Likely Higgs boson particle found

BBC reports Higgs boson-like particle to be discovered via Large Hadron Collider (LHC), more on news:

Higgs boson-like particle discovery claimed at LHC

The particle has been the subject of a 45-year hunt to explain how matter attains its mass.

Both of the Higgs boson-hunting experiments at the LHC see a level of certainty in their data worthy of a “discovery”.

More work will be needed to be certain that what they see is a Higgs, however.

Prof Peter Higgs, after whom the particle is named, wiped a tear from his eye as the teams finished their presentations in the Cern auditorium.

“I would like to add my congratulations to everyone involved in this achievement,” he added later.

“It’s really an incredible thing that it’s happened in my lifetime.”

I watched the video as Peter Higgs teared, perhaps a sign of relief or of vindication. I’m happy he gets to see his work validated.

Here’s a good video to explain Higgs boson:

What is Higgs boson?

Evacuated tube transport

Evacuated Tube Transport is an airless, frictionless, maglev-like form of transportation which is safer, cheaper and quieter than trains or airplanes. Six-person capsules travel in the tubes and can reach a maximum speed of 6,500 km/h, and provide 50 times more transportation per kwh. A tube can travel from New York to Beijing in two hours, and make a round-the-world trip in just six hours.

Evacuated Tube Transport could take you around the world in just 6 hours

This would be so awesome if it becomes a reality.

Auto-tuning science

Weird stuff, but auto-tune’s amazing. You don’t need to even sing now. How convenient.

Ode to the Brain! by Symphony of Science

“Ode to the Brain” is the ninth episode in the Symphony of Science music video series. Through the powerful words of scientists Carl Sagan, Robert Winston, Vilayanur Ramachandran, Jill Bolte Taylor, Bill Nye, and Oliver Sacks, it covers different aspects the brain including its evolution, neuron networks, folding, and more. The material sampled for this video comes from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk, Vilayanur Ramachandran’s TED Talk, Bill Nye’s Brain episode, BBC’s “The Human Body”, Oliver Sachs’ TED Talk, Discovery Channel’s “Human Body: Pushing the Limits”, and more.

What, actually, are figs?

I just found a new reason to dislike figs from the market. I don’t like them in the first place but they tend to come with the mixed nuts that I have as snacks. I bought the one with figs before realizing how hard to chew they are. Anyway, spoiler, figs have wasp:

Figs are not actually fruits but a mass of inverted flowers and seeds that are pollinated by a species of tiny symbiotic wasps. The male fig flower is the only place where the female wasp can lay her eggs, at the bottom of a narrow opening in the fruit that she shimmies her way through. The baby wasps mature inside the fig into males that have sharp teeth but no wings and females ready to fly. They mate, the males chew through the special fig pollen holders and drop them down to the females, chew holes in the skin of the fig to let the females out, and then die. The females, armed with the pollen, fly off in search of new male figs to lay her eggs in. In the process some of the female wasps land on female figs that don’t have the special egg receptacle but trick the female into shimmying inside. As the female wasp slides through the narrow passage in the fig her wings are ripped off (egg laying is a one-way mission) and while she is unsuccessful in laying her eggs, she successfully pollinates the female flower. The female flower then ripens into the fig that you can get at the supermarket, digesting the trapped wasp inside with specialized enzymes! (Source: ScienceBlogs)

A related video:

NATURE | The Queen of Trees | Wasps Inside the Fig | PBS

This is one part of nature that I am amazed about — that two species so different can be made so interdependent to each other. It almost seemed like perfect engineering.

Sam Harris discusses morality

Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can — and should — be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions