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Gravitation Anomaly Measured

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the everything-you-know-is-wrong dept.

Science 540

Rob Riggs writes "Is there a hole in Einstein's Theory of Relativity? A story in The Economist talks about an apparent gravitation anomaly recorded during solar eclipses. According to Chris Duif at the Delft University of Technology, the 'Allais effect' is real, unexplained, and could be linked to another anomaly involving a the Pioneer spacecraft. More detailed information can be found in the paper he has just posted on arXiv.org."

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In other news, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028089)

a big bag of cheetohs has gone missing.

Re:In other news, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028122)

Why was this modded offtopic? For all we know, the gravitational anomaly could be caused by these missing cheetos.

1st post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028097)

woot?

Please... (-1, Troll)

templest (705025) | about 10 years ago | (#10028101)

I hope this is the first post. :D

Re:Please... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028110)

You fail it, bitch!

Solar Eclipses (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028103)

I would highly doubt that Einstein's theory is flawed, but then again, they did not study the effects of gravity during a solar eclipse back then.

Re:Solar Eclipses (5, Informative)

revscat (35618) | about 10 years ago | (#10028180)

I would highly doubt that Einstein's theory is flawed, but then again, they did not study the effects of gravity during a solar eclipse back then.

Not only is this comment not "insightful" but it is just plain wrong. One of the original PROOFS for relativity involved measuring the amount that light is bent during a -- pay attention now -- solar eclipse. To quote the article you so carefully did not read, it was "observations taken during a solar eclipse (of the way that light is bent when it passes close to the sun) which established General Relativity in the first place."

Next.

Re:Solar Eclipses (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028182)

Actually, it was Eddington's observations of a solar eclipse that provided the first concrete evidence of General Relativity. Those observations are nowadays regarded as having been less than reliable, but they were crucial at the time for establishing GR's credibility.

Re:Solar Eclipses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028245)

Observation of gravity bending light around our sun during an eclipse was the first major test of General Relativity and was performed in 1919 by Sir Arthur Eddington.

Re:Solar Eclipses (1)

MilenCent (219397) | about 10 years ago | (#10028370)

Not many theories describe the physical phenomena they claim to represent exactly, to infinite decimal points.

Wasn't Newtonian physics good enough for a long time? No doubt someday we'll get something that replaces Relativity, or more accurately, refines it to explain those small observed differences. That's not a bad thing; indeed, just as relativity opened up all kinds of new applications such as nuclear power, a more precise understanding of the universe could give us untold new power.

(Note: by "us," I mean the gigantic monied interests that will probably lock up whatever inventions they create using this new science with obnoxious patents, and other means to keep it in their pockets for as long as possible. Us as in humanity, not us as in you and me.)

SUBSPACE !!! (4, Funny)

freedom_india (780002) | about 10 years ago | (#10028107)

This confirms the existence of Subspace and we're waiting for the Bord to open up a Subspace Tetrion Matrix Wormhole to assimilate us.

Where is Capn' Picard when he is needed

Re:SUBSPACE !!! (0, Offtopic)

Burlyslayer (598366) | about 10 years ago | (#10028163)

Yea, the tought of a giant Bord comming trough Subspace is really keeping me awake at night :) P.S. Anyone got a gmail account left I'm starting to get a little curious => *nickname*@pandora.be Greets

Re:SUBSPACE !!! (4, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10028213)

Look out for that BORD! It's big and flat! And hey, what's that black humanoid thing on it? A Borg you say? RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

Re:SUBSPACE !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028229)

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

From the looks of it, so are your attempts to lose your virginity.

Re:SUBSPACE !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028428)

Beam me a Bord, Scottie!

Re:SUBSPACE !!! (3, Funny)

Samlind1 (667119) | about 10 years ago | (#10028284)

The Bord are already with us, and in fact spend most of their workday reading the forums and posting on /.

Re:SUBSPACE !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028443)

oh no! not the Bord! Giant 2x4s from space!

Gravitation Anomaly (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028111)

My wife had one of these after she went in for breast augmentation...

Re:Gravitation Anomaly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028317)

A lesson in applied physics well learned then...

Re:Gravitation Anomaly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028378)

Prove it.

Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#10028112)

You mean that the sun and the moon together pull stronger than the sun alone?

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028151)

Yes. Syzygy is when the Earth, moon, and the sun are all lined up. Spring tides occur at this time. Spring tides are unusally high tides that occur during syzygy.

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (3, Funny)

Steve Franklin (142698) | about 10 years ago | (#10028300)

Now there's a scrabble word if ever I saw one!

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 10 years ago | (#10028448)

25 points, as I see it:

s = 1
y = 4
z = 10
y = 4
g = 2
y = 4

I had to figure this out by hand. That sucked. I need to write a script to calculate this stuff.

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (2, Insightful)

LMCBoy (185365) | about 10 years ago | (#10028155)

No, the solar eclipse just allows you to measure the positions of stars which are very close to the Sun in the sky. Light from these stars is bent as it passes the Sun on its way to the Earth, due to the Sun's gravitational field.

Ironically, this was hailed as a proof of Einstein's relativity in the early 20th century, since the angle of deflection observed is much closer to the relativistic prediction, than to the Newtonian prediction.

bah, nevemind! (mod parent down) (1)

LMCBoy (185365) | about 10 years ago | (#10028187)

The linked article has nothing to do with what I was talking about, and seems much more bizarre than gravitational lensing.

That will teach me to not RTFA.

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028292)

This is the early 21st century, and we're way more extreme now. we think Einstein is an idiot and gravity is just another law to be broken! Yeah man!

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (3, Informative)

jeff munkyfaces (643988) | about 10 years ago | (#10028156)

as i understand it it's the other way round - one of the possibilities mentions the moon "blocking" gravitation from the sun during an eclipse.

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#10028221)

``as i understand it it's the other way round''

That's what I get to, after RTFA. My original post was a joke, and I'm surprised it was modded Insightful.

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028186)

You mean that the sun and the moon together pull stronger than the sun alone?

Nope, exactly the opposite.

Not to mention that the article suggests that the effect occurred just as the alignment took place, not slightly before or after, when the summed effects of the Sun and Moon's gravity should have been nearly the same as during the alignment.

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (1)

asimulator (610334) | about 10 years ago | (#10028256)

If you mean that might explain why the pendulum goes faster, no, it won't; it's the *earth* that's pulling the pendulum, not either the sun or the moon.

Re:Anomaly in Gravity During Sun Eclipses? (4, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 10 years ago | (#10028309)

Havent we had objects in orbit for 40+ yrs now, many positioned in just the right orbits to transit thru the moon's shadow? Satellites like the GPS series, whose positions are known and tracked to the centimeter?

Why hasnt this effect, if it exists, been noticed 1000's of times?

Do you love mysteries? (0, Offtopic)

Luke727 (547923) | about 10 years ago | (#10028118)

Yes. [slashdot.org]
No. [www.goat.cx]

Re:Do you love mysteries? (0, Offtopic)

templest (705025) | about 10 years ago | (#10028140)

Not all of us are homosexual, you insensitive clod.

No such thing (4, Funny)

raider_red (156642) | about 10 years ago | (#10028124)

Remember: there is no gravity. The Earth sucks.

Re:No such thing (5, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 years ago | (#10028235)

Indeed. In fact there is no light either. The Sun sucks dark. In fact it sucks dark so hard that the friction of the dark moving to the Sun causes the Sun to be very hot. The flow of dark towards the Sun interrupted by the Earth causes the side of the Earth away from the Sun to accumulate dark, thus causing Night. As the Earth rotates the dark caught on the night side can then be pulled off, this causing the absence of dark known as Day.

What we call light bulbs are truly dark suckers as well. That is why light bulbs are hot, just like the Sun. When a light bulb is full of dark and won't suck dark any more, it cools off. If you look in old light bulbs you can even seen the accumulation of dark.

Dark is also heavier than water. This can be seen in the oceans where the deeper you go the darker it gets.

Re:No such thing (3, Funny)

Nos. (179609) | about 10 years ago | (#10028330)

We know the speed of light, but what is the speed of dark?

Re:Speed of Dark (5, Funny)

curtoid (415759) | about 10 years ago | (#10028369)

African or European?

Re:No such thing (1)

provolt (54870) | about 10 years ago | (#10028376)

Nos. obviously was not using the Internet when the "dark suckers" forward was common.

Ahh... the 2400 bps days. Oh how fun they were at the time and oh how much better it is now.

Do what the newtonians did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028136)

"lalalala lalalala I can't hear youuuuu. Don't matter what you're saying and whatever proof you claim you have -- I like my shiny little world and that's just not part of MY universe. lalalala"

why Einstein... (0, Offtopic)

Kjuib (584451) | about 10 years ago | (#10028143)

Einstein isn't even my relative... how could his theory involve me? (chuckle..chuckle..)

Re:why Einstein... (1)

so sue mee (660717) | about 10 years ago | (#10028225)

You see His thoery is called special relativity theory. You are not generally related to him. it was your granma who had special relations

Re:why Einstein... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028304)

Just because someone thought my joke was not funny... I get modded a troll.... haha..funny... if you dont think it is funny... dont mod it down... (jerk - now that is a troll)

3rd body problem? (4, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 10 years ago | (#10028147)

My limited understanding of interstellar phsyics is that einstins equations have never really been solved for the third body problems. Am I wrong? If I remeber correctly we can only aproximate third body forces (tidal forces) even when using the newtonian model.

Re:3rd body problem? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028188)

Einstein's equation hasn't even been exactly solved for two-body problems; that's why black hole and neutron star collisions are such a hot topic in numerical relativity.

Nevertheless, for solar system dynamics, this is irrelevant. Newtonian gravity works quite well, and even if you did need to go to relativistic corrections, you can do that within the perturbation scheme of linearized gravity to more than sufficient accuracy.

Re:3rd body problem? (2, Interesting)

aeroegnr (806702) | about 10 years ago | (#10028190)

I've heard from multiple sources that n-body (with n > 2) problems are unsolvable exactly with current techniques. For instance, we can predict the motion of all the planets of the solar system for a certain length of time by only considering the sun's gravity, and once that prediction goes bad we use new boundary conditions for another estimate that will last a length of time. But we have no way of predicting what planetary motion will look like millions of years from now with much accuracy. (I could be wrong in magnitude here, I haven't reached my orbital mechanics class yet)

Re:3rd body problem? (3, Interesting)

bluephone (200451) | about 10 years ago | (#10028261)

Well, we _can_ but the interactions of 9 planets, a hundred moons, thousands of asteroids, etc., becomes so complex that our ability to accurately model it for (cosmically) significant periods of time is limited by computational power, thus we have to simplify the equations, and get accuracy to a more limited extent. Essentially, it's Hard(tm).

Re:3rd body problem? (3, Funny)

Suidae (162977) | about 10 years ago | (#10028373)

I know where you can get a perfect solution to the problem. Unfortunately, the computer for it takes up a rather large bit of real estate, and it runs in realtime.

Re:3rd body problem? (2, Interesting)

Thagg (9904) | about 10 years ago | (#10028208)

As I recall (and I'm certain that others will correct you further) there is no closed-form solution for the three-body problem. The shapes of the orbits cannot be written down as a simple equation -- where (neglecting relativity) two orbiting bodies trace perfect ellipses.

On the other hand, you can calculate a solution to the three-body problem to any level of accuracy that you are interested in, without much effort. Yes, it's an approximation, but so is any calculation.

Thad

Re:3rd body problem? (5, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | about 10 years ago | (#10028215)

The "three-body problem" is that there is no known general closed-form solution to Newton's laws if more than two gravitating bodies are involved. In short, you can't derive an equation that will give you the positions of all three objects at any arbitrary point in time.

Instead, iterative solutions are used: given the current masses, positions, and velocities of the objects involved, figure out where they'll be a short time from now. Lather, rinse, repeat. The problem with this is that over long timespans (tens of millions of years), errors build up.

Re:3rd body problem? (1)

Charvak (97898) | about 10 years ago | (#10028260)

yes you are wrong. third body problem means that there is no close form solution for the dynamical systems with three bodies in each other gravitational field. this cannot be solved for newtonian mechanics but one can always solve using numerical methods. note that for two bodies we already know that the path of the bodie will be one of the conic section(hyperbola, parabola, ellipse)

Yeah, I hear ya (1)

Noose For A Neck (610324) | about 10 years ago | (#10028343)

I've never met a Physics major who's been in a threesome either.

The Economist? (5, Insightful)

raider_red (156642) | about 10 years ago | (#10028161)

Why is this being carried in the Economist? Shouldn't it be picked up by New Scientist or some other scientific (or pseudo-scientific) publication?

Re:The Economist? (4, Funny)

raider_red (156642) | about 10 years ago | (#10028193)

Never mind. I RTFA, and now I know that it was an economist who first discovered the effect. (Which in my mind only casts doubt on its existance.)

Re: The Economist? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 10 years ago | (#10028209)


> Why is this being carried in the Economist? Shouldn't it be picked up by New Scientist or some other scientific (or pseudo-scientific) publication?

FWIW, this is really old news. The others have probably already covered it.

Re:The Economist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028216)

Perhaps they theorize that the anomoly is caused by Adam Smith's invisible hand of economics?

Re:The Economist? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028458)

The Economist is probably the best source of general news available. It is in the same category as Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, except that where those magazines tend to be 10-20% real news and 80-90% pab, the Economist is the inverse with 80-90% real hard news.

They know it too, and consequently it is very hard to find much of a discount on subscription pricing -- if you can pick it up for under $100/yr you are doing very well. All those other rags can typically be found for pennies on the dollar if you look.

In case you can't tell, I get all my news online - no tv news, no newspaper, maybe a dab of NPR when I'm tired of listening to my music in the car and no magazines, except the Economist. Which I get full access to online by virtue of paying for a paper subscription.

I'm no rocket scientist, BUT...... (1)

crispybit (749599) | about 10 years ago | (#10028166)

It would seem to make sence that when 2 objects align their gravitational effects on a 3rd body would be "serial" and combine. If a pendulum were swinging at the time the gravitational force grew, it would sway further in one direction for some time causing the pendulum to move faster just by anertia?????

Re:I'm no rocket scientist, BUT...... (1)

raider_red (156642) | about 10 years ago | (#10028251)

I was a rocket scientist briefly, but that's another story...

One would assume that during a solar eclipse, the serial effect of the sun and moon's gravity would reduce the felt gravity on earth. With a lower gravitational acceleration, I think the pendulum should slow down, and not speed up. Of course when Allais (sp?) made his observation, there may have been something else acting on the pendulum coincident to the eclipse.

Re:I'm no rocket scientist, BUT...... (1)

billimad (629204) | about 10 years ago | (#10028282)

yes your no rocket scientist, but you could play one on tv.

Re:I'm no rocket scientist, BUT...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028349)

...but u did stay in a Holiday Inn last night

Re:I'm no rocket scientist, BUT...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028327)


Thank goodness you are not a rocket scientist as they need to be able to have some sense ;P

That's slashdot for you (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 years ago | (#10028439)

That's a good question. Unfortunatly, the rest of the slashdot crowd would rather bash your statment then answer it.

I feel your pain, it has happend to me before. But, this IS slashdot for ya.

I Call BULLSHIT!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028191)

The following Slashdot readers are assholes. In no particular order:

1. the_mad_poster
2. the_bungi
3. Twirlip of the Mists
4. Pudge
5. Bethanie
6. ackthpt
7. justkarl
8. AKAImBatman
9. Neocon
10. bryhhh

The above listed people have written stupid posts or JEs and have pissed me off on a number of occasions. Therefore they are all assholes. I do not like them, and if I ever meet one of them in person, I am going to punch he/she/it in the face. Anyone who is a fan of these people, please take a momet to distance yourself from them now. Thanks.

One possible explanation (1, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | about 10 years ago | (#10028197)

Before getting all excited about this, it is worth noting the following:
  • Photons have mass.
  • An eclipse means less photons are emitted and reach the measurer.
  • Ergo, gravitational effect.
Although it is well known that if your effect has a name it instantly has more credibility, I'm a bit skeptical that this is the one that'll turn relativity on its ear (dark matter is another story...)

Re:One possible explanation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028228)

Photons are massless, but having energy, they do gravitate. However, if you work out the magnitude of the gravitational effect of the photons from the Sun that reach the Earth, it's much smaller than even the purported effect in the article.

Re:One possible explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028236)

> Photons have mass.

Bzzzt! Thank you for playing. Please go to the back of the elementary physics class and start over. Photons have momentum, not mass. :-)

Re:One possible explanation (4, Informative)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | about 10 years ago | (#10028253)

"Photons have mass. "

They don't. They do have momentum though.

Re:One possible explanation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028320)

And energy, which has gravitational attraction (or so says Einstein). In this case, of about 25 grams distributed over a whopping huge volume.

Next theory please?

Re:One possible explanation (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#10028345)

So, can you (or someone else, of course) explain to the laypeople how it can be that photons don't have mass, yet are influenced by gravity (at least, they are attracted by bodies like stars)?

Re:One possible explanation (5, Informative)

InternationalCow (681980) | about 10 years ago | (#10028440)

The easy explanation as I was given to understand is that the photons propagate in spacetime, ie the wave that they are does. Spacetime is curved by gravity, hence the photons/waves curve with them. According to General relativity, they cannot have mass since they propagate at light speed. Any object with mass obtains infinite mass upon attaining lightspeed, which is impossible. Hence a photon has no mass. Of course, solar sails work so photons can exert pressure which might lead one to suppose they have mass. In sense they do, as energy and matter are equivalent. In the case of a solar sail, it is impulse that is being transferred. It depends on how you measure the presence of the photon. By the way, note that Duif does not cast doubt upon Einstein's theories per se. Rather, he invokes the presence of dark matter (although no one has ever demonstrated its presence unequivocally).

Re:One possible explanation (1, Interesting)

hauer (569977) | about 10 years ago | (#10028444)

Photons do have mass.
This is why gravity affects them

Photons do not have rest mass.

Re:One possible explanation (4, Interesting)

Carnildo (712617) | about 10 years ago | (#10028262)

This could be a confirmation of one of the competing theories of gravitation: the "MOND" theory, that at very low accelerations, gravity gets stronger.

As I recall, MOND solves some of the more annoying problems of astronomy: missing matter, and the apparent need for a period of faster-than-light expansion early in the history of the universe.

Re:One possible explanation (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028353)

MOND evidently [arxiv.org] has [arxiv.org] problems [arxiv.org] ; while dark matter can explain both galactic rotation curves and cosmological behavior, MOND is hard to make consistent with both. (And it's also, I've heard, extremely hard to make consistent with any relativistic theory of gravity.)

As for the "apparent need" for FTL expansion in the early universe, by which I assume you mean inflation, some very specific predictions of inflation are now verified by WMAP [nasa.gov] , including the structure of the acoustic peaks in the CMBR angular power spectrum.

Wacky as they may seem, dark matter, dark energy, and inflation are the mainstream theories right now for a reason: the alternatives so far simply don't work as well.

Re:One possible explanation (4, Funny)

thephotoman (791574) | about 10 years ago | (#10028288)

But, given your first postulation, we have a problem:

Given: Photons are quantized light
Given: Light travels at c
Given: No massive particle can travel at or faster than c
Given: c is defined as the speed of light in a vaccuum

Postulated: Photons have mass

Therefore: Light has mass, as it consists of massive particles
Therefore: Light cannot travel at or faster than c
Therefore: The speed of light is less than c.

Therefore: c is less than c

ERROR: STACK OVERFLOW

Re:One possible explanation (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#10028405)

``Given: No massive particle can travel at or faster than c''

A few months ago, I read about an experiment in which the experimenters manage to slow down light. (I tried to find a link, but all of them are something else, e.g. not in vacuum)

Given that light can be slowed down, what reason have we to assume that c is not some slowed-down light speed?

Re:One possible explanation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028414)

Light can be slowed down in a medium, but c is by definition the speed of light in vacuum. The presence of charged matter can slow down light, but not speed it up, so the speed of light in vacuum is as fast as you can get.

Re:One possible explanation (2, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | about 10 years ago | (#10028449)

Given that light can be slowed down, what reason have we to assume that c is not some slowed-down light speed?

It is. You can get a very slight boost in the speed of light by suppressing quantum vacuum fluctuations (the Casimir effect).

Re:One possible explanation (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 10 years ago | (#10028422)

However, if light has mass, then space containing light is not a perfect vacuum, and thus, by definition, c in that space is less than the theoretical c. Oh, migraine....

Re:One possible explanation (1)

snake_dad (311844) | about 10 years ago | (#10028426)

What would the Sun care if the moon is in the path of its protons, one AU away? It'll emit not a proton less. Or did you mean a different source of protons?

the economist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028204)

being the normal place one reads about new physics. Hmm.

I know! (1)

gerf (532474) | about 10 years ago | (#10028354)

This one made my BRAIN HURT:

The Allais effect is a small additional acceleration, so tiny that it would take an apple about a day to fall from a tree branch if it were the only gravitational effect around.

Does this make sense to anyone? An effect having a physical size? That's like saying "I ran about a gravity yesterday, man I was tired."

Einstein's life times work (2, Insightful)

tjc0 (469450) | about 10 years ago | (#10028210)

ffs, all Einstein did is put together a unified theory of the universe based on knowlage of the time. He knew it wasn't the absolute theory of the universe and that it would be modified as time went by. Stop trying to dis. the guy and appreciate what he did.

so called paraconical pendula (4, Funny)

Artifakt (700173) | about 10 years ago | (#10028222)

According to the article, earlier results include those measured with "so called paraconical pendula". It's shocking to think that we have allowed ersatz paraconical pendula to be used in place of the genuine articles.
Mr. President, we must spend whatever is necessary to close the paraconical pendula gap.

Einstein would not be surprised (5, Interesting)

tarranp (676762) | about 10 years ago | (#10028230)

Einstein once said something along the following lines:

Testing theories is a very thankless task, because nature never says "yes." Usually nature says "no," meaning that a measurement contradicts a theories predictions.
Sometimes, nature says, "maybe," indicating that while the measurements are consistent with the theory.
But nature never says "yes," because your theory could be incomplete or erroneous but your instruments are either too inaccurate to detect the error, or you are not doing the right experiment.

Newtonian dynamics makes good enough predictions for alot of phenomena.

General Relativity is more precise in its predictions.

Given our difficulties in unifying it with quantum mechanics, it is likely that we don't have the right theory. As our instruments get more precise and we conduct more experiments, eentually we'll get a hint as to where we are going wrong.

Re:Einstein would not be surprised (5, Insightful)

Ignignot (782335) | about 10 years ago | (#10028346)

Exactly. There are almost certainly missing elements in the model for gravity, for quantum mechanics, and so on. Maybe sometime in the future someone will come up with a quantum - relativistic super duper theory that brings disparate theories together. Yes, some of that is what string theory is trying to do. In the end though, it is going to take a LOOONG time before advances in science can be applied to engineering. Finding new particles, finding dark matter, and finding where missing socks go have no real life application right now - and I can't even imagine one. Just as math was (and still is) far ahead of where science can go, science is far ahead of where engineering can go. The missing elements of models would be useful for abstract knowledge, but have no practical use right now or probably in the next century.

In other news... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028237)

Michael Moore visited a gravitometer station today, and just as he walked in, had the incredible fortune to witness the beginning of an unexplained gravitational anomaly event.

Re:In other news... (2, Funny)

Samlind1 (667119) | about 10 years ago | (#10028338)

He must have been close to GWB. Anything that dense is bound to affect a gravitometer.

Too easy, give me another..

Good reason for a mission to the Moon (4, Interesting)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | about 10 years ago | (#10028239)

If gravity is blocked by mass, this effect would be much easier to measure on the Moon during lunar eclipses than on Earth: the entire Moon is shadowed during many lunar eclipses whereas only part of the Earth is fully shadowed during even total eclipses, and the effect should be easier to measure against the smaller gravity of the Moon.

For real confirmation, an experiment on one of the Jovian moons would do nicely.

Yes, I'm serious about this. This is fundamental to our understanding of physics, which is in turn fundamental to our understanding of the origins, processes and fate of the universe. A billion to put a pendulum on the Moon would be money well spent.

Re:Good reason for a mission to the Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10028383)

If gravity is block by mass, we'd be lighter at night. The change at night should be bigger than during an elipse, yet no one has noticed it.

Re:Good reason for a mission to the Moon (3, Insightful)

visc (807113) | about 10 years ago | (#10028389)

Or, you could just do the test here on earth at night. Then the whole mass of the earth is between your apparatus and the sun.

I guess the reason that doesn't work is that thermal effects (like those that may be causing the Allais results) change everything at night, and it's too hard to distinguish a legitimate anomaly from some-thermal-effect-we-didn't-think-of.

Still, there's no need to go to Jupiter or even the moon; as a satellite in a higher and higher earth orbit checks the effect, the earth effects will drop off as 1/r^2 while the anomaly should remain constant.

and then there's this (0, Offtopic)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 10 years ago | (#10028252)

The next generation of penis enlargement spam:

The Oregon Vortex [oregonvortex.com] (for those who don't know, it's a visual anomaly ... could be fake, but I haven't heard either way)

Re:and then there's this (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 10 years ago | (#10028272)

addendum: Wikipedia commentary on the subject [wikipedia.org] (and a moment ago, wikipedia's main page was modified to show a moderately obscene image on the front page ...)

Re:and then there's this (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 10 years ago | (#10028434)

Sounds like a "Mystery Spot" to me. That used to be a franchised chain in Michigan.

Recursive Reality (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#10028263)

This just makes me think that, however refined your theory gets, there is a deeper level of complexity. You can get infinitely close to the truth, but never quite there. Fortunately, in Real Life, small errors aren't that noticeable. Except, of course, things like the small fraction of mass that gets converted into a massive amount of energy in nuclear reactions.

Gravity Probe B (5, Informative)

SamBeckett (96685) | about 10 years ago | (#10028286)

I wonder if Gravity Probe B [stanford.edu] will be able to measure this effect if it is still in working order next time an eclipse rolls around.

(Side note-- I never heard of this probe until I saw it in a magazine. Why not?)

what would Geordi do? (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | about 10 years ago | (#10028318)

Obviously we need to reconfigure the main deflector to send a pulse of inverted neutrinios back at the anomoly. Or something.

Is that like... (0, Offtopic)

csguy314 (559705) | about 10 years ago | (#10028374)

... involving a the Pioneer spacecraft.

Is that something like a the cheat? [homestarrunner.com]

Happens here all the time (0, Offtopic)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 10 years ago | (#10028413)

at this place [mysteryhole.com]

Possible explanation (4, Interesting)

Cassander (251642) | about 10 years ago | (#10028420)

Let's assume for the sake of argument for a second that gravity is a wave...

Could this be constructive interference caused by the collision of the gravity wavefronts from the sun and the moon when they are lined up just right?

Just a thought, the real explanation is probably much crazier.
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