Most readers of this blog are probably aware of the recent theft of five masterpieces from the Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris last week. (For the philistines in our midst, a masked bandit took advantage of the museum's malfunctioning alarm system to break in and steal works by Picasso, Matisse, Georges Braque, Ferdinand Leger, and Amadeo Modigliani worth a combined 90 to 100 million euros.) In all the excitement, though, you may have missed a far more disturbing and potentially life-changing bit of news from the City of Light.
Sometime in April at the Musee des Arts et Metiers, the cable holding a model of Foucault's pendulum inexplicably (and suspiciously, in the eye of this observer) snapped. In the resulting crash, the 60-pound ball was permanently damaged. Among several consequences, much of Western Europe can no longer keep accurate time, and I was forced to try to figure out what this equation means:
If you think Dan Brown didn't have something to do with this (probably in league with the Large Hadron Collider), you haven't been reading enough conspiracy theories. Umberto Eco laughs in your (and Brown's) general direction.