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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views

First Posted 4:45 AM on 7-8-12

In a recent interview, world-famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, revealed that the apparent discovery of the Higgs Boson particle cost him $100 in a bet to a fellow physics professor. Professor Gordon Kane of the University of Michigan about what it feels like to outsmart arguably the world's smartest man.

The Higgs Boson particle told the priest "without me you can't have mass."

Libyans voted yesterday in their first post-revolutionary parliamentary elections.  Candidates from more than 140 parties are contesting the vote.  

Once a lush haven for several hundred thousand Afghans, decades of war, migration, and chaotic sprawl have turned the capital city Kabul, into a dusty dystopia. The tired infrastructure is crumbling under the weight of nearly 5 million people, and 70% of Kabul is now ad-hoc development with water, sewers, and electricity in short supply.  The city is on the verge of joining the short list of world cities facing catastrophic failure, disease and crime.

There's a battle heating up between Israelis and Palestinians about cultural claims to the West Bank. Over Israeli objections, the UN's cultural body voted to grant endangered world heritage status to a Bethlehem church revered as Jesus' traditional birthplace. The Palestinians also want the UN to recognize a dozen more spots as Palestinian heritage sites. It's part of a Palestinian campaign to pursue recognition by international bodies, in the absence of peace talks.  The church is the last Samaritan church in the region, and only one of two in the world.

The position of honor is to the right. That rule of seating was finally formalized on July 4th. This week, the chiefs of protocol from 100 countries met in Washington DC for the first annual Global Chiefs of Protocol Conference to talk about -- well, protocol.  Protocol is communication and the often unwritten rules of a culture as they impact communication. Proper greetings, the correct food, remembering what needs to be said and the cultural mores of societies are serious business in the world of international diplomacy. Matters of culture can make or break relations, negotiations and alliances. 

Protocol very seldom makes the news, but when it does, it is simple perceived mistakes blown way out of proportion by the media. One media reported mistake was when First Lady Michelle Obama hugged the Queen,when in fact it was approved in advance based on American protocol. The giving of DVD's that could not be played on the PAL standard in England was a mistake in protocol made by a White House Staffer, but the disc were quickly replaced (and i truth the Queen has an international player that could play the American discs).

It was the best basketball team of all time. This is the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team...the first and only truly stellar professional NBA dominated Olympics Team. Prior to the Dream Team, American Olympic competition was limited to amateur athletes.  Michael Jordon, Larry Byrd, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson were on the same team for the first time. It was their chance to get to know each other, for their families to play together and become a team. For a decade after NBA players, even those who did not go to Barcelona, were the closest in the history of the professional sport. The events that shook the four athletes mentioned earlier and changed their lives and the sport forever, occurred within a year of the Olympics. Injuries, HIV and the murder of Michael Johnson's father were felt all the more by how stellar the entire team was in the Olympics. 

This year' American Olympic Basketball Team may be the last one featuring NBA stars. The owners of the league are pushing for an international competition, similar to the World Cup, once very four to six years. The proposal caps professionals on the Olympic team at age 21. 

A cultural trend we do not see here in the Southwest is the Summer Donut House, businesses that pop up only in the summer, mostly in the North Eastern United States. The tradition dates back to the early colonist who would use what ingredients were left from long winter storage to celebrate with special cakes and pastries. 

The stage is set for an exciting men's finals at Wimbledon, where the resurging veteran Roger Federer faces the native son Andy Murray. Murray is Britain's first finals competitor since 1938.   That was the year Time Magazine put Adolph Hitler on the cover as man of the year.



Anonymous said...

I love this Higgs Boson particle business. Did you know about the United States particle collide that was supposed to be built years before the CERN and be more powerful? Stephen Hawking probably could have been out of a 100$ a while back if the plans for it went through.
Oh, also, have you seen some of the responses on Facebook, Twitter, etc. from people who seem to read the headlines and stop at "Scientists discover God--"? It's sad how we have so much access to scientific discovery news, but it's wasted on people that read out of context and can't appreciate a breaking advance in quantum physics.
(I don't have one of these accounts, by the way, I just see the hilarious screen captures from Reddit.)


-Danielle Nunez COM 101

Anonymous said...

Danielle Nunez of COM 101 checking back in here again. Just discovered this article and I thought you might like it. I didn't give the CERN and Higgs Boson enough love in my last comment.