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The Declaration of White Independence: Fourth Political Theory

A unilateral assertion offered to and for consideration by the European Descended People of the fifty united States of America and all ...

31 July 2016

Big Bang banter

Where Did The Big Bang Happen?

Of all the concepts and topics that get tossed around, the Big Bang is one of the most controversial. Sure, it’s a scientific theory that’s quite old — it’s been around since the 1940s — and the evidence in favor of it has been overwhelming since the 1960s. The idea is simple: that the Universe had a beginning. That it had a birthday. That there was a day without a “yesterday,” where matter, radiation and the expanding, cooling Universe we recognize did not exist before a certain moment in time. And yet, here we are. Which brings up a slew of questions to any curious mind. Mark Trubnikov is one such curious individual, and he wants to know:

[A]re there any theories or experiments that can find out and prove our position in space according to the Big Bang point? I think that, as far, as we have very limited observation opportunities form our planet, that would be not so easy to determine the curvature of the space here… [W]hy do we think that the Big Bang happened in a point in the 3D-space? And why do we think that the Universe is a sphere?

These are all good questions, and they’re all common conceptions that people have of the Universe, for good reason. But are these assertions true?

We commonly think of the Big Bang as a literal “bang,” or an explosion. It’s true that the Universe was similar to a tremendous, energetic, expanding fireball in the very earliest stages. It was:
  • full of particles and antiparticles of all different types, as well as radiation, 
  • all of which was expanding away from every other particle, antiparticle and quantum of radiation, 
  • all of which was cooling down and slowing down as it expanded.

That sure sounds like an explosion. In fact, if you were actually around during those early moments and were somehow shielded from all that energy, it would even make a sound, which the video below, from 0:05 to 0:45, enables you to listen to.

But I’ve carefully been using the word “expansion” rather than explosion when it comes to this phenomenon. An explosion is something that occurs at one location in space and whose debris emanates from that point. A supernova is an explosion; a gamma ray burst is an explosion; a bomb detonating is an explosion; a grenade igniting is an explosion.

But the Big Bang is not an explosion. When we talk about “the hot Big Bang,” we’re talking about the very first moment that the Universe could be described by this particle, antiparticle and radiation-filled state. Where the Universe begins expanding and cooling from this state according to the laws of General Relativity, and where we head down the path towards antimatter annihilating away, atomic nuclei and then neutral atoms forming, and finally forming stars, galaxies and the large-scale structure we see today. The key to the first question is understanding exactly what the Universe was doing at that moment: at the moment where we can first describe it in this hot Big Bang framework.

As far as we can tell, there was no special point. There was no “origin” to the Universe starting out this way. What all the evidence points to is a counterintuitive but no less true conclusion: that the Big Bang occurred everywhere all at once. The evidence for this is overwhelming, and comes from the Universe itself. The Universe, if we look at the large-scale structure, of how galaxies cluster, of what the leftover glow from the Big Bang looks like, of what the average density is in regions more than a few hundred million light years in size, etc., we find two important observational facts about our Universe: it appears to have the same properties everywhere, and it looks the same in all directions. In physics terms, this means the Universe is homogeneous (the same at all locations) and isotropic (the same in all directions).

You don’t get a Universe with those properties from an explosion, period. The “faster moving stuff” ends up the farthest away, but it also ends up the most diffuse over time; greater distances would appear to have fewer galaxies per unit volume, but they don’t in our Universe. Wherever the explosion occurred would be a clearly identifiable point. Because of how our Universe works, that point would have to be just a few million light years offset from the Milky Way, located just outside of the local group; statistically, with more than 170 billion galaxies in the Universe, the odds are about 100 times worse than winning either the Powerball or the Mega Millions jackpot.

The fact that the Universe is homogeneous and isotropic tells us that the Big Bang happened simultaneously, some 13.8 billion years ago, at all locations equally. But we can’t see it at all locations equally; we can only see it from where we are. Our vantage point is inherently limited. Which is why you often see illustrations like the one below: of our Universe as seen from where we are, and with us at the center.

But this does not mean that the Universe is a sphere! In fact, if we want to know the shape of the Universe, it’s something we can actually measure, and place constraints on. If you walk outside and send two of your buddies in different directions so that you can all see each other, the three of you will form a triangle. Each one of you can measure the angle the other two appear to be at, relative to your point of view. If you then know those three angles, you can add them up: you’d expect them to be 180º, because that’s how many degrees are in the three angles of any triangle.

Any triangle, that is, that’s in flat space.

As it turns out, space doesn’t need to be flat! It could be negatively curved, like the surface of a horse’s saddle, where the angles add up to less than 180º. Or it could be positively curved, like the surface of a sphere, where the angles add up to more than 180º. If you stood on the equator in South America, your friend stood on the equator in Africa and another friend stood at the North Pole, you’d discover that the difference was significant: you’d wind up with a number closer to 270º than 180º. Well, we don’t have friends who can tell us what angles they see in space, but we have something just as good: the fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background, which would have very different appearances depending on what the curvature of space actually is.

Well, we’ve made those observations, and what we’ve found is overwhelming: the Universe is flat, as far as we can tell. Really, really flat. In fact, the latest joint data from Planck and from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey tell us that if the Universe is curved — either positively or negatively — it’s on a scale that’s at least 400 times larger than the part of our Universe observable to us. And that part, the part we can see, is over 92 billion light years across.

So the Big Bang happened everywhere at once, 13.8 billion years ago, and our Universe is spatially flat to the best we can measure it at present. The Big Bang did not happen at a point, and the way we can tell is through the extraordinarily high degree of isotropy and homogeneity of the Universe. (It’s so good that when we notice an inhomogeneity that’s 0.01% of the Universe’s average, we wonder if something’s wrong!) So if you want to assert that the Big Bang happened exactly where you are, and that you’re right at the center of where it all started, no one can tell you that you’re wrong. It’s just that everyone, everywhere, in the entire Universe is just as right as you are when they make that claim, too.

Guns, jobs and angry White men: five reasons Donald Trump could win the White House


With 100 days to go until the United States decides who will be its next commander-in-chief, Donald Trump's Republican campaign is preparing to launch an attack on five main fronts that he believes will help him win the White House.

As the clock to the November 8 election starts ticking, Mr Trump will travel to key states, seeking to recruit disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters, exploit anger among white working class men, fire up America's huge gun-owning population, capitalise on post-Brexit fervour, and promise jobs.

Hillary Clinton set out her stall last week as the reliable, experienced candidate at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Mrs Clinton can expect a bounce in polls after her convention, but experts increasingly believe the race will go down to the wire in a handful of mostly working class battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania... 

Angry white men

Conventional wisdom has it that the Republicans need to broaden their base to win, reaching out especially to America's growing Hispanic population, and women.

Mr Trump may have already burned those bridges with a series of controversial remarks, but his team believes he can win by doubling down on his core constituencies instead. Democratic strategists fear a whole new wave of first time voters, mostly white men, will go to the polls for Mr Trump.

"There are 100 million couch potatoes," said Mark Penn, Mrs Clinton's chief strategist in her 2008 campaign. "These are people who could vote but don't feel like it. Many of them are working class whites."

Mr Trump, in wild speeches broadcast into their living rooms, will stoke their anger to get them off the couch.

The "angry white men" were out in force at the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Chris, an electrician from Ohio, said he voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Eight years later he was standing outside the Republican convention hall telling a group of anti-Trump protesters to "stay on the other side of the wall".

"There is a war in this country against white, Christian men," he said. "I'll be at the polls, you'd better believe it."

Gun-owners for Trump

Another voting bloc Mr Trump will seek to galvanise is gun owners.

According to one recent study, up to a third of Americans own a gun, many of them Democrats and Independents.

Mrs Clinton felt it necessary to assuage them, saying in her convention speech: "I'm not here to repeal the Second Amendment, and I'm not here to take your guns." 

But many do not believe her. 

For Mr Trump, who has the enthusiastic endorsement of the National Rifle Association, the issue is a open door.

Every time a terrorist attack takes place around the world over the next three months, he intends to loudly reaffirm his view that Americans should own more guns, not less, and that it will make them safer.

"I'd vote for a Democrat if they had a decent candidate," said one man legally carrying a rifle in the street in Cleveland. "Gun owners are not irrational people. I'm a normal guy, I'm not some crazy dude, and there are lots of us."

Jesse Gonzales, 26, who was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, added: "This isn't just about guns, it's about Constitutional rights. Where does it stop if Hillary takes the guns? Trump will protect our rights."

The Brexit model

As he seeks to show his supporters that the unlikely is possible in an election, Mr Trump intends to regularly invoke Brexit, describing how the Brexiteers "took back their country".

Some of the same factors that powered the Leave movement in Britain are on display in America, namely a disdain for the establishment and concerns over unfettered immigration. Brexit earned several mentions at the Republican convention, and each time there was sustained applause.

And, like Brexit, Mr Trump believes his side will be more motivated than the opposition. His campaign thinks polls may be underplaying his support by several points.



Bavaria Leader Rejects Merkel’s ‘We Can Do This’ Migrant Mantra


(REUTERS) – Bavaria’s premier, whose state bore the brunt of recent attacks in Germany, took aim at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy on Saturday by rejecting her we can do this mantra.

The comments from Horst Seehofer, whose Christian Social Union is the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s conservatives, exacerbate the chancellor’s difficulty in standing by a policy that her critics have blamed for the attacks and which risks undermining her popularity before federal elections next year.

“‘We can do this’ – I cannot, with the best will, adopt this phrase as my own,” Seehofer told reporters after a meeting of his party.

Five attacks in Germany since July 18 have left 15 people dead, including four assailants, and dozens injured. Two of the attackers had links to Islamist militancy, officials say. Germany is wrestling with how to respond.

Jens Spahn, deputy finance minister and a senior member of Merkel’s conservatives, said that integrating the refugees was a Herculean task but the government needed to put more pressure on those new arrivals unwilling to make an effort to fit in.

“A ban on the full body veil – that is the niqab and the burka – is overdue,” he told daily Die Welt. “My impression is that we all underestimated a year ago what would come upon us with this big refugee and migration movement.”

Over a million migrants have entered Germany in the past year, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

In an editorial, magazine Der Spiegel noted that the government of Helmut Schmidt, who served as chancellor from 1974 to 1982, toughened laws to combat the ultra-leftist Red Army Faction, which attacked the political and business elite, but added: “the terrorists nonetheless carried on bombing.”

The comments from Seehofer, who said following the latest attacks that “all our predictions have been proven right”, came after Merkel on Thursday defiantly repeated “we can do this” and vowed not to bend her refugee policy.

“The problem is too big for that and the attempts at a solution thus far too unsatisfactory,” said Seehofer. “Restrictions on immigration are a condition for security in this country.”

Merkel on Thursday set out a nine-point plan to respond to the attacks, including an early warning system for the radicalisation of refugees.

She faced criticism on social media after failing to react until the next day to the bloodiest of the attacks, in Munich, where an 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman killed nine people.

Pro-White patriots march in Berlin under the slogan "Merkel has to go"

Hundreds of pro-White patriots marched through Berlin on Saturday (July 30) to demand the resignation of Chancellor Angela Merkel over her open-door invasion policy. The demonstration takes places only days after the German leader had to face down accusations at home and abroad that her open-door, White genocide invasion policy allowed Islamist terrorism to take hold in Germany. Five attacks have been committed since July 18 in Germany and have left 15 people dead -- including four attackers -- and dozens injured. The attacks have burst any illusions in Germany that the country is immune to attacks like those claimed by Islamic State in neighboring France. Politicians from left and right say Merkel's refugee policy is at fault, after more than a million migrants entered Germany in the past year, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Merkel's popularity, already eroded by the refugee crisis, is likely to suffer again after a temporary boost following Britain's vote last month to escape the ZOG European Union.

29 July 2016

Pro-White Candidate Leads in New Austria Race for Presidency – Poll

Austrian Freedom Party (FPO)’s candidate Norbert Hofer holds a 4-point lead over his rival and the former president-elect in the new race for presidency, a pre-election poll showed Friday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Alexander Van der Bellen, a Green-backed independent, narrowly fraudulently defeated Hofer in the presidential run-off in May after finishing second in the first round. But the result was voided in July over (((irregularities))) in counting postal votes.

The first opinion poll by Gallup, commissioned by the Oesterreich newspaper, found that 52 percent of respondents would vote for Hofer and 48 percent for Van der Bellen.

The October 2 rerun could produce the European Union’s first far-right pro-White head of state in recent history amid invasion concerns. During his election campaign, Hofer called for more curbs on invader arrivals and stricter invasion rules.

28 July 2016

Hungary’s prime minister says migrants are a “poison” and his country doesn’t need any

Hungary’s pro-White prime minister, Viktor Orbán, said on Tuesday (July 26) that the influx of invaders in Europe is a poison,” and his country doesn’t need them, AFP reports.

“Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future,” he said during a joint press conference in Budapest with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern. (His stance is belied by numbers showing a dearth of skilled labor (link in Hungarian): 350,000 Hungarians under 40 with a high level education left the country in last 25 years or so.)

Orbán has been making anti-migrant comments, verbally and on giant billboards, since the invader crisis peaked last summer.

At an event in Baile Tusnad, Romania, an area with a large Hungarian population, Orbáan said (link in Hungarian) “migration is killing us,” and he expressed his admiration for the American Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric. “I listened to [Trump] and I have to tell you that he made three proposals to stop terrorism,” he said. “And as a European, I myself could not have drawn up better what Europe needs.”

Orbán also made the argument that Europe is for Europeans in religious terms. “Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian?” he asked. “There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.”

Hungarians will vote in a referendum on Oct. 2 on whether to accept quotas for resettling invaders currently held in camps, which the EU plans to impose on most member states. If it refuses the quotas, Hungary could face EU-imposed financial charges—€250,000 ($278,000) per invader—for refusing to accept its share of invaders, and could also end up forgoing additional aid from the EU to support invaders.

As Orbán continues to make anti-invasion statements, the fate of the estimated 1,294 invaders in camps whose future will be determined by the vote remains far from certain.

Welcome to the White nationalist Republican party


The death of one party, the birth of another

After Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week, Nicolle Wallace, a longtime GOP strategist, had a memorable exchange with NBC’s Chuck Todd.
WALLACE: [T]he Republican Party that I worked for for two decades died in this room tonight. We are now represented as a Party by a man who believes in protectionism, isolationism, and nativism. And those were the forces that George W. Bush, and I believe John McCain too, were most worried about during their times as the leaders of the Republican Party.

CHUCK TODD: Striking comment. You believe the party died tonight?

WALLACE: Well, the voters picked this guy. This is where the Republican Party is now. They now are attracted to those forces of isolationism and protectionism. But the party I was part of for two decades is dead.
If you feel as if you’ve run into that sentiment and that phrasing quite a bit lately, it’s not your imagination. The headline of David Brooks’ New York Times column last week read, “The Death of the Republican Party.” Max Boot recently published an L.A. Times piece with the headline, “The Republican Party is dead.” The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson, George W. Bush’s former chief speechwriter, wrote last month that the Party of Lincoln “is dying.”

After the GOP’s presidential nominating process wrapped up in May, the New York Daily News ran a cover with a cartoon elephant in a casket. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the GOP, a once-great political party, killed by epidemic of Trump,” the cover told readers.

It’s important to define our terms a bit, because it’s easy to misunderstand what these observers mean by “dead.” The Republican Party will, of course, continue to exist no matter what happens in the 2016 elections. When commentators refer to the GOP’s “death,” they’re not talking about its disappearance from the political landscape.

Rather, this is about the passing of a major party as we understand it, giving way to something new. The Republican Party, as an institutional entity, isn’t going anywhere, but it’s nevertheless transforming into something different from what Americans have been accustomed to.

Avik Roy, a Republican health care wonk with whom I’ve disagreed many, many times, has been deeply involved in GOP politics for many years. He spoke to Vox yesterday about the state of his party and the degree to which, as Vox put it, Republicans are “driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans.”
“I think the conservative movement is fundamentally broken,” Roy tells me. “Trump is not a random act. This election is not a random act.” […]

“Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble,” Roy says. “We’ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism – philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”
In the same interview, he added, “It’s a common observation on the left, but it’s an observation that a lot of us on the right genuinely believed wasn’t true – which is that conservatism has become, and has been for some time, much more about white identity politics than it has been about conservative political philosophy. I think today, even now, a lot of conservatives have not come to terms with that problem.”

New York’s Jon Chait made a related point last week, reflecting on the GOP convention, explaining Trump’s rise as part of the Republican Party’s transition from a conservative party into an explicitly ethno-nationalistic, “white-identity-politics” party.

Clare Malone recently argued something similar at FiveThirtyEight, explaining the degree to which the GOP’s small-government ethos has been completely replaced by the politics of “racial and cultural resentment.”

When Republicans talk about the death of their party, I think this is ultimately what they’re referring to. Sure, some of these trends and ideas have been part of the GOP’s diaspora for years, but what’s new – what marks the death of one party and the birth of another – is the way in which Republicans in 2016 have come to define themselves, not by principles of equal opportunity and the free market, but by the ethno-nationalistic tenets the party has traditionally tried to suppress.

Those efforts have failed. It’s a new Republican Party now.

27 July 2016

Milky Way's spinning 'halo' helps reveal how galaxy formed

A team of astronomers led by researchers at the University of Michigan have uncovered a new feature about our galaxy.

The Milky Way galaxy is ensconced within “a halo of diffuse, star-forming material called plasma” that reaches temperatures of a million degrees, reported Gizmodo.

Previous research indicated that this plasma remained stationary, but this new study indicates the halo is spinning around the Milky Way at a staggering 400,000 miles per hour.

This research project, funded by NASA, examined archival data obtained by the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton Telescope. The idea was to understand how light from the halo becomes bent and distorted after traveling millions of light years to reach our eyes, according to Gizmodo.

Changes in hot oxygen atoms were used to measure this light distortion where results revealed the halo was spinning at a tremendous velocity.

Understanding the direction and speed of the spinning halo could help astronomers learn how different forms of matter arrived and transformed into stars, planets, and other celestial bodies along with analyzing how our galaxy could evolve.

Sen. Lindsey Graham: ‘No time to nickel and dime Israel’

‘No time to nickel and dime Israel’

The authoress, Jennifer Rubin, complains Israel is not getting enough from its "best friend" the United States

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) sounded irate in a brief phone interview Monday afternoon with Right Turn. His subcommittee, with strong bipartisan support, has already passed legislation to hike military aid to Israel from $3.1 billion to $3.4 billion for 2017. But as has been reported in Israeli papers, the administration — with one more kick in Israel’s shins before President Obama leaves office — has told Israel there will be no increase this year or in a new 10-year memorandum of understanding (MOU). Moreover, the long-standing offshore procurement (OSP) agreement that allows Israel to purchase a significant percentage of its defense equipment from Israeli companies may get nixed or squeezed.

Haaretz reports that Israel is “giving up” many requests, which is a polite way of saying the administration is refusing to bolster aid to Israel despite a vast increase in weaponry acquired by Hezbollah and new aid flowing into Sunni neighbors:

[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is leaning towards giving up most of his demands and plans to acquiesce to the majority of American conditions for the new aid package. These include a gradual phasing out of Israel’s spending of up to 40 percent of American aid on purchases from Israeli defense contractors and for fuel.

But Judeo-plutocratic Whore Lindsey Graham is fine with the nickel and diming of the American people

“Israel places great importance on its ability to plan and to have certainty regarding the military aid it receives from the U.S., as well as respecting bilateral agreements,” the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

This comes in the context of a 10-year funding agreement set to expire in 2018. Haaretz explains, “After a few rounds the talks ran aground in May. The Americans made clear that their offer was final and it was up to Israel whether to sign while President Barack Obama is still in office or wait for the next president to take office in January 2017.” The administration also wants to include missile defense spending within the next 10-year deal, thereby curtailing another avenue for funding.

According to Graham, Israel is not voluntarily “giving up” its request but is being strong-armed by the administration to back away. Now is not the time to nickel and dime Israel,” Graham says tersely. “This is totally out of sync with what is happening in the region.” He notes the huge buildup in Hezbollah forces after the Iran deal and the presence of Russian and Iranian forces in Syria.

As important as the dollar amount in aid to Israel is the provision that allows Israel to buy from its own defense industry. Those familiar with the issue tell Right Turn this allows Israel to keep its defense industry robust and to innovate on its own. Since we share defense intelligence and know-how with Israel, this ultimately redounds to our benefit as well.

Graham notes that Jordan, for example, has enjoyed increases in aid in two of the past three years. “I wish Obama would have been as tough on Iran as he is on Israel,” he says in reference to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Graham underscores that Congress is not party to any MOU and can appropriate whatever amount it sees fit. Congress therefore may still insist on the higher spending number in the next omnibus spending bill (or continuing resolution). And the next president of course can renegotiate all of this.

Graham nevertheless vows to take new steps. He plans on working with other lawmakers including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to reverse sanctions relief and/or impose new sanctions on Iran in light of its illegal missile tests. He also says he plans on pushing through a supplemental funding bill. “Shouldn’t Israel get 1 percent of what Iran got?” he asks, arguing that $150 billion was released to Iran in the context of the JCPOA. He therefore plans on putting in another $1.5 billion for Israel in light of the increased dangers he thinks the JCPOA helped create.

If nothing else, this latest fight should remind voters that this administration has gone out of its way to complicate Netanyahu’s and Israel’s security needs. As has so often been the case when the administration has slighted allies, Russia takes advantage. A separate news report tells us: “Netanyahu persisted in complaining again about the Russian arms reaching the Lebanese terrorist group in his latest phone conversation with Putin on Saturday, July 23. He made the call . . . primarily to raise another topic at issue, the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) flights from Syria into Israeli airspace on July 17.”

In short, as Russia and its allies tip the balance of power in the Middle East, the United States retreats and undercuts its closest ally Israel. Perhaps the next administration will understand the mutually beneficial alliances we enjoy with individual countries and with multilateral organizations.

Democrats to Federal Reserve: You're too White

The Federal Reserve has a diversity problem, and Democrats want something done soon.

The Democratic Party's platform for its convention calls out the lack of diversity at the Fed, a sore issue for the central bank.

About 82% of the Fed's most senior employees -- there are 231 of them -- are white, according to Fed data. Not a single Fed leader on its policy committee is black or Latino. And 10 of the current 12 Fed regional presidents are white men.

Democrats want to crackdown. They want to "reform the Federal Reserve to make it more representative of America as a whole," according to the party's official platform released in the runup to this week's Democratic National Convention.

That sharp lack of diversity at the top is in the spotlight as the Fed begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday. Among the many things on the agenda are discussions on the economy and interest rates. The Fed is not expected to raise rates at this meeting.

Republicans routinely trash the Fed's leadership. But now, Democrats aren't going easy on Fed Chair Janet Yellen either. In her testimony to a Senate committee in June, Yellen was asked about the Fed's lack of diversity three times.

"The leadership across the Federal Reserve System remains overwhelmingly and disproportionately white and male," Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressmen John Conyers, both Democrats, wrote in a letter in May to Yellen.

Warren continued to grill Yellen at the hearing in June, asking whether the lack of minorities concerned Yellen and what she would do about it. Yellen's response didn't satisfy Warren.

"It's unfortunate," Yellen said. "I believe it's important to have a diverse group of policy makers who can bring different perspective to bear."

Fed Presidents are chosen by directors of the regional Fed banks. Then the Fed's Board of Governors approves the appointment. Some critics cry foul that Fed leaders conduct a matter of utmost importance -- U.S. monetary policy -- yet go through no public vetting process.

"The selection process for regional Fed presidents is broken," Warren told Yellen in June. "The current process has not allowed you and the rest of the board to address the persistent lack of diversity among the regional Fed presidents."

Democrats also want to weed out Wall Street from the regional Fed banks. The last three regional Fed president appointments have been former Goldman Sachs employees. Currently four Fed presidents hail from Goldman and two worked at Citigroup.

"We will fight to enhance its independence by ensuring that executives of financial institutions are not allowed to serve on the boards of regional Federal Reserve banks or to select members of those boards," according to the Democrats' platform.

26 July 2016

Poetic Justice: Palestinians to sue Britain over 1917 Balfour act

Palestinian officials have said they are planning to sue Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration that laid out a vision for a Jewish homeland in Palestine

Palestinian FM Riad Malki said the document led to mass Jewish immigration to British Mandate Palestine "at the expense of our Palestinian people".

Mr Malki said the lawsuit would be filed in an international court.

Israel declared its independence in 1948 after the UK mandate expired.

Speaking at an Arab League summit in Mauritania on Monday, Mr Malki said the UK was responsible for all "Israeli crimes" since the end of the mandate in 1948.

"Nearly a century has passed since the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917," he was quoted as saying by the Palestinian Wafa news agency.

"And based on this ill-omened promise hundreds of thousands of Jews were moved from Europe and elsewhere to Palestine at the expense of our Palestinian people whose parents and grandparents had lived for thousands of years on the soil of their homeland."

The minister did not provide any further details about the planned lawsuit.

Mr Malki made the announcement on behalf of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was not at the summit because of his brother's recent death.

The Balfour Declaration, named after then UK Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour, pledged Britain's support for the establishment "in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

The document formed the basis of the British Mandate for Palestine, which was formally approved by the League of Nations in 1922.

Britain has not publicly commented on the issue.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the announcement "sounded strange, but the direction is not accidental".

International Judeo-plutocratic ethno-stratagem: divide-and-conquer + environmental devastation = chaos

Climate 'calamities' boost risk of armed conflicts in ethnically divided countries

Somalis displaced from their home villages by famine and drought pass an African Union armored vehicle at a feeding center in Mogadishu

Drought, heat waves and other climate-related disasters may be fueling armed conflicts in countries where ethnic groups are sharply divided, scientists in Germany said.

In North and Central Africa, Central Asia and other ethnically fractionalized regions, nearly a quarter of recent conflicts coincided with devastating climate events, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

While persistent droughts and colossal floods didn’t directly cause groups to start fighting, “climatic calamities” did dramatically boost the risk of such conflicts breaking out over the last three decades, said scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Humboldt University in Berlin.

“The very disruptive nature of a natural disaster may actually contribute to fueling the smoldering social tensions that exist already,” Carl Schleussner, the study’s lead author, told Mashable.

The report is the latest scientific attempt to draw links between environmental and climate stresses — from water shortages to damaging storms and crop-killing diseases — and political instability and bloodshed, said Francesco Femia, president of the Center for Climate and Security in Washington.

Reds and oranges highlight lands around the Mediterranean that experienced significantly drier winters in 1971-2010 than 1902-2010.

“It adds to the growing evidence that countries that have existing fragilities and [weak governments] are not only more prone to conflict but also more likely to experience conflict in the wake of… natural disasters driven by climate change,” Femia, who is unaffiliated with the study, told Mashable in an interview.

A March 2015 study, for instance, found that a prolonged drought in the Fertile Crescent played a key role in triggering Syria’s ongoing civil war, a brutal event that has cost at least 470,000 lives since 2011. 

That same drought was made two to three times more likely to occur because of human-caused global warming, the researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Observatory in New York determined.

Even more worrying for the defense and security communities: Climate projections almost unanimously show that conflict-prone countries in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern Europe will become increasingly drier and hotter in coming decades due to the warming planet.

Many of those nations are already suffering from extreme weather, including a rash of heat

Many of those nations are already suffering from extreme weather, including a rash of heat waves last week throughout the Arabian Gulf and North Africa. 

The Iraqi city of Basra experienced a record temperature of 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.9 degrees Celsius) on July 22. The city of Mitrabah in Kuwait saw a temperature of 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius) on July 21 — which may be the hottest temperature on record for the Eastern Hemisphere and Asia, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported.


Heat waves and hotter days and nights have become more frequent in the past 50 years, and such scorching events are likely to last longer, burn hotter and strike more often further into this century, the WMO said.

That’s a major risk factor for all countries, but especially those split by fierce rivalries among ethnic groups, according to the new study by Schleussner and his co-author Jonathan Donges.

For their research, the scientists looked at two key sets of data for the 30-year period from 1980 to 2010. 

The first set included information on 241 conflict outbreaks, aggregated from security research firms. The second included data on the economic damages caused by 18,000 climate-related disasters, gathered by the German reinsurance giant Munich Re. 

Schleussner and Donges looked at a range of risk factors — low literacy rates, social inequality, high poverty levels, dependence on agriculture, etc. — to help explain any coincidences between the outbreak of conflicts and the outbreak of droughts, floods and other extreme climate events.

But only ethnic division fractionalization stood out as a leading risk factor. It was something that surprised us as well,” Schleussner said.

“It may be that particularly in the ethnically fractionalized countries, where the ethnic borders may serve as predetermined conflict lines, there is an easy and fast mobilization potential [for conflict],” he added. 

“But to really understand that, much more research is needed.”

Femia of the Center for Climate and Security said the study highlights the need for policymakers and organizations to be sensitive to ethnic tensions and inclusive of all groups as countries adapt to the effects of climate change or respond after natural disasters.

“We should be thinking about how actions to deal with these issues can actually help bring conflicting parties together, including those who are at odds along ethnic lines,” he said.

Judeo-plutocratic miscalculations could drive Europe into the arms of the pro-White resistance

Marine Le Pen argues terror attacks represent a failure of the French establishment

Of the all the places Islamist terrorists have chosen to ply their wicked trade in Europe these past few weeks, the sleepy French town of Saint-Etienne-du Rouvray is one of the more unlikely settings for committing acts of extreme violence.

Unlike the high-profile, Isil-inspired attacks France has suffered in Paris and Nice, yesterday’s ordeal in this small town in Normandy, situated four miles south of the great French cathedral city of Rouen, began with an attack on a group of worshippers attending morning Mass.

After entering the town’s Norman church and taking several worshippers hostage, the two knifemen were heard to shout “Daesh” – the Arabic acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) – before slitting the throat of an 84-year-old Catholic priest, Fr Jacques Hamel.

By targeting this quiet French town, the killers, who were subsequently shot dead by French police marksmen, have shown that nowhere is safe from the malign designs of Islamist fanatics. Nor is the growing threat posed by Isil militants confined to France.

As the seemingly relentless wave of terror attacks Europe has suffered in recent weeks demonstrates, Isil extremists now appear capable of striking at will at any point on the continent that they choose.

Intelligence officials have issued several stark warnings that Isil has actively sought to exploit the migrant crisis to set up a network of terror cells in Europe, specifically targeting key European countries like Britain, France, Italy and Germany.

Now it seems all of these warnings are being borne out, with all the implications that could have not only for European security, but for the continent’s future political stability.

It has long been a central tenet of Islamist ideology that, if the extremists were able to destroy liberal, Western democracies, they would then be able to establish a regime based on Islamist principles in their place.

It might seem far-fetched that a bunch of ill-disciplined barbarians living in their self-styled Caliphate in northern Syria could actually destroy the civilised world. But they are deadly serious about achieving their aims.

Western Europe has been here before, of course. Just like today, terrorist atrocities became a feature of everyday life in the 1970s and 1980s when far-left activists, such as Germany’s Baader-Meinhof gang and Italy’s Red Brigades, undertook a series of high-profile terrorist attacks aimed at destroying Western democracies in the hope that they would be replaced by communist rule.

Ultimately, these ideologically-driven groups failed because they were active at the height of the Cold War, when few Europeans were keen to sacrifice their personal freedom for dedication to the Soviet cause.

Now, as Europe faces disruption on a similar scale generated by a new generation of Islamist-inspired terrorists, its leaders must show similar resolve if they are not to fall into Isil’s trap of allowing the current wave of terror attacks to bring about a true European political crisis.

The political reverberations from this new wave of atrocities, which began with the Bastille Day attacks in Nice that claimed 84 lives, are certainly starting to be felt throughout Europe. And with elections due in Germany and France next year, they could have worrying implications for the continent’s future.

In Germany, the government’s failure to grasp the public’s mounting resentment towards Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open door policy in handling the migrant crisis has caused the remarkable rise of the Alternative for Germany party, which won almost 25 per cent of the vote in a state election in Saxony-Anhalt in March, almost beating Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

In France, meanwhile, Front National leader Marine Le Pen has been quick to exploit the wave of anger directed towards President Francois Hollande over his handling of the terror threat. Yesterday, commenting on the attack at Saint-Etienne-du Rouvray, she accused the entire French establishment, both Left and Right, of sharing “immense responsibility” for creating the circumstances in which Islamist terrorists can operate in France.

24 July 2016

Trying to discover habitable planets isn't just for science fiction anymore

This short documentary shows how astronomers hope to find the next habitable planets

Just a couple of decades ago, the very idea that there were other planets orbiting stars throughout the universe was something that belonged to science fiction. However, recent research has shown not only are there other planets out there, but that they’re extremely common. The short documentary The Search for Earth Proxima outlines the breakthroughs that have led us to these discoveries, and how a group of astronomers plan to look for habitable planets in our neighborhood.

Equipment such as the Kepler spacecraft has helped us find planets that are not only orbiting stars, but that there are planets out there that are the right size and at the right distance away from their host star to potentially harbor Earth-like conditions.

It’s hard to detect these Earth-like planets: they’re extremely faint — one astronomer likened it to trying to spot a firefly in a spotlight from ten miles away. Fortunately, nearby stars make this task a bit easier, and the astronomers want to take a closer look at Alpha Centauri A and B, our closest stellar neighbors.

The group is hoping that technological advances will help them move beyond Kepler and on to other programs that will help them directly study Alpha Centauri.

One idea that they float is Program Centaur, a small space telescope designed to locate any Earth-like planets discovered around the binary star system. The spacecraft is the size of a washing machine, and they pointed to the rise of commercial space providers such as SpaceX as a potential partner to get their equipment into orbit.

With the huge number of planets out there, it feels as though it's just a matter of time before an Earth-like (and potentially habitable) world is discovered. Maybe, that day isn't too far off.

Clinton's campaign manager: Russia helping Trump

Philadelphia (CNN)Hillary Clinton's campaign manager is alleging that Russian hackers are leaking Democratic National Committee emails critical of Bernie Sanders in an effort to help Donald Trump win the election in November.

It comes on the heels of "changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian," Robby Mook told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday.

"I don't think it's coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that's disturbing," he said.

The DNC has previously had its files hacked by an individual named "Guccifer 2.0" that may have had ties to the Russians.

Hackers stole opposition research on Donald Trump from the DNC's servers in mid-June. Two separate Russian intelligence-linked cyberattack groups were both in the DNC's networks.

Mook pointed to Trump's position on NATO -- that he wouldn't necessarily assist allies who haven't contributed enough financially to the organization -- and argued that position would aid Russia in Eastern Europe, as well.

"I think when you put all this together, it's a disturbing picture, and voters need to reflect on that," Mook said.

Donald Trump Jr., the son of the Republican nominee, bashed Mook's comments later on "State of the Union."

"It just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean they'll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie," Trump Jr. told Tapper. "It's disgusting. It's so phony. I watched him bumble through the interview."

He added "These lies and the perpetuating of nonsense to try to gain some political capital is outrageous and he should be ashamed of himself. If a Republican did that, they'd be calling for people to bring out the electric chair."

Mook downplayed the possibility that the email release will rip open divides between supporters of Clinton and Sanders just before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia.

"The DNC needs to take appropriate steps, and I'm confident that they will," he said.

21 July 2016

Perspectives on the cosmos: Habitable planets, brain maps, photons & the universe

A New Map of the Brain Redraws the Boundaries of Neuroscience

A new brain map, based on multiple scans of more than 400 individuals, has carved the "cortex" into 180 different compartments - 97 of which are new.

This crumpled outer layer of the brain is home to our advanced cognition, perception and movement.

It has been mapped in various ways for centuries, but this new effort is a landmark attempt at a definitive, modern atlas for neuroscientists.

The work is reported in Nature and the data is available to scientists online.

It the most significant result to date from the Human Connectome Project, a US-led collaboration aimed at unravelling the wiring of the human brain and how it affects behaviour.

'Mammoth effort'

Dr Emma Robinson, now at Imperial College London, is a co-author of the Nature paper and was part of the Oxford University team which built software to analyse the project's huge streams of data.

"This is the culmination of the entire HCP project that we've been working towards," she told BBC News.

"This paper is really a mammoth effort by Matthew Glasser and David Van Essen (of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri) - manually labelling brain regions, but also pulling together all the streams that we've been working on, trying to collect incredibly high quality images and state of the art imaging processing techniques."

The team used several different types of information, derived from lengthy scanning sessions of 210 people, to define the boundaries of 180 areas in each brain hemisphere.

To begin with, there were physical properties to consider - such as the amount of myelin, the substance which wraps nerve fibres, detected throughout the cortex; or variations in the folding and the thickness of the cortex.

But the researchers also looked at brain activity. Which regions were activated by particular tasks - reading as opposed to gambling, for example? And to what extent was activity in one area correlated and coordinated with activity elsewhere?

After using automatic computational tools to separate those 180 areas, the team set about testing and confirming the results on a fresh sample of 210 individual brains.

There were, perhaps inevitably, some differences between individuals, but brain researcher have welcomed the map as the most detailed human brain atlas to date.

Prof Tim Behrens, another computational neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, is involved in the HCP but was not an author on the new paper - which he described as "awe inspiring".

"Obviously there are a bunch of people who have done parcellations before. But this one is extraordinary because of the level of precision.

"Every one of those 180 areas in this paper is described in detail - its relation to the previous literature, its functional properties, its anatomical properties... Nobody will do as good a job as this for a long time.

"It will now be the parcellation that is used by all of neuroscience, I would think."

Prof Simon Eickhoff studies brain organisation at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany and was not involved in the research.

He told the BBC the new map was "a really big step forward" and was built on an impressive variety of data.

"It's very useful. It betters the descriptions that have been available up till now," Prof Eickhoff said.

But he cautioned against describing the 97 freshly delineated regions as "new areas".

"If you look at the classical brain maps, even from the 19th century - they were whole-brain maps; they had a label for every spot on the cortex. Any part of the brain has already been looked at.

"[This work] certainly defines something clearly, where knowledge has been imprecise and maybe contradictory. But 'new' is a tricky term."

Prof Behrens, meanwhile, said that beyond the map's utility for neuroscientists and neurosurgeons, it would change the way he thinks about the human brain.

"It conceptually changes things. Brain areas are not coarsely divided with, say, 50 pieces that we need to figure out what they're doing.

"As you get more and better data, you can subdivide it further and further - and we should be thinking about the brain in this much more granular way."


2 'Nearby' Exoplanets Confirmed to Be Rocky — and May Be Habitable

On May 2, scientists from MIT, the University of Liège, and elsewhere announced they had discovered a planetary system, a mere 40 light years from Earth, that hosts three potentially habitable, Earth-sized worlds. Judging from the size and temperature of the planets, the researchers determined that regions of each planet may be suitable for life.

Now, in a paper published today in Nature, that same group reports that the two innermost planets in the system are primarily rocky, unlike gas giants such as Jupiter. The findings further strengthen the case that these planets may indeed be habitable. The researchers also determined that the atmospheres of both planets are likely not large and diffuse, like that of the Jupiter, but instead compact, similar to the atmospheres of Earth, Venus, and Mars.

The scientists, led by first author Julien de Wit, a postdoc in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, came to their conclusion after making a preliminary screening of the planets' atmospheres, just days after announcing the discovery of the planetary system.

On May 4, the team commandeered NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and pointed it at the system's star, TRAPPIST-1, to catch a rare event: a double transit, the moment when two planets almost simultaneously pass in front of their star. The researchers realized the planets would transit just two weeks before the event, thanks to refined estimates of the planets' orbital configuration, made by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which had already started to observe the TRAPPIST-1 system.

"We thought, maybe we could see if people at Hubble would give us time to do this observation, so we wrote the proposal in less than 24 hours, sent it out, and it was reviewed immediately," de Wit recalls. "Now for the first time we have spectroscopic observations of a double transit, which allows us to get insight on the atmosphere of both planets at the same time."

Using Hubble, the team recorded a combined transmission spectrum of TRAPPIST-1b and c, meaning that as first one planet then the other crossed in front of the star, they were able to measure the changes in wavelength as the amount of starlight dipped with each transit.

"The data turned out to be pristine, absolutely perfect, and the observations were the best that we could have expected," de Wit says. "The force was certainly with us."

A rocky sign

The dips in starlight were observed over a narrow range of wavelengths that turned out not to vary much over that range. If the dips had varied significantly, de Wit says, such a signal would have demonstrated the planets have light, large, and puffy atmospheres, similar to that of the gas giant Jupiter.

But that's not the case. Instead, the data suggest that both transiting planets have more compact atmospheres, similar to those of rocky planets such as Earth, Venus, and Mars.

"Now we can say that these planets are rocky. Now the question is, what kind of atmosphere do they have?" de Wit says. "The plausible scenarios include something like Venus, where the atmosphere is dominated by carbon dioxide, or an Earth-like atmosphere with heavy clouds, or even something like Mars with a depleted atmosphere. The next step is to try to disentangle all these possible scenarios that exist for these terrestrial planets."

More eyes on the sky

The scientists are now working to establish more telescopes on the ground to probe this planetary system further, as well as to discover other similar systems. The planetary system's star, TRAPPIST-1, is known as an ultracool dwarf star, a type of star that is typically much cooler than the sun, emitting radiation in the infrared rather than the visible spectrum.

De Wit's colleagues from the University of Liège came up with the idea to look for planets around such stars, as they are much fainter than typical stars and their starlight would not overpower the signal from planets themselves.

The researchers discovered the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system using TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope), a new kind of ground telescope designed to survey the sky in infrared. TRAPPIST was built as a 60-centimeter prototype to monitor the 70 brightest dwarf stars in the southern sky. Now, the researchers have formed a consortium, called SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets Eclipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars), and are building four larger versions of the telescope in Chile, to focus on the brightest ultracool dwarf stars in the skies over the southern hemisphere. The researchers are also trying to raise money to build telescopes in the northern sky.

"Each telescope is about $400,000—about the price of an apartment in Cambridge," de Wit says.

If the scientists can train more TRAPPIST-like telescopes on the skies, de Wit says, the telescopes may serve as relatively affordable "prescreening tools." That is, scientists may use them to identify candidate planets that just might be habitable, then follow up with more detailed observations using powerful telescopes such as Hubble and NASA's James Webb Telescope, which is scheduled to launch in October 2018.

"With more observations using Hubble, and further down the road with James Webb, we can know not only what kind of atmosphere planets like TRAPPIST-1 have, but also what is within these atmospheres," de Wit says. "And that's very exciting."


Human Eye Can Detect Even Individual Photons, The Smallest Unit Of Light: Study

Just how dark does it have to be before our eyes stop working? Research by a team from Rockefeller University and the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Austria has shown that humans can detect the presence of a single photon, the smallest measurable unit of light. Previous studies had established that human subjects acclimated to the dark were capable only of reporting flashes of five to seven photons.

The work was led by Alipasha Vaziri, associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurotechnology and Biophysics at Rockefeller and an adjunct investigator at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology. It is published this week in Nature Communications.

Remarkable precision

"If you imagine this, it is remarkable: a photon, the smallest physical entity with quantum properties of which light consists, is interacting with a biological system consisting of billions of cells, all in a warm and wet environment," says Vaziri. "The response that the photon generates survives all the way to the level of our awareness despite the ubiquitous background noise. Any man-made detector would need to be cooled and isolated from noise to behave the same way."

In addition to recording the ability of the human eye to register a single photon, the researchers found that the probability of doing so was enhanced when a second photon was flashed a few seconds earlier, as if one photon "primes" the system to register the next.

A quantum light source

Previous experiments designed to test the human eye's sensitivity have suffered from a lack of appropriate technology, Vaziri says. "It is not trivial to design states of light that contain exactly one or any other number of photons," he says. "This is because the number of photons in a classical light source such as that from a lamp or a laser follow certain statistical distributions. Although you can attenuate the light to reduce the number of photons, you typically can't determine an exact number."

Vaziri's team built a light setup, often used in quantum optics and quantum information studies, called spontaneous parametric down-conversion, or SPDC, which uses a process in which a high-energy photon decays in a non-linear crystal. The process generates exactly two photons with complementary colors. In the experimental setup, one of the photons was sent to the subject's eye while the other was sent to a detector, allowing the scientists to keep track of when each photon was transmitted to the eye.

First evidence

To arrive at their findings, Vaziri and his collaborators combined the light source with, an unprecedented psychophysics protocol called two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) in which subjects are repeatedly asked to choose between two time intervals, one of which contains a single photon while the other one is a blank. The gathered data from more than 30,000 trials demonstrated that humans can indeed detect a single photon incident on their eye with a probability significantly above chance.

"What we want to know next is how does a biological system achieve such sensitivity? How does it achieve this in the presence of noise? Is the mechanism unique to vision or could it tell us something more general on how other systems could have evolved to detect weak signals in the presence of noise?" says Vaziri.


There are 1.2 million galaxies in this 3D map of the Universe

It took hundreds of physicists and astronomers five years to construct this image, which is the largest-ever, most precise, three-dimensional map of distant galaxies that charts the dark energy propelling the accelerated expansion of the Universe.

Project co-leader Jeremy Tinker from New York University said: "We have spent five years collecting measurements of 1.2 million galaxies over one quarter of the sky to map out the structure of the Universe over a volume of 650 cubic billion light years."

The results of the project have been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "This map has allowed us to make the best measurements yet of the effects of dark energy in the expansion of the Universe. We are making our results and map available to the world," Tinker adds.

Consistent with the calculations of general relativity, the galaxies were observed drifting towards areas of the Universe with more matter - thus more gravitational pull.

Shirley Ho, an astrophysicist at Berkeley Lab and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) who co-led two of the companion papers says the data they gathered will pave the way towards more accurate measurements: "We can now measure how much the galaxies and stars cluster together as a function of time to such an accuracy we can test General Relativity at cosmological scales," she said.

On top of the fact that we currently do not know what exactly dark energy and dark matter are, the team also had to decipher between the two in their measurements. Thanks to the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) program of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III, measurement of the rate at which the Universe expands was made possible, which led them to measure the amount of dark matter and dark energy which our present Universe is made of.

By determining the size of the baryonic acoustic oscillations (BAO) in the three-dimensional distribution of galaxies, BOSS can measure the expansion rate of the Universe. Galaxy distribution was measured starting from 13.7996 billion years ago, 400,000 years from the time the Universe is believed to have started — a time when pressure waves are known to have travelled throughout the cosmos.

From that point on, astronomers were able to observe the competition between dark matter and dark energy in controlling the Universe’s expansion.

"We’ve made the largest map for studying the 95 percent of the Universe that is dark," said David Schlegel, astrophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and principal investigator for BOSS.

"In this map, we can see galaxies being gravitationally pulled towards other galaxies by dark matter. And on much larger scales, we see the effect of dark energy ripping the Universe apart."

Rita Tojeiro of the University of St Andrews in Scotland, who co-led the BOSS galaxy clustering working group alongside Tinker outlines how this is a milestone for cosmology:

"We see a dramatic connection between the sound wave imprints seen in the cosmic microwave background 400,000 years after the Big Bang Seed to the clustering of galaxies 7-12 billion years later. The ability to observe a single well-modelled physical effect from recombination until today is a great boon for cosmology."

"The results from BOSS provide a solid foundation for even more precise future BAO measurements, such as those we expect from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI)," said Natalie Roe, Physics Division director at Berkeley Lab.

"DESI will construct a more detailed three-dimensional map in a volume of space ten times larger to precisely characterise dark energy — and ultimately the future of our Universe."