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Effective Discussion

Years ago during the developmental stages of the internet I was a big proponent of the web being used as a positive tool of the common person.

This was way before the development of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and other basic chat boards.

I felt that with the power of the internet, the average person could use the publishing tools of the web to communicate effective and positive messages without relying on the large publishing houses or fringe media platforms.

Unfortunately, things did not evolve in the way I had first hoped or imagined and now we have an over abundance of arm-chair philosophers and commentators.

While I still believe in every man or woman having the write to express themselves, what I have come to distain is the amount of personal attacks and abuse taking place in the name of religion, politics, fashion, science or any other topic.

What has become increasing disturbing is the lack of empathy or self control which is illustrated by the high degree of name call and personal assaults.

Blame this on whatever position or opinion you disagree with, the truth of the matter is, this will likely get worse before it ever gets better.

So how do you debate against the person who resorts to name calling and personal attacks when they disagree with you?

First, one should understand that name calling or avoiding to discuss the central point of your position is usually the strategy of a fool or or idiot who with no resource or substance of their own, will reduce the discussion to attacking the person rather then the argument.

Ad hominem (Latin for “to the person”, short for argumentum ad hominem, is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself. The terms ad mulierem and ad feminam have been used specifically when the person receiving the criticism is female.

However, its original meaning was an argument “calculated to appeal to the person addressed more than to impartial reason”.

Fallacious ad hominem reasoning is categorized among informal fallacies more precisely as a genetic fallacy, a subcategory of fallacies of irrelevance.

In a nutshell, busting out of the gate and calling someone a ‘hater” or ‘Looser” , or Dem, or Nazi or what ever is surely the best way to lose an argument. You might even be correct in your assertion or belief , but attacking your antagonist  with an insult not only disqualifies you from the discussion but it points to the weakness of your intellect and your own character.

Refute your point with logic and sound explanation of why you disagree with the point and or argument, and then proceed to explain why you feel this way and why it is you believe something else.

For more clarity on this subject go here:




Mothers Day – A Final Farewell

by Brian Carrillo

Mom – today we say our final farewells as we scatter your ashes in this deep brooding sea.

It is not easy to see you go or to say Good Bye but I am very grateful for the days and weeks we got to spend together as you laid in your bed fighting to get better. Each of us here today knows  how courageous you were and how hard you fought to stay with us but I know that there are only so many things we can do to stay here on earth when it’s time for us to go to our eternal Home.

I read it in your eyes, that you wanted to stay here with us to see each of us grow older – wiser – better.  From little Alex to Brother Rory, Sister Allison, Craig, John John and of course myself – but we all know that God has His own plans and timing and when it’s our turn to go we must leave behind the very one’s that make us whole and who we love the most.

I know it hurt you but I also know you were ready to go.  You asked many of us to let you leave but honestly no one was ready to say Goodbye – not just yet. We all wanted to spend one more day, one more hour, one more minute and second with you – but we knew deep down you were ready and knew that when you left you would be in good hands and finally be among others who also loved you – Granny, Grandpa, Artie, Aunt Cha Cha, Your brothers, Tony and Eddie.   You are there with them now looking down upon us as we  sit here so sad and tearful feeling lost and afraid.

I am so very proud of you Mom – on this day of all others, Mothers Day or our Mother’s Day.

I am proud of the way you fought your last fight, I am proud of how you loved your children regardless of how much we did or did not deserve it.

I am proud of how much you loved our friends, girlfriends,  wives, husbands and the children that are here because of you.

I am proud of how you took care of yourself as well as each of us when we were much younger despite the fact you had little means and expertise on how to do so.

I am so very proud of you for all the things you did in your life that was not easy – from starting a new family when you so were very young yourself and with a Husband who probably at the time did not deserve your big loving heart and to raising us up as a single mother.

I am proud of you for how you loved your family – your Mother, Your Dad, your Sister, Brothers, and your uncles, aunts, and their cousins, many of which who have reached out to us during these times to see how you were doing. They all love and loved you very much.

I am so very proud of you Mom, and perhaps the most, for how you loved Me. How you would wait for my calls and how we would spend our Sundays together laughing and doing the things both of us enjoyed so much.

I am proud of how you were always happy and how you loved music and how you always smiled for everyone – and how you loved the fresh air and the birds and the blue sky and bright sun and the ocean.

Yes – I am very proud – Mom.

Perhaps the one thing I am so much proud of is how even while you took your last breaths you were dignified and graceful. You did not cry out or ask for any of us to help you but rather you laid there waiting for God and His Angel’s to take you home.  You were a Queen in all Her glory as you said good bye to the people who loved you the most and as you floated away upward to Heaven and God’s Kingdom. I hope you saw us all standing around you weeping for you but rejoicing that you were now free from the pain and sorrow you were feeling before you left.

June 17, 2018

Angels Gates – San Pedro – June 17, 2018

I am sad to have to say good bye now, Mom, and it makes me cry, but it also makes me happy knowing that you were my Mother and I was your Son and we had so many good times together. I loved you very much. I will always love you. I will remember you in the stars and the waves and every time I see a bird or hear a song or smell a flower.

You were My Mom – our Mom – and I – we – will always have you close to our hearts.

I love you and we will see each other again soon and I will always try to make you proud – very proud as you made me proud to be your Son.

Happy Mothers Day Mom – May you rest in holy peace.

Your Son Eternal – Brian



Mom (Yvonne Carrillo) February 1, 1940 – June 9th, 2018



Be Cool

I will never criticize you for being an atheist, or laugh at you for believing in God, nor will I call you stupid for being a democrat or a republican. You can be a muslim, a hippie, a witch, black, white, gay or straight and I will stand by you when other’s point fingers at you and call you violent names and tell you you are worthless. Honestly, there are few people like me and less whome I agree with on every topic, but I will respect you if you are gracious and know how to be polite. There is no place for assholes and nasty people and I am okay with that. If you are a jerk and can’t be gentleman or lady, F off and go your own way. It’s time we all start doing better and owning our shit. You have one life – live well and help others along the way. Work hard and contribute and don’t rely on the Government to take care of you. That’s #comingup


Radiant Baby on the Come Up in Montreal’s Mile End District

The Mile End is a Montreal neighbourhood known for it’s blossoming artistic community. Even if you’ve never been to the Canadian city, you probably know it more than you think! Do you like Grimes, Mac Demarco or Majical Cloudz? They’re all musicians issued from that fertile scene.

Among the latest breakout acts of the Mile End is Radiant Baby, a franco-canadian making electro pop reminiscent of famous 80s acts like Depeche Mode, while having the modern bite of festival acts like Chvrches.

This week, Radiant Baby celebrates his recent signature to Lisbon Lux Records with the release of Gloss And Love, an euphoric single questioning gender binary

Following the success of his self-released single You Can Dance, Radiant Baby celebrates his recent signature to Lisbon Lux Records (Beat Market, Paupière, Le Couleur) with the release of his new single, Gloss And Love.

Inspired by the notion of duality and a questioning of gender binary, Gloss And Love is the perfect embodiment of the artist mind-boggling visuals. Somewhere between Grimes and Chvrches, the party anthem features Radiant Baby’s knack for glamorous vocals and flashy analog synths. A positively entrancing mix of 80s sensibility and modern aesthetics ready to set the dance floor ablaze!

Gloss And Love is the first single of an upcoming album slated for 2017

Radiant Baby online




Band Paramore

Paramore As Nirvana’s Successor for Flagship Band of Disaffected Youth in the Modern World


Nobody may have suspected it, but the young (and not immensely sizable) lead singer and songstress, Hayley Williams, of “Paramore”, currently fills some very big shoes.

The originally Tennessee-based, now LA-based, band has an unparalleled range in repertoire, from elementary ballads, to immense rock-orchestral
compositions spanning the spectrum of all possible intricacy and genius – a band Kurt Cobain would have regarded as possessing that rarest but most sought-after of traits: raw girl power.

Though there is only one feminine element of which to speak, literally, in the group, the raw masculinity of the chord progressions are not encountered by Williams’s breadth and depth of vocal range, from lilting lullaby-esque dreaminess to hardcore, visceral, even Visigoth battle cries, harking back to Cobain’s signature roar which expressed the inexpressible sadness and repression of a youth culture barraged by the pseudo intellects and bureaucratic limitations of the Baby Boomer generation.  Though both Cobain and Williams missed out on speaking for or against any war efforts by a hair’s breadth of timing, their expression of eternal rebelliousness in the face of unjust restraints disguised as stream-of-consciousness poetic renditions remains unmistakable in the wake of such artists as Lennon and Dylan and their decoding reinterpretations for the masses.

Hayley Williams, of "Paramore"

Hayley Williams, of “Paramore”

Take the songs “Ignorance” andMonster”.  There are few pop songs in the modern catalogue which seem to eerily echo sentiments of fury, anguish, and the irrevocable as a battle cry in the face of corporate marketing polish as Cobain’s genius did in deconstructing the pop rock album with the most slithery of punk-anthemic compositions – on a record which sounded like the Beatles had reinvented themselves with a taste for distortion pedals and tympanic reverberation (“Lithium” could well be a latter-day McCartney song, if he were so inclined towards such metallic tastes).

People may quickly class Paramore away as a subcultural and/or “emo” penchant, but they remain ignorant of the relative lack of comparable talent in the deluge that is modern college rock radio.  Few songs can bring one to tears, but take a listen to “All I Wanted”, “Renegade”, or “(One of Those) Crazy Girls” to sense a Rachmaninoff counterpoint emotionally-influencing counterpart to Cobain’s religiosity of reverence for today’s shattered youth.

Not merely that, but it is highly recommended that you add to your CD or vinyl collection their latest self-titled epic, which I give five out of five stars (not merely for its motif of lilting reminiscence for Cobain’s personal fave composition, the watery “Drain You” if you want to hear one of the most mind-blowing anthemic conquests of the radio waves ever launched – and find yourself a new (if not already well-versed) Paramore fan; particularly for the starry ballad “Hate to See Your Heart Break”, among others, which show their evolution from film soundtracks to the soundtrack of our very lives – something that rarely to never happens, already signifying them as a gem among the vast and barren sands.

If you would ever suggest that someone could hold a candle to Lennon, Cobain, or Dylan in today’s age, be prepared to be honest with yourself and those to whom you are eternally obliged – your fellow man (and fan) – and shout that Williams lights an eternal torch in remembrance and steady continuation of the impassioned outcry that was the war song of those countless harnessing the raw untapped power of the genius within us all for recognizing the genius in others; after all, as the great Schopenhauer himself – an ardent music aficionado – once said: “Intellect is invisible to the man who has none.”

I’m glad we can see clearly now – that the rain is gone – here in sunny California.

Paramore on Facebook


About the Author: Nolan Aljaddou is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska Omaha, and has authored a book and several papers on physics.  He started playing guitar at the age of 12 and writes extensively on Psychology, Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy and of course, Music.



Dangerous Trump

Is this Political Ad from Trump too Dangerous for Prime Time?

Personally, I don’t feel it’s too dangerous, at least no more than any other commercial being aired this campaign cycle. I do think this election is dangerous in general, however. There is so much hostility from both sides that it makes following it tiresome and frustrating, and dangerous in the sense that you can’t walk outside wearing a pro-Hillary shirt or a pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” cap without fear of being punched.

The fighting  among   Facebook “friends”  on Social Media and family members seems downright hostile and brutal.  Hell, I have to admit, I am even guarded in my post for fear of being called a bigot or hater.  What kind of People have we become? I don’t think I am bigot and I have always tried to be fair and balanced in my opinions.

What will be tomorrow’s Politics be like? How can we go back to the way things use to be? Is this the new Politic?

I hope that this is not a sign of things will be be forever. The riots, the protests, the violence the mudslinging and nasty way the media is treating both Democrats and Republicans.

In any event, I have to say I learned a lot this election.  I have learned that anyone is capable of being nasty and hating and thinking their view is the only correct view.  I also learned that the status quo does not like change.

Enough said – what do you think of this ad?

Regardless of your opinion or party, a Democracy requires the voices and thoughts of all of us.

Now Push Play





(Ferrara Buskers Festival, August 2016)

Catching Dreams – Katie Ferrara is releasing a new album! Exclusive Coming Up Interview

Many of us, including myself, grew up with huge dreams and little or no musical talent.

We would soon discover a musician or band we liked and we would listen to and buy every one of their albums and songs maybe hoping someday we would be able to join a band  and perform for our friends and family or a stranger or two.  On some occasions we might  venture to a public space or venue and come across someone playing their guitar or keyboard to a group of onlookers who might be enjoying the street performances as much as we would.

For me, growing up in Southern California, my Father would take us to Olvera Street, the old Pike in Long Beach or to the Redondo Beach Pier where we would  listen to the folk singers strumming their guitars and singing beautiful melodies and songs as we slurped up ice cream cones or balanced our hot dogs and cotton candy trying not to drop them on the side walk.

Little did I know at the time that these street performers, then, as well as now, were known as “Buskers” – musicians and street performers who, since the beginning of recorded history, have been entertaining crowds with their amazing talents and musical abilities.

This week our featured up and coming artist, Katie Ferrara, is such a person and she is no stranger to street performing – in fact she has won some prestigious busking awards around the world and even has a small town in Italy with the same family name (Ferrara) which is home to the Buskers festival, a non-competitive parade of the best street musicians. In terms of tradition and dimension, The Buskers Festival held in Ferrara Italy is the most important festival of its kind in the world.

Katie will be releasing her 3rd album – Dream Catchers –  in a few days which we are very excited about and as with her previous work will deliver a soothing blend of authentic home-grown folk-pop. Her songs are genuine and emotional and perfect for the free-spirited, curious and open-minded individuals that might stumble upon her on a given night in Santa Monica or in Burbank.

We had a chance recently to run a few questions by her to help learn more about her music, her early path to becoming a busker and what we might expect from her off her Dream Catcher album.

So when did you first pick up a guitar?  Are you self-taught?

I started playing guitar when I was in high school. My mom taught me how to play when I was a teenager and when I got to college, I taught myself by learning all my favorite songs. I also learned a lot  from jamming with friends on campus and singing in different bands.

What other instruments do you play?

I can play ukulele and a bit of keyboard.

We heard you began your music career while working at Starbucks in London, England.  How did you go from barista to performer?

When I was in London I would frequently visit Wunjo guitars on Denmark Street because I needed to buy a new guitar. I came to the UK with a travel sized Martin with no pick-up and wanted something that I could perform with easily in venues. On one of my visits to the shop, I met my French friend Jonathan, who produced my first two EP’s “When Love’s Not Around” and “Naturally”.  We started recording when I had nights off from Starbucks.  When I wasn’t working, I went to different open mics in the city to play my songs and get feedback from an audience.  For me, going to open mics was the gateway to becoming a performer because I gained a lot of support from the musicians around me and found a safe place to practice new songs without having to do a full blown show.


Is “busking” something in your blood or did you develop your love for playing in public over time?

Honestly, I feel like busking isn’t something that I was born to do. It took a lot of trial and error before I figured out a way to feel comfortable doing it. The most difficult thing about performing out on the street is simply logistics and not so much working up the courage to sing. You have to think on your feet, become a problem solver and be ready to improvise. The first time I ever busked on the Santa Monica Promenade, I had to move from my spot because I had set up too close to a fire-hydrant.  My amp died that day and I couldn’t hear myself amongst the other performers on the street. Carrying all my equipment was also really difficult because I got tired easily holding my guitar, amp and mic stand in just my two hands.

Over time, I figured out the best time of day to play, I bought a cart and a better amp, and picked the best songs in my repertoire to sing. What really made busking enjoyable for me was being able to play one of my songs and have someone stop whatever it was they were doing and just listen. Maybe the conditions weren’t perfect.  I’ve played while it’s raining, on 90 degree summer days, and to empty streets late at night.  To see someone make a choice to stop and to speak to them face to face made me feel confident. When you see that your music makes children dance and people laugh, you know you are doing your job as an artist. Its these kinds of experiences that really makes me love busking. Every time I go outside to play, I wind up with a cool story to tell, or I meet new people, or I discover a part of LA that I never would have gone to before!  I think I love busking because it’s a way for me to explore different aspects of performing, travel, and be inspired by my surroundings.

When did you decide to come back to the states and further your musical career?

I came back to the US in 2012 after finishing recording my 2nd EP. I felt like there was a lot of opportunity in LA that I hadn’t explored before I went abroad and I wanted to try giving it a shot here before making any big moves again.

Were you back in the U.S. when you won the Street Performing Contest “Feeling the Street”?


What was that like to win that among so many performers?

I felt like my music career had just gone to a whole new level.  I gained a lot of respect from friends and fellow musicians in LA because I wasn’t just getting known on a local level, but globally with the trip to New Zealand. When I found out that I had won the contest, it was one of the happiest days of my life! At the same time, I felt like there was a lot of pressure to impress people around me and produce music that was a different style than my own. It was an experience that challenged me to grow as an artist and see a new country!

When watching your music videos I can’t help but notice how natural and authentic you are when you sing.  Where does that passion and love for music come from?

I’m passionate about music because it’s been a great outlet for me to express my emotions and connect with others. I feel like when I am singing I can be my authentic self. In a way I don’t feel like I’m “performing” in the sense that I’m acting out a certain character to impress people. I feel like people are just seeing another side of my personality that isn’t normally seen if they meet me for the first time.

What is the biggest highlight in your music career to date?

I think the biggest highlight in my music career so far has been my recent busking tour to the UK and Italy.  This trip was something I wanted to do for a very long time. Last year, I did some research on my last name which is “Ferrara” and found out that it is a city in northern Italy that hosts an international busking festival every year in August. I’ve always been told that I should change my last name to a more English sounding one, because I would be able to brand myself better as an artist.  When I found out about this festival, l felt like I had been blessed with a sacred name and somehow it was my destiny to be a busker! I wanted to investigate this coincidence a bit more a learn about my family history, so I applied to the festival.

When I found out that accepted as a fringe accredited artist, I booked myself a ticket to London. For a week,  I went busking along the Southbank next to the Thames River.  I also booked a show at the Troubadour in Earls Court where I reconnected with old friends and family. Then I took a plane to Bologna and from there I took a bus to Ferrara and met up with Borja Catenesi, the guitarist from the Feeling the Street band along with his girlfriend Suzanne. We jammed at the festival and also took a day trip to Bologna where I learned how to get a permit from the police station in order to street perform in the city piazza.

The best part of the trip was the night I sold out of CD’s at the festival and played to a circle of about 50 people on a 900 year old street in the heart of the city. From that night I was able to pay for my travel all through busking. It’s been my dream to be able to travel through music and I hope that in the future I will book more tours across America and abroad through the release of my new EP.


Your new E.P. Dream Catcher is coming out next month in October – what is the theme of the album?

The album centers around the conflict between following your passions and having  security in a romantic relationship. I think it’s a theme that a lot of 20 somethings can relate to, especially because this is the time in our lives when we’re finding ourselves and figuring out what our purpose is in life.   I called the EP “Dream Catcher” because while I was writing the album last year, I felt like I was chasing after my music career while trying to hold onto so many relationships that weren’t exactly healthy to begin with. I wanted to write something upbeat to keep me going and inspire other people to just be themselves.  These songs are bursts in time where I got a chance to breathe and reflect on what was going on in my life.

How does the music and songs differ from your earlier albums?

I think the songwriting on this album displays a different level of musicianship  than my previous EP’s. With this album, I explored different song structures and lyrical hooks.  When I first started recording,  I didn’t have  a defined sound as an artist. Some of the songs were folky, some were jazzy and funky, and some had minimal production.

With this new EP, I feel comfortable calling myself a “Folk-Pop” artist. I’ve got instruments like cello, upright bass, ukulele, acoustic guitar, Ebo, and lap steel in the mix. The production is definitely  more collaborative than my previous releases. I can’t really say that this album is completely mine—it wouldn’t be possible without the help of my producer Patrick Joseph and the  talented musicians I met at shows at the Hotel Café last year. Everyone brought their own unique ideas which to me, created a unique sounding album.

Give us three words that best describes the album and what comes to mind when you think of it?

Relaxing, Hopeful, Charming . When I hear the title I think of sunset melting into the ocean for some reason.

Tell us a little about the writing process – did the songs on your Dream Catcher come to you in a dream or were they something you worked on for a while?

I wrote these songs slowly over the course of last year.   They started out as melodic and  lyrical ideas that came to me while I was driving to gigs in LA. When I had free time, I jammed with different people and they transformed into songs which I integrated into my set list when I busked. When I’m driving, it’s sometimes the only time when I can focus on one thing and reflect on what’s going on around me. Many of the lyrical ideas also came when I had a chance to relax at home.

Katie Ferrara - Santa Monica, CA

Katie Ferrara – Santa Monica, CA

On the album cover, there is a picture of you in a pretty blue dress with what looks like the ocean behind you – where was this photo taken and why did you select that place for your album?

This photo was taken on the Santa Monica Pier. I chose this location because I’ve spent many days and nights performing out on the boardwalk over looking the sea. I find the water to be inspiring. You can look out across the ocean and not know what’s on the other side. I love letting my imagination run wild when I’m playing out there. I also find the color blue to be calming and a good reflection of the music.

Is there any one song you would like to share with everyone prior to the big album release and if you can’t right now what would it be if you could and why?

I would share the song “Jackets” because I love the instrumental arrangement and I think it best reflects the central theme of the album: conflict between being in a relationship and pursuing a career. When I wrote the song, I was so happy to be with someone and have that security, but at the same time, I wasn’t satisfied with myself. I felt like I was putting my music aside or having to hide what I was truly meant to do—which is to sing! The imagery of the Jacket came to mind because I was thinking about what it means when a guy offers his jacket to a girl when she’s cold. Somehow that transferred into the lyrics of the song.

Lastly – you are still very active playing the streets, where are some of your favorite spots to play and when can we see you next?

I love playing in downtown Burbank because it’s close to where I live! I also love playing at the Santa Monica Pier, Melrose Trading Post and the Nickel Market in downtown LA. My next big gig is actually going to be at the new Hotel Café second stage with s full band on Oct 22nd for the CD release show.

I know we said the last question was the last one but we always like asking our guest for a shout out to someone we should keep an eye out for. Who are a few of your favorite up and coming “buskers” and where can we find them?

Tudor Williams-I met him in Burbank in front of the Gap on Palm avenue which is a popular place to perform. What I really love about his music is the songwriting. He’s got a variety of songs in his repertoire, some are serious and others are just plain funny. He reminds me of Blake Mills in this respect. Musically, his guitar and melodies sound really deep yet the lyrics to some of his songs contrast a charming, humorous side to his personality. Check out his song “Somethin bout a blond woman”.

Mimi Gilbert- She’s a master of looping and reminds me a bit of Joni Mitchell. You can catch her street performing in Portland and last time I talked to her she had gotten back from a busking tour in New Orleans. I found her music after looking at some of the artists on this years Feeling the Street website. Her album “Strangers Won’t Exist” will blow you away.

To Learn more about Katie Ferrara and her Dream Catcher EP Visit her website or Social Media Links

Do You Believe in what you can not see?

If Dark Matter Can’t Be Seen, What About Ghosts?

Every ghostly horror movie has “the scene.”

It usually comes early in the story, like in The Sixth Sense: The protagonist walks into a room, like the kitchen, and all the cabinets and drawers are open. He’s puzzled. He doesn’t remember leaving it this way. So, he closes all the doors and all the drawers and walks out. A minute later he comes back in — and everything’s open again.


According to a Harris poll in 2013, about 45 percent of people believe in ghosts. In that same poll, almost 30 percent of the respondents said they believed that they’d personally been in the presence of a ghost.

When I poked around looking for “real ghost stories,” I found many accounts like the classic scene described above. You can’t “see” the ghost, but you know it’s there. They mess with the things you can see.

Most scientists, myself included, are pretty skeptical of ghost stories. But after attending a recent lecture on the “dark universe,” I got to thinking: How are we physicists different from anyone else telling ghost stories?

Let me explain.

Over the last few decades, scientists have built a new picture of the universe where about 95 percent of its stuff comes in a “dark” form (27 percent being dark matter and 68 percent being dark energy). But what exactly do physicists mean when they talk about something being “dark?”

Well, basically, they mean the dark stuff acts a lot like a ghost in a horror movie. You can’t see the dark matter and dark energy — but you know it’s with you because it messes with the things you can see.

It’s important to understand that dark matter and dark energy are different “things,” in the sense we’ve inferred their existence through different kinds of phenomena. This means they go bump in the night with stuff we can see in different ways.

Dark matter was discovered decades before dark energy by looking at how galaxies rotate. It was Vera Rubin’s famous work in the 1970s that showed pretty much all spiral galaxies were spinning way too fast to be accounted for by the gravitational pull of the their “luminous” matter (the stuff we see in a telescope). Rubin and others reasoned there had to be a giant sphere of invisible stuff surrounding the stars in these galaxies, tugging on them and speeding up their orbits around the galaxy’s center.

Kind of sounds like those ghostly kitchen drawers doesn’t it?

Dark energy was discovered 16 years ago, when observations showed the expansion of the universe (known since Edwin Hubble in the 1920s) was accelerating. Once again, a form of invisible stuff was invoked to explain the motions of the visible stuff. In this case, dark energy was made accountable for nature’s heavy foot on the cosmic gas pedal.

So how do physicists and astronomers get away with claiming the existence of cosmic ghosts (dark matter and dark energy) when they would probably roll their eyes at descriptions of the more terrestrial haunted-house kind?

The answer is data, its prevalence and its stability.

There are literally thousands of studies now of those rotating-too-fast galaxies out there — and they all get the same, quite noticeable result. In other words, data for the existence of dark matter is prevalent. It’s not like you see the effect once in a while but then it disappears. The magnitude of the result — meaning its strength — also stays pretty consistent from one study to the next. The same holds true for studies of dark energy.

This is quite different from the many attempts, over more than a century, to get coherent, repeatable, large, signal-to-noise data on paranormal activity (a million episodes of Ghost Hunters not withstanding).

Another key point is that evidence for dark matter pushing around the luminous stuff we can see pops up in lots of places other than the rotation of galaxies. It’s needed to explain the bending of light in gravitational lenses and it’s needed to understand the clustering of zillions of galaxies on the universe’s largest scales. In other words, the ghostly dark matter is part of a dense web of observations and their explanations. There isn’t just one reason to “believe” in dark matter.

But here is the rub. For years now, people have been looking for direct evidence of dark matter. This is the equivalent of seeing a ghost with your own eyes rather than seeing the kitchen drawers it keeps opening. After a whole lot of work, no one has found conclusive evidence for a dark matter particle (dark energy is different kind of story in terms of direct searches).

It’s still early in the game but, at some point, if nothing is found, scientists may have to re-evaluate their “belief” in dark matter. In that case, they will have to come up withother explanations for the bumps we know we’re hearing in the night.

Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a book author and a self-described “evangelist of science.” You can keep up with more of what Adam is thinking on Facebook and Twitter:@adamfrank4


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Men, We Need to Talk

Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, particularly in men. Too many men are ‘toughing it out’, keeping their feelings to themselves and struggling in silence.

When things get tough, we need to talk. Reach out, take action, and look after ourselves and each other.

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day, and we believe it’s important to take a look at videos like these and spread love and awareness when it comes to the heavily stigmatized topic of suicide.

Many who have trichotillomania and dermatillomania don’t see a way out of the disorder. We might see ourselves us broken, unlovable, scarred, defective or any other negative thought that might stew around in our heads, and you know what? It gets to us. It gets to us and sometimes when we’re faced with these disorders that so many professionals don’t know about and no one seems to be able to help us with, we get lost, and our thoughts turn even darker. If you’re among those who might be thinking that suicide is the only escape from this, or any of your problems, it’s not. There is help and there is hope. Reach out to suicide hotlines, online support groups, friends, family, anyone that you trust for love and support, and let them know that you’re struggling. Know that you are not alone, and that you can get better, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. You can.

o speak with someone immediately, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
If life is in danger, call 911 or go directly to emergency services.