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Faulty Cable To Blame For Superluminal Neutrino Results 414

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
smolloy writes "It would appear that the hotly debated faster-than-light neutrino observation at CERN is the result of a fault in the connection between a GPS unit and a computer. This connection was used to correct for time delays in the neutrino flight, and after fixing the correction the researchers have found that the time discrepancy appears to have vanished."
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Faulty Cable To Blame For Superluminal Neutrino Results

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  • Face it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @06:28PM (#39130647)

    We will never get off this rock. Interstellar travel is impossible, and always will be.

    We will all grow old and die here, and that's it.

  • Re:Face it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @06:46PM (#39130835) Homepage

    "We (in the sense of you and me, specifically) will indeed never get off this rock. But our grandchildren might."

    My grandfather said those exact words.

    I'm betting you are as wrong as he was

  • Re:Face it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @07:02PM (#39131013) Homepage Journal

    They're really more like metaphorical grandchildren. Sort of like "the World of Tomorrow"—it's not actually coming within 24 hours, but it will eventually. Now extrapolate that time measurement—the duration between when flying cars were first promised and when they finally appeared and achieved widespread adoption, say. If we assume it takes a minimum of twelve years for someone to go from birth to reproductive functionality (to some this is a little harsh, I know, but that's biology for you; just remember that, to others drinking certain Monsanto-enhanced milk, it's three years excessive) then we need at least twenty-four years to get grandchildren.

    So after eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty-six "tomorrows", we'll finally get off this rock.

    Given that the amount of time involved in a "tomorrow" is already a hundred years and steadily growing, we will probably be a space-faring civilization within the next million years.

    Not bad, when you think about it from a solar heat death perspective.

  • Re:Face it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @08:43PM (#39131973) Homepage Journal
    Of course we may—if all of humanity's resources were reallocated appropriately, we could have a well-to-do colony on Mars by now. Nothing in 2001 but the monoliths were grossly impossible; not even the date. The issue, which I tried to hint at in my post, is that most people don't dream of a better tomorrow. They dream of retiring to neat little homes and having the simple, manageable lives that our ancestors were hard-wired for. They want this [youtube.com]. And in between that and the stars, you have the layers upon layers of half-committal riff-raff; the money-gatherers and the rent-seekers who eternally race to build ant hills, wilfully and perpetually ignorant of their endeavours' futility. Kermidge, it very well may take us eight hundred thousand years to get into space for good; there are still not enough dreamers amongst us. We may have come along way in an amazingly short time, but we have rarely gone in the direction we were hoping. For that, we need to get over ourselves.
  • Re:Face it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @08:54PM (#39132049)

    Thus you join a long line of people who said something is impossible, and were wrong.

    First, technically 5 man-made objects are on their way to interstellar space (Pioneer 10 & 11, Voyager 1 & 2, and New Horizons). They are slow, but leaving the Solar System nonetheless.

    Second, we have nuclear power. That is sufficient for "generation ships". Those travel only a small fraction of the speed of light, but with a nuclear power source you can keep a community going for generations until you arrive.

    Third, nanotechnology has the promise of travel to other stars at zero effective time delay to the traveller, and speed of light actual speed. Here is how: you scan a person at atomic resolution. Then you send a *description* of their body, atom for atom via powerful laser. At the destination, a nanotech assembler builds a copy atom for atom. There are large practical challenges to doing this, but no new physics required. Sending photons describing which atoms takes about a million times less energy than sending the atoms themselves at near light-speed, so this method is vastly more efficient, and would be the first choice over antimatter or very big solar powered lasers. Those are the only ways to get more energy/kg in the vehicle than fusion that we know of, which is what you need to get substantial fraction of speed of light.

    Fourth, perhaps cryostasis or life extension via cloning stem cells or some such will get developed, so even with a slow starship you can still get there.

    Fifth, there is plenty to do expanding into the Solar System, including the Oort Cloud, before worrying about interstellar trips. How about we figure out how to mine the Near Earth asteroids first? They are closer in energy terms than the Moon, and it's mission energy which costs you in space, not physical distance. We can practice by mining space junk in orbit, which also helps fix the orbital debris problem.

  • Re:Face it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rk (6314) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @09:49PM (#39132409) Journal

    Your assumptions are correct. Voyager's velocity of 17 km/s will not appreciably change, and it will escape the sun's well, as escape velocity at its current location is about 3.85 km/s.

    Relativity is insignificant at 100 times Voyager's velocity as tau [wikipedia.org] at 1700 km/s is .99998, or in other words, a 1000 year trip would be shortened by about 6 days from the traveler's perspective.

    The Orion and Daedalus projects of the 60s and 70s had theoretically designed spacecraft capable of anywhere from 5 to 12% of c given materials and power sources available at the time or soon available. Even then the journey is many decades and relativistic effects, though more pronounced are still not very significant (tau ~= 0.993 at 12% of c). Of course, the political and economic will to engage in such things is non-existent, so these ideas remain firmly in the realm of science fiction. I believe that Freeman Dyson computed the economic cost of an Orion class starship and concluded it would be about the same as a year's worth of the United States GDP at the time (early 70s? Don't remember). JWST has cost overruns a millionth of that amortized over nearly 20 years and was/is in danger of getting canceled.

    I think that it is possible someday that we will send robotic probes to nearby star systems, and maybe manned missions to follow, but I also believe that absent some singularity-level fundamental physics breakthrough before then such things are at least a century or two away from being given any serious consideration, and the designs of those vessels will not be much like anything talked about today. As it stands, I'm not even liking the odds of seeing humans on Mars before I die (I'm 44).

  • by rainmouse (1784278) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:56AM (#39133751)

    Suffice to say that science insists on verification.

    Except in the case of Global Warming. Where the overwhelming majority of the worlds science community is contradicted by a few rogues being funded by energy companies. It indicates that being insanely rich is a great way to get most of republican Americans to believe a world wide scientific conspiracy is more likely than the concept that energy firms may just be falsifying research to protect their profit margins.

    There I fixed it for you.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission

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