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No Elephants In My Carpet - More LIES from LIGO*

[*Ludicrous, Insane Excuses for Spending]

06/07/08

Well, they're at it again! Another US$205 million down the tubes over the next seven years, and for what? A big, fat, NOTHING! Why aren't people jumping up and down about this ridiculous waste of money? LIGO, so far, has detected NOTHING. No matter how you dress it up, it is still NOTHING.

In a previous Thunderblog about LIGO wasting our money I wrote:

And why is it that the modern space age gurus can laud success, out of pure failure! Let's have a look at the latest release from Space Daily Express about the LIGO facility, jokingly ( well, they surely aren't serious...) titled "LIGO Sheds Light On Cosmic Event"...

"LIGO's contribution to the study of GRB070201 marks a milestone for the project, says Caltech's Jay Marx, LIGO's executive director: "Having achieved its design goals two years ago, LIGO is now producing significant scientific results. The nondetection of a signal from GRB070201 is an important step toward a very productive synergy between gravitational-wave and other astronomical communities that will contribute to our understanding of the most energetic events in the cosmos.""

Does anyone notice something peculiar about the above quote from Jay Marx? "... LIGO is now producing scientific results. The nondetection of a signal from GRB070201 ... " now, call me cynical if you must, but I can't see how a 'nondetection of a signal' is a scientific result!

Well, they're at it again. This time I first read the wonderful news at physorg.com under the very ambitious headline "Heart of the Crab Pulsar probed -- first direct look into the core of a neutron star". "How did they do that?" I thought to myself. So I read the article, and lo and behold, they did this with another non-detection at LIGO...

LIGO scientists monitored the neutron star from November 2005 to August 2006 using data from the three LIGO interferometers, which were combined to create a single, highly sensitive detector. They compared the LIGO data with published data about the pulsar's rotation rate from the Jodrell Bank Observatory, looking for a synchronous gravitational-wave signal.

The analysis revealed no signs of gravitational waves -- a result the scientists say is important because it provides information about the pulsar and its structure. They say a perfectly smooth neutron star will not generate gravitational waves as it spins, and that LIGO would have been able to detect gravitational waves from a star whose shape was deformed by only a few meters. [Emphasis added]

I have to ask. Why would LIGO "have been able to detect gravitational waves from a star whose shape was deformed by only a few meters"? On what basis can this comment be made? LIGO has never detected ANY gravity waves, so this non-detection is no proof of anything, except perhaps the ludicrous waste of money chasing fairies around the universe. But wait, there's more!

According to Ben Owen, "What LIGO really adds is that we can see more than skin deep. Astronomers see plenty of electromagnetic waves (radio waves, x-rays, and so on) from the Crab, but pulsars are so dense that even the x-rays can't get through the interior and you can only see down to the surface. But gravitational waves can get through, so our result is the first direct look into a neutron star's interior." Joseph Taylor, a Nobel Prize-winning radio astronomer and professor of physics at Princeton University, says, "The physics world has been waiting eagerly for scientific results from LIGO. It is exciting that we now know something concrete about how nearly spherical a neutron star must be, and we have definite limits on the strength of its internal magnetic field."

Looking to the future of research with LIGO, Ben Owen adds, "For a long time particle physicists have predicted a lot of strange possibilities for neutron star interiors, like neutrons dissolving into more fundamental particles called quarks. As LIGO's sensitivity improves, we can explore more of those possibilities. If we see a strong signal in the next couple of years, it will be strong evidence that these strange states of matter exist."

This I just have to break down and put my 2¢ in. According to Ben Owen, "What LIGO really adds is that we can see more than skin deep. So now we can see INSIDE a neutron star???

Astronomers see plenty of electromagnetic waves (radio waves, x-rays, and so on) from the Crab, but pulsars are so dense that even the x-rays can't get through the interior and you can only see down to the surface. Now hang on a minute, this is implying WE are PROBING these things with our own X-rays which is SO not the case.

But gravitational waves can get through, so our result is the first direct look into a neutron star's interior." And then it's followed with an implication that somehow gravitational waves can "get through" a neutron star, so now we've actually looked into the interior of one of these babies. I would have thought that if the neutrons are packed so densely that all that mass can fit into a tiny 10km sphere, there would be little room for any sort of wave to, well, wave.

Then he finishes off with this corker - "If we see a strong signal in the next couple of years, it will be strong evidence that these strange states of matter exist.". I'd suggest that based upon performance thus far, if they see a strong signal in the next couple of years it will be a miracle...

Does anyone else see what's happening here? LIGO returned a NULL RESULT. It detected absolutely nothing. Yet this somehow is extrapolated to further our understanding of the interior of neutron stars? Puh-lease!

And to top it off, Owen's wool-pulling excercise receives even more 'back up' as a Nobel Prize winner from Princeton adds "The physics world has been waiting eagerly for scientific results from LIGO. It is exciting that we now know something concrete about how nearly spherical a neutron star must be, and we have definite limits on the strength of its internal magnetic field." Forgive me for seeming a little befuddled, but "concrete" and "definite" just don't belong in this fairy tale.

It all reminds me of one of my more amusing excuses for dropping cigarette ash on the carpet back in the days before smokers were akin to lepers and one could joke around about such things. If someone were to notice the inadvertant dropping of said ash I'd simply respond "Well, it keeps the elephants out of the carpet. Can you see any elephants in the carpet? No. See, it works!!"

 

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davesmith_au
Dave Smith (davesmith_au) is an independent researcher and Managing Editor of the Thunderblog.

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