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CERN: Neutrinos Respect Cosmic Speed Limit

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the still-tend-to-ignore-the-stop-lights dept.

Science 96

An anonymous reader writes with news of a presentation from CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci about follow-up experiments trying to repeat the faster-than-light neutrino results from last year. Quoting the press release: "The four [experiments], Borexino, ICARUS, LVD and OPERA all measure a neutrino time of flight consistent with the speed of light. This is at odds with a measurement that the OPERA collaboration put up for scrutiny last September, indicating that the original OPERA measurement can be attributed to a faulty element of the experiment's fibre optic timing system. 'Although this result isn't as exciting as some would have liked,' said Bertolucci, 'it is what we all expected deep down. The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action – an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That's how science moves forward.'"

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96 comments

That's good... (4, Funny)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256167)

...best avoid those pesky cosmic traffic cops.

Re:That's good... (1)

KingBenny (1301797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257911)

after long and arduous research , we have finally found something that doesnt force us to disbelieve in everything we held to be true , i think it's a bit sad, it could have been the start of something that was actually new , its been a while

Re:That's good... (1)

schroedingers_hat (2449186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258401)

Huh? Scientists are always looking for things to believe that aren't what they currently believe to be true. It's kinda what they do.
No forcing involved.

Re:That's good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40258213)

5 funny ? who thinks this is funny ?

Re:That's good... (4, Funny)

Zephyn (415698) | more than 2 years ago | (#40259069)

That's the way it always works. You catch one exceeding the speed limit, then all the others notice it and slow down accordingly.

Didn't they fire that scientist? (3, Insightful)

Dareth (47614) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256175)

I thought they fired the head scientist responsible for that result.

"That's how science moves forward." in the real world.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (4, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256279)

A real problem with this line of thinking "this is how science moves forward" is that the public at large has no idea how science actually works. they view it as another religion. "well stephen hawking said this, so it must be true"

A disturbing number of people see this sort of situation not as a validation of scientific method, but as an indication of failure.

The discussion goes as follows:
"remember when they told us that they'd discovered particles that went faster than lightspeed?"
"yeah, there were all these press releases and stories in the newspaper and on cnn and shit about how they could go back in time now and maybe warp speed is possible"
"right, and then they were all like 'oops, our bad, we fucked up, we can't go warp speed after all'. i wonde rhow often they're fucking up like this and we just don't know it. I bet it happens a lot. I wonder how much other shit the scientists told us was true where they're doing bad experiments"

There are a frightening number of these people, and you can't tell me I'm wrong because you know them too.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (5, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256419)

There are a frightening number of these people, and you can't tell me I'm wrong because you know them too.

It's worse when you meet them at parties [youtube.com] .

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

Archimagus (978734) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256605)

I love that.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257239)

Posted that to facebook... probably gonna lose some people...

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257511)

I always delight in losing the people who can't handle being offended, its like my friends list got cleaned up just a little bit.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 2 years ago | (#40261847)

Post this one [youtube.com] of his and see if you lose a few more.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256441)

Why would they fire the people that made this public, when they said in the very same paper that released this they said it was most likely an error in one of the instruments, and that they implored other scientific institutes to replicate the experiments as to confirm/deny the results. These people you are talking about, are just the stupid people that exist in society, and still have opinions about everything.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256457)

and they outnumbers us, and they vote.

that scares me more than any horror move I've ever seen (except paranormal activity, that shit's just creepy)

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258305)

Not only that, they also pay taxes, and they have firm opinions on how those tax dollars should be paid. And they're not very tolerant of mistakes.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40263107)

Yup, firmly in the way they're told by whoever pays for what indoctrinated them.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40260699)

More scary than the arrogance of someone like you? That shit is creepy. You're not smart enough to be dangerous, you just think you're smart enough to be dangerous. Truth of the matter is, if thats how you feel about the general population, you're pretty ignorant yourself.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#40261191)

I would guess that you probably live in one of the larger cities like Seattle where the population tends to be fairly well educated and open minded. Go live in northern Michigan where I grew up, or Louisiana where my niece lives now, to truly plumb the depths of the stupidity of the US public. For a lot of those people (unfortunately some of them my relatives) even Fox News is too cerebral. And like the OP said, they outnumber us. If we ever get to the point where the majority really rules we're completely hosed as a civilization.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256473)

You're right. I think this is because the religious method is the only way of thinking many people know. They simply don't know how to think in a scientific way. Not that they can't, but it's very hard to unlearn something especially when you have weekly brainwashing sessions.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257075)

I agree with you.

thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That's how science moves forward.'"

I wanted to take a larger quote because I find it interesting. The sad fact is, science used to mingle with the greater community, including the laymen. Scientists used to somewhat of celebrities and they frequently fielded questions and got inspiration from the laymen. Now, they treat themselves as a higher order of the religion of man, whereby the sit in judgement of mankind and reality itself.

I personally believe the quote above shows a sub-conscious acknowledgement that science is less than it could be. Its an acknowledgement of how much better it could be if they all worked together rather than closed themselves off in tiny, competing communities. There's too much infighting and not enough cooporation. And I believe it extends much farther.

Honestly, I can't tell you how many times I've spoken with scientists and other professionals in the scientific community whereby its clear they have almost a complete lacking in understanding of cross domain knowledge and when you give polite suggestion of something they might find interesting, in hopes it will given them a wider view of the world and sciences, they quickly brush it aside simply because I'm a laymen and therefore completely beneith them. As a result, they go out of their way to remain ignorant and dumb. The sad fact is, without fail, I've been vindicated within one to five years as others publish papers on the various subject matters which required the very cross domain knowledge I recommended they investigate for integration.

The sad fact is, several studies have clearly shown that as science has become more and more specialized, so have the scientists. As such, their cross domain knowledge is dramatically lacking, frequently behind that of even curious hobbyists. Its frequently shocking, no exaguration, just how little some of these guys know about some of these seemingly obvious cross domains which are seemingly required to do their job. Accordingly, since they shun the "ignorant public" and lock themselves off even from each other, they ulitmately wind up lessor than what could be. To a large degree, this is exactly why organizations such as TED have come into being. So this isn't some random guy talking out his ass. The fact is, I'm completely right here.

The fact is, in many ways science, and by extension many scientists, are very broken right now. Its not just me saying this. More and more scientists, at the potential cost of their carerrs (which in turn wonderfully highlights just how egotistical and broken the scientific community at large really is) are also beginning to speak out more and more about how broken things are and how politics is playing a larger role is slanting both research and results; while at the same time, limiting the results of research and slowing the pace of progress.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40261523)

Scientists in general are fucking assholes. They publish their full contact info on their web site, put up vague information about their work (which is publicly funded). I spend two days writing a very short and well though-out question. Two days because I want to respect the time of the scientist I'm inquiring about. I want to check everything regarding what I'm asking about. I don't want to say anything stupid, basically.

Then I don't even get a reply. Not even one sentence. Not even a, "I can't talk about that" or "fuck off layman". Just nothing.

Last one was this guy, Victor Klimov: http://quantumdot.lanl.gov/klimov.shtml

I asked him a simple question about his solar energy research in about 2 sentences. 2 more sentences were thanking him for his research. He could have answered the question in one sentence fragment. Never heard back from the guy.

And all scientists are like this. My physics teacher was roughly the same, and only responded because he had to. Arrogant, know-it-all, pricks.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#40261741)

What was the question?

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40262585)

You can't really draw the conclusion it has to do with them being assholes or it has something to do with you being from the general public if they said nothing in response. They could just be lazy. I've contacted researchers that work in the same field as me, and some do not respond, even when they were expecting something. Sometimes some of the older ones just don't respond to email much and need a phone call to get stuff done too and some others require multiple tries. Although figuring out which ones by experiment can piss off the ones that don't need multiple reminders.

I try to answer questions when I get them, at least ones that don't immediately look like they are coming from someone with psychological issues (I've yet to find the mass ratio of heaven to hell in my lab, nor found anything that explains why aliens like to rearrange one guy's furniture). It would be helpful if more people phrased things in the form of questions, such as "Have you considered X?," or "Does X affect your results?" instead of things like, "You obviously never took intro level course, where they teach about X" or "Your whole project is a scam to get grant funding, since it is obvious X is so important but you ignore it." A significant fraction of inquiries via internet are quite abrasive, and I start to wonder if they care about the actual subject or just needed an ego boost. I try not to let that affect how I respond, although I am not perfect about that, especially if sleep deprived. The really obnoxious but much rarer ones are people that ask a question, then use the answer to accuse you of something, e.g. a conspiracy, or ignore what you actually say and go on as if you supported the exact opposite. The exceptionally bad version of the last case has involved a few colleagues that got their name listed as a supporter or collaborator with some pseudoscience work because they emailed a guy back about something unrelated.

In the end, scientists are human. You have your share of lazy ones, asshole ones, nice ones, forgetful ones, ones not that great at communication, etc. It is kind of hard to draw conclusions from just failed interactions with one or two. That kind of goes both ways, as I've seen colleagues over time get bitter about interacting with public, and base their opinions on the few really annoying people that were just more vocal than others.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257169)

I am usually quick to criticize the irrational thinking and the complete lack of scientific literacy found in many people, but in this case I feel journalists should be blamed more than anyone.

What the scientists said: We have a strange result from one of our experiments, it indicates that neutrinos went faster than light. We know that's not supposed to be possible and we don't think we discovered FTL, but we haven't been able to find the error in our experiment so far. Can anyone help?
What half-decent journalists wrote: Experiment surprisingly observes neutrinos possibly exceeding the speed of light
What typical journalists wrote: Speed of light exceeded by neutrinos in an experiment
What bad journalists wrote: Scientists break the speed of light - neutrinos are faster
What horrid journalists wrote: Modern physics invalidated, speed of light not a limit after all

It's generally known that scientific journalism isn't, at least mainstream in media, but in this case the journalists really outdid themselves.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40258661)

I am usually quick to criticize the irrational thinking and the complete lack of scientific literacy found in many people, but in this case I feel journalists should be blamed more than anyone.

What the scientists said: We have a strange result from one of our experiments, it indicates that neutrinos went faster than light. We know that's not supposed to be possible and we don't think we discovered FTL, but we haven't been able to find the error in our experiment so far. Can anyone help?
What half-decent journalists wrote: Experiment surprisingly observes neutrinos possibly exceeding the speed of light
What typical journalists wrote: Speed of light exceeded by neutrinos in an experiment
What bad journalists wrote: Scientists break the speed of light - neutrinos are faster
What horrid journalists wrote: Modern physics invalidated, speed of light not a limit after all

It's generally known that scientific journalism isn't, at least mainstream in media, but in this case the journalists really outdid themselves.

I remember when the news was first announced, slashdot commenters congratulated the press (especially the BBC [bbc.co.uk] ) for the good reporting of what the scientists said.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257693)

A disturbing number of people see this...

There are a frightening number....

I give him about 2 people at most. How many are you going to cross and get those kind of comment?

Ironically this comment is quite unscientific, and most likely ungrounded.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

kenj0418 (230916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257759)

"Just think of how stupid the [median] person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!" - George Carlin

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40263029)

Exactly. Carlin said "average" - when he meant "median".

People say this quote - and I try to explain that to them; if you don't know the difference between "average" and "median" - you're most likely in the below median group.

. . . then, I had this argument with a supposed "statistics major". doh!

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40259469)

They are at least partially right : a big fuss is made about it, and then it's proven to be false.

But that's not the fault of the scientists, it's the media that makes a big fuss out of it.
However, the skeptic in me wonders if this isn't nice publicity for the scientists ( capturing the public's imagination, and maybe some big wallet at the same time ).

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (2)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 2 years ago | (#40260149)

This is the consequence of idiots labelling anything scientific that they don't understand as "science", but also a benefit in a way:

Before anyone else tries to write us off as Satan-loving heretics, think about this:
In "science" people with sometimes completely different interpretations and understandings of the underlying "science" (in this case physics) involved will test each other's hypotheses and, out of respect of the pursuit of knowledge (in most cases) publish their honest findings either confirming or denying their conclusions (inconclusive stuff being relatively un-publishable).

When is a Jew or Buddhist (even though it's a philosophy more than religion) ever invited to comment on the ideological principles of the Catholic religion in an official and respected forum?
Sounds pretty ridiculous right? But that's exactly what happens in science every day.

Why the stark difference? Because religion is something many of us are taught starting from when we are young, and more importantly is taught as the only one that is right with no testable means to prove or disprove it.
I can imagine a public that's much more ... responsive to science in a way, if it were taught to them in a more religious fashion. Indoctrinated, in a sense. But at the same time, that would be the exact undoing of the fundamental objectivity and pursuit of truth that basic science is founded upon, and all that inspires real scientists.

Re:Didn't they fire that scientist? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256685)

Even worse, the neutrinos involved are sueing him for libel.

If they were climate scientists... (5, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256215)

If they were climate scientists then they would have been publicly ridiculed, had their funding called into question, had their email subpoenaed, been threatened over the internet and finally ended up as merely a footnote in "the debate". Instead, they are particle physicists, so good science was accomplished.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (5, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256259)

Just reread that post. I don't mean to say that climate scientists are bad science. I just mean that the particle physicists were left alone to do their work, and the result was ultimately positive.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (4, Insightful)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256435)

But the average person understands climate, that's like the polar caps melting, right? Sure everyone's an expert on that. Particle Physics on the other hand, I challenge you to walk down the street and ask people what they think particle physics is all about.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256627)

But the average person understands climate, that's like the polar caps melting, right?

The average person doesn't think the polar ice caps are melting. The average person thinks they're just moving further and further away.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40260799)

...

The data says they aren't melting, and those people are commenting in fact on how the ice is getting closer, not further away. You guys are really going to have to stop using that battle cry until Deadliest Catch goes off the air, its really hard for anyone to believe your bullshit when they can see the ice going further each year and most certainly not retreating.

It also helps when you don't have NASA coming out and saying 'oops, we were measuring wrong, those ice caps weren't actually retreating after all!'.

Seriously, you are why people don't listen to the climate debate.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40264483)

Do you have a citation for "NASA coming out and saying 'oops, we were measuring wrong, those ice caps weren't actually retreating after all!'"? As far as I'm aware the only part of the cryosphere that's expanding somewhat is Antarctic sea ice and there's an explanation for that.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256897)

The average person does not understand climate change, nor do they understand the difference between global warming, climate change and sustainability. The entire field is muddied with the mud-slinging that has been going on for the last thirty years.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40258755)

But the average person understands climate, that's like the polar caps melting, right? Sure everyone's an expert on that.

More likely the average person walks into work one day in the dead of winter having struggled through commute traffic exacerbated by snow and cold temperatures and boldly declares climate scientists(1) to be wrong based upon the empirical evidence of the one obvious data point outside that day in one location. The drought and record highs last summer are irrelevant to their thinking.

(1) aka liberal, left leaning, communist-nazi propagandist, intellectuals from the ivory towers of academia. And don't forget how their research is an attempt by the UN to take over the world and stifle the freedom of all "GOD LOVING" true believers!

Re:If they were climate scientists... (2)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40260033)

But the average person thinks they understand climate

FTFY.

Most people don't actually understand climate. Most people who make climate their life's study don't understand a good deal of it, and nobody in the world fully understands it (ironically, the ones who claim to understand it the most are the ones who actually understand it the least).

Most people understand weather, but that's not climate.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40262077)

Check the batteries in your sarcasm detector.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40260361)

But the average person understands climate, that's like the polar caps melting, right? Sure everyone's an expert on that. Particle Physics on the other hand, I challenge you to walk down the street and ask people what they think particle physics is all about.

I challenge you to walk down a corridor in the Physics department of any major university and ask people what they think particle physics is all about ;)

The same is true for Quantum Mechanics in anything except the Phys Chem department of the Chemistry building.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257855)

They would have built a computer model on data poorly collected by some stoned grad student with millions of dollars of grant money and then shoved in front of congress to explain why i cant use incandescent bulbs.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256277)

A lot of that actually happened. Researchers on the project were fired and publicly humiliated. Many people called the legitimacy of the entire project into question over what turned out to be a faulty sensor.

All schools of science are brutal; not just climatology.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256331)

Is there a reason this "brutality" is necessary? Everyone makes mistakes sometimes.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258351)

Taxpayers. You want the reason, there you go. Taxpayers are notoriously brutal about seeing their tax dollars being spent in a multi-billion dollar "mistake".

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40262109)

Ideologues with radio shows are notoriously brutal about seeing their tax dollars being spent in a multi-billion dollar "mistake".

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40263121)

Taxpayers are notoriously brutal about seeing their tax dollars being spent in a multi-billion dollar "mistake".

It's not really that. There are two factors behind that.
1. People who PAY taxpayers, have been notoriously brutal about seeing their payroll being spent on any "mistakes" - this filters down to how taxpayers perceive it. Taxpayers are the PUBLIC "Job Creators". They are only treating their employees as they have been treated.

2. Large corporate media has pushed this calvinistic view about people who "deserve" to be paid, people who are "producers" - for decades. It has become an integral part of our culture. Nobody can really conceive of a model of "work" that necessarily involves failure. Science is such work, and so is any student's school work. We're becoming a civilization that does not tolerate experimentation. We are stuck in sort of a mental "survival-mode"; because threat-of-scarcity is the main driver of our "capitalistic" system.

The reason for both of these, is really just a bit of propaganda, meant to convey the indispensability and divinity of the plutocracy.

Of course: If people were paid fairly in the first place, we wouldn't need to push this meme. Nor would we really need progressive taxation, either.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256281)

If they were climate scientists they would have been making dire predictions about the long term effects of superluminal particles and urgently recommended we reduce emissions via cap-and-trade.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256329)

If they were climate scientists then they would have been publicly ridiculed

If they were the kind of "climate scientists" that gets media time they would not have suggested anything that can be verified.
The statements we get are usually along the lines of "ZOMG! Neutrinos are faster than light! We need to stop using nuclear power now to protect causality! NO, we don't have time to verify my results, everyone knows that they are correct!"

A reasonable course of action would be to use the current models to predict the climate in 10 years and then see how well they work before we use them to dictate policies.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40264547)

A reasonable course of action would be to use the current models to predict the climate in 10 years and then see how well they work before we use them to dictate policies.

No, that would not be a reasonable course of action. What climate models (the big GCM's) generally output is a 30 year running mean of expected temperature so they can't predict the climate in 10 years (unless you're talking about the 30 year running mean 10 years from now). And even what they predict is subject to how well the scenario they used matches what really happened.

Your +2, Insightful mod is unwarranted.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256477)

Didn't take long before someone worked in politics. How long until some bigot rails on creationists?

Threaten a business model (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256701)

If they were climate scientists then they would have been publicly ridiculed, had their funding called into question, had their email subpoenaed, been threatened over the internet and finally ended up as merely a footnote in "the debate". Instead, they are particle physicists, so good science was accomplished.

That's because particle physics doesn't (presently) threaten anyone's business model. If they give off even a whiff of costing companies money you can bet that their credibility will be questioned. Particularly if the companies threatened are extremely wealthy energy companies.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256759)

This is a wrong analogy for many reasons. First, particle physics is easily testable, while climate predictions are either hard to test or are far in the future. Second, if I remember right the leader of the OPERA experiment was forced to resign, not something that happens often in climate science. Third, particle physics is apolitical, while climate science sadly is thoroughly tainted with politics. Which is why trust in climate scientists has eroded, and with many being funded by interested parties to deliver bogus research the curiosity about funding is understandable. On the other hand, CERN has been always completely open about their finance. I haven't heard of email subpoenas and I seriously doubt that they are common in climate debates, but I'm open to read your citations if you can provide any.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40258285)

This is a wrong analogy for many reasons. First, particle physics is easily testable, while climate predictions are either hard to test or are far in the future.

Never hard to test, always far in the future.
Just take any climnate prediction made 10 or 20 years ago, check if it worked out as predicted, if not the model used needs reworking before it is usable.
For any updated model, do a prediction, wait 10 years.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40262311)

Second, if I remember right the leader of the OPERA experiment was forced to resign, not something that happens often in climate science.

That indicates that climate science is more trustworthy.

It annoys the hell out of me that Ereditato was apparently pressured into resigning. He did everything right. In science, when you get results that don't match your expectations, you double-check your work. When you do that and still can't find the problem, you publish it. Maybe it turns out you've found something new, more likely it turns out you've made a mistake with your methodology, and other people point it out. That's great, it means other people helped fix your experiment.

Ereditato and his team didn't come out and say, "we've found faster than light neutrinos, Einstein was wrong!" He said, "we're getting a result we can't explain that shouldn't be right, but we can't find our error. We'd like to ask others to help us figure out how to improve the experiment and point out anything that could be causing the discrepancy." If we punish that behavior, we're encouraging scientists to never publish anything that doesn't agree with currently accepted theories. We're asking them to put dogma over observation and measurements, and there lies blind religion. We should never be afraid to publish data. The data is what it is. If we've done something incorrectly that skewed our results, that's what experiment replication is for. Somebody else tries the experiment, their data doesn't agree with yours, they publish their results and methodology.

Now, if anyone is found faking their data, that's when you force them out in disgrace.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258017)

Only if they were saying that nothing disastrous is happening to the climate and it's just doing what it's always done... change.

Re:If they were climate scientists... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40260751)

If they were climate scientists, they'd still be telling us the world is seconds away from a catastrophic tipping point in which there will be no recovery and humans will be doomed. They would not just change their story to 'you don't understand the data and the trends!'

And that is why they aren't being respected anymore.

Or rather, thats the comments I can make to refute your retarded statements while at the same time making my own equally retarded statements. Claiming the global warming debate has anything to do with science is disingenuous at best. Stop politicking and maybe we can talk about the science of it all.

D-oh (1)

lixns21 (1887442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256227)

Prof Antonio Ereditato reminds me of Homer J! Try imagining him without any hair ;0

Global warming (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256273)

Yes this is how science should be done. I would have loved a FTL violation as it would have opened up all kinds of new physics. But alas.
This is my worry with global warming; that good science is not being done. There are two sides arming themselves with "the truth". One of these sides is correct. But regardless of which side is right science is taking serious blows as people call for the firing / de-funding of any scientists who don't agree with them. If the side you don't like is lying or falsifying their data then that will be the end of their careers. Not liking scientific results has been sticking in the craw of religious types for 100 years with Darwin. They still haven't wished his results away. But what they have done is to damage generations of potential scientists as they mess with school curriculums.
With global warming one side will be right but people won't care as the public will believe that you can argue against science with opinion. I can't imagine a teacher trying to discuss both sides of Global Warming with their class for or against. At this point I would think a teacher would do just as well discussing the pros and cons of abortion in Arkansas.

Re:Global warming (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256857)

This is my worry with global warming; that good science is not being done. There are two sides arming themselves with "the truth". One of these sides is correct.

I'm not that sure. When one side is talking about 6-10 degrees of warming and the other claiming that the climate is actually cooling, I have trouble believing that any politically motivated scientist can aquire the truth in this matter. I think your view of climate is cynical, there are still true uncorrupted scientists in climate research, it's just they are the less loud as they aren't backed by the media of a political side.

Re:Global warming (3, Insightful)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257703)

This is my worry with global warming; that good science is not being done.

Good science is being done, my fear is that their results are being suppressed or taken out of context by people with an agenda. These are generally not scientists, but politicians and people representing corporate interests (often the same person) - most scientists despise politicking and consider data falsification as one of the worst crimes that can be committed. By perpetuating the "debate" about climate change, generally with utter falsehoods, they can continue to erode public trust in science hence giving themselves more power to push their agenda. The truth of their side of the debate does not matter, all that matters is that the debate continues.

Re:Global warming (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 2 years ago | (#40262591)

I know you are trying to bring balance into the debate but last I heard no one is calling for people like Eigil Friis-Christensen or Henrik Svensmark to be defunded, and I've never heard either of these two calling for defunding of climate research. Radio blowhards, sure, but no respected scientists on either side of the (very limited) debate. In fact every time I hear climatologists talk about these two they talk about the need to fund their work since there really aren't a whole heap of even vaguely plausible possible alternatives to the current synthesis regarding climate. Heck search the so called 'Climategate' emails for these two names if you like, you'll find some less than complimentary comments of Friis-Christensen in the form of a point-by-point rebuttal of a few of his ideas but nothing amounting to a call to defund them.
Sure I'm willing to bet there are a few arseholes, probably most of them in the proponent camp now-a-days since this camp is so much bigger. I doubt there are that many more than there are arsehole particle physicists or evolutionary biologists. The problem isn't with the way the science is being conducted (although we scientists can always do better, climate science doesn't seem that bad to me), the problem is with the filter the media puts on it. These are the people calling for funding to be deallocated.

The S in scientist stands for... (-1, Offtopic)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256313)

...sheeple...too bad it didn't start with a P. smh. It was a sad day when I learned that for all their training to think logically and to seek out truth...Scientist were just like everyone else. They want to stay in line, they don't want to buck trend...god forbid someone proves the great god Einstein wrong. That would be blasphemous! I'm not saying neutrinos don't follow the cosmic speed limit, I'm just asking: would any of them have the balls to step up and claim it? Every day that passes I lose more respect for my fellow natural philosophers. every day.
Yes, I'll be modded down, yes some will think this is flamebait but the next generation wont.

Re:The S in scientist stands for... (0)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256383)

sheeple

OMG be careful! [xkcd.com]

Re:The S in scientist stands for... (0)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256453)

A great one, although I was expecting to see this XKCD [slashdot.org] on this thread.

Re:The S in scientist stands for... (0)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256503)

Aye, apparently I don't know how to copy a link. Link [xkcd.com]

Re:The S in scientist stands for... (1)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | more than 2 years ago | (#40262317)

Or even this one [xkcd.com] .

Re:The S in scientist stands for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256391)

I promise you that if the FTL neutrino test had been replicable, the researchers involved would be tripping over themselves to claim it. If you have a chance to dethrone Einstein, you fucking take it.

Re:The S in scientist stands for... (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258005)

It was a sad day when I learned that for all their training to think logically and to seek out truth...Scientist were just like everyone else. They want to stay in line, they don't want to buck trend... god forbid someone proves the great god Einstein wrong. That would be blasphemous!

When and how, exactly, did you learn that? In Imagination College from Professor Unicorn? Where did this idea that overturning Einstein would be "blasphemous" even enter your head? Paint me a picture. I want to know.

would any of them have the balls to step up and claim it?

Only if they could be sure it was really happening, and then FUCK YES THEY WOULD. It would be the most revolutionary experimental result in the last century, and they would become famous. Because that's how you become famous in science. Why do you think you know Einstein's name? Or any other scientist you happened to learn about in Actual School?

Are you erroneously assuming that because scientists are skeptical that the results would pan out due to the exceedingly successful record of Relativity -- which hey turned out to be the smart money bet -- that they would not be willing to accept a contrary result? Well, stop!

Science moves forward (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256323)

The neutrinos obeyed the speed limit. Nothing to see here, move forward citizen scientist.

Wake me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256365)

...when you find a slower-than-light neutrino.

Well, *now* they do (5, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256367)

The universe caught on we were watching, and quickly decided to toe the line on the whole laws-of-physics thing again.

Like when you're on the highway and see a cop car passing you by. Suddenly you're a model driver, five percent below the speed limit, signaling lane changes and everything, can-I-help-you-officer.

Turn that detector off and they'll be whizzing by like nobody's business again, violating causality just for the hell of it.

Re:Well, *now* they do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256893)

Observer effect in action.

Re:Well, *now* they do (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40260903)

Like when you're on the highway and see a cop car passing you by. Suddenly you're a model driver, five percent below the speed limit, signaling lane changes and everything, can-I-help-you-officer

You do realize they can tell you're doing this and it makes you stand out like a sore thumb, right? Even if speeding, you're best move is to not change your pattern (unless your pattern happens to be fucking stupid, which yours sounds like since apparently the only time you signal is when a cop is watching).

Doing less than the speed limit will get you red flagged instantly. You want to be doing slightly over it in clear day time driving or you're going to be seen as someone trying to 'not get pulled over', which means you're more likely to get pulled over.

I suspect neutrinos know this as well.

Don't be so optimistic (4, Interesting)

Tibixe (1138927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256489)

Had the error been in the opposite direction, indicating neutrinos slightly slower than previously thought, this experiment would never have been scrutinized so much. Then some theoretician might have even got a Nobel for explaining the result. That's how science moves backward.

Re:Don't be so optimistic (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256797)

Had the error been in the opposite direction, indicating neutrinos slightly slower than previously thought, this experiment would never have been scrutinized so much. Then some theoretician might have even got a Nobel for explaining the result. That's how science moves backward.

But Neutrinos are slower than light.
How I know? Well, because Neutrino oscillations have been measured.
What's the connection? Well, Neutrino oscillations require that Neutrinos have mass. And particles with mass always go slower than light.

Re:Don't be so optimistic (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257293)

It'd be also rather hard to oscillate with a time dilation factor of exactly zero.

Re:Don't be so optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257749)

Neutrino rest mass is 0.2 eV at a wild guess, CERN produces them at 28.2 GeV. The are slower than c, but not by much (on the order of 1 part in 10^25).

Re:Don't be so optimistic (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257939)

I think that any difference from the speed of light would have been scrutinized very carefully, but slower-than-light neutrinos would not have attracted the media attention.

The is a bit embarrassing since it was a simple technical glitch that caused the problem, but the scientific process is working correctly.

Re:Don't be so optimistic (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258251)

Had the error been in the opposite direction, indicating neutrinos slightly slower than previously thought, this experiment would never have been scrutinized so much.

Maybe not as much, certainly not as much in the mainstream media, but it sure as hell would have been scrutinized as a strange and possibly erroneous result. Nobody would have got a Nobel without serious verification efforts (most likely decades of verification as usually happens with a Nobel).

See, neutrinos are so light that we've never actually been able to measure their mass directly, but we do have upper bounds on that mass that are very, very low (something like 5 or more orders of magnitude lighter than an electron -- super fucking light). So in basically any experiment you could perform the expectation is that the neutrino's velocity should be indistinguishable from c within the experimental error. Even neutrinos from distant supernova are expected to arrive at essentially the same time as the photons.

So if they measured a neutrino velocity that was significantly lower, that would be a major result. It would either contradict a large number of other experimental results, or suggest some new physics by which the two sets of results could be reconciled. Either way, it would be a big deal.

Re:Don't be so optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40264125)

Okay, you're right. I was thinking of a case when experimental results are between rigorously known bounds (i.e. presumably correct), but the exact value lacks theoretical explanation. This range is indeed narrower than our error margin in this case. A more plausible scenario would be like this.

Suppose that someone sets up an expensive experiment to measure the fine structure constant more precisely than ever.
Also suppose that the method to do this is tedious, and not really challenging for a physicist, but someone must do it nevertheless.
The measurement is theoretically correct to 2n decimal places but is systematically off by 10^(-n) because of a bad cable.
Since the experiment is unsurprising, unmotivating and expensive to redo, the data becomes canon by laziness and the error goes unnoticed because no one cares for the nth decimal place. Fast forward 10 years.
Some innocent theoretician looks at the continued fraction expansion and notices that it has some relation to the Fourier expansion of the j-invariant.
He asks a mathematician friend who tells him all about the monstrous moonshine and how this is all related to string theory and 196884 dimension algebras etc. etc. Everyone becomes terribly excited, launching the n+1th revolution in string theory, and wasting a generation of postgrads but earning the last guy alive from the experiment team a Nobel. In other news, these guys take over the Western world: http://www.biblewheel.com/gr/Gr_FineStructure.asp

TL;DR: Bad cables, natural constant fetishists and string theorist shouldn't coexist in physics.

Why is it missing the important part (1, Interesting)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256853)

The entire reason for measuring the speed was so that we would have the mass value. What's the estimated mass now that we have a somewhat accurate and confirmed speed?

Re:Why is it missing the important part (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257175)

Nope. They were supposed to be measuring the mu-neutrino to tau-neutrino oscillation (a few events indeed happened). Which would indirectly hint at their respective mass ratio. The speed thing was just an anomaly on the side.

Re:Why is it missing the important part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257327)

Dug my way through their paper. The "few events" actually boil down to a grand total of ONE event from a two-year run. Uh, wow.

Re:Why is it missing the important part (1)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257275)

The precision of the velocity measurement is nowhere near what would be required to measure mass using it. Neutrino mass is very, very small compared to the energy of these neutrinos.

The velocity measurement was a side-project. The main OPERA experiment measures the rate at which neutrinos switch "flavors". The rate of that flavor oscillation can be used to compute the mass difference of neutrinos.

Re:Why is it missing the important part (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257613)

The Velocity measurement was to help narrow down the mass to fill in the blanks on the flavor switching. Oprea [www-opera.desy.de] was intended to look at neutrino oscillation which was supposed to be impossible because we assumed it has no Mass. The mass is the important part of the entire project.

Re:Why is it missing the important part (2)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258319)

Wrong. Values for the mass which would be observable with OPERA were ruled out by several experiments, long before OPERA was built.

The modification of the velocity is approximately v/c=1-m^2/E^2 =~ c*1e-18. OPERA has nowhere near a precision of 1e-18 on the velocity measurement. A large enough mass to be visible in the velocity measurement would be so large that certain radioactive decays would not occur, and it would be visible in the kinematics of others (such as Tritium decay).

OPERA does not directly measure mass. It measures mixing. The mass difference is then computed from the rate of mixing. The link you posted explains this very well. They added the velocity measurement just because they could, but there's no way that measurement could have any bearing on their mass (mixing) measurement.

You insensi7iv3 clod... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257115)

Opropaganda a8d

How science works (2, Insightful)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257561)

Couldn't they have just released the results without all the hyperbole and pontificating? Yea, everybody knew that most likely there was an issue with timing, rather than with the much-confirmed laws of space-time. We don't need a condescending lecture from the elites. Tell it to the journalists.

traffic cop jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40258271)

FTL traffic cop jokes are not funny

Italy (1)

perles (1855088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40258879)

Only in Italy they run faster than the light.

Kind of sad (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40259145)

Well, truth be told I am a little sad. I know, too much SF made me secretly hope the experiment results would be proven right. A man could dream... :)

particles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40261541)

Particle physics gives me a hadron! :)

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