Thursday, September 22, 2011


In the distant days of my youth I was a pretty hotshot marksman. I could fire a bullet which was .3” in diameter and with decent frequency hit a beer can 1000 yards away. When I did not hit the can I certainly scared the hell out of it. A news release today makes that seem like not such a big deal.

Scientists think they measured a particle travelling faster than the speed of light. The speed is not the part that messes with my head. It seems that they fired a subatomic particle, a neutrino, at a laboratory 474 miles away and measured the elapsed time to within 10 nanoseconds of accuracy.

Wait a minute. This particle is so small that if they magnified it 10,000 times you still would not be able to see it, and they hit a target 474 miles away with it. How did the target lab even see the damned thing, and how did they know it was the same neutrino? I don’t think you can color code those little suckers, or paint numbers on them. And how do two labs 474 miles apart establish timing to within 10 nano-freaking-seconds?

Sometimes modern science just freaks me out.

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