FTL Neutrinos Update

Apparently the ftl neutrinos have been refuted:

Their claim is that in getting to superluminal velocities, the neutrinos should lose energy by producing photons and electron/anti-electron pairs (“e+e- pairs”), in a process “analogous to Cherenkov radiation” (the “blue glow” in nuclear reactor water, so beloved of movie-makers).

“A very significant deformation of the neutrino energy spectrum and an abundant production of photons and e+e- pairs should be observed,” the ICARUS group says.

This hasn’t happened, they assert: “We find that the neutrino energy distribution of the ICARUS events … agrees with the expectations for an undisturbed spectrum of the CERN neutrino beam.

“Our results therefore refute a superluminal interpretation of the OPERA result,” the group writes.

Okay, who can see the huge hole in the logic here? Let me explain: by conventional theories the neutrinos can’t travel faster than light but, by conventional theory, if they do go ftl, they should do the above. This is what is known in physics as having your cake, the other guy’s cake, and eating both while disappearing up your own arsehole.

Warp Factor One Million

So the guys at CERN did another test with their superluminal neutrinos:

By tweaking the experiment in an attempt to address a potential flaw in their original experiment, they again showed that the neutrons arrived at the Italian site some 60 billionths of a second faster than if they had been travelling at the speed of light.

I do have to wonder with measurements like this if they’re getting into some error bar, some tolerance limit on actually measuring the speed of light. It’s the kind of thing that rears its head quite often in science and is quite often ignored by the mainstream media. Anyone who has worked in engineering knows about tolerances and the impossibility of exact measurement.

Nevertheless it is all exciting stuff (for a nerd like me). The MINOS team at Fermilab are going to try and replicate the results, but it’s interesting that they had similar results before but which lay within a margin for error. So, what does this all mean? Some people are already speculating:

The new findings, available here, also further strengthen a particular scenario: The neutrinos do not travel with superluminal velocity all the way. They only ‘jump’ a small initial distance shorter than 20 meters, after which they settle back and travel as usual with speeds below that of the speed of light. This initial jump would occur at speeds that are more than ten times the speed of light, perhaps even millions of times the speed of light.

I don’t really have to elaborate on why I particularly like this speculation, do I?

Dystopia Myopia

Okay, back to a bit of blogging every day. There’s an interview with me over here at Worlds in Ink where I ramble on about The Departure and where you’ll find the blurb for Zero Point. I also make some comments about ebooks, but nothing ground-breaking because I’m still undecided about the various issues that arise from piracy and DRM. I would like to believe that without DRM piracy would act as publicity and result in more sales for me, but I’m afraid I have a low opinion of human nature. Then again, this morning I got paid $40 by a reader who emailed me earlier in the week with this:

I need to send you some money, I “ahem” got your books at the library, and they are all fucking brilliant.

…so perhaps I shouldn’t be such a cynic?


What else? Oh yeah, we’ve had two democratically elected leaders ousted and replaced by ‘technocrats’. We now we have the BMA pushing the government to ban smoking in cars and doubtless the government will bow to this then to the later total ban on smoking i.e. your car will not be your own and later your house won’t be. Another one is the idea that unless you opt out your organs will automatically go for donation, so your body belongs to the government too. How long before you are legally obliged to keep that government property in top-notch condition? All of these are putting more power into the hands of the state, taking away our freedoms, and examples of how we move ever closer to the world of The Departure. As for the BMA, I think Underdogs Bite Upwards covers that organization in a recent post:

What is the point of going through medical school if you end up being less reliable in your diagnoses and advice than a rune-casting Druid? Alcohol units recommendations are made-up numbers. Five-a-day is a made-up number. Second hand smoke is entirely lies and third-hand smoke is beyond derisory from a profession that calls homeopathy bunkum. There is no science behind any of it. It is personal prejudice based on spite and malice and what is now called ‘science’ and the utter morons who now make up our government accept it all. The exclusion and demonization of huge tracts of the population is justified on the basis of… nothing.


I’m currently working through the Peter Lavery edits of Zero Point and finding that he hasn’t been quite so demonic in his application of his ‘scary pencil’. He tells me that this is because it doesn’t require so much editing, so hopefully this means I have learnt something from him over the last ten years.

Right, an hour of learning Greek now, then shopping, then back to work.

Well Spotted

Jin Liqun, chairman of the board of supervisors of China Investment Corp., slammed the welfare systems of European countries and said the continent must address its own problems to attract outside investment.

“If you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of the worn out welfare society,” Jin told Al-Jazeera television in an interview broadcast at the weekend.

“The labor laws induce sloth, indolence, rather than hardworking.”

Spot on, but we’ll be a long time waiting for any such sanity from our ‘leaders’.

Incidentally, two elected leaders have been chucked out and replaced by Europhile shills (I will not call them ‘technocrats’ because the word implies a pragmatism that just doesn’t exist in the EU elite). How long do you reckon before they’ll start calling them ‘delegates’ … and how long before they start suggesting ID implants as a practical solution to border control?

Get those Tobacco Seeds in.

The future of The Departure is closer than you think. Take for example this little wheeze (excuse the pun) suggested by Simon Chapman in that hotbed of totalitarianism, Australia. Now, maybe you don’t agree with smoking, but remember that where the anti-smokers lead the anti-alcohol, fat, sugar (name your poison) brigade follow:

Under the proposal, a license would give the smoker a right to a limited quota of tobacco supply, say 10 cigarettes a day or 20 cigarettes a day and so on. There is a fee payable to government to give the consumer the right to use tobacco. The more tobacco the license holder pre‑commits to smoke, the higher the license fee involved.

Under the licensing plan consumers would be asked to pass a test, ‘not dissimilar to a driving test’ Chapman stated, to qualify for a right to receive a license to legally purchase tobacco.

Based on the questionable notion that smokers lack an awareness of at least three decades of heavily publicised research about health problems that smoking causes, the government would see itself fit to decide for the smoker the amount of cigarettes he or she is allowed to smoke.

Read this guys additional comments below as well. Coming your way soon: a licence to fart.

Too Close for Comfort

Bloody hell. I caught this out of the corner of my eye on a recent news report but didn’t follow up on it. So, from The Register:

A vast, inky black sphere approximately the size of a nuclear aircraft carrier is plunging through the void of space towards planet Earth, though NASA rather panickily insists that it will definitely not smash into our planet with devastating force.

“The asteroid safely will safely fly past our planet slightly closer than the moon’s orbit on Nov 8”, says a NASA statement issued yesterday (our emphasis), perhaps indicating a certain level of flap at the space agency’s press office.

Now excuse me ‘slightly closer than the moon’s orbit’! In astronomical terms that’s what called too fucking close for comfort. No wonder there’s a bit of buttock clenching going on, and that’ll increase if someone’s calculations are a bit off. Of course, if this ‘blacker than charcoal object’ were to slightly alter its course and fall into orbit around Earth I suspect there’ll be a bit of pants filling too.

For Frack's Sake

On (I think) April 2nd last year this happened:

While we sat in the sunshine sipping cold beers the earth shrugged, grumbled then continued shaking. Some people ran out into the street – one Greek woman all hysterical and crossing herself and doubtless praying to the god who chucks tsunamis about. We remained seated, since we weren’t anywhere anything was going to fall on us, and watched the street lamps whipping about like reeds and nearby trees thrashing. I’ve experienced quakes here before but never seen that.

As far as I recollect this was an earthquake of 6.3 on the Richter scale. On April 1st and May 27th fracking in Lancashire caused, respectively quakes of 2.3 and 1.4, and immediately the media and green hairshirts were shouting for a moratorium on this country accessing an energy supply that might just drag us out of the pit (in fact, do a search of ‘fracking’ and yu get pages and pages of hysteria). So let’s take a look at the Richter scale:

Here is the simplest explanation of it:

A logarithmic scale used to express the total amount of energy released by an earthquake. Its values typically fall between 0 and 9, with each increase of 1 representing a 10-fold increase in energy.

So, the earthquake I experienced in Crete was roughly 10,000 times stronger than the strongest one caused by fracking. In fact, as you can see from the graph the lowest one is in the region of ‘not felt’ and the highest one is ‘minor’.

Now go read Counting Cats and the comments. This one I find particularly illuminating;

A butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico will cause small seismic tremors in Lancashire. Even the lefty dolts at wikipedia know that earthquakes under 2.0 occur “continuously” and those of 2.0-2.9 are ‘Generally not felt, but recorded.’ with 1.3 million of them per year.

Let’s do some maths. A 2.0 quake has 63 MJ of energy, a 2.5 one has 360 MJ. Gasoline contains about 35 MJ/L. Every time some lefty jerk drives to a demo and burns 2 litres of gas he releases as much energy as a 2.0 quake. For a 2.5 quake the dolt has to drive for a couple of hours. Big deal.

Devil’s Kitchen also has something to say…

Here’s a link to an interesting report passed onto me. If this sort of stuff is of interest to you then read it carefully and consider the words ‘correlation is not causation’, or even, ‘which came first the chicken or the egg?’ Remember too that one of the big criticisms of the alarmist film ‘Gaslands’ was that people had methane in their water supply before any fracking.

April into May

Monday April 25th

The temperature has climbed in a minor way, hovering at about 12C up here in the mountains and maybe rising as high as 20 down in Makrigialos. It’s still nowhere near where it was last year and my shorts are still confined to a chair in the bedroom. The apotheche door is still jammed shut and I still have no need to divert grey water for the plants here.

However, on the good news front, the ruin is all but complete. But for the discovery of an unattached pipe for the water tap outside, the plumbing is complete and not leaking. The walls are painted, ceiling and other interior woodwork is varnished and the lights are up. Before we move the bed up there all that’s needed is a shower booth, things like toilet roll and towel holders and a bathroom cabinet. Then we have to get a fridge, a small cooker and other smaller items like waste bins etc.

Wednesday April 27th
So many of the programs we pick up on the satellite are platforms for snake-oil salesmen, whether that snake-oil is God or slimming pills or surgery, so I shouldn’t really complain about BBC World. However, those other programs make no claim on balance and integrity. Yesterday we were hit repeatedly with the phrase ‘refugees fleeing the violence in the Middle East’ yet all we got to back this up were interviews with young Tunisian men in railway stations. Now, according to the BBC, freedom and democracy have arrived in Tunisia, the despot has stepped down and all is tea and cucumber sandwiches. What we basically have here, as anywhere the welfare state hasn’t spread its stifling tentacles, is young men looking for work. These ‘refugees from violence’ are actually fleeing the thing that had them chucking rocks at their leaders in the first place: poverty. It’s the economy, stupid. Of course there doubtless are refugees from the violence in Libya out there, but they’re probably a bit far from the hotel bar for our intrepid BBC correspondents.

Ah, now that’s more like it. We went up to Handras and then Ziros to celebrate someone’s birthday and in a kafenion were put in contact with a guy selling a nice rose wine for €1 a litre. We bought five litres and will doubtless be seeing him again – he’s not going to be running out any time soon since he has 25,000 litres on tap…

We had more pissing rain last night, and there’s still no sign of the promised global warming. We’ve ordered another two tonnes of wood for the stove, which will maybe turn up today. I’m hoping we won’t get to use much of it this ‘spring’ and can save it for next autumn and the start of winter. But it seems that every time it’s looking like it’s warming up, another shitload of cloud comes over the horizon and the temperature drops.

Monday May 2nd
I moved the bed and some other bits and pieces up into the ‘ruin’ over the weekend (the words ‘the ruin’ have stuck despite it being cleaner, drier and newer than the main house) and can now concentrate on other work. Having cleaned out the spare room I bleached the mould on the walls and ceiling, treated and varnished the beams and used up the remainder of the paint on the walls. I’ve also been varnishing the pergola and generally working on other stuff until completely knackered. The weather is still crappy – cloudy, damp and cold – though things are looking better this morning. During the royal wedding, when I intended to go fishing with ‘the boys’ whilst Caroline watched the wedding with ‘the girls’, it absolutely chucked it down, so I ended up drinking far too much wine.

We’ve just seen on the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Perhaps it is a good thing to have access to BBC World, since when Michael Jackson died we didn’t find out about it until about three weeks afterwards. Then again, does knowing these things make any difference to us at all?

The cynic in me immediately wondered what news was being covered up by this, that maybe the killing of Gadaffi’s family was something the powers that be wanted kept low key, but, just maybe, the announcement was being held over until after the wedding. Anyway, this is a good media victory for America and has reduced the number of murderous people-hating psychos by at least one.

Wednesday May 4th
I’ve just received an uncorrected proof copy of The Departure (thanks Julie) and here, for your delectation, is a picture of what you can’t have until September…

The temperature is climbing. This morning at 10.40 it is over 20C – the first time it has risen so high since we’ve been here. I’m actually contemplating putting on my shorts and venturing outdoors.

Meanwhile, I was going to post a picture of Makrigialos beach for Chris (Dutch physics teacher) showing how much the sea level has dropped here. However, the one time I remember to bring my camera down the sea is back where it was before.

Interview with Jerry Pournelle.

Good interview with Jerry Pournelle here on Pyjamas TV.

Glenn Reynolds sits down with science-fiction master Jerry Pournelle to discuss the Japanese reactor meltdowns, atomic energy, the climate, and the future of artificial intelligence. How prepared is the United States for disaster? Pournelle wonders whether FEMA and the decline of civil defense has put America at even greater risk in the event of disaster.


I laughed uproariously last night. Apparently, according to a BBC reporter, the Fukushima ‘disaster’ is in danger of overshadowing the surrounding tsunami disaster. Um, hey Mr BBC reporter, don’t you think you might have had something to do with that?

Define disaster. Let’s see, 10,000+ people killed, whole towns wiped out, 10s of thousands made homeless, and now running out of food and water as opposed to, say, nuclear plants badly damaged and maybe having to be sealed in concrete, a handful of workers injured, and one killed in a crane accident.

Of course, no problem now. The imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya has apparently suspended the Japanese nuclear holocaust.