Saturday, July 09, 2011

For Suddenly

One of my favorite games goes something like this: A Person says Something Wildly Obscure, and then Everybody Else has to Guess What They Really Mean.

It would happen during one of those fleeting moments when a bunch of us have congregated around a focal point. It's at times like that in which I have become accustomed to expect to hear something like this:

"I Am a Wild Bird."

That could go either way. It might flash by in an instant releasing all its energy at once gaining no attraction. Or perhaps it would find a seat on the merry-go-round. (Much more about things like that here.)

Compact Muon Solenoid

Apple should be coming out with a 4G version soon, before the year-end holidays.

"Only 168 days and 12 hours until Christmas!" somebody will say as they stride by while already talking to another person on their cell. Or cells.

At work we nurses generally all carry two phones. That way if one of us is busy on the phone you can still get through to them on their other phone. Sometimes a nurse is walking down the hallway with their hands full of medications and paperwork and both of the nurse's phones ring simultaneously.

This is a common enough occurrence that it no longer attracts sympathy from others. It's part of the air.

After work Thursday night I didn't go home. Spousie had booked a couple of rooms at this lovely local time-machine, the Clarendon Hotel. One for the kid and friends, one room for us. It was a breezy night. The views from the SkyDeck were awesome and the less-intense night air allowed for some outdoor comfort. It was a nice little "staycation." After we checked out we all stayed for breakfast at their groovy little restaurant, Gallo Blanco.

The kidz wolfed down breakfast burritos and pancakes. I had crepas. Which are more-or-less circular.

Circular but somewhat smaller than the Large Hadron Collider.

"When protons arrive in the LHC they are travelling at 0.999997828 times the speed of light. Each proton goes around the 27km ring over 11,000 times a second.

A nominal proton beam in the LHC will have an energy equivalent to a person in a Subaru driving at 1,700 kph."

My spouse drives an Outback with a luggage pod on top.

Apparently we would need to build a somewhat larger particle collider in order to sufficiently expand our testing ability.

"Obviously when we talk about the utility of a particle accelerator for discovering new phenomena, the important quantity is the energy of the beam, not the physical size. But do the two scale together? Roughly, yes." This website spells it all out pretty nicely for interested people like myself who have no formal education in these matters.

"Running a trend line through the data gives us the average relationship between the two parameters, which in this case tells us:

Beam energy = 280.14 x Track length - 652.46

So if the LHC is capable of 7000 GeV and we want 10^15 times that, we're up to 7 x 10^18 GeV. (That's 7000 yotta electron-volts, for those of you keeping track.) Then we just solve the above equation for track length, and the result is roughly 2.5 x 10^16 km, or about 2600 lightyears."

That suggests design difficulties.

From the Iliad:

"For suddenly, just as the men tried to cross,
A fatal bird sign flashed before their eyes,
An eagle clutching a monstrous bloody serpent in both talons,
Still alive, still struggling - it had not lost its fight,
Writhing back to strike it fanged the chest of its captor
Right beside the throat - and agonized by the bites
The eagle flung it away to earth, dashed it down
Amidst the milling fighters, loosed a shriek
And the bird veered off along the gusting wind."

Book 12, lines 230-239

A wounded venomous snake, fangs dripping with the fresh blood of an eagle, falls from the sky and lands among Trojans already at furious battle against the wall which defends the Achaeans' ships.

Yeah, I know; as if things weren't bad enough.

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