Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Showing posts with label Large Hadron Collider. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Large Hadron Collider. Show all posts

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Laugh of the Day: CERN Portals

In June 2016, a vivid electrical storm over Geneva convinced conspiracy theorists and tabloids that CERN was opening portals in reality. Snopes debunked the claim. Image Source: Christophe Suarez / The Sun.

The American spoof magazine, The Onion, issued the following joke report in April 2017 to make fun of the latest work at CERN:
"GENEVA—Expressing deep regret over the catastrophic incident that occurred within the Large Hadron Collider, officials from the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN, held a press conference Monday to apologize for the destruction of five parallel universes in a recent experiment. 'We are sorry to report that in conducting research involving high-powered proton-proton collisions, we inadvertently caused the implosion of five universes nearly identical to our own,' said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti, adding that billions of people worldwide might have experienced momentary vertigo around 9:45 a.m. as a result of several of their alternate identities being wiped from existence. 'I’d like to emphasize that there is no need to worry, as we were able to contain the damage before our own time stream disintegrated into oblivion like the others. Furthermore, in order to perform an investigation, the LHC will be shut down for the remainder of the afternoon.' At press time, a team of CERN researchers in a parallel universe was preparing to perform the exact same experiment."
In fact, the joke is closer to reality than one might expect. Since late 2015, CERN has powered up the Large Hadron Collider to its highest levels ever to explore other dimensions by creating microscopic black holes, as reported on their Website:
In our everyday lives, we experience three spatial dimensions, and a fourth dimension of time. How could there be more? Einstein’s general theory of relativity tells us that space can expand, contract, and bend. Now if one dimension were to contract to a size smaller than an atom, it would be hidden from our view. But if we could look on a small enough scale, that hidden dimension might become visible again. Imagine a person walking on a tightrope. She can only move backward and forward; but not left and right, nor up and down, so she only sees one dimension. Ants living on a much smaller scale could move around the cable, in what would appear like an extra dimension to the tightrope-walker.

How could we test for extra dimensions? One option would be to find evidence of particles that can exist only if extra dimensions are real. Theories that suggest extra dimensions predict that, in the same way as atoms have a low-energy ground state and excited high-energy states, there would be heavier versions of standard particles in other dimensions. ...

Another way of revealing extra dimensions would be through the production of 'microscopic black holes'. What exactly we would detect would depend on the number of extra dimensions, the mass of the black hole, the size of the dimensions and the energy at which the black hole occurs. If micro black holes do appear in the collisions created by the LHC, they would disintegrate rapidly ... . They would decay into Standard Model or supersymmetric particles, creating events containing an exceptional number of tracks in our detectors, which we would easily spot. Finding more on any of these subjects would open the door to yet unknown possibilities."

Monday, October 29, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The CERN Tarot Deck and The Cybernetic Seance

The Knight of Swords in the CERN tarot deck connects early computers and the founding of IBM (originally established in Poland) to the Holocaust. Image Source: Hexen 2.0. Click to enlarge all images.

Even if you only follow the mainstream, you don't have to go very far before you come across horrors which are worse than anything found in the ancient stories. Not even Salome could ask for what passes for statecraft these days.

There are misattributed photos now circulating online of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 and came out in chopped-up pieces. The photos, posted on disreputable sites, include a skinned head, with the face spread on the floor in front of the meaty skull. Warning: the linked material is gory and linking does not imply my endorsement of values expressed in linked material.

These scenes immediately reminded me of Clive Barker's Hellraiser; Barker's horror fiction describes demons walking the earth and entering it by way of certain portals. His  famous Books of Blood from the mid-1980s opened as follows:
"The dead have highways.

They run, unerring lines of ghost-trains, of dream-carriages, across the wasteland behind our lives, bearing an endless traffic of departed souls. Their thrum and throb can be heard in the broken places in the world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity. Their freight, the wandering dead, can be glimpsed when the heart is close to bursting, and sights that should be hidden come plainly into view.

They have sign-posts, these highways, and bridges and lay-bys. They have turnpikes and intersections.

It is at these intersections, where the crowds of dead mingle and cross, that this forbidden highway is most likely to spill through into our world. The traffic is heavy at the cross-roads, and the voices of the dead are at their most shrill. Here the barriers that separate one reality from the next are worn thin with the passage of innumerable feet." ("The Book of Blood" in Clive Barker's Books of Blood, vol. 1 (London: Sphere Books, 1985), p. 1.)
It is almost as though the Khashoggi case created one of those broken places in the world, a rent in the fabric of reality between the worlds of the living and the dead, created by an act of cruelty. France 24 denied the authenticity of the Khashoggi photos; its reporters found that the photos hailed from Mexico and Egypt in 2017:
"The two photos that show the arms and the legs date back to August 2017, and were taken in Giza, Egypt. These body parts belonged to a man described as 'elderly' in the Egyptian press, who report that his body parts were found scattered between two different parts of town.

The photo showing the skull, the scalped face, the pair of eyes and the penis had already been published online back in July 2017. According to a blog specialised in Mexican drug trafficking-related crime, these body parts belonged to a police commander in Tecoman, Mexico, who was killed by a cartel."
Nevertheless, the photos are real, even if they are not part of the Khashoggi story, and the latter is bad enough without misattributed photo evidence. All of it confirms that something has gone wrong behind the façade of normal authority and current affairs.

More clues of the state of affairs come from CERN, the autonomous quantum physics research organization. It turns out that CERN has an artist's residency. This year, the artist in residence, Suzanne Treister, created a CERN tarot deck. Out of all the things Treister could have developed to describe CERN's attempt to crack the building blocks of matter, she chose magic (Hat tip: Dark Journalist; see his dedicated video on this tarot deck, here). All tarot images are © S. Treister and found here.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: CERN is Wonderland

ALICE project at CERN: "(A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a heavy-ion detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) ring." Image Source: The Royal Society.

Today's post reveals how online researchers can take two terrifying ideas and combine them to create a new, counter-factual alt-history that is more terrifying because it seems more true, when it is actually less true.

Magic and Science, A Post-Truth Horror Mash-Up

These two frightening rumours are:

Theory 1: Evil Science
Those developing technology mean to enslave us with mind-bending and reality-altering devices that will get out of control.

Theory 2: Evil Magic
The CIA's historically-documented MKUltra program is a still-operational global scheme for brainwashing and controlling select individuals. The program's Nazi roots lead to murky accounts of ritualistic cults, black magic mayhem and murder, Satanic ritual abuse (SRA updates the ritual murder myth), prostitution and child torture. The hypothesis runs that MKUltra's malevolent techniques are now being applied wholesale via entertainment and news media to mainstream culture. A typical testimony in this genre is here.

Theory 1 seems more credible and tamer in terms of content than Theory 2. It isn't.

Theory 1: TLDR
  • The double slit experiment proved that an observer transforms an object by observing it. Scientists declare this occurs only on the quantum level.
  • Terrifying online theory: this leads to the question of whether any serious research projects have set out to understand and control that process on a large scale, thus potentially gaining the ability to shape general reality and change history at will.
  • To do this beyond the quantum level (if that is possible), researchers would have to control masses of observers in the first place; they would have to learn how to control human perception generally; and they would then have to begin to conduct experiments on that energetic field.
  • There is a hypothesis on the Internet that there may be a mathematical formula which defines how human perception affects reality. That is, this is a mathematical formula for the physics of human consciousness as it interacts with, and impresses itself upon, the material world.
  • A further hypothesis considers that the means to control human perception was already known in some cryptic way in occult or magical practices, but that means was not scientifically understood or instrumentalized in a reliable, industrial way. Thus far, the bending of space-time has supposedly been rooted in organic manifestations generated by highly-intuitive, spiritually-gifted, and esoterically-trained individuals. Some of these occult secrets have been revealed publicly through the arts.
  • Or they have been revealed through politics. Another fringe theory maintains that the murderous politics of Nazi Germany was an occult experiment in altering mass perception, thereby forcing reality and history to change, with genocidal consequences.
  • Yet another fringe theory asserts that after the fall of Nazi Germany, the Nazis' research into mass mind control was transferred to, and continued in, the USA and the UK at Project MKUltra and the Tavistock Institute, respectively.
  • Conspiracy theorists think all that work is now bearing terrible fruit and that CERN is the big scientific experiment dedicated to orchestrating human perception, thereby building a tool that will create new realities through the manipulation of mass consciousness.
  • One alt-researcher, Daniel Liszt, thinks that the map for CERN's research was originally presented in mathematical formulas embedded in the Alice in Wonderland books by British author, Lewis Carroll. The Annotated Alice reveals how Carroll did indeed insert mathematical formulas into his fiction.
  • The assumed CERN-Wonderland connection was fostered by the fact that CERN actually has a heavy ion detector called ALICE.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2016: Disasters, Miracles and the Mandela Effect

The wildest so-called 'whistle-blower' of 2016 is the 4chan boards 'CERN scientist,' who insisted the Mandela effect was real on 21 August 2016. (Click to enlarge.) Image Source.

In 2015, astrologer Liz Greene summarized the spirit of our times (her extended comment on the subject is here): 
"The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once wrote that nothing is certain except change. In the last two decades we have been forced to acknowledge this ancient truth, for many of our time-honoured and reliable religious, economic and social structures and definitions of reality have undergone major upheavals. Because human beings instinctively fear change, we imagine global disasters as we move into the future, or global redemption through the miracles of technology or some extraordinary new spiritual or political revolution. We are filled with both anxiety and hope. Is this really a time of great opportunity, spiritually and materially? Or does it seem so merely because we believe it to be so?"
In the spirit of understanding the power of perception over rationality and belief, I sometimes cover strange material on this blog. I discuss this material with reservations, and save the weirdest stories for the Hallowe'en countdown.

This summer, a deranged rumour on the Internet combined disasters with miracles. It is called the 'Mandela effect,' a meme which asserts that "large groups of people have alternate memories about past events." The effect is likely a jarring dyslexia of shared memory in the era of kinetic information. The Mandela effect is the creepiest meme I have ever encountered (even creepier than this one). It made me think of the line from David Lynch's 1997 neo-noir horror film, Lost Highway: "I like to remember things my own way. ... How I remember them. Not necessarily the way they happened."

The Mandela effect resembles Lynch's plot structures, especially in Mulholland Drive (2001) and Inland Empire (2006), where characters and incidents repeat, transform, and overlap in new contexts. In Lynch's most recent work, the characters share a basic story. This is the 'highway' of everyday experience, the type of historical story we all know, expect and recognize. It follows a linear chronology. Radical variations in this kind of story are almost always rationally comprehensible. They may involve one character missing a critical piece of information; or big differences in opinion or perspective between characters; or a character's tragic flaw forcing him to act in a way he should not. A larger fate, god, or mystery can play a role in these stories, but the linear highway of the narrative remains predominant, even if the characters take an off-ramp.

From the Lost Highway soundtrack. I'm Deranged. LP: Outside (25 September 1995) © David Bowie/Brian Eno/RCA. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

But in the Lynchian universe, that main highway chronology is overlaid with other narratives which follow the separate stories of symbols (or archetypes), of the individual subconscious (possibly the soul), and of a larger, collective unconscious (perhaps the group soul). Those other, eerie narratives are non-linear and have different shapes. In Lost Highway, the plot relating to death symbols was constructed like a Möbius strip. Some of those unconventional narratives may have no shape at all and may be quantum, popping in and out of the linear narrative of conventional sanity, and co-existing in many times and realities. This allows Lynch's characters to disappear and reappear, sometimes with new identities, for no apparent linear reason. It is easy to dismiss these films as crazy, but Lynch's aim seems rather to tell the complete story of reality. The characters' behaviour and the events in these films would only make sense if you could map all the different narratives at play, and understand how they were interacting.

The Mandela effect also reminds me of Dark City (1998); the time travel and tangent universe of Donnie Darko (2001); and the Matrix films (1999-2003). In these movies, anomalies are explained as the products of manipulation by higher, outside actors. This is all fine, if you are a film critic or a post-Postmodern novelist. The only problem is, believers think the Mandela effect is real.

Clip from Lost Highway (1997) © October Films. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Clip from Dark City (1998) © New Line Cinema. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Clip from The Matrix (1999) © Warner/Roadshow Entertainment. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Inland Empire (2006) official trailer. Video Source: Youtube.

As to the source of the Mandela effect, one woman found discussions on the effect as far back as 2005. But the effect was defined by a Wiccan paranormal researcher and blogger named Fiona Broome, during a conversation at the 2010 comic book convention DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The conversation involved a collective belief that Nelson Mandela had died in prison on 23 July 1991, and then reappeared alive and well, and became President of South Africa and died in 2013. This led to Broome's conviction that people were dividing between those who remembered alternate histories - and those who did not.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) contains one example of the supposed Mandela effect. The film is © Warner, reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: Goodreads

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2016: Swiss Gates to the Underworld

Gotthard Base Tunnel opening celebration (1 June 2016). Image Source: Daily Mail.

This year, concerns about hoax rituals shifted to Switzerland, where the Gotthard Base Tunnel was completed after 17 years of work and a cost of £8.4 billion. It is the longest and deepest traffic tunnel in the world, the first of its kind through the Alps. The opening ceremony seemed to be business as usual, in the style of the Olympics and similar global events. But after professional dancers stripped off their construction coveralls and began dancing semi-naked around a bellowing goat god, conspiracy theorists, and even the mainstream press, wondered about the themes depicted. Artistic commentators dismissed conspiracy theorists as misreading this creative homage to Swiss Alpine culture - bloated angels, sacrificial lambs, scarab beetles and all.

Scenes and images associated with the Gotthard Tunnel. The tunnel opens to public use in December 2016. Images Source: Daily Mail.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Higgs Boson's Age of New Gods

Image Source: Spaceports.

Freedom. Today, one of the world's most powerful nations celebrates freedom and independence. It is no coincidence that the scientists at CERN in Switzerland chose today to announce the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, the so-called 'God particle,' in the Large Hadron Collider. The press conference (here and here) started live at 2 a.m EST.

In the United States, Fermilab's Tevatron collider was closed on 30 September 2011, after scant funding from the Obama administration. This is ironic, since the Tevatron lies outside Chicago. Although the Tevatron's discoveries contributed greatly to the understanding of particle physics, credit for finding the final part of the Standard Model goes to Europe. In the strain of competition, Tevatron's scientists announced more of their final results on 2 July 2012 (see reports here and here). They did not find the Higgs boson particle, but they got closer to it. American physicists will rejoice at this discovery in the name of their science. But in the name of their country, this is a disappointment for big American physics. It is therefore all the more ironic that CERN is announcing findings on 4 July. You can see popularly-renowned American physicist Brian Greene discuss the importance of this discovery and the post-Higgs world here (Hat tip: Spaceports).

Image Source: Wired.

For years, the Higgs particle has been a maddening hypothesis essential to proving the Standard Model. Today's experimental results placed the Higgs boson right on the line between the theoretical and the real. You can see a video of a 2011 CERN ATLAS proton collision here; ATLAS is one of two teams at CERN which have searched for independent confirmation of the Higgs particle. The other is CMS.

In the past week, the elusive particle's experimental confirmation was surrounded by bloggingrumours and leaks. BBC comments on how huge this discovery is:
A confirmation would be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century; the hunt for the Higgs has been compared by some physicists to the Apollo programme that reached the Moon in the 1960s.
Perhaps today's announcement is bigger than the moon landing. The Higgs particle delves into the fascinating mystery of the Big Bang. The particle emerged out of the imagination and mathematics, has entered confirmed reality, and now invites more abstractions. The discovery paves the way for another hypothesis, in effect opens the Pandora's Box of Supersymmetry (see here).

The particle accelerator at CERN. Image Source: Daily Mail.

And if the wildest promises of that Pandora's Box are true, this particle will open doors to new human pathways to understanding - a freedom and independence, if you will, from ignorance about the universe. The Standard Model might be resolved using Supersymmetry to conclude a Theory of Everything, a theory which eluded Albert Einstein.

Supersymmetry gives every last element of reality - from the tiniest sub-particle to the universe itself - a shadowy twin, a Doppelgänger. If the Higgs particle's discovery one day confirms this incredible hypothesis, it will serve as history's greatest metaphorical mirror. Supersymmetry could initiate a new era in human history, in which we can contemplate other dimensions, multiverses, and time travel as realities, not as mere speculations in science fiction.

But it just so happens that Doppelgänger and twin aspects giving way to triple worlds are extremely popular at the turn of the Millennium. In other words, scientific discoveries shape culture as much as they grow out of culture.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About the God Particle

CERN visited by English physicist Peter Higgs, who (among others) conceived of the God Particle in the 1960s. Image Source: Alan Wal/University of Edinburgh/EPA via Time.

A centre of the scientific world, CERN is a magnet for metaphors. The Swiss lab pursues the Holy Grail of modern physics, the so-called 'God Particle.' Following yesterday's CERN-related post, Tengri News just shared an AFP wire announcing that on 4 July 2012, CERN is going to present an update on the hunt for the elusive Higgs Boson particle, which may or may not confirm the Standard Model of physics.

The rumour already spread on the Internet on 20 June 2012, via a physics blog, that independent CERN experiments were reaching similar conclusions:
It started when physics blogger Peter Woit of Not Even Wrong posted a short item:

Reliable rumors couldn’t wait, and they indicate that the experiments are seeing much the same thing as last year in this year’s new data: strong hints of a Higgs around 125 GeV. The main channel investigated is the gamma-gamma channel where they are each seeing about a 4 sigma signal.

Translation: Both the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have detected signals that could very well be the Higgs boson in their latest data, right in the range where the LHC announced preliminary results last December.

Back then, ATLAS reported a 3.5 sigma signal, while CMS reported a 2.6 sigma signal.

This is not sufficient to warrant a declaration of discovery; you need a five-sigma signal or higher for that. But it was certainly a tantalizing hint. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How the Atomic Age Gave Birth to the Digital Age

"A brass plaque commemorates the offices and hallway where the World Wide Web was invented at CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland."

More people probably know who invented the printing press than who invented the World Wide Web. And yet the Web has reshaped our world as much as movable type did in its time. This must be a failure of today's attitudes: in another era, every adult and school child would automatically know the name of Sir Timothy Berners-Lee as well as they know the name of Johannes Gutenberg or of Alexander Graham Bell. It is ironic that the origins of the Information Age are not popularly discussed outside IT circles. Considering the incredible impact the Internet and Web have had on global society - over 2 billion people, one third of the world's population use them every day - the names of their inventors are not celebrated. They are not household words.

Why aren't they household words? This is a disturbing aspect of the daily data flood. We don't pay enough attention to the data that matter. We give too much credit to random information that floats by without double-checking it. Heard a conspiracy theory? Or an urban myth? Is everyone suddenly using a new word? Confronted with a new Internet meme? Don't know what a meme is? Or who invented it - or how the term was applied to Internet culture? Don't know that a Web designer who transformed the way Internet memes are communicated just died? This designer helped shift the Web from text-based to visual- and video-based transmissions; he helped establish the Web's interactive and multimedia resources. The more we know, the more we need to know how, why, where and who. Instead of skimming the surface, we need to get to the bottom of the things we take for granted, or accept at face value.

The invention of the Internet (a global system of interconnected computer networks) predates the World Wide Web (an Internet-based resource and service). The Internet had roots in the 1950s, and breakthroughs in the early-to-mid 1970s, mainly in the United States. Two members of the Silent Generation, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, are credited with being the fathers of the Internet in 1973, although several other people worked in this period on related breakthroughs; they are known as Internet pioneers. See my post on the larger historical context of the invention of the Internet, here.

Few people are aware that the World Wide Web was invented at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider, the Mecca of particle physics. This occurred largely because of the demands of that field: there was a need to have physicists globally connected to one another, so that they could share data quickly when they were divided by distance or did not have common computers. Tim Berners-Lee, an English computer scientist and Baby Boomer, had already devised the concept of hypertext at CERN in 1980. Then in March 1989, also at CERN, he established the concept of the Web and made it work, by marrying hypertext to the Internet. His boss at CERN called the Information Management proposal, "vague but exciting."

Berners-Lee's distributed hypertext system (March 1989); his boss's note: "Vague but exciting."

One of National Geographic's writers, Andrew Evans, has a talent for tracking down the nitty gritty details beneath the information we take for granted. Everyone knows about the Mayan 2012 prediction, but earlier this year, Evans traveled to Mexico to take us right to the actual stone tablet with the famous end-of-the-world prediction on it (see my posts on his Mayan 2012 trip, with links back to his original articles, herehere and here).

Now Evans is traveling through Switzerland, and has gotten to the heart of the Web's history. He just visited CERN, but the Large Hadron Collider was not his main focus. He wanted to find the origin of the great invention that was the casual by-product of quantum physics research: the Web.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beyond Googolplex Years, the End of Time

According to physicist Stephen Hawking, even Black Holes die. Image Source: Message to Eagle.

Space.com has posted a set of five short videos which discuss the meaning of time from the perspective of humans, our planet and the cosmos. The videos emphasize that time is no abstract. It is above all a natural process, which embodies the nexus between our minds and the environment. This is something I have discussed in a previous post, here. Beyond that, time is the measure of all life interacting with the environment; and finally, it is the very rhythm of the universe.

Time is an interconnected metric, whose elements of non-life and life are indistinguishable. Everything dies, the video promises, including things in the universe that are not alive. You cannot have life without death. But can you have death without life? Yes, you can. We live in the stellar era, a time defined by the power of stars. But all stars die. According to Stephen Hawking, even Black Holes die, radiating energy until they disappear. And what will happen when they do? Finally, the universe will die - unless there are dimensions beyond the ones with which we are familiar, a world beyond perception and beyond death:
Based on Hawking's theory, the last Black Holes will disappear when the cosmic clock strikes 10 to the 100th years from now. That's a number known as a Googol. That's the end of our universe, and yet it's still far short of forever. What will happen, say, in 10 to the Googol? A Googolplex years? Well, if you wrote all those numbers out, in tiny one point font, it would stretch beyond the diameter of the observable universe. Will the great Arrow of Time ever come to rest? Or, does that Arrow fly a curved path, destined to cycle back again and again, as whole new universes come into being in a way similar to our own. The numbers that describe the time horizons of our universe are incomprehensible. Yet they may well be relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. 
See the video one on human time (here); video two on Earth time (here); video three on cosmic time (here); video four (here); and see the fifth video in the series below the jump.

Monday, May 21, 2012

History of Forbidden Colours

Click on the image to enlarge. Cover one segment, and stare intently at the division within the red-green or the blue-yellow segment until the boundary between the two colours disappears. Image Source: Life's Little Mysteries.

I have some posts pointing to online histories of different colours (see here for Haint Blue, and here for Red). Life's Little Mysteries has recently discussed the history of two colours outside the range of human vision. In the 1983, Hewitt Crane and Thomas Piantanida published a paper in Science, entitled, "On Seeing Reddish Green and Yellowish Blue."  They argued that an optical illusion allows us to perceive colours that exist beyond the physical capabilities of our retinas (Hat tip: Free Will Astrology).

The two colours are red-green (not a brown mixture, but a colour that is both red and green at the same time) and yellow-blue (again, a colour that is both yellow and blue simultaneously). These colours do not have names because they are not usually perceived. Having successfully seen the red-green colour in the chart above, the word I would use to describe it is 'Apple.' The blue-yellow was more difficult, but I caught sight of something I would call, a 'Sunlit Sky.'

Chromoscape 116-Yellow Blue Sky © by Beki Borman.

Shutterstock Stock Photo, Yellow Meadow under a Blue Sky with Clouds © Andrey Tiyk.

Seeing these colours is somewhat analagous to one focus of this blog, namely, how the invisible intangibilities of virtual reality are brought to bear on real life. By means of a simple illusion, one's mind allows one to see what one normally cannot physically see. We do something beyond ourselves; it is a little act, which pushes back the boundaries of perception and ability. The photos above show approximations of these colours, and let us know that they do indeed exist. But until this test was devised, their true tones existed outside our ken.

The results of this experiment reflect a 'third-eye' problem common with many Millennial ideas, mysteries and riddles, especially in the west. At the turn of the Millennium, there are all sorts of attempts, conscious or not, to overcome Cartesian dualism. Whether through technical ghost-hunting, or through particle collider searches for the God Particle or Dark Matter there is a strange Millennial literal-mindedness to these experiments. While the Postmodernism of the 20th century assumed that the third configuration was undefinable and unattainable, Millennial Post-Postmodernism adamantly and yet casually insists that we can and will get there. Life's Little Mysteries:
[E]ven though th[e]se colors exist, you've probably never seen them. Red-green and yellow-blue are the so-called "forbidden colors." Composed of pairs of hues whose light frequencies automatically cancel each other out in the human eye, they're supposed to be impossible to see simultaneously.

The limitation results from the way we perceive color in the first place. Cells in the retina called "opponent neurons" fire when stimulated by incoming red light, and this flurry of activity tells the brain we're looking at something red. Those same opponent neurons are inhibited by green light, and the absence of activity tells the brain we're seeing green. Similarly, yellow light excites another set of opponent neurons, but blue light damps them. While most colors induce a mixture of effects in both sets of neurons, which our brains can decode to identify the component parts, red light exactly cancels the effect of green light (and yellow exactly cancels blue), so we can never perceive those colors coming from the same place. ...  
The color revolution started in 1983, when a startling paper by Hewitt Crane, a leading visual scientist, and his colleague Thomas Piantanida appeared in the journal Science. Titled "On Seeing Reddish Green and Yellowish Blue," it argued that forbidden colors can be perceived. The researchers had created images in which red and green stripes (and, in separate images, blue and yellow stripes) ran adjacent to each other. They showed the images to dozens of volunteers, using an eye tracker to hold the images fixed relative to the viewers' eyes. This ensured that light from each color stripe always entered the same retinal cells; for example, some cells always received yellow light, while other cells simultaneously received only blue light. ...  
The observers of this unusual visual stimulus reported seeing the borders between the stripes gradually disappear, and the colors seem to flood into each other. Amazingly, the image seemed to override their eyes' opponency mechanism, and they said they perceived colors they'd never seen before.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nuclear Culture 11: Why Cold Fusion Came to CERN

Cold fusion - holding the sun in the palm of your hand. Image Source: Discovery News.

On May 9, American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discussed Fukushima on a popular Californian radio program and claimed that the uranium core of Reactor #2 had completely liquefied while promoting his book, The Physics of the Future. The book predicts an incredible future, filled with remarkable technological gadgets. But Kaku's anticipated Singularity will not happen if we don't solve our energy crisis.

Certainly, public concern about nuclear power plants is intense. But why is a string field theorist talking in the popular media about the downfall of nuclear power? From the way Kaku approached the subject, including his comments on the San Onofre plant in California, it almost sounded as though he implied that that downfall is now an inevitable precondition for the exponential acceleration of tech and culture.

String theory attempts to reconcile General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Does Kaku's statement about Fukushima hint that quantum physicists are now reappraising 20th century nuclear physics and engineering as far as our energy problems are concerned?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Particle Collider Real Estate

Image Source: Ghost Hunting Theories.

Here is a loss the US government is not discussing as the Great Recession drags on, amid tedious political finger-pointing about how to invest properly in the economy. At Ghost Hunting Theories, Autumnforest recently reported on an unused Particle Collider that is up for sale for $6.5 million in Waxahachie, Texas. She writes: "Do you want 135 acres of Texas real estate complete with a 20-year-old facility built with the future hope of being a particle accelerator but never got completed? There are 8 buildings and 14 miles of underground tunnels. How much did your government spend on this debacle? A cool $2 billion." Before the recession, the facility was appraised as having a saleable value of $20 million, but the real estate market has hit it hard. (More reports: here, here and here.)

Here's the Real Estate announcement from Newmark Knight Frank, Global Real Estate Advisors:
SUPERCONDUCTING SUPER COLLIDER Located about 30 miles south of Dallas, Texas, the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) is a scientific complex that was once a profoundly expensive dream of the U.S. Department of Energy in the late 1980's to house the world's largest and highest energy particle accelerator and its supporting facilities. Plans for the SSC included a proposed 54 miles of underground tunnels that would extend and eventually encircle the town of Waxahachie, Texas and also comprise approximately 213,000 square feet in supporting facilities, buildings and infrastructure improvements. Its approximate 135 acre site located west of Waxahachie was to be totally self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Construction of the multi-billion project began in 1991, but was subsequently halted in October 1993 due to spiraling estimated costs to complete (more than doubling to over $8 billion) and U.S. budget concerns. At the time of the project's cancellation, approximately $800 million had been spent to improve the site, complete the supporting facilities, and finish approximately 14 miles of the proposed tunnels. SSC is now for sale on an "as-is, where-is" basis. Hunt Ventures, advisor for the ownership entity, will be responsive to all credible offers. Offers without any or only minimal contingencies will receive strong consideration.
Wired  reported on this facility in 2009.  In the 1980s, the Texas site was conceived to house the biggest particle accelerator in the world. Congress yanked the funding in 1993, ensuring that the world's biggest particle collider - and the future of scientific research in this field, with its vast potential for cheap energy sources as well as an array of commercial and defense applications - would end up in Europe at CERN. If there is one area of science that could change everything in our future, and is the basis of the whole Tech Revolution through which we are currently living, it is particle physics. There is a short history of particle accelerators, once called 'atom smashers,' here at Wiki.

This is a classic example of politicians viewing scientific matters through ideological lenses, and mucking up long term projects that they don't understand. Wired has another related report here, entitled the 'Last Days of Big American Physics.'  In February 2011, the American government denied funding to the Fermilab accelerator near Chicago, which, despite the existence of smaller US colliders that do different things, undermines US competitiveness in this field; Fermilab closed its Tevatron collider permanently in September 2011.  As with NASA's ending the Space Shuttle program due to government cuts, there has been a serious crisis in American confidence with regard to the government's footing the huge bills for global-level scientific advances. 

But the alternative - Big Business going it alone - is not so great, either. The problem remains that private companies cannot fund this level of research by themselves because it is so expensive.  And if private companies grow enough to be able to do so, we will face corporate conglomerates of the kind that were featured in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy: business entities that are as powerful, or much, much more powerful, than nation-states or even groups of nation-states. It's worth contemplating that this alternative of unfettered corporations would likely spell the end of modern civic freedoms and governmental democracy in technologically advanced societies; as anyone who has read an employer's regulations manual knows, the internal legal principles that determine corporate governance and day-to-day management have few pretensions about being democratic.

Then there is the state-industrial mix. Is the current model of government-industrial cooperation, which ensures these endeavours, all that great?  Not really.  There is a sticky, predictably nasty politicized debate around Big Government and Big Science, with typical discussions here and hereThe more science and tech advances we see in this century, the more the power, money and authority required to drive them will likely reflect a hybrid public-private model for Public Administration and Management. In time, that new model will potentially provide a whole new legal foundation of government. This is why it is worth keeping an eye on changing currents in Public Admin theory, you know, just in case we end up electing armies of public-corporate management consultants, government contractors and business administrators instead of actual representatives and legislators. The book excerpt below concerns one of these burgeoning Millennial grey areas. It is taken from S. P. Osbourne, The New Public Governance?: Emerging Perspectives on the Theory and Practice of Public Governance (Routledge 2010). This excerpt concerns a template of public-private hybridization over big research and investment projects; that template involves public contracts with private companies in the US Military and in the famous example of the Challenger disaster.

Source: Googlebooks.

For now, as far as giant colliders are concerned, the US is playing catch-up.  There are reports from late December 2011 that a new particle accelerator is being built in Batavia, Illinois, with US government funding (see here, here and here). It is due to be completed in 2013 or 2014.

Construction of new accelerator, Illinois, 16 December 2011. Image Source: Jeff Cagle/Sun-Times Media via Napierville Sun-Times.

As for the Texas facility, there are reports that its collider tunnels have been filled with water. See more images of the Texas accelerator facility from Wired below the jump (all photos below are by Jim Merithew/Wired.com). There are pictures of the site when it still had its equipment, here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Getting Closer to the God Particle

Image Source: AllVoices.

Over the past week and a half, there have been reports that scientists at CERN have gotten even closer to finding the so-called 'God particle.' They have just found a new subatomic particle, which they have named Chib(3P). The Higgs boson particle is important because it is not expected to be made up of smaller particles; it is also the last missing piece of the Standard Model in Physics. Newsweek: "the Higgs mechanism is critical to today’s theory of the basic elements of matter. Higgs and his colleagues theorized that space itself contains a sort of charge. Elementary particles acquire mass through their interaction with the charge (you might think of this charge as a traffic camera that slows down traffic even without any actual policemen to stop the cars). Space isn’t filled with Higgs-boson particles—you need a collider such as the LHC to make those—but the Higgs boson is the telltale sign that there really is such a 'charge' in space." Mark Buchanan generally refers to the Higgs boson as a particle that could explain how the universe gets 'something' out of 'nothing.' Very roughly, it would let us confirm the transition of states in matter, from 'non-being' to 'being.' Proving this notion may in turn explain the origins of the universe. While acknowledging that this transitional concept appeals to our love of mythical and religious metaphors, Buchanan insists that the idea is soundly grounded in scientific study and hypotheses.

Image Source: AllVoices.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Inching Toward the God Particle

Image Source: Mark Evans via Cosmos.

The summer's big particle physics conferences kicked off today in Grenoble (see here).  The Large Hadron Collider results are going to be presented and there's a lot of buzz on the Web that researchers are getting close to finding the Higgs boson particle, which, if discovered, will resolve inconsistencies in theoretical physics.  But Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), feels that they won't pin the God Particle down until 2012.  Just like everything else, apparently.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Dark Matter World

One of the great mysteries of our times is Dark Matter. In various forms, it makes up most of reality, somewhere between 85 and 98 per cent, yet we know almost nothing about it, including the particles of which it is composed, because we can't see it (it neither emits nor scatters light). Scientists assume it exists because they can detect its mass and gravitational pull (see a piece at I09 on Dark Matter here and an explanation from Scientific American here). Now there are speculations that there might have been (might still be?) stars and potentially alternate, unseen galaxies, a coexistent unseen universe, composed of Dark Matter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Origins of Life

Image Source: The Outfit.

In another sign that the concepts normally explained by religion and mystical metaphors are set to be explained by science, a report circulated recently that biologists have been invited to CERN to investigate whether colliding particles provided the origins of life (Hat tip: Physics and Physicists).  The mysteries of the Large Hadron Collider deepen. From the report at Wired:
When you think of Cern, the enormous particle accelerator under Geneva, you probably think of particle physics. But the institution is also helping out biologists too.

On 20 May, a small group of biologists and chemists arrived at Cern for a workshop from the institution's experts on how to organise a disparate community of research groups all over the world into a single scientific force. While much of the research at Cern is focused on the beginnings of the Universe, the delegates also held a discussion on the beginnings of life.

Much of the research in the field is currently focused on so-called "autocatalytic sets". These are groups of molecules that undergo reactions where all molecules mutually catalyse each other -- speed up the rate at which the reaction takes place. In this way, the sets are self-sustaining. It's believed that protocells emerged from such a system, but there's a significant question mark over how likely it is for these sets to occur randomly.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scientists Trap Antimatter for Sixteen Minutes

This is an artist's image of the ALPHA trap which captured and stored antihydrogen atoms, whose trapped path is shown by the electric blue lines. Image Credit: Chukman So. Image Source: Physorg.

Amid April rumours that the God Particle, or Higgs Boson, the theoretical Holy Grail of Particle Physics, may have been found at CERN (the data is being verified and checked by thousands of scientists), there's a new report that the ALPHA project team working at the Large Hadron Collider has captured and studied Antimatter for 1,000 seconds.  From the Telegraph:
Scientists have trapped and stored antihydrogen atoms for a record 16 minutes, a stunning technical feat that promises deeper insights into the mysteries of anti-matter. ... We can keep the antihydrogen atoms trapped for 1,000 seconds. This is long enough to begin to study them -- even with the small number that we can catch so far," said Jeffrey Hangst, spokesman for the ALPHA team conducting the tests at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. In the study, published in the journal Nature Physics, researchers report trapping some 300 antiatoms. Scientists used CERN's high-energy accelerator to create the antihydrogen atoms, and then chilled them to near-zero temperatures. The aim is to use laser and microwave spectroscopy to compare the immobilised particles to their hydrogen counterparts.
(Hat tip: Phantoms and Monsters.)  One of the questions posed in these experiments is why Antimatter is so rare.  It was created when particles collided at the dawn of the universe, creating Matter and Antimatter (explained here and here). Researchers assert that there is no mirror Antimatter universe.  Therefore, in their estimation, half the cosmos is missing.  Scientists are seeking to verify that Antimatter particles would behave consistently if they were in a mirror universe with reversed charges and were moving backwards through time:
Antimatter is a puzzle because it should have been produced in equal amounts with normal matter during the Big Bang that created the universe 13.7 billion years ago. Today, however, there is no evidence of antimatter galaxies or clouds, and antimatter is seen rarely and for only short periods, for example during some types of radioactive decay before it annihilates in a collision with normal matter.

Hence the desire to measure the properties of antiatoms in order to determine whether their electromagnetic and gravitational interactions are identical to those of normal matter. One goal is to check whether antiatoms abide by CPT symmetry, as do normal atoms. CPT (charge-parity-time) symmetry means that a particle would behave the same way in a mirror universe if it had the opposite charge and moved backward in time. “Any hint of CPT symmetry breaking would require a serious rethink of our understanding of nature,” said Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University in Denmark, spokesperson for the ALPHA experiment. “But half of the universe has gone missing, so some kind of rethink is apparently on the agenda.”
For other reports, go here, here, here and here.  CERN has a public page explaining Antimatter here. The original article at Nature Physics is here.