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Comment: Here is a case for the Internet of things (Score 2) 533

by mbone (#49505153) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

But the rooftop systems are "essentially invisible to us," says Ching, "because they sit behind a customer's meter and we don't have a means to directly measure them."

Yes, you do.

Here is a business model for you: pay a low rate for electricity from sources you can't monitor, pay full* rate for electricity where you put a little Internet of Things gizomo on the line to measure (or even control) output from the source. You could even get the homeowners to pay for the gizmo out of future revenue.

* Yes, I know "full rate" also has its problems, but it'll get set somehow and the point is only IoT installed houses will get that rate.

Comment: Re:Errors versus public debate (Score 1) 117

by mbone (#49479159) Attached to: Hubble and the VLT Uncover Evidence For Self-Interacting Dark Matter

You should look into MOND.

"Dark matter" as an effect is very well established. It is a sign of a failure in our models of physics. That failure could be in the microphysics (thus, various particle models, such as WIMPs), or in the macrophysics (i.e., in general relativity, the model for gravity, which is modified by theories such as MOND).

Now, as it happens, these sorts of galaxy cluster collision observations are probably the strongest test of MOND type theories - it is hard to see how a failure of gravity would get separated from the matter causing the gravity. MOND is not yet firmly ruled out, but it does look a lot less plausible.

Comment: Re:Property of Dark Matter (Score 1) 117

by mbone (#49478927) Attached to: Hubble and the VLT Uncover Evidence For Self-Interacting Dark Matter

WIMPs are actually an old explanation of dark matter, probably on the way out unless LHC can pull out a supersymmetric particle in their new run.

In any case, WIMPs only interact through the weak interaction, so it is generally assumed that these "self-interacting" particles are not WIMPs, but some new form of SIDM.

Comment: Re:20 years late (Score 1) 47

by mbone (#49427231) Attached to: Distance of a Microlensing Event Measured For the First Time

I broke the rules and RTFA, this is the first time that they have managed to combine an Earth-based observation and a space-based one separated by far enough from each other to give a reasonably accurate baseline for an accurate measurement of both distance and mass. From the article:

Calculations estimated it to be 10,200 (+/- 1,300) light-years away. . . These observations also allowed the mass of the object to be measured — around 0.23 solar masses

Not quite. If you read further, you see that the key word is that it is first for a "isolated" (i.e., single) star. Dong et al. did this in 2007, but for a binary star.

I must sat that I dislike "firstitis," both in science and on Slashdot. However, these are not easy measurements and this is still quite an accomplishment.

Comment: 20 years late (Score 3, Interesting) 47

by mbone (#49424233) Attached to: Distance of a Microlensing Event Measured For the First Time

This is known as microlensing parallax, and was first done 1995. Parallax breaks lensing degeneracies, enabling the determination of distance,

Now, you may quibble about this particular distance measurement, but it's been done for 20 years now. Routinely. And, yes, its been done from space before too.

My guess is that some needed qualifiers were lost between the astronomer's mouth and the headline writers keyboard, but it ain't first.

Comment: Re:what if... (Score 1) 236

by mbone (#49362193) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

There have been several theories built on that assumption, most prominently one called MOND (MOdified Newtonian Dynamics), but more recently one that builds on relativity rather than Newtonian gravity/dynamics.

But none of these theories (hypotheses?) have gained much acceptance from the physics community, as far as I know.

Yes, and one reason is that they find it hard to model these kinds of galaxy cluster observations in MOND / TeVeS without assuming there is also some dark matter or some other non-MOND effect involved. Now, that could be (and MOND proponents will point out that standard CMD also has its problems, e.g., with the core/cusp problem, and we don't throw out CDM every time such a problem is encountered), but it certainly takes some of the shine off of the theory.

Comment: Re:WIMPs (Score 1) 236

by mbone (#49362155) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

I don't have the article in the mail yet, but I'm guessing that's new. At the very least, Weakly Interacting is now Really Weakly Interacting.

Here you go.

From my perspective, it hardly changes a thing (it lowers the cross section / mass constraint a little, but not even an order of magnitude). But, then, I'm not a WIMP guy.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer

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