Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Neutrino Oscillations Confirmed

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the do-the-wiggle-waggle dept.

Science 122

mfg writes "The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory has found evidence that neutrinos can change type between the Sun and Earth. See the BBC news story for more details."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hi! $lashdot sux0rz cox0rz! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3393551)

  • 2002. $lashdot publishes 1,000,000th rumor passed off as actual story. The story generates 480 comments, 263 of which agree with the article, and 107 of which point out it's a rumor and are modded down as redundant. The remaining comments are all "first posts."
  • 2002. CmdrTaco married.
  • 2002. $lashdot parent corporation VA Research^W Linux^W Software stock worth 35 cents. Rumors that AOL, Microsoft, or even Jimmy the hobo who lives under the Longfellow Bridge may buy it.
  • 2003. VA Software bought by Microsoft for a cup of coffee and a donut. All Microsoft-critical articles mysteriously disappear from $lashdot. Bill Gates as Borg logo replaced with Bill Gates as God.
  • 2004. CmdrTaco loses virginity.
  • 2004. The WIPO Troll returns again, showering $lashdot in 45,000 copies of the same post: "Lick my crotch hairs." $lashdot, despite running on 18 redundant IIS/8.0 servers, buckles under the load. The term "$lashdotted" is replaced with "WIPO-Trolled."
  • 2004. $lashdot officially shut down. Millions of screaming, unwashed geeks invade Redmond campus and lynch Bill Gates.
  • 2005. Linus Torvalds and Anal Cox found dead along with six penguins, a tub of crisco and several used condoms.
  • 2005. CmdrTaco rumored to have had sex again.
  • 2006. CowboiKneel found dead in hotel room with 56 pizza boxes covering his bloated corpse. Three suffocated gay prostitutes are extracted from beneath his body as police remove it with a backhoe.
  • 2007. CmdrTaco actually has sex again.
  • 2007. BSD is still officially "dying." No word on when its demise will take place.
  • 2007. CmdrTaco starts new weblog to replace $lashdot, creatively named Dotslash. Remainder of Linux users flock to the site and immediate WIPO-Troll it out of existence.
  • 2008. CmdrTaco has sex with his wife for the first time.

Basically (-1)

rollin_rollin_trolli (574303) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393556)

THis is a warning. The word "basically" is in danger of being included along with the other yank-filler-brain-off-words, such as "kinda", "like", "you know". For many yanks, everything is "basic" ...

Well, basically, it's like this. It's kinda like you know ...

Listen out for it - it's even more ittitating than people who say "already" for no apparent reason.

I should have paid more attention (-1, Flamebait)

seinman (463076) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393560)

This article might actually mean something to me... if i understood what the fuck they were talking about. All those naps I took during physics are starting to come back to haunt me.

Re:I should have paid more attention (0, Troll)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393573)

hey dont worry, even the scientists dont know what arethey talking about.

Re:I should have paid more attention (0, Offtopic)

seinman (463076) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394983)

Sounds like my physics teacher, Mr. Wilson. not only was he a bad teacher, but he hit me with a yard stick, like six times!!! This is why I hate school, my friends.

Mr. wilson, if you're reading this... EVERYBODY HATES YOU!!!

Re:I should have paid more attention (0)

ObitMan (550793) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393699)

Here is a poll [moa.ubc.ca] supporting the data.

Re:I should have paid more attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3395326)

You missed the part where the Professor clearly states that on the car ride back from the sun, the neutrinos fall asleep and wake up as oldtrinos.

Re:I should have paid more attention (1)

hUxlee (574474) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395364)

Simple... neutrinos become oldtrinos and... ZzZzZZzZzZZzZzZZzZzZZzZzZZzZzZZzZzZZzZzZZzZzZ

Slashdot Editor Oscillations Confirmed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3393561)

It's their mating display.

Antitrust (0, Funny)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393562)

I think we should drag the neutrino to courts. After all they changed type without telling us. This caused so much difficulty to scientists. These guys are hiding their source code!! So they should'nt be treated different from Bill, cya in court guys

LSD: A Case for Legalization. (-1)

GafTheHorseInTears (565684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393564)

The status in many western nations of the hallucinogenic drug LSD as illegal and criminalized is unnecessary and inappropriate. The illegal stigma is improper because of the following sound reasons. First, its criminalization infringes on the persona l freedom of a mature adult to do as he chooses with his body and mind. Second, LSD is a very safe drug in many respects. Third, there are firm reasons to believe that the use of LSD is actually beneficial in a number of ways. This paper will attempt t o briefly outline these major arguments for the legalization of LSD while noting that the issue is quite complex and deserves a more thorough treatment from all angles.

Background

Lysergic acid diethylamide-25, or LSD, is a mind-altering chemical first synthetically produced by Dr. Albert Hofmann in 1938 in Switzerland (Guide 54). It is considered a "Class A" drug in the United Kingdom (Porter and Teich 155), which puts it in t he same category as drugs such as cocaine, crack, methamphetamines, and heroin. Similar categorization and legal attitudes towards LSD exist in the United States. Its effects are strongly psychedelic (Guide 54), a word whose etymology comes from the Gr eek "dios," meaning heavenly (Mirriam). It causes disturbances of visual, auditory, and tactile senses such as hallucinations and depersonalization (Sandoz 1). LSD has been illegal in the United Kingdom and in most western nations from around 1971 (Port er and Teich 155).

The Issue of Personal Freedom

Being allowed to care for oneself as one sees fit is usually considered essential to personal freedom. Despotic governments should not unnecessarily control an individual's life; in a free society, the individual is trusted to make decision s for himself as long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others. The questions we can therefore ask about LSD are:

Is LSD harmful to others?

The point of "individual freedom...[is] an important consideration usually overlooked in drug policy debates (Bandow 63). A valid claim to make would be that if an individual's actions are harmful to others, the government is justified in prohibiting them. If we examine LSD, though, it seems clear that it is strictly a topic of individual concern. Cases of LSD users directly harming others while under the influence of drugs are relatively few in the literature. LSD is also nearly immune to the prob lems of social destruction that are attributed to drugs like heroin and crack. The reason for this is twofold: LSD is extremely inexpensive; it generally sells for around $3-$8 US (Porter and Teich 122, Clutterbuck 93). It is also non-addictive, a topic that we will explore in more detail later. The two necessary components of social destruction are thus not present in LSD. These two factors also prevent it from being an economic trouble for the user; there are no documented cases of people stealing t o finance an LSD habit. It can be said with a high degree of certainty that use of LSD does not pose a significant threat to others.

Is LSD harmful to oneself?

If we assume that the government has the right to legislate doing harm to oneself, which is a controversial assumption, it still seems clear that LSD is no more harmful, and indeed often much safer than, many substances which are now legal. Physical s ide effects can include "salivation, lachrymation [mournfulness or sadness], vomiting, hypotension, and brachycardia [elevated heart rate] (Lewis 385). Such mild reactions hardly seem cause for illegality. Nor is it directly physically dangerous. "Leth al (toxic) doses of LSD are, conservatively, several tens of thousands of times as much as a normal dose, making it (in the toxic sense) one of the safest drugs known" (Honig 10). A study by Sidney Cohen found an average of, per hundred, 0.18 psychotic e pisodes, 0.12 attempted suicides, and 0.04 completed suicides (130). Cohen concluded, "Considering the enormous scope of the psychic responses it induces, LSD is an astonishingly safe drug" (130). Other myths about LSD, including one which claimed tha t LSD causes chromosome damage, have been disproved (Honig 10, Dishotsky et al 440). The relatively weak links between LSD and physical harm to the user undercut any governmental legislation that claims to protect an individual from doing physical harm t o himself.

Further considerations

The final point related to the issue of individual freedom is that of education. In order for someone to be able to make a rational decision whether he wants to use LSD or not, objective information must be available. A society that would control the use of LSD would be more likely to control the information about LSD. Making or keeping LSD illegal promotes misinformation, urban legends, and underground myths. This can be evidenced in the widely propagated rumor that LSD was being laced with strych nine (rat poison) on a large scale (Honig 5-7). In a freer society it would be easier for the individual to become properly educated on the topic.

The Issue of Safety and Danger

LSD does not function in same manner as many physical drugs. Rather, it is a hallucinogen and causes psychological and emotional phenomena (Sandoz 1). It is "one of the most potent mind-altering chemicals known" (Guide 54). Such a powerful drug "isn 't for morons," as Honig put it glibly (2). It is generally agreed that a user needs to be able to handle the intense phenomena that use of the drug will cause or risk adverse reactions. The principle negative reaction is known as a "Bad Trip" (Strassma n 577). However, in extreme cases, the unfortunate effects can sometimes last beyond the temporary panic of the bad trip. Those who tend to go into "LSD psychosis" (Honig 8) are most often those with "a history of psychiatric illness and/or treatment [p rior to taking LSD...and have] a histroy of polydrug abuse (Strassman 577). Honig concludes that the studies on LSD psychosis "point toward, at most, a possible precipitory role in the development of these disorders, in a non-specific and not etiological ly related manner" (9). It seems that those who do have extreme adverse reactions to LSD were predisposed to such reactions and therefore should take even greater care and educate themselves as much as possible before using LSD.

We can conclude that LSD poses "purely psychological hazards; [it is] not harmful to the body" (Honig 10). This brings up the dichotomous phenomenon of substance dependency, or addiction. The potential for addiction can be described as being either physical or psychological. LSD has "zero physical addiction potential. Not something that makes you want to do it again immediately" (Honig 4). Likewise, it has "essentially zero psychological addiction potential" (Honig 4). There are no cases in the literature where an LSD dependency is cited. Honig admits though that it is possible that LSD can become involved in the "polydrug abuse" patterns of a mentally ill person, though "the fundamental problem is a personal difficulty" (Honig 5). That is, us e of LSD in conjunction with other drugs may be a symptom of deeper problems that need to be addressed.

The Potential Benefits of LSD

LSD, when used in conjunction with proper set and setting, can bring significant emotional benefit to the user. It has also been logically postulated to be medicinally salutary. LSD can generate more than the simple hedonistic experience that it is us ually associated with.

Emotional Benefit

A simple argument can be made that LSD is a proper end-in-itself. The fact that people use and enjoy using LSD justifies its existence; it is beneficial because it makes people feel good. However, this grossly oversimplified notion contains fundament al flaws.

A prominent recent study published by Oscar Janiger, M.D., and Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Ph D., showed that LSD can enhance creativity and appreciation of fine arts and beauty (1-7). This can be explained by the argument that LSD causes you to notice sm all details you may previously have missed or find images aesthetically pleasing that others would tend to miss (Honig 87). Indeed, many users of LSD agree that its use had a "lasting and positive effect on their lives" (Honig 69).

Medical Benefit

Dr. Albert Hofmann, who originally synthesized LSD, envisioned it as being used to treat mentally ill patients (Sandoz 1). During the 1950s and 1960s numerous experiments were conducted with schizophrenics and other psychological patients, with mixed results (Honig 29,69). This can most likely be explained by the wide range of patients with many latent and pre-existing psychoses. Dutch psychiatrist Dr. Hans Bastiaans's "use of LSD for decades in the treatment of concentration camp survivors is an in spiring example of the beneficial use of psychedelics in the treatment of people with severe trauma" (Honig 56). However, study of the potential medical benefits of LSD has been put on hold, as use of LSD in human test subjects was discontinued in the 19 70s (Honig 56) due to the illegalization.

Another vision that Dr. Hofmann had was that LSD could be used by psychiatrists "to gain an insight in the world of ideas and sensations of mental patients" (Sandoz 1). By taking LSD, the psychiatrist would better relate to his patient. Little docu mentation is available in the literature that examines this interesting theory.

Conclusion

The categorization of LSD as an illegal drug in most western nations is questionable. There are many arguments that show that the use of LSD does not deserve to be criminal. Responsible and mature adults should be able to determine what to do to thei r bodies and minds; if a person wants to indulge in a practice that does no harm to others, he should be allowed to. LSD is such a practice. It is also clear that LSD in and of itself poses very little physical risk to the user. However, the psychologi cal potency of such a strong hallucinogen cannot be understated. Given its potential for adverse psychological reactions, it makes sense to increase education and awareness of these facts. It should be the burden of the individual to decide if he is cap able, based on his knowledge of the effects of the drug and of his mental state. Information that would facilitate this decision-making would be inherently more accurate and available in a legitimate market, as opposed to a clandestine underground. Ther e is also evidence that LSD is beneficial to the user in the realm of creativity and appreciation. Treatment of mental patients may stand to benefit as well; only continued testing will allow us to discover and reap whatever benefits there may be. The l egalization of LSD would further the causes of freedom, knowledge, and pleasure, and be a sound legal policy.

MOD UP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3393747)

Mod up parent post, the people have the right to know.

Why are the neutrinos interesting? (0, Interesting)

dejectuk (534810) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393566)

Not being a physicist / whatever, can someone explain why finding these particles is so interesting and/or important? I can understand that the particles changing on way to earth is a theory proved, but what use is a theory if it has no application? I can't see an application in that story...

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (2, Interesting)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393587)

Did you travel to andromeda galaxy? No you didnt inspite of black holes, still we study them. Look at it this way, how will people get nobel prize if they dont do all this. Dont be so insensitive

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (3, Insightful)

AngryAndDrunk (574308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393614)

It's not about prizes and awards, it's about furthering our understanding of the universe.

One of the most commonly repeated "geek tenets" is that coding scratches an itch. People write code because they enjoy it, it's a challenge, and hey, even if no one else ever finds the resulting code useful, it was fun, right?

Same thing here. People want to know stuff, they want to understand how the universe works. That's why people study things like this. Knowing how the sun is powered, and the details of the nuclear reactions that take place, may never lead to any practical application, but that doesn't matter. Humanity is enriched merely by possesing the knowledge. It's a bit like solving puzzles - you gain nothing by doing so but the satisfaction of doing it.

Besides, who knows what applications this sort of research could lead to? The laser was sat around in reasearch labs for years before anyone thought of anything to do with it. Now it's a central part of the entertainment and computing industries.

Still, I guess I'm biased - my degree is in Physics, and I've always been fascinated by astronomy.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (3, Insightful)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393892)

There is also direct application. Stars are one of the big testbeds for modern physics, because they are extreme cases of long-term high temperature high pressure activity. If our physics applies to stars, we can have confidence in them in general.

For example, right now there's this Dark Matter bit... we can use modern physics to explain everything except, oh, 99% of the universe. So clearly better understanding of the universe (on astronomical and sub-atomic) scales is needed.

Last time there was a major understanding of the sun, it was probably 'hey, stars are powered by hydrogen fusion'. Which helped nuclear research.

So think of sun/star research as 'really big remote lab work' and it makes sense. It's not just abstract, it's "applied, big scale".

Pure research always pays, you just can't tell in advance how, when, and to whom :)

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

gewalker (57809) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394242)

There is an important difference though. Scientists ask for billions of dollars from the public sector in order to satisfy their itch for knowledge.

Have past scientific advances resulted in practical societal benefits, only a Luddite would say no.

Will current science yield similar benefits? Regardless of past history, this is a matter of faith. Granted that past discoveries such as lasers, semi-conductors, etc. have not been instant winners, requiring many years for a practical application.

There is a difference in that the energy levels are so far from normal human experience (being very deadly to us, they will remain so) it is reasonable to doubt that there will be an eventual payoff, or at least one that could be useful in a reasonable time frame.

It is reasonable to consider using the money spent to fund this type of research for something more practical in our lifetimes. And yes, I may be biased -- I studied engineering, not physics.

I don't dispute the premise that science and knowledge have intrinsic value. Just a recognition this is not sufficient to justify an infinite stack of research bucks. Have faith in science, just don't expect everyone else to always be ready to fund your faith.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3395396)

Yeah, like lasers: it costs millions of dollars for each installation, and almost as much just to fire them once, and...oh, sorry, I was in my 1960's fugue.

[Emily Lattella] Nevermind. [/Emily Lattella]

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3393609)

Perhaps you could read the article? It's quite simply put in it.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (5, Interesting)

levell (538346) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393611)

At the Cavendish Lab, where they discovered the electron, there used to be a toast: "To the electron, may it never be of use to anybody!". The applications (electronics in the case of the electron) only come later, once the theory is well understood.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3394372)

So one neutrinos are understood, we'll have neutrinics?

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3395348)

Didn't you read that previous comment? Nutrinos can't be used to make toast!

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (4, Interesting)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393619)

They are interesting because they provide proof (or disproof) of basic quantum theory. Neutrinos are produced by the sun during the fusion of Hydrogen. The amount predicted by the equations is three times what is observed. Therefore either something happens to the neutrinos on the way, or the theory is wrong.

It's called science. You make a hypothesis, and you try and prove it by experimentation. Simple really.

With the sort of attitude shown here, Einstein would never have bothered looking at discrepancies in Newton's laws of motion and gravitation, and there would be no theories of relativity. Heisenberg/Bohr/Planck (and all the others) would never have looked at discrepancies in black body radiation etc and quantum theory would never have been thought of. And then I wouldn't be writing this, because semiconductors would never have been discovered.

Just because there's no immediate application in a particular field doesn't make it important. Stop thinking of that great big $ sign.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

Unipuma (532655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393665)

It's called science. You make a hypothesis, and you try and prove it by experimentation. Simple really.


[Nitpicking mode]
Actually, you can never prove a hypothesis or theory, you can only prove it wrong, and thus work towards a better theory.
[/Nitpicking mode]

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393785)

Once a hypothesis has some experimental grounding, it becomes a theory. Once that theory has been proven it becomes a law.

Newton's laws of motion are laws because they are true, at least at normal scales and velocities. Once you get to the microscopic scale, or within 0.1c (10% speed of light) they become inaccurate. This is when quantum physics (which is still theory) and relativity (again, still theory) take over.

Both quantum physics and relativity have enough descrepancies to not be widely regarded as laws. Nothwithstanding the fact that they are mutually exclusive (they do not work together).

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

Grivooga (555370) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393981)

Newton's Laws are only called laws because most people find it reassuring to do so. In the scientific sense there really are no scientific laws, only theories which have yet to be disproven and are accepted as being an accurate portrayal of the universe around us. Though Newton's "Laws" are generally accurate in nearly every observation that most people make daily, that does not changed the fact that as normally stated the "laws" are flawed and are therefore not true scientific laws. Of course nearly everyone will continue to call them laws because they are true in the vast majority of cases and calling them Newton's pretty good theories of motion is a major pain.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (0)

Uncommon Troll (551103) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395592)

Something becomes a law when some body with athoritative powers says it is. Of course weather this body has this power depends on if you believe they do.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (5, Informative)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394011)

Once a hypothesis has some experimental grounding, it becomes a theory. Once that theory has been proven it becomes a law.

No. This is probably the single most common misconception about physical science; but a misconception it is.

A physical "law" is not a "theory that has been proven". The word "law", in physical science, is used to describe relations between independently observable properties of systems that have been detected through experimentation or observation. Thus we have Newton's Law of Gravitation, which relates an external observable property of an object (the force upon it) to intrinsic but observable properties of that object (its mass, the masses of other objects, and the distances between them); this is a physical law even though, strictly speaking, it isn't true (as we now know that it provides only an approximation, which holds reasonably well over certain domains of length and mass scale).

The fact is that theories are never proven to be true in science. A theory can be falsified, but can never be proven true. This is because no matter how much evidence you have collected in favor of a theory, it is always imaginable that tomorrow, someone will observe some phenomenon that contradicts it. We have tons and tons of evidence supporting conservation of momemtum in systems isolated from external forces; but no matter how much evidence we have, it is logically impossible for me to guarantee that tomorrow someone won't do a robust experiment that shows violation of conservation of momentum. I'll bet all the money in the world that won't happen, I'm confident it won't happen; but I cannot logically assert with 100% confidence that it cannot happen. You can never say with logical certainty what will happen in an experiment until you do the experiment; and because of this, scientific theories are not proven true. Instead of being "proven to be true," scientific theories are "supported by the weight of accumulated evidence"; it is the degree to which that accumulates evidence is convincing that determines the statue of the theory it supports.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394125)

Laws are statements that are held to be true and inviolable, within certain constraints, such as the velocity/scale ones I mentioned earlier.

The laws of thermodynamics are taken to be laws because so many experiments have been done that support it, that it's 99.999999999% certain. Saying that you cannot "logically assert with 100% confidence that it cannot happen" may indeed be logical but it adds nothing to a debate about whether a law holds true or not. It would be scientific to say "I assert this cannot happen because...". This is how science moves forward, not by arguing about logic.

Saying that, I do of course agree that it's always worth looking for faults in "laws", because you never know what you might find. You just need a good reason to do so...

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394467)

Laws are statements that are held to be true and inviolable, within certain constraints, such as the velocity/scale ones I mentioned earlier.

It's correct that for a relationship to be asserted as a "law," those doing so have a high degree of personal confidence that it provides an accurate description of the relation between the observables contained within. In that sense, they are "held to be true," just as I hold that conservation of momentum is "true." I very very strongly think it's right. But that's not the same thing as "proven." I can believe that a physical law is inviolable; but I cannot possibly show that it's inviolable, since to do so would require testing that law in the infinity of possible circumstances. So "held to be true/inviolable" is a social statement about we scientists, rather than a statement of scientific fact.

Saying that you cannot "logically assert with 100% confidence that it cannot happen" may indeed be logical but it adds nothing to a debate about whether a law holds true or not. It would be scientific to say "I assert this cannot happen because...". This is how science moves forward, not by arguing about logic.

I disagree strongly. In regard to your last point, I'll simply say that in my job (as an astrophysicist), I've worked with hundreds of other researchers, all of whom have done a decent job of moving the field forward through the process of putting forward theories and either falsifying them or accumulating evidence in their favor, while understanding that the theories in question are never proven to be true.

You originally asserted that when a theory is proven, it becomes a law. The reply that "in fact, a law is not a theory which has been proven to be true, especially since theories are never proven to be true in science" is not just some silly philosophical statement or dispute about a fine point of logic, but has crucial importance. I mentioned that it's a quite common misconception; that misconception has tangible negative ramifications.

As an example of the importance of the common misconception of which we speak. . .in the U.S., we frequently hear people who are uneducated about the fact that scientific theories are never proven true refer to the theory of evolution with "it's just a theory! It hasn't been proven to be true!" Strictly speaking, this is correct -- the theory of evolution has not been proven to be true. But this is a scientifically uninteresting point to make, because it never will be proven to be true, because no scientific theories are ever proven to be true. Similarly, gravity is `just a theory'; the theory of gravity has not been proven to be true, either. We put stock in our scientific theories not because they are ever proven true, but simply because we have accumulated a compelling degree of evidence in their favor.

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395472)

I'd certainly say that what I take to be "true" is not necessarily what the layman takes to be "true". It's simply not possible to work as a scientist if one considers current laws to be flawed. What are currently held as being laws are exactly the ones that we know work close to 100% - the laws of thermodynamics and Newtonian motion. I would never say that current theories of gravitation are "laws" (as I said in an earlier posting), because they don't work close enough to 100% for the scientific community to accept them as laws.

But again, I totally agree with half of what you say, regarding the certain people's attitude toward scientific theories. It drives me up the wall when I hear things like "But no-one's ever seen a monkey evolve into a human, therefore Darwin must be wrong!" (check out the earlier post about OS X being the OS of the Devil for morer on this).

And did you turn to Astrophysics after the bass-playing gig fell through? ;-)

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (2, Insightful)

NNKK (218503) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393621)

It's called the pursuit of knowledge.

Admittedly, it may be hard for some people to understand, but knowledge is, by many people, including myself, valued over practical application.

I'd rather know that the neutrinos are changing type en route to earth and have no practical application for it, than not know at all.

Why? Who knows. Maybe it's the engineer in me... "Because I can."

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (2)

petis (139263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393622)

> but what use is a theory if it has no application?

Hey, that's the thing with research. You never know what applications your work will have.

If you know the application, your work is usually called 'engineering'.

Don't remember who said it, don't remeber the exact wording, but it's something to think about: "There is nothing more applicable than a good theory!" (Perhaps it was Einstein's answer when a journalist asked him how this relativity-thingie was supposed to be used?)

Anyway, what this is useful for? No idea, what's a neutrino? ;-)

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (5, Informative)

lightray (215185) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393624)

In the "standard model" of particle physics, there are sixteen "elementary" particles, and their anti-particles. Three of these particles are the neutrinos, which come in three different flavors. It's long been known that their masses must be very small, and it's been thought that neutrinos might have zero mass, like the photon. However, neutrino oscillation implies that there is a mass *difference* between neutrino flavors, and a mass difference means that they can't all be zero. Thus this means that neutrinos have mass, and that's a very important theoretical issue!

Flavors of neutrons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3393652)

Chocolate, strawberry or vanilla?
I prefer strawberry.
Mmmmm... strawberry neutrons.

Re:Flavors of neutrons (1)

lightray (215185) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394201)

Well, there is only one kind of neutron, which is a heavy, composite particle made up of a combination of one "up" quark and two "down" quarks. Quarks have flavors too. They are up, down, strange, charm, top (or truth), and bottom (or beauty). And they have colors: red, green, and blue. But of course, you're right, all these names are entirely arbitrary, and it would work just as well to have chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla neutrinos rather than electron (e), muon (), and tau ().

Why was Copernicus on to something? (1)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393782)

Why do we want to know that the earth goes around the sun instead of vice-versa? It makes absolutely no difference to anything we do on this planet, except the ability to compute _slightly_ more accurate tide tables.

Most people, though, would say that it's better to live in knowledge of our world than ignorance of it, no matter the practical benefit.

--N

Re:Why was Copernicus on to something? (1)

gewalker (57809) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394309)

Practical applications of Heliocentric science

1) Solar probes that accurately predict when solar storms will hit Earth and disturb communications, etc.

2) Any practical application of space travel. Admittedly we don't much of this yet. Mining asteroids, colonies on moon or other planets, etc.

3) Enabling a basic understanding of gravitation. Commonly used in things such as discovering oil fields to building and maintaining a GPS network.

I'm sure there are many more if I were to take the time to consider.

Re:Why was Copernicus on to something? (1)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394660)

Yes, but I'm sure no one was thinking of those applications when Copernicus was around. Which is probably the point - just because you don't see any applications for a new theory doesn't mean it won't prove extremely useful.

No no no no. (1)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394820)

" Yes, but I'm sure no one was thinking of those applications when Copernicus was around. Which is probably the point - just because you don't see any applications for a new theory doesn't mean it won't prove extremely useful."

No, that ISN'T the point.. although it IS another reason to do pure research.

The point is: it's worth knowing things for reasons OTHER than practical. To give even more obvious examples: we want to know if God exists even if he DOESN'T answer prayers. We want to know if the universe will collapse even if we're not around to see it. We want to know how the Romans dug wells even if we have better ways to do it ourselves. We want to understand Napoleonic history, even if it's not applicable to the modern age.

We want to know a lot of things, becuase knowing them gives us insight into our world, insight into ourselves. They are things worth knowing for the sake of simple understanding, not having ANYTHING to do with practical application.

Those of you out there who are purely pragmatic about science should ask yourselves why you bother. What is the use of practical things if they don't serve some greater utility? We don't need computers to feed ourselves or house ourselves; survival or success should not be humanity's only motive. For some, the motive might be religious or hedontistic, but for myself, I belive in an _academic_ progressivism, where learning about our universe is the end, not the means.

---Nathaniel, waxing philisophical

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3394024)

Well, first obivious thing that comes to mind is communications. All you need is neutrino transmitter & neutrino receiver that are reliable and cost is measured in millions of dollars, and you can forget all these kludgey cables criscrossing the ocean, and all these short-lived satellites orbitting the earth, 'cos you can just send the signal straight through the earth.

Even if nobody at the moment has any idea how to implement this, it's only a matter of time...

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3394038)

Yeah, just think of cell phones that worked on neutrinos instead of microwaves...

Re:Why are the neutrinos interesting? (1)

n9hmg (548792) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395774)

I wondered what it meant when I first saw the post. I quickly took advantage of the handy link provided, which gave a quick executive overview of the actual research, fetchingly filled out with fluff about how the detector is structured.
Here's the meat of the article: The ratio of electron neutrinos detected to the total number of neutrinos detected didn't match the sensible models of nuclear reactions in the Sun. There just weren't enough of them. Now, they have found that some of the muon and tao neutrinos they are detecting actually started electron neutrinos, and changed on the way. It remains to be seen, however (if it ever can), whether the conversion rate can explain enough missing electron neutrinos to match the theories.

Models of the processes inside the sun (1)

cadallin451 (536419) | more than 11 years ago | (#3396113)

The models of how the sun works predict a certain output of neutrinos that we should be able to measure on Earth, but the measurements have been much lower than expected. This at first suggested something was wrong with the models, but no problems could be found. Instead it was suggested that the problem was particle physics and our understanding of how neutrinos behave.

The results shown in this article are important because the evidence means new areas to study.

Did they really change... (1)

dankjones (192476) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393572)

or did they just come out of the closet?

Re:Did they really change... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394341)

They oscillate, so they are 'bi', i.e. both, as in best of both worlds.

More information... (0, Redundant)

godot73 (182766) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393584)

at SNO's website [queensu.ca] .

Do they pay the required royalty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3393590)

...if they swing sideways? :-)

Boredom? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3393608)

Well, it's a bloody long way, do you really think they'd sit still? More likely they'd jump around on the back seat, play I-spy and shout "Are we there yet?" every million miles or so...

Point? (1)

Komarosu (538875) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393610)

The equipment they use is interesting. Yet again its a shame i dont understand it...guess i have to get my ex-girlfriend to explain it to me...

There seems to be no cover of what effects proving this is...or is it like:

"Hey lets build a lab on how to mesure the perfect time to dunk a biscuit"

I an't tryin to be a troll, just want to know what effect this will have on future research

Re:Point? (4, Interesting)

hij (552932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393631)

Its not possible to figure out what direction this sort of information will lead the science community. That is why it is called "basic research." The principle argument is that it helps us understand the universe around us. The implicit assumption is that people will be able to exploit whatever knowledge eventually comes out of this research.

There is a good deal of tension between advocates of basic versus applied research, and there needs to be a better dialog. Currently it is a bunch of people throwing around assumptions about the merits of both types of research, but no one seems to really engage the other. (IMHO).

As an aside, there was a link [bbc.co.uk] from the article about the Japanese detector. Seems that one of the tubes blew which set of a cascade that destroyed most of the remaining tubes. I can't imagine the boom that one made...

Re:Point? (1)

hij (552932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393660)

I know it isn't kosher to reply to your own reply, but I thought about the original posting. Basic research can lead to good things, but applied research is not good in and of itself. For example, check out the work of Jean-Marc Vanden-Broeck [wisc.edu] and his pursuit of the drip free teapot. [washingtonpost.com] He has been richly rewarded. [aps.org]

1000 points of light (5, Insightful)

wass (72082) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394458)

That's like asking Faraday, Ampere, Maxwell, Tesla, and others why they were bothering to play around with these obscure facets of electricity 100-200 years ago. Sure, it's neat watching a giant lightning bolt jump across two electrodes, but what real purpose will it have for future research?

Hopefully you won't find it difficult to answer that question, as you power up your Pentium IV processor to hack some PERL code, crunch some numbers to decode your encrypted email, and look at the latest NASA gallery images represented on your monitor as a rasterized RGB image driven by an electron beam.

And as you insert a CD into the CD player which is read by a GaAs laser and decrypted by more microelectronics, so you can listen to the solid-state (or vacuum-tube if you prefer) amplifier drive a magnetic speaker coil for your listening pleasure.

And then as you get in your car, with the engine ignited by carefully-timed spark plug firings, where you turn on the radio and pick up frequency-modulated electromagnetic radiation and decode it into stereo sound, again sent to an amplifier and speakers for your listening pleasure.

So, you see, it's hard to determine, a priori, the benefits of certain scientific advances and the effects they'll have on civilization. Neutrino oscillations are important because they put another piece into the puzzle that high-energy physicists are trying to solve relating how all the elementary particles fit together.

Some potential uses for this might deal with gaining further insights into nuclear power and better ways to do it. Specifically, fusion power. The sun is a fusion reactor, but scientists haven't been able to efficiently harness fusion power here on earth yet. This neutrino puzzle helps verify some of the hypotheses scientists had about nuclear processes in the sun that weren't fully understood or adequately measured with older neutrino counters.

It might also help long-range communication. Neutrinos can pass through the earth without being affected, and scientists had once tried to use this method for talking to submarines on the other side of the planet. The obvious problem is how do you detect said neutrons. I think I heard something that they were able to make a receiver that could receive data at a rate of a few bits per day. Not very efficient. Well, learning more about neutrons and their oscillations might give insight into ways to improve neutrino communications.

There are most likely many other things too, that we just don't know about or don't have use for. Maybe they'll prove efficient for long-range communications to other planets, and possibly for quantum encryption during these communications. We just don't know yet, but if we don't try we'll never know.

Re:1000 points of light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3394777)

Some potential uses for this might deal with gaining further insights into nuclear power and better ways to do it. Specifically, fusion power.

Good call. This research shows that it is possible to transmute electron neutrinos to the other (Mu / Tau) forms. If the same holds with electrons ("the other white lepton") then it might mean an easy way to generate Tau leptons. With Tau leptons, even the simplest fusion systems become better than break-even (Tau leptons are 3500 times as massive as normal electrons, so their introduction into a deuterium matrix replacing normal electrons results in a natural compression of the electron cloud to the point where inter-particle spacing is such that fusion is spontaneous).

I've been waiting for the results of this research for a very long time...

Re:1000 points of light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3395962)

Your evil plan at world nuclear domination will never come to fruition, Nuclear Winter!!!
Minuteman and I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth!

-Mentor

Where's the money? (-1, Troll)

Hyperfrog (575345) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393617)

...and... how exactly can we use this wonderful fact to make money?

They beat em (5, Informative)

qqtortqq (521284) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393625)

Fermlab [fnal.gov] is in the process of building an X million dollar project to send neutrinos 735km to minnesota to see if they oscilatte during the trip... Kinda pointless now. The project is called NuMI, its kinda interesting, they were going to send neutrinos through the ground to an old mine- check out the NuMI web site [fnal.gov] .

For the people who have no idea what neutrinos oscillating is about - try here. [fnal.gov] It gives a good overview, made so someone like me could even understand it.

Not Pointless (1)

herwin (169154) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393722)

It doesn't hurt to verify something as basic as neutrino oscillation. It implies other particles (such as protons) are not stable.

Re:They beat em (2)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393764)

Fermlab is in the process of building an X million dollar project to send neutrinos 735km to minnesota to see if they oscilatte during the trip...

Well they get an in flight meal? First class or coach?

Re:They beat em (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394940)

Nope. The oscillating of some neutrinos will be considered "unusual behavior" by the other neutrinos, who will alert the pilots, and they will abort the entire trip.

Not at all (5, Informative)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393767)

As an ex-member of SNO (my name (N. Tagg) is on the papers [queensu.ca] ) as well as a current member of MINOS (the experiment you're reffering to at Fermilab) I can say that this is simply not true; the experiments are complimentary, not exclusionary.

In fact, there is a large quantity of work going on in this field. Current experiments include KamLAND, Borexino, Opera, NuMI-MINOS, Super-Kamiokande (when they finish their repairs in a year or so), K2K (KEK to Super-K), MiniBOONE the new JHF facility, plus a bunch more I'm forgettting.

There are several reasons for all this activity. First, there are at least two different types of oscillaitions. (The naive and over-simplified theory is that there is nu-electron to nu-mu oscillation, and nu-mu to nu-tau oscillation, the first of which is seen by SNO, the second of which is seen by atmosphereic neutrinos and by the beam experiments). There may be a third mode, which implies a new variety of neutrino (nicknamed 'sterile' for various reasons).

In addition, we're looking to prove that our theory about the oscillations is correct; that they really oscillate in the way we think they do (i.e. change back and forth between flavours on a given time scale that is dependent on energy and suchlike). We want to know the exact parameters in the theory, so the theorists have some hard numbers to much on to make better overarching theories. And, there's always the possibility that something entirely new will crop up in these studies.

(A note on that last: modern neutrino detectors were born out of eariler attempts to build proton decay experiments... but the neutrinos kept getting in the way! On the 'don't beat 'em, join 'em' approach, people started looking at the neutrinos themselves with more interest.)

--Nathaniel, prowling his favourite topic.

Re:So what are the implications? (2)

wnknisely (51017) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393856)

So I've been out of the field for a while... What are the implications to the standard model now that these oscillations have been confirmed?

Is there an upper/lower limit to the nu mass? (I'm more of a cosmologist - and nu mass amounts are interesting, especially in working out the virial relations for Galactic clusters... and geometry of the Universe.)

Re:So what are the implications? (1)

mofolotopo (458966) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393965)

Doing my best Tom Lehrer impersonation:

It's time for "nu mass"
nu-hu-hu mass...

I'm so ashamed.

Re:So what are the implications? (2, Informative)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393983)

Well, I'm NOT much of a cosmologist. The new results confirm the Large Mixing Angle solution, which puts the first neutrino mass difference at 10^-2 eV. This means that the minimum mass of the second generation nu is 10^-2 eV, which is pretty darn small. As I understand it, this makes neutrinos a few percent of the total universal mass budget, somewhere on the same order as bright matter (i.e. stars): 5% or so. Nothing that will prove a big crunch either way. This has been known for a while.

Of course, this is only the mass _difference_. There's very little direct mass evidence, so the maxixum mass could still be up high enough to be more interesting, but it's viewed as unlikely.

---Nathaniel

Re:So what are the implications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3394357)

Doesn't it also imply that our current model for nuclear synthesis is accurate? Before now we were not able to detect all the predicted energy leaving the Sun, which is a big problem....

Re:So what are the implications? (1)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394915)

Yes, this is strongly implied by neutrino data, in combination with the oscillation hypothesis. It's not implied with THIS neutrino data alone: SNO looks only at a small-branching-ratio chain in the sun that occours only once in about 10^4 proton-proton fusion reactions. That is.. we don't see MOST of the neutrinos coming from the sun, although other experiements (notably the GALLEX and SAGE gallium experiments) do. However, those same experiments don't see enough neutrinos to account for the fusion models to be correct.

The latest SNO results prove (i.e. show evidence at a very high probability) that the deficit of neutrinos is due to flavour-changing: that is, the neutrinos were all there, but the gallium experiments just couldn't see them. As a matter of fact, SNO nails the Standard Solar Model predictions (J. Bachall et al) right on the nose, so it all remains pretty convincing.

---Nathaniel

Re:They beat em (2, Informative)

kkumer (36175) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393957)

Ferm[i]lab is in the process of building an X million dollar project to send neutrinos 735km to minnesota to see if they oscilatte during the trip... Kinda pointless now.

This is not a pointless experiment. In both experiments that the article mentions (SNO and SuperKamiokande) neutrinos are produced by a natural process (either nuclear reactions in the Sun or cosmic rays in atmosphere). There is always a possibility that we don't understand these natural processes good enough and that we misinterpret the data.

In these planned terrestrial neutrino oscillation experiments (such as NOMAD [nomadinfo.cern.ch] , K2K [neutrino.kek.jp] , OPERA [web.cern.ch] , MINOS [fnal.gov] , etc.) neutrinos will be produced in controlled reactions on Earth, making interpretation and measurements easier, more precise and more model-independent.

Ok (-1, Troll)

NiftyNews (537829) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393626)

In other news, there was other news that most people both understood and gave a damn about...

Why this matters.... (5, Insightful)

ShakaGreyHat (195940) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393640)


Here's [aip.org] a link to some background on neutrinos, and particle physics in general (from the American Institute of Physics).

The basic idea is this: neutrinos seem to be fundamental particles. The more we understand about them (properties, interactions, etc) and the other elementary particles, the more we understand about how the universe works. This usually has "practical" applications in fields like astronomy and cosmology first. But don't worry, eventually there will be nice day-to-day applications (neutrino toasters, etc :-)

Re:Why this matters.... (5, Interesting)

Jodrell (191685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393700)

it's a funny idea, but a "neutrino toaster" would be quite difficult to create...

At normal neutrino flux levels, it'd take several times the lifespan of the universe for neutrinos to deposit even the tiniest amount of energy into a slice of bread. Consider the fact that many billions have passed through your body in the time you've been reading this comment. It's unlikely a single one of them would actually collide with a particle in your body.

A neutrino toaster would probably need the total neutrino output of the sun to toast a slice of bread in a reasonable time period - and if you've got that, why not just stick your bread on a real long fork and toast it over the sun's corona :-)

Re:Why this matters.... (1)

ShakaGreyHat (195940) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393992)

Well, that's just why we need this kind of research. Maybe we'll figure out how to make neutrinos interact with everyday matter on demand. :-)

My "neutrino toaster" could just be a box where neutrinos passing thru WOULD interact with the slice of bread inside. Since there are more than 4x10^10 neutrinos / cm^2 incident on the earth every second, I think it could be a handy energy source. Why use a long fork when then energy will come to you? A lot more convenient than solar power, etc - the neutrinos pass right thru the atmosphere, even the whole planet! No worries about power when the sun goes down....

Re:Why this matters.... (2, Funny)

gorilla (36491) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394156)

That can't be true, I saw Wesley use a tunneling neutrino beam to rid the Enterpise of bacteria. Star Trek wouldn't lie to me, would it?

Re:Why this matters.... (2)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394716)

No but Wesley might.... =)

Re:Why this matters.... (2, Interesting)

gnalre (323830) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394195)

(Apologies to V.Vinge) What about imaging applications. Could we use neutrino's to map the center of planets oe even the sun?

Lets ignore the technical impossibilities for a second here.

Actually we already have a good application already. we have proved that the sun is working as we expect. There was two possibilities for the missing neutrino's.

1. The theories were wrong
2. The sun was very ill.

Personally I feel a lot richer for knowing 2 is not the case.

Can we use this technology as a way to monitor the sun?

Re:Why this matters.... (1)

dorix (414150) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394578)

It's unlikely a single one of them would actually collide with a particle in your body.

This is true. Most people will "experience" a neutrino collision in their body once or twice in their lifetime. Of course, you'll never know it when it happens.

If there were a wall of solid lead, 1 light-year thick, out in space, only 50% of the neutrinos passing through it would actually collide with a lead atom. The other 50% would pass right through as if it weren't there.

Neutrino interactions and ball bearings (2, Informative)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395001)

This might be a good place to mention my calculation [ox.ac.uk] that looks at a quote from the late latmented Douglas Adams:

"It all depends on what you mean by 'hit' of course, seeing as matter consists almost entirely of nothing at all. The chances of a neutrino actually hitting something as it travels through all this howling emptiness are roughly comparable to that of dropping a ball bearing at random from a cruising 747 and hitting, say, and egg sandwich."

Also incidently, the neutrino toaster is not an invetion, it's a discovery: being close to a supernova would make you feel mighty warm, even if you did have shielding to protect you from the light and the matter shockwaves. Supernovae release 90% of their energy as neutrinos.

---Nathaniel, on the Neutrino Prowl, co-author on the recent SNO papers.

God that's morbid. (1)

invalid_user (253723) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395747)

Why would anyone want to toast a nice little neutrino?

Malda's Story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3393644)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john a big beautiful all-American football hero type, about twenty-five, came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and married -- and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with him.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist.

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass and not an end in itself. Of course I'd had jerkoff fantasies of devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't), but I had never done it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit.

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful shiteater.

Spoiler space please (-1, Offtopic)

ashkendo (452892) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393684)

Damn! Just ruin it for everyone.

for those too slow to avoid the slashdotting (4, Informative)

Brightest Light (552357) | more than 12 years ago | (#3393704)

here's the text

Experiment confirms Sun theories

The SNO was constructed to solve a mystery

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

Neutrinos - some of nature's most elusive sub-atomic particles - do change their properties as they travel through space.

We are much more certain now that we have really shown that solar neutrinos change type

Prof Dave Wark, University of Sussex New evidence confirms last year's indication that one type of neutrino emerging from the Sun's core does switch to another type en route to the Earth.

This explains the so-called solar neutrino mystery, which has had scientists puzzled for 30 years - why so few of the particles expected to emerge from the nuclear furnace in our star can actually be detected.

The new data mean the reactions put forward by physicists to describe how the Sun works are correct.

The data were obtained from the underground Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Canada.

Going underground

Neutrinos are ghostly particles with no electric charge and very little mass. They are known to exist in three types related to three different charged particles - the electron and its lesser-known relatives, the muon and the tau.

Electron-neutrinos are created in the thermonuclear reactions at the solar core. Because these reactions are understood, it has been possible to estimate the number of electron-neutrinos that should emerge from our star.

But it has baffled scientists for decades as to why just a third of this expected number could actually be detected.

Using the underground Sudbury neutrino detector, an international group of researchers has been able to determine that the observed number of electron-neutrinos is only a fraction of the total number emitted from the Sun - clear evidence that the particles change type en route to Earth.

SNO Project Director, Dr Art McDonald, of Queen's University, Canada, said the number of electron-neutrinos detected combined with the numbers of other types picked up at Sudbury gave a total that was consistent with scientists' understanding of the nuclear reactions occurring at the Sun's core.

All types

The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory is a unique neutrino telescope, the size of a 10-storey building, two kilometres underground, down a mine in Ontario.

The SNO detector consists of 1,000 tonnes of ultrapure heavy water, enclosed in a 12-metre-diameter acrylic-plastic vessel, which in turn is surrounded by ultrapure ordinary water in a giant 22-metre-diameter by 34-metre-high cavity.

The observatory detects about one neutrino per hour

Outside the acrylic vessel is a 17-metre-diameter geodesic sphere containing 9,600 light sensors or photomultiplier tubes, which detect tiny flashes of light emitted as neutrinos are stopped or scattered in the heavy water.

At a detection rate of about one neutrino per hour, many days of operation are required to provide sufficient data for a complete analysis.

Because SNO uses "heavy" water - the hydrogen atom in the water molecule has an extra neutron - it is able to detect not only electron-neutrinos through one type of reaction, but also all three known neutrino types through a different reaction.

Very accurate

Dr Andre Hamer, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, US, said: "In order to make these measurements, we had to restrict the radioactivity in the detector to minute levels and determine the background effects very accurately to show clearly that we are observing neutrinos from the Sun."

The research not only improves our understanding of the Sun but of the elusive neutrinos as well.

The latest results, entirely from the SNO detector, (and which have been submitted to Physical Review Letters) are said to be 99.999% accurate.

Dr MacDonald said: "The SNO team is really excited because these measurements enable neutrino properties such as mass to be specified with much greater certainty for fundamental theories of elementary particles."

Mass differences

This announcement is confirmation of indications released in June 2001 that suggested that it was highly likely that neutrinos changed type on their way from the Sun.

However those conclusions were always tentative because they were based on comparisons of results from SNO with those from a different experiment, the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan.

Professor Dave Wark, of the University of Sussex and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, commented: "Whenever a scientific conclusion relies on two experiments, and on the theory connecting them, it is twice as hard to be certain that you understand what is going on.

"We are therefore much more certain now that we have really shown that solar neutrinos change type."

Professor Hamish Robertson of the University of Washington, US, added: "There's absolutely no question the neutrino type changes and now we know quite precisely the mass differences between these particles."

Re:for those too slow to avoid the slashdotting (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3393972)

You've got to love karma whores posting the text saying "in case it gets slashdotted" when it's a big name site which can handle the load.

How about saving the text and waiting to see if the site does start to get slashdotted before you copy it into the thread?

More signs of Global Warming (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3393742)

Those evil corporations are doing it again with their pollutants and other evils! Let's blame the Bush administration for this outrage!

Old news?? (1)

Axe (11122) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393743)

Wasn't it done by Super Kamiokande [uci.edu] experiment back in 1998? (presence of mass is equivalent to the presense of mixing in current theory)

Re:Old news?? (1)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393801)

Yes, but not conclusively. It's in the BBC article. Besides, there's nothing wrong with double checking!

Re:Old news?? (2, Funny)

Brett Viren (296) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393909)

Wasn't it done by Super Kamiokande experiment back in 1998?


This was the anouncement of the atmospheric neutrino results which pinned down neutrino mixing between muon and tau nus better than ever before.


SK also sees solar nus but only the electron neutrinos. In addition to the electron neutrino, SNO can also see the sum of all solar neutrino types (ie, the electron type as well as other types that the e-type may have oscillated to). Their first result relied on SK's measurement of the electron type nus because SNO has a smaller mass, thus lower count. The latest announcement appears to be stating that they have collected enough events that they can have a similar result as before but with out relying on some of SK's data.

"Neutrino change type" ... (-1, Offtopic)

alapalaya (561911) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393787)

God is making a type cast of sub atomic particles! :)

You lost me a long time ago. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3393847)

I've been confused about neutrinos ever since I found out they had mass. Who'd have imagined that they were Catholic?

Re:You lost me a long time ago. (3, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394203)

Who'd have imagined that they were Catholic?

All the neutrinos are born Catholic, but only a third of them are Catholic by the time we detect them. The rest oscillate to other faiths, which are also known to have mass, just in different amounts.

SNO / Laurentian Press Release from 18 April (3, Informative)

ancarett (221103) | more than 11 years ago | (#3393905)

*Yawn* We knew about it last week. Here's a snippet from the copy [laurentian.ca] released by PR people at Laurentian University [laurentian.ca] in Sudbury:

New scientific results from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory to be announced

April 18, 2002

(Sudbury, Ontario) - Scientists from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, working at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), a unique underground laboratory built to provide insights into the properties of neutrinos and their emission from the core of the Sun, will submit a scientific paper with important new results later this week. They will announce these research findings in a scientific presentation by Dr. Andre Hamer on Saturday, April 20, at the Joint Meeting of the American Physical Society and the American Astronomical Society in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A copy of the first scientific paper and news release summarizing SNO's findings and their importance will be posted on the SNO website (www.sno.phy.queensu.ca) at 1:20 p.m EDT (10:20 a.m. PDT) on Saturday, April 20. A summary talk on the implications of these neutrino measurements will be presented by Dr. John Wilkerson on Monday, April 22, at the same conference.

"We look forward to this opportunity to share these new findings with the scientific community and the general public," says Dr. Art McDonald, SNO Project Director and member of the Department of Physics at Queen's University. "For the first time, we are reporting on an important neutrino reaction in the SNO detector - a reaction in which all known neutrinos participate, regardless of their type. The successful observation of these neutrino signals has been a chief goal of the years of intense work by a collaboration of close to 100 scientists at 11 universities and national laboratories in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, and we are very pleased with the quality of the data obtained."

In June 2001, the SNO scientific collaboration announced definitive results based on two other reactions seen in the SNO detector, and on measurements at the SuperKamiokande neutrino detector in Japan, establishing that neutrinos from the Sun change from their original electron neutrino type, to a mixture of electron and other (mu or tau) neutrino types. The new data from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory to be announced on April 20, enables this question to be addressed accurately from data obtained entirely from SNO, and is expected to enhance significantly our understanding of these important properties of neutrinos from the Sun and of the Sun itself.

Additional information about the conference presentations, the SNO laboratory, the neutrino measurements being made and the participating institutions can be found at www.sno.phy.queensu.ca [queensu.ca] .

Overview over current neutrino oscillation results (1)

jannic (152373) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394296)

This article [sissa.it] does contain a good overview of recent results of different neutrino measurements.

Standard model of particle physics to be rewritten (0)

Hanul (533254) | more than 11 years ago | (#3394553)

Isn't this one of the implication of the experiment'S results? The standard model forbids neutrino oscillation, so if they have confirmed that, a large part of a very successful theory of the last 30 years has to be rewritten.

GRAVITY DRIVE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3394680)

This is an extremely important discovery! With this now known, many believe that the construction of a GRAVITY DRIVE [u-net.com] is now trivial. This will have tremendous implications, both moral and scientific.

Neutrino MASS?? (2)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395121)

So - do Neutrinos have mass now or not? Seems that every time I pick up New Scientist theres a new experiment to find the answer.

I suspect they DO, which is a pain in the ass as I bet a million pounds in 1995 that they would be proven to be massless by 2005. Jesus! The stuff that seems important when you're at University!

Better start saving!

Re:Neutrino MASS?? (2, Interesting)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#3396005)

But it is important. . . isn't it? If I recall my physics correctly, neutrinos with mass = closed universe.

It's funny when you think about it, that probably the smallest particle in the universe will decide its fate. . . but it's true. Pretty amazing stuff, physics.

Quark stars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3395542)

Does a quark star emit neutrinos?

Small Wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3395580)

Standing around waiting for the elusive Neutrino to show itself would normally seem like one of the more unexciting ventures in science. Unless you'd been to Sudbury. Then suddenly it would all make sense....

Local Colour (2, Informative)

ancarett (221103) | more than 11 years ago | (#3396065)

Hey, life's real exciting [laurentian.ca] here in Sudbury. Take a look [sciencenorth.on.ca] .

Stompin' Tom Connors even wrote a song [geocities.com] to prove it!

There are occasional tours of the SNO site (usually for academics and visiting dignitaries) but you have to set aside a large block of time just to allow for transit time down and back up.

Acutely interesting, but where's the detail??? (2, Insightful)

satanicultwhackjob (574793) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395625)

Yes, the information is easy to understand as presented: usually only 1 neutrino per hour is detected, yet current theory dictates that it should be ~ 3 per hour. Via use of D20 (heavy water) SNO must be detecting the missing 66 1/3% (it's implied, but never clearly stated... odd).

As a debugging freak and mechanical moron, I'm curious why they're so sure that the extra muons and gluons are coming from the sun, versus being sourced from the fusion of a million billion stars in the universe? Do we have proof that detection levels rise when the sun is positioned directly over the NDS's - I doubt even the mass of the earth shields the station from a tiny percentage of such tiny bits, leaving me wondering...

I'm sure that there's some statistical 3D reasoning behind our certainty, like "the sky's dark at night because the universe is expanding, dork!" - same reasoning applies here? If so, we're using the same reasoning which applies to photon saturation to neutrinos, and we can be sure that's a valid assertion? (I.E. dark matter isn't going to present a barrier to nuetrinos, correct? But a sheet of paper will block all of the light from a starry night, so shouldn't the level of neutrino saturation be significantly higher than that of photons?)

Hey, I'm just a backyard mechanic and C code tweaker, but these are questions I don't see being asked in the public domain... maybe a physics geek can explain it. If so, can you also describe the rate at which these suckers are chugging along through the universe, and maybe how we figured what their relative speed is?

-
--
Lord of the satanicult: we love everything but science, coding, small fuzzy rodents and the PLO, cuz they bedevil the hell out of our intellect...

Re:Acutely interesting, but where's the detail??? (2, Informative)

HuvahCraftah (66393) | more than 11 years ago | (#3395821)

at "night" the sun is on the OTHER side of the earth, meaning that there is a larger bulk of mass shielding the detector. During the "day" the shielding is only as thick as the depth the detector is buried under the ground. They based their results using this difference in shielding.

Re:Acutely interesting, but where's the detail??? (3, Informative)

spiro_killglance (121572) | more than 11 years ago | (#3396000)


Actually the day/night ratios detected at SNO
is more complex than this, the neutrino capture
cross section in matter is so small that the
even the whole mass of the earth doesn't block
a signicant fraction of the neutinos, the detected
flux of 1 neutrino per hour at SNO as a testament
to the vest number of neutrinos emitted by the
sun.
Instead what is happening is that (according
to theory), the neutrino oscillation rate becames
signicantly increased while the neutrino is
travelling through matter, so that at night
detented particles contains less electron neutrinos and more of the other types.
Oh, and finally, the neutrino captured in SNO emit a cone of UV light (checknov radition), and
the cone points in the direction the neutrino
came from, so scientist at SNO can have a good
idea weather the neutrinos came from the sun or
from deep space.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?