Don't F- with me! [ AN G ]

One of my basic belief is the Old Testament "eye for an eye", as opposed to the New Testament's never ending love fest and pussyfication of "turn the other cheek".

Now this does not mean I make a list and hunt down and kill all who oppose me, as tempting as that may be. What it does mean is that if you fuck with me - any way shape or form - I will simply treat you as you do not exist; sort of the ultimate in passive/aggressive.

Let's look at Subaru, yes Subaru. I had the pleasure of buying my first new car when just completing Grad School. A new model - the XT - had come out. Billed as the most aerodynamic production car (at the time), I savored both the unique appearance with features like retractable flaps covering the door handles and a single wiper blade for the windscreen; plus that new car smell.

What I did not realize - and the brochures did not make it clear - was the base model DL had no rear seat! I drove the car back to my apartment in Quincy MA and was showing it to a neighbor. He thought it was a really nice looking car - but where was the rear seat?! Yes, the base model had no rear seat. Without going into the details of communicating with the dealer and Subaru NA, they said that the listing of rear-seat "headroom" and "legroom" in the brochure for this model was for "illustrative purposes only". Never mind these measurements were removed from the 1996 brochure. I ended up making my one rear seat with matching material to the front seats and installing seatbelts. Thankfully my insurance company at the time did not have it listed as a 2-seater.

So in a roundabout way it goes without saying that I will never buy from Subaru. I probably wouldn't anyway as they used to make gas-sipping frugal cars (mine got 35 MPG last millennium) whereas now they think everyone wants to go 100 MPH and get 20 MPG.

So this bring me to my current story. My dog was sigk recently, and we chalked it up to just eating something that disagreed with her. Yeah, like salmonella. It seems that some brands of dogfood were contaminated (full story here). I am so thankful for someone I work with who told me about this.

So this means I will never buy anything from Mars Petcare; including Ol' Roy and Pedigree. I suggest you also do the same.

They will also be receiving a UPS package of the remaining dogfood.


Nice Knowing You...? [ G PI T ]

The LHC - or Large Hadron Collider - goes online tomorrow, around 9AM EST.

For those who do not know it, the LHC - summarizing Wikipedia - is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. The collider is contained in an underground circular tunnel with a circumference of 17 miles. It crosses the border between Switzerland and France.

The LHC - as part of particle physics study - accelerates protons to 450 GeV (GigaElectronVolts) to 7 TeV (TeraElectronVolts - that's a lotta volts); at this energy the protons (also called Hadrons, hence the name) move at about 99.999999% of light speed.

However, there are those who theorize the LHC could create micro black holes, strangelets, magnetic monopoles, magnetars, or even vacuum bubbles which which could lead to the doomsday scenario of the destruction of our planet.

Keeping in mind that during the test of the first H-Bomb, Teller thought it might actually ignite the atmosphere, turning the Nitrogen and Oxygen into poisonous NO2. Thankfully this didn't happen.

However, there are those doomsayers who postulate that the dearth of radio signals from more advanced civilizations is simply that there just aren't any. Once a civilization reaches a certain technological prowess, they invent their own version of an LHC, turn it on, and simply wink out of existence.

The LHC is due to fully power up at around 9 AM EST in the US, and I will be watching with guarded optimism. I do plan to kiss my wife a bit more tenderly, and hug my kids a bit tighter before leaving for work. I leave you with these thoughts:

First of all, given the relatively large mass of the earth, the relatively slow growth (w-a-a-a-y less than lightspeed, but still freakin' fast) of a black hole's event horizon, and the fact that electric signals travel at the speed of light, we should be able to see 2-10 seconds of the beginning of the end, if we are watching a webcam in Paris, for example.

Secondly, if it does indeed destroy the earth, France will be the first to go, so I supppose that every cloud (or black hole in this case) has a silver lining.

And lastly, when one realizes what 'hadron' is an anagram for, at least we'll all go out laughing!


UPDATE 9/10/08 @ 12:02 PM EST - I'm here, you're here; even the French are still here. I guess I should've read the LHC safety report ahead of time. Although when you read dismissive sentence like this "Black holes, therefore, would have no time to start accreting matter and to cause macroscopic effects" when we have never made a black hole ourselves, one has to wonder what was the basis for the conclusions it is 100% safe. And apparently if micro black holes are created, it may take years or decades to feel the full effects.