Saturday, 25 February 2012

Was Einstein wrong - or was the cable loose?

The world of science was upended last year when an experiment appeared to show one of Einstein's fundamental theories was wrong - but now the lab behind it says the result could have been caused by a loose cable.

Physicists at the CERN laboratory near Genevaappeared to contradict Albert Einstein last year when they reported that sub-atomic particlescalled neutrinos could travel fractions of a second faster than light.

Einstein had said nothing could ever travel faster than light, and doing so would be like traveling back in time.

But James Gillies, a spokesman for CERN, said on Wednesday the lab's startling result was now in doubt.

Earlier on Wednesday, ScienceInsider, a website run by the respected American Association for the Advancement of Science, reported that the surprising result was down to a loose fibre optic cable linking a Global Positioning System satellite receiver to a computer.

Gillies confirmed that a flaw in the GPS system was now suspected as a possible cause for the surprising reading. Further testing was needed before any definite conclusions could be reached, he added.

The faster-than-light finding was recorded when 15,000 neutrino beams were pumped over three years from CERN to an underground Italian laboratory at Gran Sasso near Rome.

"A possible explanation has been found. But we won't know until we have tested it out with a new beam to Gran Sasso," Gillies told Reuters in Geneva.

Physicists on the experiment, called OPERA, said when they reported it last September that they had checked and rechecked over many months anything that could have produced a misreading before announcing what they had found.

A second test whose results were announced in November appeared to provide further evidence that neutrinos were travelling faster than light. But many experts remained sceptical of a result that would have overturned one of the fundamental principles of modern physics.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

'Businessman' throws rules to the winds..!

HYDERABAD: Whether 'Businessman' that is being touted as the 'biggest box office hit' in the 81-year-old history of the Telugu film industry' is the subject matter of debate, but surely Mahesh Babu-starrer is breaking rules.
The movie has violated provisions of the Cinematograph Act and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has been taken for a ride. This pertains to the title of the movie. The CBFC cleared the movie with the title 'The Businessman' but the filmmakers have dropped 'The' on their own. The publicity of the film is being done without the definite article.
In fact, the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce, too, through a letter on January 1, 2011 had cleared the registration of the film title as 'The Businessman'. The title was also renewed up to April 22, 2012.
However, the definite article is missing from the posters and other publicity material of the movie which was released on January 13. Curiously, a set of publicity posters submitted to the CBFC for certification carry the full title.
According to sources, such violation - publicizing a movie with change in title - is an offence and punishable up to three years of imprisonment and also with a fine. Clearly, R R Movie Makers, the producers of the film, showed no respect for rules and regulations as laid down by the Cinematograph Act.
The movie which is running for the successful fifth week has also courted controversy for other reasons. Another glaring omission was 'A' certification. A film which is given 'A' certification is meant for only adults. This prompted some activists to lodge a complaint with the police.
Taking objection to the lyric 'Bad boys...' in the film, VHP activists also lodged a complaint with the police. But the police failed to take these violations to the notice of CBFC. The length of cuts the film was subjected to by censors shows to what depths film director Puri Jagannadh stooped to in projecting obscenity, including liberal doses of 'f...' word.
Strange as it seemed, film hero Mahesh Babu justifies the existence of the mafia in settling problems. In the film, the hero even goes to the extent of suggesting that those who do not have a purpose in life would do better to commit suicide rather than be a burden on the earth.