Spot the Fake(s)

At least one of the following is fake.

  • The Forgotten Technology A “a retired carpenter with 35 years experience in construction” rediscovers a technology that would have allowed a remarkably small number of low-tech workers to build Stonehenge or the Pyramids. Quote: “I found that I, working alone, could easily move a 2400 lb. block 300 ft. per hour with little effort, and a 10,000 lb. block at 70 ft. per hour. I also stood two 8 ft. 2400 lb. blocks on end and placed another 2400 lb. block on top. This took about two hours per block. I found that one man, working by himself, without the use of wheels, rollers, pulleys, or any type of hoisting equipment could perform the task.”
  • Speed of Light May Have Changed Recently Quote: “A varying speed of light contradicts Einstein's theory of relativity, and would undermine much of traditional physics. But some physicists believe it would elegantly explain puzzling cosmological phenomena such as the nearly uniform temperature of the universe. It might also support string theories that predict extra spatial dimensions. The threat to the idea of an invariable speed of light comes from measurements of another parameter called the fine structure constant, or alpha, which dictates the strength of the electromagnetic force.”
  • DVD Rewinder Quote: “Too many DVDs, and CDs and not enough time to rewind? Are your DVDs running a bit too slow? The DVD rewinder is the perfect solution! This rewinder has the exclusive Centriptal Velocity Spindle providing the world’s fastest DVD rewind!”
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7 Responses to Spot the Fake(s)

  1. Phill says:

    The bit with the blocks may well be genuine, difficult to tell.

    It turns out that it is actually quite easy to move large stone blocks arround if you have the conditions set right, that is hard pavement with a covering of slippery mud. A bunch of egyptologists spent some time moving quite large blocks arround the giza plane using just judicious application of water.

  2. adaplant says:

    Rewinding DVDs is actually quite easy without having to disturb the centripetal force to do it.

    Can’t have things flying off in all directions.

  3. Greg says:

    I’ve read the blocks story before. My guess would be the speed of light story…

  4. Barsk says:

    Actually, technically you can ‘alter’ the speed of light through a process called ‘tunneling’. Tunneling is when you shoot something through another bit of matter and it actually ‘speeds up’ over the space that the matter you are shooting it through occupies. With light (photons) this works because of the wave/particle duality of light. What happens is that you can take photons and shoot them down tubes that form a big ‘X’. At the cross the photons hit and cancel each other out. However, if you put a thin piece of matter in one of the tubes, you will wind up getting photons out at either end of the big X. This is because the light is both a wave and a photon…when the light hits the tunneling material it shifts the probability distribution of the light (read: modifies the wave function of the light) and thus the photon can ‘probably pass the other one’. You could call the one phonton as moving ‘faster’ than the other one…but this is kind of sketchy.

    Also, I believe String Theory (and assoicated ‘M’-theory) has solved the problem of the uniform temp of the microwave background of the universe without changing the speed of light (the whole point of string theory is to take the four forces in nature and have a unified theory of everything or TOE). But my string theory is even rustier than my Thermodynamics so I could just be really really wrong here. If you’re really bored and have nothing better to do with your time, pick up a copy of Greene: The Elegent Universe for more on Strings and the TOE.

  5. Chris says:

    Speed of light story is true: there’s some debate in the physics community about the fine structure constant, alpha, having changed: it depends on e, h and c, and generally c (the speed of light *in vacuum*, Barsk) is considered most likely to have changed.

    Evidence far from cler yet though.

  6. Barsk says:

    Right, but one of the studys supporting change in speed of light and alpha does anything but examine light in a vacuum…

    “So it was headline news in 2001 when astronomer John Webb of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, reported that alpha’s value – based on observations of how gas clouds absorbed light from quasars – was different 12 billion years ago from what it is today”

    And nobody has yet managed to measure c itself as changing. So while I’m sure people are debating it, I am dubious. But I guess that means that the story itself is not actually fake (even though it might be wrong).

  7. DrBill says:

    I for one am sick and tired of wasting precious time rewinding my CDs and DVDs. Hours and hours spinning ’em backwards by hand, until my wrist gets sore. And yet I fear that this is the fake one. Dang!

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