Hit-and-run III

June 19, 2006

Having kept my eyes open for “casual physics references in popular culture” since this Cosmic Variance post, I am pleased to report a sighting. The Guardian, in an article on death metal, says of the band Amputated:

Their sound is intense and animalistic. If scientists at Cern’s particle accelerator were to shoot a pig rather than protons round their 27km facility it might sound like the Bristol band’s lead singer.

Maybe this is an idea the LHC accelerator folk need to take up? With apologies to M.R., it is clear that the whole field of colliding-pig physics is in dire need of exploration. For example, the porcine distribution functions need to be evaluated, and I’m sure diffractive piglet interactions are quite rich (e.g. the hard and soft porkerons). Though I’m not sure the experiments are equipped to handle the multiplicity.

Ok, sorry.

The Guardian (yes, again) has profiles of all the countries whose teams are in the World Cup, including capsule summaries of their national anthems. Here’s the summary for the United States:

National anthem in brief The Star-Spangled Banner
The USA recalls an enemy with smelly feet who attempted to set fire to its ornately decorated flag using a variety of incendiary weapons. The fact that they failed is viewed as symbolic.

Sounds right. (Seriously, what is the deal with Group E?)

As we all know, Wikipedia is the most wonderful thing ever. But sometimes we need to be reminded of just how wonderful it is. Not only will it tell you exactly what the differences between marsh, swamp, bog, moor, and fen are, but it goes on to inform you of the charming sport of bog snorkelling, mentioning that “recently doctors [sic] have raised concerns about the health effects of this sport”, and mentioning the even more x-treme World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling Championship. I’m packing my bags for Llanwrtyd Wells now.


Chicago L News!

June 15, 2006

The Chicago L is getting a new line! The rather underused Cermak (aka Douglas) branch of the southern Blue line will be rerouted on the Paulina Connector into the Loop starting on June 25; the new service is to be called the “Pink Line.” Apparently this will be a 180-day test. This is exciting for three reasons:

  • The Paulina Connector, built in 1895, has not seen revenue service since 1958, and had to be almost completely rebuilt. So it’s almost like new track.
  • The new line provides an all-day clockwise route around the Loop which doesn’t exit in the southeast (unlike the Orange).
  • Wow, pink. The CTA’s advertising campaign encourages us to “Think Pink”, which certainly sounds like a Pink Panther reference. Actually, Eleni Vrettos, the 7th-grader who wrote the winning essay advocating the color choice, explicitly says as much.

In completely unrelated news, I was in China and DC for a couple of weeks and was having fun and conferencing, so blogging failed to occur. Normal service will resume shortly.