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Thursday, July 12, 2012

In Search of the "Satan Particle"

Finding Higgs Boson, the so-called "God Particle" is okay, if you're into that sort of thing, but when you get right down to it, what physicists ought to be searching for is the "Satan Particle."  I know, I know, all about the fundamental building blocks of the universe, and unlocking the secret of creation, and all that, blah, blah, blah.  But how much time do most of us spend dealing with fundamental building blocks of the universe?  I don't need to understand the forces that hold things together nearly so much as the ones that tear them apart.
The reality of a Satan Particle, an infinitesimal little bit of nothing that infallibly screws things up, can be proven by the following thought experiment.
Imagine two identical twins, born on the same day to the same parents (actually, I covered all that when I said they were twins, didn't I?)  One stays on earth, and one boards a spaceship that travels around the galaxy at speeds approaching the velocity of light.  The one aboard the spaceship will discover that all of his clocks seem to be running slower, and when he replaces the batteries on one, it will just flash "1:00" and he won't be able to figure out how to reset it.  Meanwhile, the one who has stayed back on earth will find his toilet is doing something funny, and no matter how he jiggles the handle, it keeps running.  His wife will tell him maybe they should call the plumber, and remember what happened the time he tried to fix the water heater.  If the one on earth observes the one in his spaceship from a telescope, he will notice his twin has certainly gotten flabby around the midsection, and yet when the twin sees himself in the mirror, he'll look just fine.  Neither one of them will find the cellphone charger even though they saw it just the other day.  When the one on the spaceship can't set his digital camera on "delay" his twenty-three year-old daughter will take it and do it for him, and he will just stare at it stupidly.  Then, let's say, that on a certain date, each of the brothers has a vital appointment.  The brother in the spaceship, although he is travelling at the speed of light, will arrive precisely thirteen minutes late.  The other brother will have a mustard stain on his necktie he can't remember getting.
I ask the scientists in Switzerland or wherever the hell it is scientists hang out to get to work unraveling these mysteries and see if they can't find the Satan Particle.
Meanwhile, does anybody know how to get mustard out of a silk tie?

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