Time travel? Never mind


(click for readable image)

Last September, the science community was overcome with a mixture of giddiness and skepticism over tests showing neutrinos traveled faster than the speed of light, proving Einstein wrong.

I admit: I was intrigued by the possibility of another dimension, even while acknowledging that I was probably a fool.

I was.

It turns out, the CBC reports, a bad cable is responsible for the “discovery.”

ScienceInsider, a blog run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said “sources familiar with the experiment” are now blaming the original result on a fibre optic cable connecting a GPS receiver to an electronic card in a computer. The GPS is one of the devices used in the measurement of the neutrino’s travel time. The cable connection appeared to have been loose, and tightening it shortened data travel times by 60 nanoseconds.

“Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos,” the article said. “New data, however, will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.”

Moral? Never doubt Einstein.

  • There is a really interesting SF story where Einstein’s theories never were accepted, and the first interstellar ship is built and launched.

    The pilot (and the people on Earth) are rather surprised by getting relativity demonstrated to them and that Einstein was right after all. It’s also something

    of a tragedy, as the protagonist and his love interest find themselves more and more unable to communicate thanks to time dilation.

  • Jim Shapiro

    “Moral? Never doubt Einstein.”

    Al had a great hairdo, was really smart, a pacifist, and he hung out with Marilyn Monroe, but he was wrong about quantum entanglement.

  • There’s nothing wrong with being intrigued by the idea, that’s what keeps science alive and fun. The whole question of “what if….” is what keeps all of us coming back for more.

    Even the initial stories from the CERN team said that they thought the data seemed off but wanted to get it out there for discussion in hopes that somebody could help figure out what really happened. And it helped get people dreaming “What if…” again, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

  • brian

    I’m not sure why exactly, but it makes me happy that you read xkcd.

  • Tyler

    I agree with Brian. Bob, I would encourage you to link to the XKCD webpage when reposting a comic. Randall Munroe deserves the pageviews, don’t you think?

  • Bob Collins

    Calm down, fellas. The image was a lift from last September’s post. Click the link I provided and see where it goes.

  • Kim E

    I am also pleased that both Bob and I read xkcd. The half of the jokes that I love and tape up in my cube make up for the other half of the jokes that go over my head.

    Paul: Are you thinking of an anime movie called “Voices of a Distant Star”? It sounds like a similar plot, although I don’t remember the sciencey parts of it. It’s a short and sweet movie nonetheless.