Einstein's Rise to Fame

With regard to the politics that led to Einstein's fame Dr. S. Chandrasekhar states:

In 1917, after more than two years of war, England enacted conscription for all able-bodied men. Eddington, who was 34, was eligible for draft. But as a devout Quaker, he was a conscientious objector; and it was generally known and expected that he would claim deferment from military service on that ground. Now the climate of opinion in England during the war was very adverse with respect to conscientious objectors: it was, in fact, a social disgrace to be even associated with one.

And the stalwarts of Cambridge of those days - Larmor (of the Larmor precession), Newall, and others - felt that Cambridge University would be disgraced by having one of its distinguished members a declared conscientious objector. They therefore tried through the Home Office to have Eddington deferred on the grounds that he was a most distinguished scientist and that it was not in the long-range interests of Britain to have him serve in the army.... In any event, at Dyson's intervention - as the Astronomer Royal, he had close connections with the Admiralty - Eddington was deferred with the express stipulation that if the war should have ended by 1919, he should lead one of two expeditions that were being planned for the express purpose of verifying Einstein's prediction with regard to the gravitational deflection of light.... The Times of London for November 7, 1919, carried two headlines: "The Glorious Dead, Armistice Observance. All Trains in the Country to Stop," and "Revolution in Science. Newtonian Ideas Overthrown."

Dr. F. Schmeidler of the Munich University Observatory has published a paper titled "The Einstein Shift - An Unsettled Problem," and a plot of shifts for 92 stars for the 1922 eclipse shows shifts going in all directions, many of them going the wrong way by as large a deflection as those shifted in the predicted direction! Further examination of the 1919 and 1922 data originally interpreted as confirming relativity, tended to favor a larger shift, the results depended very strongly on the manner for reducing the measurements and the effect of omitting individual stars.

So now we find that the legend of Albert Einstein as the world's greatest scientist was based on the Mathematical Magic of Trimming and Cooking of the eclipse data to present the illusion that Einstein's general relativity theory was correct in order to prevent Cambridge University from being disgraced because one of its distinguished members was close to being declared a "conscientious objector"!

[Source: Bryan G. Wallace - The Farce of Physics]


Of course, our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking. This means that the potentially-integratable-techno-economic advantages accruing to society from the myriad specializations are not comprehended integratively and therefore are not realized, or they are realized only in negative ways, in new weaponry or the industrial support only of warfaring.

All universities have been progressively organized for ever finer specialization. Society assumes that specialization is natural, inevitable, and desirable. Yet in observing a little child, we find it is interested in everything and spontaneously apprehends, comprehends, and co-ordinates an ever expending inventory of experiences. Children are enthusiastic planetarium audiences. Nothing seems to be more prominent about human life than its wanting to understand all and put everything together.

One of humanity's prime drives is to understand and be understood. All other living creatures are designed for highly specialized tasks. Man seems unique as the comprehensive comprehender and co-ordinator of local universe affairs. If the total scheme of nature required man to be a specialist she would have made him so by having him born with one eye and a microscope attached to it. What nature needed man to be was adaptive in many if not any direction; wherefore she gave man a mind as well as a coordinating switchboard brain. Mind apprehends and comprehends the general principles governing flight and deep sea diving, and man puts on his wings or his lungs, then takes them off when not using them. The specialist bird is greatly impeded by its wings when trying to walk. The fish cannot come out of the sea and walk upon land, for birds and fish are specialists.

Of course, we are beginning to learn a little in the behavioral sciences regarding how little we know about children and the educational processes. We had assumed the child to be an empty brain receptacle into which we could inject our methodically-gained wisdom until that child, too, became educated. In the light of modern behavioral science experiments that was not a good working assumption.

[...]Now let us examine more closely what we know scientifically about extinction. At the annual Congress of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as held approximately ten years ago in Philadelphia, two papers were presented in widely-separated parts of the Congress. One was presented in anthropology and the other in biology, and though the two author-scientists knew nothing of each other's efforts they were closely related. The one in anthropology examined the case histories of all the known human tribes that had become extinct. The biological paper investigated the case histories of all the known biological species that had become extinct. Both scientists sought for a common cause of extinction. Both of them found a cause, and when the two papers were accidentally brought together it was discovered that the researchers had found the same causes. Extinction in both cases was the consequence of over-specialization.

[Source: Buckminster Fuller - Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth]

Radiodecay rates

[...]When John L. Anderson and George W. Spangler, of the University of Tennessee, demonstrated some 20 years ago (1974) that the Poisson distribution in the decay rate of radiocarbon could be altered by impressing +90 volts across a monolayer, the late inventor of the radiocarbon dating technique, Nobelist Willard Libby, was aghast that environmental influences could have such an effect. And there have been a fair number of other examples in the literature which have not been given very much publicity, and understandably so. Imagine the unique if not unsolvable problem of determining the time for which an atomic clock is set prior to its having been reset.

To explain: Consider that Earth might have a negative electrostatic potential of something like 10 million volts. If, perchance, some cosmic event reduced this potential by about one million volts, it could have a profound effect on radiodecay rates. There is a voltage gradient surrounding the potential well of the nucleus of an atom, and the zero, or ground, voltage is the electrostatic potential of the environment, considered to be that of the charge on the Earth itself. If this charge were reduced by that ten percent--the one million volts--then, for a specific example, the 4.5-billion-year radiodecay halflife of uranium might be reduced to mere minutes or possibly even seconds, not to mention all the other radionuclides, and up to and including a number of so-called stable elements. For in my book, there are no stable elements, just those with unmeasurably long halflives.

If such an event took place, however briefly, our atomic clocks could be reset to a new time. The number of extinctions and mutations and other subsequent effects would be incalculable on whole genera of taxonomic plants and organisms. The surviving quantitative chemist would have the exciting task of recalculating all of the atomic masses because of the redistribution of the isotopes.
[...]There was an event about 65 million years ago, which according to the late Luis Alvarez and his colleagues at UC Berkeley, brought the Mesozoic period to an end. This event is postulated as a sizeable asteroid which struck the Earth and brought about the extinction of the dinosaurs, including innumerable other animals down to a weight of 50 lbs. or less. If this asteroid carried an electrostatic potential which even fractionally altered that of Earth, or else caused the Earth to lose part of its charge to space, then we could expect a corresponding change in radiodecay rates. This event was the last of the five major known catastrophes which have affected the geological history of Earth. What perchance do we do with the 4.6-billion-year history of the Earth which is based on radiodecay rates? We create more myths.

[...] In 1931 Fernando Sanford of Stanford University wrote in his book, Terrestrial Electricity, about electrical charges he believed to exist on both the Earth and the Sun, and discussed stable groupings of charged atomic particles--electrons and protons--and how their various combinations would lead to certain instabilities. At the time neutrons were unknown, albeit suspected, having been finally discovered a year later, in 1932, by James Chadwick of Cambridge, for which he received the Nobel Prize.

Sanford, himself, thought that the most stable combinations of atomic particles would also be the most numerous, which in today's parlance means that of the various combinations of protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei only a limited number would be long-lived and stable. We are fully aware of this now and consider it mundanely obvious and self-evident, but in Sanford's day this was an advanced and radical idea. In terms of numbers, a quick run-down through a recent copy of the Table of Isotopes shows that out of some two thousand-odd isotopic combinations of the 110 known chemical elements most are radioactive and only some 273 stable isotopes exist with which to build a world.

Nevertheless, a rigorous study of the stable isotopes gives one the feeling that, given enough eons of time, even these will eventually decay and return to the energy state from which they came, or at least arrive at some equilibrium between free-energy and its condensed form, matter. As I'd said earlier, by some great leap of faith, there are no stable elements. I'd venture to say that we're a long, long way from any such kind of equilibrium. But, even at our present position in time and space during this ages old process we have relied far too heavily and for far too long on the dictum: Everything is as it was.

Robert Gentry of Oak Ridge National Labs, a geochemist specializing in "radiohalo" dating techniques. After a protracted study of these halos, which he said "provide the only means for studying the radioactive transformation of elements" in Earth's history, Gentry was led during the mid-1960s to ask in retrospect: Can the Earth's age be measured by radioactive dating of its rocks? Was the Earth actually as old as the universe? Were the Earth's elements in fact synthesized in some gigantic primeval nuclear event?

It was around the turn of the century, for example, that the age of the Earth was put on a more quantitative basis with the theoretical explanation of pleochroic halos. Also known as radiohalos, these colored microscopic rings are found in many minerals, and are caused by the disintegration of radioactive elements with the emission of alpha particles (helium nuclei), forming minuscule concentric circles around these radiodecay sites through each decay stage. Early studies indicated that the respective sizes of these tiny rings were an indication of the respective ages of the minerals, but later work showed that varying-sized halos surrounding many uranium-decay sites seemed to indicate varying decay rates throughout Earth's history.

However, this finding was suppressed, because as every good scientist knew radiodecay rates were inviolably constant [...] and then, of course, radiohalos were henceforth used as added proof of the extreme age of the Earth. [...] Gentry's questioning of the different sized halos led to his exhaustive study of this pleochroism, and he concluded that such radiohalos do not in fact support the concept of a constant decay rate.

His impeccably careful work led to his reporting in 1967 that four polonium nuclides were found to be orphans. These parentless polonium radioisotopes showed no evidence of the usual parental thorium or uranium decay series, or that either of these necessary precursors had ever been anywhere nearby. And, even when thorium and uranium coexisted in the same mineral, it appeared as if all were created at the same time, but unaccountably long after the mineral itself had crystallized.

Furthermore, the ratio of the lead radiogenic decay end-products, Pb206 and Pb207, were found to range from both an empirically and theoretically expected maximum to up to three times more than that expected maximum, giving an apparent extraordinarily young age for the mineral--something like thousands of years instead of millions much less billions of years. Uranium-lead dating is the mainstay of geochronologists in calculating the geological age of granite and other plutonic rocks by the decay rates of U235 and U238 to their final products, Pb207 and Pb206, respectively, through the serial emission of alpha radiation. The oldest rocks found give an approximation of Earth's age at about four and a half billion years. Uranium halos are easily identified by the respective eight and seven concentric rings of the U235 and U238 decay series, and by the 125 relative diameters of the halos themselves. This size may approach as much as 80 (a mere three thousandths of an inch in diameter) due to the energetic 11.7 MeV (million electron volts) alpha particles from the polonium daughter-product, Po212. Each succeeding member of a series is somewhat more energetic than its predecessor, and typically has a much shorter half-life.

Geochronologists also use the ratios of the respective stable lead isotopes, Pb206 and Pb207, as how much of one there is compared to the other, where a ratio of 20:1 denotes the high end of the scale and very young minerals, while 4:1 signifies those over three billion years old. However, Gentry had found ratios that were three times as high as the theoretical maximum for the youngest rocks, and other researchers also have reported halos with diameters of up to 150, all of which point to either some extraordinarily recent paroxysms of nature, or an equally strange physico-chemical separation of decay products, or else there is something fundamentally askew in the age-dating process. Gentry has been silent on this point, expressing no conclusions, but has let the data speak for itself. And there has been a strange quiet in the halls of geochronology for some 20 years now.

Another questioner has been the late Ralph Juergens, a civil engineer and science writer in Flagstaff, Arizona, who pressed the point even further and asked: What role might environmental electrification play in setting the rules for nuclear stability, radiodecay rates, and energies of particle emissions in decay processes? What if the Earth's state of electrification were altered, even if only temporarily? Juergens answered his own questions by postulating that since radiohalos are found only in plutonic rocks, such as granite, the ultimate solution to this seemingly complex problem may require the consideration of physical forces which are well-known but seldom mentioned during a geologist's training. These forces are electrical in nature, and are inherent both in nuclear events and the environmental Earth.

Within the nucleus of a U238 atom there is a potential well of some 9 MeV which has to be overcome before any particles can escape. But, alpha emissions are known to get through measuring only 4 MeV by a process known in wave mechanics as "tunneling." This doesn't necessarily mean that helium nuclei actually had 13 MeV and lost most of this energy in escaping from the uranium source. And yet these events are rare, because of a given number of such uranium atoms only half of them will make it out of this potential well every 4.5 billion years, which is how the 4 1/2 -billion year "half-life" term is derived.

However, the subsequent daughter-products do so at a much faster rate, as the next three radiodecay isotopes in the series make it through their half-lives in about 332,000 years, and the following four zip on their way to the stable isotope of lead in a mere 142 days. The observed positively charged 4-MeV alpha radiation energy is totally due to electrostatic repulsion measured in the region outside of the potential well. And, since we can't directly measure the potential at the bottom of this well within the nucleus itself, inferring it from experimental accelerator studies, there therefore has to be some zero potential against which these energetics are measured, and it is this selfsame zero that Juergens argued is identical with the electric potential of our planet--Earth potential--which is highly negative, perhaps tens of millions of volts. (It should be remembered that any potential above some negative value--no matter how negative--is still positive with respect to the lower voltage.)

It has to be said at this point that the concept of an Earth potential is still considered hypothetical as there is no direct way that we can measure this background electrical or electrostatic charge from on the site of the Earth itself. It would be expected that any spacecraft leaving Earth would carry some residual charge with it, but traveling through the ionizing solar radiation of interplanetary space would completely dissipate that charge and any subsequent landing on either the Moon or another planet wouldn't cause a spark discharge from the spacecraft to the planetary body due to some potential difference, except for what is created by the retro-rocket fire of the spacecraft itself. Only by carrying a sealed experiment on such spacecraft specifically designed to measure potential differences between planetary bodies would we be able to at least indirectly determine such differences in electric potential. But, if indeed such differences do exist in reality, any measurements that might involve megavoltages could have their own peculiar technical problems.

Nonetheless, if, as Juergens speculated, a sudden drop lowered Earth potential by about a million volts, perhaps in the vicinity of ten percent, an escaping alpha particle would be accelerated to about 6 MeV from the nucleus of U238. Theoretically this could have the effect of reducing the half-life of uranium from 4.5 billion years to one measured in barely seconds. Juergens stated, "On this basis, any abrupt lowering...could be expected to produce rampant radioactivity, with consequent lethal or at least strongly mutational effects on all forms of life."

Nuclear binding forces may not be altogether insensitive to such environmental changes; nevertheless Gentry's data indicate Earth's potential may be critical to radioactivity, and hence to the entire dating game. If the Earth's own magnetic field is related in any way to its electropotential, then during certain epochs of time there must have been some changes taking place, as we know that there seem to have been some forty-odd reversals in magnetic polarity over the last few eons which had strong enough remanence to be measurable. A precipitous collapse of the Earth's field for one reason or another would surely affect any potential Earth might have and cause an equally precipitous outburst in radiodecay radiation.

At the moment I'd be a trifle skeptical that such released radiation would be inimical to all forms of life, as most radioisotopes are rather sparse and widely scattered on Earth's continental crust, and perhaps only those areas of large ore deposits of radioisotopes would be adversely affected. It could engender the odd pleochroic halos found by Gentry and others, but it would leave an unsavory and idiopathic problem for the geologists to explain. But, the greatest effect of even a partial collapse of Earth's magnetic field would probably be an intense cooling, particularly in the frigid latitudes surrounding the magnetic poles.

This phenomenon associated with magnetic behavior is known on a laboratory-scale as Giauque-Debye adiabatic demagnetization, where the collapse of a magnetic field induces a cooling effect by slowing or even stopping thermal molecular motion with no net gain or loss of energy. On an planetary-sized scale the cooling effect due to a rapid reduction or collapse of a magnetic field could freeze the atmosphere itself in the vicinity of the magnetic poles, causing the air itself to precipitate as snowflakes in a blizzard. The effects would be far-reaching and would lead to some interesting and almost indecipherable myths.

Such a phenomenon could in some measure explain why the mammoths of the northern tundra of not more than ten thousand years ago were suddenly frozen where they were otherwise peacefully grazing in a relatively lush and verdant environment. Additionally, it is also known that some of the males died and were frozen in a tumescent state, a condition known to occur in male mammals which have suffocated. If the air itself were chilled into a liquid rain or frozen into snowflakes there would have been none to breathe. Moreover, a huge atmospheric vacuum-like hole would have been created which would have been filled by the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere, causing an unprecedented tornadic wind vortex of super-hurricane strength to fill the airless void, picking up most everything in its path--including sizeable animals--and depositing them in heaps throughout the currently frozen north. Such mysterious hecatombs of animal bones, ranging from the Canadian archipelago to the Alaskan tundra and throughout the Siberian wastes, are well-known to paleontologists. Could such a phenomenon have occurred, or more to the point did such a thing indeed happen? And, if it did, what was the cause?

[Source: Frederic B. Jueneman - Raptures of the Deep]

Are we high ?

During deepsea dives, the nitrogen in breathable air has been replaced with an inert gas, usually helium, to avoid the ravages of nitrogen narcosis--the so-called "raptures of the deep." Nitrogen under elevated partial pressure increases its concentration in the blood, forms clathrates, or solution hydrates, and displaces oxygen, all of which contribute to a narcotic condition in brain activity. A similar environment under an ocean of air, such as exists today and--as here argued--an atmosphere that was far more massive in the past, would have contributed to a gradual lessening over the eons to a more mild sort of nitrogen narcosis that would have brought early mankind out of a primitive instinctual dreamlike state and into the present epoch of a more sentient intelligence. Perhaps in at least this one respect Lamarck was right. But it seems that we have still some way to go.

[...]Up until some 20 years ago I tended to resist the idea of nitrogen being responsible for the deepsea diving condition known as nitrogen narcosis--more commonly romanticized as "raptures of the deep"--despite its being known for more than a century to cause a drugged condition. But very soon thereafter I became convinced by a number of reports from clinical research that the phenomenon itself was due to the pressure-induced formation of a certain class of nitrogen-containing neuro-clathrates, which in physio-chemical terms means it acts as a neurological blockade, or in other words a narcotic. Such clathrates are considered rather loose associations of nitrogen with water molecules, which themselves are something of a chemical anomaly by existing as stable hydrates in a solution. But under the hyperbaric environment of deepsea diving I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a reversible chemical transformation was actually taking place, where the nitrogen and water molecules combined in such a way as to mimic the narco-neurological effects of nitrous oxide, N2O, known more prosaically as "laughing gas."

A couple of the so-called noble gases that also form clathrates-- krypton and xenon--were found to have a similar narcotic effect. Both of these gases are several times more soluble in water than nitrogen. And, curiously, despite the profound chemical inertness of these gaseous elements, xenon has been made to combine with oxygen to form perxenic acid, one of the most powerful--albeit unstable--oxidizing agents known. Under the pressures encountered in deepsea diving a trace quantity of a clathrate-forming gas may have an unusually high partial pressure with attendant anesthesia, and narcosis. This is why the special gas mixtures used by deepsea divers and caisson workers have the nitrogen replaced by helium, which doesn't form any nerve-blocking clathrates but merely gives one's voice a higher "Mickey Mouse" pitch.

[...]I'm not sure when I first became convinced of the idea of nitrogen in our atmosphere being responsible for a low-level form of nitrogen narcosis affecting lifeforms on our planet, but over the past two decades this conceptual algorithm still seems to fit. Studies made during the early 1970s at the University of Washington and Northwestern University almost appear to confirm that mankind has been wandering around in a dreamlike wakefulness. These studies clinically demonstrated that the nitrogen in the air we breathe--again, comprising some 78% of the Earth's atmosphere--appears to reduce our comprehension and productiveness by nearly ten percent.

However, these limited-term clinical tests were conducted on subjects who had been exposed all their lives to the normal constituents of our atmosphere, where for just a short time they were deliberately and experimentally conditioned to a helium substitute in place of nitrogen. Notwithstanding, 80% of the group responded with an almost ten percent increase in mental activity. It is qualitatively within the realm of probability that a much longer exposure to a non-anesthetic atmosphere--perhaps from birth--would be instrumental in arousing our dreamlike wakefulness to something of a hyper-consciousness that would raise our minds above the psychosomatic mists which now seem to stem in part from our natural environment.

[...] Was it always like this, where the nitrogen in the air we breathe constituted more than three-quarters of the atmosphere, or argon almost one percent? Did our ancestors in gray antiquity awaken to the dawn of consciousness because of our atmospheric components or in spite of them, or was there some climatic or catastrophic change which roused our forebears out of their animal-like stupefaction? And, perhaps of more immediate importance, what are the physio-chemical differences which separate intellectual genius from us lesser mortals? We must determine if these differences are indeed due to a metabolic uptake of nitrogen at a normal atmospheric pressure of 1.0332 Kg/cm2 (29.97 inches of mercury in everyday parlance).

[...] We're living at the bottom of an ocean of air. Throughout history we have become enraptured with some strange pursuits in this deep. It might be misplaced logic to emphasize the narcotic effects of nitrogen on humankind, but we have been far too submissive in accepting without question our primordial environment as the only unchallenged alternative, and nothing should be that sacrosanct. Appeals by certain environmentally sensitive factions to return to the pristine gardens of Earth, besides being entreaties to revert to a land that never was, seem to be a craving for the soporific of forgetfulness. Whatever we make of our environment, we will always be in constant conflict with it. We can never go back even if we wanted to, because we don't know how. And, if nitrogen does indeed prove to be the principal rapturous culprit in our oceanic air--all 5.2 x 1018 kilograms of it--we'll find a way to replace it with something more acceptable and amenable to our needs, as for example building domed cities. Or, at least we'll try, for mankind will always do what our species thinks must be done.

[Source: Frederic B. Jueneman - Raptures of the Deep]

Oil reserves formation

Of the 4.6-billion-year geological history of Earth, lifeforms are thought to occupy a time slot only during the last 30% of this period, with the most development just in the last 15%, or some 700 million years, known as the great Phanerozoic epoch, comprising the older Paleozoic, the Mesozoic, and the more recent Cenozoic eras. It was some time during the Paleozoic era of a half billion years past that oil deposits are considered to have been formed.

These deposits of oil are invariably found in sedimentary rock formations, and for this reason they are co-associated in their combined and respective origins. The most cogent arguments stem from the thoughts of 19th century antiquarians, involving the simultaneous settling of mud and silt along with the conversion of animal and plant matter into petroleum products under anærobic conditions over many, many moons. However, over the last century we've found so much coal, gas and oil, and suspect the presence of much more potential deposits than what we've located thus far, that there ain't been enough dinosaurs and plants to give their all for even a fraction of the amounts recoverable. This would mean that the plantlife of the carboniferous period of some 250 million years ago would have soaked up an extraordinarily enormous amount of carbon dioxide from the primordial atmosphere, at far higher concentrations than that in which animal life could survive. Unless--to satisfy our argument--the partial pressure of oxygen was also appreciably higher to compensate for the stifling effects of CO2.

At least 20 years ago (1972) a retired Texaco engineer, Leon Gaucher, published what I consider one of the best answers to date on this problem--separate and distinct from the inorganic theory of cosmologist Thomas Gold of Cornell, who himself theorized that petroleum was actually manufactured in the Earth's interior through the heat-catalyzed combination of carbon and hydrogen. In the well-known water-gas shift between hydrogen and carbon dioxide to form water and carbon monoxide, Gaucher hypothesized that these reaction products generated the raw materials for the formation of hydrocarbons. Gaucher surmised that Earth's primordial atmosphere contained a predominant measure of carbon dioxide. He also thought that the necessary hydrogen was gleaned from the solar wind and from interstellar space. In my view, it's more likely that hydrogen was already present in copious quantities in Earth's primordial air mass.

The equilibrium reaction between the principal raw materials, namely carbon monoxide and hydrogen, over the still cooling surface of a primordial Earth at 500°C--the present surface temperature of Venus--would be catalyzed in the forward direction to form equally copious amounts of methane and water. And, as Earth continued to cool, the presence of volcanically generated catalysts in the hydrogen-laden reducing atmosphere would promote the synthesis of additional methane, all sorts of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, as well as oxygenated compounds, with many promoted by the presence of lithospheric metallic oxides. This, in effect, would be Nature's ancient version of the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, which human ingenuity developed circa 1923.

The remarkable feature about this versatile reaction, according to Gaucher, is that it would be initiated spontaneously and is highly exothermic--generating lots of heat, and is therefore self-sustaining. In the range of 400°C down to 180°C, as Earth continued cooling, all manner of long-chain hydrocarbons would be produced. Gaucher himself thought that such reactions would take place over millions of years, but, again, in my view, and depending on the equilibrium conditions, such complex reactions might just take thousands if not mere hundreds of years, and possibly less. In fact, under a near ideal condition where the atmosphere is well-mixed and fairly homogeneous, a catalyzed reaction at one stage of synthesis would take but moments to exothermally flare throughout Earth's entire air mass.

The most rapid acoustically-induced kinetic reaction of which I'm aware--the cystallization of supercooled liquid phosphorus--propagates at something like three kilometers per second. A reaction at this rate would translate into a conflagration of the entire atmospheric envelope in something under two hours. Such a runaway conflagration would effectively blow away the greater part of the atmosphere into space as a chemically-induced planetary nova. With a lessened atmospheric overburden acting as both a heat sink and insulating blanket, the planet would cool more rapidly, which is--for all the kinetics freaks reading this--strictly according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, where the energy radiated is proportional to the fourth power of the temperature.

With this cooling would come the condensation of considerable water formed by the reaction between hydrogen and the oxides of carbon, and the subsequent development of the oceans and seas. Therefore, if the amount of water is in any way indicative of some fraction of the petroleum deposits, then there is an awfully large quantity of oil yet to be found, and we shouldn't have much of an energy crisis emanating from that source.

[Source: Frederic B. Jueneman - Raptures of the Deep]

Ancient earth atmosphere

A couple of years ago the aeronautical engineer Paul MacCready-- designer of the Gossamer aircraft--attempted to physically recreate a pterodactyl, known taxonomically as Quetzalcoatlus northropi, by reconstructing this 65-million-year-old bird-like dinosaur with modern lightweight materials, aluminum and mylar. I affectionately referred to this artifact by the pseudo-scientific name, Q. alcoa-duponti, but as things turned out this initial attempt was an aerodynamic failure. Later attempts were somewhat more successful.

For many years paleontologists have considered the pterodactyl as a glider, unable to actually fly because of its unusual body size, the adult approaching some 150 kilograms (330 lbs.), and an insufficient wingspan--some 12-15 meters--to carry that weight. Somehow, it doesn't seem practical--even for a dyed-in-the-wool evolutionist--to claim that such a creature had to laboriously climb up a cliff or a tree and then launch itself into a power glide to capture its prey.

It was perhaps 10 years ago or so that two Canadians, paleobiologist Dale Russell and aeronautics engineer Parvez Kumar, using computer simulations found our friend the pterodactyl could indeed fly by flapping its rather ungainly wings in an atmosphere 50% more dense than what we currently enjoy, raising a most interesting singular question of conjecture: Did planet Earth have a much more massive primordial atmosphere than what had been even previously suspected?

[Source: Frederic B. Jueneman - Raptures of the Deep]