Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Diversion: Large Hadron Super-Collider

The past two weeks have brought out the inner geek in me for some reason, probably because of the NASA STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Telescope which I seem to have watched pretty much without coming up for air.

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?”
David Wallace, Kenyon College

Whenever I get a bit down in the dumps over what seems like the entire economy being taken over by mere "kids," I like to remind myself that I can hold my own in any conversation with such a "wet behind the ear" babe-in-arms by merely switching the conversation with "I was there when color television was invented."

If they have really piqued my ire, I don't stop there but continue with: streamline telephones, 8-track tapes, microwave cookers... etc. I can go on for... minutes. What they don't realize is that I'm just rounding my half-way point when I get to: "I saw the first man land on the moon" let alone "watched Hubble be launched."

Today I went to pick up my ATV cargo bag which I had dropped off at Kirkham's Outdoor Products in Salt Lake City to have its zipper clasp changed - a 3 minute job while I waited for the lady last year - and costing under $5. This year I got a skaggly, unconcerned old guy who claimed they were "too busy" and I had to come back two days later. The pique started while I sat looking at some trail maps and watched him sit behind the counter merely chatting with two other employees for over 30 minutes — too lazy to provide customer service.

What is Man? Man is a noisome bacillus whom Our Heavenly Father created because he was disappointed in the monkey.”
Mark Twain

So, I came back today for pickup and thank heavens the curmudgeon was NOT there; but, in his place was... a kid! He couldn't find my paperwork so he said he would "assume" it was "still at the factory" and I should come back! Absolutely stunned by the incompetence of his sentence, it took me awhile to begin calmly discussing "assumptions" (among other things) until he did, indeed, find my bag by merely getting off his butt; but, also a price tag 400% higher than last year.

I've learned that rather than loose my cool it's usually easier to merely ask to speak to the manager, and unexpectedly he seemed to welcome my suggestion. I discovered why when the manager appeared... another kid, and he looked like he could be the first kids "little brother"!

At any rate, sometimes, I guess, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I found a video put out by a "kid" who has had enough gumption to get a job as a scientist at the CERN Large Hadron Super-collider. You probably know that, after years of construction, it has just recently been finished and has just sent its first beam of particles through the ring. The video seems rather skillfully constructed and if you are going to watch it I would suggest that you select "watch in High Quality." Happy Hubble!

1 comments:

Voulkg said...

Higgs boson, the graviton, energy slipping into other dimensions, now that is good stuff!

Talks I have enjoyed:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/brian_greene_on_string_theory.html

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/patricia_burchat_leads_a_search_for_dark_energy.htm

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