It’s always the small stuff. . .

Six months ago, the physics world was aflame with news that neutrinos may travel faster than the speed of light!  If true, the results would overturn a century of theoretical physics and dramatically shift our understanding of the universe.  Plus, humans might be able to travel to a galaxy far far away.  Alas, it appears that the error was introduced by . . .  loose cables?!?!  Improperly tightened cables introduced a 60ns delay into the timing measurements, which would account for the vast majority of the observed “time shift”.  Anyone that has ever debugged something on the bench can relate:  a intermittent power connection; a cold solder joint; or a hairline fracture can cause nonsensical results that can waste hours and days.

So our understanding of how the universe works is back on solid ground, due to diligent engineering and the operation of the scientific method.  BUT. . . there is more to the story.  During the exploration that uncovered the loose cable issue, another small error that would shift the results back into the sci-fi realm was discovered.  Science never sleeps, and the bench-top gremlins are never defeated, only pushed back for a while.  I can’t wait to see the next chapter in this fascinating story.

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