"I'm Not Convinced We Know Anything"

A Parallel Reality Within

A Parallel Reality Within

The birds chirp and I can see the sounds, each sound, traveling by interacting with air molecules. I can feel my head on fire, there’s a flame but it’s not really burning, much like Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider. I can see events; I can step out of time and look at it from outside. I can see it pass. I see millions of years passing by under a second. I can see just now, nothing else matters.
Everything is whatever size I think it is. My head is the size of planet Earth; I can feel it turn on its axis over long periods of time. And when I talk, I can feel the huge size of my lips. I can see the different lip and tongue movements that make the sounds. It’s almost as if I speak in slow motion. Time is no longer what it used to be a million years ago before I sat on this chair. How the sitting happens doesn’t make sense anymore because gravity doesn’t exist. There are no strong bonds holding the molecules of my body together. Each is but an independent body with a mind of its own.
And then reality fights its way back in. Things are more practical but not as interesting, not even real. I no longer live in the moment but jump back and forth regretting the past and worrying for the future. If only I can go back to that state and be there to infinity, what would be better than that? Except in reality, I would be an addict.

Looming holy grail of particle physics

It’s been about over a month since I visited Cern in Switzerland. Cern is every particle physicists dream workplace given their unmatchable physics gadgets. It’s one of very few places in the world where particle physics is no longer just pen, paper and imagination rather experimental. Yesterday, they made an announcement that the Higgs boson – a particle that has been theorized for decades – is closer to being found now more than ever before.

The Higgs Boson particle is thought to be what gives particles their mass. Its prediction was brought about by the Standard model of particle physics. So far it is the only fundamental particle that has not been observed in experiments. The particle is popularly known in the media as the God Particle after the reference in Leon Lederman’s book The God Particle. Its discovery is expected to help answer a lot of questions in Particle Physics and Theory Physics in general. And given its very elusive nature and the fact that finding it would give the Standard model of the universe weight(ha-ha), yesterday’s finding aroused a lot buzz and excitement around the world.

The LHC(Large Hadron Collider) at Cern houses two detectors ATLAS and CMS which have been said to detect a Higgs signal at 125GeV at a 2.5-3.5 sigma certainty level. This in physics means that the result is still inconclusive. However, a 5 sigma certainty level is considered the threshold for a formal discovery. For this though we might have to wait another year according to Cern scientists.

There’s probably nothing more exciting than formulating a theory that makes a prediction about a nature of the universe that hasn’t been observed and then looking for the said nature and finding it. Einstein’s general relativity predicted with accuracy the correct value for gravitational light bending of the stars caused by the sun as was observed during a solar eclipse in 1919 by Arthur Eddington. The Big Bang Theory predicted a remnant of the big bang as a background radiation all over the universe as was discovered years later by Bell Laboratory scientists. And now the Standard model predicts the Higgs boson and it would be amazing to see to it manifest even though some physicists think that not finding it would be just as interesting.

Canada anti-Kyoto Protocol move bad for the world

Canada confirmed Monday at the beginning of the climate talks in Durban, South Africa the speculation about its intended withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol signed 14 years ago. The Kyoto Protocol was created to curb global greenhouse emissions –the cause of global warming- to 5.2C below the 1990 levels between 1998 and 2012.

Canada has criticized it claiming that it gives emerging economies most notably China, Brazil and India an unfair advantage over developed nations because of targets imposed on the developed nations. It is also concerned that taking stronger actions on emissions than its main trading partner the US will hinder its economic development. The US withdrew support for the Kyoto Protocol shortly after former President George W. Bush took office in 2001. He proposed an alternative solution to reduce emissions which actually ended up with a 30% increase in emissions for the US. And now that Canada wants out, countries like China and other giant economies have begun developing cold feet on regulating emissions by Kyoto Protocol standards. On the same note, the US declined to commit to a legally binding agreement to cut emissions by 2015 stating they won’t agree until major developing nations like China do. A position that is feared by many will derail the summit.

The world heats up as the rich countries continue to play victim.  According to reports by the World Meteorological Organization, this is the warmest year ever recorded. The study also shows that the level of greenhouse gases is approaching a point that will cause irreversible changes to the Earth. Part of the world especially the developing economy is already feeling the heat, literally. Average annual temperatures in Kenya and Ethiopia for example have increased by over 1C between 1960 and present day.  There are more hot days, rainfall trends are chaotic and rainfall has decreased from 1980 during the “long-rains” (March to June). And given the current droughts and famine at the Horn of Africa I would attribute at least part of the cause to global warming.

The major economies should stop gambling with the planet and the lives of billions around the world in the name of saving their strength with against their trading partners. For what is point of making money and products when the planet may no longer be here let alone the people to enjoy them?