Increasingly pathetic crackpot papers are being promoted by the outlets calling themselves "scientific media" at an increasing frequency that has probably surpassed the value of "one crackpot paper per day" a long time ago.
In recent days, tons of journalists got obsessed with the theme that "the speed of light might be wrong". The places where you could read this stuff included The Daily Mail and Pakistan's The Nation claiming that Einstein was wrong all along in the very title, The Huffington Post, The Financial Express, Science Alert, and dozens of others.
Most shockingly, there is a website called The Physics arXiv Blog that praises this stuff as well and the wording looks similar to the "real" Physics arXiv Blog although I can't find it there.
A minute is enough to find out what these remarkable articles are based upon. They are based upon a 2011 crackpot hep-ph preprint
New Journal of Physics". Some of the "science media" are impressed by the claim that this journal is "peer-reviewed", apparently not realizing that the reviewers are James Franson's peers, i.e. other hardcore cranks.
The preprint has exactly one citation after these 3 years, from a paper by another crackpot called Parthasarathy who believed (and "justified") that the OPERA superluminal claims were right and who worked out one self-citation by a "paper" which has zero. None of the journalists seem to care about this "feedback" and I guess that a vast majority of them haven't even looked or haven't understood the concept of the citation.
At any rate, Franson's paper is an uninterrupted stream of nonsense. It's not a paper with several bugs at several places. It's a paper whose almost every sentence shows that the author is completely ignorant about basic physics.
He talks about "global reference frames" in relativity, apparently missing that the key point of relativity (and the reason behind its name) is that almost all quantities must be expressed relatively to a particular frame and no frame is better than others.
He says that the gravitational potential is "gauge-invariant" although it certainly isn't gauge-invariant (i.e. invariant under diffeomorphisms) in GR. He says that gravitational fields are not gauge-invariant even though some aspects of gravitational fields (like invariants constructed from the Riemann tensor) are gauge-invariant.
The journalists "conclude" that the speed of light isn't or wasn't 299,792,458 m/s even though one meter is currently defined in such a way that it's guaranteed that the speed of light, if it's defined at all, is equal to this constant. Saying that the speed of light isn't 299,792,458 m/s is as tautologically false as if you define "two" as "one plus one" and then you claim that it isn't equal to "one plus one". It just can't happen. You're shown to be a complete imbecile if you write similar things, and most of those journalists do.
If the neutrinos coming from the Supernova 1987a discussed in the paper were "really" arriving faster than the photons, and if it were because they are intrinsically faster (and not because they were created earlier), and be sure that this "if" cannot be realized in the real world, then it would mean that the neutrinos' speed was higher than 299,792,458 m/s but the photons's speed was by definition 299,792,458 m/s.
Franson uses general relativity as a justification and denies all of its principles at the same moment. He completely incorrectly claims that all laws derivable from GR must contradict quantum mechanics. In reality, the principles of GR and QM are compatible and smoothly reconciled by string theory but even with methods and rules much more straightforward than string theory, one may combine GR and QM in a way that remains consistent even for vastly more detailed questions that Franson could even dream to address. And he develops some nonsensical way to argue that loop processes add corrections of order the fine-structure constant, \(\alpha\), to the speed of light. It's impossible because the Lorentz invariance guaranteeing the fixed and universal speed of light is required even at the quantum level and it is used to constrain the theory. There are just no loop corrections to the speed of light. If the Lorentz invariance could break by generic processes at the one-loop level, it would be meaningless to talk about the invariance in the first place.
In some crazy hypothetical world, one could talk about neutrinos that are faster than photons – this "what if" speculation is going back to the OPERA quagmire etc. – but that would simply mean that relativity is shown to be wrong and a new theory (with new principles approximately as constraining as those of relativity) would have to be written down. None of the chaotic quasi-arguments randomly combining some buzzwords from relativity with a complete denial of relativity – none of the verbal junk that Franson's paper is composed of – could ever replace this process of building a new theory.
I need to stop because it makes no sense to try to "correct" the paper. If you erase every sentence that is at least 50% wrong, nothing would be left from the paper. Every sentence on these 25 pages is at least partially wrong, usually at a very basic conceptual level, and to correct this whole paper meaningfully would mean to write 250 pages of a pedagogic text which would be utterly useless because the people who are not stunned by the stupidity of Franson's text (understanding 5% of Franson's staggering errors must be enough) just can't understand any physics even if you explain it 10 times more slowly. So it would be a case of pearls thrown to the swines.
The journalists who are promoting this stuff were clearly not taught by their mothers to avoid eating poops. It's been a grave mistake that they were allowed by these mothers to leave their baby beds and to throw away the pacifiers. But the celebration of similar – and indeed, increasingly idiotic – material is becoming so frequent and omnipresent that one is fighting windmills if he wants to fix the trend. The broader public's convergence towards idiocracy is unstoppable and it will arrive about 20 times earlier than the science-fiction movie envisioned.
At the same moment, lots of wonderful things are happening in genuine, legitimate physics, see e.g. the list of talks at Strings 2014. The journalists make no effort whatsover to understand or present these things.