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Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm Baaaaaack!

I just finished a period of travel. I am now home for five weeks or so before I head out again. After Nashville for two days, Las Vegas for three days, and Atlanta for four days over the last four weeks, it is good to be home. The other good news is that the next trip I take (mid-October) is for ME! (or my wife and me) We are headed for Miami and the Bahamas on a cruise ship. Can't wait! This is just a collection of thoughts. Let's get this thing started: Friday was the 8th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I saw some stories memorializing the events, and some speeches and such. That is good. There was also a noticeable lack of attention in my opinion. For all the cries of "Let's never forget!" and other such sentiments it is amazing to me those that have apparently forgotten what happened that day. I saw and see news stories every day about releasing "enemy combatants"(we can't call them terrorists any longer, it may offend their sensibilities), filing criminal charges against the CIA personnel that did the covert intelligence gathering to prevent other attacks, and generally vilifying anyone other than those that acted in, and supported the attacks. That is pathetic and sad. In most of our jobs, if we make a mistake we get reprimanded. If we mess up real bad we may get fired. How about a job where if you make a mistake (or have made one prior to getting up and running) you destroy the earth. I don't mean nuclear winter, or poisoning the water - I literally mean DESTROYING THE EARTH, as in "POOF" no more earth. In the interest of science - quantum mechanics to be exact - the European governments and various universities have designed and built the world's largest particle accelerator - the Large Hadron Collider being brought on line in France soon. This unit is the world's largest of what is commonly referred to as an "atom smasher". This unit is much, much larger than the largest now which is in the U.S. The unit will crash sub-atomic particles into one another at near the speed of light to break them down into the particles that make up these formally smallest particles. The search is on for the illusive Higgs boson as well as any other particle that would solve some lingering questions about how matter is held together. (I could go on about quarks, gluons, and more - I LOVE it! - but most find it boring, so I won't) The problem with this (or granted - potential problem) is that there are more than a few physicists that believe this large collider could open up a small black hole when cracking these particles. Now, small is misleading. A small dog is cute. A small hole in a sock can be ignored. Small can be OK, when talking about bad things. A small black hole however can destroy the earth. Again, not cause a problem that will poison us slowly; not create an issue for the scientists to work on; DESTROY the earth. (FYI, from my very limited knowledge I see this as a very, VERY, VERY slight potential problem) The scientists that are working on it say it is such a small statistical chance that is it almost non-existent - so they are going on and firing the machine up. Now for the point. The unit was to go on line last year. They had problems. Then is was fired up partially this year and they found problems with the cooling system and some other parts that caused the unit to "crash" before it could split an atom. When checking, the engineers found numerous problems that are being worked on. So, this large machine that has a potential of destroying the planet is a lemon. It is over budget, behind schedule, and requiring major repairs before it even gets going. I'm just saying... Lastly, my wife has started a web page or blog on Caring Bridge a site for patients and family of people with illnesses. I have referred to her in many posts here. You may want to get a feel for her illness from her perspective. She does not type well any longer as her motor skills are going and her tremors can be pretty bad - but I think you will get the gist. Here is a link to her site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/livingwithmsa Later - if we are still around.