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SuperK Neutrino Detector Severely Damaged.

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the travesties-in-big-science-land dept.

Science 191

Eric Sharkey writes "The Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector, which announced the discovery of neutrino oscillation and mass in 1998 (covered by Slashdot at the time), has been severely damaged. The NY Times (free reg, blah blah) has an article here. Most of the phototubes have been destroyed. Repair estimates top $30M, leaving the world far less capable of observing the next supernova neutrino burst, should it arrive before repairs or a replacement could be completed." CD: I called the lead of the project and he was in the tank checking out the damage. The webpage for the Super-Kamiokande is here. There are pictures for you to peruse.

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557409)

this first post contains previously undiscovered subatomic particles

Wait a minute... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557413)

What does this mean for Joe Sixpack?

Re:Wait a minute... (-1, Troll)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557517)

Joe Sixpack is a fool. I'm supar important, ya know what I mean, ya know what I'm sayin. I called da lead o' da project n' he wazin da tank checking out da damage. White boyz in da house.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557529)

It means a diversion of news coverage for 15 seconds to report on the nips instead of reporting on "American Fights Back".

But that is all. Nothing more.

bwahahha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557415)

yeah this is important.

first post

could be the end... (5, Interesting)

astrophysics (85561) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557417)

Of course this is just wild speculation, but...

A couple of Japanese colleges say that SuperK was previously being targeted for budget cuts, and was fighting to maintain funding. They were concerned that if it would indeed take tens of millions of USDs to fix, then it may be cut. That would be a real dissappiontment.

Let's hope SuperK comes back on line, and that we don't have a galactic supernova go off while SuperK is being fixed.

Re:could be the end... (1)

Brontosaurus Jim (528803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557424)

It's really a shame then, that this damage happened now. Far too often these days we see science fall before profit, and I really think that down the road the effects of this short sighted thinking will become evident.

I'm now pondering evident in what way, and I realize then that it will not be obvious, but far more insidious. The world will simply be worse off, and we'll know in no certain terms by how much.

How truly terrible indeed...

More wild speculation (4, Funny)

Tsar (536185) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557622)

A few random thoughts:

I don't know how much their missions overlap, but does this put any more urgency on getting the Ice Cube [slashdot.org] neutrino scope up and running?

Whilst I'm here, I've been mulling over some possible reasons for the accident:
  • SuperK Technicians ignored the pump signs warning not to "top off"
  • They accidentally filled it with heavy water
  • Water level was correct, but wash cycle was accidentally bumped from "Delicates" to "Heavy Duty"
  • Weekend Sumo Bellyflop contest got a bit too rowdy this week
  • Detector tubes? We thought you ordered defective tubes!
  • Drunken revelry, celebrating yet another discovery of the Higgs boson

first post (-1, Offtopic)

SqueakRu (212186) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557418)

first post

You'd think they could say why (5, Insightful)

hackman (18896) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557419)

Seems strange that the article was so sketchy on why the damage was done. They sort of implied that the tank got overfilled, but then again they really avoided saying anything.

Why would a research instution hide the reason for the damage, afraid that they are going to cripple someone's career? It certainly is a tragedy, but the fact that they are not disclosing the real reason for the damage makes it more interesting somehow.

Thumbs up for cool Neutrino detectors though, it has been an unexplained scientific phenomena for a long time now. I hope they can fix it (and have the $$ too).

Brett

Re:You'd think they could say why (3, Insightful)

Joe Decker (3806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557426)

Seems strange that the article was so sketchy on why the damage was done.

Doesn't to me. Premature guessing as to the cause before investigation could be potentially damaging to any funding sources. The funding politics of large science projects can be quite complex. Completely normal.

Re:You'd think they could say why (1)

jmtpi (17834) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557450)

Seems strange that the article was so sketchy on why the damage was done. They sort of implied that the tank got overfilled, but then again they really avoided saying anything.

To concur with the fellow who already replied, it doesn't seem strange to me. It's likely that there is a combination of a) the cause is not really known and b) the NYT reporter didn't really know how to report it.


I don't think the comment about it having to do with "pressure" implies that the tank was overfull. It was simply a scientist confirming that the pressure of the water, and not some other factor, was the immediate cause of the failure. That doesn't imply that the pressure was greater than was designed for.


I don't think they're hiding anything, and if you give them a little time, I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion in the scientific community aimed at getting to the root of the problem.

Here's why (a guess) (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557534)

Right, pressure: a bulb imploding under a significant depth of water (say, at the bottom of the tank, I doubt it is artificially pressurised in any way, the volume would be too large for that to be an economically feasible structure) will create a shockwave within the water - which may have enough energy in turn to cause a neighbouring bulb to implode, etc, etc, bringing about a cascade failure of the bulbs.

Which is why deep water divers have to be carefull with their lights while working under pressure - if one implodes, the shockwave is like a small bomb going off. Remember, water is much more dense than air, any shockwaves will have significantly more energy, particularly at a depth of 40 meters.

All it would take is for one bulb to be broken somewhere in the depths of the tank (through physical impact or corrosion, etc) to set off a large number of them. Despite it's size, these are delicate instruments.

Just a rational, educated guess.

Re:Here's why (a guess) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557568)

Cute theory, but there weren't any light bulbs in the tank. Many, many photomultiplier tubes, but no light bulbs. What the heck would they need light bulbs down there for? To see where the neutrinos are going?

Re:Here's why (a guess) (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557668)

Cute theory, but there weren't any light bulbs in the tank. Many, many photomultiplier tubes, but no light bulbs.

You are right, there are no light bulbs inside, BTW, do you know how a photomultiplier tube works? The impact of a single photon releases an electron, this electron is attracted (by a big voltage difference) to an electrode. At the impact of this electron some more electrons are released, again attracted by a big voltage difference to the next electrode and so on. At each impact the number of electrons is multiplied, so that at the end you can measure a significant current from the impact of a single photon. Conditions to make this work are a vacuum inside a transparant enclosure (= a glass bulb).

Re:Here's why (a guess) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557791)

check this [u-tokyo.ac.jp] description of the photomultiplier tubes

Re:You'd think they could say why (1)

SamBeckett (96685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557492)

Yeah, maybe they can make all 30 million by selling GPL software!

Because... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557579)

...BSD is dying.

Re:You'd think they could say why (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557629)

It's a cultural thing. When something goes wrong, Americans look for someone to blame while the Japanese look for a solution to the problem.

Re:You'd think they could say why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557681)

Hmmmm.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557421)

Is the article about Super K or Circle K?

Well, this sucks... (0)

achurch (201270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557422)

I don't claim to be a physicist, but I do have a passing knowledge of the subject and a huge interest in just what those little buggers do. This is very unfortunate, and I wish the team the best of luck in getting things back in working order.

Re:Well, this sucks... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557464)

Kind sir,

Please take your 'little bugger' racism elsewhere.

Let /. be free.

Devastating.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557425)

When the Super Collider got scaped it set physics back 20 years; now the SuperK, this is not good.

Can anyone stop... (0, Offtopic)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557428)

Godzilla? FLEE! FLEE!

First reaction: Horrible! (0)

jmtpi (17834) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557430)

I don't really have any information, but what crappy news! One of the professors at my lab (Kate Scholberg [mit.edu] ) has done extensive work at Super K, and one of my undergrad friends spent her summer there.

I knew that they were filling the tanks for more data collection. I guess it's good my friend already has the data she needs to write her senior thesis.

:-(

Re:First reaction: Horrible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557526)

Second reaction: begin drinking heavily.

almost slashdoted (-1, Offtopic)

NovaD (532082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557438)

well its almost slashdoted, I just wanted to point that out. Plus I've been playing Civ 3 and damn is it cool. But I still like civ 2 the best, but this is a nice change

Re:almost slashdoted (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557451)

The website is gone now. 7000 tubes broken and now their website kicked in the pants - makes sure that the whole facility is offline.

Supernovae (5, Informative)

the Atomic Rabbit (200041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557439)

...leaving the world far less capable of observing the next supernova neutrino burst, should it arrive before repairs or a replacement could be completed.

While the accident is a tragic blow to some valid and interesting research, no one should lose any sleep over the possibility of being unable to analyze the next big supernova before it can be repaired. After all, supernovae on the scale of SN1987A occur once every few hundred years (the last two occurred in 1054 and 1572.) I suspect repairing Super-K will take significantly faster than that.

Even in the minuscule chance that a big supernova will occur in the meantime, Super-K isn't the only neutrino observatory around. The Sudsbury Neutrino Observatory [queensu.ca] , a similar experiment, is online and producing some very good results.

Re:Supernovae (4, Informative)

the Atomic Rabbit (200041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557456)

Oh, and in case anyone is misled... the neutrino observatories are assuredly NOT there to catch supernovae. They mostly detect neutrinos coming from the Sun, which are produced during the solar fusion process. The data from Super-K and SNO is shedding light on some problems in solar physics and elementary particle physics.

I doubt any grad student is patient enough to work on an experiment that gets one event every five hundred years.

Re:Supernovae (4, Funny)

Paul Komarek (794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557631)

Although the thesis sometimes feels like it takes 500 years...

-Paul Komarek

Re:Supernovae (1)

dierdorf (37660) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557738)

Actually, the neutrino detectors weren't built to study the "Solar Neutrino Problem" either, although that has been a pleasant side effect. (Neutrino mass and oscillation was originally postulated to explain why the sun seemed to emit 1/3 the number of neutrinos that it should. If they oscillate, as hinted by current data, then 2/3 of them changed into forms undetectable by earlier neutrino observatories by the time they traveled from Sun to Earth.)


The REAL thing Super-K, Sudbury, et al. want to catch is a decaying proton. QCD theories say that a proton SHOULD be slightly unstable, with a half-life of something god-awful like 10^40 years. Therefore if you get 10^41 protons in one place and watch closely, you should get a hit per month. Unfortunately for the theories, nobody has seen one yet.

Re:Supernovae (1)

cloudturtle (260857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557458)

Actually, if you look at the frequency between the two dates (more would be usefull) we can expect another supernova around 2090. Seeing as how things like this don't follow a schedule, it is quite possible that a supernova could be missed by the time Super-K is repaired, or a replacement built.

Re:Supernovae (2)

isaac_akira (88220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557540)

What makes you think supernovae follow any kind of cyclic schedule? Only two dates were mentioned.

As an example, say you know I ate a burrito yesterday and I ate a burrito today. That doesn't mean that I eat a burrito every... oh wait. But that's TOTALLY different!

Re:Supernovae (4, Interesting)

the Atomic Rabbit (200041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557546)

Three dates, actually - the last big (naked-eye) supernova was in 1987. That was what made these neutrino observatories famous. IIRC, teams working at two different sites each detected a big burst of neutrinos, almost three hours before the supernova was sighted.

(No, neutrinos can't travel faster than the speed of light, just very close to it. The neutrinos produced by the core of the collapsing star escape easily through the stellar atmosphere since they interact weakly with matter, whereas the light took significantly longer to escape - think of how light travels more slowly in a block of glass. So the neutrinos reached us first.)

It was all tremendously exciting stuff, as you might imagine. Unbelievable serendipity.

Re:Supernovae (4, Informative)

astrophysics (85561) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557516)

While it's true there are multiple observatories, they aren't merely copies or bigger versions of each other. The different observatories are senstive to neutrions of different energies.

SuperK used ordinary (but pure) water. SNO used pure "heavy water", that is water where the hydrogen has a neutron. SNO has recently added salt to their heavy water, since comparing the reaction rates with and without the salt will provide a very interesting ratio for understanding the mass heirarchy of neutrinos. Other detectors have used other media for detecting neutrinos, such as gallium.

Re:Supernovae (1)

wedg (145806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557624)

After all, supernovae on the scale of SN1987A occur once every few hundred years

Yes, but you have to consider the time that it takes for the particles to travel the distance between their source and earth (speed of light... light years, you get it - same past-events sort of astronomy). It's possible that two supernovas occured 500, or even 500,000 years apart, but due to their relative distances from earth, say one being 100,000ly away, and one being 600,000ly away, if the further star's supernova occured 500,000 years earlier, it would arrive at relatively the same time as the 100k star. Given enough stars, and enough supernovas, this becomes as likely a possibility as the supernovas being evenly spaced around 500 years. Statistically speaking, it has the exact same probability as it taking 1000 years for the next one, (without further statistical knowledge).

At any rate, the miniscule chance isn't any more miniscule than the chance that a supernova will occur *at all*. So best to get the S-K up and running, so we have that rare opportunity to peer into a unique quantum event without our lifetime, and possibily unravel further the questions of the Universe.

The answer is obvious (4, Funny)

donglekey (124433) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557447)

They should have used a surge protector, not just a power strip. Too late now!

Re:The answer is obvious (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557471)

They should use my cock instead lover boy.

Re:The answer is obvious (0, Troll)

donglekey (124433) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557474)

You better buy me dinner first.

Maybe the damage was caused by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557448)

... a gigantic neutrino? I mean, you know how they've been going on about whether neutrinos have mass and all that. Well, now they've got their answer, I guess...

(shamelessly borrowed [slashdot.jp] from Slashdot Japan [slashdot.jp] )

Super K (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557454)

I see all sorts of shit when I'm on Super K. Costs me a lot less than $30 million for the hospital visits to repair myself to.

I'm cost-effective science! Suck it you Japs!

Just speculation, but... (5, Informative)

sting3r (519844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557455)

One of my colleagues used to work at Fermi Lab [fnal.gov] and he mentioned once that the light sensors that were damaged are extremely sensitive to saline solutions (such as water that has any appreciable amount of non-neutral-pH molecules). His speculation was that the deionized water that they were using had developed impurities in it, possibly from rusting pipes or failed filters, and those impurities set off the chain reaction in question.

Naturally this is all speculation, but it sounded plausible to me. Does anyone with a stronger chemistry background than mine know if this is a likely cause?

-sting3r

Re:Just speculation, but... (3, Interesting)

dragons_flight (515217) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557494)

I don't know about physically damaging the detectors, but I do know that the machine is extermely sensitive to ionization with regards to it's being able to function properly.

The photocollectors measure Cerenkov radiation given off by high energy electrons and muons travelling through or being created in the tank. The mountain blocks the majority of external particles, so most are created when nuetrinos interact with Hydrogen nuclei. You don't get a lot of Cerenkov light from an event, and ionized impurities dissipate the light, so in order to work effectively, the water needs to be very pure.

I've never heard that detectors can be physically damaged by impure water, but I've never heard that they can't either. At the very least you already need pure water to gather data effectively regardless of any actual damage to equipment that impurities might cause.

Re:Just speculation, but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557520)

You just made that up.

I have a bullshitikov detector in my mukon lab which has recorded high levels of futzou spewing forth from a man in algeria claiming to be an expert.

Is this shyster you?

Re:Just speculation, but... (1)

psychalgia (457201) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557506)

speculation on slashdot?! That'll be the day!

Re:Just speculation, but... (2)

Paul Johnson (33553) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557584)

More likely I think is a chain reaction from the shockwave of implosion. These photomultipliers are basically big vacuum tubes. If one breaks under water then the water is going to accelerate rapidly inwards, then stop suddenly when it meets other water coming the other way. This will generate a pressure pulse which would break nearby tubes, causing a chain reaction to spread across the entire system.


Paul.

Neutrinos (1, Informative)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557457)

...have no charge and no mass... are very fast and pass through the planet so fast most detection has to be done underground... Damn I watch too much public TV...

Re:Neutrinos (5, Informative)

mmontour (2208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557536)

...have no charge and no mass...

No charge - correct. However, as the article mentions, recent experiments indicate that neutrinos have some mass. They also have spin 1/2, like electrons.

are very fast

This is related to mass. If they had zero mass, they would travel at the speed of light (like photons, which have no rest mass). However, if they do have mass, then they have to travel at slightly less than the speed of light.

Supernova observations can be used to estimate neutrino mass, by measuring the time difference between the arrival of visible light from the supernova, and the arrival of a neutrino pulse. Over those vast distances, even a very small difference in speed could lead to a significant difference in arrival times.

and pass through the planet so fast most detection has to be done underground...

This is a bit off. The interesting item is that most neutrinos pass right through the planet without interacting with any atoms. Because they interact so weakly with matter, a detector will only see a very small number of events caused by neutrinos, even though there are bazillions of neutrinos passing through it every second.

However, a detector on the surface of the earth would also see events not from neutrinos, but from other cosmic radiation like muons (actually, muons generated in the upper atmosphere by cosmic radiation). Going deep underground blocks out all particles except neutrinos, enabling the experimenters to get accurate measurements.

Re:Neutrinos (0)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557562)

The underground part I remebered from a show on TV around 10 years ago... no wonder it's a bit off. The problem I have noticed with the psyc's of physics teachers is they try to simplify the data to the students in an attempt to be hip... my high school professor called g 9.8m/s^2 where as my party school ECU professor in phys1000 called g 10m/s^2... this kind of thing bugs me a little. I looked up neutrino last night online and the def was short: a particle that has no mass and who's charge is neutral. Well whatever... what it the truth? of subatomic particle (and yes, if you got the pun, you might be watching public TV as much as me)

Re:Neutrinos (1)

mmontour (2208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557646)

The problem I have noticed with the psyc's of physics teachers is they try to simplify the data to the students in an attempt to be hip... my high school professor called g 9.8m/s^2 where as my party school ECU professor in phys1000 called g 10m/s^2... this kind of thing bugs me a little.

10 m/s^2 is close enough for rough calculations. Often it's more important to illustrate some general principle, rather than to come up with an "exact" number. Even 9.8 is an approximation (the 1986 CODATA recommended value is 9.80665), and 'g' isn't even a constant - it depends where you are on the earth (and on other factors).

I looked up neutrino last night online and the def was short: a particle that has no mass and who's charge is neutral.

Find a better reference. There's some material here [caltech.edu] that looks like it might be decent. I've seen better pages, but I don't have the bookmarks handy.

Re:Neutrinos (0)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557676)

once again, I would have to agree with you on constants... even the speed of light is not a constant in the most liberal of constraints. Light through anything but a vacuum.

Re:Neutrinos (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557661)

> The interesting item is that most neutrinos pass right through the planet without
> interacting with any atoms.
That is only the moderately interesting item. Now the really spectacular item is that these particles come to us in real time straight out of the core of a collapsing star, nary even noticing the star's outer layers ;-)

Pick A Punchline... (5, Funny)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557461)

Allrighty, step right up and pick the punchline that best matches this story:

#1: These photos are fake!! Theyre from the inside of Studio 54!! Look up in the balcony in the 4th image, you can see Liza Minelli smokin a bong!

#2: It should be easy to build another Super K detector. Just look for trailer parks...Super K's tend to spring up in low-income areas where Wal-Mart hasn't already established a commercial presence..

#3: So SuperK is handicapped...Does that make it "Special K" ?

hee hee

Re:Pick A Punchline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557600)

Damn you suck. Your graphics are crappy to.

Re:Pick A Punchline... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557617)

You forgot one....

#4 Super K? Is that like Sushi K

(dodges dead wombat)

Re:Pick A Punchline... (1)

NatePWIII (126267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557650)

Ok, I'm not sure what you see is funny in this, I mean how many people laughed when the Hubble was found to be near sighted, or we lost our last major probe to Mars, come on this stuff cost us and countless other tax payers millions of dollars. I don't see what there is to laugh about...

Re:Pick A Punchline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557718)

The ability to see humour in a tragic situation like this is a gift which should be treasured like a beautiful, but delicate flower.

It should not be trampled underfoot by heavy footed mourners.

Anyway, what is $30m in the context of half the world's population living on less than $2 a day ? I am sure that they discuss neutrino physics daily at their dining table, as a substitute for food.

In short - get a life and get some perspective. This is a broken machine - we work with them every day. Some PhD theses may be fscked up as a consequence - but in the scheme of things it doesn't matter jack s**t. It represents knowledge we can do nothing of real importance with as yet, and there are more pressing issues at hand - like preventing the world from going to hell in a hand basket, for instance.

Re:Pick A Punchline... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557683)

But is SuperK Open Source?

Re:Pick A Punchline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557686)

GPL'd?

Didn't they have somehting like this in Canada? (1)

surajrai (61661) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557462)

I watched on TV (Discovery I think) sometime ago where they were doing something similar with pure water in Canada. Basically they were using an abandoned mine shaft to trap these particles and the bottom was lined with pure water...or something like that..

Re:Didn't they have somehting like this in Canada? (1)

surajrai (61661) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557469)

Here is the link to the site in Canada...

http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca [queensu.ca]

I believe you're mistaken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557487)

There's no such lab in Canada. In fact, the only things in Canada are polar bears, snow, and alcoholics.

Re:I believe you're mistaken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557515)

I heard that they have catsup flavoured chips, as well as steak and onion chips. Can anyone confirm this abhorrent use of potatoes?

Re:I believe you're mistaken (0, Offtopic)

ozbon (99708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557606)

Yes, it's true, they do have these abhorrences to nature.

Mind you, so does the UK.

And they all taste horrendous. (Allegedly)

In other news... (3, Funny)

c_jonescc (528041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557468)

1,800 Japanese Grad students are looking for a new advisor, citing "extended duration of research project" as the reason. Each potential particle-physicist has a co-authorship of several papers, all shared with the other 1,799 students and their advisors. It is expected that many will go into theory soon, as the resulting projects can be finished this decade. One student was overheard saying "first I was put as 234th author on our last paper, and now the experiment is gone. I've had it, I'm going into astronomy, man! Or maybe condensed matter theory, but not this! Not anymore!"

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557527)

Hehe. Would be funny, except for the grain of truth in it.
Something like this (e.g. antenna not unfurling, rocket exploding with a satellite on it, etc.) really does have a big negative impact on several grad student's theses and their careers.

Future Nytimes (5, Funny)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557473)

In other news:

Nov 12, 2050,

Scientists working with Japan's Super-Duper-Kamiokande anounce that they have lost containment on a micro black hole.

Apparently, an undergrad triped over the power cable.

Officials tell us that there is no need to panic. The mini black hole plunged straight to the center of the earth.

Happily, it will feed on the other mini black hole that was created when the first copy of Windows 2047 was burned onto CD and collapsed on its own data mass -- it was thought at the time that the universe was acting to protect both itself and the second law of Thermodynamics from Windows 2047's immense entropic mass.

There is some speculation that the black hole could actually provide enough energy to run Windows 2047, but Physicists are highly dubious.

Taco-Snottage!?!?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557483)

THE OFFICIAL TACO-SNOTTING FAQ [slashdot.org]
By The WIPO Troll [slashdot.org]

What is "Taco-snotting?"

"Taco-snotting" is a term used by one
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda [cmdrtaco.net] owner of the popular technology website Slashdot [slashdot.org] to refer to the practice of sucking off a homosexual man (or unwilling heterosexual; CmdrTaco doesn't care) and blowing the semen back out his nose onto his pertner's (or victim's) face or body. Usually a long, bubbly stream of semen is left on CmdrTaco's face, dribbling out of his nose down his cheek: hence the term, "Taco-snotting."

That's disgusting. Have you ever been Taco-Snotted?

Unfortunately, yes. I first met CmdrTaco at an
Open Source Convention [geocities.com] . He invited me back to his room for a game of Quake, but when I got to there, he jumped me and tied me to his bed, stripping me. He performed his vile Taco-snotting ritual on me three times over the next two hours, sucking me to orgasm then snotting my own jizz back onto my face, in my mouth, then again on my belly.
CmdrTaco invited several of his Open Source (or rather, "Open Sauce" -- man sauce) Convention buddies over to continue the snotfest. Linux Torvalds raped my ass with his "monolithic kernel," and Anal Cox used his "network stack" in a multitude of unspeakable ways on and in every orifice in my body.
How did I finally escape? After about 16 hours of nonstop homosexual atrocities perpetrated against my helpless body, they all finally went to sleep. I was left there, covered in jizz-snot, chained to the bed, with fat, pasty white fags lying around and on top of me. Fortunately the spooge coating my entire body worked wonderfully as a lubricant; I was able to squirm my way out of the handcuffs and slip out the back door. I'm just glad I survived the ordeal. These geeks had a
lot of built-up spunk in their wads -- I could've easily been drowned!

Why am I always receiving emails from CmdrTaco asking me if I would allow him to Taco-snot me?

I'm guessing you've received an email similar to the following:
From: malda@slashdot.org [mailto]
To: wipotroll@hotmail.com
Subject: Hey, baby - jion me in a taco-snott! :)

Hey, baby!

Ever done a taco-snotting with anothar fellow geek? Its more fun then trolling Slashdot, trust me! all that talk you troll with about homasexual incest and stuff got me all horny and hot for you! Is it serius? Please tell me that itt is! If you want to get with me and my Slashdot bois, drop me an emale!

ps- Please replie to me at horny_rob_6969@hotmail.com. I'd rather the guys at VA Linux are not seen this. :) :)

--
CmdrTaco (malda@slashdot.org)
You most likely forgot to uncheck the "Willing to Taco-snot" checkbox in your preferences. Whenever CmdrTaco gets bored (and who wouldn't, running a site like Slashdot all day), he roams through the Slashdot database, penis in hand, looking for people who might enjoy being Taco-snotted. And this time, he found you. Lucky you.
CmdrTaco has probably already got the hots for your wad; there's no escaping a geek in heat, so it's probably too late... but you can possibly rectify this situation. To remove yourself from CmdrTaco's sites, log into your Slashdot account, go to your user page, click on
Messages, and uncheck the box next to "Willing to Taco-snot."

I can't stop receiving these emails from CmdrTaco!?

Probably not. If you indulge him in a Taco-snot or two, he
might leave you alone. You might also want to look into mail filtering, restraining orders, or purchasing a heavy, blunt object capable of warding off rampaging homosexual geeks in heat. Trust me, when they charge... oh, the humanity. If he gets you, and you let him Taco-snot you, he might end up tying you up in his basement and using you as his sex slave for the rest of your life (or until he accidentally drowns you in spunk while using you as his sex pony in a "circle-snot"). It very nearly happened to me.

What is a "Circle-snot"?

A "circle-snot" is a
Taco-snotting circle-jerk: when CmdrTaco, CowboiKneel, and Homos get together and Taco-snot each other repeatedly with their gooey, hot, sticky cum, spooging all over each other's faces and pasty-white bodies until they're covered head to toe with man juice. Roblowme usually provides the extra lubricant; he owns a limo service and has ample supplies of motor oil and axle grease.
To complete the perverted orgy, Michael, Timothy, and Jamie sometimes join in, dressed in black Gestapo uniforms, jack boots, and leather gloves. The whole group then proceeds to snot each other's spunk and whip each other's asses with riding crops and cattleprods until their pasty-white geek bodies are exhausted from all the passionate, homosexual revelry.

Ew. Does Jon Katz get involved in this? I thought he was a paedophile, not a homosexual.

Actually, Jon Katz a homosexual paedophile. He's also a coprophiliac, and, many suspect, a zoophile. Jon Katz is somewhat of a loner and doesn't involve himself in circle-snots. Mr. Katz usually engages in a game called "Katz juicy-douching" with his harem of little-boy slaves: a vile practice which involves administering an enema to himself of little-boy urine (forced out of them with a pair of pliers), spooging the vile muck from his ass back into the enema bag, then slathering the goo all over himself, and the little boy's chained-up and naked bodies. Unwilling boys are further tortured with the pliers until they comply and allow Mr. Katz to juicy-douche them for the rest of their lives.
As I already said, Mr. Katz is also a zoophile. As if the sexual escapades with the helpless little boys aren't enough, Jon usually enjoys his juicy-douches best when his penis is firmly planted in a goat's anus. He is also rumoured to get off on watching his little boys eat the goat's small, bean-like turds.

...Are you getting hard writing this?

Why, yes. :) Join me in a WIPO-snot? I promise I won't try and rape you or kidnap you and make you my sex slave or anything. I'm not like CmdrTaco or Mr. Katz; I only enjoy snotting on willing partners.

What's that screaming I hear coming from your basement?

Oh, that's just my little sister; I got her chained up down there. In fact, I just finished snotting all over her body. You should see her squirm when I spooge on her belly, lick it up, and snot it all over her face! She's such a feisty little 14 year-old bitch. Of
course she's my sex slave, she's my sister. What else would she be good for? So, join me in a WIPO-snot?

No, thanks. I'm already CmdrTaco's boi toi.

________________________________________

$Id: tacosnotting.html,v 1.5 2001/11/12 22:13:22 wipo Exp $

Re:Taco-Snottage!?!?!? (-1, Offtopic)

vikool (523319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557495)

what is this bull shit,i feel offened that some people feel so so senseless to post stuff like these esp when such a tragic incident has occured

Slashdot checked a story?? (4, Funny)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557486)

The apocalypse is near, and chrisd is it's harbinger. Calling the place the story is about is a dead giveaway. A real slashdot editor would never do that.

Re:Slashdot checked a story?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557493)

he also religiously puts periods at the end of every story title. i'm not clear on why this occurs.

Re:Slashdot checked a story?? (1)

wholesomegrits (155981) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557509)

The use of periods at the end of titles depends on which style of headline writing one subscribes too. Often in advertising copywriting, you will notice periods at the end of headlines and important statements.

In newspaper headline writing, at least in the US, it is common to omit the period.

Traditional styled newspapers, such as the International Hearld Tribune, and the Washington Post, capitalize each word in the headline and put a period at the end of the headline.

Generally, when the initial article of each word is capitalized, there is a period at the end of the sentence.

Look at these photos of the print editions of the IHT and the Washington Post. They follow the more traditional method for the lead story, but omit the period for all others:
http://www.iht.com/pdf/ihtfrontpage.pdf
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/print/image /

Re:Slashdot checked a story?? (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557586)

very insightful even if it is offtopic..

Re:Slashdot checked a story?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557674)

christ, man, i didn't mean that to be a serious post. good work, though.

HOT GRITS

Re:Slashdot checked a story?? (3, Funny)

dragons_flight (515217) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557553)

Calling the place the story is about is a dead giveaway.

Not only is it entirely atypical behavior for slashdot, one has to wonder why it is that chrisd didn't trust the New York Times? Did he think SuperK would give him more details than were already in the story?

Re:Slashdot checked a story?? (1)

Strepsil (75641) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557611)

Yeah, and recently another editor criticised a submission's spelling [slashdot.org] . Incorrectly, of course - but still, it's the thought that counts.

This place is going to hell. I don't think I'll read it any more if they're going to check facts and spell correctly. The amount of discussion will plummet.

Reports of its demise have been.... (3, Informative)

wholesomegrits (155981) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557499)

Premature at best.

It's a real shame, the loss the Japan lab, but I can't help but think that the lab being built in Western South Dakota will be even more important. I cannot find a decent date on completion, but this page [csmonitor.com] explains a newer, better neutrino detection lab being constructed right now.

The location even better (8,000 feet deep, insulated from nearly every form of interference) and the site has fanstastic support from the state [aberdeennews.com] and federal government [washington.edu] . The Japan lab isn't the only one in existance -- there are others in Ontario and the South Dakota lab has had facilities in operation since 1967.

The articles, both the Slashdot commentary and the NYTimes article, predict a savage demise. But other labs, especially the South Dakota lab, offer a huge potential to pickup the slack.

Bin Laden lauds neutrino detector blast (5, Funny)

serutan (259622) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557500)

Bakhrubabad, Afghanistan - Speaking from his hidden mountain stronghold, Osama bin Laden praised the destruction of the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector Tuesday. The terrorist leader said neutrinos are "...an abomination on the face of God," and termed the search for neutrinos "...idolatry, which will be smashed beneath the fist of righteousness." Bin Laden, who once called neutrinos "little messengers of Allah" abruptly reversed his stand upon learning that a steady stream of neutrinos was constantly penetrating every cell in his body. He now vows "not to rest until the last neutrino has been obliterated from the face of the earth."

Ashcroft: Supernova could explode this week (5, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557533)

The FBI is warning again that a supernova may explode and send a massive number of energetic neutrinos toward U.S. interests worldwide, possibly this week, and that the world's neutrino telescopes should be on the highest alert.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said the warning -- the second this month -- was based on credible information, described by others as coming from sources outside the solar system. The information did not specify the type of supernova or whether the progenitor star would have a binary companion, Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft tried to walk a fine line between giving the public prompt and necessary warnings and not causing panic.

The alert "gives people a basis for continuing to live their lives the way they would otherwise live them, with this elevated sense of alertness or vigilance that comes from knowing that the planet could be vaporized any second," Ashcroft told a news conference.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said the previous supernova warning may have helped avert an explosion. Ashcroft said the absence of a supernova should not lull people "into a false sense of indifference."

"It's important for the American people to understand that these (alerts) are to be taken seriously," said Ashcroft, who canceled plans to travel Monday to Toronto to address a conference of near-earth asteroid experts.

Officials said the warning was based in part on intelligence that terrorists may set off a supernova within 1000 light years of the earth, in the aftermath of the Afghan bombings by U.S. and British forces.

"There certainly is intelligence that causes you to be concerned, and possibly that al-Qaida may be behind it," said one senior U.S. official, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

Ashcroft said that all neutrino observatories were advised to go on the highest alert. Federal agencies, meanwhile, were increasing security and authorities were boosting their efforts to keep suspected neutrinos from entering U.S. airspace- either by coming down from above or by emerging from the ground after a trip through the center of the earth.

Re:Ashcroft: Supernova could explode this week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557555)

Hmm. The original post was quite funny. Your is rather lame.

Next Supernova (1)

vikool (523319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557501)

does any one know hen the next supernova is estimated. Hopefully not for a year..until the superk is restored. Technology has been put back by a year

Re:Next Supernova (5, Insightful)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557651)

Why isn't there a moderation category "-1, unbelievebly stupid"?


Tom.

Gordon? (1)

ctar (211926) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557505)

Whoah, this thing's cool...Straight outta Half Life...

Intergalactic, planetary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557507)

Check out the photo album; clearly their costume designer has been influenced by the Beastie Boys video few years back. :)

Nobel prize?!? (1)

ronys (166557) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557535)

"Thank goodness we got our Nobel already cooking," he said.

Am I the only one who finds this distasteful? I that what's really important here???

Re:Nobel prize?!? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557730)

I sort of agree with you that "Thank goodness we got our Nobel already cooking" is a bit dodgy, but it is a consequence of the fact that some really good, important work was done with it before the damage occurred. If this happened before we got any data out it would be even worse.

Re:Nobel prize?!? (1)

ronys (166557) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557744)

Violent agreement here. What's important is the work - stating this fact in terms of the Nobel prize does Science an injustice.

Insurance (2, Interesting)

trenton (53581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557614)

My $10k motorcycle has full insurance because it's borrowed against; my crap 87 Chevy has comprehensive and liabilty because it's a good idea; my apartment has renters.

If this thing costs $30 million to fix, don'tcha think someone should have it insured against everything? Poor planning.

*trenton

Re:Insurance (2)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557684)

Who exactly is going to sell insurance on a neutrino detector? As a general rule, insurance companies want to have some understanding of the likely risk involved in whatever they are insuring; neutrino detectors (and interplanetary probes) don't satisfy this criterion, so any insurance policy you could get would come at a very high cost.

Re:Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557698)

Generally, a big enough insurance company, or odd enough one (Lloyd's of London claims they'll at least make an offer of a policy for anything), will take a look at something like this, talk to people, come up with their best guess at the risk, figure a cost, and offer something. Insurance companies insure hard-to-guess about stuff all the time, like that model's legs. It might be a high cost, but...the expected cost over all experiments is zero, right? (Insurance companies don't make money off the premium, they make it off investing the money they take as payment for the policy before they have to pay out, what they call "float" Good normal-person info about this at this site [berkshirehathaway.com] ).

Re:Insurance (1)

yooHoo202 (157142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557740)

Hey, if they'll insure an '87 Chevy, then why not a Neutrino detector? My bet would have been on the Chevy to kick off first.

Did you hear the one about the guy who bought fire insurance for his cigar, and then smoked it? It's true.

Re:Insurance (2)

Caid Raspa (304283) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557732)

In some countries (including the one I'm living in), the parliament has passed laws that forbid any insurance on state property. I'm not sure if Japan is one of those, but this might be the reason.

Probably related to this... (1)

Sheridan (11610) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557640)

...story in yesterday's /. (can't find the link right now, but I save the text...)

World's biggest webserver!

From the any-port-in-a-storm-dept

Scientists at SuperKamiokande have ported Linux to run on the array of photomultiplier tubes in their huge underground neutrino detector.

What's more, they have even got Apache running! Check out their site being served direct from the detector here [linuxtest.kek.jp]

CT: I wonder if it'll stand up to the slashdotting it's about to get!

another detector (3, Interesting)

firebat162 (463459) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557689)

the school i'm at (UBC) is co-sponsoring a neutrino detector in sudbury: http://www.physics.ubc.ca/~kutter/

this may sound really strange... (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557724)

But wouldn't they have insurance for something like this?

Overclocking Woes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2557729)

I told them not to overclock the AthlonXP 1900 in that baby, no matter what toms hardware says!

Just curious (2)

SweenyTod (47651) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557786)

Pardon my lack of scientific knowledge and enthusiam, but what exactly will finding one of these suckers do or, besides cost a ton of cash?

How will knowing they're out there and finding one will benefit people, besides in the science for science's sake sort of reasoning (not that I'm automatically opposed to that).

Whoa, dude... (5, Funny)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2557793)

Bill: "I'm Bill S. Preston, Esquire."
Ted: "And I'm Ted "Theodore" Logan."
Bill, Ted: "And together, we're WYLD PHYSICISTS!"
Bill: "Ok, the maintenance dudes are done. I'm gonna refill the water tank."

<cacophony of pops as the light detectors implode>

Ted: "Strange things are afoot at the Super-K."
Rufus: [reassuringly to the camera]: "They do get better."

~Philly
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