I don't understand the necessity of this sort of proposition. We have near-misses of a few hundred thousand or a million kilometers, all the time. Every once in a while, one is bound to miss not quite as much as they usually do. What do we gain by bringing this sort of thing into it?
Sure, anything that has a gravitational effect is going to have an effect upon everything around it, but I would think that the nearer stuff is going to have a much greater impact upon the local solar bodies, since anything outside of the solar system is going to exert pretty much the same effect upon everything in the solar system. Remember that the force of gravity loses strength with the square of the distance.
I agree Joe, these physicists, as I read it, have been studying the influences of dark matter with a view to unravelling it's essence. Their close association with dark matter seems to have guided them into speculations that naturally involve their research. Still Lisa Randal is well worth reading so I'll suspend my judgement untill I've read the book.
Yeah. Obviously ... yes, dark matter has an effect on everything going on in our solar system, assuming that it works the way we think it does. It's the butterfly effect, though. How the hell do you say that one specific thing caused a single, freak event (which happens to other seven planets all the time), in a vastly complex system of orbital dynamics.
The general statement seems so simplistic. I'd like to think that the magazine, a popular science magazine, grabbed a small chunk of what she was talking about and presented that completely out of context. Popular science magazines aren't as sensationalist as pop culture magazines, but I'm sure they have their moments.
I'm with Joseph on this as well. I also will have to read the book, but I don't see what we gain by multiplying hypotheses. I understand that since the discovery that the neutrino has non zero resting mass it has become the leading candidate for the substance of dark matter. This is actual science, worth investigating. The rest is mere speculation.