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Lost Treasure

14 hours agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Still doing detailed layouts for the book. I've been working on a story for which I was sure that I'd done some rough layouts a long time ago that I really liked. But I could not find them at all, and resigned myself to having to do it again. Show More Summary

Why Dark Matter Exists: Believing Without Seeing

For decades physicists have been convinced that most of our universe is invisible, but how do we know that if we can’t see it? I want to explain the thought process that leads one to believe in a theory via indirect evidence. For those who want to see a nice summary of the evidence, check this out.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson [Library of Babel]

Seveneves is the latest from Neal Stephenson, and true to form is a whopping huge book– 700-something “pages” in electronic form– and contains yet another bid for “best first paragraph ever”: The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason. It was waxing, only one day short of full. The time was 05:03:12…

Ships and Knobs…

[Extract from some of my babble that night:] "..."science advisor" which is such a confusing and misunderstood term. Most people think of us (and use us) as fact-checkers, and while I DO do that, it is actually the least good use of a scientist in the service of story-telling. Show More Summary

Winning formula reveals if your team is too far ahead to lose

An analysis of over a million games predicts whether the leading side can be overtaken before the match ends

Physics Blogging Round-Up

Another busy week of physics-y blogging over at Forbes. I’m pretty bad about remembering to post pointers to individual posts here, but I can probably just about manage to do a weekly links dump of what I’ve been posting. — What’s The Point Of Science Without “Eureka!” Moments? Picking up on a conversation I had…

Best-ever images of Pluto reveal baffling pepperoni slices

A line of dark spots across the dwarf planet's equator make it look like a pizza and have left researchers scratching their heads

The wonderful thing about triggers

Physicist Jim Pivarski explains how particle detectors know when to record data. Imagine you're a particle physicist in 1932. You have a cloud chamber that can show you the tracks of particles, and you have a camera to capture those tracks for later analysis. Show More Summary

Higgs factory proposed for Beijing

Scientists in China hope to build a successor to the Large Hadron Collider—and take a new place on the international particle physics stage. The discovery of the Higgs boson was one of the biggest moments in the history of particle physics. Show More Summary

Physicists launch fight to make data more important than theory

Enough is enough, say the physicists who have come together to renew respect for experimental evidence and work on alternatives to ever more contrived theory

Quantum query complexity: the other shoe drops

Two weeks ago I blogged about a breakthrough in query complexity: namely, the refutation by Ambainis et al. of a whole slew of conjectures that had stood for decades (and that I mostly believed, and that had helped draw me into theoretical computer science as a teenager) about the largest possible gaps between various complexity […]

How do you solve a puzzle like neutrinos?

When it comes to studying particles that zip through matter as though it weren’t even there, you use every method you can think of. Sam Zeller sounds borderline embarrassed by scientists’ lack of understanding of neutrinos—particularly how much mass they have. “I think it’s a pretty sad thing that we don’t know,” she says. Show More Summary

Education and “Internet Time”

I saw this link on techcrunch go by discussing the state of venture capital in the education sector. There is a general feeling, at least in the article, that when dealing with universities that things are not moving at internet speed: “The challenge is, in general, education is a pretty slow to move category, particularly […]

Sit down and relaxion

New ideas are rare in particle physics these days. Solutions to the naturalness problem of the Higgs mass are true collector's items. For these reasons, the new mechanism addressing the naturalness problem via cosmological relaxation have stirred a lot of interest in the community. Show More Summary

Summer Break

Heading out soon for summer vacation travels, this time to Ireland and France, back in about two weeks. While away comments will be shut off. My vacation will spare readers commentary on the rest of the Strings 2015 talks, which … Continue reading ?

Warm…

So far, the Summer has not been as brutal in the garden as it was last year. Let's hope that continues. I think that late rain we had last month (or earlier this month?) helped my later planting get a good start too. This snap of a sunflower...Show More Summary

On Scientific Conferences, and Making Them Better

I’ve been doing a bunch of conferencing recently, what with DAMOP a few weeks ago and then Convergence last week. This prompted me to write up a couple of posts about conference-related things, which I posted over at Forbes. These were apparently a pretty bad fit for the folks reading over there, as they’ve gotten…

What can happen in 1 second?

The leap second added to time on 30 June 2015 got us thinking – some pretty big stuff only takes a second Read more: "Get ready for the leap second – it could be the last one ever"

Most Played Songs Meme

This went around a different corner of my social-media universe while I was off in Waterloo, away from my iTunes. I was curious about it, though, so looked at the contents of the “25 Most Played” playlist, and having done that, I might as well post them here (the number in parentheses is the number…

Celebrate gay marriage—and its 2065 equivalent

Yesterday was a historic day for the United States, and I was as delighted as everyone else I know.  I’ve supported gay marriage since the mid-1990s, when as a teenager, I read Andrew Hodges’ classic biography of Alan Turing, and burned with white-hot rage at Turing’s treatment.  In the world he was born into—our world, […]

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