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A Look At The Awesome Large Hadron Collider

December 29th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest man – made machine ever built – 17 miles long and between 165 to 575 feet in circumference. It is a circular tunnel – shaped structure below ground, situated near Geneva and it is so huge that it crosses the border between France and Switzerland four times. Its function and purpose is to unfold and reveal to mankind the seemingly untenable mysteries of where human beings came from, a much deeper understanding of the laws of nature, and how the universe got started. This unfathomable feat is accomplished in a nutshell, by accelerating sub – atomic particles (protons) in opposite directions to the speed of 186,000 miles a second (speed of light) and then smashing them together to create new particles, particularly the particle of all particles – Higgs Boson or “The God Particle.” (don’t ask me for the specifics of Higgs Boson, I’m not a physicist and I just have a general understanding of it).

In the process of colliding these prodigiously small particles (when I say small. I mean unimaginably small. We human beings can never see an atom, not even with the most powerful microscopes in the world and we’re smashing stuff even smaller than atoms —- sub – atomic [protons] particles. This is all approximate, but we can fit 100 trillion atoms nicely on a pinhead and to get an image of how small a proton is [located in the nucleus] just imagine if an atom was the size of Giant’s Stadium, a proton would be the size of a marble. Wild stuff – ahh?) we will also learn all about different dimensions (String Theory), dark matter, supersymmetry, and a whole lot of other stuff that physicists will finally get to discover and with which, advance our understanding of the natural world in which we live.
I won’t overwhelm you with all the technical specifications (most of this is over my head anyway) but I had to simply just write a little about, what in my mind, is one of man’s most important achievements.
So WHADAYATHINK? What do you think ? It’s simply hard to fathom   how these brilliant scientists were able to conceptualize and then build something so prodigious, complex, and precise as the LHC. It’s also hard to wrap your mind around the fact that this incredible structure is used for the sole purpose of accelerating and then subsequently smashing infinitesimally tiny sub – atomic particles (invisible particles) traveling at the speed of light.

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This Sentence is a Lie

December 27th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
If I am being truthful, then the fact that I’m telling you “this sentence is a lie” must mean that it’s a lie, so it’s not a lie after all – but how can that be ?  Well maybe I’m not being truthful, so the sentence is indeed a lie, which makes the sentence true – an endless loop.

Instead of  buying a nook  (I am a lover of books and absolutely refuse to give in and buy one of those e-readers – another blog), this Christmas Madelene and I decided to buy each other bookcases in an effort to organize our increasingly unmanageable personal library. Well I couldn’t be happier with our decision, because now I can access every one of my favorite books. About five Christmases ago, my wife bought me a tiny little gem of a book entitled ‘Oxymoronica’  by Dr.Mardy Grothe – a collection of paradoxes or as the title suggests oxymora. Although the book is just over 200 pages, it is packed with 2,548 of the most interesting and thought – provoking witticisms that ought to invariably give you a headache if it were not so much fun.

Some of the paradoxes are impossible to solve, like the title of this blog, and presumably much thought had been put into them as well, however there is plenty of inadvertent off the cuff  oxymora such as Yogi Berra’s “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Here are some more Yogism’s for you: “Some of the things I said, I never said.” Or how about “90% of the game is half – mental” and finally “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
Mickey Rooney  once quipped,” There’s no one more depressed than a happily married man.” Even if Mickey didn’t insert “happily” which is what makes this an oxymoron, statistically Mr. Rooney would be quite wrong – couples live longer than single folks but it’s still funny. Most of the statements in here, however ring of truth – “Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.” In addition, one of my favorites is “less is more.” I have been a student of Eastern philosophy for more than 3 decades, so I see truth in, “Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness” written by the Chinese sage, Chuang – Tzu.  Confucius said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s own ignorance” and finally, Lao – Tzu stated, “Failure is the foundation of success, success the lurking place of failure.”

What makes a paradox/adage/oxymoron stand out from the rest is if it is clever, funny, true, and ironic. How’s this for those of you out there who are always forced to attend meetings – “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” Here’s one for all you alcoholics, “I don’t drink. I don’t like it. It makes me feel good.” I fairly recently blogged about Woody Allen, so here’s one taken right from one of his movies (I think ‘Annie Hall’)  “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon. ”

Madelene’s father’s words of wisdom to his precious daughter were always, “Life is short, so just be happy.” Though this is not an oxymoron I’ll end this blog with one from Oscar Wilde which always leads to the same thing, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

So  WHADAYATHINK ? What do you Think ? Do you have any of your own oxymorons ?

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December 23rd, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor

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In A Word

December 22nd, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Your favorite word,
Prodigiously chosen,
Never replaced synonymously
With that of another.
I wondered if you realized
And mentioned it in passing.
You laughed and said
It was intentional,
That it’s your trademark.
Ah! To be so very clever as that
Is, in a word, why I love you
So “prodigiously”.
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Enough! Stop Gun Violence

December 18th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
Twenty precious children/babies were massacred on Friday and they will never have another birthday, fall in love, graduate from college, find a cure for cancer, win a Nobel prize, and even have children of their own. Six adults were also slain and their awesome responsibility and prodigiously important job of teaching and educating our children has been dashed and blotted out.
Words are monumentally inadequate to describe the absolute horror and despair the parents, siblings, relatives, and other loved ones of the victims must be nightmarishly enduring; not to mention all of the good people across the entire nation who are weeping because of that unique virtue of empathy that we humans possess. “This could have been my child.”
It has been four days since the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, CT and this country is still numb and shocked beyond belief and now we and the public officials to whom we have entrusted the duty to legislate policy that will ensure our safety and enable us to lead normal lives have come to our senses and have declared resoundingly – ENOUGH! We are going to do 2 things: 1. Legislate draconian laws banning automatic and semi – automatic weapons and permit only law enforcement to own these weapons of mass destruction (yes – that’s what they ought to be called – WOMDs) 2. Enforce the laws we pass. The response I hear over and over again whenever the aforementioned is expressed is “Then only the bad guys will have them.” Well, my response is – GREAT – now we know who the bad guys are. This would make law enforcement’s monumentally difficult job of identifying felons SO much easier. Just think, it’s not unlike the broken windows theory which empirical studies have successfully proven this style of combatting crime works.
Is it a sacrifice for gun enthusiasts ? I suppose one can view it as such, but my question to all of you out there who might be against new legislation is – what’s more important, your gun or the safety of your child. The proof is in the pudding – the United States easily has more guns than any other industrialized nation, hence more crime – logic 101.Japan remarkably suffers from fewer than 2 gun – related homicides per year because guns are banned (I was shocked too but here is the source

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/

We waited on longer lines at airports and permitted security to search our bags after 9/11, so shouldn’t we make the same sacrifices and perhaps only be slightly inconvenienced for our children ? This is a no-brainer. NO MORE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS !!! Gun enthusiasts, get a new hobby; why don’t you pick up reading, music, art appreciation, etc. – the world is so rich, besides you will become more cultured and have a more varied life. Isn’t there more to life than collecting objects that are manufactured for one reason and one reason only – to KILL.

So WHADAYATHINK ? What do you think ? Let’s stop killing each other and imagine like John Lennon did.


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Sometime In New York City

December 15th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Around this time of year, I always think of a very special encounter I experienced once when I was 15 or 16 years old. My best friend Linda and I had a habit of hopping the subway after school to hang out in Central Park. On this one particular day, as we made our way down 5th Ave toward the subway back home, a tall figure emerged from the crowd making his way up. Beside him was the short stature of an Asian woman.
When I think of it now, I see it in dream state; the slow motion movie version that brought them straight off an album cover and into my world with all of its haze as I stopped in my tracks to watch them disappear through the swarm of oblivious people.
Star struck? Oh, yes. But I wouldn’t dream of imposing. They came to NY for the anonimity this city affords. I have never regretted that decision. I treasure the moment as it was.
There are events that have happened, I often play and replay over and over when I want to get to that fuzzy place deep down inside myself. That was one of them. It’s firmly lodged in the “feel good” section of my brain. If that portion of my gray mass were to be probed it would undoubtedly produce the John and Yoko memory, suitable for framing.
I think of it especially today, in light of the tragic events involving guns of late, as it’s linked to John’s own inexplicable fate, and wonder “what if?” What if there were no guns? What if John were still alive? What if he were here to make this world a better place than it is right now? We can only “imagine”.
And so this is Christmas.
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STOP GUNS NOW !

December 15th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
STOP GUNS NOW !
God Bless the victims of today’s unspeakable tragedy.
STOP GUNS NOW!
Our hearts go out to the children of Newtown, Ct.
STOP GUNS NOW!
The nation grieves as a family.
STOP GUNS NOW!
It’s already too late.

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121212 Concert

December 13th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Having just left work via Madison Square Garden, I arrived at my Long Island home just in time to hear the introduction “The Rolling Stones” and ran to the TV. How do they do it? How, after 50 years, count ’em, do they manage to still stimulate the crowd with the same old songs? They never tire of them and neither do we. Mick Jagger, thin as ever, bouncing all over the stage, while I after a long days work and younger by far, can’t imagine  doing that at his age. He must have a special chemical make up. After Jumpin Jack Flash, they were gone in a flash. Guess we’ll just have to buy the new album, Grrrrrr.
The Who. My, goodness. They stunned with a long set of about 7 songs which included Teenage Wasteland, (goose bumps and tingling of scalp), Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, to name just a few. The touching film backdrop of Keith Moon singing Bell Boy, with Roger Daltry motioning to him in real life was bittersweet. The climax of their entire performance ended with a song sung by Roger to Pete Townsend asking him to join him in a cup of tea, no doubt an old English custom of good will between two old friends. At the end they clasped their arms about one another beaming into the audience, at which point, in typical Who fashion, Pete blurts out “Have a Fu@&*ing Bee-ahh!” No censorship on live TV made it all the funnier.
That’s all I got to see. Will watch the taped version of the rest of the big acts,
Hope you got to catch some of the show held for the victims of  Hurricane Sandy and made your donation in some small way.
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Hope

December 12th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
She bathes her baby In starlight,
Wrapped in the blue of her dress.
And prays like an angel that she might
Be the mother Whom Heaven has blessed.
Mary, come gather the berries,
The red for the dye of His cloak.
That when He’s a man He may ferry
The spirit of Heavenly Hope.
For to touch the hem of His garment,
The red that the berries have stained,
Will rid the world of its torment
And all that is Hope shall remain.
Mary, come gather the moonlight
That rests like a crown on your brow.
Scatter the stars so that it might
Lead a path to the Hope we have now.
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North of Whoville

December 9th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags”.
Another holiday season is upon us. Boxes of Christmas cards are stacked on the kitchen table awaiting the right moment to wish friends and relatives Glad Tidings. Favorite cookie recipes are pressed between the pages of long used cook books, some smudged with the ingredients of years gone by. Ornaments once adorning the family trees of grandparents long passed dangle from a pine bough in the bay window. Yes, Christmas, in all of its sentimental semi-permanence, is coming…..whether we like it, or not. We can either make preparations as we have always done, or we can choose to hide; pretend it doesn’t exist.
I love Christmas. I do. But not this year. And not last year. Or the year before that. It’s a reflective time that makes me teary eyed and sad, like watching an old movie where the ending is supposed to be happy, but it never quite gets to that part. Maybe I fell asleep and just have to rewind. I feel a little like Dorothy in Oz – the wizard is doling out all the things we’re seemingly lacking but when it’s her turn she says, “I don’t think there’s anything in that bag for me”. Searching for home in its most basic form is not always easy.
I think a lot of us struggle these days with trying to find our sense of home or recapture the essence of it; what it was that made us feel comfortable and loved. The warmth we felt as children and in the security of that foundation we lovingly call “home”. Some of us are struggling to keep our homes, or have lost our homes to the recent floods in the area. While the storm has passed, we are still unrecovered and may be so for a long time to come. So it is, in our personal storm of day to day living. But the homing pigeon always finds his way back. He uses his inner compass. That compass is called “hope”.
In our search for home, or in the substance of self, we need to stop and get our bearings. Re-evaluate and perhaps even reinvent ourselves. These are tough times. This is not the world of our grandparents or even our parents. Loss of job and home are all too real and scary. There’s no one there to make it all better. Only you yourself. A pick yourself up by the bootstraps even if you don’t have any shoes generation.
In the spirit of giving, I wish each of you HOPE.
PEACE.
LOVE.
And Glad Tidings to come.
The wreath is on the door. The house is quiet. I sit, pen in hand, and scribble off a few words in a Christmas card. And wish for you, my friend, at the crossroads, a sign pointing towards home. We’re too far north of Whoville.
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