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  • Five mysteries the Standard Model can’t explain

    ParticleNews at 2018-10-18T16:30:46Z

    "Five mysteries the Standard Model can’t explain"

    Our best model of particle physics explains only about 5 percent of the universe.

    An illustration of the standard model

    The Standard Model is a thing of beauty. It is the most rigorous theory of particle physics, incredibly precise and accurate in its predictions. It mathematically lays out the 17 building blocks of nature: six quarks, six leptons, four force-carrier particles, and the Higgs boson. These are ruled by the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces. 

    “As for the question ‘What are we?’ the Standard Model has the answer,” says Saúl Ramos, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “It tells us that every object in the universe is not independent, and that every particle is there for a reason.”

    For the past 50 years such a system has allowed scientists to incorporate particle physics into a single equation that explains most of what we can see in the world around us.

    Despite its great predictive power, however, the Standard Model fails to answer five crucial questions, which is why particle physicists know their work is far from done.

    An illustration of a neutrino

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    1. Why do neutrinos have mass?

    Three of the Standard Model’s particles are different types of neutrinos. The Standard Model predicts that, like photons, neutrinos should have no mass. 

    However, scientists have found that the three neutrinos oscillate, or transform into one another, as they move. This feat is only possible because neutrinos are not massless after all.

     “If we use the theories that we have today, we get the wrong answer,” says André de Gouvêa, a professor at Northwestern University.

    The Standard Model got neutrinos wrong, but it remains to be seen just how wrong. After all, the masses neutrinos have are quite small.

    Is that all the Standard Model missed, or is there more that we don’t know about neutrinos? Some experimental results have suggested, for example, that there might be a fourth type of neutrino called a sterile neutrino that we have yet to discover.

    An illustration representing dark matter

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    2. What is dark matter?

    Scientists realized they were missing something when they noticed that galaxies were spinning much faster than they should be, based on the gravitational pull of their visible matter. They were spinning so fast that they should have torn themselves apart. Something we can’t see, which scientists have dubbed “dark matter,” must be giving additional mass—and hence gravitional pull—to these galaxies.

    Dark matter is thought to make up 27 percent of the contents of the universe. But it is not included in the Standard Model.

    Scientists are looking for ways to study this mysterious matter and identify its building blocks. If scientists could show that dark matter interacts in some way with normal matter, “we still would need a new model, but it would mean that new model and the Standard Model are connected,” says Andrea Albert, a researcher at the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Laboratory who studies dark matter, among other things, at the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory in Mexico. “That would be a huge game changer.” 

    An illustration representing matter and antimatter

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    3. Why is there so much matter in the universe?

    Whenever a particle of matter comes into being—for example, in a particle collision in the Large Hadron Collider or in the decay of another particle—normally its antimatter counterpart comes along for the ride. When equal matter and antimatter particles meet, they annihilate one another.

    Scientists suppose that when the universe was formed in the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been produced in equal parts. However, some mechanism kept the matter and antimatter from their usual pattern of total destruction, and the universe around us is dominated by matter. 

    The Standard Model cannot explain the imbalance. Many different experiments are studying matter and antimatter in search of clues as to what tipped the scales. 

    An illustration representing cosmic inflation

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    4. Why is the expansion of the universe accelerating?

    Before scientists were able to measure the expansion of our universe, they guessed that it had started out quickly after the Big Bang and then, over time, had begun to slow. So it came as a shock that, not only was the universe’s expansion not slowing down—it was actually speeding up. 

    The latest measurements by the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency observatory Gaia indicate that galaxies are moving away from us at 45 miles per second. That speed multiplies for each additional megaparsec, a distance of 3.2 million light years, relative to our position.

    This rate is believed to come from an unexplained property of space-time called dark energy, which is pushing the universe apart. It is thought to make up around 68 percent of the energy in the universe. “That is something very fundamental that nobody could have anticipated just by looking at the Standard Model,” de Gouvêa says.

    An illustration representing a particle associated with the force of gravity

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    5. Is there a particle associated with the force of gravity?

    The Standard Model was not designed to explain gravity. This fourth and weakest force of nature does not seem to have any impact on the subatomic interactions the Standard Model explains.

    But theoretical physicists think a subatomic particle called a graviton might transmit gravity the same way particles called photons carry the electromagnetic force. 

    “After the existence of gravitational waves was confirmed by LIGO, we now ask: What is the smallest gravitational wave possible? This is pretty much like asking what a graviton is,” says Alberto Güijosa, a professor at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences at UNAM.

    More to explore

    These five mysteries are the big questions of physics in the 21st century, Ramos says. Yet, there are even more fundamental enigmas, he says: What is the source of space-time geometry? Where do particles get their spin? Why is the strong force so strong while the weak force is so weak?

    There’s much left to explore, Güijosa says. “Even if we end up with a final and perfect theory of everything in our hands, we would still perform experiments in different situations in order to push its limits.”

    “It is a very classic example of the scientific method in action,” Albert says. “With each answer come more questions; nothing is ever done.”

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  • Renato Candido at 2018-10-19T14:27:55Z - a social network off the grid ❌ likes this. ❌ shared this.

    To dispel any confusion: This is the Secure Scuttlebutt network. Manyverse is the Android client for it, previously named MMMMM, by André Staltz. ❌ at 2018-10-20T04:02:52Z

    Anything new? or SIMPLY another social network?

    astheroth at 2018-10-20T04:33:08Z

  • Trojan E-mail Scam

    David Chung at 2018-10-20T02:06:40Z

    I finally received one that revealed a very old password sent in plaintext E-mail!‎

    Despite knowing that it's an empty threat, I did go password-cycle anything that was using that old password (some old accounts from when I didn't know better that I didn't bother to include in my regular rotation). It also got me wondering who was compromised. My E-mail address from my alma mater was used, which I haven't used to sign up for accounts in a very long time so this must have been a breach of a very old database.

    On the plus side, the scammer provided a wonderful service: alerting me that a password is compromised and I should no longer use it.

    Details of the scam:

    On another note, I was trying to find the true source of that article. Duplicates seem to have popped up everywhere even on well-known news outlets but who was the original author?! ❌ likes this.

  • Avadiax at 2018-10-19T23:52:00Z

    *DO NOT DISTURB* DareDevil Season 3 binge-watching session in progress. ❌ likes this.

    I see you're not paying much attention to it...

    JanKusanagi at 2018-10-20T03:23:32Z

  • Alexandre Oliva at 2018-10-19T04:41:02Z

    .oO github has indecentralized git ❌ likes this.

  • Mike Linksvayer at 2018-10-15T05:27:31Z

    I'm going to have to increase my support for the author on that patron website with an e.

    Tangentially related: the main reason I'm not on a Mastodon instance is that I don't really want more reasons to be online. being a ghost town these days has serious benefits. The other reason is that I don't want to run my own instance, and I'm not particularly confident in any, or haven't put effort into looking. I don't mean that I dislike any or all instances moderation policies (I don't really care), but I don't want to attach my identity to any one, or create a bunch of separate ones, and they each seem to be at a BBS level of governance, sustainability, something like that.

    Karl Fogel, Tyng-Ruey Chuang, ❌ likes this.

    What's this mean for MediaGoblin then?

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2018-10-16T00:11:14Z

    Answered in

    So what happens with MediaGoblin? That’s a conversation I have to have with the MediaGoblin community. I’d be happy for this [Spritely] *to be* the future of MediaGoblin, but given that it’s a language rewrite I’m not sure if some people will be unhappy and will want to continue the existing codebase… which they’d be welcome to do.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2018-10-16T06:10:34Z

    If you look at the repo, you'll see that Chris hasn't made a release for three years, and that other people are advancing the master branch. Moving from focusing on ActivityPub to focusing on Spritely isn't actually going to change things a lot in that regard.

    Spritely may or may not evolve to replace MediaGoblin in some fashion in the future, but the goals of the projects are pretty different, and MediaGoblin has a community to take care of it. In the short term, Spritely is nothing like MediaGoblin. ❌ at 2018-10-16T08:34:46Z

    » ❌:

    “If you look at the repo, you'll see that Chris hasn't made a release for three years, and that other people are advancing the master branch. Moving from focusing on ActivityPub to focusing on Spritely isn't actually going to change things a lot in that regard.

    Spritely may or may not evolve to replace MediaGoblin in some fashion in the future, but the goals of the projects are pretty different, and MediaGoblin has a community to take care of it. In the short term, Spritely is nothing like MediaGoblin.”

    With the major crash of YouTube tonight...NOW would be a great time to be marketing MediaGoblin as being usable...

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2018-10-17T02:44:27Z

  • AJ Jordan at 2018-10-07T21:31:20Z

    I'm using a library Mac computer and I just wanna say that's defaulting to "Use Option as Meta key" being off is kinda the worst default of all time ❌ likes this.

    also while I'm at it I totally get why all the Windows BIOSes are locked down, but it's still annoying that I can't boot a Linux live USB.

    AJ Jordan at 2018-10-07T21:36:07Z

  • Avadiax at 2018-10-06T02:56:29Z

    Everyone is panicking over that China has backdoored the BMC ... but hey, we can accept Intel AMT backdoor because it is made-in-USA? Don't you dare forget the superpowers are all equally guilty of supply chain hacks. NSA invented it first.

    David "Judah's Shadow" Blue, ❌, McClane likes this.

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  • Cold Benefit

    David Chung at 2018-10-05T04:23:38Z

    A benefit of having a cold is that second-hand smoke no longer bothers me! My respiratory system is already at heightened alert with mucus coating in place! ❌ likes this.

    Ah, you're lucky =)

    ****ing smoke would bother me anyway xD

    JanKusanagi at 2018-10-05T12:30:04Z

  • Avadiax at 2018-10-05T00:18:38Z

    The Vulture sums up my thoughts on the Bloomberg's article ... not everyone is honest, including Bloomberg. Food for thought: If it is so brazen, why no one else spots it in the wild? ❌ likes this.

    I'm not entirely convinced of who is telling the truth and who is misleading us, but it's not implausible that this would go undetected in most places. If it happened, then:

    1. It was likely a targeted operation.
    2. It was affecting a small number of servers.
    3. It was undetectable unless you were looking for it and had the blueprints for the motherboard. ❌ at 2018-10-05T06:26:12Z

    The Vulture article is very good and everyone should read it. ❌ at 2018-10-05T06:28:42Z

  • Avadiax at 2018-10-05T00:23:31Z

    "There is one area where the Bloomberg piece makes no sense. Supermicro servers are procured for US Military contracts and use to this day." <-- Ditto. ❌ likes this.

    Is it really Super Micro-related? They were targeted this time (if it happened), but it could have been anyone who buys motherboards from China, and that means it could have been anyone, and the next time it would be anyone.

    Time to etch and solder our own circuitry in our basements. ❌ at 2018-10-05T06:28:02Z

  • I hate days like today

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2018-10-04T03:41:34Z

    I got accused by a caller of being in league with the Devil.


    I reduced another caller to tears without even trying. The poor Gen-Y female college student found out the hard way that Uncle Stupid wants his money and that breaking down in tears doesn't make debt simply disappear. Convenient, easy to afford payment plans were on afford but she hung up on me instead.


    The new hotness? The frakking conspiracy theorists over the Presidential Alert message sent to cell phones. People are only just now starting to think "The Government" is listening to their calls? If you're making an open call on the public-switched telephone network, you should generally assume one or more intelligence agencies will be creating a nice backup copy of the call that you'll never be able to reach.

    The question is where the breaking point is...and how close am I getting to it. ❌ likes this.

  • dw at 2018-10-02T16:02:14Z

    ok, using split ❌ likes this.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-10-02 12:30:01.618927

    Astronomy Picture of the Day (Unofficial) at 2018-10-02T17:30:02Z

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 October 2
    See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
the highest resolution version available.

    Supernumerary Rainbows over New Jersey
    Credit & Copyright: John Entwistle

    Explanation: Yes, but can your rainbow do this? After the remnants of Hurricane Florence passed over Jersey Shore, New Jersey, USA last month, the Sun came out in one direction but something quite unusual appeared in the opposite direction: a hall of rainbows. Over the course of a next half hour, to the delight of the photographer and his daughter, vibrant supernumerary rainbows faded in and out, with at least five captured in this featured single shot. Supernumerary rainbows only form when falling water droplets are all nearly the same size and typically less than a millimeter across. Then, sunlight will not only reflect from inside the raindrops, but interfere, a wave phenomenon similar to ripples on a pond when a stone is thrown in. In fact, supernumerary rainbows can only be explained with waves, and their noted existence in the early 1800s was considered early evidence of light's wave nature.

    Follow APOD on: Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, or Twitter
    Tomorrow's picture: open space

    McClane, ❌ likes this.

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  • Screwtape at 2018-09-27T01:38:11Z

    "cc1plus: warning: unrecognized command line option ‘-Wno-unknown-warning-option’"

    Ah, software development. ❌ likes this.

    Well, at least in software development, the tool actually complains when there's something wrong xD

    JanKusanagi at 2018-09-27T01:47:10Z

  • Avadiax at 2018-09-26T00:14:20Z

    Damn ... someone actually thought of cheating the CI server by copying Volkswagen. I am pretty sure this site will be taken down in a jiffy because of copyright claims. :P ❌ likes this.

  • Karl Fogel at 2018-09-20T20:24:21Z

    I loved this article: deep reporting on what it actually means to know things in mathematics:  /cc @EricaKlarreich @vaslona @jimblandy ❌ likes this.