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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Brain Dead Journalist

March 21st, 2018

An amazing article. How far journalism has fallen.

Daily Wire
NYT Columnist Pens Stupidist Column in Recent History: ‘Go Ahead Millenials, Destroy Us!’
by Ben Shapiro
3/21/18

On Monday, New York Times essayist Tim Kreider penned an op-ed so stunningly ridiculous that readers everywhere must have simultaneously come to the realization that Kreider was dropped on his head as a child. The piece, titled, “Go Ahead, Millenials, Destroy Us,” suggested that young Americans have the freshness of youth to appreciate all the errors of the past, and that they should tear down the structures of thought that have brought about the most prosperous and free civilization in world history. In the name of progress, of course.

It’s a pandering, meandering, maudlin screed — an invitation for youngsters to burn everything with fire. Everything except Kreider, of course, who will be given a stay of execution for his role in ushering in the Xbox Revolution.

Kreider begins with the Parkland massacre, of course, which supposedly taught Americans that youngsters have greater wisdom than their elders — even though the kids from Parkland most lauded by the media have generally had little to say beyond “take the guns away” and “I hung up on Trump” and “Dana Loesch and the NRA and Marco Rubio hate children,” which isn’t so much wisdom as sheer nonsense. But according to Kreider, the children shall lead us:

As with all historic tipping points, it seems inevitable in retrospect: Of course it was the young people, the actual victims of the slaughter, who have finally begun to turn the tide against guns in this country. Kids don’t have money and can’t vote, and until now burying a few dozen a year has apparently been a price that lots of Americans were willing to pay to hold onto the props of their pathetic role-playing fantasies. But they forgot what adults always forget: that our children grow up, and remember everything, and forgive nothing. Those kids have suddenly understood how little their lives were ever worth to the people in power.

Such idiocy. Everyone in America cares about these kids — which is why they’re on television non-stop, and why we’re still talking about Parkland when we stopped talking about a massacre in a Texas church and a far larger massacre in Las Vegas mere days after they took place. Yes, America cares about its children. Duh. But according to Kreider, the kids know that we don’t care about them, and thus they will surely put down their iPhones and sound the call to the barricades:

And they’ll soon begin to realize how efficient and endless are the mechanisms of governance intended to deflect their appeals, exhaust their energy, deplete their passion and defeat them. But anyone who has ever tried to argue with adolescents knows that in the end they will have a thousand times more energy for that fight than you and a bottomless reservoir of moral rage that you burned out long ago.

And then they’ll grow up and realize half of what they thought was dumb. Which is what age and experience does to young people. I should know. I regret a good deal of the crap I wrote when I was 17 and a syndicated columnist — and I was as passionate about politics as any teenager ever.

Now, Kreider acknowledges that young people haven’t undergone that experience:

The young — and the young at mind — tend to be uncompromising absolutists. They haven’t yet faced life’s heartless compromises and forfeitures, its countless trials by boredom and ethical Kobayashi Marus, or glumly watched themselves do everything they ever disapproved of. I am creeped out by the increasing dogmatism and intolerance of millennials on the left…I just can’t help noticing that the liberal side isn’t much fun to be on anymore.

But never mind all that — bring on the guillotine!

Yet this uprising of the young against the ossified, monolithic power of the National Rifle Association has reminded me that the flaws of youth — its ignorance, naïveté and passionate, Manichaean idealism — are also its strengths. Young people have only just learned that the world is an unfair hierarchy of cruelty and greed, and it still shocks and outrages them. They don’t understand how vast and intractable the forces that have shaped this world really are and still think they can change it. Revolutions have always been driven by the young.

Yes, and those revolutions have often ended in bloody chaos and/or tyranny. The number of liberal revolutions in world history is rather limited, and those were rarely led by gung-ho 17-year-olds. The average age of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence was 44, in an era when life expectancy was far, far lower. But Kreider continues:

The students of Parkland are like veterans coming home from the bloody front of the N.R.A.’s de facto war on children. They’ve seen their friends, teachers and coaches gunned down in the halls. To them, powerful Washington lobbyists and United States senators suddenly look like what they are: cheesy TV spokesmodels for murder weapons. It has been inspiring and thrilling to watch furious, cleareyed teenagers shame and vilify gutless politicians and soul-dead lobbyists for their complicity in the murders of their friends.

Kreider makes no case for that complicity. And he can’t explain why he isn’t a jabbering spokesmodel for virtue signaling New York leftism — which he clearly is, by the way. But the kids say so, so it’s so. Go, kids!

My message, as an aging Gen X-er to millennials and those coming after them, is: Go get us. Take us down — all those cringing provincials who still think climate change is a hoax, that being transgender is a fad or that “socialism” means purges and re-education camps. Rid the world of all our outmoded opinions, vestigial prejudices and rotten institutions. Gender roles as disfiguring as foot-binding, the moribund and vampiric two-party system, the savage theology of capitalism — rip it all to the ground. I for one can’t wait till we’re gone. I just wish I could live to see the world without us.

The kids will remake the world. We’ll have a world in which the government controls all industry, in which biological sex disappears into the vagary of subjectively-defined gender, in which we no longer talk about the horrors of the Soviet Union and China and North Korea and Cuba and Venezuela (they’re probably fake, anyhow, made up by those old fogeys who just don’t understand sharing!); we’ll have a world in which men and women are merely clay to be molded to societal whim, in which capitalism disappears in favor of, well, something, and yet Tim Kreider keeps getting to write s****y essays for cash instead of doing something useful like cleaning the restrooms with his discarded drafts. Yeah, kids! And remember that Tim Kreider was there, cheering you on like that cool, dope-smoking uncle at the holiday party three years ago who sneaked you a beer and then patted you on the back as you vomited into the bushes to fight the system, man!

At least Kreider is right about one thing: sane people can’t wait until he’s gone, from the pages of The New York Times, at least.

Senator Cotton and the North Korean Talks.

March 15th, 2018

Senator Cotton knows a great deal about North Korea. The following is a warning by him about the upcoming “ Peace Talks.”

Washington Examiner

Tom Cotton: The U.S. Should be Ready For War With North Korea

by David M. Drucker
3/13/18
Sen. Tom Cotton is warning that North Korea isn’t interested in relinquishing its nuclear weapons and can’t be trusted to negotiate in good faith, just as President Trump is preparing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un without preconditions.

“We should be taking more steps than we are right now to be ready to fight a war, if that’s what’s necessary, with North Korea,” the Arkansas Republican said in an interview with “Behind Closed Doors,” a Washington Examiner podcast. Cotton, 40, is a combat veteran of the Iraq war.

Cotton, a close ally of the White House, discussed the matter one day before Trump surprised the world by announcing plans to hold a summit with Kim, currently planned for May. The administration is trying to force North Korea to dismantle a nuclear weapons program that threatens U.S. allies in Asia and could soon endanger the American mainland.

Trump’s approach to subduing North Korea revolves around a strategy the White House dubs “maximum pressure.” The administration has led an international effort to enforce tough diplomatic and economic sanctions against Pyongyang, while keeping the threat of military action on the table.

The president is relying heavily on China and its leader, Xi Jinping, to squeeze North Korea and create the ultimate pressure for the rogue communist nation to denuclearize. At issue is whether China is interested in help the U.S. — and whether overtures from Pyongyang are sincere.

The statement Cotton issued after Trump announced his potentially historic summit with Kim suggested that he remains suspicious. He elaborated on in his views regarding Beijing and North Korea in his interview with Behind Closed Doors.

“For years, China said they wanted a denuclearized North Korean peninsula. I think they’re lying about that. They obviously have no interest in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula because as long as North Korea is a nuclear power, it is the primary focus of the United States in Northeast Asia,” Cotton said. “Meanwhile, China runs wild, building islands in the South China Sea, intimidating Taiwan, oppressing its own people.”

North Korea’s nuclear program has been a conundrum for previous administrations. Trump’s predecessors tried to a mixture of strong-arming the regime, and negotiations, to entice Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons. Both Kim and his late father, Kim Jong Il, were impervious to pressure, even as sanctions crippled the North Korean economy and the quality of life of its citizens.

The elder Kim regularly forged agreements to halt the development of nuclear weapons in exchange for financial incentives or aid, only to break those agreements.

Cotton said he believes Trump has learned from the past; he emphasized that nothing he has seen from the North Koreans indicates anything has changed “because of their long history of manipulating diplomacy in their own advantage to gain concessions or buy time for their nuclear program.”

“The last three administrations, at a minimum, have been Charlie Brown to North Korea’s Lucy [with the football,] in that they’ve granted concessions for the mere act of sitting down to talk,” Cotton said. “If Kim Jong Un or one of his senior envoys wants to sit down w/ the United States, we should listen to them. But if they demand any kind of suspension of sanctions or food aid or financial aid in advance, we obviously should not do that.”

Trump has agreed to accept Kim’s invitation to hold bilateral talks without concessions from North Korea. But he has similarly declined to any relaxing of sanctions, and U.S. military exercises in the region will continue as scheduled.

Cotton said that only the credible threat of war is likely to “compel” China to crack down on North Korea, a client state of Beijing, sufficient to force Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear weapons program.

To do that, the senator, who serves on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees and has Trump’s ear, recommended that the U.S. take concrete steps to prove it’s willing to follow through with the military option.

“We need to take steps like beginning to stop the deployment of military dependents to the Korean Peninsula and gradually removing dependents from the Korean peninsula,” Cotton said. “Stockpiling ammunition … fuel stores and so forth. We need to make it perfectly clear to PyongYang and Beijing that we are prepared and willing to fight a war to stop North Korea from threatening us with nuclear weapons.”

North Korean Peace Trap

March 15th, 2018

An interesting article about a dangerous trick North Korea might try in the proposed upcoming N.Korea – USA talks in May

The Washington Examiner

Trump Must Not Fall for the North Korea Peace Treaty Trap
Michael Rubin 3/12/18
North Korea reportedly wants President Trump to sign a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War 65 years after an armistice established a ceasefire, according to a report by the South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo (cited by the Daily Beast).

It’s a trap. Let’s hope Trump doesn’t fall for it. Certainly, the idea of peace on the Korean Peninsula sounds desirable. Peace is good, right? And what Western politician doesn’t want to make resolution of one of a decades-old conflict seemingly more intractable and far bloodier than the Arab-Israeli conflict to his legacy?

But, in this case, the devil is in the details. When the United States intervened in Korea to protect South Korea from communist invasion, it did so under the flag of the United Nations. Most U.S. forces actually operate as the United Nations Command, a force established at the start of the war in 1950. When Gen. William Harrison signed the Korean Armistice Agreement with a representative of the North Korean army and Chinese “volunteers” in 1953, he was actually representing the U.N. Command rather than the United States government. In the course of negotiating the armistice, U.S. diplomats and officers did not insist that North Korea recognize the South’s legitimacy; to do so might have derailed the sensitive talks.

Still, President Dwight D. Eisenhower hoped to bring American forces home. Three months after signing the armistice, American, Korean, and Chinese officials met at Panmunjom to discuss peace and withdrawal of foreign forces. The talks were even more hostile than the armistice, according to U.S. Ambassador Arthur Dean, the peace talks were anything but peaceful and hardly involved talking. “No individual ever spoke personally to anyone on the other side,” he noted. North Korean representatives read every statement only after the Chinese approved it. He described it as “negotiation without contact,” and, after four weeks, the Americans and North Koreans could not even agree on an agenda. A follow-up conference in Geneva also went nowhere.

The next few decades were tense. North Korea launched attacks across the DMZ, sent saboteurs into South Korea, and kidnapped foreigners. Against the backdrop of North Korea’s threats and its refusal even to recognize South Korea, however, the American commitment to Seoul remained firm. North Korea still talked about their desire for peace and unity, but the assumption that it would be on North Korea’s terms always underlay their rhetoric.

Diplomacy, therefore, became not a mean to a win-win compromise, but rather an asymmetric warfare strategy meant to advance North Korea’s strategic position while simultaneously undercutting South Korea’s relations with the United States. If North Korea could not meet its objective—bringing South Korea under its fold—then it had no interest in talking or peace.

This is why Kim Il-Sung’s sudden outreach to President Jimmy Carter in 1977 raised so much suspicion. Shortly after Carter’s inauguration, Kim sent a letter to the president-elect proposing to replace the armistice with a peace treaty. The North Korean foreign minister followed suit in a letter to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Carter expressed interest, so long as South Korea might also participate. Kim Il Sung, however, refused. He wanted dialogue, but not compromise. He demanded Carter withdraw all forces from the Korean Peninsula, something Carter considered until his advisers convinced him that such a move would be both rash and dangerous. When Carter shelved his withdrawal plan, Kim reacted bitterly, accusing the U.S. president of aiming to “deceive the world.”

It would be another 15 years before North Korea would again float the prospect of a peace treaty. In October 1993, Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., visited North Korea. He carried a White House letter seeking new talks. He met Kim Il Sung and other senior officials, but was lukewarm in his assessment, saying the talks were “long on symbolism but short on substance.” North Korea wanted concessions before fulfilling its nuclear commitments. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Gallucci, however, was more positive. He spoke about a grand bargain floated by North Korean leaders in which the communist regime would remain inside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow inspections in exchange for light water reactors, diminished U.S. ties to South Korea and, of course, a formal peace.

Fortunately, however, Clinton overruled Gallucci. To abandon South Korea for the sake of peace with North Korea would, in effect, be to reverse the outcome of the Korean War. Even as Clinton continued talks with North Korea, Clinton refused to allow Pyongyang to substitute the substance of disarmament talks for the symbolism of peace. (That North Korea cheated on disarmament is another story, one I chronicle in Dancing with the Devil).

With the 1994 Agreed Framework complete, however, Clinton spent the rest of his presidency trying to entice North Korea toward peace. In 1996, Clinton proposed four-way talks with the United States, China, and the two Koreas. North Korea raised numerous objections, all of which boiled down to Pyongyang’s objection to having Seoul represented at the table. After all, in North Korea’s narrative, they are the only legitimate Korea. This is why bilateral talks are so dangerous: When the United States sits down alone with North Korea, it hands Pyongyang a victory before talks even begin.

In 1998, as Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tried again to spur on the peace process, talks stalled when North Korea demanded the United States first withdraw its forces from South Korea. Again, the White House recognized that whatever their political ambition, this was too dangerous a gamble.

Fast forward to the present day. North Korea wants peace, and they want to negotiate it with the United States. Trump, unlike Carter and Clinton, appears willing to engage on a personal level. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague and veteran Korea watcher Nicholas Eberstadt points out, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s desire to negotiate without preconditions is not what it seems: After all, removing preconditions requires the formal voiding of every previous commitment North Korea made in negotiations. But, the risk goes further. Any peace treaty would end the United Nations Command which legitimizes and formalizes the U.S. presence in South Korea. In effect, the Trump administration would be trading the security of a key U.S. ally and one of the most vibrant economies in East Asia for the promise of North Korean denuclearization, a promise North Korea has repeatedly broken.

Trump sees himself as a master negotiator and, without doubt, the president deserves credit for not yet rewarding North Korean bluster in the manner that so many of his predecessors did. But, while the United States should aspire to peace on the Korean Peninsula, it should never be done on North Korea’s terms. Indeed, any juxtaposition of North and South Korea today shows just how wise President Truman’s decision was to defend South Korea from communist aggression. Trump may see himself as master of the art of the deal, but true mastery comes with a recognition that sometimes it’s best not to negotiate a deal in the first place or, at the very least, not negotiate any new deal until an adversary implements all the terms of previous deals to which it has committed.

Peace, naively embraced, can be the shortest path to war.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.

Ball Lightning(Skyrmion). What Is It?

March 15th, 2018

An Amazing Discovery!

Amherst College
Amherst Physicists Create New Quantum Particle
in Campus Lab

Professor David Hall, his student research team and collaborators at Aalto University in Finland are the first in the world to make and observe the elusive skyrmion.

March 2, 2018 by Caroline Hanna

Relatively few people in history can say that they have seen, first-hand, the mysterious and uncommon electrical phenomenon of “ball lightning”—glowing, spherical objects in the sky that mostly appear during thunderstorms and are not fully understood by scientists.

But Physics Professor David S. Hall ’91 and his students are in the rarest company of all: They and a handfulof colleagues are the only people in the world to have made and observed a microscopic simile of ball lightning.

Hall, members of his student research team and his collaborators at Aalto University in Finland recently  (created a three-dimensional skyrmion—a quasiparticle consisting of a knotted configuration of atomic magnetic moments, or spins—in a quantum gas in Hall’s lab. Scientists predicted the existence of the skyrmion theoretically more than 40 years ago, but this is the first time such an object has been observed inan experiment.

Hall and his colleagues’ findings were published by Science Advances in a paper titled Synthetic Electromagnetic Knot in a Three-Dimensional Skyrmion. Featuring the thesis research of Andrei-HoriaGheorghe ’15 and Wonjae Lee ’16 and computational contributions of visiting scholar Tuomas Ollikainen, the work builds on the collaboration’s previous studies of Bose-Einstein condensates, monopoles andquantum knots.

“The experiment is conceptually simple, but the phenomenon is both beautiful and remarkably complex,” said Hall. “Our own understanding of these skyrmions has evolved over several years, and it has taken us
almost as long again to find accessible ways to communicate our results to the wider scientific community.”

Hall and his team created the environment for the skyrmion after cooling a gas of rubidium atoms to tens of billionths of degrees above absolute zero in an atomic refrigerator in hislab. “When supercooled, all atoms in the gas end up in the state of minimum energy,” explained Hall. “The state no longer behaves like an ordinary gas, but like a single giant atom.”

To create the skyrmion, the physicists then applied a tailored magnetic field to the supercooled gas, which influenced the orientation of the magnetic moments of its constituent atoms. The characteristic knotted
structure of the skyrmion emerged after less than one thousandth of a second.

Remarkably, the skyrmion is accompanied by a knotted synthetic magnetic field that strongly influences the
quantum gas, said Hall. Such a knotted magnetic field is a central feature of a topological theory of ball lightning, which describes a plasma of hot gas magnetically confined by the knotted field. According to the
theory, the ball lightning can last much longer than an ordinary lightning bolt because it is very difficult to untie the magnetic knot that confines the plasma.

“It is remarkable that we could create the synthetic electromagnetic knot—that is, quantum ball lightning—essentially with just two counter-circulating electric currents,” said Mikko Möttönen, leader of the theoretical effort at Aalto University. “[This shows that] it may be possible that a natural ball lighting could arise in a normal lightning strike.”

Hall said that while the hot plasma of ball lightning might be a million times hotter than the ultracold gases with which his team works, he nevertheless found it interesting that such disparate physical contexts share
common themes. He also noted the fact “the physics studied at large fusion reactors might also be studied on the small optical table [upon which much of his research equipment is located] that will soon make its brief journey across campus to the new science center.”

Hall’s experiments are supported by the National Science Foundation(grant no. PHY-1519174), and Möttönen’s research by the Academy of Finland through its Centres of Excellence Program (grant nos.
251748, 284621, and 308071), by the European Research Council under Consolidator (grant no. 681311) (QUESS), by the Magnus Ehrnrooth Foundation, by the Education Network in Condensed Matter and
Materials Physics, and by the KAUTE Foundation through its researchers abroad program.

David Hall
Amherst College
220 South Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 542-2000 Contact Us

Birth of Our Universe

March 15th, 2018

Looking back to the early birth of our Universe! How amazing and how insignificant we humans are, our problems, the Earth , and yes, even our Galaxy.

A stunning discovery about the start of the universe

“Dr. Don Lincoln, a senior physicist at Fermilab, does research using the Large Hadron Collider. He is the author of “The Large Hadron Collider: TheExtraordinary Story of the Higgs Boson and Other Stuff That Will Blow Your Mind,” and produces a series of science education videos. Follow him on Facebook. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.”

For millennia, humans have sat under a clear midnight sky and marveled at the spectacle emblazoned across the heavens. The stars seemeternal, as if they have always been there. But there’s just one problem.It isn’t so.

The universe was once entirely dark, with nary a light anywhere throughout the entire cosmos.
And then a single star burst into nuclear flame, sunderingthe void. Then another and another, leading to the stars and galaxies of thefamiliar universe. In what could well be a stunning breakthrough, a group of astronomers have announced that they have found radio signals that appear to provide evidence of the first stars to come into existence. And, just to add abit of spice to the announcement, it’s possible that they might have discovered dark matter, a hypothesized substance that has eluded discovery for decades.

Astronomer Avi Loeb, a professor at Harvard University, is quoted by the Associated Press as saying that “if confirmed, this discovery deserves two Nobel Prizes,” one for observing the signal of the first stars and the other for
detecting dark matter. He went on to conservatively point out that both claims are extraordinary and require extraordinary evidence. He urged caution.

And this caution is warranted. The observed signal is very small. Radio sources in our own Milky Way galaxy can be 10,000 times stronger than the observed signal. The researchers needed to work very hard to remove this
dominant signal. It’s like trying to hear someone whispering to you while at a rock concert. If you know the song and vocalist very well, you could — at least in principle — mask out the band and recover the whisper. But if the amplifiers had a crackle or the lead singer had a cold, you might get it wrong.

New data could support or falsify this measurement. Observation of the first stars is more likely to be confirmed, with observation of dark matter being less certain. However, if confirmed, it is certainly true that this faint radio signal could be an enormous step forward in our understanding of the birth of the universe.

It’s perhaps important to remember that this work is only possible because of publicly funded science. While most people acknowledge the role of science in generating new technologies that improve our lives, publicly funded science has been responsible for discovery after discovery, leading us to an
understanding of the world around us that scientists a mere hundred years ago could only dream of. The birth of the universe

While most people know something of the scientific explanation for how the universe came into existence, not everyone knows the full story of what physics has discovered. Just shy of 14billion years ago, the universe was created in an event called the Big Bang. All of the matter and energy of the visible universe was concentrated into a tiny volume that “exploded,” for the lack of a better word, and began expanding. The universe was unimaginably hot, glowing brighter than a steel furnace, with energy converting into matter and back again. Within three minutes, the nuclei of hydrogen and helium had formed, buffeted by an energetic bath of electrons. This swarm of charged particles glowed brightlyand yet did not let light pass through it. From the point of view of light, the entire universe was a glowing, yet opaque, wall. For 380,000 years, the universe expanded and cooled until it reached the temperature of 3,000 Kelvin (about 5,000 °F). At that temperature, hydrogen and helium nuclei could capture electrons, making atoms of hydrogen and helium. And, with that singular event, the universe went dark. This was the beginning of what are called the Dark Ages. The universe continued to expand and cool, filled with clouds of hydrogen and helium. Then Gravity took over, with slightly denser areas of the universe pulling the gas into denser and denser clumps. While the universe on the whole was cooling, the temperature at the center of these clumps was rising; after about 180 million years eventually becoming so high that the gas started to experience nuclear fusion. And the first stars were born.

Now it turns out that it is not so easy to directly see the light of those distant stars. After all, they were embedded in clouds of cool hydrogen gas that absorbed the light. And it was with that absorption that they revealed themselves. While hydrogen absorbed the light of the stars, it re-emitted that energy in an easily identifiable way. Young stars burn hot and emit lots of ultraviolet light — the same kind thatgives you a sunburn. Hydrogen gas absorbs the light and knocks the electronsinto higher energy orbits. Eventually the electrons lose energy and they settle back into the lowest orbit in one of two configurations.

Hydrogen consists of one proton and one electron and both particles act like little magnets, with a north pole and a south pole. In an atom of hydrogen, the north poles of the proton and electron can point in the same or oppositedirection. If they point in opposite directions, that’s the end of the line — theyare in a stable configuration. But if the north poles point in the same direction, they’ll stay that way for a short time, and then the north pole of the electron will flip and point in the direction opposite to the proton. This is
exactly what happens with ordinary magnets. When the electron flips, it emits a characteristic wavelength (21 cm or 1420MHz, approximately the same frequency as 4G cellular service). By detecting that radiation, scientists could indirectly detect the existence of the early stars.

The Big Bang caused the universe to expand, which has the consequence of
stretching the wavelength of the radiation emitted by hydrogen and decreasing the frequency. Today, this radiation is only about 78 MHz, or just below the range of FM radio.

By studying the sky’s spectrum, astronomers determined that the period of time that the stars were heating the hydrogen gas clouds ranged from about 180 million to 260 million years after the Big Bang. After 260 million years,the gas had heated enough to be transparent to the light from stars. To give
some perspective of the magnitude of the achievement, the Hubble Space Telescope has only been able to directly image galaxies that existed no earlier than 400 million years after the Big Bang. This discovery has cut in half the
period of the universe for which we previously had no data.
The role of dark matter

While seeing evidence for the very first stars is exciting enough, there is another consequence of this research that might well be paradigm-changing. The size of the observed signal is twice as big as predictions. This means that
either the gas of the early universe was much colder than expected, or the residual background radiation from the Big Bang was much hotter. So, which was it? Truthfully, scientists don’t know. It appears to be that the
hydrogen gas cooled much more effectively than can be explained by current theories. Several possible explanations were tested and the one that the authors claim to be most probable is that the early hydrogen gas interacted more strongly than expected with dark matter.

Dark matter is a proposed substance that explains many astronomical anomalies, like galaxies that rotate tooquickly to be explained by the gravityof observed matter and even clusters of dozens or hundreds of galaxies that are moving so quickly that they shouldn’t be bound together. Dark matter doesn’t interact with light or any electromagnetic radiation and only makes its presence known through itsgravitational interactions. If dark matter interacted with ordinary matter in the early universe, it could cool off the gas and this would explain thereported discrepancy.
As with all extraordinary claims, the key is verification by independent researchers. And, until confirmation is found, it is important to be skeptical.Other astronomers will attempt to replicate the measurement.

And new technology may come in handy. There is a telescope planned, called the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which was designed by a consortium of NASA and the Canadian and European space agencies. It is designed to directly measure light from very early stars, whose wavelengthhas been shifted to longer wavelengths by the expansion of the universe. JWST is the successor for the Hubble telescope and it is expected to revolutionize astronomy to the same degree that the Hubble telescope did. JWST is scheduled to launch in about 18 months.


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