Science Lesson

So, they’ve only gone and found that elusive Higgs-Boson – and the universe will never be the same again… apparently.

To be honest, i’m not sure the news lived up to all the hype and i’m rather disappointed that a supermassive black hole didn’t suddenly appear and swallow up Switzerland as had been promised. It would have made for an interesting week!

In honour of this auspicious occasion, i even knocked up a quick 100-word story – you’ll find it somewhere in the sidebar on the right  ➨

However, amid the flurry of excited scientists looking awkward in the glare of publicity and news programme science-advisors, (who gained the title as a result of setting fire to the school chemistry lab in an ‘experiment’ involving a Bunsen burner, 2 spare gas taps, a Petri dish of sodium and a bucket of cold water), trying to explain the mechanics of the Higgs Field to an uneducated public using whatever they could cobble together from the newsroom prop’s room – there was another announcement that you may well have missed.

The article, which is yet to appear in the academic press, is reprinted in full below… i think you may find this far more interesting than the discovery of a teeny weeny particle whose only contribution to the universe so far is to give us all mass – something that most of us then spend the best part of our lives trying to lose!

Virtual Discovery at SPERN – The Haven-Hangon Seen for the First Time

Groundbreaking results from the Quite Large But Not Huge Prim Collider at Seren’s Particle Experimentation Research Nervecentre (SPERN), a couple of metres below the ground at Nowhere Land have, for the first time ever, revealed the so-called ‘Lag Particle’, the almost mythical, Haven-Hangon.

The Haven-Hangon has proved incredibly difficult to pin down – unlike the more familiar ‘scripted particles’, the HH doesn’t obey any of the normal rules of virtual particle physics and prefers to lurk in dark alleyways doing its own thing, rather than behaving itself like any normal particle – everybody knows it’s there, but you never know when, or where, it’s going to jump out at you.

Why did it take so long to find it?

What makes the HH particularly difficult to identify really comes down to 2 things:

Quite big!

1 – It’s really quite big. None of your millions on the head of a pin sort of nonsense with the HH – in fact, it’s so big that it’s quite impossible to ignore its presence, even if we’re unable to identify that it’s actually there. It’s the ‘elephant in the room’ of virtual particle physics.

2 – It’s stupendously slow. So slow, in fact, that we’ve been looking in completely the wrong place for it – most particles zip happily around the Collider at SPERN at a pretty decent rate of knots, (depending on your broadband connection) – it’s only recently we’ve realised, after all this time we’ve been examining the data from the collider hoping to find the HH, that the damn thing is so slow that it’s still over the other side of the Sim and hasn’t yet arrived at the start point! Once we discovered this, the rest was dead simple.

What does the Haven-Hangon do?

The HH is the fundamental particle that creates what is known as the ‘Lag Field’ – this is an all-pervasive , completely random and utterly confusing, invisible field that can occur spontaneously anywhere in sl. The effects of the Lag Field are numerous, some of the most typical descriptions being:

  • Walking into a brick wall;
  • Being stuck in an endless loop;
  • Travelling on an infinite journey forever;
  • Ouch!;
  • What the…?;
  • conversation inability to rational simple hold a;
  • Treading water in an endless sea of nothingness;
  • I’ve gone deaf – no I haven’t – yes, I have – not – have – haven’t – pardon?
  • conversation inability to rational simple hold a

The lag field has been variously described as: ‘the single most irritating force in the known multiverse’, and; ‘!#@$$*ing ?@%!!’

Prior to the postulating of the Haven-Hangon – ie. something really big that gets in the way, no matter which way you turn, and so slow that it makes golden syrup look like quicksilver, many weird and wonderful explanations were found to explain the Lag Field, most of which fell into 2 branches of the science. These became known as the ‘Them and Us’ Hypothesis, which can broadly be summarised as follows:

US – “!#@$$*ing Lindens!”

THEM – “Upgrade, get a new graphics card and use our Viewer”

The Haven-Hangon therefore changes our whole perception of the multiverse and gives us a fitting object to attribute blame to, no matter whether we fall into the ‘Them’, ‘Us’ or the, ‘I only came here because they said I could be a vampire and now all my clothes have vanished and I don’t know how to play this game, I want my mummy!’, camp.

What happens next?

Good question – one which, in the best traditions of theoretical virtual physics does have an  answer, but not a particularly helpful one.

The theory is simple: now that we’ve found the HH, we need to come up with a way to blow it up; effectively depriving the lag field of its fundamental component part. The most fun scientific method of achieving this is to accelerate the particles in opposite directions around the SPERN Collider and smash them into smithereens.

This sounds simple, but is really complicated to achieve and will probably require the addition of several extra letters at the end of noted scientist’s names before they’ll even attempt to do it. There are 3 major obstacles to overcome:

  1. Size: The HH is so big, it just won’t fit inside the collider… we’re gonna need a bigger Sim!
  2. Speed: Or rather lack of it. The HH is so slow that it’s going to take some serious hard work to get it anywhere near dramatic-explosion-on-crashing-into-each-other speed. We’re going to have to take an absolutely enormous run-up to get it moving fast enough. Once again… we’re gonna need a bigger Sim!
  3. The Lag Field: This is the biggy! Paradoxically, even if we can fit the HH into the Collider and then get it up to a decent speed, the closer the particles get to slamming into each other, then the greater the lag… In other words, the faster we can get them going, the longer they’ll take to make contact, and the harder we slam them into each other, the more they’ll either bounce away or travel straight through each other and keep going until the reach the next Region!

A virtual particle physicist’s lot is not a happy one!

The hard facts of the matter are simple – even thought we now have concrete proof of what causes lag, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a resolution to the problem for a long time to come.

[About the author: Serendipidy Haven has had several long and rambling drunken conversations with friends in the Killing Moon Pub about the nature of SLife, the metaverse and everything else and is therefore more than adequately qualified to comment on the nature of the SLuniverse at a sub-atomic level… that’s what it says on her business card, anyway.]

s. x

Oh uh huh make it magnificent.
Blondie – Atomic 

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