Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be his world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.
Welcome back to Science Thursday. This particular film was shot by CERN interns during some downtime, of which they have quite a lot actually since it’s broken more often than it’s working.
What a lot of people don’t know about the Large Hadron Collider is that it’s basically been operating at half capacity since an accident during the test phase blew out a large section. Now, after two years of re-building, it is poised again to create that Black Hole Apocalypse that swallows the Earth into it’s singularity (not to worry, as it turns out micro Black Holes are unstable and loose mass (energy) through Hawking Radiation at a rate too great to sustain themselves indefinitely, so you can rest assured that we’re far more likely to die of Global Climate Change).
Anyway it’s been down for two years (much like Shell’s Arctic drilling scheme) and started it’s run up to full capacity next week. Beyond nailing down the Higgs Boson, a lot of what they expect to find is nothing.
Scientific method. A Theory is not a Theory unless it makes predictions that are experimentally disprovable-
How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?
To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
The dog did nothing in the night-time.
That was the curious incident.
A lot of the work for CERN from here on out is testing some of the predictions of various Theories and seeing if the experimental results match. The fuzzyness of the Higgs Boson for instance could indicate Supersymmetry which predicts up to 5 types of Higgs Bosons.
If the Standard Model is in fact correct, it covers only 4% of the observed Universe. 27% is “Dark Matter” that is currently undetectable but exerts a huge Gravitational influence (umm… Black Holes are detectable so it ain’t that). “Dark Energy” even less so, but this is the force that observationally inflates the Universe beyond a size where Gravity can ever collapse it.
The Large Hadron Collider might, might produce energy levels sufficient to detect Dark Matter. Nobody is talking about Dark Energy yet.
Oh, and ‘Dark’ in this context means undetectable by current means, might as well call it Rebellion.
So how to do you detect the undetectable? Why, by it’s absence. The hope for Dark Matter is that certain types of collisions will, instead of producing results that conform with the Standard Model, lose detectable energy (mass) in a replicatible way that advances the math describing it’s nature.
Cern restarts Large Hadron Collider with mission to make scientific history
by Ian Sample, The Guardian
Sunday 5 April 2015 15.48 EDT
The pat on the back and call to arms marked the restart on Sunday morning of the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. More than two years after it handed researchers the Higgs boson, and was closed down for crucial upgrade work, the machine is ready to make scientific history for a second time.
How that history will be written is unknown. High on the wishlist for discoveries are dark matter, the invisible material that appears to hang around galaxies and makes up more than 25% of the universe; hidden extra dimensions that would explain why gravity is so puny compared to other forces of nature; and an explanation for why the world around us is not made from antimatter.
But there is another history that keeps scientists awake at night: the possibility that the LHC’s discoveries begin and end with the Higgs boson, that it finds nothing else over the next 20 years it is due to run. As Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate and professor at the University of Texas in Austin, told the Guardian: “My thoughts on the possibility of the LHC telling us nothing new don’t go beyond hopeless fear.”
Until now, the Large Hadron Collider has run at only half its design energy. The machine was restricted to 7TeV collisions after a weak connection led to a short circuit that caused an explosion less than two weeks after it was first switched on in September 2008. The blast covered half a kilometre of the machine with a thin layer of soot and closed the collider for more than a year. The repairs cost the lab £24m.
The machine was switched back on in 2009, but Cern took the precaution of running at half energy to slash the risk of another accident. The gamble paid off. On 4 July 2012, the lab’s Atlas and CMS detector teams declared they had discovered the Higgs boson months before the machine was shut down. A year later, Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh-based physicist, and François Englert from Brussels, won the Nobel prize for their work on the particle, which is thought to give mass to others.
The Higgs boson was the last piece of what physicists call the Standard Model, a series of equations that describe how all the known particles interact with one another. Though successful, the model is woefully incomplete, accounting for only 4% of the known universe. With the LHC, scientists hope to find physics beyond the Standard Model, a first step to explaining the majority of the cosmos that lies beyond our comprehension.
“The LHC will be running day and night. When we will get results we don’t know. What is important is that we will have collisions at energies we’ve never had before,” said Arnaud Marsollier, a Cern spokesman.
The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
–Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)
Science News and Blogs
- The Moon Was Formed in a Smashup Between Earth and a Near Twin By Jesse Emspak, Smithsonian Magazine
- For the first time, scientists find complex organic molecules in an infant star system, By Rachel Feltman, Washington Post
- A few unwanted goldfish turn into thousands and endanger a Colorado lake, By Nick Kirkpatrick, Washington Post
- Dear Humans, Industry, Not Your Activities, Is Causing Climate Change, by Aaron Huertas, Huffington Post
- Report: Silence and denial surround Oklahoma’s “frackquake” problem, by Lindsay Abrams, Salon
- If We Dig Out All Our Fossil Fuels, Here’s How Hot We Can Expect It to Get, by Michael Greenstone, The New York Times
- This Cosmic Ring Photo Is the One to Rule Them All, by Calla Cofield, Live Science
- Brontosaurus Rising, By Elif Batuman, The New Yorker
- The NSA’s plan: improve cybersecurity by hacking everyone else, by Trevor Timm, The Guardian
- Homeopathy: How 200-Year-Old Junk Science Created Junk Medicine and Lasted Until This Day, By Larry Schwartz, AlterNet
- SPOILER ALERT: Google is trying to get rid of spoilers, The Guardian
Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when
we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED)the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD. And I am highly organized.
This Day in History
Chevron Whistleblower Leaks ‘Smoking Gun’ in Case of Ecuadorian Oil Spill
by Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
In what is being described as “smoking gun evidence” of Chevron’s complete guilt and corruption in the case of an oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon, internal videos leaked to an environmental watchdog show company technicians finding and then mocking the extensive oil contamination in areas that the oil giant told courts had been restored.
A Chevron whistleblower reportedly sent “dozens of DVDs” to U.S.-based Amazon Watch with a handwritten note stating: “I hope this is useful for you in your trial against Texaco/Chevron. [signed] A Friend from Chevron.”
The videos were all titled “pre-inspection” with dates and places of the former oil production sites where judicially-supervised inspections were set to take place. The footage was recorded by Chevron during an earlier visit to the site to determine where clean samples could be taken.
“This is smoking gun evidence that shows Chevron hands are dirty-first for contaminating the region, and then for manipulating and hiding critical evidence,” said Paul Paz y Miño, Amazon Watch’s director of outreach.
Shell Files Suit to Stop Campaigners Protesting ‘Environmentally Ruinous Conduct’
by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Royal Dutch Shell filed a complaint in a federal court in Alaska on Tuesday to stop a team of Greenpeace activists who’ve boarded a drilling vessel they say threatens to wreak havoc in the Arctic.
Six campaigners with the environmental organization boarded the drilling rig, which is being hauled by a separate vessel, on Monday approximately 750 miles northwest of Hawaii. The rig, the Polar Pioneer, is slated for drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea this summer.
The company’s previous drilling mishaps show “Shell can”t be trusted to drill in the Arctic,” she said.
“Greenpeace USA has the right to peacefully protest Shell’s attempts to destroy the Arctic and let the public know about them,” Leonard added. “We plan on watching over Shell’s activity all the way up to the Chukchi Sea, where Shell’s track record is already objectively reprehensible.”
Rights Groups Demand Justice as New Details on DEA Spying Program Revealed
by Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
As new reporting by USA Today on Wednesday exposed the scope of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s two-decade secret surveillance operation against American citizens, dubbed USTO and first publicly revealed in January, a human rights organization filed suit for what it called unconstitutional overreach of government power.
In its lawsuit against the DEA, filed Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said that the agency’s operation, which collected bulk data on billions of Americans’ international phone calls without a warrant, jeopardized the nonprofit organization’s work.
USA Today revealed new details about USTO, which started a decade before 9/11 and developed significantly during then-President George H.W. Bush’s administration-and eventually came to serve as a prototype for the NSA’s more recent surveillance operations.
The list of countries included in the sweep totaled up to 116 and reached not just Iran, as the DEA has previously admitted, but nations virtually throughout the world-in Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, western Africa, and the Caribbean, as well as Canada.
EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo said, “The DEA’s program of untargeted and suspicionless surveillance of Americans’ international telephone call records-information about the numbers people call, and the time, date, and duration of those calls-affects millions of innocent people, yet the DEA operated the program in secret for years.”
“Both the First and Fourth Amendment protect Americans from this kind of overreaching surveillance,” Cardozo continued. “This lawsuit aims to vindicate HRW’s rights, and the rights of all Americans, to make calls overseas without being subject to government surveillance.”
According to USA Today’s investigation, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder shut down USTO in September 2013, following NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations earlier that summer, and the DEA purged the database it had accumulated. But three months later, the agency was already seeking permission from the Justice Department to restart the operation.
French media groups hold emergency meeting in wake of Isis hacking attack
by Angelique Chrisafis and Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian
Wednesday 8 April 2015 22.56 EDT
For three hours on Wednesday night, between 10pm and 1am, all broadcasts were brought down in a blackout by hackers claiming allegiance to Isis. The hackers were able to seize control of the television network, simultaneously hacking 11 channels as well as its website and social media accounts.
The hackers posted documents on TV5Monde’s Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-Isis operations, along with threats against the troops.
“Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it,” read one message on TV5Monde’s Facebook page. “The CyberCaliphate continues its cyberjihad against the enemies of Islamic State,” the message added.
TV5Monde had regained control of its social networks by 2am on Thursday but said television broadcasts were likely to take hours, if not days, to return to normal. On Thursday morning, the station had restored its signal but was still only able to broadcast pre-recorded material.
Norway to pay reparations to Roma for racist policies and suffering under Nazis
Wednesday 8 April 2015 22.32 EDT
Data from the mid-1920s shows that between 100 and 150 Roma lived in Norway at that time, according to the Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities.
Solberg’s comments Wednesday followed the release of a government-commissioned report in February that detailed how Norwegian Roma citizens in the 1930s were denied re-entry after travels abroad. It named 62 people who ultimately perished in Nazi death camps following the rejections.Solberg’s comments Wednesday followed the release of a government-commissioned report in February that detailed how Norwegian Roma citizens in the 1930s were denied re-entry after travels abroad. It named 62 people who ultimately perished in Nazi death camps following the rejections.
Survivors of the death camps were also denied re-entry to Norway after the war for up to 10 years, the report by the Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities showed.
France’s Front National plunged into family feud over Holocaust remarks
by Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian
Wednesday 8 April 2015 13.04 EDT
France’s far-right Front National has been plunged into an all-out war between its president, Marine Le Pen, and her ageing father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, after he made inflammatory comments belittling the Holocaust and defended Marshal Pétain, the leader of France’s Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime.
In a damning and unprecedented attack on her father that marks her first move to cut him out of the party he co-founded, Marine Le Pen warned that the 86-year-old would be prevented from standing in regional elections this year and was politically discredited.
“Jean-Marie Le Pen seems to be in a total spiral of strategy somewhere between scorched earth and political suicide,” she said.
“His status as honorary president does not give him the right to hijack the Front National with vulgar provocations seemingly designed to damage me, but which unfortunately hit the whole movement.”
(L)ast week he told a TV interviewer he had no regrets over calling the Holocaust a mere detail of history, saying he stood by that view “because it’s the truth”. The French state prosecutor’s office immediately opened a fresh judicial investigation for hate-speech.
He defended Philippe Pétain, the leader of France’s Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime in the 1940s, who was convicted of treason after the war. He told the magazine: “I have never considered Marshal Pétain a traitor. He was treated too severely after the liberation.”
He also lamented: “We’re being governed by immigrants and children of immigrants at all levels.” Citing France’s Spanish-born Socialist prime minister, Manuel Valls, he asked: “What is his attachment to France?”
He said France should join with Russia to save the “white world” and said he understood why some fought democracy.
‘Lose-Lose-Lose Proposition’: Forest Service Endangers Colorado Woods With Coal Mine Loophole
by Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams
Monday, April 06, 2015
Thousands of acres of publicly-owned, roadless Colorado forests face renewed threat on Monday after the U.S. Forest Service moved to reinstate a loophole that allows major coal companies to bulldoze over protected lands, paving the way for coal mine expansion and increased carbon emissions of the ‘dirtiest’ variety.
According to a Forest Service memo (pdf), the proposed exception would allow for “temporary road construction for coal exploration and/or coal-related surface activities in a 19,100-acre area.” Environmentalists warn that the change will give Arch Coal and other mining companies access to as much as 350 million tons of federal coal, which could result in more than half a billion tons of carbon pollution from mining and burning the coal.
The announcement comes less than a week after President Barack Obama unveiled his national blueprint for reducing carbon emissions, a detail that advocates refused to overlook. Coal fired power plants are said to be the greatest source of man-made carbon emissions.
“This plan shows the dangerous disconnect between Obama’s climate rhetoric and his plans to open more public land to the fossil fuel industry,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This coal can’t be burned if we’re going to keep our planet livable. The president should withdraw this proposal now.”
NFL hires its first woman to officiate games full-time
Wednesday 8 April 2015 22.10 EDT
Sarah Thomas, 41, will join the NFL as a line judge after officiating in Conference USA, a college league, since 2007, the league said.
“I did not set out to become an NFL official,” said Thomas, who has been working in the NFL’s Officiating Development Program. “The further I went along in the progression, getting into Conference USA, part of me thought it may become a reality.
“But my goal has always been to be the best line judge I could be.”
Pygmy marmosets caught up in dispute between Sweden and Saudi Arabia
by David Crouch, The Guardian
Wednesday 8 April 2015 13.02 EDT
“I had a phone call over Easter saying there would be no monkey business with Sweden,” said Jonas Wahlström, the director of the Skansen Akvariet in Stockholm. “The Saudis have heard that Sweden is a bad country.”
Wahlström’s zoo is famous for breeding the pygmy marmoset, callithrix pygmaea, which is the world’s smallest monkey. At just 13cm long and weighing 150g, they are known to be extremely difficult to keep alive in captivity, but over the past 25 years Stockholm has sent between 450 and 500 specimens to zoos all over the world to strengthen the chances that the species will survive in its last main habitat in the Amazon.
Riyadh’s city zoo is large and well-maintained, Wahlström said, and wanted to showcase the tiny animals. He suspected a low-ranking official had taken fright as a result of the dispute with Sweden. “We will wait a few weeks and try again,” he said.
Texas five-year-old finds dinosaur: ‘My dad told me it was a turtle’
Wednesday 8 April 2015 16.34 EDT
Scientists from Southern Methodist University have helped a Dallas zookeeper and his five-year-old son excavate a dinosaur fossil they found behind a grocery store in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
At the time, the zookeeper was not sure what his son had found, so the two kept digging because they knew there was a chance of finding Jurassic period marine life remnants in the area.
“He walked up ahead of me and found a piece of bone,” Brys said. “It was a pretty good size and I knew I had something interesting.”
“My dad told me it was a turtle,” Wylie said Tuesday at the site of his discovery. “But now he’s telling me it’s a dinosaur.”
- White House Blog Reveals A Profound Lack Of Support For TPP, by CTuttle, Firedog Lake
- Human Rights Watch Sues US Government Over DEA’s Massive Surveillance Program That Chills Their Work, by Kevin Gosztola, Firedog Lake
- Fundraisers for Officer Slager Go Live, Go Down, Pop Up Again, by Spocko, Hullabaloo
- “No no no no no no no no: Listen!” He-man Rand Paul lectures a lady – again, by Joan Walsh, Salon
- The “Liberal Media Conspiracy” on steroids: Inside the right’s favorite new talking point, by Heather Digby Parton, Salon
- Everything in the War on Terror Came from the War on Drugs, by emptywheel
- A Verdict In Boston: What The Trial Is Still About, by Charles Pierce, Esquire
- What’s going on in Pennsylvania?, by Jon Green, AMERICAblog
- Ancestry.com Employees Caught Throwing Away Thousands Of Records They Were Supposed To Be Archiving For The US Government, by Tim Cushing, Tech Dirt
- DEA Phone Tracking Program Would Have Continued If Not For Snowden, by Mike Masnick, Tech Dirt