August 13, 2015 archive


Well, since we’re bombing Syria and have allowed Turkey a free Kurd hunting license.


The Breakfast Club (Anti-Matter)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgOne of the enduring questions of Physics is baryon asymmetry, or more popularly- ‘Where’s the Anti-Matter at?’

Technically a quark’s properties are-

  1. Electric Charge (ElectroMagnetic Force)
  2. Spin (Angular Momentum)
  3. Mass (Gravity)
  4. Position (Weak Force) and
  5. Color (Strong Force)

An anti-Quark has exactly the opposite qualities for anything (except Spin and Mass) and I’m not talking not Green in the sense of Blue or Red, or not Top in the sense of Bottom, I mean the -1 times whatever it is.

Observed in the wild you say?  Oh my yes, constantly.  A Meson is specifically a Quark/anti-Quark package of Space-Time.  They last briefly as the by product of high energy collisions in nature and are regularly observed by particle colliders, sometimes reaching energy levels not seen since the Big Bang.  There is some evidence of Mesons made entirely of Quarks which may relate to the cause or effect of our central question but we’ll ignore it for now because basically it makes my main point which is that nobody has a clue.

It is a fact though that given a neutral environment (one in which no unaccounted for factor contributes to the result) there should be exactly as much anti-Matter as Matter in the Universe, and we’re just not seeing it.

I don’t know exactly how you would detect an anti-Photon and it would be hilarious if the amount of Dark Energy and Matter (essentially missing in that we can detect its gravitational influence on the expansion of Space-Time but not much else) equaled the amount of missing anti-Matter (remember Mass and Spin don’t change).

But that’s pretty tin foily and I don’t propose it except as a nerdy joke.

Mystery Deepens: Matter and Antimatter Are Mirror Images

by Charles Q. Choi, Live Science

Matter and antimatter appear to be perfect mirror images of each other as far as anyone can see, scientists have discovered with unprecedented precision, foiling hope of solving the mystery as to why there is far more matter than antimatter in the universe.

Everyday matter is made up of protons, neutrons or electrons. These particles have counterparts known as antiparticles – antiprotons, antineutrons and positrons, respectively – that have the same mass but the opposite electric charge. (Although neutrons and antineutrons are both neutrally charged, they are each made of particles known as quarks that possess fractional electrical charges, and the charges of these quarks are equal and opposite to one another in neutrons and antineutrons.)

The known universe is composed of everyday matter. The profound mystery is, why the universe is not made up of equal parts antimatter, since the Big Bang that is thought to have created the universe 13.7 billion years ago produced equal amounts of both. And if matter and antimatter appear to be mirror images of each other in every respect save their electrical charge, there might not be much any of either type of matter left.

Theoretical physicists suspect that the extraordinary contrast between the amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe, technically known as baryon asymmetry, may be due to some difference between the properties of matter and antimatter, formally known as a charge-parity, or CP symmetry violation. However, all the known effects that lead to violations of CP symmetry fail to explain the vast preponderance of matter over antimatter.

Potential explanations behind this mystery could lie in differences in the properties of matter and antimatter – for instance, perhaps antiprotons decay faster than protons. If any such difference is found, however slight, “this will of course lead to dramatic consequences for our contemporary understanding of the fundamental laws of physics,” study lead author Stefan Ulmer, a particle physicist at Japan’s Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), told Live Science.

In the most stringent test yet of differences between protons and antiprotons, scientists investigated the ratio of electric charge to mass in about 6,500 pairs of these particles over a 35-day period.

The scientists found the charge-to-mass ratio of protons and antiprotons “is identical to within just 69 parts per trillion,” Ulmer said in a statement. This measurement is four times better than previous measurements of this ratio.

In addition, the researchers also discovered that the charge-to-mass ratios they measured do not vary by more than 720 parts per trillion per day, as Earth rotates on its axis and travels around the sun. This suggests that protons and antiprotons behave the same way over time as they zip through space at the same velocity, meaning they do not violate what is known as charge-parity-time, or CPT symmetry.

CPT symmetry is a key component of the Standard Model of particle physics, the best description to date of how the elementary particles making up the universe behave. No known violations of CPT symmetry exist. “Any detected CPT violation will have huge impact on our understanding of nature,” Ulmer said.

Science Oriented Video

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

I really encourage you to read the science links today.  There are some mighty fine stories.

C’mon, we’re talking an obtuse polygon with 5 vertices.

Obligatories, News and Blogs below (also pretty good).

On This Day In History August 12

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on image to enlarge

August 13 is the 225th day of the year (226th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 140 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1521, the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan falls to Cortes:

After a three-month siege, Spanish forces under Hernan Cortes capture Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. Cortes’ men leveled the city and captured Cuauhtemoc, the Aztec emperor.

Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 A.D. by a wandering tribe of hunters and gatherers on islands in Lake Texcoco, near the present site of Mexico City. In only one century, this civilization grew into the Aztec empire, largely because of its advanced system of agriculture. The empire came to dominate central Mexico and by the ascendance of Montezuma II in 1502 had reached its greatest extent, extending as far south as perhaps modern-day Nicaragua. At the time, the empire was held together primarily by Aztec military strength, and Montezuma II set about establishing a bureaucracy, creating provinces that would pay tribute to the imperial capital of Tenochtitlan. The conquered peoples resented the Aztec demands for tribute and victims for the religious sacrifices, but the Aztec military kept rebellion at bay.

After the conquest

Cortes subsequently directed the systematic destruction and leveling of the city and its rebuilding, despite opposition, with a central area designated for Spanish use (the traza). The outer Indian section, now dubbed San Juan Tenochtitlan, continued to be governed by the previous indigenous elite and was divided into the same subdivisions as before.


Some of the remaining ruins of Tenochtitlan’s main temple, the Templo Mayor, were uncovered during the construction of a metro line in the 1970s. A small portion has been excavated and is now open to visitors. Mexico City’s Zócalo, the Plaza de la Constitución, is located at the location of Tenochtitlan’s original central plaza and market, and many of the original calzadas still correspond to modern streets in the city. The Aztec sun stone was located in the ruins. This stone is 4 meters in diameter and weighs over 20 tonnes. It was once located half way up the great pyramid. This sculpture was made around 1470 CE under the rule of King Axayacatl, the predecessor of Tizoc, and is said to tell the Aztec history and prophecy for the future.

Just The Nightly Show (Feel the Berne)

Interesting but maybe not coincidental that this discussion comes on the day Bernie pulls ahead of Hillary in at least one New Hampshire poll (the Franklin Pierce study is a little rare, a little spare, and seems designed to produce a desired Republican result of making Jeb seem stronger than he really is).

But no matter, I think anything that benefits Bernie is probably good news (unless you hold his NRA endorsement against him).

We’ll probably touch on ‘Black Lives Matter’ who’s more gentile and less militant Massachusetts branch just today got booted from a Hillary rally and accepted gratefully in return a “private meeting” where “concerns were heard”.

Bow down Bernie indeed.

Though mostly he has.  He gave them the mike and an audience.  There’s a new communications director, a fully developed policy, and 40 years of history at the forefront of Civil Rights (not for nothing folks).  O’Malley caved after Netroots Nation without the resume and had presided over Baltimore and Freddie Gray.  Now he gets a pass?

There are lots of questions (swiftboat) but I’ll put my tin foil aside.

Populist Propaganda


You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it.

Our panel tonight is Andrea Savage, Alonzo Bodden, and Rory Albanese.