There’s plenty of reason for celebrating the pretty good likelihood that the Higgs boson has finally been observed by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. That massive boson fills in a long-empty part of our understanding how the universe is composed and works. To be sure, there is a lot more work to be done on the Standard Model in which the Higgs has a dominant place – for example, the model is silent on a pretty important force field we know as gravity. But as a junior physicist and philosopher, I have trouble with the entire Standard Model and have continued to grumble about it for years. Why? Because it’s not pretty, and Nature (or God’s handiwork) in its elements and fundamentals ought to be pretty.
The SM is a hodgepodge of sub-nucleonic particles with a hodgepodge of properties described by a hodgepodge of numbers. It is not elegant in any mathematical or esthetic sense of the word. And the anticipated extension to the SM is the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM) which piles on to the hodgepodge more particles with more numbers. The SM and MSSM remind one of the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, full of ad hoc epicycles upon epicycles. I am among the philistines who would feel much better about the direction of enquiry if the path via a Grand Unification Theory on the way to the Theory of Everything took us through ever simpler and elegant models and their related mathematics that would be something akin to Maxwell’s equations, or Einstein’s field equation, or quantum’s Schrödinger equation, or … . (grumble, mumble, smurglemurf!).
The national heat wave and manmade global warming are being busily bundled by the usual purveyors of propaganda science. This under the established rubric of extraordinarily cold weather being just weather, and extraordinarily hot weather being “pummeling” evidence of climate change. According to ever hopeful far left commentators like Amy Goodman, “this independence holiday week might just be the beginning of people demanding the push to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and pursue a sane course toward sustainable energy independence.” As other pursuers of sane courses (e.g. the accessible Yergin’s Quest) have made clear with science, economics, and realworld pragmatics, there is no sane course to sustainable energy independence save through the judicious development and use of fossil fuels.
[update] The national Left is going to take another cut at “fixing the future” with a film and nationwide panel discussions featuring people from local chapters of liberal associations and co-operatives. They will reintroduce their staples of labor co-operatives, barter, local currencies, and ‘community banking’, all of which have been tried at various times in Nevada County with various degrees of success. For example, the recent attempts to establish community banking in the county failed because the offered schemes were simply means for skimming locally deposited monies and returning little or no banking expertise in return.
The entire approach will be sponsored and promoted (in Nevada County and nationally) by people who usually don't assemble under the banners of free market capitalism. These same folks will assume a no small task, and promise to show us how to “reinvent the American economy”. Their distrust of the established order becomes apparent in the first few seconds of their movie’s trailer in which the 'billions in profits to the 1%' are called out to stake their ideological home base.
The most interesting aspect of this political promotion to watch is how the conflict between local “jobs and sustainability” will be dovetailed with their champion’s programs to support the top-down controls prescribed by the global Agenda21, which is still the seminal plan for outlining the brave new world into which the United States will be unknowingly nudged or dragged by force to a national chorus of whimpering.
[6jul12 update] A Colorado school district kicks out its teachers union - now there's a headline you won't see the lamestream rushing to publish. It turns out that in Douglas County, Colorado the local affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers got so obstructionist in their negotiating tactics that the school district just said 'Enough!' and voided the contract with the union, but not with the teachers (more here). Let me throw out a little red meat here. It should be clear that for at least a half century the teachers unions and their political arm, the Democratic Party, have taken the country's public education system to level where it is essentially dysfunctional in the service of modern society. Some commenters politely refer to them as 'left leaning'. That's bullcrap pure and simple. There is no leaning there, teachers unions along with other public service unions stand firmly in the socialist camp and have done everything in their power to fundamentally transform our system of governance to their collectivist ideal. Would now that other school districts start copying the Douglas County School District so that true education reform becomes a possibility and starts spreading across the land.