Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Miracle and the Atom Bomb

Inspired by the line "You're what happens when two substances collide" (and by all accounts you really should have died) from "Nervous Tic Motion (Of the Head to the Left)" by Andrew Bird.

No one knew what would happen when the Large Hadron Collider was turned on. Predictions ranged from “nothing” to “the apocalypse”. Most scientists hoped to add a few more infinitesimal particles to their repertoire, but everyone admitted it was a ten billion dollar crapshoot.

The Higgs Boson revolutionized physics. And then it sat around.

It should have flashed into and out of existence like lightning, but it persevered – finding microenvironments – like a candle, or better, the sun. Or, someone proposed, a turtle.

It was biologists who finally realized what had been created. After all, what is life if not self-preservation?

No, Physics was never my strong suit - and yes, I know that the premise here is innately implausible. After all, if the Higgs Boson explains mass, and also explains life, then all mass would have life - which isn't true. But it's a drabble and, I'll be honest, I don't much care. So there.

In Palo Alto news, I not only now have an apartment, but I have furniture for said apartment! So, friends, if you visit the Bay Area at some point in September or later, I will have a sofa-bed for you to sleep on (it was not in stock; lame!). And I will likely have an air mattress much sooner. ^_^

Today started out a "I have nothing to do!" day and ended up a "Oh gosh I am so exhausted" day. I set up water, gas, and electric service and got out just about all my furniture (except for a coffee table, a desk, and stuff for outside -- which is significant when I think about it, but not essential. I might also need more bookshelves. And a ladder.). Phone/Internet is being a pain (Comcast is pricey and I don't want cable, Verizon is being obnoxious and apparently does not recognize my address -- wha?). Next Tuesday is the big day, and I am excited!

Tomorrow I make the trek up to San Francisco (I didn't before because it was especially "cold" and I was foolish and only brought shorts - silly me, it being late July and all). I'll try to find circusy goodness! And possibly other cool stuff as well. Upon second look, the time in transit by train appears to actually be 1.5 hr, not 2 hr, which is still half again as much as direct by car, but it's actually what I was doing in Chicago. So, we shall see.

Of course, the UCSF campus is (conveniently?) located about 2 minutes' walk from the circus place. I know this because to go to circus, I get off at the UCSF train stop. Hah.

That's why UCSF students take longer on average to graduate: they have more (awesome) things to distract them.

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