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Discovery, unofficial! Higgs boson, 'God particle': new subatomic particle, without it, Universe does not exist?

CERN illustration: experiment to find Higgs Boson
A typical ‘candidate event’ in the Higgs-hunting CMS experiment. Red lines represent high-energy proton beams while yellow lines show the tracks of particles produced in the collision.

Does Higgs boson - or ‘God particle’ - exist?

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The Higgs boson appears in a theory first fleshed out in 1964 by Peter Higgs at Edinburgh University and five other physicists. Finding the particle proves there is an energy field that fills the vacuum of the observable universe. It plays the crucial role of giving mass to certain subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter. The Higgs field is thought to have switched on a trillionth of a second after the big bang that blasted the universe into existence. Without it, or something to do its job, the structure of the cosmos would be radically different than it is today.

So what is the Higgs boson?  read more »

NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day: Easter Island stone giants illuminated under the Milky Way

Milky Way Above Easter Island

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NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day, June 18, 2012
Why were the statues on Easter Island built? No one is sure. What is sure is that over 800 large stone statues exist there. The Easter Island statues, stand, on the average, over twice as tall as a person and have over 200 times as much mass. Few specifics are known about the history or meaning of the unusual statues, but many believe that they were created about 500 years ago in the images of local leaders of a lost civilization. Pictured above, some of the stone giants were illuminated in 2009 under the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.

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Image Credit & Copyright: Manel Soria

Tipping point: population growth, climate change and environmental damage pushing Earth toward calamitous, irreversible changes

*update* April 4, 2013 In Sign of Warming, 1,600 Years of Ice in Andes Melted in 25 Years

A coal power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

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Earth may be near tipping point, scientists warn
A group of international scientists is sounding a global alarm, warning that population growth, climate change and environmental destruction are pushing Earth toward calamitous — and irreversible — biological changes.

In a paper published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature, 22 researchers from a variety of fields liken the human impact to global events eons ago that caused mass extinctions, permanently altering Earth's biosphere. "Humans are now forcing another such transition, with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience," wrote the authors, who are from the U.S., Europe, Canada and South America.  read more »

"Bored to death? It really could happen..." Nature gives life, shouldn't life aspire to / be inspired by Nature?

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Science Shows You Can Die of Boredom, Literally
Monthly magazines from Reader's Digest to Cosmopolitan are inundated with tips on how to sleep better, find happiness, and weave seriously sexy hair. Taking nothing away from being happy and blowing your romantic partner's mind on valentine's day, there are few things as valuable as staying alive...Try to withhold your skepticism for a moment as I share a brand new scientific discovery:

The more bored you are, the more likely you are to die prematurely

Over 7,500 London civil servants aged between 35 and 55 were interviewed in the late 1980's. Among other questions, they were asked if they felt bored at work during the past month. These same people were tracked down to find out who died by April 2009. What the researchers found was that civil servants who reported being very bored were 2.5 times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn't reported being bored. You might be asking yourself, what the %$#@ does this mean? To put this into perspective, consider this fact by the American Heart Association: Smokers are two to four times likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. People with a molotov cocktail of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar (that is, all three at once) are twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times more likely to die earlier than the rest of the population. This means that death by boredom is right up there with the favorite targets of media fear mongering, public policy, and pharmaceutical companies. Nobody is talking about boredom while people whine and die quietly at workplaces around the world.  read more »

Again ocean defenders are arrested: New Zealand's Bethune, Tokyo Two, Australian Trio, Dutch Erwin.. Now Canadian Paul Watson

Captain Paul Watson 'not here to watch them kill whales, I’m here to STOP them.'

For over 30 years, determined ocean defender Captain Paul Watson has saved many wildlife, from seals, whales, dolphins, to blue tuna... but his enemies are also determined, and very "powerful, most notably the government of Japan." "Save Captain Paul Watson from a politically-motivated extradition to Costa Rica where he will not receive a fair trial, nor is it likely that he would even survive jail to see the inside of a courtroom. The Taiwanese shark fin mafia in Costa Rica have made threats on Captain Watson’s life. Costa Rica is one of the world’s largest exporters of shark fins, a trade thought to be worth millions of dollars and controlled by the Taiwanese mafia. In January 2011, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his TV crew were allegedly held at gunpoint and dowsed with gasoline during the filming of his documentary on the shark-finning trade in Costa Rica." Newly released video evidence from the documentary "Sharkwater" proves Capt. Watson's innocence, but he is still being extradited from Germany to Costa Rica tomorrow (Fri), May 18. Filmmaker Rob Stewart joins the global call to free Paul Watson.

Arrest of Capt. Watson lawful? A 10-year-old case: no one injured, no property damaged; "the charges were originally dropped once the authorities saw the footage (from Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart)"?

Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart Proof Sea Shepherd Captain Innocent -
Fact 1. The event happened in Year 2002, when Sea Shepherd tried to stop illegal shark-finning;
Fact 2. During the event in Year 2002, "no one was injured and no property damaged";  read more »

6th Annual Endangered Species Day: Friday, May 18, 2012; one in four of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction

Endangered Species Day, May 2012

top: a red kite, one of several species of Scottish birds of prey to have been found dead from poisoning; bottom: endangered species California Least Tern

endangered species: arctic fox and polar bear

endangered species: sea otters and turtles

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Endangered Animal Photos For Earth Day - On Earth Day, it is important to not only recognize cute animals, but also those whose species may be in peril. For many species across the globe, extinction is a legitimate threat. A 2008 IUCN study found that one in four of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction.

Several of the species seen at above link are what the World Wildlife Fund calls "flagship species." Protection of these species "influences and supports the survival of other species" and "offers opportunities to protect whole landscapes or marine areas," according to the organization.  read more »

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