Particles Beget Articles

Just in time for the 4th of July, the particle physicists at CERN are hinting that they will unleash the baddest boom since the Big Bang with an announcement that they have found the Higgs Boson, the elusive subatomic particle that, if proven to exist, would go a long way towards explaining why all the other particles act the way they do.

OK, well, not actually “found”.

The researchers are hedging because science is a field where definite statements that are presented as fact require some kind of supporting proof – unlike politics, where people can just say stuff because they’d like it to be true.

So they’re hedging. If the things scientists are saying about the Higgs Boson were said about the car keys I lost the other day, it would sound something like this:

“I’ve found something which may have qualities that are consistent with my car keys. If the keys were wedged into the pocket of the pants I never wear because they’re too tight, you could say that I have seen something like the outline of a shape that could represent them. But because I was looking into a mirror and the pants are painfully small, the image has been erased from my memory and may never be re-created. Please don’t ask me to describe it.”

They Were In My Shoe All This Time

How’s that for certainty?

It’s possible that two days after issuing this tortured explanation of why I can’t find them, I might locate my missing keys at the bottom of the coat closet, in my shoe. But for now, we’re nowhere close to being able to start the car. But we feel like we’re getting nearer. Sound like news? On the Fourth of July, traditionally a slow day for headlines, it will be!

And this sort of half-announcement should come as no surprise. In the search for Higgs’ Boson, we heard rumors of something that was just shy of a “discovery” last December, and we have talked about it here before.

Not only does this elusive boson magically give other objects mass, it makes wild suppositions and breathless news articles happen! If Rupert Murdoch could harness the power of the boson, surely he would use it to have his tabloids write themselves.

What are you looking for that you can now report you might have almost found?

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100 thoughts on “Particles Beget Articles”

        1. give it a shot. autopilot works well sometimes.
          how do you ride with zero sleep?
          hope you get caught up somehow soon

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    1. Mine must be hanging out with yours. If you find yours, have it tell mine to come home.

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      1. Will do…though I am beginning to suspect mine has found a spot in the shade and is sipping a cold adult beverage (perhaps with a paper umbrella) and laughing at me. If yours is with mine, I apologize for any trouble they have gotten into together…

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  1. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I lost my weekend to a lot of company, a baby shower, and several special events we planned for my Mom. Actually the weekend was not lost. It was so much fun. And we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sister’s first grandchild in September. I’ve decided to transform myself into my generation’s version of my dear departed great aunts who we so loved. I am practicing pinching cheeks, feeding children forbidden sweets, and saying, “Oh, how you’ve grown!”, “You look just like your grandma, Fern!” and “What grade are you in now?”

    Maybe I’m looking for that lovely generation of relatives who have passed on.

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    1. But are you knitting or crochetting lovely little things?

      I still have some of the beautiful sets done by my Great Aunt Clara when I was born.

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      1. I had to stop knitting when I had a pinched nerve in my neck last year, then this year broke my arm. I hope this will be an activity I can resume! But meanwhile, I have a chest full of little doillies and embroidered things from the aunties and grandmas.

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        1. email me the name. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor who has been helpful. But if this one has other techniques to off, I’m open to it!

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  2. the almost found is the stuff dream are made of
    it gives us a reason to try
    without almost found stuff life has little meaning
    youd find me in bed where id lie
    if i didnt have nothin to make me wake up
    to make me keep pushin along
    the answers to questions that seem to perplex
    that so far have answered me wrong
    life is a quandary a myriad a puzzle
    with answers for those who discover
    the secret to happiness is finding a mistress
    in life who you can make a lover
    theres food and theres work and theres air that we breathe
    things required to go on with living
    but stuff almost found is the stuff we aspire to
    the stuff worth your caring and giving
    when its done and all finished and the projects complete
    satisfactions the moment we savor
    then we get back on that horse and ride it again
    after choosing the next target flavor
    without almost found stuff life is a mush ball
    like showing up day after day
    life without challenge where the same old same old
    takes the joy out of acting the play
    take joy in the search or your missing the key
    the search is the thing where you shine
    elusive stuff makes it a worthwhile hunt
    you do yours and i will do mine

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  3. Husband says he has almost found an occasion for retirement. Our son was triumphant yesterday finding all the weird ingredients for Eight Treasure Tea. We helped him search in the Asian grocery stores in Fargo to track down Chrythansemum flowers (they come in pressed cakes the size of dinner plates), special dried Chinese plums, aka jujubes, and the six other things he needed. Now he is intent on finding just the right combination of ingredients to match the Eight Treasure Tea he had at a tea house in Montreal. We had a great time in Duluth at the Hand Bell conference, by the way. I have pictures and plan to send Dale a report.

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      1. The swim did not happen, as we had very little free time during the conference and we had to get back right away when the conference was over. Husband is not too disappointed. It just means we will have to go back to the North Shore some time in the not too distant future.

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  4. I attended a four-in-hand bell technique workshop last weekend and I can proudly say that I can almost play two bells in one hand. It is an elusive skill, and I will have to practice a lot if I want to become proficient.

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      1. but can you play 4 bells and bass at the same time?
        i just found an old hammond organ (450 lbs) at an estate sale that was too good to pass and the bass pedals would do the trick for you renee

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        1. That would take a lot of coordination. Some bell ringers certainly are that coordinated, like the couple I saw this weekend who rang a duet of Hernando’s Hideaway and tangoed while they rang.

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  5. Good morning. I have been busy being on vacation and haven’t had time to comment here. I keep hoping I can find peace of mind. I probably haven’t come close to finding this, but there have been a few times when I might have thought I was close to reaching this goal. Now I will get back my effort to be on vacation.

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  6. Well, I made the trek to Iowa this weekend to find and reclaim the s&h.

    Seems a bit taller and a touch more grownup, but I will have to check the metrics on those to be sure.

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      1. Hot! I also suspect this is the last time we will be travelling with the aged aunt. She likes to get out and about, but also likes to sleep in her own bed these days.

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  7. I am looking for Unholy Ghosts, a poem written to me/for me by one of my brothers. After my gentle father’s death, I broke open a family secret. Unholy Ghosts was my brother’s response to me. It was a lovely poem. I know I printed it out!! but I can’t find it. I also have copies the sibling emails from that time,1991, on those old discs and I swear I have searched and re-searched. It is just out of reach. Oh, maybe it is time to do another search.

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    1. good luck, sounds like one you should file away for sure when you get your hands on it this time. might your brother have a copy?

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        1. MIG you nailed it. I have been laughing at the irony involved. And he would not understand my reluctance to ask—even if I explained it to him. : ) To keep this on topic, I am almost ready to ask

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        2. Oh Nan, please don’t hesitate a moment to ask your brother. I’d bet a fortune that he’d be delighted to know that his poem was meaningful to you. Painful family secrets need to be exposed and dealt with.

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  8. Almost can be the cruelest word in the language. Life is a succession of attempts to realize dreams, and it is the nature of things that we will fail more often than we will succeed. Those who fail definitively can lick their wounds and practice coping mechanisms that make “it wasn’t meant to be” into a comfort zone. Not so lucky are those who “almost” make it, those who are always a bridesmaid and never a bride. If you attempt to climb Mount Everest, there is no joy in almost reaching the peak. If your dream is to swim for the US in the Olympics, “almost” means falling two-one-hundredths of a second short of making the team. Those who make the team will dream of medaling, but some of them will fall three-one-hundredths of a second short of a bronze. There are no medals for fourth or fifth place. Almost succeeding in marriage is, in the end, just another damned divorce.

    Winning and failing are relatively easy. Those who win fool can themselves into thinking they deserved the win; those who lose get to practice the pathetic arts of reconciling to painful reality. Those who clearly lose or clearly win are the lucky ones. Reserve your compassion for those who almost win. There is little comfort where they live, no peace–pondering the many little mistakes (each avoidable) that added up to cause their failure. Those who almost succeed are doomed to flounder ungracefully in a mudhole of “what-ifs.” “If only I hadn’t told that Jewish joke at the Christmas party.” “If only I hadn’t been such a prick that night when she was late.” “If only I had spoken up and confronted the problem instead of letting things slide.” “If only I had told my son how much I loved him instead of how often he bugged me.”

    All the little things we regret. All the little ghosts that haunt us when we are trying to sleep. All the nasty little “what-ifs.” They are not a problem for those who get what they want or for those who fail. But they define life for those who almost do well.

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    1. steve, life is playing russian roulette with a gun loaded in all six chambers. youre gonna get it one way or another and you just have to acclimate to which bullet in the head you are gonna get to live with. as far as marriages and children, the perception that you can avoid doing it wrong is brow beating and in the same way you and i notice others doing it in a way other than we would, they notice we are doing it differenty than they would. doing it differently is also known as doing it wrong. those who get it right, the olympic gold medal winners, those who find the perfect mate, those who make it to the top of mt everest, need to learn to savor the moment and figure out how to get to the next step. the perfect mate is a series of interactions not a lucky find, an olympic gold is an apex thats hard to maintain, where to next loser? you are very successful at divorce, you have figured out how to make great marks on the world and you are a decent blogmate. almost is a reality for everyone not just the losers like us out there. the guy who says he is a winner is likely not telling the complete truth about other things too. lets schedule part two of my photography lesson. you have a lot to offer.

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      1. Let me know if there is a perfect mate. I know of many happy marriages, but they are all realistic about what it is to live with another human being–difficult and joyful and ordinary.

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        1. If I had married the man I thought was my “perfect mate,” I would have wound up in divorce court within a few years. Instead I married a man who is not perfect, but we complement each other and we accept each others imperfections and the places where we don’t match exactly. So, no, he’s not my “perfect” mate…but he is a life mate. And that makes him worth his weight in gold (or chocolate…).

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  9. I may have just found my resolve, which has been missing for some time, to exercise daily! Instead of trying to make myself get on the stationary bike, I’m getting up earlier to do a walk down in the park, before the sun gets up too high. Somehow having that time limit on it is working. I love it down there once I get there…

    OT – I was sleeping out on the new screen porch last night, got to watch the storm (for those of us in the Twin Cities, at least) come through 3 a.m… Anyone else? Lotta wind!

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    1. My hound had me up a little after 4am when it hit our part of south Minneapolis (he doesn’t like thunder one tiny bit). The lightning was like fireworks.

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    2. I woke up from something, then heard thunder. I stayed awake long enough to turn on TV and check for storms on radar and see if I had to head to the basement. Relieved to see the worst of them were not headed through Mpls and promptly fell back to sleep. I missed the storm show.

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    3. Sleeping on the screen porch sounds great. I woke up to hear the wind kicking up, so ran out quick to move some of the plant stands to safety. Lovely to have it cool for a couple of hours this morning.

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    4. Thanks to a skittish Irish Setter, I get to experience EVERY storm that blows through. Last night was particularly memorable; with this heat the only cool room is my bedroom with the window unit so at 3 a.m. my bed was home to me, the teenager and the Irish Setter. Special!

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    5. the storm… heard it, the sleep in my eyes was the size of small boulders this morning. the storm must have helped with a complete crash and burn.
      enjoy the park. a great way to start the day.

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  10. One hand clapping, people. I just can’t get my head around knowing that you’ve ALMOST found something. If you haven’t found it, you haven’t found it. If you have almost found it, you don’t know you’re at that point until later, when you have ACTUALLY found it.
    Once again, the ‘boons have come up with amazing answers to an unanswerable question.

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    1. I agree, Lisa. Husband and I almost found Rudy Perpich’s cabin once. For all we know, we did find it but just didn’t know which one was his.

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    2. Lisa, are you one of those folks who like to point out that what one is looking for is OF COURSE in the last place you look, because who keeps on looking, once they’ve found it?

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  11. OT (though perhaps on-topic…if losing details that are tickling in my head and not quite there counts) – is BBC meeting at 2pm or 3pm Sunday? Lining up a babysitter for the afternoon and want to be sure I don’t have her arriving late (or leaving early).

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      1. I’ll keep that in mind – I have a gal who is available, just need to tell her a time frame. But there may be future needs…

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    1. Location? (sure, I could probably look that up on the BBC site, but that would involve lifting a finger to click something).

      And a reminder to vote for Mini-Donut Ice Cream!!!

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      1. Minnehaha Falls park (or Steve’s if weather is uncooperative) – at least that’s what we have on the BBC blog. No time designated…

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        1. I will be hard-pressed to get anywhere before 1:30 or 2 on Sunday. If noon works for y’all, don’t delay on my account, though.

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    1. There’s a T-shirt or a bumper sticker or something – “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”

      OT – Andy Griffith died. I’m sure YouTube has some nice clips of Andy and Opie – will have to watch some later. Wish I could whistle. Perhaps those of you who can could just whistle a few bars in memoriam.

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      1. Oh pooh. If I whistle at work, dollars to donuts only 1 other person (maybe two) in my near proximity would recognize the tune. :(

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  12. No Loser, No Weeper

    “I hate to lose something,” then she bent her head
    “even a dime, I wish I was dead.
    I can’t explain it. No more to be said.
    Cept I hate to lose something.”

    “I lost a doll once and cried for a week.
    She could open her eyes, and do all but speak.
    I believe she was took, by some doll-snatching-sneak
    I tell you, I hate to lose something.”

    “A watch of mine once, got up and walked alway.
    It had twelve numbers on it and for the time of day.
    I’ll never forget it and all I can say
    Is I really hate to lose something.”

    “Now if I felt that way bout a watch and a toy,
    What you think I feel bout my lover-boy?
    I ain’t threatening you madam, but he is my evening’s joy.
    And I mean I really hate to lose something.”

    By Maya Angelou

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