The Large Hadron Collider

At 4:28am EST today, scientists at CERN successfully turned on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. After nearly 15 years of work and roughly $8 billion USD of investment, I’m sure everyone involved in the project breathed huge sighs of relief when it didn’t explode this morning.

Eventually, the collider is expected to accelerate protons to energies of seven trillion electron volts and then smash them together, recreating conditions in the primordial fireball only a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Scientists hope the machine will be a sort of Hubble Space Telescope of inner space, allowing them to detect new subatomic particles and forces of nature.

The LHC has received lots of negative publicity (but publicity nonetheless) in recent months, as some individuals feared that the collider could create a black hole that would swallow the Earth in an instant. Scientists from around the world unanimously declared that such a notion was complete nonsense. But the naysayers persisted.

Fortunately, naysayers inspire comedy on the Internet!

Here are a few funny LHC-related things I came across today:

Also funny looking though it isn’t meant to be, is the official LHC website. I didn’t know 1994 was back in style!

I think the LHC is pretty exciting (apparently Google does too, as they devoted a Doodle to it). I hope it enables all of the discoveries that scientists think it might. To learn more, check out the Wikipedia article.

xkcd in the New York Times

As a kid I loved Calvin & Hobbes, but that was about the only comic strip I ever read. I think I have all the books except maybe one or two. I still don’t read comic strips, but I do occasionally enjoy reading xkcd, a “webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” It was profiled in the New York Times yesterday:

The site, which began publishing regularly in January 2006, has 500,000 unique visitors a day, he said, and 80 million page views a month. (Why “xkcd”? “It’s just a word with no phonetic pronunciation,” his Web site, xkcd.com, answers.)

Here is one of my favorites:

Facebook defines relationships.

A new comic is posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The author, Randall Munroe, is only 23 years old! He’s one smart cookie. He also writes a fairly interesting blog. I think this entry from November 2007 is my favorite:

I was thinking of getting a couch or something for my room, somewhere for guests to lounge around.

Fuck new couches. I now have a ball pit in my room.

That’s right, he has a ball pit in his room (click through for photos). Freaking awesome! And in February, he quintupled the size of it.

My congratulations to Randall on the coverage! Definitely check out xkcd if you’re looking for something fun and interesting.

We call it April Fools DAY for a reason!

We don’t call it April Fool’s Week. We don’t call it April Fool’s Month. I don’t know how we can make it any clearer, but April Fool’s Day is just one single day people! Here’s what Wikipedia says:

April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, though not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1.

So why then, are pranks becoming so common post-April 1st? Last week the hoax was that a podcaster was taking over for Imus on CBS. This week the hoax is having a trademark on the term “podcast” in Canada. Who knows what we’ll see next week. I’m sure there are others I haven’t come across too.

What’s the point of posting a hoax more than two weeks late? It does nothing but cause confusion, however temporary it may be. I suspect the people posting these late pranks are simply trolling for traffic. And in that respect, I guess it works. However, I think “scanning” is becoming more and more common as a result of the thousands of posts and articles created each day, so it’s becoming easier to fall for a hoax.

This comment from “Se7en” on Scoble’s post is worth thinking about:

Sigh, and bloggers wonder why they aren’t considered credible.

I’m all for some humor once in a while, and I believe you need to read things critically no matter what date is on the calendar. That said, I think April Fool’s Day pranks post April 1st just plain suck. Please don’t post them.

Windows Vista Exploits Exposed!

Post ImageI was going to post something last week about the “fatal flaw” found in the speech recognition feature of Windows Vista, but I never got around to it. And now, thanks to Long Zheng’s brilliant post, there is simply no point. Here’s a snippet:

Last week, the media went schizophrenic over the Windows Vista speech recognition ‘loophole’ which allowed anyone with a microphone to have full access over your computer. Granted, you must also be partially-deaf, turned your speaker volume to full, carefully place your microphone next to the speakers, turn on speech recognition and train your speech profile as if you were someone else.

The rest of the post is quite funny, and discusses other possible exploits such as the mouse and keyboard, and Visual Studio. Definitely worth a read!

Read: Long Zheng

The History of Apple

Post ImageAs you may or may not know, 2006 marks the 30th anniversary of Apple Computer, and yes I find it amusing that they still have “computer” in their name (seriously, the iPod is not being represented)! Anyway, via Derek Miller I came across this rather amusing history of the company, with entries starting 4-15 billion years ago. It really puts things in perspective:

With the celebration of Apple’s 30th anniversary wrapping up, it seems like the perfect time to take one last look back at the company’s storied history. Now, anyone can put together a timeline that tells you what year certain Macs were released or which kitty code-named version of OS X came out when. But Apple’s 30th anniversary demands a concerted effort from a reporter not afraid to dig deep to discover the untold story of Apple’s history. Sadly, none of those reporters were available, so Macworld turned the project over to the editor of Crazy Apple Rumors Site instead. Here are some key moments in the history of your favorite fruit-themed technology company as best he could remember them.

It’s definitely worth a read!

Read: Macworld

DivorceKevin.com

Post ImageIt doesn’t matter whether you like Britney Spears or not, this website is very amusing! And I suppose not that surprising, given how popular Ms. Spears is, even when she doesn’t do anything. From the DivorceKevin.com introduction (via orangebuffalo):

Britney you got us good!! You really had us going!! Where is Ashton, because we have obviously all been PUNKED!

Welcome to the home of the Anti-Kevin movement. Are you sick of seeing the train wreck that is Britney and Kevin? Sign the K-Fed Up Petition, grab your Divorce Kevin gear™ and help Britney remove the boil that is Kevin from herself and her payroll!

Yes, some good fun to be had on that site indeed. Their gear is pretty funny too – I like the shirt that says “Oops, I did it with him?”

Read: DivorceKevin.com

Funny Alberta Cheques

Post ImageI came across this bit of satire today, entitled “Government of Canada to Issue ‘Screw You, Rest of Canada’ Cheques to Each Resident of the Province”. Needless to say, it made me laugh:

Totally out of character, the Alberta Premier became testy when an insolent reporter from Upper Canada had the temerity to question him about Alberta profiting from high energy prices while Canadians are about to face enormous increases in their heating bills this winter. “Look! It’s our money! Get your grubby Central Canadian hands off of it!” barked the Premier. “We’ll do what we want!”

“Bring on some more goddamned hurricanes!”

Each and every Albertan will receive one of six different special ‘Screw You, Rest of Canada’ commemorative cheques in the mail in the next six weeks.

You really have to read the entire article, it’s very funny! The cheques themselves are quite a riot too!

Read: The Hammer

Child Rental Agency?

Post ImageThis is just wrong. I don’t know how else to describe it. I know it isn’t real, and that it’s just humor, but maybe it’s crossing the line (hat tip to Larry)?

RentMySon provides safe and trustworthy child-rental services in multiple metropolitan areas. Our service area is growing every year and we are on target to provide services in 50 cities by the end of 2006.

RentMyDaughter began operation in 1998 in San Diego. The initial idea was realized with our sister company, RentMySon. As word quickly spread of our services, so did our team of boys and the range of events we catered to. Not too long after, RentMyDaughter was born!

They have a place to submit feedback. I wonder how much hate mail they get!

Read: RentMyDaughter