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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University, UK, and subsequently researched... Read More »


Just about two days ago I warned that there will be a lot of nonsense about relativity coming out these days, and promptly there are already three articles here on Science2.0 alone that are exactly what I feared: Physicists with only basic knowledge about relativity claiming that particles cannot possibly go faster than light and portraying anybody who holds otherwise as a moron (not literally, but that seems to be the gist). Wake up guys – it is 2011 – modern physics has come a looooong way since Albert.

The people with the atom smashers, especially the ones at OPERA (Oscillation Project with E-tR Apparatus) in Italy’s Gran Sasso, announced to likely have a whopping 60 nano second systematic error with some neutrino experiments, but it makes for much better news to question Einstein. The scientists blame journalists for the hype, but of course they prepared everything just so that the press has no reason not to go ahead and make an Einstein spectacle out of it – the BBC promptly obliged.

Ask around what fundamental physics is, where the cutting edge of profound, foundational science is investigated, and you will most likely hear the Large Hadron Collider being mentioned, also referred to as Large Hype Constructor (LHC), which tries to find the so called “God particle” and super-symmetry. String theory will also be mentioned. Very few will tell you about comparatively dirt cheap laser labs that explore quantum entanglement.

Mark, a graduate student in bio-engineering with a history of depression, registers for a scientific conference on evolution, which attracts no suspicion at all; why should it. He takes potassium ferrocyanide, a yellow salt easily available in gardening supply stores, and boils it with automotive battery acid. Over a few weeks, Mark distills a few liters of highly toxic prussic acid, enough to kill thousands.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a stimulating tea that has been enjoyed all over the northern hemisphere for thousands of years. We prepared (see pictures below) and consumed early in the morning together with some nutmeg, after which we went shopping, exercised, played two rounds of basketball with a friend and some strangers in the afternoon, and suchlike little endeavors alternating every few hours with returning home, because yes, ephedra is a strong aphrodisiac. And we only drank a beer and ate some fruit all day, because ephedra is indeed a very good appetite suppressant, extremely useful if you want to lose weight.

Sitting for hours at your desk is bad for you, even fatal in the long run. Paul Knoepfler has recently again made me aware of this – read his Thinking on your feet: practical suggestions for creating and using a standing workstation. There is no point in writing yet another article, because you will have forgotten everything about it after five minutes. So, this here will be different.