All your darkmatter are belong to unparticles

Sometimes, in science, English is abused in ways that make one giggle while learning. Earlier today I read an abstract that was so fascinatingly unnatural that I had to read the article. “Once a parity is introduced in unparticle physics, under which unparticle provided in a hidden conformal sector is odd while all Standard Model particles are even, unparticle can be a suitable candidate for the cold dark matter (CDM) in the present universe through its coupling to the Standard Model Higgs doublet.” No, I didn’t initially understand it either. (My first thought was actually, “All your base are belong to us.” ) But then I read the paper, and found that it was actually very cool. A few months ago, Harvard’s Howard Georgi (who was...

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Carnival of Space

If it’s Thursday, there is a Carnival of Space somewhere. Today, it is sailing with Emily Lakdawalla on the Planetary Society Blog. Check it out here.

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Looking for Questioning (HS) Teachers

Some of the coolest moments in teaching only occur when your students realize they can safely ask anything. On random days, at random times, (during some unpredictable moment) one student will suddenly raise their hand and ask a question along the lines of “What you just said reminds me of something on TV.” They will then explain what they saw and may not have understood, and will end with, “Can you explain?” or “Can you tell us more?” or something similar as they try and build connections. These random student questions can lead the class on wild rides (and I love rollercoasters). They give me a chance to answer a lot of questions involving space, astronomy, and spacecraft in my physics classes as we stray off topic into the...

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AAVSO: Day 2 closes with Jordan Raddick

Long day. Tired day. Great ending. Jordan Raddick is currently talking about using the internet to advance science. He is addressing how we are moving into a new paradigm for doing science as our data is reaching the point of petabyte data sets. The old paradigm has an observer downloading their data, analyzing it, and doing a discrete publication with the data in a table in the back. Today, it simply takes too long to download, requires too many disks, and it isn’t feasible to publish when the researchers dataset is 20,000,000 points! He points out the following – Old Model: Feudalism “Today’s model: The peasants (grad students) bring the harvest (data) to their lords (professors). The harvest is tightly controlled by the availability of...

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AAVSO: Day 1, post dinner blogging

1 good dinner + 1 good martini + 1 calmed brain = ready to blog less panicy Dennis di Cicco is giving a talk on the history the building we are all sitting in. This is actually way more exciting than one might expect. Dennis is an editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, and S&T and the AAVSO have a very strangely interwoven history. Both orgs started at Harvard College Observatory. Both orgs had headquarters on Concord Ave (decades apart in time, but across the street from each other). They both (several decades apart) moved to the same 1 block area on what eventually grew into adjoining properties. They stayed next to each for about 20 years. Then last year, S&T was purchased by New Track Media, moved to a new office, and AAVSO bought their old HQ. (Full...

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