unbelievably cool…

A couple of fantastically cool things relating to the Large Hadron Collector:

Particle Physics t-shirt @ SplitReason.com
Particle Physics t-shirt design @ © SplitReason.com

(H/t to Wil Wheaton)

xkcd - hadron turn-on

Truly awesome…

schmoopy thoughts…

Last night, as I lie in bed next to CuteFilmNerd, the Large Hadron Collider crossed my mind and I remembered that it was going online today, probably before I woke up. With all the talk of black holes forming and the world ending, I turned over and peered at the peacefully sleeping face of CuteFilmNerd and thought to myself, “Well, I seriously doubt we’re going to be sucked into a black hole, but if we are, this is a pretty good last sight on earth.” Then I snuggled closer and fell asleep.


I’ve said many times that working at JPL is a truly fantabulous thing for me. I’ve been here for just over two years now and I still sometimes feel the need to pinch my arm and confirm, yes, it is real. It still feels like I’ve only been here a couple of months.

So yes, working here is terribly exciting for me. But it can also be sobering.

The lobby of the building in which I work has been home to a few exhibits. A scale model of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recently graced the lobby and, until this morning, a scale model of the Phoenix sat in the roped off area, gold foil glinting in fluorescent lighting. This morning the Phoenix exhibit was removed and a new one took its place: the Shuttle Columbia Safety Exhibit, which is not open to the public but has been touring the various NASA space centers.

I took a walk around the exhibit, looking at the nine pieces of the Columbia that were displayed in the case – some pieces fairly large, others on the smallish side. Taking in the remnants of that disaster, there in front of me, reminded me that, no matter how thrilled I am about my workplace, there are very real dangers in what many people in the space business do. Reading the names of those killed in the explosion, along with the victims of Apollo 1 and the Challenger and feeling the faint rise of tears in my eyes made those dangers fresh again, however briefly.

I wish I could share photos of the exhibit, but NASA has requested that we not do so, to honor the families of the Columbia crew and I will honor that request. But pictures aren’t needed to remember.

Official accounts of the exhibit: Reid Center and Johnson Center.


Well, that was a fun ride. Working on the 7th floor of a fairly narrow building, so I felt the 5.4 earthquake pretty strongly, though not enough to actually interrupt the work day. CuteFilmNerd felt it in his neck of the woods, closer to mid-Wilshire – first moderately strong earthquake he’s ever felt since moving to L.A. in 2001. And I imagine that Stan‘s office is a bit busy at the moment.

Having experienced the 1994 Northridge earthquake first hand and seen a lot of buildings I was very familiar with damaged or destroyed (my formative high school years were spent in the area and I worked near the Northridge Mall for over seven years, leaving the area less than a year before), this one didn’t seem near as bad, but it certainly served to remind folks that another one is just waiting in the wings.

Ah, the joy that is Southern California…

my oh my…

….this looks like a week for Schadenfreude Pie.

Not only has yet another anti-gay Republican legislator been caught with his hand in the “soliciting gay sex in a public restroom” cookie jar and dear ol’ Al Gonzales resigned as US Attorney General, but last week even Republican creationists on the Texas State School Board voted against including intelligent design in science classes.

Schadenfreude Pie – dark, rich and delicious…

Crossposted from SoCal Grassroots: Keeping the Left Coast Blue.

pretty, pretty physicist…

Like way too many people, I have gotten caught up in the whole LOLcat phenomenon. I tend not to create them, as my brain doesn’t wrap itself around bad grammar and excruciating mis-spellings very easily. But I find many of them cute, if not out and out hilarious.

But then…

I found LOLtheorists.

Made of complete and total fucking awesome.

I’ll be honest. I don’t know a lot of these theorists. Sometimes I’ll look at the picture and say “Huh?” Then I’ll look at the name in the tags and everything will click into place. And sometimes the names mean nothing and I have to look them up. I still love them wayyyy too much.

Then again, there are times when the theorist is just too pretty to be a theorist. Especially of the physics variety.

Who knew?