Let's play a game of bad news, good news, bad news.
Bad news first: 2020. Literally everything. Every second. Every waking moment of 2020. It's bleak, I know. Forest fires, pandemic,. When will it end?
But the good news: Scientists have apparently discovered a parallel universe, like ours. However, it is a little different from ours. In this mirror world, time runs backwards. It is like a Benjamin Button universe. That means they'll go back to 2019, the old days, right?
Well now more bad news: I'm here to spoil the parallel party of the universe. Scientists have not Really discovered a parallel universe but could you think They have, according to multiple reports from around the web.
In recent days, various publications have suggested that scientists "found evidence" of a parallel universe where time runs backward. These mind-blowing articles postulate that an experiment in Antarctica detected particles that break the laws of physics. All the reports come from the same source of information: a New Scientist report released April 8 titled "We may have seen a parallel universe going back in time."
At the center of the report are the findings of the Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna, or ANITA, an experiment maintained by NASA researchers. It involves a series of radio antennas attached to a helium balloon that flies over the Antarctic ice sheet at 37,000 meters, almost four times higher than a commercial flight. At such a height, antennas can "hear" the cosmos and detect high-energy particles, known as neutrinos, that constantly bombard the planet.
These particles pose no threat to us and pass through most solid objects without anyone noticing – some estimates suggest that 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second! They rarely interact with matter. But if they crash into an atom, they produce a shower of secondary particles that we can detect, allowing us to investigate where they come from in the universe. ANITA detects that neutrinos enter space and collide with matter in the Antarctic ice sheet.
Over the years ANITA has detected a handful of "anomalous" events. Instead of the high-energy neutrinos flowing from space, they appear to have come from a strange angle, through Earth's interior, before hitting the detector. These findings hypocrisy explained by our current understanding of physics: that's true.
"ANITA's unusual events have been known and discussed since 2016," says Ron Ekers, an honorary member of CSIRO, Australia's national science agency. "After four years there has been no satisfactory explanation for the anomalous events seen by ANITA, so this is very frustrating, especially for those involved."
Although the New Scientist report was released on April 8, and the ANITA results are almost two years old, the theory has recently caught fire. The increasingly urgent headlines have stimulated its dissemination on social networks. "NASA uncovers evidence of strange parallel universe where physics, time operates in reverse," says one. Another says that "scientists may have found evidence of a parallel universe."
Peter Gorham, the principal investigator for ANITA, says it is "an unfortunate sensational journalism" and notes that an early Daily Star report "simply did a few things about me and our experiment."
Because the New Scientist piece is behind a pay wall, many of the subsequent reports on the parallel universe are cited in the opening paragraphs and do not explain all the details behind the finding, in which one of the scientists admits that "There are one or two loose ends" for the theory of the parallel universe. There is also another neutrino observatory at the South Pole, known as IceCube, that has been following ANITA's observations and suggests that the standard physics model cannot explain these strange events.
"In such a situation, you begin to explore even more extreme possibilities," says Ekers.
Here's a really interesting scientific story, but it's not the one they're selling you. The ANITA experiment is mind-blowing in its own right. Look for "ghostly" particles that pass through most matter. You have definitely detected something unusual and unexpected. There are many competing theories that are not explored in the fast news, such as the idea that Antarctic ice may be giving rise to these anomalous events.
Pat Scott, an astroparticle phenomenologist at the University of Queensland, explains that the idea "is plausible" while suggesting that there are many, many other theories that may explain ANITA's anomalous detections. "There is nothing that necessarily detects a parallel universe," he says.
What it boils down to is simple: There's so much we don't know about neutrinos that astrophysicists and scientists are still trying to figure out. "We're absolutely sure there's a new physics out there, "says Clancy James, a radio astronomer at Curtin University in Australia.
Jumping directly into "parallel universes" is a bit of a stretch, and there are fewer mind-blowing theories that could explain what ANITA has spotted. "There are several possible candidate particles that could explain ANITA's results," says Geraint Lewis, an astrophysicist at the University of Sydney.
"While parallel universes sound exciting and sexy when talking about the ANITA signal, alternative ideas are still on the table," says Lewis. He also says that doesn't mean the idea is wrong, but the weight of the evidence is currently against it.
Unfortunately, most reports that regurgitate this theory without a thorough examination of the evidence complicate the public's relationship with science, which is already on shaky ground thanks to disinformation campaigns about climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
When you see stories like these, it's good to remember "the Sagan Standard," an adage uttered by famous astronomer Carl Sagan. It is said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Today, we have a great theory, but we lack the extraordinary evidence to back it up.
What we do have, says Ekers, is "a somewhat cheeky explanation … born out of the frustration of having nothing else that works." He says this is "good original thinking" and a "fascinating" idea, but not an idea that needs to be taken very seriously.
Gorham has requested that the New York Post withdraw his side of the story, but it is still available.
So, I'm sorry. We found no evidence of a parallel universe. Fortunately, if there is is one, so there this article doesn't spoil the theory at all! Supports it! So please direct all your email to the Jackson Ryan parallel universe.
No, I will not answer questions.
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