New Scientist reports a worrying new variant as the cosmologists claim that astronomers may have accidentally nudged the universe closer to its death by observing dark energy, a mysterious anti gravity force which is thought to be speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.This really seems to be more a variant on not saying something about how well things are going, because it might jinx things. Sure, we know that's just superstition, but we've all seen it happen: Things are going well, somebody mentions how well things are going and then bad things happen. And it's been going on for a long time. The Norse had their own saying about not jinxing things in the Hávamál:
The damaging allegations are made by Profs Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and James Dent of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, who suggest that by making this observation in 1998 we may have caused the cosmos to revert to an earlier state when it was more likely to end. "Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe," Prof Krauss tells New Scientist.
81. At eve the day is to be praised,A slightly different translation says: "Praise no day until evening, no wife until buried, no sword until tested, no maid until bedded, no ice until crossed, no ale until drunk."
a woman after she is burnt,
a sword after it is proved,
a maid after she is married,
ice after it has passed away,
beer after it is drunk.
Similarly the scientists are telling us, "Don't look at the dark matter because you might jinx it! Oh, no! Now you've done it! You may have cut the life-span of the universe just by looking at it, you jinx!" Conveniently for the scientists, both the original life expectancy and the unknown shortened life expectancy of the universe are likely in the billions of years. The question is unlikely to be settled until long after the Sun has become a red giant and burned the Earth to a lifeless cinder. They'll never know whether the theory has any validity or not, but it gives them something to feel guilty about.
And although the astronomers seemingly jinxed things for the universe back in 1998 (while Gore was vice president), I have no doubt that the New York Times editorial page and the Democratic National Committee will find some way to blame this on George W. Bush. If they can't, then they just aren't trying hard enough!