We should Know by the End of this Year if the Higgs Boson (aka the God Particle) Exists

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

The world may end as we know it at the end of this year.  In more ways than one.  If President Obama gets reelected the U.S. economy may lead the world into a global depression.  Or literally if they create a black hole that swallows the earth at CERN while trying to find the God Particle.  Or they may have to throw away all the physics books if they can’t find it and don’t make the earth disappear into a black hole (see CERN director says LHC will find God Particle by end of the year by Louise Gray posted 6/2/2012 on The Telegraph).

Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director of CERN where the LHC is based, said he was confident that by the end of the year it will be possible to say whether the Higgs Boson, the particle which is responsible for giving mass to the universe, exists.

The theoretical particle, nicknamed the God Particle due to its central role it has in explaining modern physics, has never been detected and scientists have been working for decades to prove its existence.

Scientists hope that high energy collisions of particles in the 17 mile underground tunnel at CERN will finally allow them to create the conditions to allow them to spot the elusive Higgs Boson…

Once the existence of Higgs Boson is known, there will be further work to prove its properties and understand the origins of the universe…

“We will know by the end of this year whether it exists or whether it is non-existent. This would be a huge discovery that after 50 years we are able to describe the visible universe…

CERN require a high level of proof and will only announce that the Higgs Boson exists when there is just a one in three million chance they are wrong.

The Higgs Boson plays the central role in explaining modern physics.  Yet they’re still trying to discover if this God Particle exists.  Which if it doesn’t they may have to rewrite the physics books.  This is hardcore science.  Where no previously held belief or accepted science is safe from being proven false.  At least in the world of theoretical and experimental physics.  Because they play by a different set of rules than they do in environmental ‘science’. 

Have you ever heard an environmental ‘scientist’ talk like this?  Have you ever heard Al Gore say that they may have to rewrite all the global warming books because they might be wrong?  I haven’t.  And neither have you.  Because when it comes to environmental ‘science’ there are in fact absolutes.  That once they arrive at any favorable finding it shuts down all other research on the subject.  Because it supports government interventionism into the private sector.  Which is their one and only goal. 

Let’s not forget for a decade or more they’ve been telling us that if we didn’t act ‘right now’ it would be too late.  Well we haven’t done everything they said we needed to do to save the world.  And yet we saved it anyway.  These kinds of failed predictions would have spelled doom at CERN.  But not in environmental ‘science’.  Where the Higgs Boson must work in strange and mysterious ways.  If it exists, that is.

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Dragon docks at ISS after Flawless Launch by Private Company SpaceX

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

Space.  The final frontier.  Once the purview of government space programs.  Now in the hands of the private sector (see ‘Feels a bit like a sci-fi film set’: ISS astronaut reacts to entering the SpaceX Dragon by Associated Press posted 5/29/2012 on the Daily Mail).

As the ISS crew floated into the Dragon on Saturday – a day after its heralded arrival as the world’s first commercial supply ship – one astronaut took to his blog to describe the historic milestone…

‘This is the first time that a commercial spacecraft has flown to the ISS and docked with the Station. You could say a new era of spaceflight has begun. Soon private companies will take people to and from space.’

Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Pettit said it reminded him of the cargo capability of his pickup truck back home in Houston.

‘The smell inside smells like a brand new car,’ Pettit reported. The compartment was brilliantly white and, he noted; clean, no dirt or other particles appeared to be floating around…

The California-based SpaceX – formally Space Exploration Technologies Corp. – is the first private company to send a vessel to the space station.

NASA is handing over orbital delivery work to American business in order to focus on bigger and better objectives, such as getting astronauts to asteroids and Mars.

The space agency hopes astronaut ferry trips will follow soon; SpaceX contends its Dragons could be carrying space station astronauts up and down within three or four years…

Until now, only major governments have launched cargo ships to the space station. Russia, Japan and Europe will keep providing supplies, and Russia will continue to sell rocket rides to U.S. astronauts until SpaceX or other companies are ready to take over. Several American companies are competing for the honor.

I guess the International Space Station (ISS) has lost that new car smell.  And based on his description of the Dragon commercial spacecraft I’m guessing the Russian supply spacecrafts are not quite reminiscent of opening the door on a new car.  Or very clean.

Yeah, that’s why NASA is handing over the mundane work of resupplying the ISS to American business.  So they can focus on bigger and better things.  Right.  Perhaps they should let American business handle that, too.  For as amazing as the Space Shuttle was it was an abject failure.  The reusable shuttle was supposed to earn money.  That’s why they made it reusable.  It was going to be like a truck on the highway.  Zipping all over the place and delivering revenue-earning cargo.  But they could never fly the thing enough in a year to turn a profit.  And it was just too costly per mission.  It was a black hole in the federal budget.  That’s why they retired it without having anything to replace it.  Relying on the Russians to keep the ISS in orbit.  Who were using the same rocket platform they were using when we were using the Saturn V to put men on the moon.  Because that technology still works.  And costs less to put them up into orbit than it did launching a Space Shuttle.

This is a testament to the power of capitalism.  Where a person can dream.  Pour money into that dream.  And reap the benefits of success.  The space program has now been handed off to capitalism.  And the private sector.  Thanks to the success of SpaceX.  Who may have a better chance than NASA these days of boldly going where no person has gone before.

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The Canadians are Closing Large Outdoor Laboratory that Tests Environmental Impact on pollutants in Ecosystem

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

Now it appears that the Canadian government hates the planet.  As hard as that is to believe.  But here they are pulling the funding to a vital scientific research center.  That few have probably ever heard of before (see Scientists decry Ottawa’s plan to close environmental research centre by SHAWN McCARTHY posted 6/1/2012 on The Globe and Mail).

For six years, Cynthia Gilmour, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, led a research team that annually poured a teaspoon of mercury isotope, diluted in water, into a small, remote lake in Northwestern Ontario.

The international project was being conducted in the federally funded Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a unique outdoor laboratory for ecosystem research consisting of 58 lakes and their drainage areas.

Dr. Gilmour and her colleagues from the United States and Canada wanted to determine the environmental impacts of new deposits of mercury – a powerful brain toxin – into a lake that already had high background levels. The ELA was the one place in the world where they could do that.

The centre has hosted a number of groundbreaking research projects over its 55 years, including major advances in the understanding of lake acidification and eutrophication – the destruction of a body of water through the addition of nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates.

Now, as part of its spending restraint, the Harper government has announced that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will stop funding the Experimental Lakes Area and close the world-renowned research centre by next April if a new operator cannot be found…

Departmental officials are “working aggressively” to find a group to take over the funding, said David Gillis, director-general of the department’s Ocean and Ecosystem Science division. He said the operating costs amount to about $700,000 a year, though former chief scientists say the baseline budget is more like $3-million annually when core researchers are included…

“By shutting ELA you remove a critical tool for finding the most reasonable and cost-effective solutions to national and international environmental issues,” she wrote. “The small federal investment in the research station has been returned thousands of times over in public and ecosystem health.”

Wow.  Science is expensive.  Especially researchers.

It would be interesting to see their books.  This is an area containing 58 lakes.  So I’m guessing it’s outdoors.  With a laboratory located inside a building somewhere.  That has either electricity connected to it.  Or they have a generator to provide their energy needs.  Now they’re not building the laboratory or the energy infrastructure each year so most of this operating budget must be consumables.  Like energy (electricity, natural gas, oil, gasoline, etc.).  Food.  And water.  As I’m guessing they’re not drinking the water they’re polluting with mercury.  They may also have a few vehicles.  A helicopter or two.  Some boats.  Which they may be paying interest and principle on as well as paying for a pilot.  And some scientific equipment.  Test tubes.  Beakers.  Erlenmeyer flasks.  To replace the ones they drop.  And an IT tech to fix the occasional problem with their computer equipment.  Perhaps that’s what the $700,000 annual budget covers. 

If the scientists each earned, say, $125,000 a year in wages and benefits the other $2.3 million would pay for about 18 researchers.  Do they have 18 researches?  Do they need 18 researchers?  Are they running so many experiments that it keeps 18 researches busy year round?  Or is it only open for the summer months?  When the lakes aren’t frozen and covered with snow.  If so then it’s only a part-time gig for these researches.  Which means they wouldn’t be earning $125,000 in wages and benefits.  So if they were only earning, say, $30,000 in wages and benefits for their few months there that $2.3 million would pay for about 75 researchers. Which is a lot more than 18. 

Still some say this is a small federal investment.  Of course, when the provincial and federal governments are both running deficits $3 million is a lot of money.  But you know who this isn’t a lot of money to?  Rich environmentalist celebrities.  Those who bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  The same people who showered President Obama with millions of dollars in one fund raiser after he endorsed same-sex marriage.  They could all pitch in and cover these costs to save the planet they are so worried about.  And it wouldn’t make a dent in their lifestyle.  They could do this.  But I doubt they will.  For they rather have the government spend our tax dollars for their worthy causes.  While they hire the finest tax lawyers to hide as much of their wealth as possible from the taxman. 

But this could in fact help them hide their money from the taxman.  For this could be a large charitable deduction.  It would be a win-win.  Save the planet.  Save their wealth.  And let them worry about what they’re doing up there for $3 million a year.

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NHS Doctors compromise Patient Privacy by Accidentally Clicking on ‘cc’ Instead of ‘bcc’ when Emailing

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

One of my favorite Winter Olympics were the 1992 games in Albertville, France.  In part to that montage at the end accompanied by a couple pieces from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.  And Charles Kuralt.  Who gave us charming slices of life in the Tarentaise Valley.  Farmers eating a breakfast of cheese and wine after finishing their early chores…before the sun had risen.  And people waiting for freshly baked baguettes in the crisp predawn hours.  Made by bakers the way bakers had baked bread hundreds of years earlier.  Because as Charles said, sometimes the old ways are the better ways.  It turns out that’s true in more ways than one (see Doctors ‘risking email privacy breaches’ by Caroline Parkinson posted 6/1/2012 on BBC News Health).

As the email whizzes off into the ether, dread strikes. It’s gone to the wrong person.

Normally, the worst that can happen is a little embarrassment.

But a medical advice body is warning that while trying to use modern technology to contact patients, doctors are sometimes revealing confidential information…

In one case a practice sent patients an email reminder for a flu vaccination clinic, but mistakenly pasted the email addresses into the “To” rather than the “Bcc” – blind copies – box…

The MDU is issuing advice to doctors about how to send out group emails, and what to do if it goes wrong.

“These are breaches of confidence. It shows those in the email group that other individuals are part of that practice, and part of that particular group.

“And, while you may not be directly releasing clinical information, it can be possible for people to make assumptions, especially in small communities.

“For example, on a flu jab reminder list, you may be on there because you are immunosuppressed, because you have cancer or HIV – or other reasons you don’t want people to know about.”

In the old days there were family doctors.  Who we knew all our lives.  And we paid them for the services they rendered.  In the days before heath insurance became an employee benefit.   And life was good.  Charming.  Folksy.  But now health care has grown into a great bureaucracy.  Where doctors have to spend more of their time being bureaucrats than doctors.  With the advent of employer provided health insurance there were no longer free market forces to determine health care prices.  Because someone else was paying the bill.  Then came the lawyers.  And the malpractice suits.  Changing medicine into a defensive action against frivolous lawsuits.  Further increasing health care costs.  And pulling health care providers further away from practicing medicine.  Instead spending their time managing risk. 

Now Obamacare wants to change this further.  By digitizing medical records.  Turning health care into production line care.  To process more people per hour to reduce costs.  Transforming the doctor-patient relationship to a patient-random government bureaucrat relationship.  Relying on the data in our records more than personal knowledge of a patient like in those folksy old days.  Which can really speed up treatment.  As long as an overworked, underpaid bureaucrat inputs all of the data correctly.  And no hacker breaks into the system to mess with people’s data.  Or steal it.  For it will be one large repository of names, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers.  As well as intimate medical information.  Which people could use for whole sorts of reasons.  The mind shudders to think what may happen when this information is in the hands of the wrong people.  Especially when health care providers begin emailing each other.  With attachments.  Or their patients.  Like in Britain.  Accidents happen.  Especially when the technology makes it so easy for accidents to happen. 

Doctors are at risk of being in breach of both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations 2003 – and the Information Commissioner would have to be informed.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s office said GP practices, like hospital trusts and local councils had a responsibility to take care of the data they hold.

He added: “Bcc and group emails are a concern. If we find a breach related to Bcc, and particularly if that’s caused damage or distress, we would take enforcement action.”

As if doctors didn’t have enough to worry about in their busy day.  Being both bureaucrat.  And part-time doctor.  Now they have to worry about breaking the law when they accidentally click ‘cc’ instead of ‘bcc’ after a long, sleep-deprived day.

And this is a glimpse into the future of Obamacare.  Where we can only hope it will be as good as the NHS.  For as national health care systems go, it’s one of the best.  But it still doesn’t beat the good old days.  When we had warm familial relationships with our family doctors.  Who knew us better than we knew ourselves.  Who didn’t need digital records or emails.  And not only were we able to pay for our own health care but we liked our health care.

It’s like Charles said.  Sometimes the old ways are the better ways.

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The NHS prefers Midwives delivering Babies at Home while Hillary Clinton prefers Expensive Hospital Stays for Childbirth

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

The Clinton administration tried to nationalize health care with Hillary Clinton designing the system.  In secret.  Which didn’t go over well with the people.  They didn’t trust her or what she was going to do to their quality health care.  And rejected her and her health care plans within a year.  Before anything was ever passed into law.

The Obama administration was able to do what the Clintons could not.  Buy off enough Congress people to pass Obamacare.  All the while during this process to nationalize health care both Clinton and Obama attacked the private system.  The greed of doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and insurance companies.  President Obama even saying perhaps Granny should take a pill to manage her pain while she dies instead of wasting money to try and save her life.  And despite this hatred towards the health care industry here’s Secretary Clinton in the Obama administration pledging aid for maternal health everywhere.  To allow them to have the same kind of expensive hospital stay Secretary Clinton enjoyed when she had her baby (see U.S., Norway pledge $150 million for maternal health by Arshad Mohammed posted 6/2/2012 on Reuters).

Recalling the 1980 birth of her daughter, Chelsea, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mused about how she would have felt had she not had a healthcare facility with skilled doctors and nurses and the equipment and expertise to handle emergencies.

Interesting.  How she wants everyone to have an expensive hospital birth just like she had.  While in perhaps the best know national health care system in the world, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), a health care system they would so love to see Obamacare evolve into, encourages women to give birth at home with a midwife.  Because child birth is not a life threatening disease and rarely requires hospitalization (see Midwives in push for more homebirths by Cathy O’Leary posted 6/2/2012 on The West Australian).

Homebirth supporters want to convince WA women and GPs that most pregnancies do not need a doctor to manage them, let alone an obstetrician.

They say WA women have among the highest rates of caesareans and medical interventions in the world and women are conditioned to see childbirth as an operation before a stay in a hotel-type hospital…

Childbirth educator Pip Wynn Owen said WA was way behind Britain where midwives handled most births and doctors took only risky cases.

“Doctors have done a good job of selling caesareans as normal and they like doing low-risk births, because that’s their bread and butter, when they should be concentrating on abnormal pregnancies,” she said.

“In WA, many women have private health insurance so they’re encouraged to choose a hotel-type hospital with their own doctor and private room…”

Private practice midwife Liza Kennedy said she was gobsmacked at the medicalisation of birth in WA when she moved from Britain five years ago. “There is a lot of sinister fear around birth perpetuated by the medical profession so women give away their power very readily,” she said. “Homebirth is made out to be odd when it’s the gold standard in terms of continuity of care and gives huge satisfaction.”

Pam Hogarth-Gray, 32, chose a homebirth for Sequoia five months ago after having her older children in hospital.

“It was amazing. I recovered in five minutes and felt like Wonder Woman,” she said. “I was glowing on a natural high and still am.

It would appear that childbirth in a hospital is more about the revenue than the birthing.  And yet the cost-conscious architects of Obamacare not only want American women to have their babies during expensive hospital stays.  They want to pay for women everywhere in the world to have their babies during expensive hospital stays. 

Giving birth isn’t a disease.  It’s painful.  And rather unpleasant.  And often is accompanied by an inadvertent bowel movement.  But it is a natural thing.  Much like breastfeeding.  Which liberals want to have mothers everywhere to do as much in public as possible instead of using high-tech formula.  But they draw the line on childbirth.  Because that is too complex not to do surrounded by machines and doctors and nurses.  Which I find amusing.  For one of my grandfathers delivered a child or two while my grandmother was sitting on the toilet at home.  Go back a couple of hundred years and all children were born at home.  Because there were no hospitals.  Which was the norm for some 200,000 years of our existence on this planet.  And here we are.  Our forefathers having successfully delivered babies at home for all those years to propagate the species.  To give us time to invent the expensive hospital stay.  After fire, farming and irrigation.  And a few other things more critical for our survival.

Perhaps the reason why Secretary Clinton wants women to have babies in hospitals is because she tends to look at pregnancy as a disease.  It would explain their aggressive policies on abortions and birth control.  To minimize the suffering from this unfortunate disease that can be brought about from having a good time.  For as those on the Left say these are women’s health issues.  And interfering with them is tantamount to resurrecting the plague.   Of course some 200,000 years of history would disagree with that.

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Debt Crises in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and now Spain may Prove too much for the Euro to Survive

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep.  And miles to go before I sleep.  And miles to go before I sleep.  Lines from a poem by Robert Frost.  For some reason this came to me as I read about the never-ending crisis that is the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.  And the Eurozone.  For the Euro is lost in those dark and lovely woods.  Woods that are so deep that it will never find its way out.  And the only kind of sleep the Euro is going to get is the kind you don’t wake up from (see Britons face £5bn bill to help out Spanish as fears grow that Madrid will have to ask IMF for €300billion bailout by Hugo Duncan And James Salmon posted 6/1/2012 on the Daily Mail).

British taxpayers could be forced to stump up another £5billion to rescue Spain as the crisis in the eurozone spirals out of control.

Fears are mounting that Madrid will have to ask for an emergency bailout of up to £300billion as it struggles to prop up its basket-case banks.

A third of that money could come from the International Monetary Fund – including around £5billion from the UK, even though Britain is not in the eurozone.

UK taxpayers have already coughed up £12.5billion to rescue debt-ridden Greece, Ireland and Portugal…

But growing doubts over how the Spanish government will finance the £15billion needed to rescue Bankia, one of its biggest lenders, have raised fears that it will follow Ireland, Greece and Portugal in requiring a bailout from Europe and the IMF.

This week US investment bank JP Morgan warned a joint rescue of Spain could cost around £300billion.

The Spanish banking system has been crippled by nearly £150billion in toxic property loans.

At the heart of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is debt.  They have way too much of it.  So much that the odds are not good that they will ever be able to repay it.  Which makes people very reluctant to loan them any more money.  It’s like loaning a friend money who already owes you a lot of money.  Do you loan him more money?  It just may help him turn his life around.  Start anew with a new job.  Earning enough money to support himself and pay you back.  That’s one possibility.  Then there’s the possibility he may just blow the money on booze, drugs and women.  You know he’s just going to spend whatever else you loan him.  And not pay any of it back.  So it would be rather foolish to loan him more money.

This is the decision facing the people who could attempt to bail out those in the Eurozone.  They’ve already loaned them a lot of money.  So these in-trouble countries can sustain the government spending their current tax revenue can’t support.  But the deal was to cut back that spending so they can live on what their tax revenue CAN support.  But there’s only one problem.  The people of these countries reject calls for them to live within their means.  And have had enough of austerity.  And that’s a big problem.  Because if they don’t live within their means they will perpetuate the sovereign debt crisis.  As they will always need to borrow more money to pay for the things that their tax revenue can’t afford.  Until the day this house of cards collapses.  And the longer it goes on the more money people will lose in bad loans to these in-trouble countries.

The central problem in this crisis are bad loans.  Caused by the easy credit policies of central banks to loan money to anyone so they can buy a house.  All this easy credit caused housing booms in countries all around the world.  And housing bubbles.  Then the bubbles burst.  Leaving countries with debt crises as toxic mortgages weakened banking systems everywhere.  And still Keynesian economists are urging central banks to repeat this reckless lending behavior again to stimulate economies.  And to bail out the Eurozone.  The problem is that the central banks have so destroyed their economies no one is borrowing money.  Or spending money.  Because no one thinks the worst has passed.  And businesses and private citizens have learned the lesson from the great debt crisis we’re going through everywhere.  Too much debt is a bad thing.  And are refusing to take on new debt.  And using what income they have to pay down existing debt.  Contrary to all Keynesian doctrine.  For they want reckless and irresponsible spending.  Because they believe only spending is good.

Politicians and central bankers said the situation in the eurozone was unsustainable and drastic action was needed to prevent the ‘disintegration’ of the single currency.

They spoke out as European leaders scrambled to stop the financial crisis in Spain spiralling out of control and infecting other countries such as Italy…

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, said the eurozone was unsustainable in its current form.

In his sharpest criticism yet of eurozone leaders’ handling of the crisis, he said the European Central Bank could not ‘fill the vacuum’ left by governments in terms of economic growth or structural reforms.

So, no, more easy credit isn’t the solution.  Countries must live within their means.  Which means adopting austerity measures.  And find ways to achieve real economic growth.  Not the kind that leads to bubbles.  Or sovereign debt crises.  And the best way to generate real economic growth is with tax cuts.  Cutting spending as needed so they spend only what their tax revenue can afford.  They must stop running deficits.  And stop borrowing money.  (Good advice for the United States as well).  As the private sector economy picks up because of a more business-friendly tax structure they will create jobs.  So all of those government workers who lost their jobs in the public sector can get new jobs in the private sector.  Whose salaries and benefits will not have to be paid for by more government borrowing.  If they adopt pro-growth policies like this the international community may still be able to help them.  And save the Euro.  But will they?  With all of that public opinion against any more austerity?  Don’t know.  Probably not. 

It’s unlikely that the Euro will ever find its way out of the woods.  For these woods are scary, dark and deep. 

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