Thursday, February 13, 2014

Solution Geneva part 8

Samantha walked back to her hotel alternating between confusion and frustration. If the NSA had really run an experiment like Young's experiment using the Hubble to observe the pattern after a delay, there would have to be a record of the results somewhere. She knew a few scientists at other institutions who had used Hubble time to run observations of the stars. She could contact them to see if they had heard anything.
And even if the NSA had succeeded in running such an experiment, they could never validate the results. There was simply no other way to reproduce the experiment without Hubble-level equipment. There had been previous experiments of this type that had tried various techniques like photographing the diffraction pattern and then using recorded sensor data to reproduce the which-way data of the waveforms passing through the slits. However, it seems obvious that the knowledge of the which-way information could not be transported somehow _back_ in time, or that the quantum effect of the diffraction pattern should somehow _disappear_ after it had already been viewed. Once the which way data were obtained (even if they were not reviewed), then the diffraction pattern could not be visible because the Schrödinger waveforms had already collapsed.
There was at least one interpretation of quantum effects that proposed a wave of causation that moves forward in time, counterbalanced by a wave of reverse causation that moved backward in time to cancel both waves out. In this way, the effect of a choice ahead in time (for example, a diffraction pattern) could be affected by the which-way determination of the observation at the slits behind. Samantha rejected such analysis as artificial. She viewed this type of reasoning as a mathematical construct that needed to be reflected by something in reality.
It was simple enough physics to understand the diffraction pattern. That was basically a classical interpretation of waves. What was strange was not the fact that the diffraction pattern disappears when you know which slit a particle or photon travelled. What was strange was something like self-interference where a wave of light (or even electrons) was beamed through a single slit while the other slit was open. As long as the light or electrons _could_ interfere, they would behave as if they did interfere. When the other slit was closed the diffraction pattern would stop. This behaviour defies any classical interpretation because the mere _possibility_ of interference could produce the result of interference, even though such interference with its nonexistent self was counter intuitive.
At this point Sam had arrived at the Tarhôtel and determined her course of action. She entered her room and used her tablet computer to change her flight itinerary. The first available flight out of Geneva was early in the morning, which should give her a few hours of sleep. She sent an email to her intern, hoping he had access to read his mail.
_I am afraid that we might have swapped luggage in the taxi and the during rush at the airport. I would be willing to ship your luggage to an address that you send me, or I can hold on to it until you arrive back at the lab. I will be arriving back home much earlier than I planned, perhaps as early as tomorrow. I would like you to ship my luggage (if you have it) to the University, care of Dean Guthrie. The address is on the campus website if you don't know it. I will be glad to reimburse you for the expense out of my travel stipend._
_S. Griffen, Ph.D._
Sam tapped the send button and looked around the hotel room. She determined that she could take a shower to feel better but wouldn't have any clothing to change into. She also had no pajamas and had never slept naked before. She calculated that she wouldn't have any time to shop for clothing in the morning, nor be able to change into those clothes, shower and make it to the airport in time. The best course of action would be to lay out her clothing so it wouldn't get too wrinkled and take a shower. She would have to sleep in her knickers and hope that she would be presentable for the duration until she arrived back home.
Sam looked at the small feeble lock on the luggage and formulated a strange plan that she implemented before she had properly decided how it might end. She had several Kirby grips attached to a piece of cardboard in her satchel. She took one out and fiddled with it in the TSA-approved access port. After a few minutes of struggling, she had unlocked the hasp and opened the luggage. Inside, she found a lot of men's clothing  and a few pairs of shoes. She couldn't find anything that might fit her so she zipped the luggage closed. Something caught her eye so she unzipped the luggage again and took out a small white USB flash drive. She recognised the logo on the flash drive as the same logo on Mark's headphones.
Sam decided that she might want to listen to some of his music and plugged the flash drive into her tablet. A folder explorer popped up and she browsed the list of folder names by swiping. She paused as she spotted a folder called 'Samantha'. Inside that named folder was a list of folders that mirrored the ones she had stored on her lab computer. She frowned and knitted her eyebrows.
She took out the USB flash drive from her tablet and threw it into Mark's luggage. She tried unsuccessfully to lock the hasp. The TSA-approved device was designed to stay open once the bypass had been activated and required the original key to close it. She shrugged and threw the lock into the trash bin under the desk. Maybe the lock was cut off or broke in transit, she reasoned. It was certainly possible.
She undressed to take a shower and found her smells to be unacceptably bad. She had worn her current clothes on the place and during the day-long meetings and through dinner for at a total of at least 36 hours. Taking off her pants she realised that skid marks were present.
She estimated the grodiness factor at 65% plus or minus 5%. After further analysis, she concluded that the perceived grodiness factor pg as a function of the pants object would scale as the square of the observer's sensitivity function S, times the raw grodiness factor gf, plus some small constant c to ensure the function was never zero. Thus:
pg(p) = S(p) * gf + c
She threw her pants into the bathroom bin and once again opened Mark's luggage. She removed a pair of boys' tighties and measured the elastic against her hips. It was far too small but would have to do for the next 18 hours. She took a shower, then set her alarm, and went to sleep. The boys' underwear fit reasonably well with the elastic band slung down low beneath her belly. It bunched up between her legs which was unusual but oddly comforting.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Solution Geneva part 7

"_Madame_," said Mathiason nodding at Samantha. He extended his hand to shake hers. He saw Jolie and said, "_Mademoiselle, très jolie. Enchantee_."

Sam introduced Jolie. "Monsieur Mathiason, this is Jolie Luc-Paul. Jolie, this is Monsieur Mathiason."

Mathiason kissed Jolie on both cheeks in the European style. "_Très, très Jolie, d'accord. Vos mésanges sont ravissantes. J'aimerais enculer jusqu'à ce que vous criez pour la Saint-Christophe pour vous sauver de la vingtième orgasme_," he said.

Sam screwed up her face in disgust. Jolie smiled and said, "_Je suis sûr que votre bite est petite et je ne me sentirais pas tout_."

Mathiason switched to English for Samantha's benefit. "Ah, she is feisty, _non_. I like it. Please, sit down with me and we will have some dinner." Mathiason stood behind a chair and pulled it out for Jolie to sit down. Samantha pulled her own chair out and sat down.

"That's disgusting," Sam said to Mathiason as he sat.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because you're French," she said.

"But I can look at a beautiful bosom such as the one in front of me and I must speak about how wonderful it is." He nodded and stared at Jolie.

"Boobs are food," Sam said.

"Boobs are sexual, as well," said Mathiason and smiled at Jolie. Jolie looked perplexed. "Just as the asshole is the asshole. But it can also be sexualised."

Sam harrumphed and looked at her menu.

"_Ça ne vous dérange si nous parlons anglais_?" asked Mathiason

"_Non, je peux suivre_," answered Jolie.

Samantha looked for the most expensive item on the menu. "What's the tip on 180 francs?" she asked. "I'm not good at math," she explained.

Mathiason nearly spit out the water he was sipping and Jolie covered her mouth.

Sam looked at both of them and turned her attention to the menu. "Normally I would pay for my own dinner." she announced finally. "But I will get reimbursed anyway. So the gesture would be largely symbolic. Therefore I will allow you to pay for the meal."

"You are astute and logical as ever," he said. "Garçon," he called.

The waiter came over and leaned close to Mathiason. They whispered back and forth for a while as the waiter took notes and nodded. The waiter gathered their menus and then bowed and left.

"You ordered for us?" Samantha asked.

"_Mais bien sur_," said Mathiason, stroking his lapels as if cleaning them. Mathiason began to speak in French with Jolie who answered politely and smiled and nodded.

Samantha sat fuming and tried to come up with witty retorts in French. She couldn't bring herself to stoop to his level and gave up.

The waiter brought a bottle of wine and performed the elabourate ritual of opening the bottle, pouring a sample and waiting for Monsieur's approval. Mathiason performed the elabourate ritual of pretending to examine every aspect of the glass and wine sample until he nodded, grudgingly, his assent.

"L'eau seulement, s'il vous plaît," Sam said when the waiter held the bottle toward her glass. "Merci," she said.

Jolie nodded when the wine was offered and thoughtfully lifted the glass, inspected it, sniffed, swirled, and then drank. She smiled. Mathiason nodded and smiled at her.

Sam waited as long as she could while Mathiason flirted with Jolie. Finally she said, "Mr. Mathiason, I don't like small talk. Please tell me what you wanted to discuss."

"Ah yes," he said and turned to look at her. "You are a brilliant physicist and lab engineer." He added an emphasised, "Obviously," which he shouldn't have added and emphasised if it really was that obvious. "But you are not politically savvy and you have no understanding of business objectives. That is why you are not an executive, and never will be."

"I'm not an executive because I'm a woman and I am not incompetent enough to be qualified for the job."

"Oh, I'm sure you could be trained to become incompetent enough," said Mathiason.

"It helps that I'm short, fat, ugly, and stupid," said Sam.

"You aren't _that_ stupid," said Mathiason. "But enough about that. The problems with the solid state circuits are actually well known. We've been adjusting the calibrations on the substrates that most of our materials use for a few years. We have offset so much error that our calibrations exceed the precision of our tolerances."

"You have a quality control issue," Sam said.

"You would think. But our best and brightest, no offense, haven't found any problems. Your work in the lab has shown that the equipment needs to be calibrated. But then it keeps getting calibrated and calibrated until there aren't any more knobs to turn and we're maxed out."

"The speed of light can't increase," she said.

"Usually a theoretical physicist is not so certain of something," he said.

"It's the one thing that seems to genuinely be fixed in this universe. Everything else derives from it. The speed of light hasn't changed from the beginning of the universe."

Four waiters arrived and performed an elabourate ritual delivering a large platter of escargot.

Mathiason stuffed the collar of his shirt with his napkin and began to dig into the snails. He said between mouthfuls, "Ah, but let's say that we could have come up with an experiment. I don't know, let's say some version of Young's experiment that we could use to see diffraction pattern at the same time that we could measure the gate through which each particle travelled."

"Impossible," Sam said. She took several snails and began to eat them.

"Not impossible," said Mathiason. "What if we could capture the data about the 'which way' information and store it for later retrieval. In the mean time, we could use a slight viewing delay to see the diffraction pattern after it was already formed?"

"What kind of viewing delay?" asked Sam.

"Suppose we sent the pattern off a far distance to be viewed? Say, from a sattelite?"

"And then you would propose to look at the 'which way' data at the same time that another observer would record the information about the diffraction pattern?" asked Samantha.

"I think you have figured it out," said Mathiason. He dipped a slender snail meat chunk into the butter dish and ate it. He smiled and nodded at Jolie as she ate several snails.

"The delay would be small, even to a satellite. But you'd need something that could record the data and process it. I'm not sure which satellite would be able to do that. Probably a geosynchronous mapsat or. . ." Sam trailed off.

"The NSA has been deeply interested in spying visually on people since they have been caught stealing electronic data," said Mathiason in a strange non-sequitor. "There are a lot of imaging satellites flying around up there but none of them have an aperature of two metres and a focal length of, oh, say, 60 metres."

"Hubble?" asked Sam.

"Your step-father worked on the project, yes?" Mathiason asked.

"What?" Sam asked but it came out in two syllables.

"No matter. I was not in charge of the optics division at the time. Julian left his son in charge and you know what happened to the mirror for the Hubble. Your step-father, meanwhile, was in the astrophysics lab testing the quality of the mirrors. In fact, he oversaw the quality process, _non_? Ach, what an embarassment for your step-father."

"My father," she emphasised, "always claimed he was setup." Sam said. "His team noted there was spherical aberation but NASA and Mr. Thorne ignored his objections."

"Griffens are always the victim," Mathiason said. Four waiters arrived and performed an elabourate ritual of uncovering the entree courses beneath huge silver domes and presenting the platters. They were each served in perfect timing and the waiters bowed as they left.

"I'm not a Griffen," Sam said evenly.

"No," agreed Mathiason. He held his fork and knife in the continental style and chewed his food slowly. "You are not actually as smart as your step-father. Or your step-mother, for that matter. But no matter. This is not the time to argue and hurl insults. You are a good employee and that is all that matters. You defended us and our products, and we will reward you like we rewarded your step-father."

"My father," she corrected again, "was rewarded with being marginalised and being the laughing stock of the academic world. What happened with the experiments?" she asked.

"The data that the Hubble collected were very surprising. I am not actually at liberty to discuss it. But these anomalies that we keep seeing have related to some sort of interference or problems with all of the products in our solid state and nano-technology line."

"Only yours?" Samantha asked. "What about other production facilities?"

"They have noticed problems too," Mathiason said. "But not until we mentioned them. It is as if the observational wavefront keeps expanding and spreading out."

"That doesn't seem possible. This is not a movie or a play. This is the real world. The laws of physcis don't just magically change."

"The whole world is farce and satire," said Mathiason. "When Einstein derived the laws of relativity, wouldn't that have seemed like magic at the time?"

"And then quantum physics turned relativity on its head. But the universe didn't change to meet our observation. It only allowed us to see behind one more curtain. The effects were always there, but we did not realise them. We did not create the effects by seeing them."

"What's the difference?" asked Mathiason. He shrugged and smiled at Jolie. She eyed him coyly while she chewed her food.

"The difference is that we can slowly see more of the patterns as they are revealed in the fog of discovery. By groping along the edge of one branch we can find a trunk and more branches, and so on."

"A fine metaphor," said Mathiason. "But I grow weary of this technical talk. I am more inclined to the discovery of the hidden secrets hidden by lace and cotton. I love that asshole near vagina pungency in a woman's underwear," he said. At this Jolie smiled and giggled, hiding behind her wine glass.

"Ugh," said Sam. "Asshole near vagina is the story of my life."

"Ha," said Mathiason.

"I'm leaving," Sam said abruptly. "I'll walk back. It isn't far."

Mathiason waved without looking at Sam. Jolie waved goodbye and stood to offer her cheek.

"_Bonsoir_," Sam said, and walked off. She looked over her shoulder after she heard a woman's gleeful shriek. Jolie was sitting on Mathiason's lap as he held a cherry over her lips.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Solution Geneva part 6

Samantha and Jacques rode the buses 57 and 56 back to the Genève International to pick up her luggage at the lost property counter. After filling out some forms and presenting her passport they waited for a while. An attendant finally wheeled her luggage out and Sam looked at the outside of the case.
"It looks in good condition, better than I remember," she said.
"Ah good, let's go on the shuttle to the Tarhôtel," said Jacques.
They walked outside and a disheveled man seemed to be making a lot of commotion asking passersby for money. He held some sort of metal bar in one hand. Jacques steered Samantha away. They walked a few feet toward the shuttle stop and they heard a popping sound followed by something that sounded like coins dropping on the ground. Sam looked over her shoulder and saw the strange man standing next to a police Toyota with a shattered rear window.
"Let's move a little faster," Sam suggested.
Jacques looked over his shoulder and saw the man raise his arm and smash in the rear window of the police car.
"Aiya!" he said. Jacques pulled out his phone and dialed 117. He picked up his pace to catch up with Sam.
Sam strode purposefully toward a bus queue and turned to hide behind it. She peered back as Jacques joined her. A string of very fast French words came out of his mouth and went into the phone. Sam looked at the police Toyota and saw that no one was inside the car. The man swung his arm again and the metal bar smashed in the side door panel and window of the police car. Pop, pop, pop, came the sound after each action. The Swiss citizens seemed to stop and stare in disbelief at the man smashing the car. Meanwhile, the tourists with luggage scattered for cover, trying to duck as they ran.
"_Il est fou_," said Sam in French so that Jacques could process it. He continued to speak into the phone with the police.
Sam watched as three security policemen came out of the airport terminal and stood a little apart from him, trying to speak to him. The man kept raising his bar threateningly whenever they came close. The shuttle bus arrived behind them and they quickly boarded. Sam struggled with her luggage while getting on and moving to the seats.
The bus casually followed the road around a curve, driving directly in front of the altercation and the police car. The crazy man was smashing in the windscreen, leaning over the bonnet as the three security guards tried to grab his hands and pull him back. Jacques stopped speaking and hung up the phone.
"We have these kinds of people in America," said Samantha.
"In Europe we are not used to them," said Jacques. "You seemed very calm," he added.
"Fear is not useful," said Sam. "The question is merely to take each threat and deal with it calmly until there are no more threats."
"Bruce Lee," said Jacques, smiling.
Sam looked at her bag in the luggage compartment of the bus. She kept looking at the bag and frowning.
"_Que-ce que c'est_?" Jacques asked.
Sam stood up and walked to her luggage, holding the tiny travel combination lock that kept the baggage closed. She tried her combination and pulled at the hasp. She tried spinning the numbers again, and pulled the hasp.
"This isn't my bag," she said.
* * *
Later that evening, Samantha waited in the lobby of her hotel, waiting to meet Jolie. A large flat screen television on the lobby wall showed a pair of news anchors sitting in front of a desk. Between them, a stock image of a cruise ship sailed in blue water. The scrolling words below read, _Le navire de croisière Carnival Ecstasy a disparu. On craint que les 1.200 membres de l'équipage et les passagers ne soient disparus_.
Jolie arrived and interrupted Sam as she watched the screen. "Samantha Griffen?" she asked in heavily accented English.
"_Oui, c'est moi_," said Sam. "_Bonsoir Jolie_."
"_Bonsoir_," Jolie said. "You are not going to dress up?"
"I am dressed fine," Sam said. "You look lovely tonight as always."
"_Ouai_," said Jolie. "_Mon frère_ said that I should dress up for a fancy dinner. You are not going?"
"I am going," said Sam. "I lost my luggage, so I'm just going to go in my travel clothes. This is fancy American style."
Jolie frowned. Sam said, "Let's meet the car Mathiason sent. It should be waiting out front for us. _Allons-y_."
They found the car and rode in silence to the Mandarin Oriental hotel on _rive droite_. Inside the hotel, they asked for directions to _Le Sud_ and found Mathiason waiting near the _maître d'hôtel_.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Solution Geneva part 5

"Listen!" Sam said above the din. "We fear  everything we know to be true. Unknown truths, especially. But we must not fear the truth. We should be afraid of falsehood and untruth. When we measure things incorrectly, or if we observe phenomena and interpret them incorrectly, we do not change reality. In these situations, we do change our perception of reality and that is the real danger.

"It's not the case the airplanes are falling out of the sky and nuclear reactors are suddenly melting. Except for the usual errors in human behaviour, obviously. But these are not caused by the speed of light suddenly changing or of particles suddenly appearing or disappearing where we have not predicted them to be. Whenever we reach surprising results, we must always allow for a simpler explanation that solves the problem while not minimising the result. In other words, we must come up with answers that are 'as simple as possible and no simpler', to quote Einstein.

"If I miscalculate the orbit of Jupiter by using the incorrect units of measurement, does Jupiter go flying off somewhere into the cosmos? No, obviously it does not. So we must admit that we are measuring something incorrectly. Or, there is a mistake somewhere. But that does not mean that the universe is changing to meet our perceptions. The universe doesn't obey us, it follows its unknown path and we act surprised when we think we know what is coming up next. The universe also doesn't have to be understood by us at all. There must be things we can't possibly understand."

There was a much calmer mood around the table and the attendees in the room were quiet. "Okay," Sam said taking a breath. "We have a few scenarios we can deal with and they should be easy to verify quickly with a minimum of effort. I've listed them here, based on the input from many of you in this room." Samantha tapped for the next slide on her screen and a few bullet points were displayed. She continued, "All we need to do is assign some people to each scenario and equipment cluster and meet back here in a few days to discuss our results. I am confident the problems can be solved and we can get the supercollider back on track to open at 14 TeV again."

There was general agreement and Sam sat down. A project manager stood up and described the project priorities and dates.

Jacques leaned close to Sam and said, "Nice job. I think you stood up to Mathiason, but perhaps you did not do enough about the clocks."

Sam leaned close to Jacques and said, "The clocks can be adjusted. I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds me."

Jacques nodded. After the meeting was over, Jacques escorted Samantha outside to the bus stop. Jacques asked, "You will go to your hôtel then, _non_?"

"_Ouai_," said Sam. "But I must retrieve my luggage from the lost and found. Then I can eat lunch and maybe go sight-seeing."

"Ach," said Jacques. He checked his phone. "I forgot about the bag. I will check the claim information to see if they have found it yet."

Mathiason walked by, waved and approached. "Samantha! Wonderful presentation in there. You've really got a presence up there. I know that you've been doing very valuable work for us, and this is just the latest example."

"Thank you, sir. I believe we can solve the problem and get the projects back on track," Sam said.

"Of course we can," Mathiason said and grabbed her shoulder. "Let's have dinner so that we can discuss more strategy," he said.

Samantha pulled back and wrestled her shoulder free. "No thank you, sir, I need to rest after the flight so that I can be ready to do more reports and meetings tomorrow," she said.

"Nonsense," Mathiason said. "Dinner at half-seven. I'll send a driver to your hotel." Mathiason walked off.

Jacques raised one eyebrow. "_Quoi?_" he asked.

"I guess I have to go," she said.

"I can have my sister attend with you. You have met her before. She works on the LHCb project," he said.

"Yes, Jolie. I remember. Thank you so much, that will make it more comfortable for me," Sam said.

"I see that your baggage claim has been confirmed and we can pick it up. _Alons-y_," Jacques said.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Solution Geneva part 4

"So you see that we must proceed with the utmost delicacy on this matter," said Jacques.

Sam nodded and tried to setup her computer to attach to the large video screen on the conference room wall.

She continued for a few minutes in silence  until Mathiason and several others joined them in the conference room.

"Hello, Samantha," said Mathiason. "I trust your flight went well?"

"It went very well," she answered. "I didn't know  you  were coming to this meeting or we could have flown together and gone over the presentation notes before meeting with everyone."

Mathiason shook his head. "Not to worry. I know you are doing great work. The results will speak for themselves I'm sure. I was at a conference in Cairo and just stopped here on my way back to the states. I am really here as an observer. Don't mind me. Continue with the meeting as if I'm not here."

"Just give me a few minutes to get this hooked up," she said.

Jacques was holding onto three adapters, trying to figure out which one went where.

"Does anyone know how to turn this on?" Samantha asked the room.

Three people got up and started milling around the front of the conference table.

"It will just be a moment," Sam said. "Do we need to get anyone on the phone?"

"They're all here at the moment," Jacuqes said. He held a long complicated chain of adapters and cables. He examined both ends and looked around the table perplexed.

One of the people near the front of the desk said something in German and walked out of the conference room to get another adapter.

"While we're waiting, let's go around the room and introduce ourselves. I'm Samantha Griffen at theoretical physics laboratory at Micron University. I've been assembling test results based on the measurements you sent me and the description of the problems at the collider." Sam pointed at the next person. Sam turned and busied herself setting up the computer. The attendees of the meeting introduced themselves as of physicists, engineers, managers, and project managers.

Mathiason introduced himself last. "I'm Theiroux Mathiason, president and CEO of the solid state products group at Thorne Enterprises. We've gathered out best and brightest here to solve the problems with the collider setup so that we can start tests again at the new 14 tera electron volt energies on time. I'll start with Ms. Griffen who has some interesting results."

"Just one more moment," she said. "Does anyone have the remote for the wall-mounted display?"

The German-speaking man who left arrived with a cable and two adapters.  Another man left to get the remote.

"I apologise for the inconvenience," Sam said.

Everyone waited. Finally, Jacques was able to connect Sam's computer to the display. Sam tapped her screen and poked, looked up at the display but nothing showed up. The man who left earlier brought back a remote and pressed a red button on it. The display turned on and showed a red circle with a line through an image of a computer. Next to the red circle with a line through it were the words "No, _non_, _nein_".

"Just a few more seconds," said Samantha.

Mathiason checked his watch. "We're a little late starting."

Sam was flustered. Jacques said, "Why don't you join the web desktop sharing conference and I'll display on the screen."

Sam nodded and started swiping and poking at her screen.

Jacques connected his computer to the cables and adapaters and punched some keys. A picture of his desktop appeared. He tapped some more keys and a presentation screen appeared. One more click with a mouse and the presentation filled the screen completely.

"Ok, here we are," said Sam. "I apologise for the delay. As I understand the problem set that was described to me and the data provided, we are having an issue with the systems auto-dumping during test bunches." Several heads nodded around the table. Sam advanced to the next slide which showed some bullet points. She continued, "The issues seem to point to a two to three centimetre misalignment of the ring. No one has yet found where the mismatch is. Further, the dumps occur relatively late in the acceleration cycle, which might point to a misalignment coming after the tubes are running." Sam advanced to the next slide. "Here are some tenantative problem guesses that have been identified: a loss of geometry in one or more magnets, or a sequence of magnets, a loss of vacuum seal under load, a faulty electrical system, or a faulty sensor, or series of sensors in the automatic shutdown systems."

More heads nodded around the table. Sam advanced to the next slide. She said, "I've been running experiments on the clocks and the measurement sensors provided to me, included the list on this slide and the next slide. She tapped again to advance. Then she tapped again to advance so that several green checkmarks appeared next to the list of equipment descriptions. "Fortunately, Thorne industries provides a lot of equiment for my own labs so that these tests were easy to prepare and validate." Mathiason nodded. Sam tapped to show the next slide. Some red checkmarks appeared and the attendees who had been sitting back in their seats sat forward in interest.

"I've measured some discrepancies in the equipment marked in red here," Sam said. "These sensors that measure the proton bunches as they pass seem to be off of their rated frequency of approximately 34 megahertz by about four percent. This is highly unusual because they use a solid state oscilator crytal. In fact, many of these devices have been used in our labs without issue and have been recalibrated recently. They have spontaneously started to drift."

Sam tapped her screen to advance to the next slide. Two overlapping wavy lines where shown in a sequence from top to bottom. "But that's not enough to cause a problem of the magnitude we are experiencing. The frequencies I measured were easy to adjust with an injection waveform. This is standard offset calibration. Nothing to see here." Sam tapped on her screen again.

"Here I list some of the timing measurements I ran with a coil of fibre optic cable against some of the cessium atomic clocks that had a problem earlier. I measured some routine anomalies, but I was easily able to add a calibration offset through the usual procedures to bring them into line with the speed of light and get very accurate results."

Someone in the back raised their hand. Sam nodded. The man said in heavily accented English, "These are the same clocks that Herr Dieter found problems with." Sam nodded. "These clocks can be calibrated, but why would they drift so much if they are manufactured to very high specifications?"

Samantha answered, "The cessium-133 samples in every clock are always different even though they are very pure. There are a lot of variables in the local geode density. There is no real way to have an authoritative clock reference with only one clock. Only by synching several clocks together over an average from several sources can you get a very good and reliable measure of time."

The man who raised his hand said, "Herr Dieter has sent out several dissertations showing how much adjustment the clocks require and he says that he is constantly increasing the offset. Perhaps there is more to the design or implementation of the clock than the manufacturer is willing to admit."

At this, Mathiason spoke up. "With all due respect to Herr Dieter, we have found a lot of errors in his methodology. He's sent us data that we confirmed many times wasn't correct. The OPERA project rushed to publish results from Herr Dieter that were shown to be categorically false. Now, we admit that one of the clocks in the tests wasn't calibrated correctly. As Ms. Griffen described, you must use serveral clocks from several sources before you make any judgements. Especially on an internationally visible scale like this."

The man objected, "With all due respect, Monsieur Mathiason, Herr Dieter was upset about his published results. But he was certain that the equipment was calibrated correctly until much, much later when another manufacturer's clocks were used to verify the results. Herr Dieter was extremely emotional about the subject and felt badly to be sure. But we believe the clock problems were the result of your manufacturing process, not the OPERA teams processes."

Mathiason folded his hands and said, "I was on the conference call when Dieter was upset and explaining his results. We told the OPERA team not to publish their results. He was crying. I could hear him crying on the phone. But we had told them not to make fools of themselves."

The man said, "He was crying because your company witheld vital information and were not forthcoming until after the results were published."

Mathiason said, "That's not true. Maybe he was crying because his vagina was leaking estrogen. I don't know. We have always stood by the manufacturing excellence of our products."

The man said, "I don't think that's an appropriate statement about Herr Dieter. Especially in front of several women present." He pointed around the room.

Sam said, "Gentlemen, let's get back to my presentation. I don't know the status of Herr Dieter's vagina. I think we can leave genitalia and hormones out of this discussion. The clocks require calibration like any piece of equipment. We still have not found the issue with the equipment. Now," she said, tapping her screen to show the next slide, "here is a graph that shows the approximation of c over time from the lunar measurements from NASA." Everyone squinted. Sam said, "The most recent results I've run show that there is a slight increase in c since just before 2011 and it continues in minute increments to today."

There was a large noise and commotion from everyone in the room. Sam held up her hands to quiet the room. "Calm down. Calm down," she said. "Everyone calm down."

"What is the meaning of this," said someone.

"These numbers are obviously wrong," she said. "The speed of light cannot increase. It cannot suddenly increase. That would be disasterous to the fundamental rules of the universe. It is imposible."

There was still a lot of commotion from people in the room.

"Quiet please." Sam tapped her screen to advance to the next slide. "As I show, there are several results of this which I explain can't happen. So we know that these data are lying. First, we might say that space shrinking. That might increase c. The metre is defined in SI units by c, so maybe the metre is shrinking. Thus, light might move slightly more than one metre in the SI definition. Quiet!" she yelled. "We know the universe is expanding, I know that."

Sam continued, "Second, time might be slowing down. That might increase c. These two are a contradiction, by the way. You cannot have both." She kept raising her voice over the objections of people in the room. "Assuming that the universe is expanding, it's possible the local expansion is increasing even faster. Thus, perhaps relativistic effects on space dilation are slowing time down. It seems like a strange contradiction. But it is the opposite of the first theory.

"Third," Sam raised her voice again over the noise, "Third! There could be discontinuities in space. Perhaps a quantum gap. Perhaps Planck's constant is increasing. Perhaps an experimental observation has altered the outcome of some quantum processes that were previously unknown. Now that we have observed some interaction, we have collapsed a waveform in one particular way. Previously this interaction would have averaged itself out.

The hubub in the room grew louder. One man stood up and took the floor. "This is impossible. The speed of light must be constant because it has been derived from certain dimentionless measurements: the raitio of mass of electrons and protons, for example. Chemistry would be affected, the interactions of particles in atoms would be disrupted. Nuclear reactors would change the way they operate. This is silliness."

"Fukushima," said someone around the table.

Sam spoke up above the noise as the man sat down. "Yes, I agree. It is silly. We know it is a mistake. Where is the mistake? What causes the mistake? When did it start? This is the mystery.

"What is so special about 2011?" Sam continued. "We must get a task force to look for anomalies in manufacturing. We must look for changes in solid state nanotechnology. We must review our results from lab interactions in science from that time."

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