(Shark) Bait and Switch

Hello, friends!  For those in tune with the nerd zeitgeist, we just came off a week where it was hard to get friends to do things other than watch TV.  Take this example: my best friend Michael and I were trying to schedule a Robin Williams retrospective, and we invited our friend Heather.  Heather’s response? “It is shark week if ya’ll think I’m leaving the house then your brains need to be checked”.Read More »

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Punked

The past two weeks have been turbulent for mainstream science journalism. On July 28th, NASA released the results of a study testing a new form of rocket motor that purports to use “quantum vacuum plasmas” to produce thrust without propellant, an apparent violation of the law of conservation of momentum.  According to the mainstream media, the tests were a resounding success.  “NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever” crowed Gizmodo.  “Nasa validates ‘impossible’ space drive” screamed Wired.  “‘Impossible’ Space Engine May Actually Work, NASA Test Suggests” proclaimed Space.com. For those of us–like me–who spend lots of time surfing the interwebs and love physics, the past two weeks have been an exciting time of thrills and new possibilities.  I myself jumped on the bandwagon on Twitter, tweeting “RIP Conservation of Momentum 1670-2014”.  In conversations with my friends, I referred to these results to a 21st century Young’s Experiment that could lead to huge new discoveries unlike anything previously predicted.  Maybe this was evidence of the multiverse and momentum is conserved across parallel universes (an imaginative idea to say the least).  I walked around feeling like a revolution was coming in physics, high off of the thrill of new ideas.

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