01 Dec 2008
Vacuum Flowers

Matter is nothing more than fluctuations in the quantum vacuum. Another flashback to (unrelated) old science fiction, Michael Swanwick’s Vacuum Flowers. Really, this is about the random fluctuations of my memory and web browsing serendipity. So …

According to the NewScientist article It’s confirmed: Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations, reseachers using lattice QCD (quantum chromodynamics) to make simulations practical, have calculated the mass of the proton to within 2% of experimental value. I think the “confirmed” is overstated, similar to the story in Fun With Your New Head. But anyway …

What’s more entertaining is the collection of comments, which reminded me of Swans on Tea’s Crackpot Bingo which I’d run across a little bit earlier:

It happens in science blog comments, and more so in discussion boards where you get some crank with their pet theory of some science subdiscipline, and how it’s the new paradigm ready to emerge and topple the orthodoxy. And it’s almost formulaic like a Hardy Boys mystery (or even a Robert Ludlum novel) with the same arguments cropping up in different combinations. Read several in a row and the commonalities jump out at you.

Hmmm. A finite set of arguments, appearing seemingly at random. Sounds like bingo to me! Here are the major points, many of which are shamelessly cribbed from the crackpot index …

Swans on Tea provides a Crackpot Bingo card generator, so print one out, visit some blogs, and have fun.

image: Amazon, Vacuum Flowers

Category: humor, Sci-Tech
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