Saturday, 27 November 2010

Quark-Gluon Plasma

This is seriously cool stuff:

Hadron Collider detects 'Big Bang' matter

Last Updated: Friday, November 26, 2010 | 5:17 PM ET 

By Emily Chung CBC News

A phase of matter created moments after the Big Bang is thought to have been detected at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
"Striking" evidence of a quark-gluon plasma has been observed by a team of researchers, including Canadians, at the facility near Geneva, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced Friday.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

USB and The Devil

I guess this is some kind of hoax but, sadly, believable....unless it really is a comment on the complexity of the USB 3.0 specification:

USB - Satan's Data Connection
Martin Robbins (The Guardian)

Evangelical Christians in Brazil have apparently banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers (Hat tip: Fernando Frias). Apparently the revelation came after the evangelists noticed that the USB symbol resembles a trident. Presumably they're not great fans of Britain's ballistic missiles either.

Following on from this, what do we make of the thing (now what was it?) that the Devil embodied as a serpent tempted Eve have been now been warned about that using that particular device...

Invented Languages

Nice to see this sort of thing on El Reg:

Speak geek: The world of made-up language
By Caleb Cox
17th November 2010 11:43 GMT

The world of invented language is a difficult place to succeed and those who have the patience to create their own tend to have a hard time gathering followers.

Klingon and Elvish are notable exceptions, thanks to the huge fan bases for Star Trek and Lord of The Rings.

Society tends to regard people who learn these languages as ├╝ber geeky and socially-inept but we often overlook the reasons why they’re so obsessed with the fantasies they love.

Until recently, expanding the speaker numbers was a challenge: conventions were the only place for enthusiasts to gather and sporadic publications the only other method of sharing their passion.

With the internet, mobile app markets and other techie possibilities, these languages now have easily accessible platforms to grow. While such languages thrive, constructed languages, or “conlangs”, that were created in our past generally struggled.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

James May from Top Gear rides in a U-2 spy plane


and some extra scenes:

PARIS (a la El Reg)

PARIS joins the 17-mile-high club

Aerial mission photos for your viewing pleasure
Well, beloved readers, it's almost time to put PARIS to bed, but before the cocoa and slippers we'd like to share a few aerial photos from our audacious, and ultimately triumphant, space plane project.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The "Dangers" of Halloween...

Excellent article in the Wall Street Journal:

'Stranger Danger' and the Decline of Halloween

No child has ever been killed by poisoned candy. Ever.

Halloween is the day when America market-tests parental paranoia. If a new fear flies on Halloween, it's probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too.
Take "stranger danger," the classic Halloween horror. Even when I was a kid, back in the "Bewitched" and "Brady Bunch" costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.
That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger's Halloween candy. (Oh, yes, he concedes, there was once a Texas boy poisoned by a Pixie Stix. But his dad did it for the insurance money. He was executed.)