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back to article Enormous 1km ice-cube machine fashioned at South Pole

International boffins have created an enormous particle detector by instrumenting up a kilometre-on-a-side cube of the utterly pure and transparent ice found thousands of metres beneath the surface at the South Pole. Sensibly enough the boffins left the giant ice cube in place rather than trying to move it to somewhere more …

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Boffin

Yikes

Have none of these crazy boffins seen the film Aliens versus Predators? They meddle with forces they just can't understand.

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Linux

The real deal

They are looking for the lost civilization down there. No doubt at all. :) Ric

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Pint

Slightly misleading title...

I was looking forward to a G&T measured in Gigalitres...

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Joke

Re: Slightly misleading title...

"I was looking forward to a G&T measured in Gigalitres..."

Maybe that's the end-game of the Barbados researchers.

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Haven't they seen AVP?

Fools! They've drilled deep into the Antarctic ice? Next thing they'll be finding an ancient pyramid buried down there.

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Troll

AVP?

Strange, I don't recall there being anything to do with ice or Antarctica in those 2 fantastic games.

They should really make a film about them some day, I can't see how it could possibly be done badly, especially when the cannon is so easy to stick to.

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Dead Vulture

How did you miss...

...the obvious potential for chilled (preferably alcholic) drink jokes?

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Because

The discrete Futurama reference was by far the better option.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1O34cqerqs if you're missing it

"Thus solving the problem once and for all... ONCE AND FOR ALL!"

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Coat

re: How did you miss...

Allow me then....

Bring me another fleet of those C-130 from Scotland with *ahem* a very special type of cargo. And a couple dozen glass factories from (where? Venice?).

Would that qualify for the Guiness Records as "largest scotch whisky on the rocks"?

How about that: instead of the largest scotch on the rocks... Scotland on the rocks....?

Yes, mine is the thicker one, with a 4.8MW drill in the pocket.

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FAIL

Heresy

One does not drink Scotch with ice. A little water maybe, but never ice.

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Welcome

Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

Here's hoping they don't find any "dead" aliens..

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Call Tom Baker now

Many of my childhood nightmares featured a certain green seed pod discovered by overly curious scientists drilling into the Antarctic ice cap.

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Alien

That is not dead...

... which can eternal lie...!

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Alien

re. Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

"Here's hoping they don't find any "dead" aliens.."

Or stray dogs!

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Explanation please

How come the ice is so transparent? Is it something peculiar to being formed by glaciation?

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Boffin

Ice

Ice is normally transparent. The ice you're used to seeing though, is normally translucent due to the little pockets of air that occur naturally in water.

A good example of clear ice, is that in an icicle, probably to be found hanging from your gutters around now.

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Ice clarity

In this location, the ice is exceptionally clear and also very uniform. There is almost no silt deposition there, not surprisingly; it's surely much purer ice than exists in Greenland since there's nowhere much to bring silt from.

They are using the ice about 1000m deep because air bubbles are compressed out at that depth and the ice allows an unparalleled mass-observation device.

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The ice is transparent - not pure

This ice is not particularly pure. It contains a little air, just the rest of Antarctica. Ice looks white because air bubbles scatter the light. This scattering is inconvenient in a particle detector. Did you notice that they drilled down 2km to install detectors in 1km ice cube? The extra km of ice on top provides enough pressure to crush air bubbles out of existence and dissolve them in the ice.

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Welcome

The Thing!

Does no-one watch films any more?

Oh well, just to be on the safe side, I'd like to welcome our deep-frozen and suddenly defrosted alien overlords etc.

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Troll

How much???

$279m so they can see a tiny blue light flash? Well I hope they thought it was worth the effort. That rocket plan on skis was cool! Surely seeing that take off is more exciting than a tiny blue light?

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Alien

It's just a cover story.

The neutrino detector is real but its real intent is not as a research tool.

We have long suspected any significant daemonic incursion into our realm is oft preceded by significant neutrino discharge from the tainted locus. A detector this size will help warn us early and thus allow us to mobilise in time to meet the incoming threat before it establishes a significant foothold.

It is hoped that any cult summons of any significant power from beyond will be detected and dealt with swiftly anywhere upon the globe.

The reason the detector has been deployed to the Antartic, aside that of the site giving an unprecented view of the world from the south pole, is also that of it being so conveniently close in proximity to the Antartic subglacial lakes, long suspected of harbouring, and being a reservoir of taint

And... I would be saying too much, but not all we have been burying in ice down there has been detector gear....

There is a war... there has always been a war... Only it's been quite hidden for many many years.

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Happy

SG1

Have they found the Stargate yet?

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Not just the gate...

"Thousands of bright yellow - I don't know - They're coming from the surface! I don't know what they are are! They're cutting the enemy fleet to shreds! My God, it's beautiful."

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Pabodie

I see someone else was already reminded of Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" by hearing of drilling beneath the Antarctic ice. But given the other techniques used to build neutrino detectors, one must applaud the ingenuity of scientists who are using a larger one ready-made by nature.

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Thumb Up

+1

for belgium!

*insert "drink" on the rocks"

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Coat

Cool

really, title sais it all

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Headmaster

Arrrgghh, data != plural

Lewis, you are my favourite writer on the Reg, but data is not a plural noun!

http://inkyfool.blogspot.com/2009/12/data-singulars-and-plurals.html

Thanks for the article, though - amazing machine they are building...

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yes they are

The Economist Style Guide, which is close to being the Bible on such issues, puts it very succinctly.

Data are plural.

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Boffin

Thanks...

for that link; it was an interesting piece of opinion on English usage.

Unfortunately, I think the underlying point of that piece actually undermines your comment. The point was that a noun should be treated as singular or plural on the basis of its etymology, but on the basis of its usage.

If Lewis had said "The first data _point_ was collected...", we would not argue that the subject was singular. If he had said "The first data _points_ were collected...", again there would be no discrepancy. It's solely the reliance on the ambiguous term "data" which causes the question.

In the case of the article, Lewis was speaking of data collected "in 2002". Without further clarification, it is reasonable to guess that this would consist of many points of data, likely collected in two or more discrete sets. That would, in my opinion, easily justify the plural. However, he could have been talking only about the very first point or set, which would imply a singular usage. So it comes down to interpretation.

In the end, we must accept that our language is a hodgepodge, a melange or salmagundi, if you will, of many languages and influences, and writers are continually changing the meaning and structure of the language (inkyfool referred to Shakespeare -- we consider him a genius, but if his writing were judged by the prevailing grammar of his day, he'd be graded a failure.) In my lifetime, I've seen words such as "gay' and "impotent" completely redefined, and rules for punctuation have changed in several ways.

So any attempt a definitive statement of English grammar is, as I have alluded to twice above, no more than an opinion.

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Silver badge

Of course data is plural.

How do you define a unit of data? A bit? A byte? A word? Anything over that, anything useful, will require multiples. Implying a plural. Wiki is full of data. Googler is even fuller. And as I'm downloading, data is being hurled across the house (except for the unfortunate ones that splatter into the wall and dribble down to leave a sticky gunk on the floor) to be literally sucked out of the air by the computer on my lap, to be rearranged, and spat onto the disc.

It's data. It's all just data. And while I've heard a few people trying "datum", I've never heard "datas". So I figure it's a word like "sheep", one or two billion, it's the same thing.

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There's

an Economist Style Guide? An oxymoron surely.

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Badgers

of course its plural

this point is the datum point

you may digress from here and collect all your data - as long as you reference my DATUM POINT.

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Headmaster

Oxymoron?

Tautological, surely... :)

Yes, it exists. ISBN 1 86197 346-2

Highly recommended, and not just for grammar nazis.

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Thumb Up

www.nsf.gov

Not Safe For Government?!?

hmmm... Must be pretty useful then.

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Pirate

all that's missing

is to throw Brendan Fraser down that 2400 meter hole and the experiment will be a complete success. Let him have his dinosaurs and such, we'll be done with him.

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Coat

Good work NSF.

Given this features the work of the NSF, should it not have the NSF-Work warning?

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Coat

Not Safe For...

Seeing as they use the URL www.nsf.gov does this mean it is World Wide Web Not Safe For Governments?

Mine's the one which is Not Safe For me to wear.

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Coat

Right you are then.

So we can work out a way of taking off and landing at the South Pole, but can't seem to manage it at Heathrow with a bit of snow on it?

Just clearing that up (which makes the score: Me 1, BAA 0).

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Go

Photoshop

Is it me, or does that picture of a Hercules with rocket packs and skis on it just seem like it's Photoshopped? :-) It's too cool to be real life!

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Boffin

Photoshopped?

I don't think it's photoshopped; if it is, someone's put a *lot* of thought into it. If you look very carefully, you can see the propellor-tip vortices.

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Boffin

LC-130H is the Name...

flying in the Arctic and Antarctic is the game. The USAF (actually the Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing, out of Schenectady, New York) maintains the LC-130s for both military and NSF missions to the poles. The rocket packs are real and very much used to help overcome the friction of sledging along the snow/ice. They are working on an eight-bladed composite prop to provide enough thrust during takeoff to exclude the need for the rockets, or at least hold the rockets in reserve for the heavier loads.

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Pint

It's Real

RATO (Rocket Assisted Take-Off) Ski equipped C-130s exist, known as the LC-130

Multiple pix exist - see

http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&safe=off&biw=1024&bih=581&gbv=2&tbs=isch%3A1%2Cisz%3Alt%2Cislt%3Avga&sa=1&q=lc-130+skis&aq=f&aqi=&aql=f&oq=&gs_rfai=

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Pint

Sorry - another source cited them as JATO (Jet Assisted)

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Pictures? We want video.

Pics are great, but I want to see that thing move....

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wim

fat albert

The USA Air force stunt team also uses a rocket assisted take of C130 nick named fat albert

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97rSobuKBxI

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Coat

Thats one big hole...

Would hate to have to fill that one back in....

Will get my coat.

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Silver badge

I think you mean the Thing

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Troll

Eek!

The picture shows a layer of rock - then kilometres of ice!!

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If they do make an AVP movie...

...let's hope it features that rocket-assisted Hercules. It would make a good stand-in for the drop-ship in Aliens!

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Headmaster

Seemingly dumb and sort of pointless things...

Turn out to be both very important and are also one of the many elements of the great web of life and universe.

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of the quarks that pass through every cubic millimeter of earth, every second, never hit anything...

And now they have finished their lovely detector.....

Wow.

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