So you say you don’t dig quaternions? Well, as my mother would say, tough bunnies to you. Here’s some other stuff you may dig, whether you like quaternions or not.
- Did a potential doomsday comet come within a whisker of Earth in 1883? Probably not, as Phil Plait the Bad Astronomer explains.
- I admit I’m still in the skeptic camp on the whole faster-than-light neutrino results from OPERA, but I sincerely hope I’ve never come across as saying the experimentalists missed something obvious. In fact, it seems to me that they did very well at covering a lot of the angles, but a paper came out last week insinuating that they had screwed up in a very basic way, which got a disproportionate amount of attention (in my opinion). Chad Orzel takes arrogant theorists to task, who seem to think experimentalists don’t know what they’re doing.
- In terms of the previous item, I don’t think the real problem with the ArXivBlog is that its writer isn’t a physicist, but that he doesn’t check up on his story sufficiently well. If you aren’t a specialist, you need to make an extra effort to get your facts right. Here’s an example of making blatant elementary errors in scientific reporting: an Atlantic article on dark energy. Davide Castelvecchi has more on the article and its author.
- On an interesting interdisciplinary note, here’s a fascinating experiment in which bacteria in a culture create wave patterns. This is another example of spontaneous synchronization of the kind I’ve written about previously.
Finally, today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a beautiful gravitational lens, where gravity from galaxy clusters amplifies and distorts the light from galaxies far beyond it.