Flu Season
My 99th Birthday

Catching Up

I've started a new blog style journal of notes for my own use, so that has siphoned off some of my energy for blogging. (I'm trying to make use of the good habits developed over two years of blogging, but without the problem for having an audience. How, for example, would Bruce Sterling have written Heavy Weather if he told you about the ideas he'd been kicking around every day? (Conspiracies to make giant killer tornadoes? Get the man a tin foil hat!)

Also, we all caught the flu (and everyone next door, too).

Some of my regular correspondents may have noticed that I was not responding much to email. I've spent the past few mornings plowing out my in box.

Here are a few things kicking around in my email that I had planned to mention in this space:

For those who were following the fireworks over Michelle Dawson's stand on the treatment of autism, she has some new material up on her site:

Also, my dad was in the April 1st edition of the Wall Street Journal in an article entitled "New Theory Suggests Bid to Produce 'Mother Of All Matter' Worked." He says:

It looks like our recent calculations made the April Fool's Day edition of the Wall Street Journal.  I wonder if that's significant.

I no longer have an online subscription to the WSJ and he didn't have the link.  The article begins:

H .L. MENCKEN isn't known for his prowess in physics, but he was eerily prescient about the angst experienced by today's intrepid voyagers into the heart of matter. "Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable," Mencken wrote. "But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops."

For almost five years, just such an "it" has been tormenting about 1,000 physicists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC, pronounced "rick"), a powerful particle accelerator at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York's Long Island. Scientists, following Mencken's script, had penetrated secrets such as the fundamental building blocks of matter and how they burst into being with the universe some 13.7 billion years ago. And although physicists didn't think there was nothing "unknowable" left, they were confident enough to embark on an experiment of Promethean hubris: They would create the kind of matter that last existed moments after the big bang.

Now the years-long debate over whether they succeeded in creating the mother of all matter, called a quark-gluon plasma, may be on the verge of resolution.

"A lot of evidence had indicated that RHIC had created a quark-gluon plasma, but one observation was out of line," says theoretical physicist Gerald Miller of the University of Washington, Seattle. A twist he and colleague John Cramer discovered "makes it much more likely that RHIC produced the quark-gluon plasma."

(The vintage of this article indicates how far behind I'd gotten.)

Meanwhile, David and I note with amusement that, judging from the Thursday Style section of the New York Times, David's manner of dressing has once again come into fashion.

 

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