May 20th, 2010


Draw Muhammad Day

So... today's Draw Muhammad Day.

From one side, I hear that it will be striking a great blow for freedom and justice if I scrawl an image of Muhammad biting the testicles off a whippet.
From another side, I hear that one of my unexamined privileges as a white dude is ready access to pencils, and the use of perspective in a depiction of Muhammad would be an act of European imperialism.
From Pakistan, they've blocked Facebook and YouTube, which makes the country sound something like paradise.

I can't draw anyway, so...
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Who ordered *that*?

Neutral B mesons preferentially decay into matter (rather than antimatter).

Apparently, this is not merely CP-violation, which is fairly well understood and first discovered in the decays of neutral kaons (the B's in the current experiment can be thought of as the kaons' much heavier cousins). According to the abstract, the effect "differs by 3.2 standard deviations from the standard model prediction," suggesting that some unknown process is responsible for favoring matter over antimatter. This is intriguing, since the known CP-violating processes appear to be incapable of producing the matter that exists in the universe.

So... it looks like new physics beyond the Standard Model, and a potential solution to an outstanding problem. If this pans out, trips to Oslo will follow.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front is the first in the Dresden Files novels.
You have to, I think, be a little cautious of a book when the cover of the first edition screams "First in the New Series!"
It's as though Butcher said to himself, "Hey, those Harry Potter books are not really that well written, but are wildly successful, and have little trope-y nuggets that grab a reader's attention. What if I did the same thing but for two-fisted tales of detective fiction?" And there you are: voila, The Dresden Files.
You may have heard of just-in-time logistics, Storm Front seems to be largely a product of just-in-time plot developments. And sometimes character decisions seem rather forced in order to keep everything on the rails and following the schedule.
I'm not saying it's trash... just a little trashy.