Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fixin' to die, part 2

I have completed the viewing of the horizon sci-fi programme. It was a jolly good laugh. The second part was slightly more enjoyable, and perhaps I should have waited until I had seen it all until I made my observations. Here they are, again in no particular order.

The programme was narrated by Sam West, who as most of you will know is the offspring of Bradley Hardacre and Sybil Fawlty. Some of you may think that this is not germane to the subject matter, but I think that it gives it an interesting perspective.

There were some pleasant chaps in the second part, some of them admitting that they didn’t have a clue about anything - I admire that. I was particularly taken with Leon Lederman, who not only dropped his Nobel medal on the floor, but kept it in a display cabinet along with other trophies, including his 6th grade attendance medal. Leon won his Nobel prize for "for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino". He won his attendance certificate by failing to climb the fence at his school. He seemed like a decent fellow, and proof that the study of physics is a handicap that need not interfere with the leading of a normal life, as far as I can tell.

Now, I appear to have misled you yesterday. The machine in question is not called a “Big Hadron Collider”, but a “Large Hadron Collider”. Go to your print outs of yesterday’s article, tippex out the word “Big”, and pencil in “Large”. Thank you. I was obviously not paying attention. Blame Mr Sutton, my first physics teacher. I learned to drift off very early in my physics career, when I came to the conclusion that what was being proposed was either blatantly obvious or blatantly absurd. I have never recovered. I am fairly certain that LHC stands for Large Hadron Collider. It does not, I can say with a modicum of assurance, stand for “long hairy cock” or anything else those on the back row have come up with.

Here’s the thing. If you take as a premise that stuff is composed of atoms, and that atoms contain particles, then the problem that physicists have is to understand why particles, which are energy (yes, I know this is simplistic, but bear with me), stick together to become matter. They have identified lots of different particles, but none that have the quality of binding together, if you will, that would be necessary for matter to be formed out of energy. In order to make their theories work they have hypothesised that something called the Higgs Boson Particle exists. This particle acts to stick the other particles together. No one has ever produced any evidence of the Higgs particle, let alone got one in a cupboard at home (I, as I said in an early article have a complete set in my garden shed, and one day will reveal to the world the real purpose of these bosons). They are hoping that when someone puts the first quarter in the slot and fires up the LHC, then Higgs Bosons Particles will pop out from behind the door and reveal themselves. Or summat.

Actually, atoms are made in a factory in Kidderminster, where teams of highly skilled workers assemble them from the particle pile, and using a very secret process, cover them with a substance not unlike cassava. Atoms are therefore very similar to miniature tapioca. Now that you know this, your understanding of the nature of the Universe will take on new perspectives. The workers in Kidderminster work very hard, as there a quite a lot of atoms in the universe, apparently.

So, these physics chaps are hoping to see evidence of things in their new toy that will lead to the first “Theory of Everything”. They will understand the nature of everything, and be able to answer all questions. If you like, I will prepare a list of questions and forward them for you. The three that I want answered the most are:

  • How can anyone see any merit in the work of the Poet Keats?
  • Who in the name of holy crap ever voted for Jeffrey Archer? (apart from those on the jury who found the bastard guilty).
  • Who was responsible for John Emburey playing test cricket?
They failed to convince me that there is no risk of this experiment destroying the galaxy. If I were you, come November, I would have my running shoes on at all times, and be prepared to run in the direction away from Geneva very fast indeed.


Richard said...

Dave not being around is putting an almost unbearable burden across my slender shoulders.

Anyroad, anyone with a memory will know who first harnessed the power of the Higgs Bosun Particle. Unfortunately the secret of "fluence" died when TV's Mr David Nixon's unrequited lust for Anita Harris drove him to an early grave.

Rol Hirst said...

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..." How can you not like that? Philistine. My elecution teacher made me read that out loud to get me to talk proper like.

It didn't work.

But it's a nice poem.

Vicus Scurra said...

Richard. I always thought that it was the requiting that did for him.
Rol. We have the video. Do not attempt to deny that you tittered in a very immature way when you got to the "swelling gourds" bit. "Gathering swallows twitter in the sky". My arse.

Homo Escapeons said...

"Physicians have identified lots of different participles, but none that have the quality of binding together in Large Hairy Crocks"

Is this how we reward Alfred for cowering in the godforsaken marshes of Somerset 1129 years ago? Yes A the G saved the King's Anglische language from the bloody Vikings and yet here we are spitting in his face by fretting about unattached, dangling, participles in Large Hairy Crocks?

Hold on there's a midge on my monitor...
oh you said particle.
Never mind.

ziggi said...

In order that I can add a comment that is pertinent and appropriate I haven’t actually read your post. I’d just like to say that I think the answer is diphthong. I’m really looking forward to receiving my prize.

What have you done with Tom? He was last recorded as visiting here and there has ne’er been a trace of him since.

Vicus Scurra said...

Ziggi. I haven't done anything with Tom, at least anything that either of us need be ashamed about. He is happily living in the pretend world that exists more than 3 feet away from his computer screen.

zoe said...

Why is Lord fucking Browne in this country ? Isn't England good enough for him ? He has ruined my life from now on.

And I blame you, you old git, Vicus.

Arabella said...

After worrying for several years since the demise of the carpet industry, I am comforted to learn that the good people of Kidderminster (near Wordsley where my sister lives) are once again engaged in gainful employment.

As for that son-of-an-ostler Keats, I left him behind with the other Romantics at the appropriate age of nineteen, but think of him fondly nonetheless (rather like my youth).

ziggi said...

It wasn't Lord fucking Browne it was some Canadian called Jeff.

The world is ending in 2060 not this Nov, I know this because Homo Escapeons said so on his blog and I read his.

Vicus Scurra said...

Zoe. We send all our washed up old has beens there.
Arabella. It is so nice to get someone here with nice manners.
Ziggi. I have caught you out. You must be reading my blog, otherwise you would not have known about my writing about the end of the world in November. Hah! Caught you.

ziggi said...


jromer said...

just wanted to say hello

Vicus Scurra said...

Hi Anna. Great to hear from you. Let us all know when/if you start writing again. In the meantime please help me to keep these people in order.

I, like the view said...

maybe I could offer some cakes and fresh fruit and a coffee or juice? might calm things down for a little, while people stood about munching and sipping.. .

just a suggestion


Dave said...

I just wanted Richard to know that I am back, ready to bear my share of the burden of reading this twaddle.

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave, I may be old fashioned, but it is my view that the role of the clergy is to remind us to accentuate the need for our spiritual fulfillment, not to make delicate gentlemen laugh unexpectedly first thing in the morning.

Anonymous said...

If you can't stand the Keats, get out of the particle accelerator.

And I thought that particular atom factory was located in Rutherford . . .