Friday, April 22, 2011

World's Largest Atom Smasher May Have Detected 'God Particle'

A rumor is floating around the physics community that the world's largest atom smasher may have detected a long-sought subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, also known as the "God particle."

The controversial rumor is based on what appears to be a leaked internal note from physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland. It's not entirely clear at this point if the memo is authentic, or what the data it refers to might mean — but the note already has researchers talking.

The Higgs boson is predicted to exist by prevailing particle-physics theory, which is known as the Standard Model. Physicists think the Higgs bestows mass on all the other particles — but they have yet to confirm its existence.

Huge atom smashers — like the LHC and the Tevatron, at Fermilab in Illinois — are searching for the Higgs and other subatomic bits of matter.

Russians deny '221 mile high club'

Russian cosmonauts never had sex in space during the 50 years of human exploration of the cosmos, and rumors about secret sexual experiments were myths, the Interfax news agency reported Friday.

"There is no official or unofficial evidence that there were instances of sexual intercourse or the carrying out of sexual experiments in space," Valery Bogomolov, the deputy director of the Moscow-based Institute of Biomedical Problems, told Interfax. "At least, in the history of Russian or Soviet space exploration, this most certainly was not the case."

Rumors have persisted for years of secret Russian and American programs to test the effects of weightlessness on sex, but these were always strongly denied by both sides.

Maybe somebody left the irony on

House next to fire station burns down

"This is one of the busiest (fire station) houses in the nation... very, very, busy." said Orange Fire Rescue spokesman Lt Mark Smothers. "Obviously we don't have people standing on the roof all night long looking for fires. We rely on the public and rely on our own senses to see fire."

Lt. Smothers said crews had come back from one call and were preparing for another inside Station 50 when the fire broke.

"It is uncommon for a house to burn down and certainly is a curiosity for a house to burn down so close to a fire station," said Lt. Smothers, "but it's fortunate that it's so close to the fire station, these people didn't lose their house," he added, gesturing to McMillan's neighboring home.

Mow your lawn from an iPhone

Husqvarna's My Automower, a free iPhone app that lets you control your lawn mower from afar. "Wow, Doug. And this app works with any lawnmower?" you just said out loud. No, of course not.

You'll need a special GPS-enabled Husqvarna (that's not any easier to type the second time around, by the way) lawn mower. They start at a cool $2,400 and leverage the magical science of robotics.

Once you've purchased your robotic lawn mower and downloaded the app, here's what your life will be like, according to Husqvarna (still hard to type):

- You'll be able to display the location of your Husqvarna Automower on Google Maps.
- Use shortcuts to send instructions and take control of your Automower.
- Tell your machine when to start mowing.
- Tell your Automower when stop and return for charging.
- Set timers.
- Check your Automower status.

Canada: tweeting election results may bring on the Mounties

Canadians need to be careful what they tweet about if they don't want to end up with a fine of $25,000 or five years in jail.
A Canadian law that prohibits citizens from publishing election results before all the polls in the country have closed holds new meaning in today's digital age. The law was initially directed at public radio and created to prevent Eastern voting results from affecting Western voting behavior. But given the rate and frequency at which today's news flows through cyberspace, the law is not only somewhat obsolete but also has significant implications for some channels of information, namely, Twitter.

Finding Your Furniture 'Sweet Spot' ...From Paris


"Furniture makers have found home decorators' new sweet spot—accessible custom furniture.

It's easier than ever for shoppers operating without a decorator to find pieces designed and created by an individual artist or artisan studio—or that just look as if they were. Websites like Etsy and have made the process more accessible, helping customers find, shop and connect with small, undiscovered designers and studios. Big home-furnishings chains, meanwhile, have taken note and are expanding their merchandise assortments with work of independent craftsmen."

Great article from the WSJ.  Anjali is right.  "Shoppers want a break from cookie-cutter furinture."  

Follow up on McDonald's video posted earlier

Baltimore County Police say the incident occurred April 18 around 8 p.m. in the McDonald’s on Kenwood Avenue.

Both suspects were later identified.

A 14-year-old female has been charged as a juvenile. Charges are pending against an 18-year-old female. The incident remains under investigation and the State’s Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case.

The victim was transported to Franklin Square Hospital for treatment. No additional information about the victim’s condition is available at this time.

Texas vs California

California politicians visit California jobs … in Texas

The giant sucking sound.

Insights into history

Brain illness could have affected Stalin's actions, secret diaries reveal

Accounts by his inner circle give new insight into dictator's life

It's one of the great questions of history, and indeed philosophy: what does it take to create a Hitler or a Stalin? What circumstances does it require to produce such evil? Newly released diaries from one of Joseph Stalin's personal doctors suggest that, in Stalin's case, illness could have helped to contribute to the paranoia and ruthlessness of his rule over the Soviet Union.

Alexander Myasnikov was one of the doctors called to Stalin's deathbed when the dictator fell ill in 1953, and, in diaries that have been kept secret up to now, he claims that Stalin suffered from a brain illness that could have impaired his decision-making.

"The major atherosclerosis in the brain, which we found at the autopsy, should raise the question of how much this illness – which had clearly been developing over a number of years – affected Stalin's health, his character and his actions," Dr Myasnikov wrote in his diaries, excerpts of which were published for the first time in the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets yesterday. "Stalin may have lost his sense of good and bad, healthy and dangerous, permissible and impermissible, friend and enemy. Character traits can become exaggerated, so that a suspicious person becomes paranoid," the doctor wrote.

O’s Earth Day

Earth Day Ends Obama's 53,300 Gallon Campaign Swing...

Syria makes a whole lot more sense than Libya

Syrian security forces open fire on demonstrators...
BLOODY FRIDAY: At least 11 15 25 27 30 40 49 60 70 killed...
Britain condemns...

Inflation: what to expect.

11 Prices That Will Rise Along With Your Gas

Air travel is, of course, thing number one. prices have been up between 6% and 17% all year compared to the same time in 2009, and the continued test increases say that airlines will keep pushing the fare envelope.

Fast food. Price increases haven't been announced yet, but it's safe to say that $0.20 or $0.30 more on your favorite menu items isn't out of the question. Depending on your orders and frequency, this could add up to a few hundred dollars a year.

Bananas and potatoes and tomatoes.  year-over-year, average nationwide prices for fresh produce were up 9.8% in March.

Stamps for postcards and packages. You know who uses a lot of gas? The people in the business of delivering letters and packages to your door

Beef and bacon. The USDA predicts consumers will see 6.5% to 7.5% increase in the price of their meat.

Coffee. From Starbucks to Maxwell House, coffee prices are up as much as 56% since last year.

Orange juice. Another victim of that unseasonable freeze in tropical areas -- this time, Florida -- Tropicana is raising prices on its orange juice. Prices are expected to go up from 4% to 8%, says Pepsi, its corporate parent.

Chocolate.  Sugar is more expensive, too; that's what caused Hershey to raise wholesale prices for its chocolate by as much as 9.7%.

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

2012 and what history and the economy teach us.

The six incumbents who have successfully stood for re-election since World War II have enjoyed, on average, growth in per capita real disposable income (RDI) of 11.7 percent over the course of their term. The unsuccessful presidents have fared worse — about 8 percent growth on average.

So far, RDI is up 1.2 percent over the course of the Obama presidency. To hit the 11.7 percent mark over the course of his term, income would have to grow by about 1.4 percent in each of the seven quarters between now and late 2012. Since the 1980s, we’ve had 24 total quarters where RDI growth was above 1.4 percent.

The short-term future prognosis for RDI is not good: It actually shrunk from January to February of 2011. Moreover, government transfer payments and taxes are an important portion of RDI; they actually account for almost all of the RDI growth over the course of the president’s term.

You don’t see a lot of voter fraud stories with republicans. . .

MISSISSIPPI: NAACP Official Convicted Of Voter Fraud. “In Tunica, Mississippi, ten guilty verdicts of voter fraud were returned yesterday against NAACP officer Lessadolla Sowers. She was sentenced to five years for each count without the possibility of parole and will serve the terms concurrently. Sowers manipulated the absentee ballot process in the 2007 election. Absentee ballots in Mississippi are notoriously subject to voter fraud.” Wait — I thought voter fraud was just a myth. . . .

This is awful.



President Air Ball's deficit plan 'falls short'

From the Washington Post:

President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan “falls short” of targets set by House Republicans and Obama’s own fiscal commission and would be unlikely to stabilize borrowing, according to a new independent analysis.

The analysis, by the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, found that the plan Obama unveiled in a speech last week would require the nation to borrow another $7 trillion during the next decade, compared with about $5.5 trillion under the House Republican budget and about $5.3 trillion under the recommendations offered in December by Obama’s fiscal commission.

..While the president’s plan would deliver on his promise to save about $4 trillion, compared with current policies, during the next 12 years, the analysis found that much of those savings are loaded into the final two years. Savings over the next decade, a more common budget timeline, would amount to about $2.5 trillion compared with current policies, the report says.

Air ball: a basketball shot that falls short of the rim, i.e., an ineffective shot.

It is called “holding them to their promises”. Something we should do with all DC types

The Bet on the Debt

Tea Party bears down on GOP: No deal on debt ceiling without 'meaningful' cuts

Read more:

3 points for Gryffindor


Emma ‘Hermione’ Watson to Leave Brown Univ. After Students Taunt Her Entertainment

Students kept shouting "three points for Gryffindor!" every time she got an answer right in class.

Obama Administration strong-arming Boeing for unions

Can federal bureaucrats tell a private company where to build a factory?
Members of President Obama's National Labor Relations Board think they can. In a decision that even the New York Times is describing as "highly unusual for the federal government," Lafe Solomon, who was appointed to the board by Obama, filed a complaint on behalf of the NLRB on Wednesday seeking to force the Boeing Co. to build an assembly line in Washington state instead of South Carolina. The NLRB action stems from Boeing's October 2009 decision to build a new factory for its new 787 Dreamliner airplane near Charleston, S.C. Boeing first sought to build the new plant near its existing facility in Puget Sound, but negotiations with the International Association of Machinists broke down when the union refused to agree to a long-term no-strike clause. The IAM had struck four times since 1989, costing Boeing at least $1.8 billion in revenue.

That's when Boeing chose South Carolina, a right-to-work state where, unlike Washington, workers are not forced to join unions.

Another reason we are going broke. (It is an anachronism besides.)

Detroit Public Library Spends $1,092 Per Chair


Critics: $2.3M Detroit library project a symbol of waste amid budget crisis

Detroit -Detroit Public Library officials say finances have grown so bad they could close most neighborhood branches, but in a few weeks plan to unveil a revamped wing of a main library that even administrators say spares few expenses.

The South Wing is stocked with 20 yellow and orange European lounge chairs that cost $1,092 apiece, artistic pendant light fixtures and two alcohol-burning fireplaces. The project morphed from a $300,000 furniture update to a $2.3 million overhaul with new floors, study rooms, lighting and built-in, wood-framed book shelves.

It is your fault there is (1) no drilling (in the Gulf, in Alaska, on the West Coast) (2) that coal plants are being forced out and burning oil instead (3) that no nukes have been built in 30 plus years and power companies are burning oil instead and (4) that O & Co intentionally devalued the dollar and raised the cost of oil.

Obama Tells Americans to Trade in Your SUVs

President Obama urged the public Thursday to think about trading in their SUVs for more fuel-efficient vehicles, arguing that gas-guzzlers keep the country dependent on foreign oil.

“When you do decide to buy a new car, think about that we’re putting a whole bunch of money into the pockets of some folks who do not like us at all,” Obama said in remarks at a town-hall meeting in Reno, Nev., referring to oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

If Gov’t is so great, let’s all pay for it.

Ask first what your country can do for you?

Has America slowly become a greedy entitlement culture, in which there is no longer any shame in taking from one's neighbors? Wish I had written this, by Harsanyi: If Washington Is So Great, Let's All Pay for It. One quote:

If, as the enlightened voices on the left contend, the American people deeply love their federal services, their dependency programs, their regulations, their industrious public education department, let's all pay. Why shouldn't we take on a proportionally fair share in the joy? Even income tax-paying Americans don't really feel the cost of government because of how we collect taxes. But let's create better consumers. Consumers pay and demand results. Dependents, on the other hand, just demand. They have no reason not to.

In my view, we are at a tipping point when half the country has become pure free-loaders, and many more have their favorite freebies. See Poll shows Americans oppose entitlement cuts to deal with debt problem.

Class Warfare


Obama: We Can't Let the Rich 'Relax and Count Their Money'

Star Wars may be our most potent advantage

Aegis Defeats IRBMs

April 22, 2011: The U.S. Navy has successfully tested its Aegis anti-missile system against an IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile), similar to those used by Iran. The IRBM was launched from Kwajalein Atoll (in the Marshall Islands) towards a patch of ocean off the Hawaiian Island, 3,700 kilometers distant. Within eleven minutes of the IRBM lifted off, a long range X-Band radar on Wake Island (north of Hawaii) spotted the incoming missile, passed the data to a U.S. destroyer off Hawaii, which calculated the flight path of the target and launched a SM-3 Block 1A missile, which destroyed the IRBM. This was a test of the land based Aegis system that will be built in Europe to protect against hostile IRBMs.
This was first test of an Aegis software upgrade (3.6.1) that enables Aegis to track and intercept IRBMs (ballistic missiles with a range of 3,000-5,500 kilometers). This was the 21st successful test of Aegis, which now has an 84 percent success rate in tests. There are other upgrades in the work. The next one is SM-3 Block 1B (mostly improvements in the final stage, or warhead capabilities).

Earth Day - an American invention 41 years ago. I would also give Tolkien a lot of the credit. Lord of the Rings was the first major book to view the forest as a living entity and to show the cost of run away industrialization.

1970: Mother Earth finally gets her due with the celebration of the first Earth Day. Historians regard this as the public launch of the modern environmental movement.

Every day is Christmas Day in Washington

Thomas Sowell on taxation:

"Someone once said that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. That may have been true when he said it, but today taxes are mostly the price we pay so that politicians can play Santa Claus and get reelected."

Another reason we are going broke.

Self-Correcting Laser Rifle Sight Gives the Most Accurate Shot Yet

When you're aiming at a target two miles away, the slightest perturbation could end up causing a catastrophic miss - not good enough for today's military. Until guns can aim themselves, snipers need the most accurate weapons possible. Engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory came up with a laser-guided correction system that ensures a shooter's crosshairs are always on the mark.

The new Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor measures slight disruptions in a gun barrel, automatically compensating for how they would impact a bullet's trajectory and adjusting the gun's crosshairs accordingly. This hyper-accuracy can enable snipers to take full advantage of modern guns with huge ranges up to two miles, ORNL explains.!5794565/self+correcting-laser-rifle-sight-gives-the-most-accurate-shot-yet

Another reason we are going broke.

Fire Trucks Are Being Outfitted with Oxygen Masks for Pets

The Tea Party: How Extreme Can You Get?

We are living in a bizarre moment in history. Our establishment--the press, the academy, all unions, most politicians, many in business who have skin in the Ponzi game--assure us that borrowing trillions of dollars to finance wasteful spending, while sticking our children with the tab plus interest, is perfectly sensible. On the other hand, believing that we should live within our means is? Crazy!

Michael Ramirez lends historical context to the debate; click to enlarge:


Gang member's crime scene tattoo helps convict him

Inked on the chest of a Pico Rivera gang member was the detailed scene of a liquor store slaying that had stumped an L.A. County sheriff's investigator for more than four years. It leads to a jailhouse confession from Anthony Garcia — and a first-degree murder conviction.,0,1399043.story

Repub Senator resigns for sex scandal.

Nevada Sen. John Ensign announces resignation

Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) on Thursday announced that he is resigning his Senate seat, effective May 3, bringing to an end a once promising career that imploded following a seedy sex scandal.

Ensign has been under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee over whether he violated Senate rules during his affair with Cindy Hampton, a former campaign aide. Hampton’s husband, Doug Hampton, was Ensign’s deputy chief of staff during most of the extramarital relationship.

Read more:

Libs’ perfect storm

Killer Combo of High Gas, Food Prices at Key Tipping Point

The combination of rising gasoline prices and the steepest increase in the cost of food in a generation is threatening to push the US economy into a recession, according to Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners.

Johnson looks at the percentage of income consumers are spending on gasoline and food as a way of gauging how consumers will fare when energy prices spike.

With gas prices now standing at about $3.90 a gallon, energy costs have now passed 6 percent of spending—a level that Johnson says is a "tipping point" for consumers.

Dollar plunges to 2½-year low...

NYTCBSNEWS POLL: Nation's Mood Lowest in Years...

California jobs heading to Texas

John Fund in the WSJ:

It wasn't your usual legislative hearing. A group of largely Republican California lawmakers and Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom traveled here last week to hear from businesses that have left their state to set up shop in Texas.

"We came to learn why they would pick up their roots and move in order to grow their businesses," says GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue, who organized the trip. "Why does Chief Executive magazine rate California the worst state for job and business growth and Texas the best state?"

The contrast is undeniable. Texas has added 165,000 jobs during the last three years while California has lost 1.2 million. California's jobless rate is 12% compared to 8% in Texas.

DailyBrisk covered this 2 days ago


Apple Inc.'s iPhones and Google Inc.'s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.

Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people's locations via their cellphones. These databases could help them tap the $2.9 billion market for location-based services—expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

Read more:


Sore Loser can’t answer

Comedy gold: The 13-second pause

“Do you still feel that you are the winner of the election?”