Innumerable as the Starrs of Night,
Or Starrs of Morning,
Dew-drops, which the Sun
on every leaf and every flouer
NGC3132 ©
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,
— that is all
Ye know on earth, and all
ye need to know.

E = M

Energy is eternal delight.
William Blake

Impearls: 2002-11-17 Archive

Earthdate 2002-11-22

Gulf Wars Episode II: Clone of the Attack

Eugene Volokh links to a hilarious pseudo-movie poster advertising the forthcoming new Gulf Wars extravaganza.

I actually think this artifice ought to be be funny no matter what side of the debate over war with Iraq you're on, though I'm sure some (perhaps humorless) people will feel no one should make jokes where death and destruction are concerned.

But how could one not make fun of some of the characters involved in this global morality play — e.g., Saddam Hussein, Knight of the Arab World, with his “100% elections,” etc. etc. — so long as one doesn't forget the seriousness that lurks behind Saddam's murderousness on every scale from his individual tortures and killings to the very real threat of mushroom clouds suddenly blossoming above major cities in the land, perhaps not now but someday not extremely far distant?

Antihydrogen makes the big time

Interesting news item (link requires subscription or pay per view) by Charles Seife in the journal Science (organ of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) on the race to be first to make significant quantities of antihydrogen — enough to study and hopefully find the spectrum of that most volatile of substances.  (Antihydrogen is the negative subatomic mirror of normal hydrogen, consisting of duos of antiprotons and antielectrons [positrons] electronically united as antiatoms, though apparently not, at least for the moment, as antihydrogen molecules.)

Achieving the holy grail of the spectrum of antihydrogen, “could rattle the foundations of physics and will likely net a Nobel Prize for whichever team gets there first,” Seife writes.  “Scientists think that antihydrogen's spectrum should be identical to hydrogen's.  If it's not, a key principle in physics known as CPT symmetry will have to be discarded, forcing a drastic revision of physicists' understanding of subatomic particles.”

Neither of the two teams now closing in on the prize of the spectrum has yet achieved this goal, but that “shouldn't detract from the real story: the production of significant amounts of cold, slow antihydrogen.  ‘The fact that both groups have gotten antihydrogen is a major accomplishment,’” Seife quotes MIT physicist Daniel Kleppner.

The two teams, known as ATRAP and ATHENA, which are in the running are both using “similar techniques, nearly identical equipment, and the same particle beam, an antiproton factory at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva.”  Both groups, Seife reports:

… had access to the same beamline, the Antiproton Decelerator (AD) at CERN, which takes protons created at near the speed of light down to about 10% of that speed.  Drawing on years of experiments with AD's predecessor, LEAR, both groups settled on electromagnetic bottles known as Penning traps to cool antiprotons down to about 4 kelvin, confine them with antielectrons, and induce the two to combine.

ATHENA and ATRAP follow the same basic recipe for antimatter.  Each gets its antiprotons from AD and its antielectrons from a radioactive sodium isotope that emits the particles as it decays.  Each captures the antiprotons, cools them to a few kelvin, and shoots them and the antielectrons into opposite ends of a trap where they can mix.

The traps — meter-long cylinders that corral the particles with electromagnetic fields — face a daunting challenge:  Because antiprotons and antielectrons have opposite charges, a potential that captures antielectrons repels antiprotons and vice versa.  That makes it difficult to build a single trap that can hold both of them, because a trap that appears like a valley to an antielectron looks like a hill to the antiprotons.  To bring the particles together, both teams use a trap within a trap — in effect, two hills framing a valley (from the antielectrons' point of view) or two valleys flanking a hill (from the antiprotons' point of view)….  When an antielectron binds to an antiproton (something that occurs with only a handful of the thousands of cold antiprotons in each shot), the resulting neutral antiatom can no longer be easily controlled by electric or magnetic fields.  It escapes the trap and floats away.

That's where the big differences start.  To tell that they've created antihydrogen, the ATHENA physicists look for gamma rays that are produced when an antihydrogen atom is annihilated by collisions with ordinary matter.  By subtracting the background gamma rays from their total count, they can estimate the number of antiatoms.  Gabrielse's ATRAP team, by contrast, lets the untrapped neutral antihydrogens float into an additional trap, which tears apart the antihydrogen atom.  The team then counts the liberated antiprotons as they annihilate on contact with ordinary matter.  As a bonus, the ionization trap also yields information about how tightly the antielectron is bound to the antiproton.

Unfortunately, the two teams are now “frozen neck and neck,” as Seife put it, in their race.  He writes:  “… the teams' source of antiprotons has just dried up.  The current run of CERN's beamline just ended, so both teams will have to wait until next year to resume the race.  And the budget problems at CERN … will interfere with their scramble to collect antihydrogen.  ‘[AD] will be shut down for 1 year, which is a huge disappointment,’” Seife quotes ATRAP leader Harvard physicist Gerald Gabrielse.  “‘Without antiprotons, it's hard to make progress.’”

Impearls: 2002-11-17 Archive

Earthdate 2002-11-21

Phoenix Arise!   by Tamara Lynn Scott

Phoenix Arise!

Out of the Ruins of What has Come Before,
The Phoenix Will Arise!

At this Crossing of Time and Place,
Wind and Water,
Air and Stone,
And All Life With Us,
To All We Are,
And All We've Yet To BE,
Ever in the CHOOSING,
The Know,
The Hold,
The Truth.
The BE.

Here the Circles Rising,
Of Time,
And Seed,
And Shore,
Washing Ever More,
Ever More We do Become.

Breakwaters Beckon,
Wind and Sky Implore,
Up and Down All Universe
Awaits Within Our Door.

Light of Create,
And Darkness of Being Born —
Starlit Dreams and Sunset Shores,
To Be  What We Give Our Life Breath to Be,
To Do,
To Love,
To Dream,
In this Place of All Directions,
A Reason of Behold.
You are the One.
We are the Dream Untold.

Here in All Telling,
Whispering All Direction,
All Know.
We Are the Ones We Are Waiting For.
On this Stretch of Time and Place,
Compassed We Stand,
All Forces Meet,
All of the Plan.

Elicit Forth a World of Our Own Create!
Fulcrum All Direction,
Reality Awaits.
All Shores of Possibility,
Here Where All Directions Meet,
All the Light that is Needed to Give Our World and Beings Change.
The Compass of Our Choosing,
Our Being,
The Mind Unbands,
Spanning All Directions,
We Arrive,
To Stand For Something, Somewhere in Our Life,
A Depth of Feeling,
A Know that Never Dies,
In these Fallings and Risings,
All Parts of the Whole,
All Consciousness,
All Know,
Celebrate this Meeting of Mind.
From Every Point of View,
Every Point of Place.
Move in Grace.
You are Perfectly Placed.
Be All You Wish to Know.
Meaning to this Moment,
In Balance With All Force of Dark and Light.
Everyone Arrives.
All Nature,

Phoenix Arise!

Inscribed on Bronze Plate erected on the San Francisco Bay Point in Palo Alto, California.
© Copyright 2001, 2002 Tamara Lynn Scott.  Published by permission of author.

Impearls: 2002-11-17 Archive

Earthdate 2002-11-18

California's economy vis-a-vis France, Britain, India & China

George Huang, economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), responded to Impearls' earlier article with an e-mail dated 2002-11-12 18:02 UT.

Dear Mr. McNeil,

Our GDP data and statement is available at:

When we did the 2000 comparison back in 2001, OECD data for France was much lower, which allowed California to move up.  This year OECD revised the French GDP data and France, instead of California, was no. 5 back in 2000.  This is where the 5th/6th controversy originated.  The truth is (and we mention this explicitly in the comparison table) that the changes in rankings came from the drastic depreciation of the value of euro.  It seems that no one ever reads that sentence and instead take our comparison and use it in an opportunistic fashion which we detest.

We use OECD and IMF data because we believe it is the best available set from a single source (actually, two sources because OECD doesn't cover everyone we needed to know).  Our California estimate is proprietary and based on published personal income data from the California Dept. of Finance and GSP data from the BEA.

We did the comparison to show how large California's economy is, and it was never intended for the GDP race that Davis loves to show off.  In fact, after we published the GDP data, we came under pressure from the State.  (And this is as much as I can tell you, please don't ask more about this.  You can sense in the published statement that we were defending our estimates against someone.  Now you know.)

As for China & India, I do not know why CIA's estimates are higher.  Perhaps OECD and IMF rely solely on the nations' official estimates, while CIA add in the underground economy.  As I said before, we had to find one or two sources that provide data for all we needed and based on a common set of methodology, and OCED and IMF were the sources chosen.  No one in the economic analysis field uses CIA's estimates for such analyses.

George Huang
Associate Economist


(Blank last screen)


Are you an

If you fancy
any piece
you may donate
to reprise!


Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member

[Powered by Blogger]

Impearls Archives

2002-11-03 2002-11-10 2002-11-17 2002-11-24 2002-12-01 2002-12-08 2002-12-15 2002-12-22 2002-12-29 2003-01-05 2003-01-12 2003-01-19 2003-01-26 2003-02-02 2003-02-16 2003-04-20 2003-04-27 2003-05-04 2003-05-11 2003-06-01 2003-06-15 2003-06-22 2003-06-29 2003-07-13 2003-07-20 2003-08-03 2003-08-10 2003-08-24 2003-08-31 2003-09-07 2003-09-28 2003-10-05 2003-10-26 2003-11-02 2003-11-16 2003-11-23 2003-11-30 2003-12-07 2003-12-14 2003-12-21 2003-12-28 2004-01-04 2004-01-11 2004-01-25 2004-02-01 2004-02-08 2004-02-29 2004-03-07 2004-03-14 2004-03-21 2004-03-28 2004-04-04 2004-04-11 2004-04-18 2004-04-25 2004-05-02 2004-05-16 2004-05-23 2004-05-30 2004-06-06 2004-06-13 2004-06-20 2004-07-11 2004-07-18 2004-07-25 2004-08-22 2004-09-05 2004-10-10 2005-06-12 2005-06-19 2005-06-26 2005-07-03 2005-07-10 2005-07-24 2005-08-07 2005-08-21 2005-08-28 2005-09-04 2005-09-11 2005-09-18 2005-10-02 2005-10-09 2005-10-16 2005-10-30 2005-11-06 2005-11-27 2006-04-02 2006-04-09 2006-07-02 2006-07-23 2006-07-30 2007-01-21 2007-02-04 2007-04-22 2007-05-13 2007-06-17 2007-09-09 2007-09-16 2007-09-23 2007-10-07 2007-10-21 2007-11-04 2009-06-28 2009-07-19 2009-08-23 2009-09-06 2009-09-20 2009-12-13 2011-03-27 2012-01-01 2012-02-05 2012-02-12