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Current: April 2015

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1 April 15 (permalink)

HMMM...

As it's the first of April, I find myself treating this story in the New Scientist with a healthy amount of scepticism. I know the paper was submitted to arXiv on March 17th and NS published their article yesterday, but it just seems too outlandish a story to be, you know, actually true.

I've blogged about Fast Radio Bursts before and even back then I commented that they present quite a mystery, but the discovery that the delay between the first and last burst in each of the 10 FRBs that have detected so far is always close to a multiple of 187.5 is kind of interesting, to put it mildly. The scientists who analysed the signals claim there is a 5 in 10,000 probability that the line-up is coincidence. "If the pattern is real," says John Learned at the University of Hawaii, "it is very, very hard to explain."

If these events turn out to originate much closer to home and fall into a category of signal that's been named perytons, I'll be disappointed - but for now I'm savouring a good bit of April weirdness.

PRODUCTIVITY BOOST

There was a fault at the local telephone exchange this morning and I ended up with no Internet access for a few hours. I ended up doing some cleaning - the living room hasn't looked this tidy since I prepared for vistors at Christmas.

The amount of dust that had accumulated was crazy - you should have seen the vents on the front of the PC. Why yes, I have just vacuumed my computer, why do you ask? The build-up of dust wasn't that bad in the past and I'm guessing the principal culprit will be the carpet. It's the original floor covering, and as the house was built 25 years ago it really doesn't owe me anything. Maybe I should replace all the carpet in the house with hardwood flooring...

YOU'RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE

As a result of dropping off the net, I missed all this year's April Fools hoaxes. To be honest I'm fine with that. Something that used to mean creative and fun pranks from people who didn't normally do humour has become a predictably tedious event that's not even remotely amusing. It's turned in to a competition between company marketing departments to see who can get most press coverage. My favourite hoax of the last fifty years didn't even take place in April: it played out in September 1967.

Quite frankly most efforts these days just suck. Get off my lawn.

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