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Member since Nov-17-05

My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.


>> Click here to see twinlark's game collections. Full Member

   twinlark has kibitzed 16540 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Oct-26-14 twinlark chessforum
twinlark: <visyanbraindoctor> You might be interested in this articlea about what is happening in Kobane written by that firebrand, Pepe Escobar:
   Oct-25-14 Kenneth Rogoff (replies)
twinlark: <TheFocus> Your misogyny is showing.
   Oct-24-14 Fabiano Caruana (replies)
twinlark: Don't feed the troll.
   Oct-20-14 Lu Shanglei (replies)
twinlark: Congratulations to Lu Shanglei in winning the World Junior. It does indeed qualify him to compete in the World Cup next year.
   Oct-20-14 Wei Yi (replies)
twinlark: <Just looked up. Indeed, Judit shared places 55-58 on the January 1989 FIDE list, aged 12 years and 5 months.> In fact she has been in the top 100 for every rating list since she entered it in Jan 1989 apart from the two rating periods starting Jan 1991 and Jan 1992.
   Oct-13-14 SwitchingQuylthulg chessforum (replies)
twinlark: <SwitchingQuylthulg> I'm unsure about where to go next with this story. It runs the risk of meandering around while someone thinks up an endgame for it. Initially it seemed the two young men were to be devil may care adventurers, but that idea morphed into something different
   Oct-06-14 Richard Rapport
twinlark: <fgh: Leko is now only 4.8 points ahead of Rapport. Hopefully he falls behind him soon and disappears from top tournaments.> The callousness of this kind of comment never ceases to bemuse.
   Oct-04-14 Annie K. chessforum (replies)
twinlark: A knowing glance between Ilya’s Mum and Dad exchanged a very fast trainload plus of information, evaluation, opinion and decision. Looking pityingly at their sons, Dad released the reticulation field, and murmured as the boys rubbed and restored circulation back into all their ...
   Oct-03-14 Bogdan-Daniel Deac
twinlark: Congratulations to the new youngest IM in the world, achieving his title over a month before his 13th birthday.
   Oct-03-14 Caruana vs Gelfand, 2014 (replies)
twinlark: Even with modern computers, 10 seconds isn't enough to properly evaluate any complex position such as this. Let's see what Gelfand has in mind.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

The blog has posted a Russian translation of the analysis by the Russian Union of Engineers of the relevant facts and factors that lead to the downing of MH17.

Unlike the Dutch report, which basically says nothing more than "something hit the plane from outside", the Russian engineers review climatic conditions (it was overcast), and the salient factors of all planes that could have been involved as well as likely scenarios.

While a ground-based Buk battery was more than capable of bringing down such an airliner, the Union concluded this was the less likely scenario because of the absence of evidence that anything was launched from the ground. The audiovisual noise of a Buk launch is extremely high, there was no contrail, no photographs, no eye witness reports of a SAM.

The evidence of the photos concludes much as many did, that the plane was brought down from the air. They conclude that a fighter (not Russian and certainl not Novorussian) appeared from underneath and in front from cloud cover and shot the cockpit full of holes killing the pilots instantly, before they could radio that there was a problem.

Because the propulsion systems including the auto pilot were unaffected by the damage to the cockpit and the demise of the pilots, the plane would have kept going for a little while before the combat aircraft appeared from behind the plane and disabled the propulsion systems with rockets.

Shortly afterwards the plane broke apart and fell to the ground in thousands of pieces raining bodies to the ground.

As for Ukraine at present, your analysis seems spot on, infighting in both Kiev and amongst the rebels has generated a kind of intense stasis.

Meanwhile the West is gearing up for another war in Iraq, one in which my country's PM has gleefully volunteered our armed forces. Appropos to this, his popularity with the voters in this country approaches that of a rabid dog with leprosy. He's proibably hoping that taking the country into another war will boost his stocks.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <shot the cockpit full of holes> As I previously posted, for someone like me that has seen and palpated lots of bullet holes in skulls, the holes in the cockpit appear to be just larger versions of what I keep on seeing in the ER. I must have done a double take when I saw pictures of the cockpit. What could have created large bullet holes 10 kilometers up in the air?

I read the Russian engineers' report. Quite extensive and damning.

<Meanwhile the West is gearing up for another war in Iraq, one in which my country's PM has gleefully volunteered our armed forces.> War in which the civilian population is mostly uninvolved usually makes leaders more popular. Even in the Roman Empire. The more the Emperor won victories over 'barbarians' in some remote foreign front the more popular he was. Maybe it's the same psychological quirk that makes people want to see cockfights.

What worries me in Iraq is the US spilling its bombs into Syria. President Obama has already declared that he is willing to do this, even without the Syrian government's consent. He does not seem to notice that what he proposes is a blatantly illegal act in any international code of law, but it's to be expected. What worries me is how Russia would react. In an escalating scenario, these American warplanes hit Syrian targets or provide intel to the FSA. Syria shoots down some of the planes in retaliation. American troops enter Syria without the Syrian government's permission. Russian troops then also enter. They openly clash in battle. Then some moron in the wrong leadership position decides to use tactical nukes.

Sometimes I feel that the best option, in case the US is amassing troops for an outright Syrian invasion, is for Syria to formally and officially invite in the Russian military under the justification of helping to squash ISIL. US military inside Iraq helping to fight ISIL with the Iraqi government's consent has after all provided a legal and apparently popular (to Americans and their allies) precedent. With Russian military officially in Eastern Syria, the Pentagon itself would probably veto any outright US invasion. The American generals don't seem to desire a direct confrontation with Russian soldiers either. No possibility of a direct clash anymore between US and Russian troops.

Premium Chessgames Member


'Viewing-angle effects, such
as due to an asymmetric explosion, may have a significant influence on the flux emitted in the UV region.'

Recently there has been some papers on type Ia supernova diversity, something which is to be expected if most of them arise from the collision of two white dwarfs.

All these indicate that astronomers will have to rethink the usage of supernova type Ia as a standard candle by which to measure astronomical distances.

I think they are now trying to find certain subsets of supernova type Ia that may be validly and unquestionably used as standard candles.

Measuring far distances accurately is vitally important in astronomical theories. For example, it was the discovery in the 1990s that distant galaxies are receding much faster than nearby ones, as measured by supernova type Ia explosions, that convinced most astronomers that the Universe is accelerating outward from the original Big Bang.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

What happened to using Cepheid Variables as distance measuring standards? Did they prove unreliable, or is their range strictly limited?

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <their range strictly limited?> It's like this from what I understand. They're not bright enough to measure very long distances.

Wikipedia claims <The accuracy of the distance measurements to Cepheid variables and other bodies within 7,500 lightyears is vastly improved by combining images from Hubble taken six months apart when the Earth and Hubble are on opposite sides of the sun.> So Cepheid variables can only measure distances accurately up to 7,500 light years, or perhaps slight more than that.

Also from Wikipedia: <Type Ia supernovae that have a very well-determined maximum absolute magnitude as a function of the shape of their light curve and are useful in determining extragalactic distances up to a few hundred megaparsecs> A parsec is 3.26 light years. A million parsecs is one megaparsec. So supernova type Ia can be used to measure distance up to several hundred million light years.

The parallax method is used to measure shorter distances, up to 1,600 light-years away. <In 1989 the satellite Hipparcos was launched primarily for obtaining parallaxes and proper motions of nearby stars, increasing the reach of the method tenfold. Even so, Hipparcos is only able to measure parallax angles for stars up to about 1,600 light-years away, a little more than one percent of the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy. The European Space Agency's Gaia mission, launched 19 December 2013, will be able to measure parallax angles to an accuracy of 10 microarcseconds, thus mapping nearby stars (and potentially planets) up to a distance of tens of thousands of light-years from earth.>

This seems to have been one of the keystone papers that used supernova type Ia luminosity as a standard candle in measurement

If you jump to the conclusion:

"A cosmological explanation is provided by a positive cosmological constant...

The distances to the spectroscopic sample of SNe Ia measured by two methods are consistent with a currently accelerating expansion...

The data favor eternal expansion as the fate of the Universe...

We estimate the dynamical age of the Universe to be 14.2 ± 1.5 billion years..."

Regarding supernova type Ia and its use as a standard candle

"The use of Type Ia supernovae to measure precise distances was pioneered by a collaboration of Chilean and US astronomers, the Calán/Tololo Supernova Survey. In a series of papers in the 1990s the survey showed that while Type Ia supernovae do not all reach the same peak luminosity, a single parameter measured from the light curve can be used to correct unreddened Type Ia supernovae to standard candle values. The original correction to standard candle value is known as the Phillips relationship and was shown by this group to be able to measure relative distances to 7% accuracy. <The cause of this uniformity in peak brightness is related to the amount of 56Ni produced in white dwarfs presumably exploding near the Chandrasekhar limit.>"

Note the last statement; it's a presupposition based on the single degenerate model of the supernova type Ia explosion, a single white dwarf sucking in matter from a companion star exploding as it approaches the Chandrasekhar limit of about 1.4 solar masses. In the case of two white dwarfs colliding, the assumption that <the amount of 56Ni produced in white dwarfs presumably exploding near the Chandrasekhar limit> may not hold true. There may be much more or much less mass than 1.4 solar masses involved.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Red alert... another one of those SF round robins seems to be happening at my forum. You are cordially invited to participate if you feel like it. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Thanks Annie.
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

I'm impressed that the parallax method has been refined to the extent it has. Back in the day, it only measured stars in the immediate neighbourhood, ie within ten parsecs or so. But using new equipment of satellites has made a huge difference.

I notice you didn't mention the red shift method of determining distances. Is this because it is under a cloud due to discordant redshift associations?

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <I notice you didn't mention the red shift method of determining distances. Is this because it is under a cloud due to discordant redshift associations?>

I don't really know.

It seems that astronomers think that the most reliable way to measure distances is by the known luminosity of distant celestial bodies.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: The hot war in the Donbass has frozen as winter approaches. I don't think any of the parties like the idea of fighting in the winter.

Regarding the internal conflicts in the Novorussian armed force and governments in the past, I believe that they now are largely towing Moscow's political line.

What is Moscow's political line? By its actions we know that

1. Russia probably massively (albeit surreptitiously) supported the Novorussian armed forces with intel, weapons, and covert commandos.

2. NAF totally squashed the Kiev armed forces during the time period of #1 above.

3. Russia then inks a deal with Kiev.

4. Fighting immediately almost comes to a full stop.

The above tells me that

1. Moscow now exerts much control over the NAF and governments.

2. Moscow wants to keep Donetz and Lugansk out of Kiev's control, but has little desire to extend the war into central Ukraine. Moscow apparently wishes to see a Ukraine that is on paper united with the Donbass as part of it but effectively at the same time outside Kiev's political control.

I know that this sounds contradictory. But with the Donbass still nominally part of Ukraine, Moscow can still hope to exert some influence over Kiev. Whereas if the Donbass were totally independent, the rest of Ukraine would probably switch over to the EU unimpeded.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: USAAF is now bombing inside Syria, justifying it as fighting against ISIL. Yet it's well known (to intelligent readers) that the Gulf Arab states and Turkey are ISIL's main financiers and payroll masters. Is this another potential false flag?

Peculiarly, Syria, Russian, Iran, China have been relatively quiet about it, apart from the SOP admonitions to keep things legal (which the bombings obviously are not if Syria has not given consent).

Has Syria in fact given consent? Given the relative quiet of the Syrian government, I believe that they did in some secret backroom negotiation.

Is the Syrian consent a mistake? We will have to wait and see if US targets the Syrian army too and creates a buffer zone, something which Turkey unsurprisingly is advocating.

Premium Chessgames Member

"If an SAGB star with hybrid core were able to increase the core mass to the Chandrasekhar limit during the thermal pulse phase (the conditions under which this is possible for SAGB stars, according to the analysis of models without CBM explored by Poelarends et al. (2008), apply equally to SAGB stars with hybrid cores) this could result in a single-star thermonuclear supernova."

In other words, there might be another subset of type Ia supernova. A single degenerate that can explode even without a companion star. From what I understand, since its progenitor is not a white dwarf at all, but a star 7 to 9 times more massive than the Sun, it may exhibit a larger mass and may spew out lots of helium and possibly hydrogen that are present in its outer envelope.

In summary here are the possible progenitors of the supernova type Ia:

1. Double degenerate, two white dwarfs colliding.

2. Single degenerate, one white dwarf accumulating hydrogen from a companion star.

3. Single degenerate, a super AGB red giant 'hybrid' star with a carbon-oxygen core and oxygen-neon mantle, 7 to 9 solar masses, that happened to accumulate a core with lots of carbon still in it, instead of the usual pure oxygen-neon core in such stars. This isn't even a white dwarf at all.

Astronomers have no choice but to study more of these supernova type Ia if we hope to use them reliably as a standard candle of distance measurement.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Just listen to this report an hour ago from a well known MSM outlet about the Kurds and Kobane.

<At least nine people were killed and dozens wounded in demonstrations across Turkey on Tuesday, local media reported, as Kurds demanded the government do more to protect the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani from Islamic State militants.>

AFAIK the Kurds are protesting Turkey's support of ISIL. MSM has perverted it, turning it into a call for help addressed to the very entity that is using ISIL as a proxy army against the Kurds. I could almost say- unbelievable. But it's even more unbelievable that most of the commenters (assuming that they are not shills) actually believe in it.

The whole article is designed as an attempt to justify a Turkish invasion of Syria. Another possible large scale middle east war? I actually regard this as much more dangerous than the Iraqi war considering that Syria hosts a Russian naval base. Sooner or later a Turkish invasion of Syria, if it becomes massive enough, will threaten that base.

The USAAF strikes in Syria are not hitting the ISIL armored convoys and tanks. Yet in the desert setting they can be easily seen. Instead Syrian oil facilities and grain silos are being destroyed by the bombs.

As I posted above, I think the safest thing that could have happened is for the Syrian government to invite in the Russian military officially to help out. USAAF could hardly afford to bomb Syrian areas with Russian troops, and Turkey would think twice before sending in ISIL deeper into Syria. The Russian troops by themselves would tend to act as a deterrent to further escalation.

The poor Kurds are screwed. Both Turks and Arabs dislike them and would not be adverse to evicting them. It seems that the nationalistic Baath government will just stand and watch them get killed and expelled from Kobane, even if the Syrian airforce can theoretically do the bombing themselves of the exposed ISIL armored convoys. The Kurds must be low on ammo now. No artillery or armor. No national government is supporting or supplying them. Betrayed by all sides.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<The poor Kurds are screwed. Both Turks and Arabs dislike them and would not be adverse to evicting them. It seems that the nationalistic Baath government will just stand and watch them get killed and expelled from Kobane, even if the Syrian airforce can theoretically do the bombing themselves of the exposed ISIL armored convoys. The Kurds must be low on ammo now. No artillery or armor. No national government is supporting or supplying them. Betrayed by all sides.>

This has become a particularly filthy and cynical set of engagements. Who does what seems to depend upon their interests at the time, if they are not operating from mission creep and vacillation from day to day and month to month. It's not even clear which side anyone is on. ISIS is funded by the US's closest clients in the region, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and probably trained many of their members before they became ISIS.

The history of the Kurds over the last century has seemed to be one of never-ending betrayal. Has there ever been a time when they haven't been double crossed? I seem to recall that the League of Nations promised them a homeland, but the British took the opportunity back in the 1920 to practice bombing them and other Iraqis with poisonous gas. Churchill made his infamous comment at that time that: <"I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <MH17 passenger was found wearing oxygen mask, Dutch official says>

I found the same news in MSMs Bloomberg, AFP, and also on the other side- RT.

This is evidence that tends to support a failed initial attack.

I am under the impression that a powerful SAM from a Buk would instantly blow up the plane, opening the fuselage so fast that no passenger would have time to don on O2 masks. But it seems more consistent with an attack from a smaller air to air missile or canon fire from a warplane.

The fact that the Dutch have openly stated this is puzzling if we assume that they want to censor the true cause of the event. Hopefully official Dutchdom is changing their minds about covering up the murders of their own citizens. However it could be a sincere mistake from the official who later said that he should not have revealed it in public.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: In Le Guin's Earthsea series, dragons are depicted to be able to lie while telling the truth in each individual statement. Mass media does the same by telling individually true statements, but censoring the rest of the story, or taking these statements out of context.

I call these articles <lies of the dragon> or <dragon lies>.

From bits of pieces of trugths from the MSM dragon lies, I opine that the Kurds in Turkey are actually protesting Turkey's support for ISIL and Turkey's decision to seal off the border for Turkish Kurds who want to cross into Kobane in order to help defend it from ISIL. The Kurds apparently maintain that Turkey allows jihadists to cross the border into Syria, but disallows the Kurds.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

From the number of Kurds that have been killed in demonstrations in Turkey over the issue, I would tend to agree.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> So far it seems that my guess is still holding for Ukraine. Both sides are waiting for winter to come and go. (Winter is a phenomenon totally alien to people here BTW, but I did experience it a long time ago when I went to the US as a scholar. I can't imagine anyone fighting in winter with water literally freezing around you.) Russia probably is counting on Ukraine's dependence on Russian natural gas as another bargaining chip with Kiev. As for the Novorussian armed forces, they seem to be respecting whatever foreign policy line that Moscow is playing. They just fire at Kiev forces that insist on shelling civilians.

The Kurds of Kobane will fall soon without supplies. They can't expect the Syrian government to help them. Sympathizers in Turkey and the PKK are attempting to supply them, but the Turkish army has blocked them at the border, while allowing supplies to reach ISIL (and most probably it is the Turks that are covertly supplying ISIL). The Iraqi Kurdistan government officially won't help them either. It's ruled presently by Barzani's KDP which is somewhat hostile to the YPG-PKK of Syrian and Turkish Kurdistan.

I am wondering if the YPG in Kobane are about to do what the Japanese sailors and rogue army units did in Manila at the close of WW2, which is to basically resist to the last man (and woman considering that many Kurdish soldiers are female). Lacking artillery and armor and ammo, and armed only with rifles and handguns, and bayonets, they defended each building so fanatically that the US army ended up shelling nearly the entire city into rubble to terminate them.

If YPG is in fact doing this right now, ISIL will have its hands full for a few more weeks, unless it turns the entire city into rubble. Most likely though, YPG will accept the inevitable defeat and try to get out in an organized manner.

Premium Chessgames Member

<The longstanding argument that primordial stars were extremely massive (M ∼ 100 M) and isolated systems is being confronted by new numerical simulations of Population III star formation. Simulations by Greif et al. (2011) seem to indicate that Pop. III stars can be formed in multiple systems with a flat protostellar mass function. Moreover, the recent discovery of an EMP star with a metallicity of [Fe/H] = − 4. 89 and no enhancement in CNO elements, which results in the lowest total metallicity observed in a star, also puts into question the claims of a minimum metallicity required for the formation of low-mass stars.>

Old notions in astronomy seem to be changing a lot. As can be seen in

It was generally believed that the first stars after the Big Bang were massive and isolated, because of certain unique conditions exhibited by the early Universe.

Now it seems that small stars could have been formed 14 billion years ago near the Big Bang as now.

The theory of a steady state Universe would also fit in because we would expect the same kind of stars any when in the past as in today's era.

Regarding the theory that a neutron star colliding with another neutron star or a 'black hole' is the source of Thorium and Uranium (r-process nuclides), it seems to be gaining at present among the scientific community.

<The astrophysical site for the r-process has not yet been uniquely identified. Neutron star mergers (NSMs) have recently received special attention as production sites for r-process elements. The ejected matter from the NSMs is extremely neutron-rich (Ye<0.1) and the r-process path proceeds along the neutron drip line and enters the region of fissile nuclei.>>

If neutron star collisions are the source of Th, U, and other r-process elements, there must have been mechanisms near the time of the Big Bang by which neutron stars in binary systems were formed rapidly, since the oldest stars do show the presence of r-process elements in their spectrum. A steady state universe would also fit in because there would always have been neutron stars.

In any case, the neutron star merger theory seems to be gaining ground because relatively simple physics keeps on coming up with the same pattern of abundance for r-process elements as can actually be seen in observations. That is if there is a large mass of neutrons bound at nuclear densities by gravity, and if this gravitational field suddenly gets disrupted, the neutrons will begin to break up into large neutron-rich matter way heavier than the commonly produced trans Uranic elements, and this will repeat several cycles of fission and rapid neutron capture (the r-process) until it produces the exact abundance pattern of r-process elements that we observe in the universe today. This single assumption already would properly explain the presence and abundances of r-process elements. Occam's razor makes many scientists favor the neutron star merger theory.

So it seems that scientists, assuming that the Big Bang occurred 14 billion years ago, are now trying to find mechanisms by which neutron stars can rapidly form and collide right after the Big Bang.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

That is extraordinarily interesting. There have been other interesting signs of objects, eg: stars etc that are supposed to be older than the universe, which we've been assured is not actually the case, usually for reasons I've found incomprehensible.

The notion of r-series elements being present in some of the oldest stars obviously presents a major challenge in fitting it into the BBT orthodoxy. The last time something like that happened was with the discovery of the Sloan Great Wall, a structure consisting of a cluster of galactic superstructures nearly 1.5 billion light years long: The Sloan Great Wall was seen as "tamping down" the theories of the relative homogeneity of the universe caused by its inflationary period.

However, last year they discovered the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall, which is <much> larger:

Dimensions are 10 billion light years x 7.2 billion light years x (only) 900 million light years, now officially the largest structure in the universe.

This seems to make the universe rather too heterogeneous for the long held homogeneity thesis, as it constitutes about 10% of the known universe. Seems the universe has turned into a lumpy pudding, upsetting the smooth pudding theorists.

Most significantly, wiki observes that:

<...the light travel distance of 10 billion light years means that we see the structure as it was 10 billion years ago, or roughly 3.8 billion years after the Big Bang. Current models of the universe's evolution, however, do not allow the said structure to form in just a mere 3 billion years, since this is a very short time for dark matter to attract sufficient baryonic matter to create the giant structure. The structure is itself too big, and too complex, to exist so early in the universe. There is currently no existing model to explain the existence of the structure.>

The Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall, like r-series element production, happened too early in the universe.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: I found a site that is apparently the official press of the YPG (and PKK-HPG).

YPG is claiming that it has repulsed several ISIL attacks and is now on the offensive, retaking several areas in Kobane. Every source (MSM, US, Russian, and Firat itself) claims that the Kurds are low on ammo and don't have armor or much of an artillery. So how are they resisting?

I suspect (deducing from reports) that they intentionally fell back into a small core central area in Kobane (about 50% of urban Kobane), which they probably have extensively mined and booby trapped (probably using IEDs if they did not have conventional mines). In this area, they organized their limited military personnel into highly mobile platoons that are in constant contact with each other and an HQ, thus minimizing the fog of war. Taking a page out of General Giap's tried and tested method, these platoons probably could merge into bigger battalions in an hour or two in order to hit any ISIL patrol or convoy, making sure that in this instant they outnumbered and outgunned the enemy. Then they would fall back into their booby-trapped safe zone, and blow up or ambush any ISIL pursuit group. All the while, the YPG seems to have been infiltrating ISIL with spies and covert commando units, and thus know their every move, making plans for ambushes easier to concoct. (ISIL has been executing its own Kurdish recruits for spying for the YPG.) Firat also mentions YPG blowing up ISIL suicide vehicle bombs even before they can be used, so they must know if a suicide truck bombing is being planned and already wait to ambush it (probably with the few RPG's that they have).

ISIL is in a peculiar position. The Iraqi Army and regular Syrian Army units seem afraid of it, but the YPG Kurds do not exhibit any sign of being terrified or demoralized at all. If anything ISIL's silence, its (paranoid?) quickness in executing suspect YPG spies, and quick retreat from some areas lead to me believe that it's ISIL that is getting terrified of pushing deeper into Kobane and by ambushes. And against a militarily weaker enemy that for once they outman and outgun.

IMO if someone just steadily supplies the Kurds with ammo and weapons, they would be able to hold Kobane. FIRAT speculates that the number of soldiers that ISIL threw into its Kobane offensive is about equal to the number that they use to conquer vast areas in northern Iraq just recently (with hardly any fight from the collapsing IA), yet they can't even take a single small city from a determined and well led opposing force. Food for thought.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <The Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall, like r-series element production, happened too early in the universe.>

I have read of the alternative view, that these large scale structures may be caused by quantum fluctuations in the ancient Universe when it was still microscopically nano-small and miniscule enough to be hugely affected by uncertainly effects. The quantum effects created small heterogeneities that grew into the large scale ones we see today.

Another explanation is that the Universe has always exhibited such heterogeneities because they have always been there.

The issue of the r-process elements is psychologically a very pressing one, because it relates to the age old topic of what we are made of. This has always been a hot issue even before the popularization of the scientific method by Newton. Alchemy speculated there were 4 indivisible elements (air, fire, water, earth) but with the transformation of alchemy into modern chemistry, scientists eventually discovered all the naturally occurring chemical elements (Mendeleyev's periodic table of elements).

Then in the 1950s came the seminal, Burbridge, Burbridge, Fowler, and Hoyle paper, which explained not only the origin of almost every element (or more fundamentally the origin of the isotopes or nuclides, since most elements actually have several isotopes) but their relative abundances as well. (In spite of their seminal work the Burbridges later were somewhat ostracized for beliefs not in line with the standard Big Bang cosmology.)

It turns out that elements heavier than iron-nickel can only be made endothermically, by an input of energy and that such endothermic fusion of heavy nuclides is physically difficult because of the electric Coulomb pressure by which a positive atomic nucleus resists another incoming atomic nucleus. The heavier the element, the more the positive charges in its nucleus, the harder for it to undergo fusion with another nucleus. So the way to build up the heavy elements is by capture of electrically neutral neutrons. There are two ways that this can be done, a slow process and a rapid process, each of which creates half of elements heavier then iron-nickle. The slow process was soon established to occur mostly in red giant AGB stars. The theory looks well-established and supported by numerous observations. But no one has yet established where the astronomical site for the r-process occurs.

It's one of the most nagging problems in modern Science. In layman's terms, we don't even know how we (our elemental abundances) are made.

From what I understand, with the advent of fast super-computers, it's now possible to simulate what happens when neutron rich trans Uranic matter fissions and then rapidly captures neutrons, repetitively. It entails no new science or basic discovery, just fast computers repeatedly doing the same kind of calculations over and over again. And it turns out that if neutronium matter from a neutron star is released from the neutron star's gravity (when it gets disrupted as it collides with another neutron star or a 'black hole'), the repeated fission and rapid neutron capture of the remnants would create the exact elemental abundance pattern of r-process elements that we observe int he Universe.

So what's the main objection to this theory? AFAIK from these articles, there is only one. It <happened too early in the universe>. Neutron stars are formed from huge stars dying in supernovas. It takes time for them to form. Yet r-process elements (including Th and U) are seen in the very oldest of stars. If it were not for this objection, the neutron star merger theory would probably be popularly accepted by now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<I have read of the alternative view, that these large scale structures may be caused by quantum fluctuations in the ancient Universe when it was still microscopically nano-small and miniscule enough to be hugely affected by uncertainly effects.>

Problem with this line of reasoning is that it resembles and opportunistic retrofit to a shaky theory. If this is the case, then the case for inflation falls by the wayside, which is fairly key to the BBT.

In any case, the r-process dilemma continues to confound.

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<China Launches AIIB to Rival World Bank Without US Allies After Pressure from Washington>

It was only matter of time. This is another threat to the status of the US fiat petrodollar as reserve currency of the world.

If the petrodollar falls, US still has other means of control, and the potentially strongest one is the US military. It might be used more and more openly as other means of control begin to fail. More wars of a more dangerous nature?

The value of the fiat petrodollar, after it's separation from gold in President Nixon's time, fundamentally is backed by an energy source, specifically oil. There is a possible solution. Alternative energy sources, and IMO the most economically viable one is 4rth generation nuclear plants that can use thorium and the ever accumulating transuranic nuclear wastes of present-day 2nd and 3rd generation nuclear plants.

I keep on looking at possible US government projects as huge as the Los Alamos atomic bomb project that brought humanity to the nuclear age, but there doesn't seem to be any. Most research and development into alternative energy sources in the US seem to be done by private institutions, which IMO is insufficient.

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  twinlark: <visyanbraindoctor>

You might be interested in this articlea about what is happening in Kobane written by that firebrand, Pepe Escobar:

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