; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, July 02, 2012

Just the Facts?: 'The God Particle' Detected? -- New Mokele-mbeme Expedition -- More 'Red Rain'

'The God Particle' to be revealed?

Has the Higgs boson finally been detected? It's almost gotten to the point that if a discovery of some sort doesn't come out of next week's update on the multibillion-dollar subatomic search, it'll be a big surprise. But how far will the announcement go, and what will it mean for the future of physics?

To refresh your memory, the Higgs boson is the only fundamental subatomic particle predicted by theory but not yet detected. It's thought to play a role in endowing some particles, such as the W and Z boson, with mass ... while leaving other particles, such as the photon, massless. The Higgs mechanism, proposed by British physicist Peter Higgs and others in the 1960s, could have played a role in electroweak symmetry breaking, which was a key event in the rise of the universe as we know it.

The Higgs boson is so key to the current understanding of fundamental physics that Nobel-winning scientist Leon Lederman nicknamed it the "God Particle" — a term that has been making other physicists wince ever since. Another religion-tinged cliche would be to call it the "holy grail of particle physics," as CERN physicist John Ellis has. He says finding the Higgs is a key goal for the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider.

"That's one thing that we're really looking forward to with the LHC," Ellis told me five years ago. "In fact, back when we persuaded the politicians to stump up the money to build the thing, that's probably what we told them."

Last December, the teams reported that they saw "tantalizing hints" of the Higgs' existence at a mass of around 125 billion electron volts, or 125 GeV. But the confidence in those results was not yet high enough to claim a discovery. Now the teams behind the collider's CMS and ATLAS experiments have collected higher piles of data, at higher energy levels, sparking higher expectations. Continue reading at MSNBC

Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles

God Theory, The: Universes, Zero-Point Fields, and What's Behind It All

Higgs Force: The Symmetry-Breaking Force that Makes the World an Interesting Place


Katie Holmes: 'Scientology is watching me'

Katie Holmes believes Scientology now views her as a threat to the organization and has put a team on her tail ... sources close to the actress tell TMZ.

We're told Katie believes in recent weeks -- as the discord between her and Tom Cruise grew -- Scientology has been following her moves, especially in New York City.

This does not appear to be the mind of a paranoid person. People who have photographed Katie multiple times tell TMZ there have been several "mysterious" men and vehicles around Katie's apartment and following her when she's out.

Specifically ... a white Cadillac Escalade and black Mercedes SUV (see above) have been seen near Katie's NYC apartment for the past week.

FYI -- there is a publication that has put a tail on Katie, but the people doing that are separate from the people Katie believes have been dispatched from Scientology.

It is unclear if the two vehicles that have been constantly spotted near Holmes' pad are from Scientology or from the publication.

If Katie is able to keep the divorce in New York -- where courts generally like to award sole legal custody to one parent or the other when there is conflict -- proof that she's being tailed could help her case.

We put in a call to Scientology ... so far, no word back. - TMZ

Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

My Billion Year Contract: Memoir of a Former Scientologist

Hollywood, Satanism, Scientology, And Suicide


New Mokele-mbeme expedition

A group of intrepid explorers are embarking on an expedition to track down the elusive lake monster Mokele-mbeme – known as the African Loch Ness Monster.

This modern-day dinosaur is believed to live in the jungle rivers of the Congo in Africa.

Now a team of explorers is setting out to discover once and for all whether Africa’s monster is fact or fiction.

The team of dino hunters arrived in the Congo capital of Brazzaville on Tuesday with an array of firearms for protection.

‘It would be wholly unwise to travel where we are going without firearms,’ said spokesman for the group Joe Marrero, 28.

‘We plan to be in the jungle for three months searching for the mokele and other new species and can only carry so much food.’

He and two others - expedition leader and biologist Stephen McCullah, 21, and Sam Newton, 22, all from the US - begin their search next month.

Over 80 per cent of Congo remains unexplored, according to recent government figures. - metro

Encyclopedia of Lake and River Monsters

Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizensof the Deep

Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures


More 'Red Rain' in India

Though not for first time in the state, red rain in parts of Kannur on Thursday did create some panic and curiosity among the residents in the district. The strange phenomenon happened around 6:50am and lasted for 15 minutes. People in the 1km area in and around Edachery in Puzhati panchayat panicked as their courtyards turned blood red after rain.

Kannur block panchayat president Shaija M, who collected the sample of the rainwater, said the water was as dark as black coffee and had the smell of raw beetroot. "I thought someone killed some animal and its blood got mixed with water on the courtyard," she said. Akshay Sajeevan, another resident in the locality, said in his compound the colour of rainwater was a bit lighter. According to meteorological department, though red rain is a rare phenomenon, but it is no way harmful. "I assume this is due to atmospheric pollution. The pollutants in the air get dissolved in rainwater resulting in red rain," said M Santhosh, director of meteorological department, Thiruvananthapuram. - timesofindia

NOTE: I had posted an update to the Kerala incident just two days before this episode...Lon

RED RAIN IN KERALA: A strange phenomenon

The Heck Hypothesis

mental_floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory