Thursday, December 15, 2011

A hodge podge of stuff.

I have to say, I'm feeling quite ... subdued this week. There's been nothing (new) in the political sphere to raise my ire. Indeed, as danyl says, it's feels like the first time in some years that one can almost begin to pretend to feel vaguely optimistic about politics in New Zealand and hope that one day we might have some competent in charge.

There's been ups and downs on the science front. CERN finally got round to officially announcing that we have hints of the Higgs boson coming out of the LHC. There's been rumours floating about for a while now that something had been found. Now it appears that CERN is looking in the right ballpark at least and that there is quite likely something there. Ars Technica even gave a pretty good (simple) explanation of the statistics behind confirming a discovery. Worth a read.

A decent chunk of the delight from that though was beaten to a pulp when the head of the IPCC took the time to note the complete lack of attention to any of the science behind climate change at the Durban talks. One's optimism took a serious blow, compounded by the failure of teh Durban talks in general - a delaying action, putting things off until 2015, when 2015 is the year that we really need to have emissions sorted to prevent some pretty serious temperature rises is not really a delaying action, it's a step backwards. Especially since most of the articles in the scientific literature that I've seen over the past year or so tend to focus on how our current models have been underestimating stuff. <sigh>

Then, just to put the boot in, we have idiots just across the ditch in Ausraaaalia trying to convince people that measles are a good thing because they help our immune system get strong and therefore it's all natural and good and, and, and ... <facepalm>  doesn't begin to convey the lunacy. Especially the bit using SIDS death's stats, linking them (unreasonably, incoherently) to immunizations and then using that as an argument for measles? I'll take an educated guess here and say that if you let measles run rampant, you would have a lot more deaths and a hell of a lot more damage to people.

On the good side though, there might well be whole bunch of quantum effects happening in plants during photosynthesis that I didn't know about before. and it's always a good week when when you run across a whole new set of effects you didn't about in your own field. Very cool.

So all in all, an odd week.

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