Category Archives: News

Large Hadron Collider open house April 6th

If you’re going to be anywhere near Geneva on April 6th, don’t miss the final opportunity to tour CERN’s Large Hadron Collider:

The Open Day on Sunday, 6 April 9:00 — 19:00, is your one last chance to see the LHC and its experiments. In addition to visiting the surface facilities, you will be able to go underground to see the accelerator and the experiment caverns. Exceptionally, most of the access points around the ring will be open.
An attractive programme of activities on the surface and underground visits awaits you on all the points around the ring, so we encourage you to visit the one closest to where you live.

Limited to 15,000 visitors, not sure how many of those are treadhead seats.

Via Slashdot

Suing to keep the Earth black hole free

lhc.jpgA couple of scientists are suing for a time out on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider project, current slated to come online this summer. The LHC is arguably the world’s most advanced particle accelerator (or “atom smasher”). According to the NY Times article:

But Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a “strangelet” that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called “strange matter.” Their suit also says CERN has failed to provide an environmental impact statement as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Phillip Plait (of BadAstronomy.com fame) has a concise and rational response to the concerns about LHC. I tend to agree with his assessment. If you’re going to panic about world destroying science, panic about genetically modified crops.

The year of the brown earth rat

Tonight the Russians declare year of the rat. China waits until February 7. I think the rat rates 13 months!

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This is a Pacific (or Polynesian) rat. This is the preferred species for baby new rat year pictures, as it’s cuter than the Atlantic rat, and lives closer to the international date line. Happy year of the rat!

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(The Atlantic Rat)

Happy Saturnalia!

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Today was the big Christmas lunch at work. Bingo, food catered by “Super Mex”, a magician that roamed around the tables entertaining the workers. And the grand finale is a gift raffle. The best thing about the whole debacle is that it’s only a half day, but with a full days pay.

I was asked a few days ago by our Human Resources manager to assist as a card checker for the Bingo activity. Now keep in mind that the company I work for is a manufacturing facility and this festive lunch is held in the factory. Some equipment is moved out of the way in one of the assembly areas, tables and chairs are rented and set up in the middle of injection molding machines, imprinting devices and other mechanical monstrosities.

All 3 shifts of factory workers and the office folk total just over 200 people. So, with everyone seated, 2 tables at a time are permitted to go and get their plate of beans, rice and a cheese enchilada. This is where Bingo comes into play.

To keep everyone who is waiting for food occupied, Bingo cards are placed at each table setting and our “HR” guy calls out the numbers. Myself and another office worker had the task of tracking the numbers called out, and when some lucky winner called out “BINGO” checking their card and handing out a gift card from Target, Best Buy or Starbucks.

At this point, I have to mention that most of the 200 people in attendance are Hispanic and speak little if any english. Fortunately our “HR” guy is bilingual and calls out the numbers both in english and spanish. There is a slight problem though. The portable PA system he is using distorts when turned up loud enough for everyone to hear, and being in the factory there is also an echo.

In trying to keep the pace upbeat, he sometimes would only call out the numbers and letters once in english then repeat it several times in spanish which caused some of the gringos to ask me what the number was he just called. Then while answering their question, I missed the next number and letter being called out. The other person checking cards was having the same problem, so instead of the two of us dividing up the seating area, both of us would have to find a way through the crowd to compare our numbers and verify the winners “BINGO” then hand them a gift card.

Bingo went on for a little more than an hour. When it was finally over, the other checker and I were the last to get our plate of beans, rice and a cheese enchilada. The caterers were starting to pack up. There was no place to sit, so we ate standing up in the food area. After just a few bites, my plastic fork broke trying to cut through the congealed cheese and hardened tortilla. The caterers were now gone along with their supply of plastic forks. Oh well.

So now the big event… The gift raffle! Who will win the Crock Pot, Blender, 6 Person Camping Tent, Portable DVD Player, Cheap Digital Camera, Generic MP3 Player, A Set Of Luggage, Microwave Oven, A 19″ LCD TV…

Well friends, let me tell you that I am now the proud owner of a new set of dishes and a flatware setting for 4!!!

A merry Winter Solstice to you all!