Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 00:40 on 01-10-2011, Rami
Now now, let's leave poor Gamer alone. I've personally written much, much worse and wouldn't want it exposed to the Internet -- I think he's been shamed enough.
at 23:19 on 30-09-2011, Orion
Actually on second glance it looks like this may be a deliberate Evangelion-Homage. The kind written by someone who thought what Eva really needed to be was a Boys Own Adventure.
at 23:17 on 30-09-2011, Orion
If I wanted young robot pilots fighting aliens while navelgazing about their disturbingly misogynistic sexualities I would watch Evangelion. Damn, now I want to track down a copy of the new Eva movies.
at 22:42 on 30-09-2011, Wardog
Wow. That fish you just shot in that barrel there, Valse, is really really dead. It feels churlish, because let's face it we've all got a mortifying magnus opus in our sordid pasts, but I lol'ed. And I lol'ed hard.

There was a longing in her eyes, evidence of a void that nothing could fill, at least not anytime soon

Except perhaps his penis?
at 22:27 on 30-09-2011, valse de la lune
It took me a couple google searches to locate Gamer's magnum opus. About as stuffy as you'd expect (link moderated for privacy reasons) and appears to be about a self-insert a teenage boy fighting robots or aliens (or robot aliens?) or something. The only female character of significance I've managed to find does this:

Julie finally looked up at Markus, her eyes red from crying and a terrible sadness on her face. Markus stopped mid-sentence as his eyes met hers, the words just seeming to slip away. “Markus,” Julie’s voice quavered. “Could you please just hold me?”

Markus just stared at her, speechless at her grief. There was a longing in her eyes, evidence of a void that nothing could fill, at least not anytime soon. There was no way he could deny her request, even if he had wanted to. “Sure,” he answered quietly.

Julie rose long enough to fall into his open arms. She buried her face in his chest, her body shaking from the sobs that she had held back until now. Markus looked down at her, and some feeling stirred itself up inside him, one he had not felt in a long time, maybe ever. A deep ache filled his heart as he felt the tremors of Julie’s sorrow run from her body into his. It was almost as if in that moment, he could feel her loss as sharply as she could.
As he said it, Julie’s body began trembling with restrained sorrow. She bit her lip and tried valiantly to blink away tears, but it was to no avail. She finally gave in to the torrent of anguish and fell to her knees, one hand hitting the ground, the other trailing down the face of the armor. Violent sobs overcame her, and there she remained: a helpless, powerless embodiment of pure grief.

at 20:40 on 30-09-2011, Melissa G.

Oh, you must be new to the internet! Welcome! :-)
at 19:52 on 30-09-2011, Andy G
Wow. I had no idea people really used the word feminazi.
at 18:21 on 30-09-2011, Arthur B
People cry about a supposed spoiler for Arkham City.

What gets me about the article is that the supposed spoiler is about something that happens in Act 1 of the game - stuff happening at the start of a story usually coming under the category of "setup" as opposed to "spoiler" in my book - plus was very clearly telegraphed in the original preview trailer.

Also if you seriously believe the Joker actually just dies and doesn't come back I've got a bridge or two to sell you.
at 15:28 on 30-09-2011, valse de la lune
He does rather exceed all expectations.
at 15:20 on 30-09-2011, Wardog
Incidentally, for anyone who cares, (to quote the amendment he made to his profile) "Gamer_2k4 will probably not be seen here again, as he's taken a voluntary leave of absence from the raging feminazis. Because HOLY BALLS" so I have taken the liberty of making his leave of absence involuntary. Being a feminist not required to hang out on Ferretbrain, but being a tosser strongly discouraged.

But, yes, my heart bleeds.

This post was brought to you by Ferretbrain Public Information Services, because I wanted folks to know what was going on.
at 09:27 on 30-09-2011, Wardog
And it was 700 km through rock! For some reason I had it in my head that they had fired neutrinos down a long (albeit not 700 km long) tunnel.

Pew pew!
at 01:00 on 30-09-2011, Andy G
And it was 700 km through rock! For some reason I had it in my head that they had fired neutrinos down a long (albeit not 700 km long) tunnel.

at 00:00 on 30-09-2011, Robinson L
Thanks for clarifying, Dan.

I've tried on several occasions to cultivate a robust understanding of quantum physics, but so far, it eludes me. I know that faster-than-light travel (at least for some things) isn't contradicted by general relativity, but from what little I know as an outsider, there's no actual proof at the moment that it does happen, just speculation.

As you say, it's entirely possible that this observation could be due to a mistake, but I wanted to tease out the implications if it turns out not to be. Again, thanks for the discussion.
at 23:55 on 29-09-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
This show seems...familiar, somehow. Can't quite put my finger on it.
at 23:37 on 29-09-2011, Dan H
Two meters is a fairly larger error, but it's over 700km, which adds up to a difference of about 0.0003%. It *probably* isn't anything as trivial as just getting the distance wrong, but measuring a distance of several hundred miles to plus or minus a meter is harder than you might think (look at it this way - what's the resolution on your GPS like?) Don't forget that major international engineering projects have been screwed up by things like imperial-metric conversions before now.

I'm not saying it's definitely nothing, just that there is a very, very good chance that somewhere somebody got something very slightly wrong. Measuring things accurate to one part in a million is really quite hard.
at 23:29 on 29-09-2011, Andy G
"... if the team had measured their distances wrong by as little as two meters, that would explain pretty much everything ..."

Isn't two meters quite a large measurement error? I know it was over a very long distance, but surely the dimensions of that distance were fairly tightly controlled?
at 23:12 on 29-09-2011, Dan H
So ... how 'bout them faster-than-light neutrinos?

I'm cautiously interested, but think it's important to remember that pretty much all the news coverage has been wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

Assuming it's *not* just a systematic error (which it might very well be - these things only arrived six billionths of a second early, and if the team had measured their distances wrong by as little as two meters, that would explain pretty much everything) then this has some profound consequences for high-energy physics, but it *doesn't* disprove relativity (any more than relativity disproves classical mechanics, or the existence of protons disproves the existence of atoms).

There are basically two key things to remember.

Firstly, Special Relativity isn't based on the assumption that nothing travels faster than light speed, it's based on the assumption that the speed of light is the same in all inertial frames of reference. That's a very different thing.

Secondly, the notion that some things could travel faster than light isn't as outside the realms of special relativity as you might think. It's possible, for example, for the phase velocity of a wave to be faster than light, and I seem to recall that some interstellar phenomena appear to propagate faster than light as well.

So, yeah, if it pans out, it's going to lead to some exciting new physics, but it's "exciting" in the sense that neutrino oscillations are exciting (the actual experiment they were doing when they made this discovery is a *really funky* one that might explain why the universe exists).
at 20:25 on 29-09-2011, Arthur B
Lemme think about it and I'll get back to you yesterday.
at 20:00 on 29-09-2011, Robinson L
So ... how 'bout them faster-than-light neutrinos?
at 09:52 on 29-09-2011, Arthur B
I think he's taken the measure of the consensus reasonably astutely. He's a smart cookie.
at 07:04 on 29-09-2011, Shim
Maybe my vocal and unrelenting loathing has coloured Robinson's perception?
at 00:39 on 29-09-2011, Arthur B
Hey, I really liked Kevin.

Every other character in that book? Eh, not so much.