Updated: 3/20/04; 2:00:17 PM

blivet radio
The Radio weblog of Hal Rager

Sunday, June 2, 2002

My Blog, My Outboard Brain

via Jenny who thinks of it "More Like My Brain's "Memory Stick"". [The Shifted Librarian]
10:28:24 PM    comment   trackback []  

Wimpzillas leave tracks say astronomers

How could I resist with a particle named Wimpzilla?
"An army of monster Wimpzillas is hiding out in our Galaxy and Earth is under attack. Fantastical as these beasts sound, they could solve two mysteries that have been plaguing physicists for years: the source of the Universe's missing mass, and the origin of the most powerful cosmic rays hitting our planet.

Physicists have worked out that most matter in the Universe must be made up of "dark matter" we cannot see, otherwise galaxies wouldn't have enough gravitational pull to hold themselves together. So far, the most likely candidates for dark matter are WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles, that have 50 to 100 times the mass of a proton. The trouble is, no one has ever detected one.

That may be because WIMPS, by definition, tend to pass straight through ordinary matter. Or dark matter might be made of something else. In 1999, Edward Kolb of the Enrico Fermi Institute in Chicago and his colleagues proposed another candidate particle that would have been created just after the big bang. The tremendous energies would have created particles 10 billion times the mass of WIMPs, so the researchers named these behemoths Wimpzillas.

"Although they have a weird name, Wimpzillas are among the most reasonable of current speculative ideas in the field," says Angela Olinto, also of the Enrico Fermico Institute. And if Wimpzillas exist, they would explain another puzzle: where do ultra-high energy cosmic rays come from?" [New Scientist]

7:35:27 PM    comment   trackback []  

What's an Archaeologist Doing at a Design Firm?

"By now, I'm used to the question, "How did your background lead you to this job?" People aren't quite sure how several degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology connect to a career in high tech design. The best way to explain the connection is to talk about the other question I get as soon as people find out I'm an archaeologist: "Have you found any cool stuff?" The answer is yes, but not exactly the kinds of cool stuff most people imagine.

While Indiana Jones is beloved by archaeologists everywhere, most of us don't come across lost arks. The real world of archaeology is about uncovering pieces of the past and analyzing how they fit back together. In reconstructing this story of the past, we can learn more from a pile of potsherds than from a piece of gold, because the puzzle is about putting together the whole picture from as many different angles as we can." (more)

Via Got Caliche?, Brian comments further:
"Everyone carries with them embedded knowledge, a tacit understanding of how to do the tasks they perform every day. People may not even be aware of what they are doing, and can't describe the activity when asked. The only way to understand work is to see it. Learning to interview like an anthropologist leads to better customer data and better designs. Looking at work artifacts like an archeologist reveals important work practices, and an understanding of how people interact with the artifacts of their daily lives. Their interactions with computers, web sites, and applications are an extension of interactions with any other kind of artifact."

7:11:22 PM    comment   trackback []  

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