Tuesday, March 20, 2007

From Cornell University

From: Don Barry [mailto:don@isc.astro.cornell.edu]
Sent: 19 March 2007 00:51
To: De Nadai-Sowrey, Graziela C
Cc: Simeon Warner
Subject: A crackpot has slipped through your screens..

Dear organizers,

I notice that you have given a slot to Louise Riofrio in one of your
sessions in your upcoming conference.. She's listed in your
section as affiliated with James Cook University, Queensland. A simple
will reveal that JCU/Queensland does not list her in any capacity.

She's been a frequent crackpot pest trying to post papers on the
server. If you take a look at her blog,
all should become clear. It's actually rather hilarious in spots.

In any event, you may get some comic relief as people become somewhat
glass-eyed on the last day of a conference.


Don Barry,
Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Spectrograph Team,
Cornell University


Blogger nige said...

Dr Peter Woit has a comment on a previous time you were attacked by a assistant professor with a PhD and postdoc in string who was sexist and maybe technically incompetent at Harvard:


"In case people are wondering what alexis is referring to, in his latest posting, in the middle of supposedly explaining what is wrong with a list of achievements of LQG, Lubos includes a photo from the website of Louise Riofrio. The photo shows her with an impressive lizard. ... trying to humiliate her ... In his comment section he and his commenters speculate on which is Riofrio, the woman in the picture or the lizard, with Lubos explaining that he had thought of using a picture of her with a monkey, to better make the point.

"The guy is just completely grotesque and subhuman, it’s amazing that anyone takes him seriously."

Now compare the tone of that Harvard sexist to the Dr Barry:

"... crackpot pest trying to post papers on the Cornell Arxiv server..."

So give credit where it is due, Dr Barry is not too extreme by comparison to the Harvard guy, but again the actual content of the email is an ad hominem insult, rather than a scientific one. I.e. it personally attacks you and it vaguely attacks your blog, and pokes fun, ignoring the entire scientific point you are making, so avoiding the effort to point out an problem in the science.

It does seem as if Dr Barry is going out of his way to be hostile.

I wonder if Dr Barry is suggesting by this that he is supporting colleagues who were annoyed at having to censor out an alternative to the mainstream? Or is he a censor of the Cornell based arXiv who is bitter personally?

It is interesting that you can find yourself being pursued to London by censors at Cornell arXiv.

I wonder what signal Dr Barry is sending out to young scientists who might come up with new ideas?

He may mean well, but it's really heavy handed to send such an email. It reminds me of Galileo's letter referring to censorship:

‘Here at Padua is the principal professor of philosophy whom I have repeatedly and urgently requested to look at the moon and planets through my glass which he pertinaciously refuses to do. Why are you not here? What shouts of laughter we should have at this glorious folly! And to hear the professor of philosophy at Pisa labouring before the Grand Duke with logical arguments, as if with magical incantations, to charm the new planets out of the sky.’ - Letter of Galileo to Kepler, 1610.

But Galileo didn't have censors firing off emails, trying to give brief talks in another continent!

11:39 PM  
Blogger nige said...

Two ways to get GM = tc^3:


Consider why the big bang was able to happen, instead of the mass being locked by gravity into a black hole singularity and unable to expand!

This question is traditionally answered (Prof. Susskind used this in an interview about his book) by the fact the universe simply had enough outward explosive or expansive force to counter the gravitational pull which would otherwise produce a black hole.

In order to make this explanation work, the outward acting explosive energy of the big bang, E = Mc^2, had to either be equal to, or exceed, the energy of the inward acting gravitational force which was resisting expansion.

This energy is the gravitational potential energy E = MMG/R = (M^2)G/(ct).

Hence the explosive energy of the big bang's nuclear reactions, fusion, etc., E = Mc^2 had to be equal or greater than E = (M^2)G/(ct):

Mc^2 ~ (M^2)G/(ct)


MG ~ tc^3.

That's the first way, and perhaps the easiest to understand.


Simply equate the rest mass energy of m with its gravitational potential energy mMG/R with respect to large mass of universe M located at an average distance of R = ct from m.

Hence E = mc^2 = mMG/(ct)

Cancelling and collecting terms,

GM = tc^3

So Louise’s formula is derivable.

The rationale for equating rest mass energy to gravitational potential energy in the derivation is Einstein's principle of equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass in general relativity (GR), when combined with special relativity (SR)equivalence of mass and energy!

(1) GR equivalence principle: inertial mass = gravitational mass.

(2) SR equivalence principle: mass has an energy equivalent.

(3) Combining (1) and (2):

inertial mass-energy = gravitational mass-energy

(4) The inertial mass-energy is E=mc^2 which is the energy you get from complete annihilation of matter into energy.

The gravitational mass-energy is is gravitational potential energy a body has within the universe. Hence the gravitational mass-energy is the gravitational potential energy which would be released if the universe were to collapse. This is E = mMG/R with respect to large mass of universe M located at an average distance of R = ct from m.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Oh, Louise, LOL!!! If you read out a few of these emails at your talk, you will indeed have people in stitches.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Cornell is notorious for this sort of behaviour. See for instance Tony Smith's story.

11:07 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Nige, I use the same Galileo quote in the book. We ahve the opportunity to observe the sort of treatment Galileo got.

Kea, I intend to make a very exciting talk for all.

1:54 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Now I'm pissed.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wouldn't be so bad if there had been some reasonable scientific objection, reductio ad absurdum and-what-have-you, but this is just wreaks of throwing the prestigious-institutional weight around.

Welcome to the dirty underbelly.

4:18 PM  
Blogger dr.psycho said...

uh, beware, publishing a private e-mail without consent is against the law in most countries.
and of course the fact that the e-mail is offensive or unjust is not considered as an excuse by any legal system. the person who forwarded it to you, and you for having it published, risk to have some serious trouble.

6:20 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

"risk to have some serious trouble."

This is a joke. Once you press the send button, your right to keep an email private goes poof. The recipient can do whatever they want with what you sent, and that definitely includes sending a copy to Louise Riofrio.

Nor is this a change from past practice. There are hundreds of books published each year that reprint the juicy love letters of various important or famous people.

The concept that the authorities would be pursuing this as a crime is ridiculous. The only time things even vaguely like this are prosecuted in the US is when the perpetrator is someone who has a lot to lose. And even then, if you're a Republican (Democrat), you're perfectly safe from prosecution by a Republican (Democrat) federal prosecutor. And even then it goes to a trial by a jury of your peers - innocent.

9:08 PM  
Blogger dr.psycho said...

Dear carlbrannen, I got into trouble for much less than what Louise has done here.
Of course I hope nothing will happen.
Good luck.

12:25 PM  
Blogger nige said...

dr psycho:

You have to prove that the email address is secret in the first place.

don@isc.astro.cornell.edu is published openly on the internet at http://cornelloutingclub.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/MeetingMinutes10042005

"* Don (don@isc.astro.cornell.edu) wants to gauge Fall Break interest
... E-mail him for information. "

So everything you have written above is just a load of nonsense.

12:27 AM  
Blogger nige said...

His email address is also on his page:


Don Barry
Cornell University

Department of Astronomy,
221 Space Sciences Building
Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone: (607) 255-9250
FAX: (607) 255-5875
e-mail: don@isc.astro.cornell.edu

12:29 AM  
Blogger nige said...

Another example where he publishes his email address on the internet:


Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.

From: "Donald J. Barry" < don@isc.astro.cornell.edu >
To: rms@gnu.org
Subject: Sklyarov's character
Date: 17 Dec 2001 15:05:37 -0500

Hi Richard,

You'll be pilloried for your principled criticism of Sklyarov -- but I
entirely agree with your assessment.

That said, I can't help but notice the parallels with Bertold Brecht,
who told HUAC "I am not a communist" in 1954 and then boarded the next
plane for East Germany, never to return. In some ways, the act itself
rubbed the committee's nose in their mess. We certainly can't count on
the media, however, to recognize irony as a rebuttal to the acts whose
interpretation they are fully adept at orchestrating. And if Sklyarov
does indeed return like a puppydog at the call of his new masters, the
abasement will be entirely complete.

In Brecht's (and Sklyarov's) case, the tagline may be a phrase from the
former's _Life of Galileo_, "whatever you or I do, the world will keep
on turning." It's an entirely defeatist point of view, but that seems
to be the favored response to the increasingly unprincipled and random
acts by our corporate-controlled leadership, who put the Bill of Rights
in the vault 50 years ago and now don't even remember its guarantees.

Thanks again for your long-standing principled stand of conscience on
issues in which I find myself in almost total agreement with you.
You're a rarity -- a man of integrity with the courage to act his
convictions through to the end.

Don Barry,
Cornell Astronomy

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