More Words

When I was writing last night about words and how treacherous they can be  I forgot a massive one.  Sorry. But I wanted to finish NW and ND.

Some years back I got a piece of snail mail selling something that would cure some things that are everybody knows are simply incurable.  I cant see anyone but a dumbass Hoosier falling for this one, but terrified, desperate people will believe anything.

The writer of the letter proceeded pontifically that sometimes science is simply wrong, and that is true.  But the math simply is never wrong.

There was an experiment sometime before this where a laser was shot at an Einstein Bosen cloud.  Doesn’t matter what that is.  It’s just some particles that the experimenters wanted to see how fast could slow down the laser.

Since i’d read that far I continued reading what this goofball said.  I laughed when he claimed that the laser came out of the cloud 300 times faster than it went in. At first I couldn’t stop laughing because for that to happen effects would precede causes and that simply cant happen.  The laser would come out of the cloud before the laser was fired.  The experimenters suspected equipment problems but as it turned out it was just a 19th century classical wave interference reading that was machine error.  Then I thought it was funny.  Then I realized it was chilling.  In one semantic sense the laser traveled “faster than light” but it was machine error.  The writer conveniently left that out.

Here’s another one.  Anything with mass cannot travel at light speed but in theory it can travel 99.9999…%.  That’s called an asymptotical function.  Only massless particles like electrons, photons and neutrinos can travel at 100%c.  But these particles have different properties.

A photon of visible light can be stopped by a piece of black paper.  And photons are slowed down by the atmosphere,  more by a medium such as water.  A neutrino wont slow down at all.  They go thru the Earth all the time and we’re completely unaware of it.  It takes three cubic light years of lead to stop a neutrino.  A light year is about 6 billion miles, if it matters.

Now the point.  A neutrino never goes faster than 186,000 miles a second because it cant.   Still, a con man can say neutrinos can travel faster than light and they do when light is slowed by something like an atmosphere.  Maybe this would be clearer if we just state that nothing in the universe can travel faster than 186000 miles/sec, the speed of light in a vacuum.

But this is a very subtle, even brilliant con because semantically he is right.  A neutrino continues to go at light speed when light is slowed down by a piece of paper.  I guess this is why I wrote that post last night.  It’s because of words.  Truth is a lie and lies are truth.

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