Dec 18, 2011 at 11:00
So much sound and fury over the Higgs Boson, signifying what? A complete understanding of the fundamental constituents of the world in which we live? Of the universe of which we are an integral part? No … and yes.
High-energy physicists at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, announced this week they are closer than ever to detecting the apparently hallowed boson: or possibly it is called God Particle merely for mass consumption. Its quantification would at once provide breathtaking insights into the infinitesimal domain affecting Earthly life and to the composition of the entire universe, a broad range, indeed.
This is basic science at its best, the unraveling of the underpinnings of the thing, matter, in this case. The payoff is understanding the whys and wherefores of how particles come to be endowed with mass. And when mass teams up with gravity, watch out, literally. An apple falls to Earth because gravity, a force centrally directed toward the Earth’s core, acts on mass, and on...
Dec 18, 2011 at 10:53
I was driving downtown Victoria (BC) the other night, on the way to Christ Church Cathedral – where my daughter was the haunting unaccompanied soloist lead of Once In Royal David’s City for the processional at her school’s annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – when I was pulled up at a set of red lights. Alongside me another car pulled past and made a left turn on the red light without even a hint at stopping. Wow, I thought! Five seconds later the car behind him did exactly the same… Where on earth are the police when they are needed?
It made me think that I must be in a West African city, because not even in Rome do they make that kind of turn on a red light. But, hey, it’s Christmas and you have no option but to assume that all the other vehicles on the road are being driven by people who have just left an office party or after-work confab and probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel.
There was a period when I lived in California when it was quite normal fo...
Dec 10, 2011 at 11:09
The news media is very difficult to identify these days. We all probably have one or two favorite web sites that still appear as a conventional print publication alongside the electronic version. The latter usually has the advantage of spontaneity, but also, increasingly, carries with it a subscription model that few of us are willing to fork out money for. Those ‘private’ sites are beaten by the likes of Google, of course, and most of them lack sophistication in hiding their content from most of us.
But what of the millions of blogs that are around? Can they justify themselves as being described as news sites? Certainly the likes of the Huffington Post, which grew on the backs of free blog contributions by the public, has been able to cash in on its content with its recent sale to AOL for $315 million. Yet, when you look at the Huffington site, they break all the journalistic rules of things like layout: having a ‘front page’ that is about ten scroll lengths offers the reader an impo...
Dec 3, 2011 at 7:35
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (a little night music) is one of the most popular of all of Mozart’s compositions. Although it was apparently written as a commission, it does not appear to have been performed until after his death, when his widow sold a huge bundle of his works in the battle against starvation. While it is far from being my favorite work of classical music it does have the benefit of being a reliable piece of test music, in particular the last movement: an allegro rondo in G major.
So last weekend, when I had the house to myself for a couple of days, I let rip with audio while also working on accounts. With the benefit of having no neighbors directly adjacent to the house walls the volume could be turned up in a series of comparison tests with my laptop as the source. It would have been nice to have had a full laboratory with recording and measurement facilities but what I was after was much more in the form of an aural exploration.
With Mozart and some pop music I hoped to solve the annoyance...