Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Large Hadron Collider: "Public" chooses 'Halo' as its new name

Large Hadron Collider: "Public" chooses 'Halo' as its new name (psst, nope!)

"The name 'Halo' sounds much catchier and should adorn the £4.4 billion experiment, according to a poll organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry in London."
Hey, how about minding your own science, royal pain in the ass chemists? I guess they were bored, when they were not reading about the LHC! lol!

"But this 'fails to reflect the drama of its mission, or the inspiration it should be conveying to the wider public,' says Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the Society."
Yeah! Here come the chemists to remind us what's important, the public image of something!

"After sifting more than 2,500 responses, ranging from The Big Banger to Infinite Devil Machine and The Matter Splatterer, it has now selected a winner to rechristen the vast enterprise."
"The public" from the title apparently = 2,500 responses with not a single decent one quoted here lol.

"Halo conjures visions of radiant beauty, power and wisdom. The circle of light reflects the collider's form; it is a crowning achievement of science and engineering. It also gives more than a nod to the experiment's importance to religious debate."
Oh rly? It conjures up visions of a shitty overrated X-Box game for the non-English. Btw that game takes its name from Halo Megastructures, which is taken from the Ringworld sci-fi novel by Larry Niven, in which Halo Megastructures are (really) basically huge ringed Stargates which contain worlds. A Halo is another stargate symbol, obviously, and check out the last words of this post!

"But the Society has dismissed the suggestion that it was suffering from 'professional jealousy'. 'Far from it. The RSC congratulates the physics community with nothing but admiration for their amazing project - it just has a very boring name.'"
"We think you guys are doing great work, but you have no taste and we still get more chicks than you."

"James Gillies, a spokesman for CERN said: 'We're flattered that the RSC should take such an interest in our public image, and we find the name Halo to be apposite (appropriate :p). However, the LHC will not be changing its name.'"
*Guitar solo*

To reflect the endless quest to find the answer to life, the universe, and everything, some suggested Cern should name the experiment after the computer designed to do just that in Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Deep Thought.
Other favourites were:The Particrasher, E=M25, The Big Banger and Big Bang Two Point Oh, Collider-torus Rex, The Boffin's Bagel and Doughnut of Discovery.
Telegraph readers also rose to the challenge with several hundred suggestions. They came up with:
Ovid's Phaeton
The Magic Roundabout
The Genesis Engine
E42 - E for Energy, 42, from The Hitchhikers Guide
Adam Smasher
Hawkinator after Stephen Hawking
Puff The Magic Hadron
Bosonator
BOB - Biggest Of Bangs
Mr Twirly Beams
The One Ring
Stargate

Derren Brown and a BS exercise

Inspired by this post at Posthuman Blues and the comments!

Derren Brown and a BS exercise. First watch this:

Derren Brown: Staring Competition

Then: watch this

Then read the YouTube comments of that second video.
If you didn't notice, I'd like to point out that some YT comments got over 200 robot thumbs up because they defended a mutual belief.

Exercise:
How convinced are you of your convictions about this?
How many times did you get (unnecessarily) emotionally involved?
Were some of the commenters able to make you look back to both videos?
How many times did you switch sides?
Are you thinking, seeing, or believing?
Do you think you have enough evidence to judge if Derren Brown is a fraud from this post?

"'Seeing' is not a function of the eyes alone, but of the eyes-and-brain working together. A popular proverb says, 'Seeing is believing,' but as the philosopher Santayana once pointed out, humans are much better at believing than at seeing."
Robert Anton Wilson

Thanks again Posthuman Blues

A.J. Ayer, a prominent skeptic's beliefs challenged by NDE

Thanks to Càm for this:

Sir A.J. Ayer (October 29, 1910 – June 27, 1989), was a British philosopher known for his promotion of logical positivism, particularly in his books Language, Truth and Logic (1936) and The Problem of Knowledge (1956).

Ayer was the Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at the University College London from 1946 until 1959, when he became Wykeham Professor of Logic at the University of Oxford. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1951 to 1952. He was knighted in 1970.

Ayer is famous for his philosophical work promoting the idea that metaphysics is meaningless and only that which is empirical (receptive to the senses) during everyday ordinary consciousness is verifiable, otherwise it is 'meaningless'. Like all 'positivists' he was relentlessly skeptical (dismissive) about anything out of the ordinary.

Well, I just heard today, near the end of a presentation I gave on quantum mechanics, from the professor in charge that A.J. Ayer had a near death experience (NDE) during the later years of his life and experienced divinity during that period. After this experience he started suggesting that what he had written (his careers work) was now necessarily all wrong!

"In 1988, Ayer reported having near-death experience, after having nearly choked to death while eating. His heart was said to have stopped beating for several minutes until he was resuscitated. A few years back there was some controversy over Ayer because of accounts given by the attending physician, Dr. Jeremy George who claimed that upon awakening, after his hear-stoppage, Ayer said, "I saw a Divine Being."

Ayer said:
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to revise all my various books and opinions."

Ayer's wife was quoted as having said something like "Freddy is so much nicer since he died," in reference to his near-death experience.

"Did you know that I was dead? The first time that I tried to cross the 'river' I was frustrated, but my second attempt succeeded. It was most extraordinary. My thoughts became persons." - A.J. Ayer's words upon resuscitation

The full description of Ayer's NDE mystical experience:
"The only memory that I have of an experience, closely encompassing my death, is very vivid.
I was confronted by a red light, exceedingly bright, and also very painful even when I turned away from it. I was aware that this light was responsible for the government of the universe. Among its ministers were two creatures who had been put in charge of space.
These ministers periodically inspected space and had recently carried out such an inspection. They had, however, failed to do their work properly, with the result that space, like a badly fitting jigsaw puzzle, was slightly out of joint.
A further consequence was that the laws of nature had ceased to function as they should. I felt that it was up to me to put things right. I also had the motive of finding a way to extinguish the painful light. I assumed that it was signaling that space was awry and that it would switch itself off when order was restored.
Unfortunately, I had no idea where the guardians of space had gone and feared that even if I found them I should not be able to communicate with them.
It then occurred to me that whereas, until the present century, physicists accepted the Newtonian severance of space and time, it had become customary, since the vindication of Einstein's general theory of relativity, to treat space-time as a single whole. Accordingly, I thought that I could cure space by operating upon time.
I was vaguely aware that the ministers who had been given charge of time were in my neighborhood and I proceeded to hail them. I was again frustrated. Either they did not hear me, or they chose to ignore me, or they did not understand me. I then hit upon the expedient of walking up and down, waving my watch, in the hope of drawing their attention not to my watch itself but to the time which it measured. This elicited no response. I became more and more desperate, until the experience suddenly came to an end."

This experience, couped with countless others from people who have had similar experiences is rather strong evidence that death does not put an end to consciousness.

"The materialist fundamentalists are funnier than the Christian fundamentalists, because they think they're rational!" Robert Anton Wilson

From the wiki: Shortly before his death in 1989 he received publicity after having an unusual near-death experience, which has often been misinterpreted as a move away from his lifelong and famous religious skepticism (which is not the same as mystic or spiritual skepticism...). Of the experience, Ayer first said that it "slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death ... will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be." However, a few days later he revised this, saying "what I should have said is that my experiences have weakened, not my belief that there is no life after death, but my inflexible attitude towards that belief". Ayer was the BBC's famous atheist front-man. Ayer wrote an article in 1988, "What I saw when I was dead." In 2001 Dr. Jeremy George, the attending physician, told William Cash, who had written a play about Ayer, that Ayer had confided to him: "I saw a Divine Being. I'm afraid I'm going to have to revise all my books and opinions."

Thanks to Càm