Ye cannae change the laws of physics, Jim

Dr Spinola boldly goes where no man has gone before – or does he?

The world of marketing was in a spin today as scientists disproved the first law of PR - that a cause, or even a press release, must come before an effect. For in discovering a way to make light travel 300 times faster, they have effectively invented a time machine.

Boffins in Princeton, US, transmitted a pulse of light towards a chamber filled with caesium gas and were dumfounded to discover it had travelled right through the gas and 60 feet out the other side before it had completely entered the chamber; in effect, it existed in two places at once, or travelled in time.

Ignoring the obvious benefits of going back in time to shoot Hitler, Bill Gates, Margaret Thatcher or [insert name of your favourite tyrant here], faster than light space travel and the debunking of that charlatan Albert Einstein's life work, let's take a few moments to consider the real benefits the discovery will bring.

Press releases will be written after that embarrassing Q&A session at the product launch where cynical old hacks make the CEO - and, more seriously, the PR Manager - look like complete buffoons. Such a release, sent back in time, will contain statements completely deflating the arguments postulated by pompous journos who will have no choice but to write glowing reports of the event.

Chip companies will be able to launch flaky motherboards safe in the knowledge that if they fail, the launch material can be reworked and the faults will become a feature, which was announced at launch, or, even better, leaked to the press weeks earlier.

And scientists in Italy also claim to have broken the light barrier, saying they have managed to get microwaves to move 25 per cent faster than light - a major leap forward in getting that saddo lasagne for one cooked before you even take it out of the fridge.

In the wonderful world of semiconductors, faster than light front side buses will mean that the figure to strive for is no longer the 200MHz of Athlon, or even the 400MHz of Willamette, but - 1MHz, where signals leave the bus before they've entered it.

Now we know why Intel has stuck with 66MHz for Celeron for so long. ®

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