September 25, 2011

Speed of light not so fast

The speed of light has a potential race spoiler and Einsteins theory* of special relativity might eventually have to be bumped after a reign of more than century.

*For the maroons out there:  in the realms of science a "theory" is a concept that has been accepted as true by the scientific community, having been tested and/or observed repeatedly and rationally shown to be so; usually with a null hypothesis getting a mighty good work out along the way.  A theory, then, should not be confused with a hypothesis or a happy consensus amongst the government-funding-reliant.

Laws of physics challenged 

The Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory uses 50,000 tons of pure water surrounded by 11,200 sensitive light detectors 1 kilometer below ground in Japan. Neutrinos from space interact with the water and produce flashes of blue light. 

In 1930, Wolfgang Pauli first conceived of neutrinos—originally as a solution to a problem in nuclear physics. Neutrinos are so elusive that it would be 26 years before they were actually detected.


  1. geoffff10:03 PM

    I'm glad that they have proved there is stuff faster than light. It makes that whole giant centrifuge Swiss clock in the mountain thing worthwhile. For a while I thought it might have been just an enormous cuckoo clock.

    This means time travel is possible, right? Excellent. It was disappointing to think that we were stuck in a universe without the possibility to move in all directions.

    Humankind limited by the speed of light? How "horse and buggy" can you get.

  2. geoffff10:08 PM

    I knew a girl whose name was Gina Neutrino. She was pretty fast. So were her brothers.

  3. Anonymous11:16 PM

    Yeh, but what of the very first neutrinos? How could they travel faster than light (back in time) when time just began?


  4. geoffff11:22 PM

    That's easy to explain. God did it.

  5. Justin - maybe it's taken them this long to catch up, and overtake.

  6. geoffff11:47 PM

    I saw a BBC science doco the other day which suggests Big Bang is wrong. I have long suspected as much.

    It was just too glib. Fair dinkum? You mean just like Genesis says? I can still remember the smug look on that old rabbi's face.

    Einstein and Genesis kicked over in the same week. And what a week. Not a good omen for the superstitious. Or even the religious. Or whatever.

  7. geoffff12:00 AM

    I read an account in the Oz today by a Times reporter of a BDS activist he knew who fell in love with the Palestinian cause while spending his gap year tossing rocks at the military by day and dropping acid on Tel Aviv beach by night. Try doing that in Sudan or Turkey, he said.

    I don't know why I put that here .. but anyway I just did

  8. Anonymous12:16 PM

    "I saw a BBC science doco the other day which suggests Big Bang is wrong."

    Err ... and the alternative proposed was ...?

    I always thought the six days of creation by "someone" up there was a bit glib. Classic example of man anthropomorphising and projecting his own image on every damned thing.


  9. geoffff1:58 PM

    It was a bounce theory. I didn't see the whole program but I'll explain the concept as best I recall in my words.

    The universe is bouncing from a parallel universe that it has just blasted through at the point of big bang. Presently it will be dragged back by the gravity of it's eternal dancing partner. Like a spring. Forever attracted and repelled.

    I imagine circles. Spheres. Two giant beachballs full of grit and god knows what else and us that at some point I guess they have calculated will stop exploding and begin to implode.

    The cycle.
    Far more elegant.

    It explains infinity for a start. It also explains why there are particles that travel faster than light. They will merely hit big bang sooner and be pulled back faster.

    Bounce theory. It doesn't so much replace big bang theory as explain it.

    The Neutrinos are the fast lane guys of the universe. We all know them. Probably there are particles even faster. Who knows what they were chasing?

    No doubt those earnest Europeans are hunting them down as we speak. And I take my hat off to them.

    I'm not a scientist but I think this means they have confirmed bounce theory.

    I'm sure that was the term. Expect to hear it more often.

    Bounce theory.

    At the point of big

  10. geoffff2:13 PM

    It also has a more feminine feel to it too, don't you think Caz? Than big bang I mean.

  11. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Yes, the oscillatory universe has somewhat more appeal than a big bang, and perhaps does have more feminine or yin connotations, which is perhaps appropriate, at least to the extent that human notions and projects are all that we have.

    If we’re in between a big bang and a big crunch, that suggests that we’ll either blow up or be crunched in future (I’m familiar with the debate over whether the universe is contracting or expanding, of course, and assume this is related, conceptually) … but that process is likely to be slower than the dying of Earth’s sun, so humans are still most likely to be dead and gone in a billion years or so; no one and nothing will be left to notice the seconds preceding the next bang or collapse … nor the birth of the next universe, of course.

    It seems to me to be logically impossible to describe this as the “first cosmological event”, when the supposition is that the “event” resulted from the collapse of a previous universe (which may have resulted from any number of bounces involving any number of prior universes …).

    I wish I had a much better grasp of these concepts. I get a bit bamboozled.


  12. geoffff4:03 PM

    Caz,I can't speak for any creed but my own and even then it was just a tiny outpost of Jewishness. The orthodox rabbis and religious teachers the little community supported were for the most part articulate educated men that had been referred from the south after having arrived here somehow with personal histories no discussed but you could be certain were horrific beyond language.

    They had been "in the camps" and had the scars and tattoos to prove it. There were quite a few of them around but they weren't called "Holocaust Survivors" till much later by which time most were dead. At least one was penniless. At least one was a scientist and another an expert on European languages. The rabbi had been a mathematician at Vienna University.

    No one taught religious dogma conflicts with science. The subject never came up. It was beside the point. The religion is about ethics. The stories are a mix of history, allegory, and the core values of the faith none of which should startle the horses.

    Those old blokes would have dismissed big bang with a single eyebrow. I bet they are saluting l'chaim to the bounce right now. Wherever they are.

  13. Anonymous4:27 PM

    Here's a link to the Big Bounce:

    Nevertheless we Tasmanians have always believed the universe was merely the manifestation of god's flatulence.

    Big Bang, Big Bounce, Big Fart, it don't make a lot of difference does it?

    But for non Tasmanians it must be thoroughly fascinating.


  14. Anonymous8:26 AM

    Bureaucrats, rent seekers, and copycats have conspired to ruin perhaps the best chance we’ve ever had of achieving a new level of enlightenment, comfort and intellect. They have sold us junkscience that is tragically wrong, and defended only through the safety of numbers. Numbers bought at the cost of genuine scientific inquiry and the scientific process itself. EVERYBODY IS WRONG. The electric universe theory fills in all the gaps of the laughable theories in vogue for the last 100 years. But until it can justify the cost of a multibillion dollar supercollider or Universities admitting to selling an obsolete product at premium prices, it will remain behind the curtain. Sad but typical. Thanks for at least giving me hope that there are still a few free thinkers out there…

    The Day Science Died

    Follow the links if you are curious.



  15. Not sure that it's as dire as all that, Justin.

    There's no question that dogma in science is as bad as dogma in any arena. At least most scientific theories are based on evidence, unlike, AGW, wherein treating science like a belief system has been thrown into stark relief (the pointing out of which leads to rabid abuse and name calling by the believers).

    Can't say I feel suddenly compelled to pursue the electric stuff ... not after reading:

    "Until, one day, I came across Austrian economics and in a very short period of time, everything made perfect sense."

    Err. Anyone who believes they have found "perfect sense" in economics understands nothing; nothing at all. This calls into question anything else that he might find compelling.

    Also question the dismissal of "everything" - much discovery, including over turning is based upon, and would never have occurred, without others being disciples of prior discoveries. Standing on the shoulders of giants, and all that ...