News in Brief

Posted on January 13, 2012


Another phoney “scandal”

Almost two years to the day since the damp squib of the “Climategate Scandal” fizzled onto the scene and just six days before the start of the UN climate talks in Durban, we were off again with a new round. Yes, once again we are to be subject to a barrage of hacked emails from climate scientists has been posted online in the vain hope of drumming up yet more support.

Initial investigations show that most of the emails are new, though the content of them is broadly the same as the previous batch which were long ago proven to be quite legitimate and to represent accurate science. Once again we have emails from prominent researchers at the University of East Anglia and others at US universities debating and discussing the merits of different studies and the text to be used in compiling reports.

We can once again be assured that this is a trivial attempt to drum up yet more spurious “controversy” about climate science. According to a spokesman from the University of East Anglia, “This appears to be a carefully timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when [it] has [already] been vindicated by three independent inquiries and a number of studies.”

LHC sees signs of Higgs

PhotonQ-Closing In to Higgs Boson

There are rumours rumbling around the science groups that the LHC has seen initial signs of the Higgs boson in two seperate experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN. As yet – because each issue of Changed Times takes some while to compile – we do not have details of the experiments but will try to bring them to you if possible and hopefully within this issue.

In addition to the work on the Higgs boson, a quieter revolution in a smaller area of the LHC has discovered a so-called symmetry breakage in the behaviour of mesons which may have important implications for the existence of matter throughout the universe. We can no longer doubt that the massive investment in the LHC has begun to return value in scientific terms – and will continue to do so.

Slash and burn

Science in America could pay the price for US legislative indecision. A “supercommittee” of Congress set up to agree a plan to rein in the federal budget over-runs has failed to agree, triggering a savage series of cuts of up to $1.2 trillion over a decade starting from 2013.

English: Illustration of the James Webb Space ...

James Webb Telescope

It is far from clear how and where the axe will fall, but the cuts are so huge that major science projects and facilities could all be at risk. According to Michael Lubell, head of public affairs at the American Physical Society, “It is going to be a real blood-letting. Everything is up for grabs.”

Vulnerable projects must include the Advanced Light Source in California which studies molecules and materials, the National Ecological Observatory field sites which monitor the impact of global climate change and, of course, even NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.