Category Archives: Paranoia

Q: How do I encrypt/hide/protect my email?

Cryptographer: Lots of people have been asking “how do I encrypt my email” or “how can I hide from NSA surveillance”. It turns out that the answer to the first question is fairly straight forward, while the second is not, … Continue reading

Posted in -- Guest Author, Computer Science, Paranoia | 4 Comments

Q: Could Kurt Vonnegut’s “Ice-9 catastrophe” happen?

The original question was: Is it possible to actually create a substance such as Kurt Vonnegut’s “Ice-9 (Nine)“, which could, in theory, bond with water (especially seawater) and replicate like a virus, freezing the oceans (or all liquid water on … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Paranoia, Physics | 6 Comments

Q: What would happen if a black hole passed through our solar system?

Astronomer: Most black holes form when a star which is ten times more massive than our Sun runs out of fuel for fusion. This causes the star to collapse, explode as a supernova, and, if enough material is left over … Continue reading

Posted in -- Guest Author, Astronomy, Paranoia, Physics | 62 Comments

Q: Will the world end in 2012?

Physicist: Firstly, happy new year! So, there’s been a lot of hoopla around 2012 doomsday stuff for a while.  Maybe not as much fuss as there was over the techno-apocalypse of Y2K, but still.  Although there are a variety of … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Paranoia, Probability, Skepticism | 11 Comments

Q: CERN’s faster than light neutrino thing: WTF?

Physicist: The story here is that CERN has been generating neutrinos, firing them 730km, to a detector in Gran Sasso, Italy, and those neutrinos have been consistently (so far as their instruments say) arriving 60 ns (0.00000006 seconds) earlier than … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Experiments, Paranoia, Relativity, Skepticism | 28 Comments

Q: Is Santa real?

Physicist: The existence of Santa Claus is an established fact, beyond debate.  I, like most people of my generation, have verified his existence experimentally by means of the “Cookie test”. The idea that millions of people, the world over, could … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, April Fools, Paranoia, Physics | 10 Comments