Friday, September 12, 2008


Ducks and eleven-year-old boys have this in common. They both hate to go to bed on time. Chickens are relatively easy. When they arrive in the white van in their little cardboard boxes you keep them in the henhouse for a couple of days. It registers that this is their home. When evening comes they begin to get a little spooked and look nervously to the right and the left. Then one of them wanders in and then another. Finally the final chicken realizes she's all alone and goes 'squawk' and runs in quickly.

Ducks are another matter. We've built a nice little ramp for the duck house but do the ducks go in at night - even with a plate of food inside? Do they hell! We've been chasing indignant ducks every night this week. One hopes they'll get the idea eventually.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There are worries that the new Large Hadron Collider thingy buried under the French-Swiss border will generate tiny black holes which might somehow manage to exist on their own, grow in size and suck the planet earth inside out before going on to swallow the solar system,

etc etc.

Other less worried sorts have pointed out that the sorts of particle collisions being generated by this large gizmo occur naturally when gamma rays enter our atmosphere and so that the only difference here is that these collisions will be measurable and therefore useful for understanding the conditions of the universe several seconds after the big bang.

I dunno. It's all too much for me. Too many details.

The machine was turned on yesterday and particles are now whipping around the long circumference of the machine. At some point in the next few weeks a lot of clever people will begin aiming particles at each other and getting them to collide.

It's promising to be a busy few weeks here in Penicuik. I'm not looking forward to everything which needs to be done. It would be just my luck to have the world end after my upcoming Vestry meetings and not before.

Our sister in Christ over at Get out of Jail Free has a link to the following website where you can have the fundamental question answered without getting too bogged down in the details.