Monday, December 19, 2011

The Great Sun Jester

Holy 8-Tesla superconducting crank magnetism, Batman! Apparently it is not enough for maverick Professor Oliver Manuel to invent his own Outsider Astrophysics, in which the solar system originated as a supernova, and the sun is the supernova remnant -- a huge iron sphere with a neutron-star core and an atmosphere of superheated hydrogen, wracked by storms through which we glimpse the cooler iron surface.

Tempted perhaps by the funding and publicity available to the AGW-denialist camp, Prof. Manuel threw in his lot with them and added a supplementary hypothesis -- that changes in Earth's climate are in fact under the control of fluctuations in the solar corona (an idea that had rested in merciful desuetude since 1974).

His overtures were accepted! The denialists are hugging Manuel close to their unwarmed little hearts. A search for "Iron Sun" returns page after page of Ghits for this Citizen Astrophysicist drongo's crackpottery, much to the disappointment of certain Riddled staff who only want to look up pictures of a Scottish percussionist without receiving merciless mockery from tigris. Also the Charlie Stross novel would have provided plausible deniability.

The theory demands that a neutron star is not stable as the physicists thought -- evidently there is no such thing as a pulsar -- but instead is a repository of titanic stores of energy which it releases over billions of years in slow decay, providing 2/3 of the solar output.* The other 1/3 comes from newly-invented pathways of plasma fusion in the corona.

In fact the theory also applies to every star with a planetary system. The galaxy is evidently full of supernova remnants, and where are the pre-supernova stars? It is a mystery... like the origins of new birds-nests:
It is an extraordinary but indisputable fact that whereas an enormous number of these birds built nests last year, practically none have built nests this year.
To investigate this possibility, here at Riddled Research Laboratory we are dusting off old plans for a permanent solar station that will hover on the edge of a sunspot. Certain technical problems remain with the anti-grav, the refrigeration and the muirium-extraction apparatus, but we have Harness' word that it is possible. Of course these stations aren't cheap:

Personally I blame music lyrics for inspiring Manuel:
Into the whirlpool, where matter vanishes
Degenerate star, arm of Orion
An iron sun, the forbidden circle
It’s a mountain, it’s a black horizon
Some people might argue that BÖC were in turn inspired by Adrian Berry's forward-looking plan to create a galaxy-spanning network of hyperdrive wormholes involving artificial black holes, but this hardly gets them off the hook.

One might expect a clash between the AGW-denial claim that the Earth's atmosphere is not warming (meteorologists having faked all the evidence) and the professor's claim that the Earth is warming (under the influence of the solar chromosphere). But 'consistency' is not a priority in the Deniosphere, and those bloggers who were loudest about the fraudulence of climate scientists are also the biggest boosters for Manuel. The bat-signal goes out and they descend en masse on comment threads whenever the Iron Sun is mentioned. Perhaps they will come here! What fun!

If AGW-denialists think their case is strengthed by the support of someone best-known for raping his own children, go for it.

* Manuel also has developed his own Outsider school of nuclear physics, and is prone to popping up in discussions of alternative-energy sources to argue that the Earth's energy problems could be solved by mastering the mechanisms of neutron repulsion.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

...without receiving merciless mockery from tigris.

Good luck with that!

Kathleen said...

you left out Holograms and Generation Starship of your explanation.

Smut Clyde said...


Substance McGravitas said...

That picture at Manuel's site is not at all creepy. Neither is the link to the Erin Miller info page.

Rachel said...

I can't find any info. on Manuel's sentencing etc. Was he convicted?

ckc (not kc) said...

I'm convicted that my poor sentencing led to my failure in english.

Smut Clyde said...

Equally not-concerning: links like

Click here for alternatives to Drug Psychiatric
I urge support for the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights

But I checked a few more AGW-denial websites, and no, I was not exaggerating about the prominence of Prof. Manuel within their pantheon.

Rachel said...

He could be writing all his nonsense from jail. There's no Wikki page on him, which would have to mention his arrest and follow-up... friends in high places?

w.v. is "fulfiery"- mm hmm

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

So if I start making stupid shit up about not-science, but it supports corporate interests, then I am on the gravy train, even if I have no particular expertise?

Not asking for a friend, but I am damn tired of working for a not-living. Might as well siphon from the rich fuckers.

Smut Clyde said...

I can't find any info. on Manuel's sentencing etc.

Not gonna search. My search history is sufficiently damning already.

Smut Clyde said...

Here's a Philosophy-of-Science blog, where the blogger is interested in the Iron Sun farrago as a case-study in the Academy's reaction to an out-there idea. Manuel turns up in the comments and spends a month linking to his website, to his publications and to his photocopied pages stapled to telephone poles, while the blogger tries to explain that the topic is not so much the correctness of the Iron Sun, and more the process of being a heretic. There are visits from Manuel's fanboys, plus a lot of grumbling about the evil National Academy of Science which is like the Spanish Inquisition in the way it doesn't fund some research.

After a month of this the blogger abruptly announces:
This thread is temporarily closed to ponder a social issue of significance and whether further discussion is merited.
Sometimes ethical decisions are difficult to make as is this situation. Thus, this topic is permanently closed.

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

Citizen Astrophysicist was the Hall of Justice's least favorite superhero.

It was rumored the even the Wonder Twins often beat him up and stuffed him in their justice-lockers.

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

Birds who build Shabby-Chic nests are so '90's.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It would be kinda hard to set the controls for the heart of an iron sun.

tigris said...

Pshaw, those guys cry at soft-focus commercials. Set the controls for "Lifetime movie" and their hearts are like putty in your hands. Molten iron putty, that it: wear gloves.

tigris said...

is. I blame Professor Manuel.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

is. I blame Professor Manuel.

fish will be relieved.

Vonnie said...

Please leave my unwarmed little heart out of it m'kay?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

No, Von, when it's time to make a stew, ALL the hearts are to be included.

As well as other organ meats.