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+ - Is the Higgs Boson a Piece of the Matter-Antimatter Puzzle?->

Submitted by TaleSlinger
TaleSlinger (3080869) writes "Why there's more matter than antimatter is one of the biggest questions confounding particle physicists and cosmologists, and it cuts to the heart of our own existence. In the time following the Big Bang, when the budding universe cooled enough for matter to form, most matter-antimatter particle pairs that popped into existence annihilated each other. Yet something tipped the balance in favor of matter, or we – and stars, planets, galaxies, life – would not be here.

The paper is based on a phenomenon called CP – or charge-parity – violation, the same phenomenon investigated by BaBar. CP violation means that nature treats a particle and its oppositely charged mirror-image version differently.

"Searching for CP violation at the LHC is tricky," Dolan said. "We've just started to look into the properties of the Higgs, and the experiments must be very carefully designed if we are to improve our understanding of how the Higgs behaves under different conditions.”

The theorists proposed that experimenters look for a process in which a Higgs decays into two tau particles, which are like supersized cousins of electrons, while the remainder of the energy from the original proton-proton collision sprays outward in two jets. Any mix of CP-even and CP-odd in the Higgs is revealed by the angle between the two jets.

"I wanted to add a CP violation measurement to our analysis, and what Matt, Martin and Michael proposed is the most viable avenue,” Philip Harris, a staff physicist at CERN and co-author of the paper said, adding that he's looking forward to all the data the LHC will generate when it starts up again early next year at its full design strength.

"Even with just a few months of data we can start to make real statements about the Higgs and CP violation," he said."

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Comment: Re:Wasn't there a book about this? (Score 1) 137

by Waffle Iron (#48605397) Attached to: How Birds Lost Their Teeth

The conditions species live in aren't constant. Advantages of A and/or B fluctuate over time. If an animal has A, and the environment suddenly favors B, those closer to B win. For a while some animals will have both.

However, every feature comes at an energy cost, so animals quickly let what they don't need atrophy. If in the current environment B beats out A+B minus extra energy to generate both, then they will settle at B only.

At any rate, every organism is a mixture of thousands of features, from A0 to Z99999, many of which get added and deleted all the time, so your whole argument is bogus to begin with.

Comment: Re:Wasn't there a book about this? (Score 4, Insightful) 137

by Waffle Iron (#48601685) Attached to: How Birds Lost Their Teeth

The example I use is Butterflies, which change from a crawling creature to one that flies, mid life. Incredible "random" feat if you ask me.

It's not random. The ability for adult insects to fly evolved gradually. That has nothing to do with the fact that insects go through metamorphosis, which most likely evolved independently and prior to the capability of flight

Your argument makes as much sense as saying: "I don't believe evolution because people can talk using air even though they spend 9 months sealed up in a bag of water."

+ - Neil deGrasse Tyson causes social media firestorm with tweet on aliens & hum->

Submitted by MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "Twitchy, a site that monitors interesting traffic on Twitter, took note on Sunday of a tweet by the celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson over how aliens might regard humans. He tweeted, “Aliens, seeing Humans kill over land, politics, religion, & skin color, would surely ask, ‘What the f*%k is wrong with you?’” As far as can be determined, Tyson is not personally in contact with aliens and does not have any basis to suggest that they are appalled at human behavior or that they used salty language. However, his views on morally superior aliens looking down on humans seem to track with those of C.S. Lewis, a Christian apologist."
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+ - Stem Cell Treatment to Regrow Torn Meniscus 'Very, Very Close'->

Submitted by LesterMoore
LesterMoore (1842172) writes "In a new study, researchers put 3D model meniscus in sheep's knees. (Their joints are a lot like humans'.) The model attracted stem cells to it and supplied growth factors and eventually biodegraded. New working menisci grew and the sheep regained full mobility. Orthopedists say similar treatments for humans are "very, very close," according to one article."
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Comment: Re:x64 only (Score 1) 115

by slaker (#48573399) Attached to: FreeNAS 9.3 Released

Intel was still making some Atom CPUs with only 32 bit support as recently as IIRC 2012. An Atom is generally a pretty good choice for a FreeNAS box, since just about the only thing that will even touch multithreaded operation is the NFS server (or Plex, if you've hacked that in).

+ - Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Maria Konnikova writes in The New Yorker that mondegreens are funny but they also give us insight into the underlying nature of linguistic processing, how our minds make meaning out of sound, and how in fractions of seconds, we translate a boundless blur of sound into sense. One of the reasons we often mishear song lyrics is that there’s a lot of noise to get through, and we usually can’t see the musicians’ faces. Other times, the misperceptions come from the nature of the speech itself, for example when someone speaks in an unfamiliar accent or when the usual structure of stresses and inflections changes, as it does in a poem or a song. Another common cause of mondegreens is the oronym: word strings in which the sounds can be logically divided multiple ways. One version that Steven Pinker describes goes like this: Eugene O’Neill won a Pullet Surprise. The string of phonetic sounds can be plausibly broken up in multiple ways—and if you’re not familiar with the requisite proper noun, you may find yourself making an error.

Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. “There’s a bathroom on the right” standing in for “there’s a bad moon on the rise” is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives.

Finally along with knowledge, we’re governed by familiarity: we are more likely to select a word or phrase that we’re familiar with, a phenomenon known as Zipf’s law. One of the reasons that “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” substituted for Jimi Hendrix’s “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” remains one of the most widely reported mondegreens of all time can be explained in part by frequency. It’s much more common to hear of people kissing guys than skies."

+ - New Apps Mark the Digital Return of the Rhythm Method

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Count natural family planning among the ways young people are hearkening back to the practices of their grandparents as Olga Khazan reports at The Atlantic that new apps are letting women know if they can have sex with their partners without a condom or a contraceptive pill using calendar-based contraception. The underlying motive is not so much trendiness as it is a dissatisfaction with the Pill, which is still the most common form of birth control for women. In a recent CDC study of 12,000 American women, 63 percent of women who stopped using the Pill did so due to its side effects (PDF). And while as of 2010, only about 22 percent of women used “periodic abstinence," an umbrella term that includes counting days, measuring temperature, and tracking cervical mucus to predict fertility, their ranks may grow as new apps and other technologies make it easier to manage the historically error-prone task of measuring, recording, and analyzing one’s cycle in order to stay baby-free.

CycleBeads, for example, is an iPhone app that allows women to track fertility based on the Standard Days Method, a system developed by Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health in which specific days of each woman’s cycle are considered infertile. While the method is not as effective for women who have cycles outside of the 26-32 day range, Leslie Heyer says that its success rate is about 95 percent for “perfect use” and 88 percent for “typical use,” which would mean it beats condoms and falls just short of the Pill. “At first [my husband and I] were worried,” says Kate, a woman who began using CycleBeads nearly three years ago after experiencing weight gain and moodiness on the Pill, “but then we got used to it and have grown to trust it. I honestly can't imagine ever going back on the Pill.”"

Comment: eh I don't know (Score 1) 186

by nomadic (#48563743) Attached to: NetHack: Still One of the Greatest Games Ever Written
I don't know about NetHack. I started with Hack back in the late 80's, and have played that then NetHack off and on since, usually picking it up for a day to a few weeks then losing interest. Never finished the game. I'd usually play until I got a guy down pretty far with a great kit, then when he inevitably died from something stupid, I'd be annoyed and lose interest again.

It's a good game, maybe even a great game, but it's not a perfect game and it's not the best game ever. Too much of it is just not fun. The major design flaws in my mind:

* Once you hit the labyrinths and have to deal with the wizard following you around, it just becomes a grind. A little bit of a grind in order to achieve something afterwards is fine but when a game becomes work then that is not.
* It doesn't give you a fair way to figure out what to do. A lot of the actions required to finish the game are neither hinted at nor intuitive.
* It's too repetitive. It doesn't exercise my mind much; you just do the same things again and again.
* It's too time-consuming, and frequently unnecessarily so (which goes back to the repetitive point).


Anyway, just my thoughts.

The idle man does not know what it is to enjoy rest.

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