How do I check in on the Pitch Drop Experiment?
February 7, 2013 3:13 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in checking out the Pitch Drop Experiment. I've tried on a couple of computers and browsers and I can't see the web cam - which is supposed to be viewable on this page. Is it just me or my computer or is it disabled? Hurry, it could happen any moment now!

As discussed here. Did I miss it already?
posted by otherwordlyglow to Computers & Internet (42 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The stream appears to be here:

I've been able to open that stream right now using the VLC application (open network and paste in the URL I pasted above.

Looks like it hasn't dropped yet.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:38 PM on February 7, 2013

The stream is in the HTML for the page but the player doesn't seem to be set up right. If you go to this player page and paste this:

into the box there, then click "Generate HTML," you will get a playable video on the left.
posted by bcwinters at 3:42 PM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That player doesn't seem to work for me either. I just get a spinning grey blob.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:47 PM on February 7, 2013

You can get the VLC player from here:
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:59 PM on February 7, 2013

I have been semi-obsessed with this for a few weeks now, and kept the window open in my browser to check from time to time. The live cam was working for me up until this morning, when it suddenly disappeared. I can't get it now, either (though I haven't tried the VLC method yet).

Given the history of how many people have missed seeing the drop by thismuch, I suspect the cam has somehow misfunctioned just so once again THE WHOLE WORLD WILL MISS THE DROP (cue Twilight Zone music).
posted by Mchelly at 5:35 PM on February 7, 2013

Response by poster: Well I'm glad to know its not just me. I haven't been able to download the player yet so I may still miss it, too!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:24 PM on February 7, 2013

Response by poster: Finally! The FLV player works. The university page still doesn't work but I can see it!! I hasn't dropped yet! Now, I can never leave me computer.......
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:30 AM on February 8, 2013


It's been a half-hour since you started watching it - don't leave us hanging like that!
posted by IAmBroom at 10:02 AM on February 8, 2013

Response by poster: Still there.


And still now.

and now.......
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:47 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

How's it looking now? Am stuck on an iPhone :D
posted by Iteki at 4:28 AM on February 9, 2013

Response by poster: Still hanging in there!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:40 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

This baby ain't moving.
posted by Iteki at 2:38 AM on February 16, 2013

Response by poster: The suspense is killing me!

not really.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:23 PM on February 25, 2013

It looks to me like it just happened / is happening right now (!) - the drop is still connected, but lots more has fallen into the basin than I remember seeing a week ago. Or am I misremembering?
posted by Mchelly at 9:08 PM on March 4, 2013

Hmm, really hard to tell. It looks pretty much like it has when I have looked before, but it looks a tiny bit fractured near where the funnel is cut? It's a bloody awful video, I don't know why it's so terrible. It's definitely more angled than it was a few days ago. I am pretty concerned that the "tail" from the last drop seems to be touching it and most likely supporting it to some extent.
posted by Iteki at 9:28 PM on March 4, 2013

Aaagh! Someone just came and looked at it, and right into the cam. Was kinda weird as I am in a state of not very dressed. There looks to be people around, maybe you are right? Also, if it broke on the cross-line it could easily have "dropped" without being visible from our side due to the support-tail.
posted by Iteki at 9:48 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ok, it was people queuing for class. I've never been watching it at this time of day!
posted by Iteki at 9:55 PM on March 4, 2013

Response by poster: I don't know, it doesn't look significantly different to me. I usually check in about once a day.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:24 AM on March 6, 2013

For some reason, this just popped in my head and I went to check in. Still appears to be live, and still appears to not have dropped.

I know y'all are on the edge of your seats, so I wanted to update.
posted by phunniemee at 10:13 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The drop looks like it has elongated in the last week or so but yeah, it's still there.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:13 AM on April 3, 2013

Yeah, I felt so embarrassed by how much I jumped the gun that I am now taking occasional screenshots to compare
posted by Mchelly at 12:55 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

The website has just posted a time-lapse video of the last year and is calling the drop "imminent".

Not sure if "imminent" means a day or another month, though
posted by Mchelly at 11:31 AM on April 12, 2013

Response by poster: Apparently it means at least another week since it's still there! Cool video though.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 12:26 PM on April 18, 2013

I'm not seeing a significant difference on this to tell you the truth. I am still very concerned that the tail of the last drop is creating a support structure.
posted by Iteki at 7:01 AM on April 21, 2013

They moved they camera angle and I had a heart attack. It's still not dropped, and the angle is still crappy. And now I can't get it at all?
posted by Iteki at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2013

OMG why did they do that? Now my screengrabs are MEANINGLESS!!!
posted by Mchelly at 12:22 PM on June 3, 2013

Response by poster: It still works fine for me. It must have been a little nerve-wracking to move it!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:01 AM on June 4, 2013

I dont think they moved the jar, but switched to another of the three (?) cameras watching it. Surely moving the jar would invalidate this round of the experiment?
posted by Iteki at 10:25 PM on June 4, 2013

Yeah, looks like an opposite camera angle to me as well.
posted by Mchelly at 4:11 AM on June 5, 2013

Response by poster: But the website says "Due to plans for the refurbishment of the historic Parnell Building affecting the site of the Pitch Drop Experiment, scheduled to begin today (Tuesday, 28 May 2013), the experiment has been moved to a temporary location until mid-July. "
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:19 AM on June 5, 2013

Oh my god?! I didn't read the site, I just have the video feed.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. Probably, or not? I feel overinvested in this at the moment.
posted by Iteki at 11:28 AM on June 5, 2013

you just blew my mind.

I am now picturing that entire glassed in exhibit sitting on a wheeled base. I mean... how the...!?
posted by Mchelly at 11:33 AM on June 5, 2013

I am now picturing that entire glassed in exhibit sitting on a wheeled base.

Well, they've been pushing it to its new location since November 1973, so this shouldn't come as a surprise.
posted by phunniemee at 11:51 AM on June 5, 2013

I know you're right. But in my head that apparatus has been in the same place since 1927, and the various modern buildings and furniture and equipment have been carefully built around it over the decades so as not to disturb it in any way.
posted by Mchelly at 1:55 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, they've been pushing it to its new location since November 1973, so this shouldn't come as a surprise.

What? I don't get it.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:10 AM on June 6, 2013

Because the pitch is dropping so slowly...? Lame joke.
posted by phunniemee at 10:04 AM on June 6, 2013

Response by poster: I guess so but I just didn't see the significance of 11/73.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:31 AM on June 6, 2013

Response by poster: IT DROPPED!!!!!!!! Oh wait, that's a different one. But, still, totally cool to watch in slo-mo.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:22 AM on July 18, 2013

Thanks for the heart-attack, I just about wet myself.
posted by Iteki at 3:48 PM on July 23, 2013

Mefi post about that recent drop in the Trinity College pitch drop experiment.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:23 PM on July 23, 2013

Response by poster: Now, if this isn't the saddest news of all today, I just don't know what is:

The School of Mathematics and Physics is sad to announce that the custodian of the world's longest-running laboratory experiment, Professor John Mainstone, passed away on Friday, 23rd August, after suffering a stroke. Further information:
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:52 PM on August 26, 2013

That truly is very sad. He never saw a drop fall despite 50 years of guardianship. On the other hand, his work lead to a huge number of people around the world being made aware of this fantastic experiment. The chances of catching it must be tiny, we've been on our seats edge for over six months with no idea of when it will happen. Even if you were in the building, it's the work of a second for it to drop, blink and you miss it.
posted by Iteki at 1:05 PM on September 1, 2013

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