Daily Archives: December 8, 2011

This is heavy: Higgs Boson Discovery Around the Corner?

I’m not sure exactly what this means, but …

A respected scientist from the Cern particle physics laboratory has told the BBC he expects to see “the first glimpse” of the Higgs boson next week.

…Next Tuesday, two separate teams will each reveal the outcome of trawling through their latest data from LHC collisions. A spokesman for one of these teams told us that this year alone they’ve searched the remains of some 350 trillion collisions, with only ten or so producing candidates for a reliable sign of the Higgs.


Anybody got any inside info?

NGS gives out 10,000th grant

That’s a large number of grants.

As of today, the National Geographic Society has issued 10,000 grants funding research and exploration since 1890–including ten National Geographic grant projects that, according to an internal panel, “have made the greatest difference in understanding the Earth.”

Barbara Moffet interviews Krithi Karanth, a 32-year-old conservation biologist based in Bangalore, India, the recipient of National Geographic’s 10,000th grant (since the first in 1890). Dr. Karanth, who grew up around the wild animals of India’s national parks, will use the funds to examine the conflicts that are occurring frequently between humans and India’s storied wildlife such as tigers and Asian elephants. As in many places around the world, wildlife are under increasing pressures in India, especially as they seek out food on farmland. Dr. Karanth answers questions about her pioneering research:

Interview is here.

Use food stamps to fund your next vacation!

Republican Presidential Candidate and former Third Most Powerful Person in the Free World, New Gingrich said this about food stamps:

“…And we now give it away as cash — you don’t get food stamps. You get a credit card, and the credit card can be used for anything. We have people who take their food stamp money and use it to go to Hawaii. … You know, the Obama model: isn’t there somebody you’d like to give money to this week. That’s why we’re now going to help bailout Italy because we haven’t bailed out enough people this week, the president thought let’s write another check. After all, we have so much extra money.”

What an idiot. Anyway he lies. Find out the truth here.

Mythbusters Cannon Ball Firing Mishap Animated

TV show Mythbusters has apologized after an experiment it conducted to measure the speed of a cannonball went wrong, leaving a trail of destruction across a California suburb. Instead of hitting its intended target, the cannon misfired, sending a six-inch ball of lead careening through one house, damaging another before ending up lodged in a minivan. No one was injured.

OMG. I so wish it was my house hit by the Mythbusters Cannon Ball!!!!!

Anyway here’s one of those zany animations of the event:

Continue reading Mythbusters Cannon Ball Firing Mishap Animated

Michigan Schools Wont Get Pledge Bill Soon

And ottter matters…

The Michigan Legislature was going to consider a bill to force school children to recite a pledge of allegience to the world’s greatest symbol of freedom, and to force schools to display said symbol, the American Flag, or else, but somehow they lost track of the bill and will not be voting on it. I’m not sure what the children of Michigan are going to do in the mean time. Presumably, anarchy will ensue.
Continue reading Michigan Schools Wont Get Pledge Bill Soon

Definitive Evidence of Liquid Water Activity on Mars

i-730dfcfd792dc83bf5931b777431f0cf-NASA_Finds_gypsum_on_mars_evidence_of_water_pia15033-43-thumb-250x187-71163.jpgThis is very, very cool.

Geologically, there are ways in which minerals move around and get deposited with rock. A common phenomenon is for a crack to form due to cooling of molten rock or an earthquake or something, and then this space gets filled in. Stuff might just fall into it. Liquidizer rock (magma) might intrude into it. Hot gasses containing residue might build up a deposit within it, or liquid water might flow through it leaving behind minerals, which fill the crack. The thing is, geologists have studied these processes and have a pretty good idea of what they are, how they work, and what they look like.

Continue reading Definitive Evidence of Liquid Water Activity on Mars

School District Rethinking Policy on Gender Orientation and Identity Issues

Over the last two years, six students in the Anoka-Hennepin County Schoool District committed suicide, it is believed, after being bullied or harassed for their gender orientation. This is the largest school district in the state of Minnesota. Up to this point, the district has had a strange kind of “don’t ask don’t tell” policy regarding gender orientation. According to this policy, if a student walks into a councilor’s or trusted teacher’s office with concerns about his or her gender-identity related situation … e.g., the student is being bullied in the teacher’s class … the teacher is required to pretend that they know nothing about gender identity and to say nothing and do nothing. Or, to be more precise, the staff or faculty member is requires to “remain neutral” in the matter. It is against policy to be sympathetic, to emphatic, to express concern or, in short, to stand up for the student. Continue reading School District Rethinking Policy on Gender Orientation and Identity Issues

The disposal of human remains by the US Air Force

You’ve heard about this: The US Air Force, at Dover, has incinerated “partial remains” of nearly 300 American troops, and had the ashes carted off with medical waste to the landfill. If you have heard of this, you’ve also heard the indignation, the loathing, the accusations of inhumanity, and the verbal rending of cloth. If you have been observing this, have you also noticed how everybody has it wrong? Continue reading The disposal of human remains by the US Air Force