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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

World's longest-running experiment finally sees its result

•, Colin Druce-McFadden
  In total, nine drops of tar have fallen since it started, the last three of which were missed by one fluke or another. This time, with 25,000 registered online viewers and three live feeds running around the clock, the strangely elusive pitch was actually witnessed as it touched down against the bottom of its beaker.

This comes after the last three drops were all accidentally missed, even as recently as 2000 when a power outage actually made the already-present webcams lose power at just the wrong moment. People definitely caught it this time, but since a pitch takes so dang long to actually drop, the precise time that it touched down is still under review. That's important for the online viewers of the drop, since those who were watching at the precise moment the drop was recorded will have their names preserved for posterity.

What's more, the drop was never in free-fall. It simply collided with the 8th drop, which fell in 2000 and took most of the last 14 years to tip over. A second experiment, at Dublin's Trinity College, did actually capture a real free-fall pitch drop after its own 69-year wait. Still, that pitch flows at all is impressive, considering that its viscosity is 230 billion times that of water.

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