Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The problem with Greece

The Problem with GreeceI think the party's overWoohoo! Cake!Designing the Euro 2/2Designing the Euro 1/2But will you still love me?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

CERN: ‘Speed of Light Exceeded’ (Maybe)

Sunlight to Earth, travel time

Sunlight (composed of photons) takes about 8 minutes, 19 seconds to reach Earth - Could a neutrino reach Earth faster?

The news from CERN physicists that the speed of light “may have been exceeded” sent a lightning bolt of excitement and disbelief (not quite surpassing the speed of light) throughout the world’s physics community.  Fully accepting that their results would be met with great skepticism, the same physicists are inviting other particle physicists and labs to verify — or disprove — their results, which, if validated, will overturn one of the principle tenets of modern physics: that nothing travels faster than the speed of light (notated as ‘c‘ in physical equations).

Based in Switzerland, CERN physicists were experimenting with neutrinos (a mysterious class of virtually massless particles) by shooting them to an underground detector located over 450 miles (730 km) away in Italy. According to the detector results, the quantum particle reached its destination 60 nanoseconds faster than would a particle of light — that’s 60 billionths of a second — with a margin of error of just 10 nanoseconds. That tiny amount of difference in timing is a huge deal.

According to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (from 1906), the speed at which light travels (whether as a wave form, or as a particle, known as a photon) is constant; no signal or flow of energy can surpass this cosmically limiting speed, which is rounded off to 186, 282 miles per second (decimal places excluded from that figure).

Some theoretical physicists (Feinberg, Sundarshan, etc.) had previously postulated a faster-than-light-speed particle — termed a tachyon — to explain bizarre phenomena such as bosonic ‘string’ theory and quantum entanglement (in which two coupled particles, widely separated, appear to “communicate” instantaneously). But modern quantum theory views such “particles” as representing or indicating an instability in the system (i.e., the tachyon field) and not “real” particles, thus incapable of faster than light transmission.

light cone

In the diagram, the interval AB is 'time-like'; i.e., there is a frame of reference in which events A and B occur at the same location in space, separated only by occurring at different times. If A precedes B in that frame, then A precedes B in all frames. It is hypothetically possible for matter (or information) to travel from A to B, so there can be a causal relationship (with A the cause and B the effect). The interval AC in the diagram is 'space-like'; i.e., there is a frame of reference in which events A and C occur simultaneously, separated only in space. However there are also frames in which A precedes C (as shown) and frames in which C precedes A. If it were possible for a cause-and-effect relationship to exist between events A and C, then paradoxes of causality would result.

No, the limiting nature of the speed of light (and its mediating particle) seems necessary for any cosmic, causal sense-making.

For physicist, the finite/constant speed of light (in a vacuum) is necessary to preserve “causality” in the normal sense of the word, wherein a ’cause’ precedes an ‘effect’. But, there is a theoretical paradox in which an effect precedes its cause (see the light cone diagram, left), and  in which “faster than light signals” can be sent back into one’s own past, creating a causal paradox (if, and only if, no previous signal was received).

There is also the odd phenomena in which the spot where the beam of a search light hits the bottom of a cloud can move faster than light when the search light is moved quickly (note: this effect/speed is not achieved in a vacuum).*

However, under controlled laboratory conditions, there has been only one serious, experimental challenge to this physical constant: in 2007, physicists working with Fermilab’s Tevatron collider (located in the U.S.), achieved a similar feat with neutrinos, but the margin of error was quite large, and consequently, the results were dismissed by the physics community (too much “noise” in the detectors’ data).

But CERN’s margin of error is much smaller. Currently, physicist the world over are either analyzing the results (for  errors), or trying to duplicate the results in other particle accelerators (such as the J-PARC neutrino collider system in Japan, which is conducting its own neutrino and antimatter experiment called T2K).

CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) is located outside Geneva, Switxerland, and is the world’s largest particle physics research laboratory and home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator (note: the LHC was not used in this experiment).

If verified, these experimental results would be “revolutionary” say scientists. Proving the existence of a faster-than-light-speed particle will not change how the Universe works, of course, but it will change our understanding of some of its fundamental features, the most fundamental of which (apart from the three Laws of Thermodynamics) is the speed of light, the square of which was introduced to the world’s consciousness through Einstein’s famous equation E = mc².

For more information and to see a video from CERN, check out the Huff Post article ‘CERN: Light Speed May Have Been Exceeded By Subatomic Particle’

* [source]: Salmon, Wesley, Four Decades of Scientific Explanation; referenced on  wikipedia.org, ‘speed of light’]

top diagram: (sunlight time to Earth) Brews ohare ; CC – BY – SA 3.0

bottom diagram: (light cone) r Sakurambo

Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/13k2p)

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Final Frontier Facts!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


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The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys (plural: fleurs-de-lis)  is a stylized lily (in French, fleur means flower, and lis means lily) or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry. It is represented in Unicode at U+269C in the Miscellaneous Symbols block.

While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context, and continues to appear in the arms of the King of Spain and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and members of the House of Bourbon. It remains an enduring symbol of France that appears on French postage stamps, although it has never been adopted officially by any of the French republics. According to French historian Georges Duby, the three leaves represent the medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought and those who prayed.

In North America, the fleur-de-lis is often associated with areas first named or settled by the French. In the US, they tend to be along or near the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Some of the places that have the fleur-de-lis in their flag or seal are the cities of St. LouisLouisvilleDetroit, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge and the states of Louisiana and Missouri. In Canada, the coat of arms for the provinces of (officially monolingualQuebec and (officially bilingual) New Brunswick contain the fleur-de-lis. There are many French-speaking people in other Canadian provinces for whom the fleur-de-lis remains a symbol of their cultural identity.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

the perfect Doodle ... Freddie Mercury 65 b-day anniversary

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν." "We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not." Heraclitus the Riddler

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman

100 Non-Fiction Books

Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize–winning economist, may have been the first modern-day Tea Partyer. In Capitalism and Freedom, published in 1962, Friedman makes his most important contribution to his profession: the argument that the best medicine for curing a recession and stabilizing economies is for a nation's central bank (the Federal Reserve for the U.S.) to be slowly but constantly increasing the amount banks are allowed to lend and therefore increasing the supply of money — but only in brief. Instead of economic proofs, Friedman spends much of the book urging government restraint; he starts off by condemning John F. Kennedy's famous "Ask not what your country can do for you" inaugural address, saying it reduces the individual to a serf with the government as his master. Friedman always thought it should be the other way around.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2088856_2089137_2089236,00.html #ixzz1WzTQKLMz

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's Always Summer

It's Always Summer, originally uploaded by brexians.

It's Always Summer

Heave the anchor short!
Raise main-sail and jib--steer forth,
O little white-hull'd sloop, now speed on really deep waters,
(I will not call it our concluding voyage,
But outset and sure entrance to the truest, best, maturest;)
Depart, depart from solid earth--no more returning to these shores,
Now on for aye our infinite free venture wending,
Spurning all yet tried ports, seas, hawsers, densities, gravitation,
Sail out for good, eidolon yacht of me!

by Walt Whitman

Friday, September 2, 2011

@ your service

@ your service, originally uploaded by brexians.

@ your service

ser·vice noun
Definition of SERVICE

a : the occupation or function of serving
b : employment as a servant
a : the work performed by one that serves
b : help, use, benefit
c : contribution to the welfare of others
d : disposal for use
a : a form followed in worship or in a religious ceremony
b : a meeting for worship —often used in plural
: the act of serving: as
a : a helpful act
b : useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity —usually used in plural
c : serve
: a set of articles for a particular use
a : an administrative division (as of a government or business)
b : one of a nation's military forces (as the army or navy)
a : a facility supplying some public demand
b : a facility providing maintenance and repair
: the materials (as spun yarn, small lines, or canvas) used for serving a rope
: the act of bringing a legal writ, process, or summons to notice as prescribed by law
: the act of a male animal copulating with a female animal
: a branch of a hospital medical staff devoted to a particular specialty

Rhino Crisis Round Up: Syndicate ‘Kingpin’ Denied Bail, Rhino Murdered in India, The Rhino Chair & More Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/13a6d)