New Ideas Take Over
This is the sleek interior of the new 747-8. It will use the fuel-saving technology of the 787 to achieve a lower cost per seat-mile than any competitor, especially the A-380. Lufthansa has already ordered 20 of the passenger version, with options for 20 more. For 747 pilots, the new version requires almost no re-qualification. Though the 747 design is decades old, it is still prettier than the A-380. Starting in 2010, we can fly across oceans in this!
Airbus is in big, big trouble. The A-380 was launched with huge fanfare. Building the world's biggest airliner was seen as the next big thing. Now the project is in such expensive trouble that it may sink Airbus. The freighter version for Fedex and UPS has been completely cancelled. The distraction has delayed Airbus from developing a competitor to the very popular 787. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Steinn from Dynamics of Cats is the latest to wonder about "Lorentz Invariance," or a changing speed of light. Last month Roger Blandford wondered about c change too. Steinn started his career in strings, got sick of that and has since made many entertaining blog posts. Welcome to the club!
The most convincing evidence, as Mahndisa and Roger Blandford have alluded to, may be Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays. The "Oh My God" particles have energies far higher than expected. They are difficult to explain with a fixed speed of light. Along with supernova evidence, massive primordial Black Holes, supernovae and the "Faint Young Sun" the evidence is mounting.
The "standard cosmological model" has been called the Concorde cosmology like a plane which no longer flies. It is likely to linger around gathering dust for a long time. Some old folks will go to their grave muttering that the speed of light is constant. Gathering evidence for a "c change" takes years. As more and more supporting data appears, a better model will take over.