Why Physics and Politics Don’t Mix

Scientists claim to have finally isolated the long-hypothesized Higgs Boson, a particular responsible for endowing other elementary particles with mass. Which gives us an opportunity to, as many editorial cartoonists do, blend two completely unrelated news stories into an awkward cartoon about contemporary politics.

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  • OK, sorry, have to be a nitpick mathematician about this. The results from the LHC say the the odds there is a Higgs boson at about 125 GEV are about 99.7% (it’s a roughly 3 sigma result). You might think this means it’s a given, but the thing is at a place like the LHC they spit out so much data even if something only happens a few times in a thousand it’s very likely to happen anyway, so for a real result they demand 5 sigma, which means that the odds that it is wrong aren’t’ 3 in a thousand, they are 1 in 3.5 million. Of course Romney won’t’ have substance no matter what 🙂

  • Just imagine the amount of opportunistic outrage the professional conservatives would be spewing if Ted had chosen to use the popular nickname for the Higgs Boson — the God Particle.

    Sadly, most journalists and science-writers stopped referring to it as the God particle because the religious types did their usual self-righteous victimization routine.

  • Another law of physics (which might no longer be considered valid): “What goes up must come down.”
    When you consider Romney’s ego…. Let’s just hope it applies.

  • alex_the_tired
    March 12, 2012 3:31 PM

    Speaking of discoveries, Ted posted a photo a few weeks ago of a flange with a screw in it and asked if anyone knew what it is was for. I just realized where I’d seen it before: in my shower. (When you wear glasses, you don’t notice some things unless you’re wearing contact lenses.)

    The flange in question is used (in my house at least) to convert the ball-foot tub into a shower. The flange is screwed into a wall, a metal dowel is inserted into the flange. The other end of the dowel is threaded, and screwed into the framework from which the shower curtain is hung.

    Hope that helps, Ted.

  • piranhaintheguppytank
    March 12, 2012 10:42 PM


    If I tell you that a priest, a rabbi, and an imam walk into a bar, please don’t quote me the odds against that happening!


    Scientists say that matter is mostly empty space.

    I found that hard to believe… until I saw the Republican primary candidates.

  • Sweet Jesus, dennyd, please don’t refer to the Higgs boson as the «God particle» ! If ever a gregarious boson was an atheist – and proud of it – it is this one !…


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