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002/366: Boids

I spent a while this morning typing on my laptop on the deck, and brought the new camera out with me for occasional procrastination. The shady spot at that hour has a nice view of the bird feeder, and I snapped a few shots of these guys feeding (using a telephoto lens): (I cropped and…

Higgs even more standard

LHCP 2015 is going on at St. Peterburg and new results were presented by the two main collaborations at CERN. CMS and ATLAS combined the results from run 1 and improved the quality of the measured data of the Higgs particle discovered on 2012. CERN press release is here. I show you the main picture about […]

On Advising Students to Fail

Slate’s been doing a series about college classes everyone should take, and one of the most heavily promoted of these has been a piece by Dan Check urging students to take something they’re terrible at. This is built around an amusing anecdote about an acting class he took back in the day, but as much…

001/366: New Camera, Photo Blogging, Regal Dog

Today, I officially stopped being department chair, and started my sabbatical leave. I also acquired a new toy: My old DSLR camera, a Canon Rebel XSi that I got mumble years ago, has been very good for over 20,000 pictures, but a few things about it were getting kind of flaky– it’s been bad at…

PBS Shoot Fun

More adventures in communicating the awesomeness of physics! Yesterday I spent a gruelling seven hours in the sun talking about the development of various ideas in physics over the centuries for a new show (to air next year) on PBS. Interestingly, we did all of this at a spot that, in less dry times, would have been underwater. Show More Summary

Combined results find Higgs still standard

The CMS and ATLAS experiments combined forces to more precisely measure properties of the Higgs boson. The ATLAS and CMS experiments on the Large Hadron Collider were designed to be partners in discovery. In 2012, both experiments reported...Show More Summary

Construction approved for world's most powerful digital camera

It would take 1500 high-definition television screens to display just one image from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope's high-resolution camera. The US Department of Energy has approved the start of construction for a 3.2-gigapixel digital camera—the world’s largest—at the heart of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Show More Summary

Weekend plot: SUSY limits rehashed

Lake Tahoe is famous for preserving dead bodies in good condition over many years, therefore it is a natural place to organize the SUSY conference. As a tribute to this event, here is a plot from a recent ATLAS meta-analysis: It shows the constraints on the gluino and the lightest neutralino masses in the pMSSM. Show More Summary

Fresh Cycle

I've been a bit quiet here the last week or so, you may have noticed. I wish I could say it was because I've been scribbling some amazing new physics in my notebooks, or drawing several new pages for the book, or producing some other simply measurable output, but I cannot. Show More Summary

On the Need for “Short Story Club”

So, the Hugo awards were handed out a little while ago, with half of the prose fiction categories going to “No Award” and the other half to works I voted below “No Award.” Whee. I’m not really interested in rehashing the controversy, though I will note that Abigail Nussbaum’s take is probably the one I…

SUSY 2015

SUSY 2015, this year’s version of the big annual conference on supersymmetry, has been going on for the past week at Lake Tahoe. Joe Lykken began his summary talk by explaining how as a kid he was a big fan … Continue reading ?

This Week’s Hype

Bogus media stories about how “physicists finally find a way to test string theory” have now been with us for decades, with a large number of them documented here. Recently this phenomenon seemed to finally be dying down, with such … Continue reading ?

Quantum weirdness proved real in first loophole-free experiment

A century-long debate about whether quantum mechanics described reality or masked a deeper layer, as Einstein suggested, has concluded – quantum reality won

Friday Giant Children Blogging 082815

SteelyKid starts second grade next week, and her summer project was to read Julius, the Baby of the World and make a poster with baby pictures of herself. This, of course, led to looking at a lot of old photos of SteelyKid, including many of the Baby Blogging shots I took back in the day…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: College Advice, Teleportation, Spin, and Bell Tests

I seem to be settling into a groove of doing about two posts a week at Forbes, which isn’t quite enough to justify a weekly wrap-up, but works well bi-weekly. (I’m pretty sure that’s the one that means “every two weeks” not “twice a week,” but I always struggle with that one…) Over the last…

Double time

In particle physics, we’re often looking for very rare phenomena, which are highly unlikely to happen in any given particle interaction. Thus, at the LHC, we want to have the greatest possible proton collision rates; the more collisions, the greater the chance that something unusual will actually happen. What are the tools that we have

The Tesla experiment

On May 31, about 50 miles from the Canadian border, an electric car struggled up steep hills, driving along at 40 miles per hour. The sun was coming up and rain was coming down. Things were looking bleak. The car, which usually plotted the route to the nearest charging station, refused to give directions. “It

Looking for strings inside inflation

Theorists from the Institute for Advanced Study have proposed a way forward in the quest to test string theory. Two theorists recently proposed a way to find evidence for an idea famous for being untestable: string theory. It involves...Show More Summary

D-Wave Open Thread

A bunch of people have asked me to comment on D-Wave’s release of its 1000-qubit processor, and a paper by a group including Cathy McGeoch saying that the machine is 1 or 2 orders of faster (in annealing time, not wall-clock time) than simulated annealing running on a single-core classical computer.  It’s even been suggested […]

How creative computers will dream up things we’d never imagine

Eureka moments could soon be dialled up on demand as leaps of imagination are replaced by the steady steps of invention software

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