By now lots of people have heard that the Higgs field/particle has seemingly been discovered.  I’m skeptical about the efficacy of all our various institutions, including scientific ones, but this seems like a truly historic and amazing achievement.  But it’s so abstract, and requires knowledge of so many things, that how many people in the world can even understand this?  I’m not one of them.  All I have in my head is, the Standard Model of subatomic physics somehow predicts the existence of this massive particle (really massive, maybe 1000x heavier than a proton); and they went out and built a big-ass machine to find it.  And they found it.  Goddamn… good job dudes & dames!

Update

Woit confirms what you would figure: it’s the biggest physics discovery in ages. He says it’s the biggest in 30 years, since the discovery of the W and Z bosons. Well, I guess you would want that kind of vindication for all the time and resources that went into the LHC project.

Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest elbowed someone on a basketball court and was ejected, then suspended. Lots of people are disgusted with what they see as a malicious act, but it’s the media that I’m disgusted with. I watch the talking heads tripping all over themselves trying to come up with the most unhinged denunciation of the player; in the next breath they’ll be praising another player’s borderline-physical play, saying that it shows toughness, or whatever. Hypocrites.

Sports are sort of an atavistic ritual; do you see the irony in people sputtering red-faced in outrage about what they consider a “barbaric” act, even as they themselves engage in an act that might be even more retrograde, namely the witch hunt? Someone elbowed someone: burn the witch! It makes me think of parables in our culture like Jesus saying to the mob that’s out for blood: let him among us who is without sin cast the first stone. Or the Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller about an over-the-top witch-hunt (a literal one) in colonial America, but really about McCarthyism.

What is the real cause of these kinds of disproportionately intense, mass-outrage shaming rituals?

…when just contemplating some facts is enough to cause you psychic pain.  We rehearsed this a few times, but nothing can prepare you for it.  But maybe this is just another rehearsal?  Everything gets thrown into a different light, what seemed unforgivable seems lovable now.  I’m like a bad general in the fog of war, just cannot see the events that are sealing my fate.  So confused.Image

I choked on this phrase in Pravda’s story about some latest dust-up with one of our frenemies in the Persian gulf. So the United Arab Emirates shut down an, ahem, “American-financed organization that promotes Democracy”. This kind of US-owned pro-democracy advocacy organization (lol) — which is fairly common, I take it — this breed of non-profit that names itself the “National Democratic Institute” or “International Republican Institute and Freedom House” or some other Orwellian variation, is just a spook front for the US government … right? I can’t imagine what other purpose it might serve.

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