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  #926  
Colonel Flagg Colonel Flagg is offline
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Old Sep 25th, 2011, 08:34 PM       
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Originally Posted by elx View Post
after reading a ton of stupid articles claiming that we have just sent a particle back in time through another dimension, I finally read opera's release and I don't get it

if they have the level of accuracy/uncertainty that they are claiming - isn't that higher than the one we achieved when measuring the speed of light half a century ago? assuming that this is actually the case, then wouldn't that imply that the implication here isn't that a neutrino is actually faster than the speed of light, but simply that our accepted model for the speed of light has been off this entire time? why has no one proposed this skepticism? why are they more quick to accept the back-in-time theory?

is it just that if that is in fact the case then it's far too scary to mention or think about because it means that everything we have ever measured in modern history has been wrong and we've set ourselves back two hundred years with our newer, preciser technology? is preciser a word?
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Originally Posted by Colonel Flagg View Post
I generally don't pay attention to old levels of accuracy unless it's for historical purposes. Lightspeed is known to 4ppb, and this specifie measurement of neutrino speed is greater than that by 20 ppm, with an accuracy of 270 ppb. That's a big enough difference (a factor of 75 over the error) for most physicists to stand up and take notice.

Believe it or not, this is the more plausible reasoning, for now. Unless someone wants to write an entirely new model of physics, then this is the path most mainstream physicists will take.

Of course, you are right; for example, the neutrino could have negative mass ...
Putting this where it belongs.

elx, you really need to post in the science forum. The nerds post here.
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  #927  
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 05:07 PM       
More on this:

Fermilab will be attempting to reproduce the CERN results, but can't immediately, due to less preceise measurement systems. Upgrades are in the works, but will take time. However, this result is making formerly competitive particle physicists work together, which is a remarkable occurrence.

And as one Fermilab scientist puts it, it is dangerous to bet against Albert - even after all these years, he still wins most hands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Plunkett, Fermilab
This thing is so important many of the normal scientific rivalries fall by the wayside. Everybody is going to be looking at every piece of information. [While we're all going to be looking closely as to whether Einstein's laws need an update,] [i]t's dangerous to lay odds against Einstein. Einstein has been tested [and passes] repeatedly over and over again.
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  #928  
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 05:21 PM       
Elx did have a good point, the complete overhaul to the laws of physics is a startling concept.

I know you will keep us posted on this one Colonel, as it is pretty important.
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  #929  
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Old Sep 27th, 2011, 10:31 PM       
What I think is happening is that other nutrinos are "piling up" in front of the beam and getting pushed along like shoveling snow.
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 06:09 PM       
A sad day for US Physical Science.

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On Friday, physicists will shut down [Fremilab's] accelerator called the Tevatron, a once-unrivaled atom smasher that has been eclipsed by the Large Hadron Collider buried beneath the border of France and Switzerland.

For some in Batavia, it will be a somber moment, akin to losing a family member. Others wonder whether it signals a lack of commitment to high-level particle science on U.S. soil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rep. W. Foster, Ph.D. (D, IL)
The decline of particle physics in the U.S. is really a symptom of the erratic and sometimes anti-scientific attitudes in Washington and the incompetence of Congress in managing science.
US Representative Foster said a mouthful right there. Incompetence in Congress? But I repeat myself.

They will continue operations to confirm or refute (I despise the word "debunk") the FTL results seen at CERN, hopefully by mid-2012. There is also a plan to build a new test system for particle physicists using not the highest energy beams, but the most numerous collisions. Dubbed Project X, it is projected to cost $2B, but as yet has no funding. Not a good sign.

And for the idiots that say that particle physics gives no benefit for the common folk, there is this fact:

Quote:
But there also have been more immediate benefits from the Tevatron: Its powerful magnets led to MRIs and are used in superconducting. Neutron therapy helps treat cancer patients. And the collider has changed the way science analyzes data.
And a final note, by early next year, they should put the finishing touches on the research on whether the Higgs Boson exists, or is a figment of imagination, research that will be corroborated by CERN.
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  #931  
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 09:37 PM       
Col, you've lived longer than I have and know far more than I do, so maybe you can answer this - what's with the anti-science attitude there seems to be in America? I know we used to kick ass in that arena some time ago, but is it just recently, (or seemingly recently), that the interest and funding for AMAZING THINGS has fallen by the wayside, or is it something that you've seen coming for a while? Because in the short time I've been alive, people seemed to be impressed less and less by AMAZING SCIENCE THINGS. Either that, or I've just become more excited as I got older - I can't imagine a life without being amazed at EVERYTHING IN OUR UNIVERSE.

NASA's funding being cut is really disheartening, and it's even more so when I think about all the other projects that I'll never hear about for the same reasons.
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 09:56 PM       
I never really thought America had an interest in science in the first place, more of an interest in "doing shit before some other country does it first".
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  #933  
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 10:48 PM       
Milhouse and FZ are both right. Even in the 60's and 70's there was less emphasis on science for the sake of learning and more about "let's keep ahead of the Red Menace" (sorry Zhuk, but that's how it was). [Aside: Irony - now we are competing with the last bastion of communism (China) in the scientific arena, and no one seems to care. Maybe that's not surprising, since they're also kicking our ass economically as well.]

Science for the sake of science - that's all people see. That's all the politicians see. Case in point - Fermilab's Tevatron paved the way for practical superconducting technology, and fueled research into HT superconductors, which are still years away from true commercialization, but it used to be decades. Another case in point - the James Webb Space Telescope. It's in danger of being cut from the NASA Budget. The reason - it's over budget. Well duh so is everything these days. The trouble is, even though it's still in development, work on the heat shield has spawned new technology in the area of foldable ultrathin aluminum shields - the kind that can eventually be used as light sails. Other optical advances have been applied already in medical imaging, as an indirect result of the work done on multiple space telescopes - Hubble, Spitzer, Kepler and Webb.

Another reason is the politicization of science. It has been done before (see "Red Menace" above) but in that case, it was America against the world. Now, it's more of a civil war of American Science against American Pseudo-science. And the Pseudo Science Dorks are using the mainstream media to further their cause, getting Creationism rebranded as "scientific" sounding Intelligent Design, bashing global warming as a liberal conspiracy as well as other less visible effects.

I could go on, but it would be more of the same stuff. If I only thought about this from that perspective, it would be really depressing. But I encourage and suggest, one discussion at a time, and persevere. The JWT is still on life support, but there's a grass roots movement to keep it alive. And NASA still provides excitement with the discovery of new exoplanetary systems courtesy of Kepler, confirmed with radial velocity measurements from the VLT and Keck. Fermilab will continue on, not with the Tevatron, but with alternative methods of experimentation and data collection that have been hitherto unexplored. And all these "big ticket items" will continue to spawn new technologies and products that will keep us in the fore, if not at the lead, of technology development for the next hundred years.
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  #934  
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 11:53 PM       
You actually brought up something interesting and I dunno if I want to make a thread about it, but I'll comment on it anyway.
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[Aside: Irony - now we are competing with the last bastion of communism (China) in the scientific arena, and no one seems to care. Maybe that's not surprising, since they're also kicking our ass economically as well.]
The thing, though, is that their economy is all fake. I mean they have a large supply of resources, but most of their money comes from other countries owing them money because they take over the debt. Add in the fact that their population is out of control and has been for years and it doesn't look good.

I'm not claiming to have researched this academically or anything, so I could very well be completely wrong, but they build seven of these 'real' Potemkin villages a year to supplement their economy. It's an absolute disaster.





Dozens of skyscrapers that will never be occupied.

I guess the moral of the story is to say that no one is doing alright anywhere, economically, and it's all posturing. And this is the part when someone says, "When has it been any other way?" :rolleyes

:philosophy&politicksforum
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 08:15 AM       
I thought about that, but then realized that pretty much all economy is an illusion. If people believe a bank is financially shaky, pretty soon it does become financially shaky. Someone said that in the movie "Sneakers" - I think it was either Ben Kingsley or Robert Redford. :moviesandtelevision
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 08:17 AM       
But what do I know, I'm not an economist, and will never pretend to be one.
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Old Oct 5th, 2011, 01:24 PM       
Update! Lunakhod 1 location discovered.



Lost on the moon 40 years ago, the LRO team discovered the robotic rover - with the retroreflector - several miles from where they thought it was originally.

Now if they could get a good image of the Blair Cuspids or the Shard, I would be happy.

EDIT - sorry for the size of the image, but smaller images only showed the rover as a speck. Some might think the larger image does too.
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Last edited by Colonel Flagg : Oct 5th, 2011 at 01:27 PM. Reason: Explaining the huge image
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  #938  
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Old Oct 6th, 2011, 01:27 AM       
Hmm, kinda looks like it was going in circles.
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  #939  
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Old Oct 7th, 2011, 03:59 AM       
Re American culture and science:

The purported American character is based on cleverness and industry. Science is embraced as a tool to use those things. Science for science's sake is too close to the detested image of men wearing tweed in ivory towers.

America's technological role models aren't typically scientists. Thomas Edison had a brilliantly scientific mind driving his horrible personality, but really he was just putting to use scientific ideas that had been finalized decades prior, namely Maxwell's Laws. Inventors are patriots, scientists are untrustworthy. Even during the Space Race, Americans would point to foreigners as the paragon scientists. You could forgive Einstein and Von Braun for pie-in-the-sky interests because of their adorable European accents, and it was Oppenheimer and NASA that glorified their achievements anyways. That is, science is something that you outsource so that inventors can do the important stuff.

Consider the fact that Richard Feynman tops the list of the most important physicists from 1950-2000 by many reckonings, while Stephen Hawking doesn't fall in the top ten. Both of them wrote books for a general audience. How many more Americans have heard of Hawking than Feynman, though? It's like we find the idea of a home-grown physics genius something to be ashamed of.

And of course, it's sad that we shifted the economy from invention to usury, so the silver lining of the American character has fallen from the sky. Since we don't invent things any more, science is a rather silly thing to bring up in polite conversation.
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Old Oct 7th, 2011, 08:43 AM       
Welcome back, Sethomas!

Spot on, as usual. It's even worse in Chemistry, where the inventions and/or discoveries get all the attention. Everyone has heard of Teflon, Plutonium and perhaps even Buckyballs, but who has heard of Roy Plunkett, Glenn Seaborg or Rick Smalley?

It's too bad ignorance isn't painful.
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Old Oct 7th, 2011, 09:27 AM       
There's a definite drop the interest to 'know things' in my lifetime - I know it through my school curriculum. Of course, it may be because they're frontloading the knowledge to get people interested as early as possible. But it seems they try less and less.



I live in a world that delights in not knowing things - it's scary, I can't change it, and I don't think there's any hope.

I wish I knew more about Feynman earlier in my life. It's only been the past couple years that I've been reading his books and watching what lectures he did that were filmed, as well as whatever television special he'd do. He was an astounding thinker and reminds me of just how related each of the sciences and the humanities are with one another.

Also, I'm sorry I was never ever never able to understand chemistry. All of the study groups and extra labs I took never amounted to anything.
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Old Oct 7th, 2011, 09:37 AM       
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I live in a world that delights in not knowing things - it's scary, I can't change it, and I don't think there's any hope.
Nothing is forever.
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Old Oct 7th, 2011, 10:14 AM       
"The Feynman Lectures on Physics" saved my life in college.

I was adrift in the physical sciences, not begin able to get my mind wrapped around simple problems in mechanics when a friend wrote down an equation for me (the Lagrangian Equality) and suggested I read Feynman's 3 volume series. I pretty much instantly understood everything that had previously been mysterious in the world of physics. Looking back, I realize that I was learning the right stuff, but didn't have the right vocabulary. Like reading a bad translation of Homer or Virgil. Globally I knew what was going on, but I couldn't do the work myself.

The reason this is relevant is that in the preface to the Feynman Lectures, he talks about the future of science education (remember he wrote this in 1963):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Feynman
I think, however, that there isn't any solution to this problem of [basic physics] education other than to realize that the best teaching can be done only when there is a direct individual relationship betweek a student and a good teacher - a situation in which the student discusses the ideas, thinks about the things, and talks about the things. It's impossible to learn very much by simply sitting in a lecture, or even by simply doing problems that are assigned. But in our modern times, we have so many students to teach that we have to try to find some substitute for the ideal. Perhaps my lectures can make some contribution. Perhaps in some small place where there are individual teachers and students, they may get some inspiration or some ideas from the lectures. Perhaps they will have fun thinking them through - or going on to develop some of the ideas further.
In a bit of irony, this is method by which I learned chemistry.
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Old Oct 7th, 2011, 06:13 PM       
Sorry, this is older news, but it is way cool:


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The left image shows the star HR 8799 as seen by Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) in 1998. The center image shows recent processing of the NICMOS data with newer, sophisticated software. The processing removes most of the scattered starlight to reveal three planets orbiting HR 8799. Based on the reanalysis of NICMOS data and ground-based observations, the illustration on the right shows the positions of the star and the orbits of its four known planets. Credit: NASA; ESA; STScI, R. Soummer
Now they've proven the technique, scientists can process other data from Hubble from years past to look for additional visual evidence of exoplanets. It's also important since the 3 outer exoplanets in question have 100, 200 and 400 year orbits, which require many years of data to determine accurately. As the article states, this was like getting 10 years of data for free.
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Old Oct 9th, 2011, 07:15 PM       
If you feel the need, click here to sign a petition to support funding for the James Webb Space Telescope.
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 12:26 PM       
Remember the controversial commercial where Christopher Reeve got up from his wheelchair - through the magic of special effects? Remember the Six Million Dollar Man?

Life is imitating art.
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 12:30 PM       
yay DARPA! yay robotic exoskeletons!
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 01:02 PM       
The BORG ..... Have come back ...... TO PENNSYLVANIA!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 01:07 PM       
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Remember the controversial commercial where Christopher Reeve got up from his wheelchair - through the magic of special effects? Remember the Six Million Dollar Man?

Life is imitating art.
That's amazing.

(kinda related)I read a story a few years ago about doing similar research with a blind patient where they were able to use robot eyes linked directly into their brain. They were able to "see" computer generated images clear enough to sort out boundaries and other objects. So it kind of looked like TRON.
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  #950  
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Old Oct 24th, 2011, 03:16 PM       
Lots of stuff today:

It's a CONSPIRACY by all those LITHIUM-HATERS! The MAN keeping a good element down. Wha-BAM!

NASA has some competition, from the private sector. Finally.

Magnetism and Superconductivity are interconnected both in a positive and a negative way, and this relationship is being investigated using supercooled STM - the implications could be revolutionary.

And finally, for the astronomy enthusiasts, a giant cloud of water has been detected surrounding a protoplanetary disk about the star TW Hydrae - although it is described as "nearby" at 176 light years it is not exactly in our backyard. However, it could be an exceptional laboratory for investigating the origins of our own, water rich solar system.
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