Monday, May 31, 2010

Whales Haven't Evolved In 25 Million Years

"And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good." --Genesis 1:21

Science Daily: How Whales Have Changed Over 35 Million Years.

Large whales, small whales and medium-sized whales all appeared early in the history of whales, with the large whales eating mostly plankton, small whales eating fish and medium-sized whales eating squid.

"Those differences were probably in place by 25 million years ago at the latest, and for many millions of years, they have not changed very much," said the study's lead author, Graham Slater, a National Science Foundation-funded UCLA postdoctoral scholar in Alfaro's laboratory. "It's as if whales split things up at the beginning and went their separate ways. The distribution of whale body size and diet still corresponds to these early splits."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

7 Years Of Invisible Magic Dinosaurs

New York Daily News: BP officials on Gulf oil spill: We can't stop leak until August at the earliest

If left alone, the underwater geyser would not run dry for seven years, experts say.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Electric Io

Steve Smith: Jupiter's Consort.

Io has puzzled planetary scientists for years. Electric Universe advocates are not so mystified.

The Galileo spacecraft was launched October 18, 1989 aboard the Atlantis space shuttle. Just as the Cassini mission's images and data analysis are providing substantial evidence for the Electric Universe hypothesis, Galileo performed the same service while exploring Jupiter and its family of 63 known satellites.

Galileo's power supply consisted of twin Plutonium-238 reactors that used the heat from radioactive decay to power its instruments. On September 21, 2003 the spacecraft was incinerated when it was deliberately sent into Jupiter's vast maelstrom so that it would not contaminate any of the moons, especially Europa.

Since the two Voyager space probes discovered "surprising volcanic activity" on Io, plasma physicist Wal Thornhill predicted that the plumes erupting from the so-called "volcanic vents" would be hotter than any lava fields ever measured. His prediction was confirmed when it was found that the "caldera" around the vents exceeded temperatures of 2000 Celsius.

Io orbits close in to Jupiter, so intense electromagnetic radiation bombards its surface, removing approximately one ton per second in gases and other materials. Io acts like an electrical generator as it travels through Jupiter’s plasmasphere, inducing over 400,000 volts across its diameter at more than three million amperes. That tremendous current flows across its magnetic field into the electric environment of Jupiter.

The plumes seen erupting from Io are the result of cathode arcs, electrically etching the surface and blasting sulfur dioxide "snow" up to 150 kilometers into space.

As Thornhill predicted, the most active regions of electric discharge were found to be along the edges of so-called "lava lakes,” while the remainder of the dark umbras surrounding them were extremely cold. No volcanic vents were found. Instead, what was discovered is that the plumes move across Io, as illustrated by the Prometheus hot spot that moved more than 80 kilometers since it was first imaged by Voyager 2. Galileo mission specialists were shocked when they realized that the volcanic plumes also emit ultraviolet light, characteristic of electric arcs.

Electric discharges can accelerate material to high velocity, producing uniform trajectories that then deposit it at a uniform distance. This explains why there are rings around the various caldera. Cathode erosion of Io also provides a reason why the plumes seen highlighted against the black of space possess a filamentary structure, reminiscent of Birkeland currents that have been discussed many times in these pages.

The Tvashtar "volcano" near the north pole of Io, was seen by the New Horizons probe to be shooting a plume more than 290 kilometers above the surface. A NASA press release from that time reported that "...the remarkable filamentary structure in the Tvashtar plume is similar to details glimpsed faintly in 1979 Voyager images of a similar plume produced by Io's volcano Pele. However, no previous image by any spacecraft has shown these mysterious structures so clearly."

It appears that the electrical circuit on Io is concentrating Jupiter's current flow into several "plasma guns," or dense plasma foci, as noted plasma physicist Anthony Peratt observed more than twenty years ago. "Tidal kneading" of Io is not the cause of its heat: Io is not being heated from within by friction. The most probable cause, based on observational evidence and laboratory analysis, is that Io is receiving an electrical input from Jupiter that is heating it up through electromagnetic induction.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Iceland's Volcanic Ash Was Electrically Charged

New Scientist: Icelandic volcano's ash blanket was electric.

The cloud of ash blowing south from an Icelandic volcano last month was electrically charged. It's a finding that could be exploited to build detectors to warn pilots when they are flying into danger

BP Stops Oil Flow Into Gulf of Mexico

The earth is filled with invisible dinosaurs magically subducting themselves into the mantle...=)

New Scientist: BP stops oil flow into Gulf of Mexico.

The effort to plug the flow of oil from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico has achieved a crucial milestone. BP engineers and US coastguard officials say the flow of oil into the ocean has stopped, although the well has not yet been successfully capped.

BP engineers yesterday began the so-called Top Kill operation to pump thousands of tonnes of mud into the well in an effort to fill the bore hole and block the passage of oil to the sea. Once the pressure in the bore had dropped to zero, they planned to cap the hole with concrete.

This afternoon, BP announced that the operation had succeeded in stopping the flow of oil but that there was a still small amount of pressure in the well which prevents them from capping it, according to the LA Times.

A live video feed of the leak from the bottom of the ocean now appears to show a plume of mud coming from the well.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Backwards Planets

Mel Acheson: Backwards Planets.

What force determines the direction and angle of planetary orbits?

A new study of exoplanets finds that many have orbits that are tilted relative to the equators of the stars they orbit. Some even revolve in the opposite direction (retrograde) to the rotation of the star.

Standard theory requires planets to move in the same direction as the star and to orbit in or near to the star’s equatorial plane. This is because the planets are thought to condense out of a rotating protoplanetary disc that is spun out as the star collapses from a cloud of gas.

In an electrical system, planets may form in the polar “jets” (Birkeland currents) of young stars (such as Herbig-Haro objects), or they may be ejected from active stars much like CMEs from the Sun. When the polar jet discharge quenches, the planets will “scatter like buckshot,” as seen in lab discharges. The planets may then be gravitationally captured in any configuration of orbit, although a prograde equatorial configuration is most likely.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Questioning Science Isn't Blasphemy

New Scientist: Living in denial: Questioning science isn't blasphemy.

THE epithet "denier" is increasingly used to bash anyone who dares to question orthodoxy. Among other things, deniers are accused of subordinating science to ideology. In his book Denialism: How irrational thinking hinders scientific progress, harms the planet, and threatens our lives, for example, Michael Specter argues that denialists "replace the rigorous and open-minded scepticism of science with the inflexible certainty of ideological commitment".

How ironic. The concept of denialism is itself inflexible, ideological and intrinsically anti-scientific. It is used to close down legitimate debate by insinuating moral deficiency in those expressing dissident views, or by drawing a parallel between popular pseudoscience movements and the racist extremists who dispute the Nazi genocide of Jews.

As philosopher Edward Skidelsky of the University of Exeter, UK, has argued, crying denialism is a form of ad hominem argument: "the aim is not so much to refute your opponent as to discredit his motives". The expanding deployment of the concept, he argues, threatens to reverse one of the great achievements of the Enlightenment - "the liberation of historical and scientific inquiry from dogma".

Don't get me wrong: the popular appeal of pseudoscience is undoubtedly a problem. But name-calling is neither a legitimate nor an effective response.

Take, for example, two areas in which I have had some involvement: the controversies arising from Peter Duesberg's claim that HIV does not cause AIDS, and the links between vaccines and autism alleged by the former academic gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield.

Both Duesberg and Wakefield were reputable scientists whose persistence with hypotheses they were unable to substantiate took them beyond the limits of serious science. Though they failed to persuade their scientific peers, both readily attracted supporters, including disaffected scientists, credulous journalists, charlatans, quacks and assorted conspiracy theorists and opportunist politicians.

In both cases, scientists were dilatory in responding, dismissing the movements as cranks and often appearing to believe that if they were ignored they would quietly disappear. It took five years before mainstream AIDS scientists produced a comprehensive rebuttal of Duesberg. Though child health authorities were alert to the threat of the anti-vaccine campaign, researchers were slow to respond, allowing it to gather momentum.

Social psychologist Seth Kalichman of the University of Connecticut in Storrs mounts a typical defence of this stance in his book Denying Aids: Conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and human tragedy. According to Kalichman, denialists often "cross the line between what could arguably be protected free speech". He justifies suppression of debate on the feeble grounds that this would only legitimise the deniers and that scientists' time would be better spent on research.

Such attempts to combat pseudoscience by branding it a secular form of blasphemy are illiberal and intolerant. They are also ineffective, tending not only to reinforce cynicism about science but also to promote a distrust for scientific and medical authority that provides a rallying point for pseudoscience.

As Skidelsky says, "the extension of the 'denier' tag to group after group is a development that should alarm all liberal-minded people". What we need is more debate, not less.

Violent Eruptions From Interacting Binary Stars

Science Daily: Regular Violent Eruptions from Interacting Pair of Stars.

ScienceDaily (May 24, 2010) — A team of astronomers led by Dr Gavin Ramsay of Armagh Observatory has spotted violent eruptions from an interacting pair of stars that orbit around each other every 25 minutes. Unusually, these outbursts take place at regular and predictable intervals, erupting every two months.

The new observations were made using the fully robotic Liverpool Telescope sited in the Canary Islands and the orbiting Swift observatory. The results will appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The stars are both helium-rich white dwarfs, the compact remnants that are the end state of stars like our Sun. Reflecting their location in the direction of the constellation of Draco, they are named KL Dra. They are separated by a distance equivalent to just half that between the Earth and Moon, close enough for the more massive partner to drag helium off its lighter companion.

The resulting stream of helium travels from one white dwarf and eventually lands on the other at speeds of millions of km per hour. Most of the time the material gets jammed up in a swirling disc around the accreting companion, with only a trickle landing on the star itself, causing it to quietly glow at optical, ultra-violet and X-ray energies. However, the team discovered that every two months the material in the disc gets suddenly released in a giant eruption that causes the stellar system to shine tens of times more brightly than before.

Mourinho Pledges To Smash the Star System At Real Madrid

Times Online: Mourinho pledges to smash the star system to turn Real around.

Jose Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes met with the Real Madrid director general, Jorge Valdano, yesterday to finalise the four-year contract worth £36m the club have offered the Internazionale coach. While his representative was seeing to the paperwork Mourinho was leaving everyone at the Spanish club in little doubt things will never be the same again, and assuring them they will not have his signature until he is confident there will be no outside interference as he attempts to turn them once more into a European superpower on the pitch.

"I still need to speak with certain people face to face," he said. "Having met with my representative I know the agreement is almost finalised but the decision is mine, not his, so I need to have the impressions of certain people and know exactly what it is they want from me. I want to know what they can offer so that I can begin work without any fear. I am confident I will end up signing."

Mourinho also stressed that from now on the club known for a two-tier class system of superstars and water carriers would have to become a team. He said: "The message to the players will be that they are not the stars. The star is not the coach either, the star is the team."

On the subject of Cristiano Ronaldo, he added: "We are both Portuguese, he is the best player in the world and I am one of the best coaches in the world. I want his support and lots of goals from him next season. I don't think he is very happy after having such a great season and scoring 26 goals in the league and not winning anything.

"No one can criticise Ronaldo if on his holidays he is with Paris Hilton in Los Angeles or if he buys a new Ferrari because someone who trains and plays as he does is from another planet. He is an historic footballer who is only missing the medals to become as great as Pele, Maradona and Di Stefano."

The extensive list of players now being linked with the club has lengthened considerably since the weekend. Mourinho's fondness for the Chelsea trio of Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard and his admiration of Liverpool's Steven Gerrard have seen the Premier League quartet join the growing list of possible acquisitions.

He has also been tipped to return to Inter where the likes of Diego Milito, Maicon and Esteban Cambiasso capped excellent seasons with superb Champions League final performances, and to his native Portugal for Benfica's Brazilian central defender David Luiz. But despite new signings being mooted, Mourinho has hinted that he believes he can deliver the 10th European Cup that Real crave with the same players who disappointed last season by finishing without a trophy.

He said: "Kaka and Karem Benzema are top players. I don't think the not very positive seasons they have just had is a big drama. It is something that can be changed. Benzema is only 22 and Kaka is in his prime at 27."

Milito Not For Sale

ESPN: Inter star Milito not for sale, insists Moratti.

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has warned Real Madrid and other clubs that star striker Diego Milito is not for sale.

Reports in Italy claimed the Argentina international could follow Inter coach Jose Mourinho to the Spanish capital this summer. Mourinho is set to join Real Madrid this week after two seasons in charge of the Nerazzurri.

"I only say one thing, there's a difference between Milito and our coach, Mourinho," Moratti told the club's official website.

"Mourinho has a clause in his contract by which if the clause is exercised, he can leave. However, Milito doesn't and hence, the discussion is over."

Maradona: Messi Is Better Then I Was Diego Maradona: Lionel Messi Better Than I Was.

After another stellar season with Barcelona last season, Lionel Messi has found himself constantly compared to another Argentinean great, Diego Maradona. The football legend, who is widely considered one of the best players to have ever played the game, has put the debate to rest, claiming the young phenomenon is better than he was at his prime.

Speaking to Catalan daily Sport, Argentina coach Maradona expressed his admiration for the extraordinary player, saying, “Messi is better than when I played at ‘86 World Cup. [He is] the best player in the world by far compared to the others.”

22-year-old Messi, who is the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, is expected to carry an Argentina side that struggled during the World Cup qualifying campaign. With a spectacular 47 goals and 14 assists to his name last season, it is no surprise plenty of responsibility has been placed on the youngster’s shoulders.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maicon Would Follow Mourinho To Madrid

Goal.Com: If Jose Mourinho Wants Me At Real Madrid Then I Could Go - Inter's Douglas Maicon.

Inter defender Douglas Maicon has said he wants to respect his contract, but left the door open to a Real Madrid move after Jose Mourinho announced he is leaving the club for pastures new.

"We have made history, but we knew that. We already talked about that before the match," he told the press.

"We this is a great thing for us, it's wonderful. Many congratulations and thanks to Mourinho who's a great man and coach.

"I stay at Inter as I have a contract. If he wants me at Real then we would have to see if [Massimo] Moratti agrees."

Maicon was then asked which coach he would like to see at Inter when Mourinho departs.

"Who among Rafael Benitez, Fabio Capello and Sinisa Mihajlovic? All three," he added.

Mourinho To Real Madrid

Times Online: Mourinho to quit for £40m Real Madrid deal.

JOSE MOURINHO is to take on the challenge of returning Real Madrid to the summit of European football, having done the same with Inter Milan last night. He has agreed to become the Spanish giants’ new manager this week in a £40m four-year deal. Mourinho told the Inter president, Massimo Moratti, of his decision to swap Italy for Spain after beating Bayern Munich 2-0 to win the Champions League final at Real’s Bernabeu stadium.

After the game, Mourinho said: “I want to become the only coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs.” He previously won the trophy with Porto. Last night Mourinho completed an unprecedented treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League wins. He will be paid at least £10m a year after tax — the highest salary ever paid to a football manager.

According to the terms of Mourinho’s contract at Inter, the Italian club are entitled to £14.5m in compensation, which would constitute a record “transfer fee” for a manager. There were indications yesterday, though, that Moratti would be prepared to waive part or all of that sum as a thank you to Mourinho, inset, for his achievements in two trophy-laden seasons at San Siro.

Mourinho has been promised unprecedented control at Madrid. In contrast to the transfer policy directed by club president Florentino Perez that bought Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo for record fees, their new coach will concentrate on balancing the squad by recruiting primarily in defensive areas.

The first signing will be Inter right-back Maicon, a Brazil international who has rejected approaches from Manchester City and Chelsea to continue working with Mourinho. The 28-year-old had already made Inter aware that he would leave the club after the final and is expected to command a fee of between £18m and £23m. Mourinho also wants an elite central defender and a left-back. Aleksandar Kolarov, the Serbia international he tried to sign from Lazio last summer, is his preferred recruit.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mourinho To Real Madrid?

Goal.Com: Jose Mourinho Confirms He Is Leaving Inter & Will Be The Next Manager Of Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho has confirmed he will leave Inter to manage Real Madrid after securing the Champions League trophy with the Italian club.

The Portuguese boss has guided Inter to a cup treble this year, including the Champions League, Coppa Italia and Serie A and believes he has gone as far as he can at San Siro.

"My work here is done," he said on RAI television in Italy. "I have made club history. I will leave Inter to find motivations in another big club."

When asked by German station Sat.1 if he would be joining Real Madrid, Mourinho simply answered "yes."

"Great season, incredible season," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "Not many words to describe how I feel because I am so happy, I'm so proud."

"I'm so sad because almost for sure it was my last game with Inter and Inter is my house, the same way Chelsea is my house. Chelsea, it was difficult to leave, Inter it is difficult to leave but that's life, that's football.

"After Chelsea I thought it would be impossible to have the same kind of relation with supporters," confessed Mourinho. "I found exactly the same, or we build exactly the same. So now we have two houses - Stamford Bridge, San Siro. And probably a third house, probably Santiago Bernabeu."

When asked why he was to join Madrid, Mourinho replied: "It's the only club who wants me!"

Mourinho further remarked he has no choice but to join the Spanish giants at this point in his career.

"No I don't have. I don't have a choice. Real Madrid is Real Madrid.

"Everybody knows that English football is my passion and I'll be back to England once. But a big player, a big coach - if you don't coach Real Madrid, or you don't play for Real Madrid, you have always a little space on your career. So if I do decide to come to Real Madrid then I will be a very proud man.

Further, Mourinho confirmed he wants to win the Champions League with three different clubs before returning to England.

"Yes it's done, but I don't know. That's why I don't speak with the players so that they don't change my decision, or make me cry or make me think a different way.

"But I think my target now is to win another championship, I've never won it, and win Champions League with a third club. And then come back to England.

It had been speculated the former Chelsea boss would arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer after Mourinho expressed his desire to one day manage Los Blancos.

Inter's 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich sealed the club's first success in Europe's premier competition for 45 years.

It has been reported Mourinho has an agreement with Inter president Massimo Moratti which will see him leave for free now that Inter have secured the Champions League trophy.

However, Real would be forced into paying upwards of €7million if Moratti is not willing to let Mourinho go.

Mourinho did go some way to cloud the issue in later interviews. In his native Portuguese, Mourinho told RTP: "I have not spoken with anyone, but I know there is interest from Real Madrid and it is true I am also interested."

Inter Wins Champions League

New York Times: Inter Milan Wins Champions League Title.

MADRID — As the stadium loudspeakers announced the lineup for the Champions League final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, the name of José Mourinho, Inter’s Portuguese coach, drew a thunderous shout of approval from the section of fans in Inter’s black and blue.

For those fans, Saturday night was probably their last chance to celebrate the man they call Mou, who crowned another remarkable coaching season by leading Inter to a 2-0 victory at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium.

It was Inter’s first triumph in Europe’s most prestigious club soccer competition since winning consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965, and it came in the kind of match that will almost certainly convince big-spending Real Madrid that Mourinho can help secure championships after this year’s trophyless season.

Even before Inter’s victory, Real Madrid was rumored to want Mourinho on its bench.

Mourinho, who also won the Champions League with Porto in 2004, seemed to agree that Madrid would probably be his next home.

“If you don’t coach Real Madrid then you always have a gap in your career,” he said.

By the final whistle, Mourinho’s tactical choices had certainly paid off.

Despite a big advantage in ball possession, Bayern never managed to pierce Inter’s defensive wall, marshaled by its two South American central defenders, the Brazilian Lúcio and the Argentine Walter Samuel. As Bayern tried to push forward, it left itself exposed to lethal counter-attacks, spearheaded by Inter’s Argentine forward Diego Milito, who scored both goals.

In the late 1990s, Mourinho was an assistant to Bayern Manager Louis Van Gaal at Barcelona. On Saturday, Van Gaal acknowledged the superiority of Mourinho’s more defensive approach.

“I’m very happy for Mourinho that he won with this style of play,” he said. “Attacking is much more difficult than defending — and so many German teams that we face also opt for defending. But Inter does it a bit better.”

Mourinho dismissed as “provocation” the suggestions that Inter managed to win only by playing defensively.

“We have demonstrated our identity throughout this Champions League,” he said. “We deserved this title.”

Milito’s performance was the climax of a season in which he justified his signing last summer from the smaller club Genoa. In recent weeks, Milito scored the decisive goals in Inter’s Italian Cup triumph over Roma and in the final match of the Serie A season, a victory that clinched the league title for Inter.

In the 35th minute Saturday, Inter goalkeeper Júlio César sent a powerful kick upfield, which Milito headed to Wesley Sneijder. Sneijder, Inter’s Dutch playmaker, quickly returned the pass, and Milito sent a perfectly timed chip over Bayern goalkeeper Hans Jörg Butt. On the second goal, in the 70th minute, Milito collected the ball far from the Bayern goal and charged forward with no obvious support in sight. Choosing once more a direct path to goal, he ran at the last defender, Belgium’s Daniel Van Buyten, bamboozled him with a beautiful dribble and put the ball in the net.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hubble Finds a Star Devouring a World

Science Daily: Hubble Finds a Star Eating a Planet.

ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010) — The hottest known planet in the Milky Way galaxy may also be its shortest-lived world. The doomed planet is being eaten by its parent star, according to observations made by a new instrument on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). The planet may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured.

The planet, called WASP-12b, is so close to its sunlike star that it is superheated to nearly 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit and stretched into a football shape by enormous tidal forces. The atmosphere has ballooned to nearly three times Jupiter's radius and is spilling material onto the star. The planet is 40 percent more massive than Jupiter.

This effect of matter exchange between two stellar objects is commonly seen in close binary star systems, but this is the first time it has been seen so clearly for a planet.

"We see a huge cloud of material around the planet, which is escaping and will be captured by the star. We have identified chemical elements never before seen on planets outside our own solar system," says team leader Carole Haswell of The Open University in Great Britain.

Haswell and her science team's results were published in the May 10, 2010 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Barcelona Captures David Villa

BBC: Striker David Villa moves to Barcelona from Valencia.

David Villa will be unveiled as a Barcelona player on Friday after completing a £34.2m move from Valencia.

The Spain international has signed a four-year deal and is the first summer capture for the Catalan club, with Cesc Fabregas also said to be a target.

Villa, 28, is due in Barcelona on Thursday and is booked for a medical.

The top scorer at Euro 2008 despite missing the final through injury, he had reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.

The man from Asturias, in the north of Spain, is a regular in his country's first team and will be highly fancied to make a big impact at the World Cup.

His arrival at Barcelona is likely to lead to increased speculation over the futures of strikers Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

After a board meeting at Valencia on Wednesday morning, Manuel Llorente, the president of the club known as "Los Che", said they had accepted Barca's offer.

"We have sold David Villa to Barcelona for 40 million euros," he told a news conference at the Mestalla.

"As everyone knows we could have done this deal last year but we thought at that moment it was best to keep our squad together to try and get into the Champions League.

"We have achieved that aim and finished third in the league, and he has contributed a lot towards this. We think it is a good sale and necessary for the economic situation of the club."

Barcelona's outgoing president Joan Laporta claimed on Tuesday the club were "satisfied" with the 21-goal contribution of Ibrahimovic in his first season since arriving from Inter Milan.

Henry appears to be on the verge of a move to Major League Soccer, with Laporta revealing there was "a lot of interest" in the 32-year-old French forward from the United States.

Stellar Blast Sparks Controversy

BBC: Stellar blast sparks controversy.

Astronomers have put forward opposing explanations for what could be a new type of exploding star or supernova.

Supernova 2005E was initially picked up by telescopes back in 2005 and has been carefully examined by scientists.

They now report, in the journal Nature, that the explosion does not match known types of supernova.

In the same issue of the journal, however, another research team offers a different explanation for a very similar stellar phenomenon.

Until now, two main types of supernova had been documented.

The first (type Ia) is caused by the violent thermonuclear explosion of an old, dead star - or a white dwarf.

Type II supernovae are triggered when a young, massive star runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses under its own weight.

In this case, the researchers say that the amount of material hurled out from SN 2005E was too small for it to have come from an exploding young giant.

And its location - far from the busy "stellar nurseries" where new stars form - suggested that this was an older star that had had time to move away from its birthplace.

The material being blasted into space by SN 2005E also contained unusually high levels of the elements calcium and titanium.

Dr Hagai Perets, who led the study, began his examination of the strange supernova whilst working at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

He is now based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts, US, and said: "It was clear that we were seeing a new type of supernova."

But another research team, led by Professor Koji Kawabata from Hiroshima University in Japan examined a supernova called SN 2005cz, which had very similar properties.

Professor Kawabata and his team argued that this event was in fact a collapsing giant.

"These properties are best explained by a core-collapse supernova at the low-mass end of the range of massive stars that explode," he and his colleagues wrote in their paper.

They say that this star represents a boundary between stars that end their lives with a gigantic supernova explosion and those that do not explode.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scraps of Cosmic Electricity

Mel Acheson: Scraps of Cosmic Electricity.

Barnard’s Galaxy is a loose assemblage of a few million stars. (In contrast, the Milky Way is estimated to have several hundred billion.) Because of its shapelessness and small size, it’s classified as an irregular dwarf, one of several dwarf galaxies in the Local Group, a cluster that includes the Milky Way. It lies beyond the center of the Milky Way from us, about as far away as its more famous big sister—or perhaps its mother—M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.

The origin and evolution of dwarf galaxies are not well understood by conventional theory. Speculations attribute them to “close encounters with or ‘digestion’ by other galaxies.” Gradually over millions of years, the feeble caress of gravity is alleged to disturb clouds of gas. The gas collapses into stars, the pressure triggers nuclear fusion, and the stars burn themselves into explosions that send off “ripples of heated matter.” The results are the “regions of rich star formation and curious nebulae” that dot the image.

In the Electric Universe model, Barnard’s Galaxy is understood in the context of intergalactic plasma discharges—a cluster-sized lightning bolt—from M31. The pinch effect of the current pulls in material from the intergalactic medium as well as “jetting” material from galactic cores. It confines and condenses this material into the hydrogen clouds, dwarf galaxies, and high-redshift quasars scattered along a line from the spin axis of M31 toward the Milky Way. (See the “mother” link above.)

As we know from lab experiments, such discharges are messy. They twist around and throw off wisps of plasma. Those heteromacs tend to reproduce at smaller scale the same evolution of instabilities that are seen in the larger-scale channel. At the galactic scale, those wisps would be the irregular dwarf galaxies around the periphery of the primary discharge channel.

They move in response to the electromagnetic forces generated by the discharge, which can be many orders of magnitude greater than gravitational forces. In consequence, the velocities of the galactic wisps may be quite different from what would be expected—or explainable—from gravity. Keeping gravity as the only operative force requires the invention of large amounts of unseen “dark matter” to make up the difference.

These discharges have high voltage differentials, not only along the primary current channel but also within the many induced secondary and tertiary channels along which stars form. The differentials accelerate charged particles just as a particle accelerator does in a lab. In regions of increased density where collisions are apt to occur, such as at the surfaces of stars, nuclear fusion occurs and heavier elements build up. The species and amounts will vary with such factors as the power of the current, so the stars in each wisp may have a different composition. This has been observed to the puzzlement of conventional theorists.

Although the Electric Universe model is conceptually more accurate at explaining and predicting observations, it is not as well suited to mathematical elaboration as conventional theories. Electrical parameters and such things as double layers often require in situ measurements to quantify them. The Electric Universe theorist must be comfortable with open questions and with the humility of “I don’t know.”

Electrical explanations may not engender Emperors of Astronomy to promulgate mathematically precise Ultimate Answers, but neither will the theorists be embarrassed by having the nakedness of obsolete and bankrupt theories disclosed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Whimsical Science

Mel Acheson: Whimsical Science.

The Sculptor Wall itself is an artifact of assuming that a galaxy’s redshift (z) is a measure of its distance. With that assumption, the Wall stretches across the universe from near to far. The raw data, of course, only indicates that it stretches from low-z to high-z. With Arp’s assumption that high-z objects are ejected from low-z ones and evolve toward low-z themselves, the Wall is a family grouping of relatively nearby galaxies.

The newly discovered material between the galaxies has been named WHIM (Warm Hot Intergalactic Medium). There’s an already existing name for it—plasma—but the invention of a new name helps to obscure the electrical implications. The artist’s license also permits the WHIM to be drawn as a fog bank rather than the more likely filamentary cell.

Electrically discharging galaxies embedded in cells of plasma is a phenomenon that can be studied (on a smaller scale) in plasma labs on Earth. Such a study would take astronomy a giant step toward becoming a science and away from whimsical artistry.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Madrid, Cabron, Saluda El Campeon!

Hindustan Times: Déjà vu: Barcelona win it all over again.

Pep Guardiola proved to be Real Madrid's nemesis once again as his Barcelona side defeated their expensive 'Galacticos' in both 'El Clasicos' and retained La Liga on the final day of the season. Barca beat Valladolid 4-0, while Real were held to a 1-1 draw at Malaga.

A record 99 points saw Barca crowned league champions ahead of Real and the club also won the European Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and a first ever World Club championship. Real ended up empty-handed as Guardiola masterminded two 'El Clasico' wins (1-0, 2-0) over Madrid.

Inter Wins Scudetto

Looking forward to May 22nd game against Munich.

ESPN: Milito strike gives Inter the Scudetto.

Inter Milan were crowned Italian champions for the fifth consecutive season on Sunday, but Jose Mourinho's side had their nerves tested as Claudio Ranieri's Roma pushed them all the way.

With Inter still being held away at relegated Siena, Roma took a 2-0 lead against Chievo thanks to two emphatic finishes from Mirko Vucinic and Daniele de Rossi and, as things stood, were leading Inter on the clubs' head-to-head record.

But Diego Milito scored his 28th goal of the season in all competitions when finishing expertly past Gianluca Curci after 57 minutes to give Inter the 1-0 win and with it the Scudetto.

The result means they finish two points ahead of Roma, and have the chance to win an historic Treble when they play Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. This was Inter's second title under coach Jose Mourinho, and guarantees the Nerazzurri a place in the record books as the first team to win five back-to-back league titles since Juventus achieved the feat in the 1930s.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Electrically Charged Water Found In Space

Outerspace is not empty space.

Space.Com: Weird Water in Space is Electrically Charged. (Hat tip: Fungus)

A new 'phase' of water that is electrically charged has been discovered in space for the first time.

The weird space water vapor was discovered in an interstellar dust cloud by the European Space Agency's Herschel space observatory.

Unlike the three more familiar phases of water – namely solid ice, liquid water and gaseous steam – this newfound 'phase' doesn't occur naturally on Earth.

n the birth clouds surrounding young stars, ultraviolet light is pumping through the gas, and this irradiation can knock an electron out of the water molecule, leaving it with an electrical charge.

"This detection of ionized water vapor came as a surprise," said Arnold Benz of ETH Zurich in Switzerland. "It tells us that there are violent processes taking place during the early birth stages which lead to widespread energetic radiation throughout the cloud."

The detection of this weird form of water was announced Thursday during a major scientific symposium held at the European Space Agency (ESA), which runs the observatory, in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Seaweed Not Humans Cause Dead Coral

Science Daily: Killer Seaweed: First Proof That Chemicals from Seaweeds Damage Coral on Contact.

ScienceDaily (May 13, 2010) — Field studies have shown for the first time that several common species of seaweeds in both the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans can kill corals upon contact using chemical means.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Maiden Voyage of Modern Solar Sail Ship

New Scientist: Maiden voyage for first [sic] true [modern] space sail.

ICARUS'S wings melted when he flew too close to the sun. Here's hoping a similar fate doesn't befall his namesake, the solar sail due to be unfurled by Japan's aerospace exploration agency (JAXA) next week. If all goes to plan, it will be the first spacecraft fully propelled by sunlight.

Solar sails like IKAROS, short for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun, aim to move forward by harnessing the momentum of photons colliding with it. The idea may be decades old, but solar sails have remained largely untested. Several sails have been unfurled in space to test deployment, and spacecraft like NASA's Mercury probe, Messenger, have used the pressure of sunlight to alter trajectories. But no spacecraft has used a sail as its primary means of propulsion.

Made of polyimide resin, IKAROS's sail measures 20 metres from corner to corner, but is just 0.0075 millimetres thick. To survive the launch and the trip into space, the gossamer sail will be folded accordion-style, then wrapped around the centre of the spacecraft.

Neanderthals Not The Only Apes Humans Bred With

New Scientist: Neanderthals not the only apes humans bred with.

A LONG-awaited rough draft of the Neanderthal genome has revealed that our own DNA contains clear evidence that early humans interbred with Neanderthals.

Such interminglings have been suspected in the past, but there's more: Neanderthals were probably not the only other Homo species early Homo sapiens mixed with.

These findings call into question the familiar story that modern humans left Africa around 100,000 years ago and swept aside all other Homo species as they made their way around the globe. "It was a very simple story," says João Zilhão at the University of Bristol, UK. "Its simplicity suggested it would not be true." A more likely scenario is that as H. sapiens migrated, they met and interbred with other Homo species that have all since died out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Smaller Earth Not McDonalds Explains Giant Size of Dinosaurs

"The idea of an earth which is constant and unchanging has been restated so often throughout history that it has now become established as a firm fact. It needs no proof -- which is lucky since there is none." -- Stephen Hurrell, engineer, April 2006

The bozo clowns of mainstream pseudoscience are confused about the cause of the giant size of the dinosaurs. A smaller Earth and less gravity explains the giant size of the dinosaurs, not McDonalds: Jurassic Fast Food Was a Key to Giant Dinosaurs.

ScienceDaily (May 11, 2010) — Why were the sauropod dinosaurs able to get so much larger than today's terrestrial animals?

A research group led by the University of Bonn seems to have solved this puzzle. According to this research Jurassic fast food culture was a key to gigantism. The giant dinosaurs did not chew their food -- they just gulped it down.

The results of the researchers' years of work are now being published in the journal Biological Reviews.
For a scientific explanation see here: Hurrell, S., Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth, 1994

And also see here: Dinosaurs and Gravity.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cometary Dust Found In Atlantis

Science Daily: Cometary Dust in Antarctica?

ScienceDaily (May 10, 2010) — A new family of extraterrestrial particles, probably of cometary origin, has been identified for the first time in snow in Central Antarctica.

Discovered by researchers from the Center for Nuclear Spectrometry and Mass Spectrometry (CSNSM) (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud 11), attached to IN2P3 (Institut national de physique nucléaire et de physique des particules), the micrometeorites, which are remarkably well preserved, are made up of organic matter containing small assemblages of minerals from the coldest and most remote regions of the Solar System. This work is published in the journal Science.

The French-Italian scientific base Concordia is located at Dome C in the central region of the Antarctic continent. This is one of the most remote places in the world, where the amount of dust of terrestrial origin is extremely small.

Hindu Yogi Baffles Scientists

AFP: Prahlad Jani baffles scientists as he proves he does not eat or drink - ever. (Hat tip: Fungus)

AN 83-year-old Indian holy man who says he has spent seven decades without food or water has astounded a team of military doctors who studied him during a two-week observation period.

Prahlad Jani spent a fortnight in a hospital in the western India state of Gujarat under constant surveillance from a team of 30 medics equipped with cameras and closed circuit television.

During the period, he neither ate nor drank and did not go to the toilet.

``We still do not know how he survives,'' neurologist Sudhir Shah told reporters after the end of the experiment.

``It is still a mystery what kind of phenomenon this is.''

The long-haired and bearded yogi was sealed in a hospital in the city of Ahmedabad in a study initiated by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the state defence and military research institute.

The DRDO hopes that the findings, set to be released in greater detail in several months, could help soldiers survive without food and drink, assist astronauts or even save the lives of people trapped in natural disasters.

''(Jani's) only contact with any kind of fluid was during gargling and bathing periodically during the period,'' G. Ilavazahagan, director of India's Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), said in a statement.

Jani has since returned to his village near Ambaji in northern Gujarat where he will resume his routine of yoga and meditation. He says that he was blessed by a goddess at a young age, which gave him special powers.

During the 15-day observation, which ended on Thursday, the doctors took scans of Jani's organs, brain, and blood vessels, as well as doing tests on his heart, lungs and memory capacity.

``The reports were all in the pre-determined safety range through the observation period,'' Shah told reporters at a press conference last week.

Other results from DNA analysis, molecular biological studies and tests on his hormones, enzymes, energy metabolism and genes will take months to come through.

``If Jani does not derive energy from food and water, he must be doing that from energy sources around him, sunlight being one,'' said Shah.

``As medical practitioners we cannot shut our eyes to possibilities, to a source of energy other than calories.''

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Barcelona Wins Again

CNN: Barcelona edge closer to La Liga title.

(CNN) -- The battle for the La Liga title between Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid will go down to the last day of the season, after wins from both teams on Saturday insured the Catalan's slender one-point lead over their rivals at the top of the division was maintained.

Barcelona were in imperious form in the first half of their 3-2 away win at Sevilla, with Argentine striker Lionel Messi continuing his prolific record in front of goal, claiming his 45th strike of the season after just five minutes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Is Russia Preparing For Extraterrestrial Disclosure?

Examiner: Is Russia preparing for extraterrestrial disclosure?

In an extraordinary television interview, the Governor of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who is also President of the World Chess Federation, claimed that in 1997 he was taken from his penthouse apartment on board an extraterrestrial vehicle. Ilyumzhinov claims that the extraterrestrials he met were humanoid and gave him a tour of their ship, and even took him to another world. According to Ilyumzhinov, his experience is backed by three witnesses who searched for him at his home after he had boarded the alien spaceship. Most revealing is that Ilyumzhinov appeared on Russia’s no.1 rated television station, Channel One, which is 51% controlled by the Russian government. The interviewer, Vladimir Pozner, began the segment with questions about Ilyumzhinov’s experience. This reveals that the host and producers knew in advance of what had happened, and wished to discuss it on air. Significantly, there was no censorship of Ilyumzhinov’s experience which was immediately made available on the Channel One website. At the very least, this signifies that the Russian government remains open to public debate on extraterrestrial life sparked by its most prominent television station. More importantly, the airing of Ilyumzhinov’s experience may signal a covert attempt by Russian officials to prepare its citizens for eventual public disclosure of extraterrestrial life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sex With Neanderthals

Science Daily: Evidence of Interbreeding With Modern Humans.

Among the findings, published in the May 7 issue of Science, is evidence that shortly after early modern humans migrated out of Africa, some of them interbred with Neanderthals, leaving bits of Neanderthal DNA sequences scattered through the genomes of present-day non-Africans.

"We can now say that, in all probability, there was gene flow from Neanderthals to modern humans," said the paper's first author, Richard E. (Ed) Green of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Inter Wins Coppa Italia

Telegraph: Wesley Sneijder injury leaves Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho fretting.

Inter's 1-0 win over AS Roma in Wednesday's Cup showpiece was the first step of what could be an unprecedented Italian treble with the league title and Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 22 also in Mourinho's sights. ...

"Obviously I'm worried about Sneijder, we still have three games left to play and I don't know when he'll be back. It's a very difficult situation," Mourinho said.

The game, the fifth time the two sides had met in the Cup final in six years, was full of nasty fouls and minor brawls and finally boiled over late on when Roma captain Francesco Totti was sent off for an outrageous kick on Mario Balotelli.

"It's very hard for a final to be a great footballing spectacle and that's what we saw this evening, there was too much tension. What Totti did can happen, it's not my place to criticise but he lost his head," Mourinho added.

"I did not like how the game started. There was too much aggression, what happened to Sneijder was an obvious example."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Repost: The Importance of Crude Oil In Our Oceans

Science Daily: Natural Petroleum Seeps Release Equivalent Of Up To 80 Exxon Valdez Oil Spills.

ScienceDaily (May 18, 2009) — Twenty years ago, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was exiting Alaska's Prince William Sound when it struck a reef in the middle of the night. What happened next is considered one of the nation's worst environmental disasters: 10.8 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the pristine Alaskan waters, eventually covering 11,000 square miles of ocean.

Now, imagine 8 to 80 times the amount of oil spilled in the Exxon Valdez accident.

According to new research by scientists from UC Santa Barbara and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), that's how much oil has made its way into sediments offshore from petroleum seeps near Coal Oil Point in the Santa Barbara Channel. Their research, reported in an article being published in the May 15 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, documents how the oil is released by the seeps, carried to the surface along a meandering plume, and then deposited on the ocean floor in sediments that stretch for miles northwest of Coal Oil Point.

In addition, the research reveals that the oil is so degraded by the time it gets buried in the sea bed that it's a mere shell of the petroleum that initially bubbles up from the seeps. "These were spectacular findings," said Christopher Reddy, a marine chemist at WHOI and one of the co-authors of the new paper.

Other co-authors include UCSB's David Valentine, associate professor of earth science; and Libe Washburn, professor of geography; and Emily Peacock and Robert K. Nelson, both of WHOI.

The lead author is Christopher Farwell, who at the time of the research was an undergraduate studying chemistry at UCSB. Inspired by this project, Farwell has changed his career path and is now a graduate student at UCSB studying marine science and earth science.

In an earlier paper published in 2008, Valentine and Reddy documented how microbes devour many of the compounds in the oil emanating from the seeps. The new study examines the final step in the life cycle of the oil.

"One of the natural questions is: What happens to all of this oil?" Valentine said. "So much oil seeps up and floats on the sea surface. It's something we've long wondered. We know some of it will come ashore as tar balls, but it doesn't stick around. And then there are the massive slicks. You can see them, sometimes extending 20 miles from the seeps. But what is really the ultimate fate?"

Based on their previous research, Valentine and Reddy surmised that the oil was sinking "because this oil is heavy to begin with," Valentine said. "It's a good bet that it ends up in the sediments because it's not ending up on land. It's not dissolving in ocean water, so it's almost certain that it is ending up in the sediments."

An all-night sampling marathon on the research ship R/V Atlantis, funded by the National Science Foundation, provided the means to test that hypothesis. With Farwell and Reddy leading the way, the team used what Reddy called an "old school" sampling device to take 16 sediment samples from the ocean floor, following a carefully calculated path mapped out by Farwell. The researchers were hoping that their route, described by Farwell as a "rectangle along the coast from Santa Barbara to Point Conception," would match the trail of the plume. Farwell's calculations were perfect, Valentine said. The 16-point route yielded an unmistakable pattern of oil-saturated sediment all along the ship's path.

The scientists then painstakingly analyzed the samples using Reddy's comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatograph (GCxGC). "What we saw is that we can link the seep oils to the oils in the sediment," Valentine said. "We can do that through the composition of select molecules that are specific to the oils from the seeps. So, being able to link them, and being able to quantify how much is there, we can see the pattern of the oil. It's coming from the seeps."

Washburn, who has been using radio waves to map ocean currents off Santa Barbara for a number of years, provided additional evidence. "Libe took a seven-year average of surface current flow in the region, and plotted that out," Valentine said. "It matched perfectly with our plume."

This research proved to be an extension of the 2008 study by Valentine and Reddy: that the oil has indeed degraded, largely eaten away by microbes, before it settles back to the ocean floor and becomes buried.

"For all of these samples, the bacteria seem to hit a common wall, where they don't eat anymore," Valentine said. "In the previous study, we were looking at subsurface biodegradation where there is no oxygen. Now, you still have thousands of compounds in that oil, but now we're seeing all of the evaporation and dissolution that happens to the slick, and then the biodegradation happens in the slick with oxygen present, and then when it falls to the sea floor, it continues to be biodegraded. All the oil seems to be biodegraded to the same point and then it just stops."

"It's dramatic how much the oil loses in this life cycle," Reddy said. "It's almost like someone who has lost 400 pounds."

It's the amount of residual oil that made it to the ocean floor that surprised all of the researchers. "Based on what we found in the sample cores at our sites, we calculated the amount of hydrocarbon in the whole area," Valentine said. "We have to make assumptions about how deep the sediment is, so we assume a range of between 50 centimeters and 5 meters. We come out with 8 to 80 Exxon Valdezes worth of oil, just in this area."

"When we got reviews for the paper, one reviewer said it should actually be more, because of how much has been degraded out," Farwell said. "The amount that actually seeped out is more like 11 to 110 Exxon Valdezes, just in this area."

Washburn thinks that this research will resonate among scientists who have studied oil. "I think it's giving us a lot of insight into the fate of oil and hydrocarbons in the ocean," the UCSB oceanographer said. "There may also be some applications for oil spills."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Microscope Capable of Seeing Atoms

Science Daily: New Microscope Able to 'See' Atoms for First Time: Atomic Structure of Tiny Virus Imaged.

ScienceDaily (May 3, 2010) — UCLA researchers report in the April 30 edition of the journal Cell that they have imaged a virus structure at a resolution high enough to effectively "see" atoms, the first published instance of imaging biological complexes at such a resolution.

The research team, led by Hong Zhou, UCLA professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, used cryo-electron microscopy to image the structure at 3.3 angstroms. An angstrom is the smallest recognized division of a chemical element and is about the distance between the two hydrogen atoms in a water molecule.

The study, the researchers say, demonstrates the great potential of cryo-electron microscopy, or Cryo-EM, for producing extremely high-resolution images of biological samples in their native environment.

"This is the first study to determine an atomic resolution structure through Cryo-EM alone," said Xing Zhang, a postdoctoral candidate in Zhou's group and lead author of the Cell paper. "By proving the effectiveness of this microscopy technique, we have opened the door to a wide variety of biological studies."

With traditional light microscopy, a magnified image of a sample is viewed through a lens. Some samples, however, are too small to diffract visible light (in the 500 to 800 nm range, or 5,000 to 8,000 angstroms) and therefore cannot be seen. To image objects at the sub-500 nm scale, scientists must turn to other tools, such as atomic force microscopes, which use an atomically thin tip to generate an image by probing a surface, in much the same way a blind person reads by touching Braille lettering.

With electron microscopy, another sub-500 nm technology, a beam of electrons is fired at a sample, passing through empty areas and bouncing off dense areas. A digital camera reads the path of the electrons passing through the sample to create a two-dimensional projection image of the sample. By repeating this process at hundreds of different angles, a computer can construct a three-dimensional image of the sample at a very high resolution.

Zhou is faculty director of the Electron Imaging Center for Nanomachines (EICN) at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute, which is using cryo-electron microscopy to create 3-D reconstructions of nano-machineries, nano-devices and biological nano-structures, such as viruses.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Recent Observations Show Dark Matter Unobserved Again

"It's not that most of the matter and energy in the universe is dark, but that most cosmologists are totally in the dark about the real nature of the universe." -- Wallace Thornhill, physicist, October 2006

American Physical Society: Trouble for dark matter explanations of excess cosmic positrons.

Recent reports of an apparent excess of high-energy positrons in cosmic rays have received much interest in the particle physics and astrophysics communities, largely because of the possibility that the excess may result from the annihilation of dark matter particles. However, the annihilation cross section inferred from the relic density of dark matter appears to be too small by two to three orders of magnitude to explain the excess. It has been pointed out that if the dark matter particles interact with a light force-carrying boson, there can be, as a result, an enhancement of annihilation at the lower velocities characteristic of dark matter today [1, 2]. Therefore, it was suggested that the relatively smaller cross section needed to account for the relic density could possibly be reconciled with the larger annihilation rates needed to explain the positron excess.

In a paper appearing in Physical Review Letters, Jonathan L. Feng, Manoj Kaplinghat, and Hai-Bo Yu of the University of California, Irvine, in the US point out problems with this explanation: The enhancement is proportional to the coupling of dark matter to the force carrier, and if the coupling is large enough to give the needed enhancement, then it is too large to be consistent with the relic density, so the desired reconciliation cannot be achieved. Moreover, for very light force carriers, self-interactions of the dark matter in models of this type lead to spherical galactic halos of dark matter, inconsistent with observations of elliptical halos. Unless a way around these problems can be found, this approach to explaining the positron excess seems ruled out.
Feng, J., et al., Halo-Shape and Relic-Density Exclusions of Sommerfeld-Enhanced Dark Matter Explanations of Cosmic Ray Excesses.

Dark matter with Sommerfeld-enhanced annihilation has been proposed to explain observed cosmic ray positron excesses in the 10 GeV to TeV energy range. We show that the required enhancement implies thermal relic densities that are too small to be all of dark matter. We also show that the dark matter is sufficiently self-interacting that observations of elliptical galactic dark matter halos exclude large Sommerfeld enhancement for light force carriers. Resonant Sommerfeld enhancement does not modify these conclusions, and the astrophysical boosts required to resolve these discrepancies are disfavored, especially when significant self-interactions suppress halo substructure.