Friday, February 19, 2010

Does Anti-Matter Matter?

As a person who loves Chaos Theory, the LHC excites me... of course, this is tempered with the reality that the monster will be sunk by virtue of its gargantuan size. Oh, but the possibilities! I imagine the LHC creating, in its infancy, a small bit of anti-matter that will be like hugging a tiger cub: The cub is so cute! Ooh, let's pet the kitty! Well, these mad scientists will keep feeding that kitty until one day it may, inevitably, swallow them whole. I'm rooting for the kitty. Let's create and uncreate at the same time! Let's SUCK! Let's never understand what we don't understand, but hope that we understand! Let's give the entire Earth Shaken Baby Syndrome!

LHC Ready for Duty Again

February 19, 2010 by Miranda Marquit

( -- For the Christmas holiday, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was shut down for a break and for a little technical tinkering. But next week, the hope is that the LHC will start up again around the 25 of February.

The Large Hadron Collider is used in experiments involving smashing particles together at high speeds. Just before the Christmas break, the LHC had sent particles careening into each other and resulting in energies not seen before. The hope later this year is to gradually get the LHC to the goal of 7 TeV, smashing the previous record. The collider is built for collisions resulting in 14 TeV, but that level probably won't be reached anytime in the immediate future.

Just reaching 7 TeV will take some time. Scientists plan to rev up the LHC slowly, starting initial beams at that produce relatively low energies of around 900 GeV at collision. CERN honchos want to avoid a situation similar to the explosion that marred the LHC's initial run in 2008. The hope is that a gradual warm up for the LHC will ensure that everything is in working order as CERN races the Tevatron in the U.S. to be the first to pinpoint the elusive Higgs boson.

The LHC is expected to help solve some mysteries in particle physics, as well as possibly provide information about other dimensions and further insight into the origins of the universe.

More information: CERN LHC:
via TheRegister / BBC

© 2010
Image source: Julian Herzog via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Couch Potato or World Olympian?

In the spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, I am, hereby, recommending a new event that shows dauntless prowess, the use of strategic artifices that define the core of the competitive sprit, and one that will also promote global friendship, solidarity, and fair play*. Lugers, skiers, snowboarding freestylers, Beware!

That's right, Nintendo's Mario Kart for the Wii.

In my almost mid-thirties, I was introduced to video games again. Don't get me wrong, I've never really stopped playing them since the moment my best friend, Richie, busted-out his shiny, new Atari 5200 in 1982. Up until recent days, I have owned a lot of gaming systems. The first was Bally Professional Arcade that we bought sometime around 1980 to hook-up to our 37" Magnavox. All of my friends had the Atari 2600, so they didn't know that the Bally's 8-bit processor kicked the crap out of their 2600s. Plus, the only games we had were Gunfight and Astro Battle. Then, after Richie and Eddie had their parents buy them their 5200s, I pleaded for a Colecovision which, quite frankly, was to make my pals jealous. I didn't know anything about the system, I just knew that it was bad ass. It also had a nice selection of games with nice graphics and a more integrated joystick. In 1985, my brother and I scored a Nintendo Entertainment System that was just awesome in terms of the numbers of released game titles. Then my brother had a Nintendo Gameboy, the first truly personal, portable gaming device.Then it was on to Sony Genesis, though I never left Nintendo and went back to a SuperNES with 16-bit graphics. I ditched Nintendo for a Sony PlayStation in 1995 (though kept our old NES games) and then upgraded to the the PlayStation II when it debuted in 2000. Then, in 2008, we received the Nintendo Wii as a gift with it's WiFi connection and wireless, motion sensing remote controls; and now, in my opinion, they have created one of the top-ten best games in the history of gaming with MarioKart.

But this isn't about the history of gaming systems, it's about MarioKart Olympics, dammit! Shh, I know, I know... nerd. You're thinking, "Jungle Girl sure is a giant geek." Yep, well, it's true. But just like black is the new white, geek is the new cool.

What's great about this game is that by using a wifi connection, one can compete with other racers regionally, or all over the world. Players can select from dozens of bikes and carts, all which have different stats like weight, speed, off-road ability, and acceleration. Depending upon the character one chooses to ride the vehicle, weight class plays a role in which vehicles are available. Players can choose to play as various game characters like Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach, or they can select their own, specialized avatar, called a Mii.

Hackers, using the Homebrew Channel , can save applications to an SD card and then upload the data onto their Wii. Since the hack is just a software install, it's just as easy to restore a Wii, so just about anyone with a little tech-savviness can manage. There are cool applications like one that turns a Wii into a DVD player... hackers agree, and so do I, that if a consumer purchases a device, she should be able to manipulate the device in any way possible, especially when the device can be used to better suit individual consumer needs... proprietary software is like a technological chastity belt.

Well, the Homebrew Channel also has a hack for MarioKart. The hack allows players many means of controlling the game from altering the speed of vehicles, to choosing which special item one's Mii will permanently have, to increasing one's Virtual Rating (VR). I'm not sure why people cheat, I mean, what's the thrill in effortless winning... seems kind of boring, no? On the other hand, dropping bombs and other obstacles in the paths of racers can be funny and challenging, as long as they allow the non-cheaters to win.

It's been a year since I started playing MarioKart and this Jungle Lady finishes races in world class times... impressive, I know. Just kidding, all you non-MarioKart junkies.... but for you wieners who are also addicted... you just feast your eyes on this video and watch little Jungle Girl kick the crap out of everyone... without cheating.

In fact, this is a challenge to all MarioKart Olympians! Bring it on! Jungle Girl will bring home the Gold and send you all crying back to your world of unemployment.



Just to let you know I'm serious, I'll race anyone in the world, legit players only, here is my license #, besides, I love new friends!