Archive for the G 0 Category

Everything you always wanted to know about LHC…

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero

… but were afraid to ask.

Hat tip to Dorigo, for pointing out in his blog the video above, an LHC rap shoot on location at CERN. At least from a first view the text is way more accurate and to the point than most divulgative articles about the machine and experiments in recent newspapers (no sweat, you may say, but still…).

Information about the author here (from Dorigo’s post comments).

In case you’re still curious (and still don’t dare to ask), I’d like to mention this public information site about LHC, including an LHC blog (watch out for news) and webcams (you can even have a look at what’s going on in the Atlas control room).


Angels & Demons

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , , on June 15, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero

As many will know, Angels & Demons is a rather appalling, if highly successful, book by Dan Brown.

Director Ron Howard is presently working on the movie version of the novel, following up on his previous rendition of another bestseller by Brown, The Da Vinci Code. Tom Hanks will be starring in the movie, in the role of professor Robert Langdon, which he had covered in the previous one as well.

I learned today that the Vatican had denied access to its premises for the shooting, as it had previously done for the Da Vinci Code, on account that the movie “offends common religious feelings”.

As you may know, the novel start with a murder of a physicist taking place at CERN and the theft of an absurd amount of anti-matter in order to set-up an unlikely anti-matter bomb. The process of anti-matter production, the physics involved and the laboratory itself are also described in a rather ludicrous manner. Such that CERN felt obliged to rectify a few questions in one of its public web pages.

I was wondering if the movie plan was requiring some shooting at the CERN site, so I had a look and discovered that it was indeed so. And, guess what, not only CERN management apparently had already granted access to the site, but CERN physicists had helped to get some physics issues straight in the script.

I have still some reserve about the likely result, but this is not the main point. What is worth noticing is the different behavior of CERN and the catholic church administrators.

It could well be that in the novel the church has been treated in a worse way than science or CERN had been. Or they are more easily offended. Or less tolerant. Or again, could be that science is less vulnerable than religion to what adds up to a fair amount of essentially innocuous bullshit wrapped around a cleverly devised plot.

And could be that this has something to do with science being based on facts and logic rather than faith. Up to you to decide.

For me, I’m rather happy to be on the side of Angels, this time. Or are we the Demons?

Well, whatever.

Rollin’ & Tumblin’

Posted in G 0 with tags , , on June 5, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero

No, in spite of the title and the picture, this is not a musical post.

I just wanted to inform you that since a few days I’m experimenting with Tumblr. Mainly in Italian. Here.

I’m not sure I’m really getting the knack of it, though. Comments welcome.

Time for choices

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero

So, America has finally chosen.

Obama will be the one that will run against McCain for the presidency.

Maybe because I’m eternally undecided, but, as I stated in a previous post, I still cannot make up my mind if I like Obama or not. Even if, between him and McCain, I’d rather have him. Well, I suppose.

What is sure is that, after the last Italian elections (and the slogans, the videos and everything), I cannot look at Obama without being reminded of Veltroni. And, alas, I must confess I wouldn’t be able to choose between the two, either.

I must be allergic to decisions.

Except, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t have any possible doubt if I was left to choose between Berlusconi and McCain.

…O, say, does that
Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free
And the home of the brave?

The God of Small Things

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , , on May 18, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero

In this rather dark period for Italy, a small reason to rejoice. Thinking more about it, not so small, really. Not for me, at least. It’s indeed a small thing only when compared to other more serious matters.

And actually, today there is another small reason to rejoice. In fact I would even have changed the post photo.

Only, I couldn’t find one showing the expression the Joker face had today, at about 5 o’clock.

Vonnegut and the Arrow of Time

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , on May 6, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero


Some time ago, triggered by a post on Universi Paralleli, I started re-reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. As everybody should know, the book is inspired by the author’s experience as a war prisoner in Dresden, during the Allied bombing that completely destroyed the city.

In the book, following a personal habit, Vonnegut fools around mischievously with time, going back and forth through it in almost every page. Not only that, but he actually has the protagonist travel subjectively in time, which he doesn’t experience in the usual, linear fashion. On the contrary, he goes through different moments of his life in a discontinuous way, jumping backward and forward in imitation of his author’s literary style.

Also featured are aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. The Tralfamadorians have as well a peculiar perception of time, since they see in four dimensions, the fourth being time. They thus perceive every instant of their lives simultaneously. So, for instance, nobody really dies for them. Any individual is only dead in given areas of the four-dimensional space, while in other spots he is indeed alive and well.

The book is full of time-based tricks. Let me offer you a taste of Vonnegut’s juggling with time. At a certain point, many years after the war, the protagonist is looking at a war documentary, while subjectively traveling backwards in time. Here is what he sees:

“American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses, took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen…

The bombers opened their bomb-bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.”

As it to happens quite often when confronted with something written by Vonnegut, I find this passage disturbingly poetic, utterly sad and outright beautiful at the same time.

Reading it, I almost wished for a moment that Vonnegut was still alive. Then I realized he is actually not quite dead. He only happen to be not very healthy in this particular moment.

So it goes.

May 1st

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , on May 1, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero

Since I cannot possibly ignore the suggestions of the closest thing to a living musical encyclopedia I know of, this will be my soundtrack for the Labour Day.