Thursday, July 5, 2012

Electric Jello

Is there any image that is not a tattoo?
The big news this week is out of CERN. Something about finding a particle. Some kind of Higgs boson. Or rather, that the scientists at the LHC have amassed enough evidence to suggest that they may have found a particle that corresponds to the Higgs boson - since it is within the right range of mass. It doesn't mean it is the Higgs, or even that the Higgs actually exists.

The Higgs boson, after all, is a mathematical construct. It could be as real as an epicycle - a mathematical method used to explain the motions of the stars and planets under the assumption that the sun revolves around the earth. The mathematical theory behind epicycles explains the empirical data quite well. It's also completely fucking wrong.

So it could be with the Higgs. There's a lot of work to do find out exactly what it is that the CMS experiment has "found", but that won't stop the press releases.

As it happens, I'm reading a book detailing the history of quantum mechanics from QED to the Standard Model. I'll not bore you with the details, but suffice to say any detailed and accurate explanation of what the Higgs is all about would involve boring you with details.

And actually I think there is a much more important science announcement this week coming out of Stanford U. A team there has developed electric jello. It's an electrically conductive gel that can be used to print circuits using an inkjet printer. It promises cheap printable electronics, and probably a method to interface biological systems with technological hardware. "The researchers envision it being used in everything from medical probes and laboratory biological sensors to biofuel cells and high-energy density capacitors". Not to mention I just may have to get that central-nervous-system-controlled animated cuttlefish tattoo on my arm that I have threatened to get if ever the technology allows it.

Ah, well, I've never felt the need for personal adornment, and have misgivings about modifying mysefl. But I've probably a few years before this becomes a problem.

Anyway, if it turns out I've made a mistake, I can always try and change the past, right? Google's XNet will have developed time travel by then, and I can just go back and say "Don't that tattoo! It will be nothing but an embarrassment for you!  Some old fuck trying to be hip. It's pathetic. Worse, if you really are hip and old, it's just creepy! Don't do it!"

No comments:

Post a Comment