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The Galactosphere

TTP, May 9, 2007

We’re going for a wild ride here, starting on a log floating down a river, then go on a fling through the galaxy. On the way, we’ll examine the extinction of the dinosaurs. We’ll end up applying aikido to astrophysics as a way to de-subsidize the glowarmers.

Glowarmers – those who believe in the religion of Man-Made (“Anthropogenic”) Global warming – argue that:

  1. The earth’s climate is getting dangerously warmer due to “greenhouse gases” that hold heat in the atmosphere so it can’t escape into frigid space…
  2. The greenhouse gas primarily responsible for this “greenhouse effect” causing global warming is carbon dioxide…
  3. Human energy production and consumption (e.g., coal-fired power plants, internal combustion engines) is the primary emitter of the additional carbon dioxide causing the global warming…
  4. Thus the solution to global warming is the drastic reduction of human carbon dioxide emissions.


This argument is so willfully ignorant of basic science that it cannot be attributed to stupidity.  Indeed, a great many glowarmers are highly intelligent.  It must be attributed to an ego-trip of absolutely monumental magnitude, of genuinely pathological proportions.

So lunatic enormous that the glowarmers’ egos are like the ultimate joke example of egomania, the flea with a hard-on.

The Egomaniacal Flea who is lying on his back on a log floating down a river admiring his erection, an erection he perceives to be so enormous that when the log approaches a drawbridge across the river he yells out, “Raise the bridge!”

The glowarmers are like the flea because – setting aside the wholesale misperception of how our atmosphere absorbs solar energy – carbon dioxide is a trace greenhouse gas, and the portion of it that’s man-made is a trace of this trace.


Fully 95% of greenhouse gases is water vapor, which glowarmer apocalyptic computer models ignore.  While there is less water vapor in drier climates like the Arctic and more in the tropics, averaged for all locations water vapor is between 2 and 3% of the atmosphere, while carbon dioxide levels are 0.04%.

There is sixty times as much water vapor, on average, in the air than CO2, which is why CO2 accounts for 3.6% of the “greenhouse effect” (water vapor accounts for 95% while methane, nitrous oxide, and other gases make the remaining 1.4%).

But of course most CO2 is produced naturally, such as by plants and the oceans, over 96.7% in fact.  Human activity (those cursed gasoline engines in our cars, etc.) accounts for only some 3.2% of CO2 in the planet’s air.

If you multiply 3.6% (0.036) times 3.2% (0.032), you get mankind’s carbon dioxide contribution to the total greenhouse effect presently warming the earth:  slightly more than 1/10th of 1%.  One tenth of one percent.  That’s our total contribution.

All of the demands to de-industrialize America, drive less, “save energy,” use less toilet paper, on and hairshirt self-laceration on, is to reduce that 3.2% of 3.6%, that infinitesimal one tenth of one percent.  Raise the bridge!

As the evidence continues to overwhelmingly mount that the main driver of “climate change” – the actual ship in the river needing the bridge raised instead of the flea on the log with his microscopic weenie – is the sun’s magnetic activity preventing cosmic ray-induced cloud formation (see The Death of the Argument for Man Made Global Warming, October 2006), an astounding finding of astrophysics has just emerged.


We all know what nailed the dinosaurs 65 mya (million years ago).  Paleontologists call it the K-T extinction because it correlates with the K-T geological boundary ending the Cretaceous, which started 144 mya (“K” to distinguish it from the Carboniferous, 359-299 mya; “T” for Tertiary, 65-1.8 mya).

A meteorite six miles in diameter slammed into the present Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico with an energy of 100 trillion tons of TNT (or more than four billion Hiroshima-size atomic bombs), spraying a layer of the rare element iridium around the world as evidence.

We all know this – but what’s less known is the K-T is only one of several mass extinctions life on earth has suffered over the last 540 million years for which we have a fossil record (there may have been earlier ones but critters then didn’t have hard body parts to fossilize).

The worst was the “Great Dying” of the Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) extinction 251 mya, when 96% of every species in the oceans and 70% of every species on land became extinct.

Yet there is no evidence that these other mass extinctions were caused by a giant meteorite.  What caused them has been a mystery to science – and now the mystery seems to have been solved.


It was solved by two guys in Kansas.

So I direct your attention to their paper, Do Extragalactic Cosmic Rays Induce Cycles in Fossil Diversity?, by Mikhail Medvedev and Adrian Melott, Professors of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Kansas.

It turns out that mass extinctions are cyclical – that is, they occur roughly every 64 million years or so – and this cycle correlates with our solar system’s position in the galaxy.

Our solar system is in an arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.  As the galaxy rotates with the arms spinning around the center, the solar system see-saws up and down with respect to the plane of the arm’s rotation.  The solar system doesn’t stay flat in the center of the plane of rotation (the “galactic disk”) but swings above it then back down below it in a cycle of… you guessed it, about 64 million years.

Thus whenever the solar system gets way above the galactic disk at the high point of the cycle, there’s a mass extinction.  When we’re back down within the disk or below it, we seem to be safe from mass extinctions.  (Not to worry – we’re safe within the disk now.  Recall that the K/T was meteorite-caused and is not a part of the cycle.)


So what are we protected from when we’re inside or below the disk?  What are we exposed to when we’re outside and above it?

Massive flows of very high energy cosmic rays from outside our galaxy, coming from a set of galaxies the Milky Way is moving towards called the Virgo Cluster.


As Medvedev and Melott caption their graphic of the “Galactosphere” above”

“Representation of the “galactosphere” with the galactic termination and bow shocks being sources of extragalactic cosmic rays. Due to inherent asymmetry, the north side of the Milky Way (with Virgo cluster being nearly at the north galactic pole) is exposed to a larger cosmic ray flux than its south side.”


Just as the sun’s magnetic field acts as an electronic umbrella shielding our planet from an overabundance of cosmic rays emitted by sources within our galaxy, such as supernovae, the galaxy itself has a magnetic field which shields us from cosmic rays from other galaxies.

These “extragalactic” cosmic rays (EGCRs) can have enormous energies, tens of trillions of electron volts (TeV) – to which our planet is exposed when the solar system is in the EGCR “bow shock,” when we’re out there by our lonesome north and above the shield of the galactic disk.

The correlation between EGCR exposure and mass extinctions is dramatically shown in this graph: