February 23rd, 2012
01:22 PM ET

Oops! Speed of light may still be the limit

By Christopher Cottrell, CNN

It could have shaken the very cornerstones of modern physics but - oops! - it experienced some technical difficulties. An experiment suggesting that particles could travel faster than the speed of light had some potential flaws, scientists announced Thursday.

The contemporary understanding of how the universe works is based on Albert Einstein’s 1905 Special Theory of Relativity, which says the speed of light is a constant that cannot be exceeded - it's the universe's speed limit. To go beyond it would be to look back in time, the late German physicist said.

Scientists at OPERA – which stands for Oscillation Project with Emulsion-Racking Apparatus – were surprised last year to find that tiny particles called neutrinos were arriving at their destination faster than expected. They were tasked with tracking tiny particles as they soar through 730 kilometers of solid rock between a particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva and the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy.

The team then turned to the scientific community to confirm its results. Several institutions around the world are working to replicate the experiment.

But experts at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva said Thursday that their possible discovery might have been tainted by loose wiring.

Specifically, a loose fiber optic cable that synchronizes an external GPS signal to the master clock of its OPERA experiment might have caused their speed measurements to be off.

This important component, however tiny, helps keep the clock accurate to the nanosecond, or one billionth of a second.

CERN said in a statement Thursday that the clock “may not have been functioning correctly when the measurements were taken,” which could have caused the scientists to underestimate the time of flight of the elusive, faster-than-light neutrinos.

But another possible explanation is that an oscillator used to mark start and stop times for GPS synchronizations – basically, a very accurate stopwatch – malfunctioned and led scientists to overestimate the neutrinos’ flight time.

Either way, CERN says it is planning new tests for May to verify the cause of the mistake and determine just how this would have affected measurements.

“This is the normal process. This isn’t the first time that something could have affected the results,” Marsollier Arnaud, a press officer at CERN, told CNN. “They would like to redo the measurements with these two things properly calibrated.”

Only then will the thinkers at CERN know for sure whether a faulty oscillator or a loose cable affected their results. But even then, their findings will remain mere speculation until confirmed by other scientists.

“Only another measurement by another experiment can confirm or kill the measurements,” Arnaud said. “So even if they do all the checks they want, as long as they’re the only ones doing this measurement, we’ll still have doubts.”

Brian Greene, theoretical physicist at Columbia University, told CNN Light Years earlier this month that while it’s technically possible that neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light, it is very unlikely.

“I would bet just about anything that those experiments will not hold up to the kind of scrutiny that they need to be given to be believed,” Greene said. “There’s a huge amount of experimental evidence against the possibility that something would go faster than the speed of light.”

But Greene added that one of the most remarkable things about theoretical physicists is their ability to come up with new ideas when faced with data that runs afoul of widely accepted beliefs.

“They need to have completely independent confirmation by a separate experiment ideally using different experimental methods," Greene said. "And if that were to happen, that would make many of us sit up in our chairs or maybe even fall off our chairs."

In the meantime, CERN said there is enough to do to prepare for May.

“It’s a complicated experiment – there are many cables, computers and clocks and all these things,” Arnaud said.

CNN's Elizabeth Landau contributed to this report.

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter

soundoff (494 Responses)
  1. benefits of black currant oil

    of course like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the truth however I will definitely come back again.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  2. Miguel Cervantes

    I don't understand how the scientists could fail to compare their findings in the lab with the findings in the real world back in 1987. If they had bothered to compare the arrival times of the neutrinos & visible light from the supernova (Magellan Cloud 1987) and the difference in arrival times in their own experiments they would have quickly determined that something was drastically wrong. Based on their stop watch in the lab, and extrapolated back to 1987, the neutrinos would have arrived months, if not years, before the visible light announcing the supernova. If nothing else, it would have avoided some loss of credibility.

    February 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  3. H. B.

    This is a true story that can teach – one hopes.

    My father was a professor of Biochemistry at U. of Illinois medical school. (Long ago, I'll note.) In fact, my dad was one of the pioneers of that new science and wrote its first textbook somewhere in the '30's. There was a colleague of his named Andrew Ivy, who had come up with a cure for cancer, called Krebiozen. I think this was in the '50's.

    My father thought he was a quack. I asked him, "Why, then, do you go to his lectures and listen to what he says?"

    His reply was "Almost every scientist who has made a major discovery was deemed a quack in his own day. Only a few were proven right, especially in their own lifetimes. That's why I always listen to the quacks."

    As it turned out, Krebiozen was no cancer cure at all. That doesn't mean Dr. Ivy was a bad man. He simply wanted to cure cancer, and his intensity of desire made him swerve from the strict objectivity that science requires. He wasn't bad, but he was a quack, simply because he failed his science's rule about objective research. Which gave him, of course, erroneous results. Sure, he wanted the fame of finding the cure for cancer, but his main goal was the cure, not just the fame. He was sincere. But still a quack. My father, however, showed the full depth of commitment required of a scientist: don't judge too quickly. He wanted more than to accept the talk about quackery. He wanted to observe for himself and form his own opinion. Had Krebiozen worked, my father would have shared Dr. Ivy's happiness.

    Dr. Ivy genuinely believed his Krebiozen DID cure cancer. Which shows that belief has no place in science. His belief in the cure did not make it so. It only muddied the water for a time. In every other respect but this one, Dr. Ivy was a fine scientist.

    Scientists are human, and can fall victim to human frailties as much as anyone, but science isn't just making a discovery. It's proving its worth and solidity over and over that makes it become acceptable. No scientist is offended when other scientists test and retest what he has found. They welcome it. It's a necessary part of the scientific process. So skepticism about a discovery is perfectly normal. Among the public, this is hard to grasp. We don't approve of skepticism which is that probing, unless there's a reason to think someone is dishonorable. In science skepticism is vitally necessary. People don't get it. Everything my father discovered was subject to skepticism and testing and retesting – it was what he expected, and even WANTED. Without it, his new knowledge would never be confirmed.

    Errors can be made in science, and often are. The good part is that they not only are correctable, but that they WILL be corrected, in due time. Science is self-correcting.

    Wouldn't it be great if the rest of US were that way?

    February 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  4. MickCanberra

    Einstein was smart & right. Loose wires on multimillion dollar equipment are dumb and wrong...

    February 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  5. H. B.

    Science isn't concerned with what they're going to "believe." Science concerns itself with facts. While they may say they believe this or that, that's just a habit common to our everyday speech. What they mean is acceptance.

    Scientists here are just saying, in a nutshell, "We don't know anything about this yet, not for sure. We'll keep experimenting and we will wait till we can be pretty sure of what we will accept." That's what science is all about.

    The religious nuts here never subject their dogmas to the smallest tests of fact or truth. Believing without testing or questioning. That's what faith is all about. Nor is there any big problem with that, so long as there is no REASON to want to test a religious belief. When there is, it should be tested, particularly if they feel sure of the outcome. But they don't. They ARE sure of the outcome, and it means their dogmas can't hold up. If they still don't want to accept the evidence, fine, just don't dump it on the rest of us.

    On a faith-oriented site, this proselytizing is acceptable. It is NOT acceptable on a science-oriented site. Then it is pure, simple SPAMMING. Hostile spamming, at that. Don't let such comments get past the mediators. They try to filth up what other people find interesting. And they don't mind being arrogant about it.

    Religious liberties do NOT include the right to be intrusive.

    I recognize the virtue of wanting to keep the public informed about new developments and discoveries, but I'm beginning to think that it is basically unwise. People easily presume that they know better than the people who are conducting the sciences, and sometimes they draw outrageous conclusions, which other people then believe.

    It takes a scientist to fully understand scientific work. I'm not a scientist, but at least I know that much! I respect what they do, and find the discourse fascinating, but don't regard myself as having the standing to know their science better than they do. Most people don't share my caution or my respect; they have points to make and agendas to serve, and those are what count most to them. Few people are able – or even willing – to read about these things and not form a hard and fast opinion – therefore an incorrect one – about all of it. I think the general public may be well served by this openness, but I don't think the public has the maturity to just watch, and learn, and wonder. They leap to seeing conspiracies, or creation of black holes that'll gobble up the cosmos, or decry science as the work of some invisible malevolent dude. This openness of scientists only gives the public a small amount of knowledge, about a very few things, and from THERE, they take off on tangents that range from irrational to insane. They use the tiny bit of knowledge they have acquired, and use it in the stupidest ways possible.

    I don't want to miss out on the information, but I think it might be better than giving the public even more reason to live up to the worst in themselves. Sad, but true. We have the finest brains of any known creature, yet we wallow in abusing our own capacity, embracing our ignorance, rather than learning a lot more in order to reduce that ignorance. It takes great hatred to be "ignorant-and-proud."

    They say "a little knowledge can be dangerous." From how people talk in these science sites, I see how true it is. The first thing a little knowledge should teach people is how to go and get MORE knowledge, not less.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • david

      You, my friend, hit the nail on the head!!!

      February 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Easternsailor

      If we have faith then we walk by faith as our Father and not by sight! Saint John Paul I I has said when he was Pope, Do not be afraid! The true freedom is the freedom without sin and not the ape always promised and it's still it! It lives in the material world! The Lord Jesus have taught us, Let your treasure where your heart is and the worm can never touch!

      February 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  6. bloodua

    Hi. Guys. I am from Ukraine and I have been studying English just for half year. So could tell me in simple sentences what are you talking about?

    As far as I understood from video, neutrino particle has speed more than light, because it does not have weight?

    February 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  7. John Hunter

    Speed-of-Light in WHAT?

    As I recall, Mr. Einstein was very specific about the conditions under which the maximum speed of light could be achieved - in a "Vacuum". Without the benefit of understanding that a vacuum is really space peppered with Dark Matter, Einstein drew the most logical conclusions possible in the context of scientific-knowledge of his day. Since we currently have no handle on this dark stuff, why would we assume that light might travel faster through it than through solid rock? As counter-intuitive as it may seem, rock may be a better medium for conducting neutrinos than a Vacuum with its Dark Matter coefficient-of-drag. This would leave the Einstein theory in tact, with added qualification on the conditions for maximum speed.

    February 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  8. COT

    When you drive around a burnt out, P-O-S, '85 Ford Escort that leaves a light blue cloud of smoke in its wake none of this really matters.

    February 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  9. John

    Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light per the mathmatics involved. The speed is distance divided by TIME. Time is not a constant. So the maximum speed it directly related to the rate of time the object exists in. The farther away you get from a gravity souce the slower time moves. We take 2 of our best clocks and raise one 12 inches and they become out of sync, our sattelites must adjuct constantly to the different rate of time. This is just from the gravity of our own planet. The gravity effects of a sun a million times larger than our own or a black hole must have a massive effect on the rate that time passes. The notion that the speed of light remains relative, is only half the story.

    February 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  10. Nick

    They should just have someone watch for the particles to come across the finish line and then call the guys working at where they were sent from and ask how long it's been. Should be an easy way to check it.

    February 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  11. Genoius

    Einstein should consider himself lucky that I was born a few decades after him, else it could well have been my theories that would be the final word today.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  12. Ravi

    Hear about the physicist who was stopped for running a red light? He explained the Relativistic Doppler effect to the cop. He convinced the cop he was driving so fast that the Red appeared Green. So the cop gave him a ticket for Relativistic Speeding.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • MR

      Oh.so thats the what your recent ticket was all about. So earlier when u told me, you got a speeding ticket for no reason, you LIED!

      February 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • John

      Green is a lower frequency than red, If he where driving really fast toward the light it would shift into a color higher in frequency, not lower.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  13. Wobbles

    Han Solo says that the Millennium Falcon exceeds the speed of light by several orders of magnitude. Obi Wan concurs. What's good enough for Obi Wan is good enough for me.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  14. MR

    100 light years have passed since Einstein passed away and we still argue about the findings.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  15. Dearest Puppy

    WARP SPEED IS NOT A HOAX.

    February 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  16. Gregg

    I just don't get it. Isn't it all relative? Two light particles, leaving the sun surface on opposite sides – aren't they then traveling away from each other at twice the speed of light?

    February 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • MR

      depends on how fired up both of those particles are...

      February 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  17. engineer long time

    Sounds like research as usual. They are doing what a good researcher should do....Don't understand why this artical contains "oops".......

    February 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  18. Bruce Rubin

    The only thing this proves is that scientists who claim Einstein was wrong based on an experiment with loose wires also have a few loose wires other than in the experiment.

    February 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  19. Jennifer

    "a loose fiber optic cable that synchronizes an external GPS signal to the master clock of its OPERA "

    Why isn't it multiple redundant???

    February 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  20. GozieBoy

    I'm not a nuclear physicist, but if the nutrino's travel time was OVER ESTIMATED, wouldn't that result in a calculated speed SLOWER than reality, not faster? Okay, maybe I am smarter than a nuclear phisicist, or at least a CNN "journalist".

    February 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  21. LL72

    This is very exciting stuff! I'm very pleased that the desire for knowlege leads people to make discoveries about the universe around us. Hopefully we'll be able to use this knowledge to take a peek around the solar system more efficiently. Yeah, it's a childish sentiment. Stuff like this makes me giddy though. 🙂

    February 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  22. Unsmart

    Science is a never ending search for truth – but lets not pretend that it is truth. And how arrogant, ignorant and naive to assume that anoyone that disagrees with a theory is ignorant of truth. The fact that Einstein's theory is being questioned is proof that science is not truth.

    We are all equally clueless and finite.

    February 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  23. Jorge

    Albert Einstein theorized that the speed of light could not be physically surpassed, yet all his critics have not been able to refute his theory. Nikola Tesla proposed alternating current as a safe, efficient form of power transmission, yet Thomas Edison futilely tried to discredit him. Werner Von Braun, father of the U.S. space program, was treated like a prisoner of war and obscured by the Army for 20 years, despite the fact that he surrendered himself and all his work to the U.S. in order to prevent it from falling into Soviet hands.
    I wonder where this country would be without the efforts of minority immigrants, in spite of it's traditional besmirchment of them.

    February 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  24. That's What's Up

    Light Speed always makes me bust a nutrino

    February 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  25. Diane Schober

    Nikola Tesla said things can move faster than the speed of light. He called it ether – energy – AC field. Gravity is the absorption of ether; flows through matter. Acceleration – matter flows through ether.

    February 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  26. Deathstalker

    Good for them good for America. I hope they prove something can go faster then light. Then maybe it will be possible in a million years to travel back in time.

    February 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  27. sam

    I just find it hard to understand why we would come to a conclusion that the speed at which light travels is the absolute maximum. Like sound, light travels in waves. If you could travel from the source of a wave faster than the waves are traveling, when you stop, you would merely observe those waves a second time from that particular vantage point. You would not be in the past any more than you would be if a person down the street is playing basketball and the sound of the ball is delayed.

    February 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • LL72

      Obviously, I'm no physicist, but Einstein had reasoned that light speed was "the limit" for physical objects because it would take an infinite amount of energy in relationship to mass to accellerate a physical object to light speed. Since movement is always initiated by some form of energy, I think that him implication that there's not enough juice out there to send any solid object, however small, any faster. Of course, if we could get Scotty from Star Trek to come on board with this project, I think we'd be golden.

      February 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  28. Chi-Easternsailor Tran

    How can we go back in time? Not the dumb Einstein's Relativity! No man has made the rocket that can travel in the light speed and if you can then watch out for asteroids in the galaxy! The someones can travel in the light speed and no way to come back in time! If you study the geometry if two lines are parallel then they never meet! Relativity equation only the ape doctrine and the ape is always the ape! God made man like His image and not ape! And if someones can travel from one galaxy to another one! If without God's will then it turns & burns and become nukes! Would you like to back where is wars, tears and sorrows? Not me!

    February 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • David

      I feel dumber having read that!

      February 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • PABLO

      Think hard and try to make a comment that makes sense.

      February 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  29. BC

    Fundamentals of physics almost thrown out the window due to loose wiring – that's classic.

    February 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  30. Freddo

    The assertion that the speed of light is an absolute limit is as primitive a perspective as claiming the earth is the center of the solar system.

    While it may be true within the domains we currently understand, we can't make that claim for the domains we don't even know about. By definition, if we don't know about their existence, we can't make any assertions about them.

    Einstein blew Classical Mechanics out of the water. Someday, the same will happen to his theories. Next week, next year, next century, next millenium...who knows when. But to claim we've hit the wall is just ... foolish.

    And Neanderthal.

    February 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Chi-Easternsailor Tran

      Good point! The ape is the butcher! In the Book of Revelation, God the Holy Spirit told St. John, the Beloved Disciple wrote down what you see; the lake of fire is for the wicked... And no more the wall, no more manipulator, and no more deceiver...

      February 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • PABLO

      I can tell that you tried hard to sound like a enlightened intellectual but I'm afraid you ignorance still shows thru.

      February 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
      • Easternsailor

        Ignorance can be teach! Stupid is it! God never force any one to follow Him! That's why man are the most intelligent and thief has none!

        February 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  31. Miguel Cervantes

    Ok....but we still need to reconcile the neutrinos that arrived in 1987 in advance of the light arriving form the super nova in the Magellan Cloud. Were the light rays so distorted by gravitational tugs back and forth through space that it delayed their arrival to earth so significantly after the neutrinos had arrived?

    And if neutrinos have virtually no mass to speak of, and travel through rocks & human beings at the speed of light, and actual light is subject to space distortions, shouldn't we say the universe's speed limit is the speed of neutrinos?

    February 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  32. Ross

    Why does the article refer to him as a German. He became a US Citizen in 1940...

    February 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  33. Bozo the Clown

    And this affects my copious consumption of vodka tonight how?

    February 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  34. David

    DAMN!!!! Anyone want to buy some neutrinos?

    February 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  35. jon

    The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whizz
    As fast as it can go, the speed of light, you know
    Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is

    – "Galaxy Song" from Monty Python's, The Meaning of Life

    February 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  36. Jack Skellington

    I can run faster than the speed of light but I just don't want to.

    February 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  37. David

    What these guys are going to do in May is fire off the neutrinos that are going to travel back in time to be "caught" last year . . .

    February 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  38. Strange1

    I wonder if Jesus was pitching a no-hitter in the bottom of the 9th with two outs and God is at the plate with a full count, what would he throw? If Jesus throws God a fastball clocked at the speed of light, could God hit it out of the celestial park with greater velocity? Do you suppose Santorum could explain a scientific test with a way to quantify the results? And whose side would Bachmann pull for? Would Romney discover a new American religion and change the parameters of the game and put in a new pitcher? I'm so confused these days.

    February 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Norm

      No matter what JC threw, God would miss it on purpose. He's still his Dad and nothing makes a Dad happier than seeing His Son happy.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • Ol' Yeller

        I don't know... a Dad who would allow his sone to be crucified, might shoot for the upper decks.

        February 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  39. Bryan

    Instead of testing a genius' theory about the speed of light, why aren't scientists figuring out how to make everyday things move near the speed of light? Like cars, tax paperwork, and Congress.

    February 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  40. RinosRwinos

    I want to know what the fine is for going the speed of light on the freeway. Can you pay in installments?

    February 24, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  41. Dave

    What is the cost/benefit of spending billions on this? Just curious...

    February 24, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • John

      Learning how the electon works and how to manipulate it gave us light, computers, and the power grid. Splitting the atom gave us nuclear power and the unimagined power of the atomic bomb. If we can learn half as much about the other particles in the Atom, we can manipulate gravity and perhaps time itself. Controlling gravity would change our world more than discovering electricity did. The uses for power and travel are unlimitted. These secrets are contained in the atom, that is why they are studying it.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  42. swschrad

    silly dreamers. 186,000 miles per second is not just a good idea, it's the law!

    February 24, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  43. enaud

    The world is flat

    February 24, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  44. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    What, no FTL drives? How are we going to colonize Giedi Prime?

    February 24, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  45. LuisWu

    I find it hard to visualize this, since the speed of light is actually relative to a given point in the Universe. For example, if a space ship is traveling near the speed of light, we need to know in what reference. In reference to the Earth? But the spacecraft may be traveling slower in reference to, say... the Orion Nebula. It"s my understanding that nothing can travel faster than light in ANY reference. Confusing.

    February 24, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Freddo

      The claim that NOTHING can travel faster than the speed of light in any reference is simply ... bull.

      An accurate claim would be ... our current understanding is that it's not possible to exceed the speed of light.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Steve

      No matter how fast your traveling, in whatever direction you choose, if you measure the speed of light in a vacuum, it will ALWAYS be the same. Relative to whatever frame of reference you happen to be in. Given that (experimentally proven) fact, special relativity explains what actually happens, so the universe still makes sense. Things like time dilation, and length dilation... read "Relativity" by Einstein. He explains it quite clearly.

      February 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  46. goofball66

    Light speed is a hoax.

    February 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • captainroadbeard

      the Uncertanty Principle is a hoax. Only apes destroy what they measure.

      February 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • DOah!!!!

      All Science is a hoax!

      February 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
      • Johns George Vanderbilt

        These are the kind of ignorant comments that make America look stupid and naive.

        February 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
      • metaphorical

        How can you be sure that DOah is an American?

        February 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • urmomlol

        If Jesus had wanted us to travel faster than light, he would have told us how when he wrote the bible!

        February 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
      • tif31

        @ urmomlol
        Jesus didn't write the bible.

        February 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
      • EnKiu

        Jesus did not tell us how to do FTL travel. Jesus wanted us to find FTL travel all by ourselves... and if we can not, Jesus wanted us not to have it. It is a Divine IQ test.

        February 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • tcspins

      People who have achieved the highest degree (so far) of evolution understand that science is the true source of knowledge. For those who question the validity of science, think about this (yes, think) – reseach science strives to understand the universe and all the biologicals that inhabit it through rigorous testing of hypothesis. Applied science takes those results and creates ideas and things (like computers). Some of those things are good (the Internet) and some are bad (the internet) but that speaks to human frailty and not the validity of the science. Therefore, if science were not real, no one (including anti-science idiots) would be able to express their opinion on the Internet because science is the reason it exists. Last time I checked, the Internet was not created within the biblical 7 days.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • NotaUS

        god and religion is an illusion made by man, based on the fear of death and nothingness, and a way to keep man away from doing bad things like murder..because then you will go to hell and not heaven when you die...etc

        science is all based on seeking proof...and no scientist has ever proven that god exist

        February 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • zozo

        Yep.. that's why a great scientis once said:
        “A little science estranges a man from God. A lot of science brings him back.”
        (I am sure you can google and find out who the guy was who said this)

        February 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • slicky

        And no scientist has proven that God doesnt exist.. according to your argument, he must exist because of the failure to prove his nonexistance. dumb ass.

        February 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • NotaUS

        @slicky
        i guess you misread, i said: 'and no scientist has ever proven that god exist' NOT '...that God doesnt exist'
        scientists are not trying to roll him OUT of the universe...but prove if hes actually IN the universe

        February 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • dr André Kruger

      These comments make Americans look stupid and naive

      February 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • HurtfulTruth

      You ARE aware that LIGHT travels at "light speed"........right??!!

      February 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • PABLO

      Even thought your comment makes no sense Goofball, what is the truth?

      February 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • nicko_paul

      1905 Einstein Brain vs a Billion Dollar Instrument together with Scientists from all walks of life.

      It's like Einstein vs the World.

      Einstein proved his Theory of Relativity with no help from any high tech equipments.

      CERN has difficulty in analyzing and interpreting what they had just discovered using their state-of-the art LHC.

      What's the verdict here?

      February 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • Easternsailor

        You are right! Einstein Theory of Relativity is for those anti-Christ. In Physics, the machine need energy to run and its equation never like that! Einstein is the false prophet and kill so many man, women & children from the WW II and until now and we are human and we are suffered from Radiation from Atomic Bomb! The Atomic Bomb is damaged the Ozone and the freezing cold from space make the weather more unpredictable and in the summer it can not block the harmful sun's ray as it's used to!

        February 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  47. Doc Brown

    The speed of light is <=88mph! How else would I have gotten Marty back to 1955?

    February 24, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • goofball66

      By hitching a ride on Santorum's campaign bus.

      February 24, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • John in Houston

        Normally I dislike political commentary in non-political stories but that made me laugh out loud...

        February 24, 2012 at 11:32 am |
      • NTAC

        Well played goofball66. Good stuff.

        February 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • scuba

        LOL! Awesome!

        February 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • Rich

        Yeah, wrong place, but a great comment. Made me chuckle.

        February 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • booyeah!

        Hahaha, Fantastic goofball!

        February 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • Jack Be Humble

        I'd rather ride in the kennel on top of Romney's Station Wagon... but sadly, Mormons never exceed the posted speed limit, so 88mph is out of the question.

        February 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • Bruce Rubin

        Good comeback

        February 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bubo's Girl

      I love that!

      February 25, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  48. ArchieDeBunker

    This article illustrates very well how the scientific method works – with scientists checking each others' work and all points of view being considered and tested. In contrast to this is the way the "junk science" about global warming is being conducted. The folks that so desparately want you to believe that Global Warming is a real threat to life everywhere and is caused by man burning fossil fuels violate many of the most important precepts of the Scientific Method: 1) they started out with the conclusion that Global Warming is far greater than has been demonstrated, 2) they had already concluded that this warming is caused by man's activities, 3) they continue to cherry-pick the data and throw out any piece of data that contradicts the conclusion they had already made before they started, 4) they refuse to publicize ALL the data – only that which supports their conclusions, 4) they refuse to consider the work of opposing scientists, 5) their "colleagues" are politicians who want to use the manufactured Global Warming Crisis (AHHHH!) to give the Government more power to dig into the pocket books of citizens – illustrating a time-proven truth that whenever politicians get into bed with "scientists" the "baby" that is created is always a monster, and it's the citizens who end up getting the shaft.

    February 24, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Jim

      Pursuant to the scientific method, please produce some evidence to back up your claims.

      February 24, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • We read

        Jim,
        Get your head out of the sand! Global warming and cooling has been happening forever. Today it is big business cashing in on fear tactics!

        February 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
      • Jim

        We read: I believe that you're the one with your head in the sand.

        February 24, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • JoJo Bindings

        Lack of evidence does not always equate to lack of truth. Conversely, following the scientific method and producing evidence does not always lead to reliable facts. In other words, your *religion* of science is not the ultimate source of truth.

        February 24, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • ArchieDeBunker

        Jim – the evidence is right before your eyes – or rather it's NOT before your eyes – an that's the problem!! Go back through all the archives of CNN, NBR (National Biased Radio) or any other news source you can find and locate any (even 1) article where the Global Warming lobby has carefully analyzed any of the many papers, books, speeches, etc. that give very good, sound, scientific (with mathematics – yeah! actual mathematics!) evidence to show that man-caused global warning is impossible. Find an article on any of the news sources that specifically shows how the scientific method has been used to disprove these inconvenient facts – Global Warming has never come after a buildup of CO2 in the history of the planet – the waming always causes the buildup of CO2; the volumetric analysis of CO2 produced from fossil fuels as a fraction of the total amount atmospheric gas is so miniscule that it could not possibly be responsible for any sort of global warming; although the amount of ice in the arctic may be decreasing, the amount of ice in the antarctic is increasing. No, rather than discussing these things and being totally forthcoming with their own methods of analysis of data from NASA and other sources, the Global Warming crowd simply acts as though anyone who doesn't believe their conclusions is simply daft. This avoidance of any serious discussion of the opposite point of view is, in itself, evidence that Global Warming "scientists" are trying to obscure the facts and force us to accept a theory that is FAR from proven.

        February 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Drowlord

      I wouldn't call it junk science. Unfortunately, it's one of those areas where science, politics, and money are tightly entangled. Parts of the scientific community have agreed to fraudulently exaggerate elements of it. Parts of the scientific community have agreed to mislabel elements of it. A lot of fraudulent work has been done to support it. A lot of research has been funded to debunk it. There are good reasons to mistrust any angle on the topic.

      Overall, I'd say that most scientists believe that we have climate change, and that at least some aspects of it can be directly attributed to human endeavor, and that climate change poses some risk to ourselves and the biosphere. And that appears to be the best information we have on the subject, and we should act accordingly.

      However, I would really like to see science on the topic that is clearly untainted by money and politics done by reputable scientists (i.e. not PhD candidates with a degree in "environmental" anything - who effectively have a degree in political action, rather than science) and not funded by energy companies or Greenpeace.

      February 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Dave

      I'll bet who you work for explains your own biased view...who do you work for?

      February 24, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • JohnW

      When you consider that 98%+ of scientists working in the field believe global warming is real and that we're accelerating it, if not causing it, I would have to say that your reasoning is seriously flawed. Most scientists that speak out against it are working in fields unrelated to climate, being funded by oil/tobacco companies (or several Koch industries), or in many cases both. Do a little research that isn't cherry-picked yourself and you'll see the truth.

      February 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • Ally

        I've bene hearing that 98% stat floating around lately. I don't know where it came from, but I work in the field. And if I had to put a number out there I'd say maybe 30% of my collegues think man-made global warming has been proven.

        The biggest problem IMO is the media. People that don't study weather and climate write articles with half truths and full on inaccuracies and the public has nothing else to go on.

        February 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • Norm

        The key word is "working". Of course they support it because it puts food on their table. And they'll continue to support it as long as there's money to be had with more research grants and speaking fees and book deals.

        February 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • tffl

      JoJo Bindings – science, with its emphasis on evidence and explanations is _much_ more likely to find actual truth then your religion of *religion*, which just presents untested (and untestable) statements (often statements of a fairly extreme nature that wouldn't pass an Occam test) as facts, and demands that you accept those statements as true with no justification...

      February 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jake Ryan

      That's all well and good, minus the fact that global warming and climate change have been happening on Earth since it's inception. It may not be caused by humans to the extent that the media sometimes makes it out, but we are definitely speeding up the process.

      At any rate, this article is about the speed of light so I say we focus on that.

      February 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Willsee

      ArchieDeBunker, exactly what does your opinion have to do with measuring the speed of neutrinos? The fact that you posted your rant on a random topic proves that all must ignore your opinion. Go post your rant on some right wing political site.

      February 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Thirstycamel

      I'll tell you what's faster than the speed of light – biased political commentary unrelated to the article in nearly every comment section on the internet.

      February 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • D3nn1s10

      Okay, you may not believe in Global climate change. There is different facts to support that climate change is normal in earths history, but at the current moment it is being accelerated. If you still don't believe that, okay. Though I personally believe, and I hope you believe in it too, is that we would all like to have cleaner air for our children and their children after, and to preserve the earth to accommodate our growing population. And in order to do that we must make a change of our actions, so we can have clean air, and to accommodate our population, and to prevent/stop global change (in your case as you don't believe it, just a safety measure to make sure we don't go down that road). I hope you like I, want to see our children to live a better and healthier lives.

      February 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • Ol' Yeller

        What! Save the environment for my children and grandchildren and take a hit on profit margins today. That's a tough one; so you must be a communist pinko, treehugging, lib.

        February 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • D3nn1s10

        i'm sensing sarcasm

        February 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • John

      You have no buisness talking about science when all your rediculous points come from a poltical drug addict on am radio.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
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