Ghost particle found beneath Antarctica holds key to breakthrough in understanding the universe. Or does it?


In another great scientific breakthrough that will make absolutely no difference to anything but is likely to cost taxpayers a pile of money as scientists scam research grants out of politicians by selling the idea that it is really important we understand and learn to control processes which have worked for billions of years without needing assistance from scientists, the mystery of the origins of light are set to be unlocked by the discovery of an elusive “ghost” particle a mile beneath Antarctica, scientists have announced.


Astronomers have for the first time identified the source of a high-energy neutrino which shot through a solid ice laboratory at the South Pole last year in “a “triumph that promises to revolutionise understanding of fundamental physics.”


Sorry but the only breakthrough I can see here is that these scientists have taken the idiotic hyperbole of cosmology further away from reality than ever before. For people who have taken little interest in theoretical physics, Neutrinos are, according to people who believe the meaning of life can be found in equations, are virtually massless, subatomic particles which race across the universe, passing unnoticed through planets and stars. Despite their abundance – hundreds of billions pass through each human every second – they have so far proved impossible to detect because they interact with matter so rarely.


Or in layman’s terms, they are imaginary things like fairies, demons and the Disney Princess who sings “Let It Go,” in Frozen.


The alleged detection of this frozen neutrino on September 22 2017 has since, according to its discoverers, enabled scientists to identify its point of origin. Using a complex network of ground and space-based radiation telescopes and the highly advanced scientific technique of making stuff up, the international team traced the particle’s provenance to a flaring galaxy, or “blazar”, with a supermassive black hole at its heart four billion light years away.


Quantum mechanics theory tells us a particle doesn’t exist until it is observed (by a cat which is simultaneously dead and alive or something), so how can this one have been tracked back to it’s point of origin before it was observed interacting with the astronomers in Antarctica last September?


Nutrinos, like many other sub atomic particles, are based on a theory that has been ‘proven’ using other theories. Presumably these theoretical particles, which remember, are ripping through your body tissue at a rate of millions per second without you noticing, will be used to prove other theories down the line, the kind of theories beloved of modern science, because the high pontiffs tell us that like God, they must to be considered true until someone can prove they are untrue.


When they do, the rest come tumbling down like dominoes.Big Bang theory proposes that before BigBang everything was compressed into a single mass, The Singularity, a mass varying in size between a grain of salt and a small planet (I go for a rat turd). Question what existed before Big Bang, what did this very singular rat turd live in, what existed outside it, and you will be told, usually rather tetchily, that nothing existed.


“The cosmic rat turd was floating around an infinite void then?” You offer only to be told that a void could not exist, nothing could exist outside the rat turd. All the voids, all the time and space, all everything was compressed into the rat turd.


“So the rat turd existed in infinity?” you venture.


“NO YOU IDIOT, NNNNOOOOO, infinity was in the rat turd,” your physicist debating partner will scream.


And thus all the theories of cosmology built around Big Bang collapse.


The sciencetits do not give up however, original theories are ‘tweaked’ to add some special rule to fit the real world again, dark matter is invented, or dark energy. Gravitational waves are conjured out of thin air to prop up failed theories. And again the scientific academe insists they must be assumed to be true because nobody can prove they aren’t.


It all keeps the academics busy consuming our tax money in the form of research grants, and living well while people whose work actually matters struggle.


I cannot be the only one who considers that modern physics (i.e. theoretical physics) in which any ‘proofs’ offered are nothing more than mathematical speculations based on other theories is a load of bollocks. Just as climate change scaremongers tell us ‘the science is settled’ and dismiss any criticism of the all too obvious flaws in their ‘science’, so physicists dismiss any criticism as coming from people outside their quasi – religious cult. My experience has shown that such attacks are used in self-interest. This latest non – revelation is just more of the same.


So long as politicians keep wasting our money funding them, physicists will continue to learn more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing. Biologists and Chemists don’t have it so easy, they have to deal with things that exist in reality.


I should add here that in the 1980s I worked in several organisations involved in atomic research, and though my job was in computer systems, I learned a little from talking to the engineers and physicists involved in real world stuff. And those guys unanimously regard the theoreticians of the academic world as a bunch of clowns.


The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 13, 2018 - 1:19pm
You know Ian I can think of at least two much more productive uses of these science grants.
1) In depth study to discover why (finally) the French are such assholes
2) What is the German fixation with water sports
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 13, 2018 - 2:39pm
But Ian, we have now discovered that they (an alien entity, perhaps?) are spraying neutrinos at us from the other side of the Black Hole. So things DO come out of a black hole! That alone will kick of another score of theories. Money well spent, after all there are only a few million starving, and the theoretical folks need money. Those educations cost a lot.
Johnny Fever Added Jul 13, 2018 - 2:48pm
I’m not sure if I follow the great outrage here.  We know the velocity of gravity, does that mean it’s no longer necessary for us to learn about gravity? Our government has decided that it’s OK for government to fund research.  Not all research proves to be fruitful, but plenty has yielded benefits.  That being said, the government is ill equipped to decide the best use of our tax dollars in the field of physics, biology and chemistry.  So I guess that means I agree with this article, but for different reasons than the argument you’re putting forth. Correct me if I’m wrong but you’re basically saying money spent on physics is a waste, but money spent on biology and chemistry isn’t.   
EXPAT Added Jul 13, 2018 - 2:50pm
Great humor piece Ian. But we need weird scientific genius to open hew ways of thinking, even if most of it is wasted.
I am sure the ancient Romans would have reacted the same way, if confronted with the knowledge that their beloved bath was full of bacteria, fungus and viruses that we making them sick.
I am too stupid to understand the Cosmos, but I encourage new thinking and genius that can conceive it!
New Ideas are always laughed at as foolish!
opher goodwin Added Jul 13, 2018 - 2:50pm
You turn on the lights don't you Ian?
Katharine Otto Added Jul 13, 2018 - 4:18pm
Cute.  Yes, but how did that rat turd get there?  It presupposes a rat.  Since I believe space and time are illusions, the Big Bang becomes irrelevant.
The first government-funded science in the US was the Lewis and Clark expedition.  Government-funded science has led to development of ever better weaponry.  It's not the science itself, but the applications that lead me to wonder if we are as smart as we think we are.
I don't understand the desire to separate science from life, as though we exist apart from this mechanized universe.  The answer to Shrodinger's cat in the box experiment, of course, is that you increase the probability of a dead cat the longer you leave him in the box.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 13, 2018 - 5:30pm
I'm kinda disappointed.  I'd hope Ian would tell us they finally found a Thomas Sutrino, the decayed subatomic particle he is, under the ice alongside a ghost particle of FDR, the latter being a critical building block in a Sutrino environment  errr universe...LOL.  Just sayin', 
James Travil Added Jul 13, 2018 - 6:30pm
As Neo would say, there is no rat turd. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 14, 2018 - 12:00am
Johnny Fever,
"Our government has decided that it’s OK for government to fund research.  Not all research proves to be fruitful, but plenty has yielded benefits."
Yes, that was true. This track record has now morphed.  Working at the National Labs for my career, it appears the government is NOT interestied in funding science. Instead it is an old boy network disguising power brokering as science.  The people they have making the decisions as to who gets what funding often have little scientific capability -hence they took the promotion to DARPA  grant manager.
Although I think Ian is in error regarding the detection of neutrinos 
his main thesis is correct.  Many of these people have no desire to serve. Instead their managers are in positions of power which can facilitate the transfer of funding into their line of existence.
The real paradox here is that this is happening at the same time that
trying to get money to do scientific research at the national labs that IS good for the nation is almost impossible. 
Just recently, Los Alamos National Laboratory has declared to its employees " we dont need no stinking science"
Our government is very good at throwing at the baby with the bathwater.
Dino Manalis Added Jul 14, 2018 - 8:10am
 Stop wasting taxpayer money!
Ward Tipton Added Jul 14, 2018 - 9:21am
Wasn't the taxpayer funded Christ Pissed supposed to save the world or something? Wasn't there some excuse for using taxpayer funds for such absurdities then? 
Even A Broken Clock Added Jul 14, 2018 - 10:58am
No, learning about fundamental principles of matter never has caused any benefit to humanity. I mean, what have we ever gained by learning about semi-conductors? Just think of the wasted money spent on all of the research that led to transistors and integrated circuitry! I'm outraged!
The essence of modern physics and cosmology is that the more we learn, the more we learn there is still to learn. Right now the biggest gap in our knowledge is the nature of dark matter and dark energy. In order to explain observations about the universe, it is necessary to postulate that visible matter accounts for only 5% of the total matter and energy in the observable universe. You should feel uncomfortable in following a branch of science that requires the use of big fudge factors in order to make sense of things. But that's exactly why obtaining confirmatory evidence like the neutrino observation is so valuable.
Oh, well. I could argue that science represents the modern frontier in the world, and that humanity always is better off for having a frontier to explore instead of thinking we know all there is to know.
Ward Tipton Added Jul 14, 2018 - 11:05am
"The essence of modern physics and cosmology is that the more we learn, the more we learn there is still to learn."
Except of course, when it comes to politics! 
Doug Plumb Added Jul 14, 2018 - 11:25am
The fact that applied people view theoretical ones as a bunch of clowns is nothing new. Construction workers view engineers the same way.
I do believe its important that we strive to understand theoretical physics, but always remember, these there actually theories and what is happening lies beyond sensory perception.
The world does not exist as scientists see it, scientists create models that explain perceived reality. If everyone knew what science actually is from a philosophical perspective, weaknesses would be well understood.
Kant explains, in Metaphysics Of Natural Science, that the atomic particles will just keep getting smaller and more numerous. The reason for this is the philosophy of the science itself, the scientific method. This is what my movie "Dialectic" (youtube ch Doug Plumb) is about, and I explain how we know that the world does not exist as we see it, using a simple gr 9 level scientific proof. I give an extensive explanation, with examples, to show what the scientific method actually is.
Kenneth Young, a physics prof, does a great presentation involving classical mechanics and the calculus of variations to make the statement that although we see a causal universe, it is not causal in reality.
Science can deconstruct dialectical materialism, the notion that our exploration of the material world is the only thing that can lead to objective truth. Everything we know about laws and society can also be used to show the nonsense for what it is.
"They" want us to believe in dialectical materialism. This way, we can be lead by our "betters", which is what, in the end, Marxism is all about.
Ward Tipton Added Jul 14, 2018 - 11:31am
Along those lines Doug Plumb, since most of the space between the individual components of the atom are empty space, wouldn't it be safe to say that most all of us are basically ninety percent nothing? 
PS I answered with the rest of the information in regards to the legal matters on the other article here. 
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 12:46pm
Burghal, the German obsession with golden showers is easily explained, in the 20th century they were pissed on so regularly by the British and our allies they developed a liking for it.
Then they discovered there was a less costly and less painful way of getting pissed on.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 12:48pm
Jeff, I wish they'd find a way of funding theoretical science with theoretical money.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 12:52pm
Johnny Fever, there's no outrage, just ridicule of people who have lost touch with reality if they ever had it. Yes, I'm sarcastic, but not outraged.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 14, 2018 - 12:53pm
LOL Ian....Now it all makes sense. It was right in front of me! How could I have missed that! And that leaves the French......<sigh>. Need I say more?
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 12:57pm
Expat, some ideas that seem crazy can turn out to have practical applications, but ideas that are not based on solid observation and testable theory (a neutrino is an energy frequency, nothing more,) are never going to give any return on investment.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:11pm
Opher, I turn on the light and energy produced in a power station and delivered through the grid to my lamp bulb excites the atoms in either the incandescent material or the phosphorescent coating in a CFL. These excited atoms then emit energy in the visible light frequency range.
The process is well documented (I could go into a lot more detail) and I can guarantee that no neutrinos from four billion light years aware are needed. If they were we might get a tad frustrated waiting for our light to fire up.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:14pm
Katherine it's a metaphorical rat turd, which leaves the question "Did the metaphor exist before Big Bang", is the universe made out of metaphors?
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:16pm
Jeff M. I guess the Sutrino has even less substance than the neutrino, which is why we aren't seeing him these days.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:19pm
James Travil, but there are echoes of the rat turd, these make up the background radiation, measurements of which have spawned so many quantum theories.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:25pm
Cheeky sod!
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:28pm
Ataturk, thanks for that well informed comment, while I maintain that neutrinos do not exist in the sense that anything which has no resting mass cannot be said to exist as anything but energy, I think you are absolutely right to say that an old boy network exists to channel funds to people who will preserve the status quo.
This, I believe, is why although there has been a revival of interest in the ideas of Nicola Tesla in the past decade, his work remains marginalised.
The old boy network has too much invested in the current received wisdom to be able to say, "Hang on a minute guys, maybe we have got this all wrong."
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:29pm
Dino, agreed. Or if they have to waste it, waste it on something entertaining.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:35pm
Ward, there are always a high minded reason given to justify idiocy. One of my favourites is "We're pushing the boundaries of human knowledge," which usually means, "If we can persuade the govrnment to give us money for goofing around, why should we do useful work."
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:45pm
There was a ghost particle discovered in Westminster this past week. The ghost particle sized chance that Madame Prime Minister makes it to the bank holidays
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 1:53pm
EABC, the difference between semi conductors and neutrinos is that semi conductors existny uses and have ma. Neutrinos don't. Like the Higgs boson they are energy in a certain frequency range, that's all.
Think about what this report says, there are millions of them passing through your body at close to the speed of light, every second.
Now think about e=mc2, and how, according to the standard interpretation, even a massless particle travelling at 300,000 squared Km per second will have almost infinite mass.
You really think we wouldn't notice infinite mass ripping our bodies apart?
Radio signals pass through our bodies because they are insubstantial.
You talk about dark matter and dark energy but neither have been proved to exist, they are untestable theories and thus are not science, unless you count the science of research grant phishing.
To move on to an example that is likely to offend you less, I don't believe in God yet I can't prove that some higher being, some intelligence far beyond human understanding is not present in the universe. Does that prove God exists.  
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 2:34pm
Doug Plumb, thanks for that philosophical insight,  I've argued for years that theoretical physics belongs in the realm of philosophy rather than science. It is mostly the speculations of people who seek certainties because they can't accept there are some things we cannot know.
And yes, I fully understand the remark about their need to make us believe their speculations so we accept the academic community as a higher caste and yield to their supremacy.
Their problem is they can't see how fragile their theories are so it is easy for a critical thinker to knock holes in their 'science'.
opher goodwin Added Jul 14, 2018 - 4:08pm
Aaa but Ian - if it wasn't for all the research that was done you wouldn't have a fluorescent light.
Aside from that the biggest questions in life are about things such as the beginning of the universe, the creation of life and the nature of the universe. So it is well worth spending some of our money on finding out answers to esoteric questions. That's not pointless. Otherwise we'd be letting the religious nutters run things and we'd still be living in the dark ages.
I think it's exactly the same as going to the moon. We really didn't need to do that either but without it we wouldn't have non-stick frying pans.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 4:08pm
We've hard from the defender of science about the theories (none of which are testable) created specifically to provide mathematical 'prrof' of other theories and thus paper over the cracks in Quantum Physics.
But it is not jusy cynics like me who scoff at the pseudo science that gives us nonsense like dark matter.
Cosmologists are shooting holes in it too.
Scientists say Dark Matter does not exist
This illustrates the problem of trying to present speculation as fact. Other people can tweak a few parameters and demolish you.
When someone shows us a box or bottle of dark matter, then - having observed tests which show it does what dark matter is supposed to do - we can say "Yes, you people where right, dark matter does hold the universe together. Now can you put it back where it belongs please, that rip in the time - space continuum is geting bigger and I hear cthulhu prowling around on the other side.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 4:15pm
Burhal, Theresa May is an example of a political neutrino, her political acumen is completely without substance. See how she zooms from London to Brussels, to Washington, to Paris, to Berlin and back to London and makes no impact whatsoever.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 14, 2018 - 4:32pm
Opher, when I was a promising young boxer (which was before I decided I'd rather be a contender for the world's most prolific shagger) I'd have loved to have you as an opponent. You make yourself such an easy target.
The teflon moonshot is a myth (or a typical lie scientists tell to justify their sitting around wanking at our expense.)
Non stick coatings were discovered by accident in 1938,  developed in World War 2. Tanks were expensive and the idea was to enable them to limp back to base if the sump was busted by a land mine. The teflon brand was registered in 1945.
It's also a myth that the rocket boys had to build their own computer because none available was small or powerful enough. The DEC PDP 8 available commercially at the time was smaller, lighter and about a hundred times more powerful than the one the arrogant, ignorant fools built.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 14, 2018 - 5:17pm
I think where Madame Prime Minister is concerned Roger Waters said it best:
You fucked up old hag! Ha ha, charade you are
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 14, 2018 - 5:20pm
the ghost particle is a metaphor for politics/politicians really. the ever elusive proof, the results.....just within reach. If only we had more time/funding......
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 14, 2018 - 5:20pm
Good post as always Ian :)
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 14, 2018 - 6:01pm
If Merkel is a neutrino, I suspect that makes 
Trump a Boson.
opher goodwin Added Jul 14, 2018 - 6:35pm
Ian - thanks for that, I never knew that. But the principle remains the same, doesn't it?
I prefer to waste money on science than for the corrupt to squirrel it away off-shore or buy another penthouse.
James E. Unekis Added Jul 14, 2018 - 6:50pm
I recently caught a neutrino in a special dark matter chamber I assembled in my basement. Neutrinos are actually fairly benevolent life forms who finally determined that Schrodinger's cat is, without doubt, dead.
I've learned a great deal from my discussions with this massless entity,
however, it sadly is time for us to part.
Bidding starts tomorrow on ebay or you can buy it now for $2.6 million.  It comes with a certificate of authenticity from an actually university trained physicist.
It's real - I swear. 
Doug Plumb Added Jul 14, 2018 - 7:00pm
The schodingers cat thing is a terrible explanation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. I don't know why its lasted so long.
James E. Unekis Added Jul 14, 2018 - 7:31pm
I guess Schrodinger just liked a little pussy.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 14, 2018 - 7:33pm
re:"The schodingers cat thing is a terrible explanation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. "

I suppose, partly because it is cute. Anyway, I heard a lecture on it
by Kurt Otto Friedrichs in 1980 as a graduate student that was quite inspiring. 
Doug Plumb Added Jul 14, 2018 - 9:41pm
Its a simple concept to explain with a bicycle wheel. So to know how fast it is you have to take two points..
Its just the state of education. They don't want people to actually think. They want them good at solving puzzles and tricky math proofs.
Doug Plumb Added Jul 14, 2018 - 9:43pm
re "The teflon moonshot is a myth (or a typical lie scientists tell to justify their sitting around wanking at our expense.)
Non stick coatings were discovered target="_blank">by accident in 1938, "
So were the moon rockets.
Ward Tipton Added Jul 15, 2018 - 2:21am
But the Space Program did give us a pen that would write in zero gravity ... unlike those silly old Russians who just used a pencil. 
opher goodwin Added Jul 15, 2018 - 6:51am
And the space programme did give some amazing shots of the universe, planets, galaxies and then our sat.navs (even if it was developed to land missiles accurately). 
I like a quark or two for breakfast.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 15, 2018 - 9:23am
Burghal, in keeping with the tradition of proliferating massless sub atomic particles the political ghost particle consists of many types of ghost particle.
The Conservaton is an immutable particle that resists change and is reluctant merge with other particles.
There's the Marxion which though many attempts to capture it have failed, physicists are sure those attempts were not setr up to capture proper Marxions, and next time it will be done properly.
Then there's the Monetarion which can only be proved to exist if governments print enough currency.
The Corporaton gets bigger and bigger until the nucleus becomes so heavy it crushes itself.
The Queerk consists of other sub atomic particles known as the L G B & T.
The Environ is a green coloured massless particle which often changes colour to red when bombarded with energy. It tends to achieve the opposite of what it intends to do.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 15, 2018 - 9:25am
Mustafa, Trump can't be a boson, he has a lot of mass, little of it between his ears.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 15, 2018 - 9:29am
Doug Plumb. Schroedingers cat is a widely misunderstood illustration of how a cat can exist in two states simultaneously. Here's the real explanation:
Cats exist in different states, depending on whether they are observed. They can be either hungry or sleeping. If a cat is unobserved it will most likely be sleeping, if observed it will be hungry.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 15, 2018 - 9:31am
James E.
It's normal to like live pussies, but playing with dead pussies is seriously unhealthy.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 15, 2018 - 9:46am
Ward, I forgot about the zero gravity pens, a gadget without which civilisation would surely collapse, but I have sometimes wondered if they would work on a notebook that's floating around in mid air. Still, the rockey boys were obviously very clever so they probably invented magnetic notebooks or something.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 15, 2018 - 9:53am
So Opher, we, well U S taxpayers, spent all that money on the moon landing and got some rocks and dust and a few pictures. Doesn't sound like much of a bargain.
(Actually they're not real pictures, they are digital simulations built from the conversion of incoming electro - magnetic radiation into binary data.)
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 15, 2018 - 10:03am
re:", Trump can't be a boson"
maybe a bozon then?
Ward Tipton Added Jul 15, 2018 - 10:46am
And best of all, we got TANG! Don't forget the Tang!
Logical Man Added Jul 15, 2018 - 12:00pm
It seems there are few scientifically literate visitors here.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 15, 2018 - 2:48pm
re:"U S taxpayers, spent all that money on the moon landing and got some rocks and dust and a few pictures. Doesn't sound like much of a bargain."
In addition to Tang we also got to 
beat the Russians to the moon.  
This was a very important step for us.
Spartacus Added Jul 15, 2018 - 3:30pm
Ian, if you cannot get the science correct, how would you then get the value of science correct?
This science would also be meaningless to you.  Kruger and Dunning effect.
Logical Man Added Jul 15, 2018 - 4:39pm
In 1960 a couple of guys came up with an expensive device that produced a bright flash of red light. They had no clue of any useful application at the time.
It was called a LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)
The world would be a very different place had this never been developed.
It was a pure science experiment at the time.
Laser cutting
Laser welding
Laser drilling
Laser marking
Optical communicationsLaser peening
Guidance systems (e.g., ring laser gyroscopes)
Laser rangefinder / surveying,
Lidar / pollution monitoring,
Barcode readers
Laser engraving of printing plate
Laser pointers
Laser mice
Laser accelerometers
OLED display manufacturing
Optical tweezers
Writing subtitles onto motion picture films.[27]
D laser scanners for accurate 3D measurement
Laser line levels are used in surveying and construction
Lasers guidance for aircraft.
Extensively in both consumer and industrial imaging equipment
In laser printers
Laser alignment
Additive manufacturing
Plastic welding
To store and retrieve data in optical discs, such as CDs and DVDs
Yeah, science is useless!
Dr. Rupert Green Added Jul 15, 2018 - 9:54pm
I wonder if each star in the heaven is a person who died. I believe when we die we will occupy a level that allows us to zip through the universe to answer all the questions about creation.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 15, 2018 - 11:59pm
Logical Man,
"Yeah, science is useless!
Certainly not, but the real question to my mind, is it really science.
Indeed, Im very glad you brought this up and so well at that. There appears to be a logical disconnect in this discussion.
Funded science requires leadership with respect to where that funding is allocated. 
Of course, for much of  science, it is not known beforehand if it will bear fruit or not, that is not really the issue. The real quesion that I see is that the funding of science is so political and old boy network power driven that much of it has very little to do with science much less science that is useful for the nation. Instead it has to do with the maintainance of old boy power networks. I can give many obscene specific examples.  If pressed I might spell them out. Here is one; when I left Los Alamos National Laboratory i cost the American Taxpayer over 600K$ per year. Moreover, the beaurocracy that took much of that not only does not support the scientists, it provides  a huge amount of beaurocratic overhead so that the effective cost of one scientist might be easily said to be 4 times that. We are certainly not getting much for our money. And neither are these scientists. 
Most scientists I know do not have to have to have their time cards checked  to see if they are working 40 hours per week. You might instead ask if they had gotten less than 70. Scientists are that way. But scientists have to make a living also and when you enter the power system you either play ball or you dont get to do work. 
It is not a lassaiz faire system of scientific discovery where it is let loose and once in a while a great discovery comes along.  Instead it is guided through power networks, and in these networks not only is there the maintenance of indulgent self serving science, there is the oppression of foward thinking real science. Moreover, it is also not the forward thinking investments of ATT Bell and IBM  Watson Laboratory. Those days are gone as are the people who worked there. Moreover, many of the existing efforts are so invested in the fact that they are the “right way” that they will do anything, collect any data, suppress any data, to support their position. Since their funding managers are as corrupt as they are they usually do not get a check from above for their violiations of the scientific method.
A good example today is that of Bayesian inference. Today it is the most popular inference engine in the US but its results are both completely subjective and highly unstable. Any efforts to resolve this are punished (severely) as are any real results demonstrating problems with these methods. Instead “research” using these methods continues unabated. IMO, it is very close to a religion and not a science at all.
The other side of this coin is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Currently at Los Alamos National Lab they have a dictat from upon high that 
“we dont need no stinking science”. The main idea is that the era of all this ivory tower nonsense needs to come to an end. We need to start “getting shit done”  Time horizons of the accomplishment of objectives is now months. They also appear completey ignorant of the contributions of Stan Ulam, Nick Metropolis, John Von Neumann and many other real scientists whose discoveries have changed our world. Of course, that is driving real scientists away and the only people left are those that are willing to do whatever it takes to keep a positiion. 
Science in this country is truly being destroyed. But it is not just by the  disbelievers, it is by the dishonest believers.  
To summarize, I agree with Ian’s desription of “decadent “ science but also bemoan the destruction of the real scientific spirit.  I think the two issues are different sides of the same coin.
 Science is certainly not useless, but IMO, it is being destroyed in the US. 
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 16, 2018 - 10:03am
Logical man:
"In 1960 a couple of guys came up with an expensive device that produced a bright flash of red light. They had no clue of any useful application at the time."
Complete and utter illogical nonsense. The theoretical work which proposed that concentrated light could be used as a tool in precision work before 1920.
This theory was developed through the 1930, 40s and 50s, with Charles Townes leading the work.
The first working laser was built a development team at Hughes Research Centre and demonstrated in 1960.
So where do the a couple of guys goofing around with electrical stuff and suddenly making a flash of red light fit into that story of methodical research and development.
One of my problems with the 'science' community is their abuse of the word 'science'. The development of all those laser based techniques you list is technology, not science.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 16, 2018 - 10:15am
William Stockton, I loved the story about the guy who rubbed lemon juice on his face. The rest of article you link is utter wank, the typical result of dabblers in pseudo science trying to dress up an exercise in stating the obvious as cutting edge research.
In my experience the ability to assess one's own skill level accurately (i.e. privately or among friends,) is linked to having broad enough vision to enable self cricticism. This is in part due to an objective mindset and in part due to having gained enough experience to be aware of one's own weaknesses.
In public however (taking part in a research project for example), people who are socially aware will tend to understate their own abilities because they don't want to sound like a twat.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 16, 2018 - 10:40am
Mustafa, thanks for that comment, with an introductory paragraph and a little editing it could be posted as a stand alone article and reach more people.
I agree that 'science' is not useless, but I think the word covers to wide a spectrum of activity to be used, as it usually is, in a general sense.
In my view it is useless to fund research into studying how quickly the universe might be expanding, if we ever know this with any degree of certainty it will not make any difference whatsoever to the fate of humanity.
Likewise there is little point looking for planets that might support life. With the nearest promising star system 4 light years away, if we could travel at one tenth the speed of light the round trip would take 40 years each way. A tenth the speed of light is 18,600 miles per second. I believe the fastest spacecraft we have built can hit ten miles per second with a following solar wind.
There are so many ways the disconnect between the Church of Scienceology cult and realistic research.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 16, 2018 - 10:44am
Dr. Rupert, I haven't given much though to what happens after death but I do believe we would gain much more if we could unlock the secrets of the human mind than if we keep spending money on trying to discover the secrets of our infinite, eternal universe.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 16, 2018 - 10:48am
BTW, Mustafa and Ward, Being British I had to look up Tang, it's sold under a different name over here. But when I found out my first thought was, considering the very limited payload of a space capsule where might they get the water to mix it. And how do you pee in a cup in zero gravity?
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 16, 2018 - 2:25pm
Ian, good question.  carefully I would imagine. We did make jokes about that as children. 
 But we sure knew that if it was good enough for astronauts it was good enough for us, so it became very popular
It appears that  you do have Tang in the UK,
Love that Orange Natural Flavor!
Neil Lock Added Jul 16, 2018 - 3:15pm
Ian: Infinity was in the rat turd.
Nice article, Ian. That's the turd best explanation I've yet heard of the origin of the Universe.
Mustafa: the funding of science is so political and old boy network power driven that much of it has very little to do with science.
It only gets funded if it supports the agenda.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 16, 2018 - 3:19pm
Mustaf, quite right. I belong to that bunch of mavericks who try to avoid making that bastard Bezos any richer so I never thought to look on Amazon
Neil Lock Added Jul 16, 2018 - 4:33pm
Ian: it is useless to fund research into...
I disagree. If Mustafa, or even Opher, wants to find out the meaning of life, the universe and everything, they should have perfect freedom to fund whomsoever they wish. It is when taxes stolen from you, me and others are used to "fund research" that the problems begin.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 16, 2018 - 5:16pm
I would also like to remind our audience that there is a throwing the baby out with the bathwater effect here too.
If somehow we could find a way to lead and fund real science, science that has some chance of being useful, then I think that shaving off 3% of the Pentagon budget would be a worthwhile investment. But given our governments credibility rating I just dont see that happening.
The real question here is what science do we really need now?
Technilogical solutions to problems that our technology has caused?
A grant manager came to us once and asked us if we would like to submit a proposal for a more efficient lite bulb. I asked him what that was going to be for and he said energy savings. I asked him why dont we just turn off the lights between 2am and 5am? i said it had the added advantage that it would save a whole lot of birds also.
Needless to say he wasnt too impressed with us.
Logical Man Added Jul 16, 2018 - 5:55pm
Mustafa, I absolutely agree with you regarding funding.
The problem of the 'old boy network' is a huge problem in almost everything these days, it would seem.
Once bureaucrats and politicians gain control of things, that is the result. There is a total lack of transparency in almost all the decisions that affect humanity which makes sensible decision making almost impossible.
Imagine where humanity would be if as much finance had been put into science as has been wasted on things military.
Your answer to the light bulb question is a good example - I'm betting your answer would not have helped his request for funding one little bit!
Something that the science and technology world seems to ignore is 'The Precautionary Principle' which is why there are so many technology-caused problems that require fixing.
When every decision is based on money rather than necessity you end up with the issues now faced by the world and its population.
It is when taxes stolen from you, me and others are used to "fund war" that the problems begin.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 17, 2018 - 8:56am
Neil Lock, I agree and will kick myself up the arse for not making that point clear.
If supporters of David Icke want to fund a research project by geneticists to PROVE we are being controlled by 12 foot tall, turquoise, shape - shifting lizards the must be free to do so, with their own money.
I've become so conditioned to governments spending taxpayers' money on developing theories which cannot be tested but which we are expected to accept as fact because "scientific consensus," I've forgotten how most research was funded up to the first hald of the twentieth century.
A lot of research is still funded privately of course, but by corporate money, which tends to have a corrupting effect.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 17, 2018 - 9:18am
Mustafa, the energy saving lighting solution is a perfect example of how common sense is no longer enough. There are many such examples of course. Progress is equated with economic growth so switching off the lights was never going to be an acceptable solution.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 17, 2018 - 9:25am
Logical Man, in your latest comment you seem to grasp the point of the article. My point, on a rather grand sacle, wes, "Why are we wating money on trying to unlock the secrets of the universe when we have more immediate problems here on our planet that are not being addressed. An example of this is plastic waste, many people have seen they problem coming and have written or spoken about it, but they weren't 'scientists', just concerned citizens, and so they have been ignore.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 17, 2018 - 3:24pm
re:"Why are we wating money on trying to unlock the secrets of the universe when we have more immediate problems here on our planet that are not being addressed"
Right on. Recently my mother asked me "Mustafa what do you think then next big scientific breakthrough will be?"

I told her the moonshot meme has outdone its usefulness. Maybe we could find a way to 
1) live a sustainable existence on THIS planet
2 Live in cooperation with our neighbors
But now that I think of it, one might say the Blockchain qualifies as a big breaktrhough in these two direction.
Logical Man Added Jul 17, 2018 - 7:20pm
Science isn't the problem when it comes to a sustainable existence or living together.
That problem lies with the financial system we suffer under, which requires infinite growth. I have a feeling the earth is finite.
When enough people realize that when we cooperate we all win, when we fight we all lose things will change.
The problem here is whether or not that will happen before the 'fight' goes nuclear.
Just to throw another thought in here.....
Climate change IS a fact of life. Doesn't matter what the cause is, humanity should prepare for it. Think: Maunder Minimum.
On the Blockchain thing. You'd likely be amazed by the number of financial transactions that are effectively un-trackable. The biggest potential, IMHO, for Blockchain is transparency. Scares the crap out of those who hide in the dark corners of banking and finance. On the fence regarding the currency side of it.
Logical Man Added Jul 17, 2018 - 7:36pm
Maybe I misunderstood.
The problem here is one that spans many, if not most of the conundrums humanity, as a whole, faces.
How to allocate resources and who gets to decide.
To survive we have to get past narrow self-interest.
Humans evolved as hunter-gatherers not that long ago. Our brains are structured to navigate that world. Unfortunately our ability to invent stuff has changed things too fast for us to cope. Then there are the psychopaths!
Just a hundred years ago the world's population was about 1.6 billion - just about sustainable at that level of consumption. Now we have more than 7 billion consuming way more (non-renewable) resources. This CANNOT end well.
Anyone who thinks humans have anything more than a very slight influence on nature will suffer a very rude awakening, probably in the not too distant future.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 18, 2018 - 9:32am
Mustafa, you could be right on blockchain. One thing Neil Lock and I agree on (although we might approach the problem differently,) is the need to decentalise political power from the ruling elites and control of the money supply from the banking cartel.
The big danger is The Powers That Be will try to hijack and control blockchain as they have hijacked and tried to control the internet.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 18, 2018 - 10:01am
Logical Man,
I have two problems with modern science, the first is the abuse of the word itself. When did programming a computer become a science? Why has systems analysis suddenly become 'data science'. And what is management science.
When McKinsey, the management consultants to The New World Order, coined the phrase management science, they did so on the back of their corporate slogan, "If it can me measured it can be managed."
The harvard brainwashed idiots only proved they didn't understand that management is the art of organising and guiding that which can't be measured. Measuring and countin things, gathering, collating and presenting data is the traditional skill of the clerk or administrator.
Secondly, as I've made quite clear above that which cannot be tested (i.e. the neutrino in this case,) belongs in the realm of philosophy, not science.
If you remember a few years ago there was a kerfuffle about physicists having proved a neutrino had travelled faster than the speed of light between two laboratories a few kilometers apart, thus arriving at the destination before it left the source.
There was, typically, a lot of unthinking excitement about this, wow all those theories about time travel and such suddenly became realistic.
Then independent research found that what the Italians at the destination had thought was the neutrino was something utterly ridiculous like the shockwave emanating from a mouse fart or similar in their lab.
It is this desperation to interpret certain evidence as proof of theories, in the same was as religious scholars defy logic to interpret archaeological finds in the middle east as proof that The Bible is literal history that leads to so many people ridiculing some branches of science and making valid comparisons with fundamentalist religion.
But I sometimes like to cast myself as Devil's Advocate so I don't spell these things out at first.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 19, 2018 - 9:58am
re:"you could be right on blockchain. One thing Neil Lock and I agree on (although we might approach the problem differently,) is the need to decentalise political power from the ruling elites and control of the money supply from the banking cartel."
THAT is the hope and the potential!
re:"the big danger is The Powers That Be will try to hijack and control blockchain as they have hijacked and tried to control the internet."
 Indeed, war is on.
But the fun part is the Elites, IMO, got blind sided and are a little late to the party. Most investment houses dont have a clue about what is going on, but I guarantee you the banks are starting to pay attention.  Gonna be a ride.
Did you know you can have a real democratic election using a blockchain? Imagine that.
And if you think that is interesting, this is what truly opened my eyes!
Logical Man Added Jul 19, 2018 - 7:47pm
One of the ways those in control hide what they are up to is passing regulations such as the recent dropping, by the IRS, of the requirement to disclose the donors to 'political non-profits'.
Can you say 'money laundering'?
The most powerful part of the BlockChain idea is that all transactions are recorded and the records are transparent.
If BlockChain technology goes mainstream you can bet your boots there will be some kind of back-door in there to enable all the nefarious shit those in control use right now.
Those who operate in the shadows hate transparency.

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