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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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Using pulsars scientists detect background signal of the universe’s gravitational waves

The uncertainty of science: Using the variations in the precise radio pulses sent out by many pulsars over a fifteen year year astronomers think they have detected the background signal produced by many gravitational waves over time throughout the universe.

Astrophysicists using large radio telescopes to observe a collection of cosmic clocks in our Galaxy have found evidence for gravitational waves that oscillate with periods of years to decades, according to a set of papers published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The gravitational-wave signal was observed in 15 years of data acquired by the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) Physics Frontiers Center (PFC), a collaboration of more than 190 scientists from the US and Canada who use pulsars to search for gravitational waves. International collaborations using telescopes in Europe, India, Australia and China have independently reported similar results.

Imagine that each wave is a single wave on the ocean. This detection is the rough equivalent of looking at the ocean’s overall surface and measuring the general roughness of all the waves.

The press is making a big deal about this discovery. It is good science, and will over time provide valuable insights into evolution and merger of black holes, but it is not that big a deal, especially because this research carries with it many assumptions and uncertainties that good scientists recognize. They thus remain somewhat skeptical about the data. Mainstream journalists however consider gravitational waves cool, and so they hype any press release about them, sometimes to the point of absurdity.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • markedup2

    Gravitational waves ARE cool!

    This is also a great slap in the face to the climate modeling people:
    “This marks the first time we’ve released the software used to produce our data set alongside the data products themselves,” Dr. Joseph Swiggum of Lafayette College, who led the pulsar timing paper explains. “All the tools necessary to reproduce our results are now public…

    That’s how one does science.

  • GaryMike

    Is gravitational wave interference constructive, destructive, benign, or who cares?

    There are arguments for each.

    Are the galactic cosmic voids regions of galactic gravitational destructive influence, the web of galaxy strings constructive influence, the over-the-horizon, non-visible zones too early to tell?

    Mystery has its allure.

  • Star Bird

    Ooooo Pulsars so fun to detect and watch

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