Sep 2008 BLOG

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2008-09-21 LHC teething troubles

LHC has experienced lot of trouble during its construction. But once commissioning was done, more people pay attention. The recent mishap that made it stop working may seem small to them, but that does not stop the blackhole from forming or engulfing the LHC. Here are two webcams that actually caught the evidence. We are done for.

The truth
2008-09-10 Making history or being history?

Was at the Lauristen lab at midnight last night to see the flagging off of the first hadrons in their bold way to complete (many) energetic (several TeV) circuits of the 27km ring at CERN. There was wine, cake, beer and the usual stuff besides the optimism and the jokes and of course the scientific discussion. After all, history was going to be made. Hadrons were to be accelerated as no human had done before and then bang them into each other. Sounds a bit like to boldly go seek new civilizations and wipe them out. But of course the gravity of the situation is that humanity is trying to find out how things have mass. Or rather the particle, Higgs boson, that gives other particles their mass.

There were the usual nightfall guys (no, not at Caltech) who kept on saying that we will BE history once the LHC goes on. Not just CERN but the entire planet will get sucked into a blackhole due to the power created. Worse yet Stargate like wormholes will open bringing in bad guys (dont we have enough?) from other (parts of) universe.

But, as expected, the successful commissioning was not in anyway explosive as the first week is going to be spent in ensuring all systems work fine and slowly bringing the whole machinery to bear on the hadrons (protons or Hydrogen nuclei really).

Besides the Standard model physics, Caltechs involvement is also in terms of the massive (petabyte scale) data movement that will be required (at Gigabytes/sec) as scientists extract, share and comb the data for rare signals of particle interactions never seen before.

2008-09-01 Selective Abortionism

With Sarah Palin being named the VP candidate the anti-under_all_circumstances-abortion stance is sure to raise its head again. Here is a mathematical piece of advice for them. Assuming that half the people are pro-if_necessary-abortion, half the people anti-abortionists end up saving will grow up to become abortion-is-okay type. So may be they should find a way of proposing to doing it selectively. In fact, the anti-abortionists (who are likely to bear similar children - assuming that trait is in the genes) are unlikely to approach abortion in any case. So almost all the children being saved in this fashion are likely to be pro-if_necessary-abortionists thus skewing the numbers against the anti-abortionists. Something they should think about. The easiest solution that will work in their favour is to say that abortion is okay if you are pro-abortionist, and not okay if you are not. Anybody listening?


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