OK, this is pretty fucked up right here, and I'm probably not going to do a good job of explaining it, so go to your local science news site or a copy of the latest Nature and read it...

The NEC Research Institute in Princeton, New Jersey sent a pulse of light through a six centimeter chamber, and the peak of the pulse came out before it entered. The chamber was a specially prepared atomic cell comprised of an unnatural form of cesium, cooled to near absolute zero.

According to the researchers their experiment does not violate Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. They explain that the light waves entering the chamber build a pulse of the other side, so it's not actually the same pulse. If it were, the cause of an effect would have happened after the effect, which according to today's physics, can't happen.

The article I read said that despite this new discovery, you can't send information faster than the speed of light. Well why not? Just sending over that pulse sent a letter E in Morse Code (or a binary 1) faster than it would have been sent by light. Naturally, it's as useless as fusion right now, but still... that's trippy.

I generally dislike cut and paste nodes, but I thought this was very relevant:

from WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 21 Jul 00 Washington, DC

1. GROAN! LIGHT IS REPORTED TO TRAVEL FASTER THAN LIGHT. The real news in physics was that the tau neutrino, the last of the fermions predicted by the Standard Model, had been discovered at Fermilab. But front page headlines across the country were proclaiming, "The Speed of Light Has Been Broken." It's now going to be impossible to characterize any claim as physically impossible without people scoffing: "that's what they said about the speed of light." At WN, we're already getting triumphant phone calls and e-mails from Einstein deniers. Charles Bennett at IBM Watson points out that this is little more than a confused rehash of an old story, where the peak of the wave packet leaving the "superluminal" medium is causally related to just the leading edge of the wave packet entering the medium. "Rolf Landauer is dead," Bennett sighed, "and someone needs to complain for him."

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