In which Felix Salmon falls for a rip off and his readers set him straight.
Here’s an even better idea: why not get rid of fiber cables entirely, and use neutrinos to transmit information, at the speed of light, right through the center of the earth?and elicits a response
At the very least, this could provide a fantastic revenue bump for physicists working at extremely expensive particle accelerators in a world of fiscal austerity. In order to make this happen, you’d need to either build your own accelerator, or lease some capacity from an existing one. The sums involved are both big enough to make physicists salivate, and small enough that the private sector could raise the money quite easily:
Neutrino detection is so hard that experiments such as that in Italy beaming them through the Alps come up with bizarre results like neutrinos traveling faster than light. (Which nobody, not even the physicist who presented those results, believes to be true. It is at this point a curiousity and a group in the USA is trying to reproduce it.)Eli, of course, is waiting for the Breakthrough Institute Experts to pick up the ball.
The amount of energy required to produce detectable levels of neutrinos is very high. This would be an incredibly energy-inefficient method of communication if it could be made to work.
And of course, if it were possible to create a detector and coding scheme that worked well enough, neutrino communications would be the most perfectly insecure method ever.
This sort of proposal is the kind of thing that gets picked up by con-men who cobble together some apparatus that investment bankers haven’t a clue about.