When Science Becomes a Hoax

The other day a friend posted an interesting article.

Researchers at CERN break “The Speed of Light”. I am no Sheldon Cooper but I was very interested. I read the article and what it proposed sounded reasonable. I certainly couldn't verify it one way or another with my knowledge of physics and the experiment itself. To be fair the article and the scientists involved expressed extreme caution and recommended rigorous testing of what they think they found. Anyway, someone else who read the post noted that its post date was April 1st 2018. http://www.physics-astronomy.org/2018/04/breaking-researchers-at-cern-break.html Hmmm, so I did a quick search and found 2 interesting things. 1) The original finding/article dated from around 2011 (ish). 2) The results had already been "debunked" several times over with the cause of the "finding" coming down to a loose cable (OMG).


http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/06/once-again-physicists-debunk-faster-light-neutrinos So why did the folks at physics-astronomy.org, on the face of it a potentially legitimate web site, post 7 year old news that was wrong? The obvious is that it was a very lazy April Fools joke. They don't even bother with a "gotcha" anywhere on the page. I guess my point here is that spotting that something is "too good to be true" can be difficult. But it can also be fairly easy once your mind has made that initial step of skepticism. I just Googled "Did CERN really prove that neutrinos travel faster than light" and all the proof I needed popped up. My point is also, today's science can be tomorrow's hoaxes and, strangely, vice-versa. Be skeptical. The truth is often far more interesting than the myth.


David

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