Gravity vs Plasma – Matter, Charge and Conjecture | Space News

Welcome to Space News from
the Electric Universe, brought to you by The
Thunderbolts Project™ at The following presentation is an
adaptation of the Mel Acheson Picture Of the Day article: Matter,
Charge and Conjecture. The link to the article may be found
in the description box of this video. Electricians know the electric
force is thirty nine orders of magnitude stronger than gravity, and the
graviticians know the gravitational force is 40 orders of magnitude
stronger than electricity. This misses the point. On the purely mathematical
level, you can plug numbers into the equations to get any
magnitude of force you want. The gravitational force between
two 10 kilogram lead spheres placed one meter apart is
the figure on your screen. To equal that force with
electricity, the spheres would have to be charged
to this figure: This could be achieved
with a current of one micro ampere in less
than a millisecond. The technology of nylon rods
rubbed over cat fur can transfer enough static charge to overcome the
gravitational attraction of lead spheres. But can you get electricity
to move planets? That would require
a lot of cats. The question is not relative strengths
of forces but rather whether it’s possible to accumulate
enough charge and move it with enough power to toss
planets around like electrons. Irving Langmuir could provide
some enlightenment here. He’s dead, but his
discoveries linger on. One discovery was that just
a few ions in a substance can cause it to behave
in unexpected ways. It forms cells and filaments. Charges separate into double layers that
insulate cells from each other. The filaments twist
around each other. They writhe
and radiate. They seem almost alive–which is why
Irving called the substance a plasma. An accumulation of charge inside
one cell doesn’t interact with that in another cell until the
double layers break down. Then they interact
with tremendous power. Another discovery
(maybe this wasn’t Langmuir’s) was that plasmas exhibit the same
behavior over large ranges of scale. From millimeter-sized sparks in a lab that
last a millionth of a second to kilometer-long lightning
bolts that last several seconds, the same
properties can be observed. A long list of investigators
has tried to draw attention to the similarities between
certain astronomical phenomena and these lab
and terrestrial plasmas. Just on a theoretical level,
it seems rather simple to scale up a lightning
bolt that can toss around our lead
spheres to the size of an interplanetary bolt that
can toss around planets. But does it actually happen? We can’t clip the leads from
a planet-sized voltmeter across the solar system and
measure the voltage drop. So we’re left arguing
about similarities. And we all know argument
from analogy is fallacious. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily
wrong, only that it’s uncertain. The idea of gravity
tossing planets around is familiar, the idea of
plasma doing it isn’t. Much of our preference for one idea over
another is simply the business of familiarity. Much of the work required to
reach a new understanding of something is just this effort to
make the unfamiliar familiar. By analogy with argument from analogy,
argument from familiarity is also fallacious. After allowing for the
preference for familiarity, gravity is in no better
shape than plasma. We see large accumulations of
matter-which we could just as easily see as large accumulations of
charge if that idea were familiar. We assume an identity
between the ideas of a large accumulation of matter and a large
accumulation of mass, but mass is a property–that’s not necessarily
identical with quantity of matter. The Machian idea of inertial mass being
the relationship of a particle of matter to all other particles within its
sphere of communication implies that a newly created particle
increases its mass as it ages. The Meta Model idea of gravitational
mass being the shielding effect of other matter within the mean collisional
distance of gravitons implies an upper limit of matter accumulations beyond
which mass remains constant. We can’t hatch a Machian chicken and
see if it grows without feeding it corn, nor can we stick a large
toothpick into cakes of Meta matter to see if there’s
uncooked mass in the middle. What we’re stuck with is
a conflict of paradigms. Each explains overlapping sets
of data in different ways. We won’t know for sure
if the universe is electric until we travel to a Seyfert galaxy and stick
our finger in the socket. Nor will we know for sure
if it’s gravitic until we drop a Newton’s apple off
the Leaning Tower of M87. The question of what’s
the truth is premature. The truth is this: no paradigm is believable,
that is to say, none are certain. Being stuck with a conflict of
paradigms is really an opportunity. We can choose whichever
conjecture strikes our fancy and follow its implications to see if
we can invent something new to make our lives more
comfortable and exciting. It’s not necessary to choose;
it’s an opportunity to choose. We’re better off having more conjectures
to choose from than having less. It’s time to scrap the outworn philosophy
of physics based on an illusory certainty. Instead, a more biological
philosophy based on conjectures and refutations (Karl Popper’s
phrase) or blind variations with selective retention (Donald Campbell’s
phrase) would be more appropriate for small soft creatures
living on a speck of terrestrial dirt and
prancing around the cosmos.