In the Loop

In the Loop: September 9, 2008 Archive

Why the world may or may not end tomorrow . . .

Posted at 11:47 AM on September 9, 2008 by Sanden Totten (5 Comments)

Geeks world wide are buzzing about a new piece of technology . . . and it's not the iPhone! It's the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It doesn't take pictures or let you check your e-mail on the go. But it might explain how the Universe got started:

"Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' - either protons or lead ions - will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy."

One of it's main missions is to find the ever elusive Higgs boson particle, the particle that would explain how other particles end up having mass. It's a lynch pin in modern physical theory . . . if it doesn't show up, a lot of text books will have to be re-written.

Of course, not everyone is excited. Some people worry that the experiment will create a tiny black-hole that would grow in size, eventually consuming all of Earth! There's even been a law suit over it. And pleas from bloggers to cease and desist in the testing:

"Please don't kill us all . . . Things I've yet to do yet include find out about the new Apple products, work out exactly how the semantic web works and get picked to appear on My Super Sweet Sixteenth."

Will the world really end tomorrow? Wired doesn't think so. Neither does almost every physicist on the planet. Including this guy. Besides, would something that dangerous really have such a cute rap song:

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Name that beard!

Posted at 2:38 PM on September 9, 2008 by Jeff Horwich (2 Comments)

I've begun the process of losing my baby-beard, and having fun doing it. (Kid's three months old, wife's coming back to work...seems like the beard's natural life is coming to an end...)

Today's incarnation seems to be officially nameless. I at first dubbed it the quite-literal "chops-n-stash," and it seems like something I've seen on Daniel Day-Lewis at some point (though it's not quite, as I had first thought, the Bill The Butcher look).

One colleague deemed it a 1920s style; another placed it more in the Civil War era. But Sanden, after wracking his brain for a moment, pegged it to Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead:

jeffbeard.jpg remybeard.jpg

I left a little soul-patch ("flavor saver" as one woman in the office put it) but otherwise I think that's about right. Of course, mine came in red...not quite as effective if you're the lead singer in a metal band.

But some questions remain: Does this thing have a name? And who else has sported this stylish take on facial hair?

More important: How long do I keep it? And what's next?

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