Tag Archives: science

What’s this Higgs boson thing I keep seeing in the headlines?

If you are like me and you have responded to the information overload that IS the internet, then you might get a lot of your news like this:

1. “Like” your favorite news sources on Facebook/Twitter
2. Scan your Facebook/Twitter feed for headlines
3. Email your friends who are SMEs (subject matter experts) in the topics referenced in interesting headlines, or even (gasp) read the article and maybe a few of the links in the article your-damn-self
4. Track mildly interesting headlines against the social chatter of your life (emails from interested friends and family; water cooler chatter; match up to previous mildly interesting news story)
5. Track headlines that mean absolutely nothing to you, but that keep popping up everywhere – find out what the big deal is

The Higgs boson is in Realm #5 for me. It rang a bell in the dormant science compartment of my mind, but that was a distant ringing at best. I saw it in several Facebook feeds of nerdier friends first, then in the mainstream media feeds, and finally it was everywhere.

I opted to stoke my science compartment with this article by Ainissa Ramirez, “Why You Should Care About The God Particle And Sadly Why You Don’t”.

Ms. Ramirez smartly starts by explaining what the flippity-flip the “Higgs boson” actually is. Let me break it down for you:
Higgs = smart scientist who came up with a smart theory
boson = subatomic particle

From there, the op-ed takes off with genuine emotion behind Ms. Ramirez’s argument that proving Higgs boson “is the biggest scientific discovery of the 21st Century. Period.”

Basically, Ms. Ramirez argues that the discovery of the Higgs boson is going to completely change the world as we know it. Then, she goes on to lament the disconnect between the scientific community who recognizes the significance of proving Higgs’ theory and the everyman dumb-dumb (i.e., me) who has never heard of a boson, much less Mr. Higgs’ boson.

I agree with her premise – this is the kind of news that is actually NEWS! This is the level of importance that actually warrants the yellow “Breaking News” exclamation that seems to accompany every single CNN broadcast I’ve seen in recent years. Tell me more! Tell me more!

Unfortunately, Ms. Ramirez penned an op-ed, and not an article that uses her engaging prose to give the down and dirty on the Higgs boson. Perhaps she can collaborate on an upcoming TED talk, or write a follow-up article to guide me. Until then, I suppose I will have to suck it up and read about the Higgs boson on my own.

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Media Blitz

Cinquecento

Theme Day!

The five articles I read from today’s New York Times:

Uno (1). Amish adults attacking other Amish adults? Scary business.

Due (2). Farming news. Think it is boring? Think again! Farming is the nuts and bolts of how we sustain ourselves and it deserves our attention.

Tre (3). Theater review. I desperately wanted to see the production of this play before leaving for Sicily. I missed out on it, so reading the review is the next best thing…er, maybe I should check youtube, too? Now I am scared it will make me resent my beloved iphone.

Quattro (4). Science Tuesday, baby! Origins of life is so much fun!!!

Cinque (5). Job creation. So many buzz words have arisen since the Great Recession began years ago, and “job creators” is one of them that sorta makes me throw up in my mouth. As far as I am concerned, the middle class and lower are getting the big screw and throwing around phrases like “job creators” is just a big cover up. Suck it up and give up your ginormous salaries, fat cats!

Cento

Since the New York Times adopted a new online business model, non-subscriber online users are limited to twenty articles per month (unless you access the article by clicking a link from social media, like THIS BLOG, wink-wink). Public computer users? No problem – the internet browser resets its counter with each new user. Private computer users? There are myriad options for interfering the system (e.g. delete the number 20 from the url). The Times is aware of and comfortable with these loopholes; they believe subscribers gain values that offset the cost. I haven’t subscribed yet, have you? Is it worth it?

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“The Evolution of the Human Head,” and Homer (not Simpson).

5-100

  1. Science Tuesdays in the nytimes.com (especially this article about “The Evolution of the Human Head” by Daniel Lieberman (gift idea for anyone who’s interested; and amazon ships to FPO AE addresses)).
  2. Remembered latent memories of my dear friend Lester’s comments about how her iphone changed her life (for the better) – they convinced me to get my iphone and I’m LOVING it. Thanks, Lester!
  3. Mastered more functions on my iphone, and actually felt my position shift on the technological spectrum.
  4. I love the Sigonella library, it delivered the book “La Bella Lingua” by Dianne Hales into my eager hands.
  5. Used my new yoga mat; I have one coming in our household goods shipment, but I couldn’t wait and bought a new one this weekend. You can always use an extra yoga mat, especially when Bryan Kest is in the house. Power Yoga, holla! (Here’s a great blogpost about a BK training session this summer.)

To my U.S. sense of national history (200+ years), the historical culture in Italy is intoxicating (eons). Sicily has myriad historical reminders: ruins, landmarks, buildings and infrastructure that are hundreds of years old (and still in use!). One such landmark is part of Homer’s stories in The Odyssey (Homer was an epic poet). The Cyclops, Polyphemus (“Polifemo”), threw rocks at the departing ship of Odysseus (protagonist) as he fled modern-day Aci Trezza. Whereas I grew up learning stories of Lewis andClark (supercool, don’t get me wrong), Sicilian children grew up learning stories of Odysseus. That realization rocked my world.

*If you’re interested in Homer’s stories, check out a neat-o website that tells the stories: iliadodyssey.com.

The Cyclops Island and the three rocks he threw at Odysseus, in Aci Trezza.

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