cold antiprotons may lead to antimatter, rent a white guy, conservative intellectuals tilt at windmills

Geeks like it super cold, Frozen antiprotons bring antimatter within reach

The simplest antiatom, antihydrogen, is made of an antiproton and a positron, the electron’s antimatter counterpart. If it is a mirror image of hydrogen, it should emit an identical spectrum of light. The way to test this is to create ultra-cold antihydrogen, allowing it to be trapped and studied. The hard part is cooling the antiprotons.

The ALPHA team – one of two racing to trap antihydrogen using the Antiproton Decelerator at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland – uses electrons to do this. The flaw in the method is that the electric fields needed to remove the electrons afterwards reheat some of the antiprotons. This meant ALPHA’s antiprotons never got below an average temperature of about 100 kelvin – not cold enough to produce antihydrogen that can be trapped.

I think 100 degrees kelvin is -173.15 degrees Celsius. In case anyone forgot, water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius and 1 atm.

Rent a White Guy

For the next few days, we sat in the office swatting flies and reading magazines, purportedly high-level employees of a U.S. company that, I later discovered, didn’t really exist. We were so important, in fact, that two of the guys were hired to stay for eight months (to be fair, they actually then received quality-control training).

I’ve seen people get paid more for doing less. In the U.S. they’re called executives.

George Will is an intellectual all-star. Everyone knows this. As such he should be able to fight and win a battle with something other than windmills of his own making – First Glenn Beck, now George Will,  The Washington Post columnist endorses Straussian falsehoods about American liberalism

Will and Voegeli imply that when Roosevelt spoke of renegotiating the social contract to acknowledge new economic rights, he was throwing out the previous American understanding of natural rights. This is a deliberate misreading of what FDR said. Roosevelt observed: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” Far from being heretical, Roosevelt’s sentiment was taken for granted by early American statesmen like Jefferson, whose goal of “economic security and independence” was promoted by encouraging the ownership of small farms and pre-industrial shops.

William Voegeli, with who Will agrees writes in a new book, “Lacking a limiting principle, progressives cannot say how big the welfare state should be but must always say that it should be bigger than it is.” There might be some arcane science at work in which the straw man Voegeli argues with rolls down hill to the open arms of Will, who than passes it on to Beck. I might have the order wrong, but the equation still yields a few heavy hitters in conservative circles who as much as admit they do not know history, economics or the U.S. Constitution. No wonder conservatives continually misrepresent liberalism. It’s the only way they can achieve the appearance of victory. I would not be the first one to call conservatism the politics of Potemkinism.  In nice easy terms the welfare state is largely a figment of the conservative imagination. Less than 3% of the federal budget is spent on food stamps and aid to dependent children ( what everyone is referring to when they say welfare). It has been under 3% since the 1970s. Since we have a problem with hunger, shelter for everyone, medical care and employment the current social safety net is not enough. If the kind of bald tire capitalism Will, Voegeli and Beck believe in is so great, why does it appear to be a broken down beater in need of repair.

Vitamin D and Mental Agility in Elders

The participants, ages 65 to 99 years, were grouped by their vitamin D status, which was categorized as deficient, insufficient, or sufficient. Only 35 percent had sufficient vitamin D blood levels. They had better cognitive performance on the tests than those in the deficient and insufficient categories, particularly on measures of “executive performance,” such as cognitive flexibility, perceptual complexity, and reasoning. The associations persisted after taking into consideration other variables that could also affect cognitive performance.

I’m wary of exaggerated claims for vitamin supplements, but vitamin may live up to some of the hype.

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