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There’s been a lot of buzz lately about possible evidence of the elusive Higgs Boson, the so-called “God particle” being discovered at Fermilab’s Tevatron collider. Apparently some of the physicists have entertained the idea that an unexpected result from a recent particle collision experiment might possibly be evidence of the Higgs Boson, while others dismiss the idea. So, don’t go thinking that we’ve finally found the Higgs Boson (and not even at the LHC nonetheless) just yet. An official statement on the matter has not been released yet, and we have no clue what they found until that happens. So everyone just chill out for a minute until some official findings are released. All we know for sure now is there was an “unexpected result.” (Via Discovery News)

Now I must simply share a few things I’ve run across the past couple of days that are simply awesome:

What the Fuck Should I Make for Dinner? Perfect for those “I don’t know what I want, what do you want?” times.

-Yazoo Brewing Co. may be switching to cans, but they want your input first. Weigh all the options before making your choice.

-Sam Kean of Slate is blogging the entire periodic table of elements. Nerd-out!

-And if this doesn’t make your day (and even week) infinitely better, then you are beyond help:

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If you live in TN, or even the southeast at all, you know damn well that it’s been hot and humid as hell lately. The entire southeast has been a sauna for several weeks in a row. You always hear people say stuff like, “man, it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity out there!” Anyone with half a brain knows that’s a VAST exaggeration, but honestly the concept of humidity is a rather confusing one, and even some meteorologists don’t explain it very well. I’m not going to attempt to fully explain it because it’s already been done quite well at this Cincinnati meteorologist’s website. Please click through that link if you want a very detailed, but still in layman’s terms, explanation. Read on if you want my extremely condensed version.

Basically, in terms of actually knowing how much water vapor is in the air, relative humidity sucks. In order to really know how humid it is, and how uncomfortable you will be, look at the dew point. The dew point is simply the temperature at which the water vapor in the air will begin to condense. The higher the dew point, the more H2O is in the air. According to most charts that I’ve found, dew points in the 40-50 degree range feel very dry, like you would feel in a desert… Dew points between 50-60 degrees generally feel comfortable, dew points between 60-70 degrees are generally uncomfortable, and dew points 70+ degrees are utterly oppressive. Yesterday afternoon our dew point in Nashville was hovering around 70-72 degrees. Relative humidity takes into account the air temperature as well as the dew point, and the relationship between temperature and RH is inverse. That means that as the air temp goes up, the RH goes down. Of course the relationship between dew point and RH is converse. Again, if you want a really good, albeit long explanation then visit this website. Fortunately, TN is in for a bit of a relief from the oppressive conditions we’ve been enduring. Cold fronts during the summertime aren’t exactly “cold” though they do normally bring slightly cooler temps, but the main thing they usually bring is a drier airmass. The typical summer weather pattern in the southeast US often involves hot and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico being blown northward across the southeastern states, creating the conditions we’ve been experiencing the past few weeks. Sometimes, however, an airmass that originates over the northern US and Canada will make its way southward. That’s exactly what’s happening today, and the dew point is already falling (this morning it was 68, and right now at lunchtime it’s all the way down to 61!). This airmass is drier because it originated over a large area of land, rather than water. All forecast I’ve seen are in agreement that the dry weather will persist for at least a week, if not more, though the temps will creep back up into the 90s by this weekend. But 90 degree temps with a dew point of 60 is hella better than 90/70!

I must mention a couple of science news tidbits that pinged my radar today and yesterday…

The Obama Administration has announced a new national policy for aerospace that supports and guides the plans for NASA that were announced back in February. This is more of an over-arching “this is where we’re headed” type of policy, and it needed to be implemented to be in line with Obama’s NASA plans. Again, I fully agree with his desire to cancel the Constellation program, rely on the private space industry for low-earth orbit, and focus NASA on exploring beyond the moon. With this new policy, NASA basically has no choice but to use the plan unveiled in February. Hopefully this will get some of the opponents of Obama’s plan in Congress to STFU. But that’s probably a pipe dream. (Via Space.com)

The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva continues to creep closer and closer to its final goal of having the most intense proton collisions ever. Right now, Fermilab still holds the record for highest beam intensity, but the LHC just set a new record for overall number of proton collisions. It will be several more years before they have the LHC running at full capacity, but I have no doubt it will pay off. (Via Discovery News)

Click image to see bigger version

This has been popping up in a few places around the interwebs for a couple days now, and I should’ve posted about it earlier, but I’ve fallen victim t0 post-SXSW sickness and laziness. A team of physicists have discovered a brand new subatomic particle, which they’re calling “Y(4140).” Ironically this particle was not discovered at the Large Hadron Collider, which is still not operational due to repairs from the catastrophic helium leak last fall; it was discovered at Fermilab, right here in the USA. This new information will be valuable in future mathematical models of the universe, as well as in the experiments conducted at the LHC later this year. You’d think they could come up with a cooler name for a completely new type of subatomic particle… something like “megaquark” or “quarktron.” Lazerquark…

The space shuttle undocked from the ISS yesterday and did a fly-around, capturing the first images of the fully symmetrical, full-length ISS. Universe Today has the space porn, including video of part of the fly-around.

According to Space.com, NASA has decided to go ahead with the Hubble repair mission, despite the increased risk of debris impact due to the satellite collision on Feb. 10th. I’m glad, but kinda scared for the crew. The danger is heightened by the fact that they won’t have the ISS as a lifeboat. Instead, NASA will have Space Shuttle Endeavour on a different pad, ready to launch and be used as a lifeboat should Atlantis be damaged.

Several different time-lapse videos of plants growing. These things are always fun to watch. Via kottke.org.

This has been showing up on almost every blog I read, but it’s definitely worth posting- the first trailers for the Spike Jonze-directed, Arcade Fire-loaded, live-action version of Where the Wild Things Are has been posted. The best place to view it is on apple.com. They have gorgeous HD versions that are true eye candy.

Camera Obscura @ SXSW 2009 Photo: Steve Cross

Camera Obscura @ SXSW 2009 Photo: Steve Cross

I was quite pleased yesterday to find out that Camera Obscura will be kicking off their north American tour in Nashville at the Mercy Lounge on May 27th. To my knowledge, they have never played here, and they’re one of my favorites. Even though I just saw them at SXSW, I will be there enthusiastically. Their new album My Maudlin Career drops April 20th via 4AD. Check out the rest of their tour dates at their myspace.

Another upcoming show I’m looking forward to is The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ the End on May 2nd. Like C.O., I saw this band at SXSW and they did not dissappoint. But I really look forward to seeing full length sets from both bands, as all the shows at SXSW are showcases with 5 or so bands, thus each band has less time to setup and a shorter set length than normal. POBPAH are definitely one of those “blog-buzz” bands, but I honestly think they will have more staying power and are on an entirely different level than say, Vampire Weekend or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

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