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In the previous post I discussed, among other things, a purely empirical observation on the mass spectrum of elementary particles, which I summarized in a graph where on the vertical scale I put the year of discovery, and where I only cared to plot particles with a mass above a keV - in fact, we know that neutrinos have non-zero masses, but we have not measured them and they are of the order of an eV or below. Okay, for simplicity I will re-publish the graph below.

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I have long been of the opinion that writing about science for the public requires the writer to simplify things down to a level which is sometimes dangerously close to mislead the uninformed readers. I think is a small price to pay if you want to keep open the channel of communication with the general public, but it is indeed a narrow path the one you sometimes find yourself walking on, and fallacy is always a possible outcome.

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I have long been of the opinion that writing about science for the public requires the writer to simplify things down to a level which is sometimes dangerously close to mislead the uninformed readers. I think is a small price to pay if you want to keep open the channel of communication with the general public, but it is indeed a narrow path the one you sometimes find yourself walking on, and fallacy is always a possible outcome.

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Science 2.0 - Physics by Tommaso Dorigo - 6M ago
As the well-informed readers will realize, I am hat-tipping Hank Campbell and the catchy title of his best-selling book "Science Left Behind" with the title of this post, for lack of more imagination. What I want to discuss is, however, something only partly in line with the interesting topics of Hank's book. It is something that I see happening around these days, and which I ache for: the dumbing down of our decision making in science.

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Science 2.0 - Physics by Tommaso Dorigo - 6M ago
Given the use that people do of Google searches nowadays, and the rather special nature of my usual readership, I feel I may need to first of all apologize for the deceiving title of this post to the 80 to 90% of the visitors, who came to this page by searching for ways to become a member of a selection committee of miss Universe.  Sorry, you had it wrong - we are going to discuss parametric models here, not top models. But if you are happy to hear about the issues of fitting data with different functional forms, you are welcome to read on.

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[Disclaimer: due to my being on vacation, and completely in lazy-bum mode, the numerous links that should be provided in the text below have so far been omitted. I think the readers of this blog can anyway easily find any web resource they need and know the existence of, so I am not feeling guilty at all. Among the resources: you probably want to check one of the last posts at Backreaction, as well as the video I recently posted of the CepC project, the Amazon site if you wish to buy Sabine's new book (money very well spent if you ask me), and a couple of blog posts I wrote in the past concerning my $1000 bet on the absence of new physics at reach of the LHC....]

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Supersymmetry (SUSY) is a possible extension of the Standard Model (SM), the currently accepted theory of subnuclear physics. SUSY has the potential to "explain away" some of the  problematic features of the SM, by introducing a new symmetry between fermions (the stuff that matter is made of) and bosons (the vectors of the forces that hold matter together). Introduced in the seventies, SUSY was tested with increasingly stringent tests in higher- and higher-energy collisions at particle accelerators, but all searches for its particles have returned empty-handed. In particular, many physicists thought that the turn-on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) eight years ago would result in heaps of new discoveries of SUSY particles, which unfortunately weren't. 

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I don't remember who said it, but there's a quote I like a lot: "If you torture them long enough, the data will confess to anything". What the author meant is of course that the manipulation of experimental data and the a posteriori use of hand-picked methods, approximations, and other ad-hoc choices allows you to demonstrate anything with them, from one hypothesis to the opposite one. Statistics, in other words, is a subtle science, which must be handled with care. It is a powerful tool in the hands of people with an agenda. 

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My CMS colleague Didar Dobur, who chairs the "Top Properties" working group in the experiment, presented today the first observation of the process whereby a top quark is produced in association to a Z boson. I could follow the presentation by videoconference, so I am blogging about this result in close to real time, for a change.

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22 transgender people on the list of those killed by violence.  Most of whom are transgender women of color.  Transgender visibility week is underway and last from November 13 to 19th every year.  The day of remembrance, November 20th, has been observed by the trans community since 1998.UPDATE:Crunchyroll.com a localize of anime into US English choose to accurately translate a character as transgender rather than applying the word trap to them as done in the past. A number of us made them aware of the issue and the effect of that word and they listened.

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