V.19 No.30 |
South Park


Fat Man and Little Boy go camping in Chimayo

This Friday marks the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, with the anniversary of Nagasaki's bombing on Monday. To protest the continued procurement of nuclear weapons, Think Outside the Bomb are camping near Los Alamos. Their website, has directions to the camp if anyone out there is looking to make their weekend in the woods more politically active.

If you're not real outdoorsy, check out John Hersey's Hiroshima. It's an amazing book, which appeared as an article in the New Yorker's August 31, 1946 issue. In fact, it was such a powerful story, editors dedicated the entire issue to it, forgoing their cartoons or any other articles.

Another of my faves about the aftermath of World War II is John W. Dower's Embracing Defeat. It's not an uplifting book but it creates a vivid post-war world in your mind.

Of course, 65 is often cited as retirement age (though that's not exactly true these days), which gives Think Outside the Bomb's protest a little more of a "Happy Retirement Fat Man and Little Boy" feel.

V.19 No.18 | 5/6/2010

Thin Line

Capital’s Newspaper Only Has Eyes for Iran

No one would give Iran a nuclear congeniality award, but the Washington Post’s coverage of the Islamic republic is starting to look like an unhealthy fixation. After all, Iran isn’t the only Middle Eastern country with nuclear issues.

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V.19 No.17 | 4/29/2010
A most triumphant rendering of the Higgs Boson particle


Large-Hadron-Collider-Induced Doomsday Back on Track

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) reported yesterday that it had analyzed high-energy particle collisions that took place in the Large Hadron Collider (or LHC—the proton-smasher under the French-Swiss border that will either unlock the mysteries of the universe or bring about the fall of mankind, depending on who you listen to) and reconstructed a “Beauty Particle” based on data gathered from collisions using the LHC. It’s an indication that the collider is functioning correctly and is well on its way to full operational capacity.

The particle has already been discovered, so the world-record 7 teraelectron volt collisions between proton streams have not propelled the scientific community into a new age of discovery just yet. However, the creation of this particle is one of the first steps in the LHC's LHCb (the “b” stands for beauty) experiment that is supposed to determine why the universe contains so little antimatter. The LHCb experiment is one of six planned experiments using the LHC.

Much of the world has been on edge waiting for the scientists working with the LHC to iron out problems that have delayed the start of high-energy proton collisions, since the collider is supposed to answer fundamental questions about the universe. Much of the rest of the world has also been on edge for a very different reason—namely, that by venturing further than science has dared to go, the LHC might accidentally destroy the world. CERN published a page on its website to refute the seven most popular theories for how the LHC will destroy the Earth. Things got so wild that some theoretical physicists hypothesized that the Higgs Boson (the “God particle” that scientists believe gives particles mass and which the LHC is designed to discover) is traveling back in time and breaking the machine to prevent itself from being discovered.