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Time to smash things up

They're about to start smashing things up at the Large Hadron Collider, the huge particle accelerator outside Geneva. Just to play it safe, I'm going to remain over here in North America, keeping a large chunk of the planet between me and this experiment.

No, I'm not worried that they're going to blow up up Europe. That's impossible! I'm just worried they'll create a time warp and I'll go back 6 months and be forced to relive the health care debate.

[Or worse: Back 35 years and I'm once again The Human Oddity of Hogtown.]

Seriously, although there are some hand-wringers out there who prophesy the end of the world, there's nothing to worry about. I've been to the LHC. I've been down in the tunnel. I've studied the beam line, the huge magnets, the detectors the size of small apartment buildings. What I can tell you with confidence is that it merely LOOKS like a doomsday machine.

The simple fact is that high-energy physics is already happening all around us all the time -- naturally. Particles are smashing into our atmosphere at the same kind of energy levels as will be created in the LHC. The universe is a big collider of sorts, and it likes to smash things up.

The most likely outcome of the experiment will be a lot of excited physicists and a general public that wonders if it was all worth the money. For example, as readers of this blog know, they're going to try to create a particle called the Higgs boson. But it's not like they're going to make a lot of Higgses and then sell them to tourists at the gift shop. It's not like you can take a Higgs and play racquet sports with it. As I understand it, under the best of scenarios the LHC experiments will merely detect suggestive signs of a Higgs. There will be patterns of particle decay that will hint that the Higgs had been momentarily present on the scene.

Moreover, if we do find evidence of the Higgs, it's not like we can necessarily do anything with this knowledge. This is basic research, not applied research. Which is important. You don't know when a piece of knowledge will pay off in some practical fashion. Someday, maybe, our knowledge of the Higgs will allow us to figure out where we left the remote. But don't expect anything practical to come out of this in the short run, such as a black hole swallowing half of Europe. This is a 10-billion-dollar experiment in search of ephemeral particles that have zero utility and will come and go like a sneeze in a hurricane.

What we should really fear is that scientists won't discover anything they don't fully expect to discover. No one wants the LHC to come up with all the predicted particles. Sparking up a Higgs would be nice, but better yet would be making a Higgs that had green hair and weird facial piercings. The scientists want to find things that catch them by surprise, and which inspire new theories -- "new physics." No one wants to come to the conclusion that we've found out everything that we're ever going to find out. Because then we'd have to fold up shop.

As always, what's really interesting is the unknown, and the journey into mystery.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 25, 2010; 9:53 AM ET
 
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Next: From the archives: Cooler culture

Comments

I once knew a Higgs who had green hair and weird facial piercings. She just wanted to be friends :(

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | March 25, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I will attempt to understand the boodle that will develop around this kit, but my guess is 12 comments in I'll be completely lost.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 25, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Only two, and I'm already there, lost that is.

BC

Hate and fear, can't have one without the other.

LiT

You are something else. And I don't say that with any meaness. Not a speck.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 25, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I hope the resident scientists weigh in on this. 'Cause I can never find the remote.

Posted by: FaultyFlapperValve | March 25, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

If that collider blows up half of Europe, a lot of people are going to be darned unhappy. They make some fine chocolate in Switzerland.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Gosh darn it. I posted a brilliant and incisive couple of paragraphs refuting any suggestion that our ancient ancestors were any less violent than Western-male-gened, metal-weaponed humans, and here Joel moves on to blowing up the world.

While I'm of course excited that the Large Hadron Collider is about to blow up the world, I'm deeply disappointed to realize I can't get a Higgs boson out of it. I've been saving up. I had a place picked out in the house already. I had PLANS for my Higgs boson.

I would remind Joel of the significant difference between the Universe and Us Folks. Sure, the Universe makes things collide all the time, just for fun. However, it is a big place and it has had a lot of practice. It is hard to get this sort of thing right. When Man experiments with scientific blowing-up type stuff, something often goes wrong the first time or two. Or three. Just because the Universe hasn't blown anything up doesn't mean the LHC won't.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'm interested in catching a fleeting glimpse of a Higgs, like a shooting star in the night.

It'd be nice to validate the Standard Model and to see what gives us mass.

Besides a meat lover's pizza with extra cheese, I mean.

Human mastery of the Higgs could revolutionize the weight loss industry. I also imagine James Cameron bringing Higgs control techonology to his next 4-D motion picture by adding a little gravitas...

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 25, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I politely disagree that the rate is increasing based on what you have posted. The total numbers are, but the last article implies that ridership has gone up, so wouldn't the number of fatalities/crashes also rise? In order to compare year to year, the fatalities should be normalized to year-to-year ridership.

In that case, from the one July article you posted: 2110/356000=.006 and 4810/1100000=.004

The crashes to new riders ratio went down from 1997 to 2006.

I haven't backboodled much, so I'm not sure exactly what is being debated, but percentages and rates aren't the same as totals.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | March 25, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

What's all this about Higgs' bosun? Why, Higgs used to take us out sailing every summer, and his bosun was one of the nicest men I've ever met. I can't believe he's involved in some plot to blow up the world.

What?

Never mind...

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

It LOOKS like a doomsday machine...

Only smaller?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 25, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Nature bombards us rather frequently with particles at energies beyond anything the LHC designers could hope to achieve. We may be clever, but we are not mighty on an astronomical scale.

And now, to bed. We just finished the last night of observing. When I arise, we shall drive to the summit and pack equipment for the trip home, or for storage here, depending which thing it is and where it will be needed. Even so, we usually guess wrongly. Which is more fun in science than it is in inventory management.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 25, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Anthropologists are studying the physicist at the LHC. Perhaps something will come of this that I can understand, besides the planet exploding I mean.

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100324/full/464482a.html

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC: physicists, if there were only one that wouldn't be much of a study.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 25, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Yep, looks like motorcycle fatality rates (as opposed to numbers) are going down. Yay!

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I think Gatorman wore that crown in '75. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 25, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I'm more concerned that a rip in the space-time continuum will lead to a mob of unruly Neanderthal and Denisovan cavemen descending on Bern and demanding the repeal of Switzerland's socialized health care. Hey -- wait a minute. Maybe the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas was finished and started up after all. It would explain so much...

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

M, take a look at the rate per million miles traveled. That's increasing, too. But yes, ridership is indeed up (and so is helmet use, slightly). But as that one report says, so is horsepower on the new rocket models. And so yes, rising numbers can be complicated to analyze -- but at the end of the day, increasing numbers are increasing numbers.

Yes, there are more riders-- but there are more riders on much more powerful bikes. So one factor dilutes the number a tad, while the other factor increases it by a tad. My own theory is that the slight increase in helmet use (which ought to reduce fatals slightly) is being offset by increased horsepower, in other words, it's probably a wash.

But against all that is the 123 percent increase over the years. So what good is nit-picking one number here or there in the face of a 123 percent increase, which kicked off in 1998? And you know what happened in 1998? Seven states repealed their helmet laws. Texas's fatal rate DOUBLED in two years (117 percent increase sticks in my mind, IIRC).

One can't argue tiny fine points in the face of something like that.

Elsewhere, MC fatals track extraordinarily high with dfrinking. I think I saw a number that about two-thirds of fatal MC riders had some blood alcohol (BAC), and that slightly over half not only had been drinking, but were above .08.

C'mon, guys. You can't have half the fatal MC riders drunk, driving high-horsepower hogs, speeding, not wearing helmets -- and then say things are improving. We're spooning these bikers up to the tune of over 5,000 a year.

(N.B. The average age of a fatal biker is a guy about 44 years old. This contrasts mightily to passenger vehicle fatals, where the most likely fatal is an 18-to-24-year-old male driving a pickup, drunk, on a Saturday night, on a rural road. 20-year age gap. Otherwise the demographic is about the same: a good old boy who ain't gonna let some sumb1tch tell him what do do, no sirree.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 25, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

LOL, I just found Joel on Facebook... Joel, you need to create an Achenblog fan page :)... get all these clever boodlers on it.

Posted by: MissToronto | March 25, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Rocket bikes? Who said rocket bikes?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1260047/Wheels-James-Bond-fan-invents-flame-throwing-scooter.html

Posted by: kguy1 | March 25, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

G'night, SciTim! Sweet dreams.

If the LHC were in Gainsville, scientists would be looking for the Hogtown Higgs.

Are old female Higgs called Higgs hags?

If scientists are successful, will the collectively hug the Higgs?

*face slap all better*

The Tevatron folks near here have also been trying to find the illusive Higgs bosun or bosuns. I can attest that all the smashing hasn't disturbed the nearby sub-divisions one iota. Europe and its chocolate should be safe.

Personally, I think Higgs bosun is looking for the ultimate moment to make its appearance. Its handlers are still working out the details with the cosmic bureaucrats and you know how that process can drag out.

Posted by: MsJS | March 25, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

But if the physicists are excited, well, isn't that enough? Because, you know, when we get excited we make quantum jumps. (Oh yes. Physics humor. A bottomless well of mirth.)

Anyway.

That's a very profound observation that physicists want surprises. The last thing physics needs is to have all the testable questions answered. Because then Joel is right, it really would be the end of physics. Or at least physics that is indistinguishable from mythology.

But green haired Higgs Boson with piercings? Wow. That would be cool. I mean finding the God Particle would be astounding enough. But to have it be into the Sex Pistols, well, that would be epic.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 25, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

And then there is Honda's three-wheeled 3R-C, aka the electric stapler.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-JBbGqvaro

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 25, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr:

"Rep. Cantor: Democrats 'fanning flame' on threats
44 | House minority whip lashes out at party leaders for their handling of reported threats against members of Congress who supported bill."

Yes, it's all the fault of the damned victims.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 25, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Strangely contradicted by this little beauty right below it:

"Ex-militiaman called for vandalism at Democratic offices to protest health-care overhaul

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 25, 2010; 1:50 PM

The call to arms was issued at 5:55 a.m. last Friday.

"To all modern Sons of Liberty: THIS is your time. Break their windows. Break them NOW."

These were the words of Mike Vanderboegh, a 57-year-old former militiaman from Alabama, who took to his blog urging people who opposed the historic health-care reform legislation -- he calls it "Nancy Pelosi's Intolerable Act" -- to throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices nationwide.

"So, if you wish to send a message that Pelosi and her party [that they] cannot fail to hear, break their windows," Vanderboegh wrote on the blog, Sipsey Street Irregulars. "Break them NOW. Break them and run to break again. Break them under cover of night. Break them in broad daylight. Break them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience. Break them with rocks. Break them with slingshots. Break them with baseball bats. But BREAK THEM."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 25, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I got multiple-mudged (but I was far from alone). My one item worth reposting is this:

------------------------------------

It's Greek Independence Day. Let's celebrate.

http://www.qgazette.com/news/2010-03-24/Features/Greek_Independence_Day_Marks_Victory_After_400Year.html

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I hate to invoke Goodwin's Law but incitements to riot sure were the province of those guys that used to dress in the same colors as the UPS delivery men.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

This is the nugget in the militia man story that stood out for me:
"Vanderboegh said he once worked as a warehouse manager but now lives on government disability checks. He said he receives $1,300 a month because of his congestive heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. He has private health insurance through his wife, who works for a company that sells forklift products."

Sigh.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 25, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

And from our Ultimate Irony Department this just in- Mike Vanderboegh, the "break a window and preserve our freedoms" guy, lives on a Social Security disability pension.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 25, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I can only have compassion for the guy. Yes, what he did was inappropriate beyond belief. Still, I can't help it.

Posted by: MsJS | March 25, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

You know, I just realized that since I have never actually seen a doomsday machine I can't rightly express an opinion on the resemblance of the LHC to one or not.

Unless, of course one counts this:

http://www.securityskeptic.com/images/Doomsday_Machine.jpg

In which case I think we are in the clear.

(Incidentally, after watching that Star Trek episode I never again looked at Ice Cream Drumsticks the same way. But I digress.)

Now, of course, I understand that the most dangerous thing about the LHC is the price tag. I mean, far from worrying about destroying the world, I don't even worry about people stealing antimatter from it and then hiding the antimatter somewhere in Rome known only to those fluent in obscure ancient religious ciphers.

Yep. Call me Mr. Optimism.

But here's the thing. Part of me is kinda OK with the notion that people are just a tad bit worried about that whole "complete annihilation" business. It adds a certain frisson of anticipation to it all. And where there is anticipation, there is interest.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 25, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I've become convinced that far-right types like Vanderboegh have some kind of genetic mutation that makes them completely incapable of either understanding or appreciating irony, kguy.

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I misspoke. Mr. Vanderboegh does not receive Social Security, but Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

This is a "Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):
It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and
It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter."

http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/

Posted by: kguy1 | March 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Padouk...that nucular frisson stuff makes me nervous.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 25, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

*snort*

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 25, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I thought the LHC (Big Smasher) was going to close for a year for some further re-engineering, giving the clever Fermilab folks time to squeeze a few more surprises out of their baling-wired antique on the prairie. Who knows, they might even barbecue one of the resident bison if some CERN folks visit.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 25, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

RD said "where there is anticipation there is interest." Probably why we continue to exist as a species.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 25, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Why, MsJS? Hard for me to have compassion for anyone who advocates violence. This attempt by the Republicans to say both sides do it, or the Democrats are fanning the flames - makes my blood boil. But I would never tell anyone to throw bricks through their windows.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat long but rewarding, Douglas Adams speaking, featured as a Ted's selection.
http://www.ted.com/talks/douglas_adams_parrots_the_universe_and_everything.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 25, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I remember reading Joel's wonderful Natty Geo article on the LHC when my kid was a senior in high school. He's now a sophomore at college. It's about time they kicked the tires on that thing.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I used to work at the doomsday machine. I have a picture of me in the old days here:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ijF9TNjBOCA/SrpDTRf75FI/AAAAAAAAEhQ/UrpSJMr6eo8/s400/The_Soviet_DoomsDay_Machine_2.jpg

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 25, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Padouk...that nucular frisson stuff makes me nervous.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 25, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Guess the American Enterprise Institute didn't like David Frum's latest column:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032502336.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: seasea1 | March 25, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, seasea. Nice Frum by Kurtz!

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 25, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The most telling Frum quote:

"I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated."

A prophet in the wilderness.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

By the way, RDP, there's a new and better Doomsday Machine:

http://www.lightspeedfineart.com/Databases/Images/PLST200-09-001.jpg

And then there's this:

http://www.mst3ktemple.com/images/CT102%20-%20doomsday%20machine2.jpg

It figures that Grant Williams was in it. He also starred in my favorite '50s B sci-fi movie, "The Monolith Monsters." And he was in "Written on the Wind." Now there's a glorious technicolor soap opera -- the Platonic Ideal of a classic Hollywood "Woman's Movie."

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I _would_ like to see some new elementary properties discovered. I mean, do particles fleer or gloam as well as spin and charm?

Posted by: qgaliana | March 25, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The Great Purge has started. Frum will be photoshopped out of lots of pictures. His mother would be proud of him though.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 25, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Frum should have known he couldn't continue to color outside the lines and expect to keep his nice salary from a doublethink-tank.

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control,' they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink.'"

-- 1984

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Roamin' in the gloamin' on the bonnie banks o' Clyde.
Roamin' in the gloamin' wae my lassie by my side.
When the sun has gone to rest,
That's the time we love the best.
O, it's lovely roamin' in the gloamin.

Harry Lauder wrote this song circa 1910.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2ZMNRVvkL4

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

fleer
Pronunciation: \ˈflir\
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Middle English fleryen, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian flire to giggle
Date: 15th century

: to laugh or grimace in a coarse derisive manner : sneer
synonyms see scoff

— fleer·ing·ly \-iŋ-lē\ adverb

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

TBG, is there a link for Miss Toronto to Achenblog fans on facebook?

I wish the Hadron Collider could open up a little gap for me to slip back to the summer I was 19, such a great summer that year, I could relive that, of course when the summer was over I would want to high tail it back to reality.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 25, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm merely saying that if your point is that the fatality rate of motorcyclists is increasing, the numbers you have posted do not actually show that. The 123% increase in the total number is a BS statistic. It sounds impressive but is not unless you can show that ridership (in miles traveled and/or in number of riders) did not increase by 123% as well. Nothing you have posted has shown that, and to be fair to you, even the gov’t sites I’ve seen aren’t doing that, which is a bit shocking, not to mention misleading. I resent that you think I am nit picking at a number or two and ignoring others to be obstructionist. I’m not. I'm simply being my clinical, cynical engineer/analyst self. I haven’t seen any number that I feel shows me that the RATE is increasing or decreasing. The totals certainly are going up.

Now, it’s clear you are passionate about this. I couldn't care less about motorcycles or motorcycle fatalities. For me, it's an ongoing pet peeve that numbers get used as absolutes to prove a point when they need context and relativity to do so. This happens in the media often, and in my workplace daily.

Here's an example (is this the million mile statistic you meant?):
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/PEOPLE/INJURY/PEDBIMOT/MOTORCYCLE/motorcycle03/recent.htm

"Exposure, measured in terms of vehicle miles of travel (VMT) in 2001, shows that motorcyclists were about 26 times as likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured. This is a steep increase from 1997, when motorcyclists were 14 times as likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car."

OMG, sounds horrible, right? But, is that because motorcycles are more dangerous now or because passenger car crashes have become less fatal? They don't address that. They simply note that the difference between them has increased. In fact, no report I’ve seen on motorcycles addresses that. Maybe cars are becoming safer and motorcycle safety is simply not increasing at the same rate. That does not mean that the motorcycle fatality rate is going up or that motorcycles are not safer than they were. It simply means that riding a motorcycle is becoming more dangerous relative to riding in a car.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | March 25, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Rashomon. And I especially liked that second link.

You know, I'll never understand why Horrorscope never caught on.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 25, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

We now have empirical proof that helmet law nuts are just as tedious as every other single issue zealot.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

While I'll allow that Monolith Monsters is good fun and WOTW is a Sirkfest of grand proportion, Grant Williams career reached its zenith in "The Incredible Shrinking Man."
No hokey faux science explanation for why the guy shrinks, he just does, and no cop out at the end. Great stuff.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 25, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

D'oh! I can't believe I forgot about "Shrinking Man."

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The Incredible Shrinking Man is one of the earliest films I can remember seeing. It haunted me. It has been interpreted and over-interpreted for decades. But for me it has become a parable for aging.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 25, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm stealing double-think tank.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 25, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

And proof that kguy and rashomon are not the same poster! Unless he's a split personality. Or a very good sock puppet.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 25, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, yellojkt. Now I'm a helmet law nut and a single issue zealot. And here I thought I was having a rational discussion. Oh well.

For the record, I actually believe that helmets do help the fatality rate. I don't see why anyone would ride a bike or motorcycle without one. However, I'm much more wishy washy on my right to tell you you have to wear one for your own good.

My views on helmets had nothing to do with my previous posts though. My deepest apologies. I will take my tediousness elsewhere. You can breathe your collective sigh of relief now.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | March 25, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a bit ironically, I am not remotely "passionate" about biker helmets, or anything having to do with motorcycles, bikers, or even safety laws in general. I myself have never ridden a motorcycle of any kind, nor do I have any desire to do so. I have no objection against others doing so, if they wish. I have no animosity toward bikers as people; I suspect a great many of them are very fine people who enjoy being out in the air on a Saturday or Sunday, and that the rough, tough image a lot of them project is pretty much a front. During the week, I suspect a good many of them are indistinguishable from you and me.

My only "interest" is that I happen to see all the numbers routinely. I actually have a good many criticisms of the biker safety campaigns (and one or two people involved in them), although I don't want to air them here.

I just don't like this libertarian "I can kill myself if I want to" attitude, that's all.

When you see ALL the reports and analyses, all the cost analyses, all the injury stats, the brain injury stats, etc., there is just simply no room whatsoever for argument about how helmets save lives, and that repealing those laws in seven states has killed a s---load of people. None. Zero.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 25, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

MotM, I don't think that's what YJ meant. Besides, your posts added significantly to my understanding of the statistics.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 25, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Now MotM, Mudge, y'all don't get huffy.

Physics jokes! I just saw the last portion of a "Big Bang" in which Sheldon has some wine and tells a lot of physics jokes. I look forward to seeing the whole episode. This was really funny. And even though I am not a sciencey type and Ivansdad studied engineering, we still got the jokes. Even the Boy got them, he says - I just don't know that he found them funny.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

seasea, regarding your 4:19.

I don't have a rational explanation for it. It just is.

Posted by: MsJS | March 25, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

you know matter doesn't matter. the remote actually exists as both a particle and a wave within the approximate area of your lounge room.
regrettably this means it will never physically exist until you find it. now the more certain you are as to the location of where it last was, the less likely you are to ever actually find it's current location. and the less you recall were it was left the more likely you are to stumble upon it.
now if the Higgs is the infinite fractal remainder of physics then is it also the babble fish that makes god go poof. will the understanding of Higgs physics put the remote control were we most truly believe it was all along? hidden in the draw by my wife.

Posted by: sum_guy | March 25, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

March Madness is up and running again.

Butler has an early lead over Syracuse. West Virginia and Washington are just underway.

*invoking the God particle to help me find the remote so I can watch the games*

Posted by: MsJS | March 25, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

It "is," MsJS, in the same sence that Mount Everest "is."

Or that Alma Cogan "isn't."

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 25, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Nice, sum_guy. Your last sentence anticipated me. I was going to point out that if you lived at my house, you would just ask me where the remote was. After asking whether you'd looked in several places (including the place where I know it to be), then asking whether you'd looked under and behind things, I would go get it from the place you said you looked for it and hand you the remote.

At my house, if I don't know where something is, it is often lost forever.

I did not ask for this talent, nor do I encourage its use.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I think the discovery of a Higgs Bison would be pretty cool too.

Posted by: omni3 | March 25, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Aren't there plenty of Higgs Bison in the Higgs Basin?

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 25, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom- practice saying "I don't know, I didn't use it" even if the first part is not strictly true. Otherwise you are likely to be enslaved forever by your skillz.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 25, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, my first response, and often where I stop, is "It isn't my job to know that." These days I only bend and use my mad skilz when there is some sort of imminent deadline or the item essential to something that even vaguely interests me.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

uncertainty is
remote for the wife will win
a fast draw shootout

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 25, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought everyone knew the remote is with the quantum socks.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 25, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Imom, I lost my mind a while ago. I know it's around here somewhere...

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, rashomon, fond of you as I am, not my job. You really need to keep track of your own mind.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I was trying to imagine the beesums of one Higgs.

Or bosums, which I think mean dude-friends in sailorspeak.

And, waiting for Eng-man to write something about this to the tune of a My Fair Lady passage.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey y'all... Tomorrow is March 26! Know what that means? It's the opening of Silly Season!

I don't want to hear anything but ridiculous arguments, ya hear?

Posted by: -TBG- | March 25, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

MsJs, I know what you mean. This man's health issues nor personal income issues shouldn't be made public because they are IRRELEVANT to whether he's a wingnut or not.
Instead, these issues will be gravy for pundits, talk radio buttheads to blather on about and neatly sidestep their own responsibility for inciting things.

I'd sooner see Glenn Beck pilloried for incitement to riot than a witchhunt over one of his dumber fans.






Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 25, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I had a kitten once named Boson. Then it fell in a big simmering pot of pea soup. It was touch and go for a little while but it survived. This orange cat then lived on about 10 years as Peasoup. For me, the LHC always has been about Higg's Peasoup. Ridiculous enough?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 25, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Double-think tank is good. I also like Frantically Search for Bits of Data that Support our Incorrect Positions Tank.

One thing is certain. There is a reason they call them Think tanks and not Know tanks.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 25, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

The beautiful meconopsis, the Tibetan Poppy, can also be seen at the Butchart Gardens, near Victoria BC, in June.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/23/AR2010032302839.html?hpid=artslot

Blue flowers are always different.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 25, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I have a venture, but I need a partner. I'll start a think tank devoted to proving that whenever a coin is flipped it always lands on heads. The partner can start a think tank devoted to proving that whenever a coin is flipped it always lands on tails.

We'll see who is right. There will certainly be ample opportunities for publishing position papers.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 25, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

A great paragraph from an Op-ed on the NYTimes site about the pipe dream that the myths of the health care bill will go away now that it is passed. Here it is:

Our results indicate that this sort of journalistic fact-checking often fails to reduce misperceptions among ideological or partisan voters. In some cases, we found that corrections can even make misperceptions worse. For example, in one experiment we found that the proportion of conservatives who believed that President George W. Bush’s tax cuts actually increased federal revenue grew from 36 percent to 67 percent when they were provided with evidence against this claim. People seem to argue so vehemently against the corrective information that they end up strengthening the misperception in their own minds.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 25, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful Shriek thanks for pointing it out, I try to have as many blue flowers as I can in the garden. Can only dream about that poppy. Sometimes find it difficult to figure our what is considered blue and what is violet/lavender.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 25, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

MotM,
Don't go away mad. It's just that after two days of these rather long missives (and you were far from the worst offender) I realized that helmet laws are just one of those holy war issues impervious to logic or reason on either side.

I don't have a dog in this fight since I understand the cold logic that helmets save lives but in general support the rights of people to play Darwin Award Roulette. Just don't do it in my lane.

Personally, I'm missing the Y-linked genetic sequence that yearns for bugs in the teeth. Never been on a motorcycle and have no desire to do so. I do have lots of acquaintances that have bought their mid-life Wild Hogs phallic substitute. But they all wear helmets because they all have their the-time-I-nearly-got-killed story just like everybody I know has a I-used-to-drink-tequila-until-that-time-when story.

I do despise those idiots with the crotch rockets that split lanes on I-95 at triple digit speeds. I almost want to confiscate their helmets to speed up the process.

There, I've been just as tedious, sanctimonious, and long-winded as I've railed against, so we're even.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

steveboyington.. you'll notice that the study showed that the phenomenon occurred most often among conservatives.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 25, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I really hate the term "think tank" when applied to these conservative ventures. Their use of the term strikes me as an example of newspeak -- conservatives' Orwellian mastery of defining the terms of the debate by choosing the words used. ("Death panels" and "death tax" are others. Who could be for that?) "Think tank" has a connotation of ivory-tower objectivity and rationalism which is completely at odds with their actual function.

What they really are are PR firms for their corporate clients, er, that is, "sponsors." The funding mechanism is different-- "grants," rather than retainers and hourly billing -- but the net effect is the same: dissemination of dubious information intended to benefit the economic interests of the companies which fund them.

Posted by: rashomon | March 25, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I think we settled on those as "belief tanks" for those a while back, did we?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 25, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I saw five, oh joy, five blue poppies two summers ago at the Folk Life Festival on the Mall. Bhutan was one of the featured cultures. They only lasted for two days before fading in the late June heat. GORGEOUS and an item on my bucket list.

Road to to Canada to see them? I'm in.

MofM -- do stay. And, yes, some of the closely held positions lathered in the earnest suds of passion sometimes strike a tone that is not the boodle at its bosommy best.

Boodle: a bosommy place for thinking and not knowing. Booyah.

And, I spelled the b-word thusly because of the PrudeBot.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

SCC I'm an idiot. Goodnight.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 25, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

One of my big regrets was not visiting Butchart gardens when I had the opportunity, at the time was not as crazy about gardening as I am now, and other attractions seemed more important. Someday I will visit my sister and go see the gardens.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 25, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I managed to grow a blue poppy many years ago from Butchart Garden seeds. It wasn't very impressive, though. I should try sometime again. I love anything blue and/or with Himalayan in its name.

I thought it was relevant and ironic that the guy urging brick throwing because of health care reform gets a disability check from the government he's so mad at. I'd think that he wouldn't want it at all, on principle. I don't understand the level of meanness that some people go to, and I don't tolerate calls for violence at all.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell always calms me down. Here she is on Countdown, talking about how successful movements train participants how to act:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/

Posted by: seasea1 | March 25, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Jacques Parizeau used to boil kittens in vats of boiling Pepsi.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 25, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I went to Victoria 3 times before I visited the Gardens. So beautiful.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 25, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

CP, Adrian Higgins today said that we should rush to Longwood Gardens in Kennicott Square, Pa has blue poppies, and we should rush to see them before they fade away.

Road trip?

Posted by: rickoshea1 | March 25, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Darn, I meant to reduce the boils.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 25, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the boils, boko. Have you tried some sort of salve or unguent?

Posted by: -TBG- | March 25, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Ruh roh, I think some more brackets got blown up.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 25, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I've been too busy to keep up with the boodle (the extra posts a kit gets from being on the front page just makes it all too much sometimes) but one comment I read I had to address. Someone said that his/her Social Securit retirement age was now 70. That's nonsense, the current highest retirement age is 67 for those born in 1960 or after. Not much better, but still.

I see on a local news source that police say the bullet that broke Cantor's office window was meandering down after being fired up in the air.
http://www.ksdk.com/news/national/story.aspx?storyid=198737&catid=28

Didn't do much damage. Talk about trying to make some hay with a little dried out arugula you found in the back of the fridge!

Going back into half-lurking mode till the weekend.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 25, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

RickO -- I will try to clear a moment for this.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. You know how you have comfort books, like comfort food? Something you return to and re-read when you're tired, or sick, or stressed, and just want some familiar downtime? I've discovered that right along with Georgette Heyer, Margery Allingham and Gene Stratton Porter, one of my comfort books is Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

If anybody is going on a garden crawl to Vancouver Island, you absolutely must take the time to drive north to see Ronnings Garden. Its remote but well worth the trip. A gem of a warm valley in the harsh north of the island.

http://dlastresort.com/ronninggardens.htm

I cannot find pictures but you have to go there to understand the place. It has different air.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 25, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, forget the silly helmet laws. You know what really frosts my cheese? Open (alcoholic) container laws. I mean, it's not against the law to drive after having a beer or two, so why shouldn't we be able to have them while driving?

{Yes, I'm mostly kidding, but the philosophical point is real.}

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hah, in the readjusted frostfam competition I had Butler over Syracuse, though I can't remember why. My WaPo bracket lies in tatters, but I'm still up on Wilbon. JA left me in the dust long ago.

I have trouble with telling blue flowers from violet as well. I say Mexican petunias are blue, but I think most people consider them purple.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 25, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Araucaria araucana (and a couple of other things) at Ronning's Garden:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/limecode/sets/72157594204251673/

And a welcome sign:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1114/1361570836_07a2b287f6.jpg?v=1189547165

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Bob, you would hate it here, mandatory helmet laws for motorcycles, mandatory bicycle helmets for 18 and under, mandatory seat belt laws, children under 8 must be in a carseat/booster seat (age appropriate), texting and talking on cell phones unless you have blue tooth illegal, no alcohol in the vehicle, suspension at .05. Not being a libertarian, I do not have an argument with any of the above.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 25, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Cantor is trying to conflate a garden variety random incident of inner city collateral damage into a hate crime. Stray bullets occur lots of places. Every north-facing window of Johns Hopkins Hospital is bullet-proof for a reason.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

dmd,
Your dystopian vision of Canuckistan sounds a lot like Maryland. I lie to my dad about bicycle helmet laws just to make him wear one. I don't want my inheritance bad enough to let him ride with me without one.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Rather than over regulation, I call it enforced common sense for those without that skill - yet still many still don't get it. Since there are very few roads here where someone could exercise their right to do as they choose without infringing on the safety of others I have no sympathy.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 25, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I truly am jesting about my complaints about most of the public safety-oriented regulations we've discussed. I do, however, believe that it's useful to pull back and examine our premises every now & then.

P.J. O'Rourke had a great line once (I think he was talking about pre-fallen-Wall East Berlin) to the effect that "everything not forbidden is compulsory." That's probably not a place we want to end up.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Bob

Posted by: dmd3 | March 25, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Fun, just now, is compulsory. I shall heed TBG's earlier call for suchness.

As I am grading papers -- earnest but rather lapsical (sigh!) -- the fun must be theoretical.

Since we are typing, the world has not ended yet. Did the magnets fire up in Switzi-land? Are the bosons, Higgins-es, quarks, muons, pions, tinkerbells, dust motes, Etc. flying around yet?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Silly Season is sponsored by the Ministry of Silly Walks:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hPSXB0pVWgnTggpu-KnVqhophahwD9ELT6600

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

I'd written a couple of items about the LHC some time back.

One having to do with what it will be used for:

http://www.10thcircle.com/10/?p=246

And one about lawsuits attempting to prevent it from starting in the first place:

http://www.10thcircle.com/10/?p=234

On an final note this evening, that bang you may have heard at arounf 9 PM this evening was the sound of my final bracket imploding when Syracuse lost to Butler.

I should wear a crash helmet when I watch this stuff.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 25, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

My bracket says Kansas State. My heart says Xavier.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

And let me tell you, it took me years of practice to perfect my high-parabola shots to the extent that I could plausibly pass them off as having been aimed randomly skyward.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 26, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

If Duke, West Virginia, and Kansas State make the Final Four but K-State loses the semi-final, I am in the money.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I love Monkey Puzzle trees. They're native to Brag's Chile, but grow well here, so there are quite a few. They get too big for my small yard - and Mr seasea doesn't like them.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 26, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Bruce Bartlett on Frum, and his own experience being excommunicated by the conservative movement:

http://capitalgainsandgames.com/blog/bruce-bartlett/1601/groupthink-right-would-make-stalin-proud

I also remember when it happened to Chuck Connors:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKmJPnAGUJk

Posted by: rashomon | March 26, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Higgs bison
http://www.dancewithshadows.com/nuts/2008/09/10/higgs-bison-found-at-lhc/

I recall seeing monkey puzzle trees in places like Arcata, Calif. We can grow a couple of relatives in Florida, notably the Norfolk Island "pine". The southern-hemisphere distribution of these conifers, genus Araucaria, is taken to be a legacy of the ancient southern continent, Gondwana. That northern-hemisphere forests have strikingly similar floras is taken to be from the northern continent, Laurasia.

I finally got to visit a few Japanese forests in recent years. The semblance to the eastern US was quite moving; on coming back, I checked Stephen Spongberg's "A Reunion of Trees" and sure enough, earlier American botanists had been to exactly the same scenic spot at Lake Towada.

I was asked, twice, today whether I was from Canada. One questioner was from Ottawa. My frozen accent seems to have come from living, age 4-7 in northern Lower Peninsula Michigan, then Iowa.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 26, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

the LHC is A FACTORY OF QUARK-GLUON LIQUID, AKA STRANGELET, THE MOST EXPLOSIVE SUBSTANCE OF THE UNIVERSE. THE FACTORY SAID IT WOULD NEVER DO STRANGELETS, IT JUST PUBLISHED AREPORT: IT PRODUCED 16% MORE THAN WE CALCULATED IN OUR SUIT'S AFFIDAVITS IT PRODUCED SO MUCH THAT IT SAYS IT WILL TREAT IT AS A 'BACKGROUND'
so you can stop the LOL method because chances you die are huge cern's lies are infantile, this factory has nothing to do with COSMIC RAYS, it just practices the old Goebeels dictum 'if you repeat a lie many times, people will believe it www.cerntruth.com

Posted by: luisancho | March 26, 2010 4:37 AM | Report abuse

My Very Large Puppy also makes quark-gluon liquid. Mostly gluon I shall say. Man, that stuff's sticky.

Parizeau, that is one we haven't heard of in a while. His wine estate is keeping him "buzy" I guess.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 26, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Have a lovely day, and get out and enjoy the weather, if it's nice, but even if that's not the case, it is great to be outside. Love to all.

The g-girl and I are on the way to school, and the grandsons will be here next Thursday. Life is good.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 26, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

TFSMIF!!!!! :-)

Seems every night of March Madness this year has to have a little extra crazy.

*off-to-the-coffeemaker Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 26, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra! *HUGSSSS* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 26, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

On second thought, maybe the LHC money would have been better spent on schools and mental health clinics.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 26, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

DC prefers the 3M Gluon. She says the Quark Gluon just doesn't hold the googly eyes on as well.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 26, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I wonder who is that Goebeels fellow.

The fiendish plan of the man in Joel's basement to invade Quebec.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Washington+wrote+ambitious+plan+conquer+Canada/2727310/story.html

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 26, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I find it highly relevant and entirely appropriate to note that someone ranting about healthcare reform and overreaching government (while advocating violent protest and threatening insurrection) already has (apparently very good) healtcare and has no problems accepting substantial support from said government.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 26, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

More potential quark properties:

quaint
trust
kwan
zen
tofu

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

WaPo this morning has a teabagger poster child prominently profiled on the front page:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032503849.html?hpid=topnews

He is a 52-year-old former assembly line worker that got laid-off 'a few years ago'. His biq quote is:

"I got news for you, Barack," Millam said. "You can't blame everything on Bush anymore. You either are the president, or you're not. We've got 17 percent real unemployment. Home sales are at historic lows. . . . And now the most pro-choice president this nation has ever elected is forcing us to have health care. Every single person's body in this whole country belongs to the government now."

Hyperbole much?

I did wake up with an odd bruise on my shoulder, so perhaps THEY came in overnight and planted that MarkOfTheBeast® RFID tracer pellet in me and I just don't know it yet. Anyways, I'm off to buy more tinfoil and go rehearse L'Internationale with the rest of my cadre.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Is Europe still here? Did we blow up yet? Anyone swallowed by a black hole?

We knew an actor once we called a black hole. Whenever she was onstage, she just sucked the life out of a scene. Come to think of it, I know a politician here like that.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 26, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I'll stick with Klingon.

Posted by: Yoki | March 26, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

So, LiT and yello, are you hapy with the comments you made yesterday and directed my way?

I wrote Oriental, and now, according to LiT, I'm Archie Bunker? I never reported? So, I guess that Joel is not a reporter and never reported either, if we extend that argument? *shudder*

I wrote Oriental, and now, according to yello, I wrote that Wendy Gramm has yellow skin and slanty eyes. *shudder*

So, are you two satisfied with these responses that you made? *shaking my head in utter disgust*

Posted by: laloomis | March 26, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I agree with DC, LiT. Those gluon sticks don't work worth a darn, either.

Wow, a Boodle appearance from Mr. Sancho - one of the plaintiffs in a suit against the US DOE to stop or suspend operations of the LHC, I believe.

Sir, you get points for your use of all caps and creative punctuation and grammar. And for suggesting that strangelets (still hypothetical despite your claims, IIRC) that might be created by the LHC could be some sort of giant "ice-9" event that would destroy the world.

If that's the case, you may want to find your Dulcinea sooner rather than later, sir.

Besides, the GOP has been telling us that that armageddon is coming and the sky is falling with the ratification of Health Care reform legislation, and we're full up with end-of-the world scenarios at the moment.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 26, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

2012 is just around the corner as well, bc.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"a fully functional version of the SLC24A5 gene but who in the history of the human species has acquired mutations in other genes that account for lighter skin than those who don't have those additional mutations"
"epicanthic folds about her eyes"

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Time to go surfing with the alien:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vqJCOO5im4

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The Boy asked the other day what would happen if the 2012 and Nostradamus prophecies were true. I told him that as I understand it, the world will end, we'll be dead, and we won't have to worry about it.

Well, I find it comforting.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 26, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

loomis, you're simply a font of hapyness.

Those folks tried to point out to you that your word choices are poor and even offensive, and that you tend to note and document people's race before all else - even though it is irrelevant to lord-knows-whatever-you're-on-about-this-time *and* considered bad manners.

If you keep hearing this kind of thing over and over, loomis, don't you think there could be something *to* it? Something to be learned here, perhaps?

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 26, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Actually laloomis, I felt a little bad that I came down on you so hard. Clearly, your ability to learn is non-existent. After it was explained to you *nicely* three times that you were using offensive words, you continued to do so. You even made it worse. You admonish us to "read, people, read!" yet you refuse to "learn, laloomis, learn!"

Clearly, JA is a reporter. And okay, let's extend that argument, shall we? We've seen his handiwork, and mighty fine handiwork it is. He's written a couple of books, has a large following, his articles can be found in many different publications, and he is a coveted speaker and guest. You? I've never seen any proof you've been published, and given your writing skills, I doubt that anyone would pay you to write anything other than *maybe* a blurb about a supermarket opening for a pennysaver. Coveted guest and speaker? HAHAHAHA!!!

Archie Bunker was bigoted, boorish, racist, not well-educated, and missing a mental editor. Sound familiar?

Satisfied? No. The only thing that was accomplished was that you stayed away from the boodle for the rest of the day (which is nothing to sneeze at). But, hey, it's not like you didn't know I'd slap down your racist comments rather than allowing them to stand unchallenged.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 26, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

If it's Silly Season, when do the Ridiculous Arguments start?

Here is one: Using anything other than grape jelly on a PBJ is an abomination which deserves the death penalty.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

LiT, I wondered why my dad called me Meathead during the 60's when I would go to all those anti-war demonstrations.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 26, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

If all that atom smashing at CERN could blow up half of Europe, then what goes on at FermiLab could blow up most of the US midwest. There are those from the coasts that probably wouldn't notice if it did. Just sayin'.

Well, I guess Ann got her say in Calgary and will be heading back south soon. Maybe if she stopped at Butchart Gardens on the way home and smelled the flowers, she'd calm down a bit. Maybe.

I went to Butchart Gardens about 10 years ago. One of my fave signs was the one at the gate indicating the entrance fee in a slew of currencies. Another was directed to dogs, and asked that their humans be on a leash at all times.

Didn't know about Ronning's Gardens or would have gone there too.

Posted by: MsJS | March 26, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

MsJS, the LHCs energy levels are far beyond FermiLab.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | March 26, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the Midwest has been blown up and we just haven't noticed yet.

Ivansmom? You there?

Maybe we need to do some on-site inspections that the Swiss Alps are still around. I volunteer.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Yello: my mom always said using any condiment other than mustard (but particularly mayonnaise) on a hamburger was communist.

I think she was joking.

I only use mustard.

Also, you have a typographical error in your Ridiculous Argument. I'm sure you meant to say "anything other than strawberry jam".

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 26, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, Klingon must be a Canadian product. Think it will work well for DC's craft projects? Maybe stash a bottle into your luggage next time you visit? I'm sure she'll make something for your fridge.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 26, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Joel the questions from those who oppose the LHC are numerous. A simple question or two would be where in the solar system are particles crashing into each other at thousands of times the heat energy of the sun. Currently those collision only occur in very small beam lines in human made particle accelerators like RHIC. RHIC holds the record of 250,000 times the energy density of the core of the sun.

When the LHC fully comes on line in 2012 it will be about 25 times more powerful than RHIC. I would assume that if collisions only occur naturally in high powered particle accelerators then I could be wrong but it doesn't seem all that natural to me. Natures particle accelerators include supernova filaments which come from the explosive death of a star.

Last year the biggest explosion humans have ever measured from near the beginning of the universe was a gamma ray burst (GRB). That GRB is estimated to be the result of the death of a star 30 to 100 times the size of our sun and was a total energy release in milliseconds. So far for GRB's there are unsubstantiated theories.

The basket of 'stuff' that is genuinely unknown and potentially dangerous is a big one. (note the big bang is not recognized as an explosion because it was an expansion). Just because a lot of very smart people say they are sure about the safety of the unknown doesn't mean they are right.

When scientists are claiming to recreate the conditions that only existed in the universe a billionth of a second after the big bang and then claiming the collisions they are creating are just like natural everyday particle collisions but a lot smaller where is the truth? Which part of what the scientists are saying is a lie?

I don't know, do you?

Posted by: mic_noona | March 26, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Higgs? OK. But what I want to see is the "unexpected" bit of energy that tracks gravity with time. Now we will be on the hung.

But I also wish it was just south of Dallas where they were doing this.

Not only did our Congress close our research but they ordered the works flooded so it could never be used in the future. That is something remarkable. Intentional waste on the billion dollar scale.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 26, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"The South Carolina-based Southern Legal Resource Center believes that people with ancestors who were citizens of the Confederate States of America should be entitled to ethnic identity and protection since the country no longer exists."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/03/eye_opener_group_wants_souther.html?hpid=news-col-blog

These guys want to put "Confederate Southern American" on their census form as if that were an ethnic identity? I think I'd rather put "Whiskey Rebel" or "Bullmoose".

Posted by: kguy1 | March 26, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I think you can get a bottle in Mianus, LiT.

Posted by: Yoki | March 26, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I-mom: Heretic! Witch! Drown her!

Gary: I had no idea we spiked the accelerator instead of just mothballing it. What if we want to use it as a NASCAR track in the future?

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Yoki: I've watched that video. There are some things you cannot unsee.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

No more smashing. New kit time.

Posted by: MsJS | March 26, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

kguy:
A comment from that Confederate-American article:

--------------------------------------------

It is indeed the silly season.

Posted by: kithope | March 26, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

--------------------------------------------

The official opening of Silly Season has been confirmed.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm one of those nutcases who is nauseated by the race question on the census form. My reading of anthropology has informed me countless times it's an artificial construct conceived of by imperialist bigots. It's so unscientific. Akin to them desiring to declare myself a mesomorph, ectomorph, or endomorph. Nevertheless, I know what they are vaguely asking for, and provide the information by writing in "European." This provides me with no satisfaction one way or the other, I just do it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 26, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

A FACTORY OF STRANGELET

the LHC is a FACTORY OF QUARK-GLUON SOUP, THE MOST POWERFUL EXPLOSIVE OF THE COSMOS, AND IT IS NOT UNDER MILITARY SUPERVISION, HENCE IT HAS NO SAFETY MEASURES WHATSOEVER. Now the LOL idea that a factory of explosives will make us understand the meaning of it all is the kind of lies children can believe. But Goebbels already said that 'if you repeat a lie many times people will believe it'. that is the cosmic ray lie, a Strangelet liquid which is what so far RHIC and the LHC at minimal energies have produced is NOT a COSMIC RAY The Psychologists of death explain that those who are going to die tend to bargain with the genociders. So mankind asks the factory of strangelets if it is safe, and of course, accepts safety lie. R.H., not Rolf Hauer, but another German technocrat of a famous Factory of lethal substances explained 'they were running to the showers, we told them they were going to be deloused and they always believed us'. The lhc is now clearly a factory of strangelet, 'strange liquid' which was PRODUCED AT 1.1 TEV, IN ENORMOUS NUMBERS (those exxperiments produced 16% MORE OF KAONS, Up strange and down strange QUARKS, WHICH ARE BRICKS OF any STRANGELET LIQUID, which combines up strange and down QUARKs).
it produced so much that now 'CERN' says it will treat strange liquid as a 'background noise' to look for other particles. So at 3.5 tev it WILL BE NOW PRODUCED IN ENOUGH NUMBERS TO become stable, form dibaryons (stable, neutral atoms of strange liquid, usd-usd) and FALL TO THE EARTH, accumulate there AND EXPLODE US INSIDE OUT. THE QUESTION NOW THAT WE KNOW THE LHC IS A FFACTORY OF STRANGELETS IS NOT IF IT WILL KILL US BUT 'WHEN'?
wwww.cerntruth.com

Posted by: luisancho | March 27, 2010 5:04 AM | Report abuse

An independent review of the long-term risks associated with possible black hole production at the LHC:

http://www.risk-evaluation-forum.org/LHCrisk.pdf

Posted by: LHCSafetyReview | March 27, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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