The joke is not necessarily the incident itself, but the fact that he wrote it up in the format of a scientific paper. Obviously the physics involved here is far too trivial to form the basis of a real paper; on any other day you'd get laughed out of physics for submitting something like that to arXiv. But for April 1 submissions, the rules are relaxed a bit.
Now, it's true that I haven't seen any other references to this happening, other than the arXiv submission, so I don't know that the incident really happened. But it seems perfectly plausible that something like that wouldn't be documented anywhere else online. So everything seems consistent with it being a real event, as far as I've seen.
EAU is one of, if not the most important centers of global warming research. So it's not like we are talking about some small unimportant scientists in eastern Zaire, these guys are important in the global warming world.
Sure, but that doesn't matter to my point. Regardless of how important they are, it's still not justified to judge the entire climate change research community based on the actions of a few of them.
And of course they are pushing an agenda. All good scientists do. But in order to make the transition from "personal agenda" to "established science" they have to convince a lot of other people, who aren't going to accept the idea so easily, and who are definitely going to call BS if the original researchers are making stuff up or if their conclusions don't follow from the evidence. (At least, that's the idea; it doesn't always work perfectly but it's not bad.) This is the entire reason that peer review and reproducibility are so important in science.
If there's anything we learned from the climategate emails, it's that a lot of the scientists working on this problem are not working in good faith.
No, we learned that a few of the scientists working on this problem are not working in good faith. Maybe. As I recall, the official investigation concluded that they had not done anything actually fraudulent, but I don't really know the details on that... still, it was just a small portion of the global climate change research community. Even if their work couldn't be trusted, it wouldn't invalidate everything that everyone else in the field has done.
Only because Google doesn't control what Android users can put on their phones, at least not as tightly as Apple does. If you get an iPhone, it still needs to be defended against malware, but Apple does most of the work for you. That's the advantage you get for the developers giving up some of their independence.
Also, popularity may play a role. Some metrics have Android as the most popular smartphone OS, which makes it the most enticing target for malware authors. Same reason Windows is the most virus-prone desktop OS. (Well, one of the reasons, anyway)
Yes, there are measurements which indicate that photons have zero mass, and that at least certain kinds of neutrinos have nonzero mass. They are certainly not the same particle, and there's no way the neutrinos could be less massive than photons - even if photons do have a nonzero mass, we've measured that it has to be many orders of magnitude smaller than the known mass differences between different kinds of neutrinos.
Incidentally, "speed of light" c does not necessarily mean the speed of
I met one of the people involved in the project a few months ago, and from what he said (IIRC) it sounds like it is mostly about marketing and education. They're trying to increase public awareness of and interest in what the LHC does and why it's important, and they figure that giving people a way to easily interact with the experiment (even if it is kind of a one-way interaction) will help pique their interest. In other words, it's a PR tool.
Then again, I'm not directly involved, so I could be wrong...
I reposted your question to Physics Stack Exchange so you can get input from an additional group of people, several of whom have actually studied GR. (Disclaimer: it's not my website, but I'm a frequent contributor) Of course, most of the prerequisites I would think of have already been mentioned here (Newtonian mechanics, electromagnetism, special relativity, linear algebra, multivariable calculus, differential equations, differential geometry), but on PSE you won't have to filter out a bunch of irrelevant comments
For what it's worth, the main "thrust" of GR is encapsulated in two equations, which you can find here among other places: the geodesic equation and the Einstein field equations. You can use those to guide your progress: once you know enough to understand what they mean, you've successfully learned the basics of GR.
But particle physics in particular seems to have vanished up its own asshole in the last couple of decades Every problem seems to be solved by inventing a new particle which will show up if only we spend ten times as much on the next machine.
As a particle physicist, I fully endorse this
"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."