* Posts by George Kapotto

12 posts • joined 3 Mar 2011

So, what IS the worst film ever made?

George Kapotto

The Postman

1. It stars Kevin Costner

2. It was directed by Kevin Costner

3. The BOOK was pretty good. The movie was a crime against humanity.

OPERA review serves up a feast for physics geeks

George Kapotto

Quantum Effect on Neutrinos?

For preamble, I once measured the speed of light to 4 significant digits. This was a royal pain in the arse as the undergrad lab setup was only good for 2 significant digits at best. I spent most of my report write up trying to explain away my accidental accuracy. Had I not done so, I would have been penalized for making ridiculous claims.

Relevancy? It highlights that looking in from the outside I am not going to come up with an explanation for experimental error down in the 5th or 6th digit. More knowledgeable and informed people will need to do that.

Now, my theory...

1. There is some evidence of neutrino mass although the result has an imaginary component (in the mathematical sense).

2. The speed of light is restricted to massless objects.

3. Relativity allows for tachyons but 'c' is a lower speed limit and higher speeds are actually associated with lower energies. (As E->0, v->infinity)

4. Neutrinos appear to oscillate between flavours (electron, muon or tau).

5. Energy must (probably) be conserved.

Hypothesis: At least one flavour of neutrino travels faster than the speed of light. Neutrinos oscillate in a quantum manner between between these flavours at a rate wherein the average speed over any significant time period is equal to 'c'.

The Opera observations are measuring a slight variance from 'c' because the location is close (in a scientific sense) to the source and the causative particle collisions preferentially create 'fast' neutrinos. Distance has been insufficient to average out the travel times to 'c' as has been observed in distant super-nova neutrino experiments.

Every good theory requires testable conditions so...

Neutrino observations will depend on separation, energy levels and particle collision type. Thus,

a) If there are accelerator and neutrino detection systems with different physical separations, the resultant neutrino speed delta should be non-linear with distance. (Closer = faster neutrinos but harder to measure.)

b) Paradoxically (or perhaps not so much), lower energy neutrinos (from lower energy collisions?) could produce a greater delta.

c) Collision experiments that preferentially produce different neutrino flavours should result in a different delta - including a strong possibility of sub-luminal neutrinos (which should be equally 'Gasp!' inducing.)

Hopefully at some point in the future, I can show my grandkids this post on a waybackmachine in some university basement and tell them, 'If I had stuck with my maths there could have been a Nobel in it for me...'

Room-temperature brown dwarf spied just 9 light-years off

George Kapotto

Point of order...

Finding a brown dwarf closer than our closest star would be quite a coup considering the closest known star is only 1 AU away from us. One would think that an even closer brown dwarf would have already been detected as a consequence of its gravitational influence. (Such as hurling the Earth out if its nice stable orbit into the deep cold of interstellar space.)

God particle back in hiding

George Kapotto

Since it is the 'God' particle...

...should existence not be taken on faith alone?

Experimental evidence would de-deify this particle and thus, to maintain its stature, it is clearly interfering with the results to obfuscate its own existence. Of course this in itself could be used as evidence.

(p.s. - Watch out for that zebra.)

Acoustic trauma: How wind farms make you sick

George Kapotto

"There is a huge amount of evidence, and it's incredibly convincing,"

...that coal fired generating plants produce massive amounts of pollutants and harm people in excess of 2000 metres from the power plant itself. I think much research should be done and strict regulations should be put in place before we come to rely heavily upon coal. Imagine if the secretive coal lobby hijacked national policy and started spewing nonsense messages about the merits and safety of their product while casting aspersions on the alternatives.

Thank goodness we haven't fallen prey to the blandishments of profit motivated industrialists.

'There's too much climate change denial on the BBC'

George Kapotto

re: 'climate is not chaotic'

In dismissing chaos, you invoke chaos as your opposing argument so what is your point?

From Wikipedia... (and yes I know it isn't authoritative but the wording was better than my own on short notice.)

"Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. ... This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos."

'Chaotic' emphatically does not equal 'random'. The trouble with predicting weather or other chaotic systems is that future states are divergent. More precise measurements will give better predictions as you stated but cannot guarantee long term forecasts. However, the potential states of a chaotic systems are still loosely constrained by limiting factors. These loose constraints can be considered the 'climate'. A study of weather trends can infer climate and typical weather conditions but will never predict, a priori, the exact amount of rain in Winchester on St. Swithun's Day, 2015.

When the limiting factors change, chaotic systems establish a new set of typical states (aka weather). Often they do not transition smoothly. Often they jump abruptly back and forth from one set of typical states to another.

Rant all you want about the currently 'stalled' global warming. (btw - Where is your evidence of that?) If anthropogenic climate change is real, we may encounter abrupt and catastrophic weather transitions on our way to a hotter and less pleasant planet interspersed with years of relative normalcy - until the new normal settles in for good.

Believe me or not as you choose. Your fundamental failure to understand even the basics of 'chaos' suggest an inherent inability to cogently debate the issue. Rebut all you want and good day...

CERN 'gags' physicists in cosmic ray climate experiment

George Kapotto
Black Helicopters

Any credible scientist...

...will acknowledge that correlation does not equate to causation. If there is something here, it should be validated before anyone jumps to conclusions.

Besides, it is all actually a covert strategy of the pro-AGW camp. For years now, the anti-AGW crowd has been contesting the accuracy of historical temperature records. To accept cosmic rays as a temperature driver, Anti-AGW-ers will need to endorse the proxy temperature records and them 'Bam!', cosmic rays will be discredited .

The Anti-AGW group will be forced to acknowledge the temperature record or look foolish, jumping back and forth between arguments of convenience to defend their position.

Don't get sucked in. Demand verification of cosmic ray causation before jumping on the bandwagon.

Vote now for the best sci-fi film never made

George Kapotto


(If the Canadian election had this many great candidates I wouldn't care who won.)

I wrestled with all the necessary criteria: Suspense, action, cool aliens, cool technology, a distinct and comprehensible ending that could translate to the silver screen (in < 3hours).

I had a personal favorite but the author's prose was so beautifully rich and the ideas so complex that I would likely have to burn the book after seeing what Hollywood did with it. (For those who remember, sort of like Postman. Damn you to hell, Kevin Costner!)

In the end, I discovered that my opinion was shared by many people so here's hoping that Hollywood is listening.

Airborne killer robot destroys Libyan anti-aircraft missile

George Kapotto

Too bad...

...this can't become an election topic in Canada. Our latest PM, a.k.a. the lying sack of dung, is busy telling us that we need to buy 65 shiny new F-35s to replace our aging F-18s to the tune of $75M per airplane. Oh and the annual maintenance is a pittance, really!

Of course, when the manufacturers are saying that we won't get them for a dollar under $115M - that is just quibbling over the sticker price.

Sounds to me like we are getting goosed for a product that will be obsolete before the new cockpit smell subsides.

NASA aims for space tests of Mars-in-a-month plasma drive

George Kapotto

Shorter Trip

39 days is a fairly short trip. even allowing for staging time at the ISS spaceport ;-) and prep time to land at Mars. The time in micro-gravity is on par with current ISS missions. Effects can be at least partially mitigated by currently known exercise regimes and equipment.

There will be no need for huge Space Odyssey-type spinning ship to simulate gravity.

btw - There is a Russian project going on right now where 'cosmonauts' are evaluating the psychological stress of a slow-boat mission to Mars. (365+ days in isolation if I remember correctly). They'll be pissed if no one ever actually spends that much time going to Mars.

Mind mapping for IT pros

George Kapotto


Freeplane is a fork of Freemind created by one of the original authors and is still file compatible. Apparently Freemind development was in the doldrums (by his opinion).

Cobalt-barrel machine guns could fire full auto Hollywood style

George Kapotto

I reject your thesis because...

It is clearly too logical and not sensational enough to be true. This is patently contrary to modern journalistic practices.

Next time try to include more Matrix references.


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