphere

When strong showers of solar electrical particles strike the earth’s atmosphere their energy is deposited into the atmosphere causing the atmosphere to ‘puff up’. This creates more drag on satellites orbiting the earth. During severe storms GPS systems have been off by a few miles due to this effect. One year four satellites had to be taken off-line so that they could be sent new orbital booster instructions to get them back into their correct position and another satellite ended up burning up in the atmosphere later that year. The early demise of Skylab was also due to the effect.

(The Great Courses – The Life and Death of Stars)

I don’t need the extra weight

Carbon has several different isotopes. Carbon 12 (6 protons and 6 neutrons) is the most common but Carbon 13 (6 protons and 7 neutrons) is also present in the human body. Both isotopes metabolize the same way so both can be used by the human body in the same way. If all the Carbon 12 atoms in the human body were converted to Carbon 13 (one extra neutron in each nucleus) then a 150 pound human being would gain about 2 pounds.

(The Great Courses – Origins of Life)

I think there is a coorelation

Sunspots have been seen from earth for centuries and there is a known period of minimal sunspot activity from 1645-1715 that is called the Maunder Minimum. This period of time is also known on the earth as the ‘Little Ice Age’.

(The Great Courses – The Life and Death of Stars)