Cast Away

The ugly black boot that I was dragging around like a ball and chain has been tossed and during the time I was in the cast my life as an adventuress was seriously curtailed. While nothing much happened to me, the world however erupted on a number of different planes. In a mere 6 weeks, protons collided, politicians clashed and Wall St crashed. While some feared the Hadron Collider might have caused the end of the world – literally, others fear the election in the States may cause the end of their world and I fear the collapse of the investment industry may cause the end of my world, it has all nevertheless been highly entertaining.

0503019h-640-x-480.jpgI was waiting with baited breath on September 10th to see if we were all vaporized when they turned on the controversial Large Hadron Collider.


Taking decades to build, costing billions, with a circumference of 27 km and buried 328 feet underground somewhere in Switzerland, it is certainly LARGE! In fact the largest scientific experiment EVER undertaken ! (This simulated image shows the circumference of the tunnel superimposed over Geneva and a glimpse into what it looks like inside.)

The idea is that they were going to whiz a beam of protons around the 27 km racetrack very fast  in one direction, whiz a whole lot more in the opposite direction, have them collide with such force that they will create “little bangs” similar to the “big bang” that created our Universe 13 billion years ago.(By very fast I mean at virtually the speed of light – so fast that they will whiz around the 27 km track 11,000 times in a single second)

By  recreating  the conditions, less than one billionth of a second after the “Big Bang”, they hope to answer some really big questions which will explain why the Universe developed the way it did. They may be able to find the “other dimensions” (other than time and space) that many scientists think exist. The Big Bang created equal amounts of matter and antimatter. The antimatter still exists but we cannot see it. The collider may be able to explain what happened to antimatter. It may also expose the elusive “Higg’s particle” the missing link in explaining why some particles have mass and others such as light, don’t. It may be able to help scientists explain the missing “dark matter” that makes up about 96% of our universe. WooHoo! Even for an unscientific mind like mine this is pretty exciting stuff.

higgs_boson.jpgFor a little “amuse bouche” I came accross this rather enterprising attempt to cash in on the collider craze.


So far the Hadron collider has been more fission fizzle than big bang as weeks after they fired the puppy up they ran into “electirical difficulties” and the collider is down until at least next spring. If you want to follow the action tune in to http://www.lhc.ac.uk/ .

If protons failed to collided, sparks have certainly been flying. More enduring entertainment has been provided by the spectacle of the U.S. elections to the extent that I am beginning to ask “will it ever be over?” McCain and Obama hack away at each other, liberals hack away at conservatives, conservatives hack away at liberals and Sarah Palin would be hilarious if she weren’t so NOT funny! Conservatives think Liberals are “stupid”, Liberals think Conservatives are “stupid” and EVERYBODY thinks Sarah Palin is “stupid”. For an interesting comparison – check out both these links.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww  http://www.boingboing.net/2008/09/25/failin-palin.html

While by nature a liberal myself, I have often wondered why and have always felt “programmed” to be that way. Conversely. “conservatism” seems to be inextricably tied to a completely different personality type and both “types” seem to roughly make up 50% of populations across the globe. While I lay in the prone position, leg propped up on pillows pondering this riddle, a fascinating answer was provided by ted-talker, Johnathon Haidt in his talk on the “moral roots of liberals and conservatives”.There is considerable evidence to suggest that humans are born with a “moral matrix” made up of 5 moral values that pre-determine our political choices. Haidt calls it the first draft of the “moral mind” – subsequent drafts are written based on our life experiences. He shows how liberals have a high dose of the personality trait of “openness to new experiences”; they crave variety and diversity, whereas conservative crave the familiar, the safe and dependable. “There is a reason why artists are different from accountants.”The five components of the moral matrix we are born with are: 1) A sense of caring for others. 2) A sense of fairness and reciprocity. 3) Group loyalty. 4) Respect for authority. 5) A sense of purity or virtue (tho’ conservatives interpret this based on religious values while liberals interpret the values of what is “good” differently)Haidt shows how the first 2 values are most prevalent in the liberal perspective while the last 3 are more important to Conservatives. Check out this TED talk athttp://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

In the meantime, after a period of reckless leveraging, the pendulum has swung radically in the opposite direction and the financial world is now frantically de-leveraging with disasterous consequences around the world. The ultimate financial guru Warren Buffet hails this as a period of great opportunity. Buy, buy, buy is the message. “If you wait for the Robins, Spring will be over.” Brilliant I think, but not so great for the millions of people who have lost everything, thanks to the greed of a few. This is where my moral matrix jumps into action. I have profound compassion for the millions of poor people (not to mention the newly poor) who ultimately will suffer the most in this time of crisis, my sense of fairness and reciprocity is best characterized by the following image of an anti-Wall St. demonstration and it is safe to say my respect for authority is extremely low.

jumpyoufackersuo1.jpg


But we are still “on the right side of the grass” as my dear old Pappy would say. So my friends, continue to “LIVE LIFE TO THE MAX”.

6 Responses

  1. Virginia Leeming Says:

    Again another brillant observation on life and heaven help us, politics. My grandfather worked at the St. James Club in Montreal during the dirty ’30s and it was his job to erase the names of members who had jumped out of windows and committed suicide.

  2. Hillary Martin Says:

    Nice blog, I love to see this kind of content, keep up the good work.

  3. juli hodgson Says:

    Peg, my favorite blog so far. I completely concur with your thoughts and know in my heart we are separated at birth. Love you and your family, Juli

  4. Jane Frazee Says:

    Not only are you gorgeous, talented and a great cook but you are also brillaint ! .. I really enjoyed this submission to your blog. A very succinct, eloquent slice of current events. More please..!
    XO Jane

  5. Denys Laurence Says:

    It is debt that has got us into the present mess. Yet the bank-rescuing Governments are insisting as a condition of their rescue that the banks start lending again immediately. This makes it inevitable that, given time, the same problem will arise again. Wouldn’t it be great if the proposed post-election summit on the subject were to find a way to ensure a vibrant economy that didn’t depend on debt?

  6. Eugene Says:

    looking forward for more information about this. thanks for sharing. Eugene

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