Dept. of Creeping Fascism

Please read this. Memo to FBI: Being outspoken in opposition to policies and practices of the government is not treason, nor is it reason to intimidate citizens, nor is it, really, any of your business. In many respects, it could actually be called patriotic — I see it as certainly moreso than empty jingoism. The freedom to state views contrary to the ruling party’s is a core value of our nation, and ought not be trod upon in the name of “fighting terrorism.”

That Pesky God Particle

Many of you, I’m sure, have followed with relish the admission by certain high-energy physicists recently that the long-theorized and much-depended-upon yet never-actually-observed Higgs Boson (a.k.a. the “God” particle) may well not exist after all. This is a problem for subatomic physics, you see, because it is the Higgs that gives all particles mass. If it doesn’t exist — and they can’t seem to find it, and they’ve looked everywhere — then the whole of particle theory will have to be reworked, resting as it has largely on something that they now concede may be as imaginary as the Easter Bunny (sorry, Chris).

I contacted NoGators Physics Correspondent Emeritus Finch for comment, who says:

Don’t let those high-energy physicists fool you with their apoplectic despondency; they are relishing the opportunity to start from scratch, [and are] making up new particles as needed to replace the legendary Higgs boson. And as for not having mass, don’t tell the diet and fitness experts; this is their most lucrative time of year.

In closing, she notes that this is, in all fairness, far afield of her studies in chemical physics:

My knowledge of high energy physics is limited to believing the whole lot of them are on crack.

So there you have it. |*|

Dept. of Missing the Point

For some reason, KPMG thinks it has the right to control who may link to any portion of their site, and is sending letters to folks who don’t have a “link agreement” with them insisting that the links be removed (I wonder when I’ll get mine?). The web community at large is, of course, treating this with precisely the amount of respect it deserves.

I love the Economist.

The famed British newsmagazine is running a certain correction in its current print and online editions. It reads

In the issues of December 16th 2000 to November 10th 2001, we may have given the impression that George Bush had been legally and duly elected president of the United States. We now understand that this may have been incorrect, and that the election result is still too close to call. The Economist apologises for any inconvenience.


Dept. of Brand Collision

We’ve all heard the jokes about Chevy selling the Nova (“no va”) in Mexico, about Pepsi’s ill-fated “bite the wax tadpole” slogan in China, and some of us even remember Reebok’s stunningly ill-reserached sneaker name (hint: do not name women’s footware after rapist demons). Some of these may even be true. Scott Ian has a different – but related – problem.

Department of Stuff I Like

Number 1: bin Laden supporters include photos of their man pulled from the ‘net with insufficient attention to detail or source – to wit, they appear to include Bert in the background, suggesting they’re cribbed from the by-now-tired meme of Bert-Is-Evil (via BoingBoing).

Number 2: Memento. If you haven’t seen this film, do so immediately. I know I’m late to this party, but it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been as impressed by a film as I was by this one.

Number 3: Online techno/dance tracks via, courtesy of longtime Heathen Rob. Check out Derrick May, Colin Dale, and Aril Brikha via their searchable, streamable archives.

Six Degrees of September 11th

Concerned about the bandwidth implications of hosting the previous entry, I went over to my hosting company’s site to figure out my quota. I got a little surprise. It appears they also host the site for The Bingham Group, a firm until recently run by Mark Bingham. Bingham was on United Flight 93 — the one that crashed in Pennsylvania — and is thought to have been the leader of the group of passengers who overpowered their hijackers after hearing about the events in New York.

You think for a minute or an hour or a day that you’ve gotten past this thing, that you’re too far from it, and then you discover you aren’t.

I love those guys.

The good folks at The Onion have returned from their 9-11-imposed hiatus with an issue devoted to WTC-related topics, including the sidebar headline “Jerry Falwell: Is That Guy A Dick Or What?” They, like Jon Stewart and David Letterman, remind us that laughter is theraputic. Enjoy. And don’t miss the TV listings.