Tribute to the Trekkie…

December 10, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Prize Speech

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, History, Human Rights

Note: Sourced from https://physics4thecool.blogspot.com/2011/10/honoring-trekkie.html, my previous blog posting site.

“If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am part of a generation that, when we pass, will have the last memories of hearing your voice on the radio, on television, and not be a documentary or a YouTube embed. Small children, that terrible day when we…lost you.

I remember when after the assassination of Martin Luther King, a pickup truck with a confederate flag flying behind it rode past my kindergarten, shouting epithets and gloating at his death (1968).

I saw my first burning cross at the age of fourteen (1976) during my first overnight encampment with JROTC.

This wasn’t that long ago.

Like your support of the idea of us in the future in Star Trek, we tried to embody that hope in every class we tackled, every Calculus, Physics, and Engineering problem we solved: we strove to make you proud of us, despite the fact you were here and then gone so soon.

Happy birthday sir, and THANK YOU!

“At the end of Star Trek’s first season, Nichelle was thinking seriously of leaving the show, but a chance and moving meeting with Martin Luther King changed her mind. He told her she couldn’t give up…she was a vital role model for young black women in America. Needless to say, Nichelle stayed with the show and has appeared in the first six Star Trek movies. She also provided the voice for Lt. Uhura on the Star Trek animated series in 1974-75.”


See Star Trek Database: Nichelle Nichols

Munchausen by Congress…

Research Gate dot net: Epidemiology of Munchausen syndrome by proxy in New Zealand

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Tina Depuy (from her website: tee-nuh doo-pwee) wrote an analysis of the Republican Party when the House of Representatives was under John “weed head” Bohner in 2013:

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, now referred to as Factious Disorder by Proxy or FDbP, is where a parent or caretaker enjoys the attention of having a sick child. Hence, they exaggerate and sometimes induce their victim’s symptoms. Children are made to be sick; parents are given sympathy for their seeming stoicism. It’s adulation-seeking via child abuse.

In this case, the caretaker is Congress (specifically the Republican-controlled House). The thing they’re enjoying making unwell is, well, us: the country, our economy, postal services, meat inspections, air traffic control, infrastructure, law enforcement, military, credit rating, commerce, and every other part of a country [thought] of around the globe as a superpower.

This disorder can sometimes be traced to an early legit emergency, where the caregiver with FDbP first experiences the rush of admiration they’ll later crave. For the GOP, it’s probably September 11, 2001. It was on that day the then-leader of the Republican party (the same dude the GOP no longer acknowledges exists, they’ll even listen to Mitt Romney speak before uttering his name) finally got to do everything he wanted without question – all with an over (and brief) 80 percent approval rating. He pre-emptively invaded Iraq without paying for it, flattened wages, made the rich richer, and transformed higher education into a profit-driven industry. More importantly, he got Democrats to shut up while he pretended drunken-sailor-spending was compassionate conservatism.

Congress has Munchausen by Proxy, Tina Depuy, March 2, 2013, Post Independent.

The above article and its analysis by analog have aged incredibly well.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we now have the weakest Speaker of the House in the history of the republic who “gave away the store” to MAGA extremists and got his authority weakened. Is George Santos’s real name even George Santos? The only reason the pathological liar is tolerated is that it gives Kev a four-vote thin margin. If he removes him, it triggers a special election in a Blue State in a Democratic-leaning district (that somehow woke up from their drunken stupor and is pissed George is their Representative). If he were to survive the primary, the fictional Klingons have a proverb: “revenge is a dish that is best served cold.” That would cut Kev down to three and resorting to public self-immolation. The constituents would send another Democrat to the House, increasing Hakeem Jeffries’ numbers and steps toward Speaker in 2024. Under “Kev the Spinless,” we can look forward to nothing but show trials, no credible laws proposed that could [possibly] pass the Senate, and going over the debt ceiling cliff in September, if Kev makes it that long.

Newton Gingrich started this mess. His philosophy was playing a zero-sum game, political terrorism, and nihilism. It was always a “Contract ON America,” never WITH America, as it ignored a sizeable and growing part of the electorate that demographically, the republicans let themselves get caught flatfooted in the 21st Century, so: voter suppression as a Hail Mary. It was under Gingrich we started seeing the debt ceiling being used as a tool for hostage-taking (the entire government). He somehow (creepily) married his high school Geometry teacher, divorced her for his first mistress, then divorced the second wife (the previously-mentioned first mistress) for his second mistress (and now third wife) Calista WHILE trying to impeach Bill Clinton for the same thing!

Gingrich attempted a soft coup by Constitution: he aimed to impeach Bill Clinton and Al Gore and, by default, become President of the United States. He was both hypocritical and shameless, just like the Republican Party now. Zero-sum became the Tea Party under the first (and only) African American president, then the Orwellian “Freedom Caucus,” which led inexorably to MAGA, having the same characteristics and number of letters as “Nazi.” After midterm losses, he stepped down as Speaker in the face of full rebellion. Bob Livingston challenged him, then had the same “strayed from his marriage” issues as Gingrich and Clinton. That led to wrestling coach pedophile Dennis “the groomer” Hastert before Nancy Pelosi’s first run. After that, John Boehner (ran out by the Tea Party), Paul Ryan (Ibid), and Nancy Pelosi for her last go-around, followed by a slimy, whimpering, limp surfer tan in a suit. Newt posing now as a wisened, sage political philosopher, is gaslighting from a windbag.

Do soft coups then become dry run practice coups like storming the Michigan Capitol under Gretchen Whitmore’s first term as governor? Her attempted kidnapping and threats to her administration flukes? I guess Charlottesville, August 11 – 12, 2017, and The Insurrection of January 6, 2021, were all Antifa (antifascists) dressed as conservatives and bringing with them the Grand Pooh-Bah of the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos?

“The Republican Party is the party for normal Americans.” Newt Gingrich.

Unlike Depuy’s analysis, this didn’t age well.

Spooky Action Between Friends…

Credit: Petrovich9/Getty Images

Topics: Entanglement, Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Research, Theoretical Physics

Reference: Albert Einstein colorfully dismissed quantum entanglement—the ability of separated objects to share a condition or state—as “spooky action at a distance.” Science.org

For the first time, scientists have observed quantum interference—a wavelike interaction between particles related to the weird quantum phenomenon of entanglement—occurring between two different kinds of particles. The discovery could help physicists understand what goes on inside an atomic nucleus.

Particles act as both particles and waves. And interference is the ability of one particle’s wavelike action to diminish or amplify the action of other quantum particles like two boat wakes crossing in a lake. Sometimes the overlapping waves add up to a bigger wave, and sometimes they cancel out, erasing it. This interference occurs because of entanglement, one of the weirder aspects of quantum physics, which was predicted in the 1930s and has been experimentally observed since the 1970s. When entangled, the quantum states of multiple particles are linked so that measurements of one will correlate with measurements of the others, even if one is on Jupiter and another is on your front lawn.

Dissimilar particles can sometimes become entangled, but until now, these [mismatched] entangled particles weren’t known to interfere with one another. That’s because part of measuring interference relies on two wavelike particles being indistinguishable from each other. Imagine two photons, or particles of light, from two separate sources. If you were to detect these photons, there would be no way to determine which source each came from because there is no way to tell which photon is which. Thanks to the quantum laws governing these very small particles, this ambiguity is actually measurable: all the possible histories of the two identical photons interfere with one another, creating new patterns in particles’ final wavelike actions.

Scientists See Quantum Interference between Different Kinds of Particles for the First Time, Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American

CEM for SEI…

Panel A shows how the native SEI on Li metal is passivating to nitrogen gas, which means that no reactivity with Li metal is possible. Panel B shows that a proton donor like Ethanol will disrupt the SEI passivation and enable Li metal to react with nitrogen species. Panel C describes 3 potential mechanisms through which the proton donor can disrupt the SEI passivation. Credit: Steinberg et al.

Topics: Applied Physics, Battery, Chemistry, Climate Change, Environment

Ammonia (NH3), the chemical compound made of nitrogen and hydrogen, currently has many valuable uses, for instance, serving as a crop fertilizer, purifying agent, and refrigerant gas. In recent years, scientists have been exploring its potential as an energy carrier to reduce global carbon emissions and help tackle global warming.

Ammonia is produced via the Haber-Bosch process, a carbon-producing industrial chemical reaction that converts nitrogen and hydrogen into NH3. As this process is known to heavily contribute to global carbon emissions, electrifying ammonia synthesis would benefit our planet.

One of the most promising strategies for electrically synthesizing ammonia at ambient conditions is based on the use of lithium metal. However, some aspects of these processes, including the properties and role of lithium’s passivation layer, known as the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI), remain poorly understood.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA), and the California Institute of Technology have recently conducted a study closely examining the reactivity of lithium and its SEI, as this could enhance lithium-based pathways to electrically synthesize ammonia. Their observations, published in Nature Energy, were collected using a state-of-the-art imaging method known as cryogenic transmission electron microscopy.

Using cryogenic electron microscopy to study the lithium SEI during electrocatalysis, Ingrid Fadelli, Phys.org

The Decline of Disruptive Science…

The proportion of disruptive scientific papers, such as the 1953 description of DNA’s double-helix structure, has fallen since the mid-1940s.Credit: Lawrence Lawry/SPL

Topics: DNA, Education, Philosophy, Research, Science, STEM

The number of science and technology research papers published has skyrocketed over the past few decades — but the ‘disruptiveness’ of those papers has dropped, according to an analysis of how radically papers depart from the previous literature1.

Data from millions of manuscripts show that, compared with the mid-twentieth century, research done in the 2000s was much more likely to incrementally push science forward than to veer off in a new direction and render previous work obsolete. Analysis of patents from 1976 to 2010 showed the same trend.

“The data suggest something is changing,” says Russell Funk, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and a co-author of the analysis published on 4 January in Nature. “You don’t have quite the same intensity of breakthrough discoveries you once had.”

Telltale citations

The authors reasoned that if a study were highly disruptive, subsequent research would be less likely to cite its references and instead cite the study itself. Using the citation data from 45 million manuscripts and 3.9 million patents, the researchers calculated a measure of disruptiveness called the ‘CD index,’ in which values ranged from –1 for the least disruptive work to 1 for the most disruptive.

The average CD index declined by more than 90% between 1945 and 2010 for research manuscripts (see ‘Disruptive science dwindles’) and more than 78% from 1980 to 2010 for patents. Disruptiveness declined in all analyzed research fields and patent types, even when factoring in potential differences in factors such as citation practices.

‘Disruptive’ science has declined — and no one knows why, Max Kozlov, Nature.

QAOA and Privacy…

 A quantum computer at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

Credit: Connie Zhou for IBM

Topics: Computer Science, Cryptography, Cybersecurity, Quantum Computer

A team of researchers in China has unveiled a technique that — theoretically — could crack the most commonly used types of digital privacy using a rudimentary quantum computer.

The technique worked in a small-scale demonstration, the researchers report, but other experts are skeptical that the procedure could scale up to beat ordinary computers at the task. Still, they warn that the paper, posted late last month on the arXiv repository1, is a reminder of the vulnerability of online privacy.

Quantum computers are known to be a potential threat to current encryption systems. However, the technology is still in its infancy, and researchers typically estimate that it will be many years until it can be faster than ordinary computers at cracking cryptographic keys.

Researchers realized in the 1990s that quantum computers could exploit peculiarities of physics to perform tasks that seem to be beyond the reach of ‘classical’ computers. Peter Shor, a mathematician now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, showed in 19942 how to apply the phenomena of quantum superposition and interference to factoring integer numbers into primes — the integers that cannot be further divided without a remainder.

Are quantum computers about to break online privacy? Davide Castelvecchi, Nature

Young Guns: an Epitaph…

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Dark Humor, Democracy, Existentialism

In 1870s Lincoln County, New Mexico, English cattleman John Tunstall hires a wayward young gunman named Billy to join the “Regulators” who live and work on his ranch: Doc ScurlockJose Chavez y ChavezDick Brewer, “Dirty” Steve Stephens, and Charlie Bowdre. Tunstall tries to educate and civilize the young men in his employ and clashes with rival rancher Lawrence Murphy, a well-connected Irishman in league with the corrupt Santa Fe Ring.

One of Murphy’s hired hands, McCloskey, joins Tunstall while Doc attempts to court Murphy’s ward, Yen Sun. Murphy’s men kill Tunstall, leading his lawyer friend Alexander McSween to arrange for the Regulators to be deputized and given warrants for the killers’ arrest. Hotheaded Billy challenges Dick’s authority as the group’s foreman as the Regulators attempt to take Murphy’s henchmen alive. Instead, Billy guns down several unarmed men, including McCloskey, whom he suspects of still working for Murphy. Newspapers paint the Regulators as a deadly gang headed by a larger-than-life outlaw, “Billy the Kid.”

Wikipedia: Young_Guns (film)

Make no mistake: Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy are proud Republicans. But they believe the party had lost sight of the ideals it believes in, like economic freedom, limited government, the sanctity of life, and putting families first. This isn’t your grandfather’s Republican party. These Young Guns of the House GOP—Cantor (the leader), Ryan (the thinker), and McCarthy (the strategist)—are ready to take their belief in the principles that have made America great and translate it into solutions that will make the future even better, solutions that will create private sector jobs, maximize individual freedom, and establish a better world for our children. This groundbreaking book is a call to action that sets forth a plan for growth, opportunity, and commitment to propel this country to prosperity. Together, the Young Guns are changing the face of the Republican party and giving us a new road map back to the American dream.

Young Guns
A New Generation of Conservative Leaders
By Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy, published by Simon & Schuster

A Faustian bargain is a pact whereby a person trades something of supreme moral or spiritual importance, such as personal values or the soul, for some worldly or material benefit, such as knowledge, power, or riches. Britannica online

When Kev sought the Speakership previously, he eighty-sixed himself by his gaffe on Benghazi and Hillary Clinton (saying the quiet part out loud) and an alleged affair (when Republicans CARED about things like that). My favorite Kev-ism is the one that came and went like a silent, deadly fart: “I think Putin pays Trump” a month before Orange Satan clinched the nomination, and we’ve been in the Twilight Zone ever since.

Kevin McCarthy said that the “President bore responsibility for the Capital Riot on January 6,” then voted with the insurrectionists who wanted to overthrow a free and fair election. He followed that up with a whirlwind tour of Butt-kissing down at the gaudy resort of the twice-impeached leader of the Republican Party in Florida. He could have invoked the 25th Amendment. He could have whipped the votes in the House from Republican members to support impeachment BOTH times! He raised money for the “Taliban 20” that voted against his Speakership, and Marjorie Taylor, “Secret Jewish Space Lasers,” found out the hard way to get what he wants – power – he would lie to even the QUEEN of MAGA. To enter into a Faustian bargain, one assumes “The Kev” had a soul to haggle with the Orange Devil from Mar-a-Lard-o in trade. Jellyfish have more spine.

“Created realities” and the vote for Speaker.

This is the first time in a century that there’s been a failed vote for Speaker. “Kev” is like the Republican Party: no agenda, no platform, and no ideology to govern. All this after copious Butt-kissing on the altar of the graven image of Orange Cheeto. The party has a problem with facts and reality. Kev is the last man standing for the “Young Guns.” The Tea Party drove out the former. Kev-o is being driven crazy in prime time.

*****

The aide said that guys like me [Suskind] were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not how the world works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and we create our own reality when we act. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and all of you will be left to study what we do.” [The New York Times Magazine] Attributed to Karl Rove, which he denies.

*****

The GOP Leader in the House cursed at his chaotic, fractious, raucous caucus, and Gunboat Barbie, Lauren Boebert, cursed him back.

Hakeem Jeffries got 212 votes (in one round), Kev 202, and Jim Jordan 20 after THREE. He failed to get elected Speaker SIX TIMES on Wednesday (by Thursday, as I type this, that count went to ten), and by the House Clerk not gaveling when time expired, it allowed them to sneak a few more votes in to get the ONE successful vote out of seven: to adjourn, and avoid at the time a seventh defeat. Nathanial Banks of Massachusetts holds the longest, most contentious record at 133 – right before the poorly-named Civil War, and I think Kev-a-Tron is going for the Guinness Book of World Records. We now have Kev-bro, or likely Steve Scalese, self-described as “David Duke without the baggage.” What did that MEAN, anyway? Even if Kev managed to limp to the Speakership, he’s already the WEAKEST Speaker in the nation’s history. We haven’t gotten to funding the government, raising the debt ceiling, or funding Ukraine against Russian aggression. Whoever’s Speaker, the next two years should be “fun.” Thanks to Jonah Goldberg, his “fecal festival” observation has become part of my lexicon. So apropos for the two-year anniversary of an insurrection that sadly involved feces and urine from barbarians.

If spineless Kev-muffins wants to “play Speaker” so badly, why doesn’t he BUY a gavel and podium at Walmart or Amazon? It would be FAR cheaper and less humiliating. He could knock himself out all day and post selfies. That is the only functionality other than breathing and going to the bathroom that the “raucous caucus” appears to have mastered. The House Republicans aren’t lawmakers: they’re the logical conclusion of electing the poorly spelled, grammatically challenged comments on Facebook.

Whatever soulless deals “the Kev” promised with the “Space Lasers Caucus,” the next Speaker, if it’s not him, will have to continue it to maintain a modicum of sanity for as long as humanly possible before like Ryan, Cantor, Boehner, and Kev-ums to leave Arkham Asylum to save it. Al Qaeda, the Taliban (original, and 20), QAnon, MAGA, and all terrorists have the same common goal: make America (not “great”) but ungovernable. If you truly believe that “Government is not the solution to our problem, the government is the problem” (Reagan), you CAN’T ALLOW it to function for anyone other than billionaires. In such a nihilistic, sadomasochistic, Murchassen-by-proxy worldview, this demonstrated chaos to elect a Speaker, without which there IS no 118th Congress, on the second anniversary of the January 6 Insurrection is not a bug: it’s a desired, psychotic feature.

This is embarrassing and has shown the American people that the slim majority the Republicans enjoy should be erased in 2024. They should not be allowed to govern until they take their jobs more seriously than their social media followers.

He’s a ‘Chaos Candidate,’ and He’d Be a Chaos President,’ Jeb Bush. Truer words have never been spoken, and the chaos has become a contagion.

At Horizon’s Edge…

An artist’s concept of New Horizons during the spacecraft’s planned encounter with Pluto and its moon Charon. The craft’s miniature cameras, radio science experiments, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers, and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto’s atmosphere in detail. Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, NASA, Planetary Science, Space Exploration

Only two spacecraft have ever left our solar system and lived to tell the tale. In 2012 and 2019, NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft respectively broke through the heliopause, the boundary at which our sun’s sphere of influence gives way to the interstellar medium. They have sent back remarkable riches from this distant location, humanity’s first foray into the limitless bounds beyond our solar system’s edge. Hot pursuit is a far more advanced vehicle, sporting improved instruments, updated optics, and even a means to sample the interstellar medium itself. New Horizons was launched from Earth in 2006 on a mission to visit Pluto, arriving in 2015 and revealing incredible details during its all-too-brief flyby. The spacecraft has continued its cruise toward interstellar frontiers ever since. It has now begun its second extended mission. It is soon set to wake up from a deep hibernation, opening a wealth of new scientific opportunities in the outer solar system. “It takes a long time to get to where our spacecraft is,” says Alice Bowman, mission operations manager for New Horizons at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Maryland. “When you have a spacecraft that is out in that part of the solar system, it is a huge asset to the scientific community. There are so many unique things that a spacecraft that is out that far can do. We definitely want to take advantage of that.”

For New Horizons, those “unique things” include unprecedented studies of the planets Uranus and Neptune, sampling of the local dust, studies of the background light in the universe, and more. The sum total will be a new phase of the mission that is “really unique and interdisciplinary in nature,” says Alan Stern, the lead on the mission at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Texas. In October, this two-year second extended mission officially began, but in 2023 it will pick up the pace as the spacecraft exits hibernation and begins its scientific program in earnest. “There were lots of good ideas for how to do things in astrophysics, heliophysics, and planetary science,” Stern says. “We took the very best of those.” There is even the tantalizing possibility of visiting another object in the Kuiper Belt, the region of asteroids and icy objects that lurks beyond Neptune, in which New Horizons has already visited one object—Arrokoth in 2019—after its Pluto encounter. Even without such a possibility, there was more than enough reason for NASA to extend the mission. “New Horizons is at a unique location in the solar system with an amazing suite of functioning instruments on board,” says Becky McCauley Rench, New Horizons program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “[It] can provide valuable insights to the heliosphere and the solar wind, astronomical observations of the cosmic background radiation, and valuable data about Uranus and Neptune that can be applied to our knowledge about ice giant planets.”

NASA’s Pluto Spacecraft Begins New Mission at the Solar System’s Edge, Jonathan O’Callaghan, Scientific American

Serendipitous Quasicrystals…

Cross-section of a fulgurite sample showing fused sand and melted conductor metal from a downed powerline. Credit: Luca Bindi et al.

Topics: Condensed Matter Physics, Energy, Materials Science

A team of researchers from Università di Firenze, the University of South Florida, California Institute of Technology, and Princeton University has found an incidence of a quasicrystal formed during an accidental electrical discharge.

In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of a quasicrystal found in a sand dune in Nebraska.

Quasicrystals, as their name suggests, are crystal-like substances. They possess characteristics not found in ordinary crystals, such as a non-repeating arrangement of atoms. To date, quasicrystals have been found embedded in meteorites and in the debris from nuclear blasts. In this new effort, the researchers found one embedded in a sand dune in Sand Hills, Nebraska.

A study of the quasicrystal showed it had 12-fold, or dodecagonal, symmetry—something rarely seen in quasicrystals. Curious about how it might have formed and ended up in the sand dune, the researchers did some investigating. They discovered that a power line had fallen on the dune, likely due to a lightning strike. They suggest the electrical surge from either the power line or the lightning could have produced the quasicrystal.

The researchers note that the quasicrystal was found inside a tubular piece of fulgurite. They suggest it was also formed during the electrical surge due to the fusing of melted sand and metal from the power line.

Quasicrystal formed during accidental electrical discharge, Bob Yirka, Phys.org

Modified Gravity…

Rotation curve of the typical spiral galaxy M 33 (yellow and blue points with error bars) and the predicted one from the distribution of the visible matter (white line). The discrepancy between the two curves is accounted for by adding a dark matter halo surrounding the galaxy. Credit: Wikipedia

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Dark Matter

Although dark matter is central to the standard cosmological model, it’s not without its issues. There continue to be nagging mysteries about the stuff, not the least of which is the fact that scientists have found no direct particle evidence of it.

Despite numerous searches, we have yet to detect dark matter particles. Some astronomers favor an alternative, such as modified Newtonian dynamics (MoND) or the modified gravity model. And a new study of galactic rotation seems to support them.

The idea of MoND was inspired by galactic rotation. Most of the visible matter in a galaxy is clustered in the middle, so you’d expect that stars closer to the center would have faster orbital speeds than stars farther away, similar to the planets of our solar system. We observe that stars in a galaxy all rotate at about the same speed. The rotation curve is essentially flat rather than dropping off. The dark matter solution is that a halo of invisible matter surrounds galaxies, but in 1983 Mordehai Milgrom argued that our gravitational model must be wrong.

At interstellar distances, the gravitational attraction between stars is essentially Newtonian. So rather than modifying general relativity, Milgrom proposed modifying Newton’s universal law of gravity. He argued that rather than the force of attraction as a pure inverse square relation, gravity has a small remnant pull regardless of distance. This remnant is only about ten trillionths of a G, but it’s enough to explain galactic rotation curves.

New measurements of galaxy rotation lean toward modified gravity as an explanation for dark matter, Brian Koberlein, Universe Today/Phys.org.