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New Scientist wants money to tell us if they think fine-tuning is real

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For much of our existence on Earth, we humans thought of ourselves as a pretty big deal. Then along came science and taught us how utterly insignificant we are. We aren’t the centre of the universe. We aren’t special. We are just a species of ape living on a smallish planet orbiting an unremarkable star in one galaxy among billions in a universe that had been around for 13.8 billion years without us.

Science also teaches us that the laws of physics are ridiculously, almost unbelievably, “fine-tuned” for you and me.

One must log in or subscribe to find out how they straighten it out.

Huh? Isn’t the whole basis of New Scientist’s existence that it isn’t real?

How do I know what they’ll say without having read the article? Well, here’s a hint: someone who subscribed sent me the article that pretended to raise the possibility that the paranormal might be real. But the interview subject was just your everyday market materialist who was certain it would be disproved despite current evidence.

NS, lose the pom poms. Fine tuning is real. Fewer and fewer people care what you think, or you wouldn’t be playing these games around what you think.

If you choose to think fine tuning is real, you are on track with the evidence. But wait, the multiverse beckons. And falsifiability is for nerds, religious believers, and suckers, right?

Note: I, O’Leary for News, would be sorry to see New Scientist go under. I have consistently got more goofy pop science news from them than from any other source, and we have to laugh now and then.

See also: How we got from here to the multiverse, and the road back to sanity.

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Search Uncommon Descent for similar topics, under the Donate button. Try Fine tuning

7 Replies to “New Scientist wants money to tell us if they think fine-tuning is real

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    “There is a sense in which we are still the centre of the universe.”

    Smack dab in the center. Modern Cosmology & Astrophysics have put us there. Someone needs to tell Bill Nye:)

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this comment:

    “But maybe we were too hasty to write ourselves off. There is a sense in which we are still the centre of the universe.
    Science also teaches us that the laws of physics are ridiculously, almost unbelievably, “fine-tuned” for you and me. ”

    Although I don’t have a subscription to the magazine and therefore can’t see what they said about the fine-tuning of the universe for life, particularly about the fine-tuned ‘for you and me’, I do know that when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Examples of fine – tuning for discoverability.
    ,,A small increase in ? (fine structure constant) would have resulted in all open wood fires going out; yet harnessing fire was essential to the development of civilization, technology, and science – e.g., the forging of metals.,,,
    Going in the other direction, if ? (fine structure constant) were decreased, light microscopes would have proportionality less resolving power without the size of living cells or other microscopic objects changing.,,,
    Thus, it is quite amazing that the resolving power of light microscopes goes down to that of the smallest cell (0.2 microns), but no further. If it had less resolving power, some cells could not be observed alive. The fine – structure constant, therefore, is just small enough to allow for open wood fires and just large enough for the light microscope to be able to see all living cells.
    Predictive and Explanatory Power of Discoverability – Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    Prediction: DLO: Within the range of values of a given parameter p that yield near – optimal livability, p will fall into that subrange of values that maximize discoverability (given constraints of elegance are not violated).
    In every case that I was able to make calculations regarding whether the fundamental parameters of physics are optimized in this way, they appear to pass the test.[iv] This alone is significant since this hypothesis is falsifiable in the sense that one could find data that potentially disconfirms it – namely, cases in which as best as we can determining, such as a case in which changing the value of a fundamental parameter – such as the fine – structure constant – increases discoverability while not negatively affecting livability.[v] Below, I will look at a case from cosmology where this thesis could have been disconfirmed but was not.,,,
    The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    …the intensity of CMB depends on the photon to baryon ratio, (??b), which is the ratio of the average number of photons per unit volume of space to the average number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) per unit volume. At present this ratio is approximately a billion to one (10^9) , but it could be anywhere from one to infinity; it traces back to the degree of asymmetry in matter and anti – matter right after the beginning of the universe – for approximately every billion particles of antimatter, there was a billion and one particles of matter.,,,
    The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    It is easy to see that this prediction could have been disconfirmed. In fact, when I first made the calculations in the fall of 2011, I made a mistake and thought I had refuted this thesis since those calculations showed the intensity of the CMB maximizes at a value different than the photon – baryon ratio in our universe. So, not only does the DLO lead us to expect this ratio, but it provides an ultimate explanation for why it has this value,,, This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,

    Greer Heard Forum: Robin Collins – “God and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Discovery” – video

    Michael Denton’s Privileged Species Premieres in Seattle to a Packed House – November 14, 2014
    Excerpt: If life exists elsewhere (in the universe), its home would remind us of Earth and the aliens would reminds us of ourselves. The periodic table, so wonderfully concise, is a recipe for us. Oh, and for our way of life too. While focusing on the unique properties of water, carbon, and oxygen, Denton shows that the chemical elements appear beautifully structured to allow the development of technology, from our use of fire to the rise of computers.
    He emphasizes that this “stunning series of coincidences” is not a matter of scientific controversy, and in fact represents the great scientific discovery of the past century. It’s a matter of fact, not interpretation.
    Denton observed that properties of nature uniquely fit for life continue to be discovered regularly and he offered the prediction that in the upcoming century scientists will uncover more and more.

    Privileged Species – video

    And although we are not at the center of the solar system, there is mounting evidence that we are at the center of the universe.
    But first a bit of history as to how we came to view ourselves as mediocre in the universe.
    Galileo had improved upon the recently invented telescope. With this improved telescope he observed many strange things about the solar system. This included the phases of Venus as she revolved around the sun and the fact Jupiter had her own satellites (moons) which revolved around her. Thus, Galileo wrote and spoke about what had become obvious to him personally; Copernicus was right, the planets do indeed revolve around the sun and geocentrism, as far as Galileo himself was concerned, was effectively, but not popularly, overturned at that time.[9b]
    It is now commonly believed that man was cast down from his special place in the grand scheme of things, since the Earth beneath his feet no longer appeared to be the ‘center of the universe’, and indeed the Earth is now commonly believed by many people to be reduced to nothing but an insignificant speck of dust in the vast ocean of space (mediocrity/Copernican principle). Yet actually the earth became exalted in the eyes of many people of that era, with its supposed removal from the center of the universe, since centrality in the universe had a very different meaning in those days.[10a] A meaning that equated being at the center of the universe with being at the ‘bottom’ of the universe, or being in the ‘cesspool’ of the universe. This following quote makes that point clear.

    In addition, contrary to what is commonly believed, we now know that in the eyes of its contemporaries, the Copernican Revolution glorified the Earth, making it an object worthy of study, in contrast to the preceding view, which demeaned the Earth. Ironically, the Copernican Revolution is almost invariably portrayed today as having demoted the Earth from a position at the center of the universe, the main concern of God, to being merely one of the planets. Danielson(2001) made a compelling case that this portrayal is the opposite of what really happened, i.e., that before the Copernican Revolution, Earth was seen not as being at the center, but rather at the bottom, the cesspool where all filth and corruption fell and accumulated. [10]

    Yet contrary to what is commonly believed by many people today of the earth being nothing but an insignificant speck of dust lost in a vast ocean of space, there is actually a strong case that can now be made from science for the earth being central in the universe once again.
    First it is important to note, in what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery, Einstein’s General Relativity has now shown that 4-dimensional (4D) space-time ‘expands equally in all places’:

    There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell. [11]
    Philip Gibbs

    Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as ‘center of the universe’ as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered ‘center of the universe’.
    This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point is central, no matter where you live in the universe.
    And as such, it may now be possible for the Earth to be, once again, considered ‘central/special in the universe’. George Ellis puts the situation like this:

    “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations… For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds… What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” [11a,b,c]
    – George Ellis

    This intriguing possibility, for the Earth to once again be considered central in the universe, is clearly illustrated by the fact the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), remaining from the creation of the universe, due to the 4-Dimensional space-time of General Relativity, forms a sphere around the earth. I find the best way to get this ‘centrality of the Earth in the universe” point across is to visualize it first hand. Thus I reference the first few minutes of this following video to clearly get this ‘centrality in the universe’ point across:

    Centrality of The Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity – video

    Moreover, this ‘circle’ of the CMBR that is found by modern science to encompass the Earth, from the remnant of the creation event that brought the entire universe instantaneously into being, was actually predicted in the Bible centuries earlier:

    Proverbs 8:27 (King James Version)
    “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he drew a circle upon the face of the depth:”

    Proverbs 8:27 (New International Version)
    “I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,”

    Job 26:10
    He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.

    Moreover, there are universal geometric considerations which also now beginning to place the earth, instead of the sun, at the center of the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    Of note: The preceding article was written before the Planck data (with WMPA & COBE data), but the multipoles were actually verified by Planck.

    A Large Scale Pattern from Optical Quasar Polarization Vectors – 2013

    Testing the Dipole Modulation Model in CMBR – 2013

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Mathematicians’ theory means Earth may be the center of the universe – Oct. 2010
    Excerpt: Their solution? That the acceleration seen is due to an expanding shockwave that occurred after the Big Bang–a shockwave that would have originated very near the Earth.
    Did you catch that? A shockwave, plowing through the universe and spreading out the galaxies that originated near the Earth.,,,
    ,,,the Earth-centered shockwave theory would also explain another phenomenon: the fact that Earth seems to be sitting in an odd “bubble of underdensity” — a region of the universe that doesn’t have much in it.,,,
    ,,,the biggest strike against it in the eyes of physicists? According to the article, it is the fact that it puts the earth at the center of the universe. As one particular cosmologist, Michael Wood-Vasey, is quoted in the Seed article concerning such a possibility: “It’s very philosophically disconcerting… It’s not very satisfying.”

    So in a holistic sense, when taking into consideration the higher dimensional foundation of space-time, and when taking into consideration large scale geometric considerations of the universe, (and also when taking into consideration the ‘Privileged Planet principle’ of Gonzalez and Ross which, from probability calculations of a planet having all the necessary conditions to host advanced life, gives strong indication that the Earth is uniquely suited to host complex life in this universe), it may now be possible for the Earth to be, once again, considered ‘central in the universe’.
    Moreover, quantum mechanics goes even one step further and places, not the earth, but man himself at the center of the universe.
    Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics at John Hopkins University, puts the situation like this in regards to quantum mechanics

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…

    More specifically, because of advances in Quantum Mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even a central, position within material reality. [14]
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15]

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    Moreover, from a slightly different angle, ‘Life’, with a capital L, is also found to be central to the universe in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides a very credible reconciliation to the most profound enigma in modern science. Namely the unification of General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (Quantum Electrodynamics) into a ‘Theory of Everything’:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus Christ) – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video

    As well, in the lead off article in the OP, they quipped

    “We are just a species of ape”

    Although the fossil record, genetic evidence, and anatomical evidence, contrary to what Darwinists have apparently misled them to believe, certainly does not indicate that “We are just a species of ape”.
    The most notable evidence that we are are not just another species of ape, but instead are made in the ‘Image Of God’, is our unique ability to understand, communicate, and create, information:

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.

    More interesting still, the three Rs, reading, writing, and arithmetic, i.e. the unique ability to process information inherent to man, are the very first things to be taught to children when they enter elementary school. And yet it is this information processing, i.e. reading, writing, and arithmetic, that is found to be foundational to life itself:

    Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer – video clip

    As well, as if that was not ‘spooky’ enough, information, not material, is now found to be foundational to physical reality:

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information.
    I guess a more convincing evidence could be that God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    But who has ever heard of such an overwhelming evidence as that?

    Verses and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Philippians 2:8-11
    Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Phillips, Craig & Dean – Your Name – music

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    references are listed at the bottom of this following site:

    The Galileo Affair and “Life/Consciousness” as the true “Center of the Universe”

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    I too want money to tell you if fine tuning is real. It is. Send money. Thank you.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related:

    The Dark Matter ‘conspiracy’ – Apr 30, 2015
    Excerpt: One of the most surprising scientific discoveries of the 20th century was that spiral galaxies, such as our own Milky Way, rotate much faster than expected, powered by an extra gravitational force of invisible ‘dark matter’.
    Since this discovery 40 years ago, we have learned this mysterious substance, which is probably an exotic elementary particle, makes up about 85 per cent of the mass in the known Universe, leaving only 15 per cent to be the ordinary stuff encountered in our everyday lives.
    Dark matter is central to our understanding of how galaxies form and evolve and is ultimately one of the reasons for the existence of life on Earth – yet we know almost nothing about it.
    “One of the surprising findings of this study was that spiral galaxies maintain a remarkably constant rotation speed throughout their disks,” Dr Cappellari said. “This means stars and dark matter conspire to redistribute themselves to produce this effect, with stars dominating in the inner regions of the galaxies, and a gradual shift in the outer regions to dark matter dominance.”
    But the ‘conspiracy’ does not come out naturally from the models, and some fine-tuning is required to explain the observations.

    New exoplanet too big for its stars – May 01, 2015
    Excerpt: The Australian discovery of a strange exoplanet orbiting a small cool star 500 light years away is challenging ideas about how planets form.
    “We have found a small star, with a giant planet the size of Jupiter, orbiting very closely,” said researcher George Zhou from the Research School of Astrophysics and Astronomy.
    “It must have formed further out and migrated in, but our theories can’t explain how this happened.”,,,
    “The planet has a similar mass to Saturn, but its radius is similar to Jupiter, so it’s quite a puffed up planet. Because its host star is so cool it’s not heating the planet up so much, it’s very different from the planets we have observed so far,” Mr Zhou said.

    Long-term galactic cosmic ray exposure leads to dementia-like cognitive impairments – May 1. 2015
    Excerpt: What happens to an astronaut’s brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It’s besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition,

  7. 7
    frediklen says:

    I think it would be a very interesting topic. I have even read about there being evidence that the earth’s magnetic field has reversed several times. Is this true? If so, what could such a drastic change to take place? Still, any scientist may need some financial help and it may be quickly given in a form of instant payday loans online.

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