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News Blip: LHC

The Large Hadron Collider was such massive news that it definitely needs its own article.

LHC will reveal to us details about dark and antimatter. It's like an opportunity to replicate some never before-seen conditions, and answer millions of unknown questions; doing that, sometimes scares people! haha.

It excites me and most scientists, too, though.

Basically it gives us an inside look into how the universe was created, re-manufacturing some big-bang like instances that will answer jumbles of of scientific questions, clarify models (like the Stand Model) that were purely theoretical practically, and illuminate a lot of "shaky and uncertain" areas of science. Basically the LHC will provide is with a "Director's Cut Edition" on the making of the movie of the "Universe". haha!

Here's the breakdown of what the components will do. They basically track different things, some of which we haven't ever known about until now.

Anti-matter tracking -- LHCb is in charge of this. We've got a TON of matter in the universe, but can't seem to find the anti-matter! The big bang had equal amounts of matter and anti-matter, but all we've been able to put our fingers on is matter. LHCb will track where the anti-matter goes in the miniaturized, microscopic Big Bang replica.

Quark-Gluon Plasma tracking -- ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) will track liquid-like plasma that existed ONLy after the big bang, so that'll clear that up.

Dark Matter & Higgs Boson tracking -- CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) both function as the core kind of general all-purpose tracking dark matter and the so-called "god particle". Understanding the Higgs Boson particle's (the only unobserved particle of the Standard Model) role in the univese could reveal how massless energy transformed into mass.

Other Dimension, Origins of Matter, and new Physics tracking -- ATLAS will scope out all of these new ground-breaking discoveries.

The Higgs Boson particle (along with quarks, leptons, photons, and gluon particles) is a key particle in the Standard Model, but unlike all the other 4, it's purely theoretical. The LHC will hopefully prove the existence of the Higgs Boson, completing a major puzzle piece to the cosmological big picture.

While the LHC Rap video

is award-winning, this debriefing

is the most ilustrative I've seen.

Finally, this video

had some great invterviews from an eclectic handful of CERN scientists and physicists.


POP Suite Part 5: Email Organization


Welcome back to the Productivity and Organizational Progress (POP) Suite. Today we're talking about Email Organization.

Here's my two cents on email productivity.

THE source for clarity on [Gmail] IMAP bugginess.

When add the [Gmail] Pretext to my Gmail account only certain gmail folders pop up:
All mail
Deleted messages
and One other folder

When I remove that, my massively annoying byzantine infrstructure of google labels pops up. What the hell is going on?

Well, any "prefix you use" [Gmail] will be the only folders that Mac Mail loads. So if you have 7 folders called [ABC]/Folder1 [ABC]/Folder2, etc. Mac Mail will only load those seven folders.

Google is so infuriatingly buggy, I can't even begin to describe how much its IMAP features suck.

So many 3rd-party programs have done that. Even open office (neooffice is slow as fracking hell). So I've made an ultimatum with myself. I only use Apple software. Period! I'll likely switch to mobile me within a few months because that looks so smooth and inecredible.

I'm talking EVERYTHING mac. Sure, I'll use quicken, and one or two other third parties, but everything else: apple. Why not? It's complete, it works great, its's designed for yoru ocmputer by the company that designed hte hardware, too. It's smoother to keep the kinds of software congruent and do you actually "need' all of those crap, hack third-party programs? Definitely not. Most certainly not. They're all impulse buys. Anything that you can do with apple software is all that you need. They have a built in xcode sdk and script editor for applescript for crying out loud! They give you the tools and the freedom to create your own apps! Signing up for non-apple email, apps, upgrades, etc. before was just something I had an aversion to, (Being a devout apple fan), now signing up for or using 3rd party programs has ceased being an aversion and has simply become a massive source of pain and sheer frustration. I hate non-apple apps. I frankly hate tehnology right now I ahve spent so much time debugging and trying to get things to work, but if I can take a few small doses of technology, I'll only settle for Apple.

I just got fed up reading reviews on Macword because what use is a review from a really awesome program that I can't afford in the first place?!!! Untill I can actually afford this software, reading about it seems kind of boring.

I'm seriously at the point where I'm so sick of these little installations from xyz software that wreak disgusting, foul, putrid discombobulated havoc and disgusting clutterfests on my life. One of those, most undoubtedly is google. I hate google. Their IMAP configurations wiht are so sickenling buggy, it's basically like setting up and debugging your own email server in the beginning ages of the internet. It's causes me so much painful frustration for hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life. I didn't even realize that google mail was the cause of it. I had a couple gmail accounts and I finally "settled" in one

Email Folders
We've got @Later, @Noisy, @Archive, @Action, and @Respondto. Now honestly those are a bit redundant. I like the A, B, C method of prioritizing all those folders, meaning

Because A, B, and C reflect the amount of mental energy you should put towards a response. If you don't want to right a long response, drop the message in C! C messages should be limited to 5 lines maximum for each response. NO MORE! Stickign to that methodology will give you so much freedom in life because instead of seeing dozens of emails where some might involve actions or long or short responses, if you have collected 10 emails in "C" just dash out responses to those and it should take you 10 minutes, tops!

Rules about rules!

Key word to the wise regarding Google Filters or Rules. Use them sparingly and ONLY if you have absolute 100% assurance that the rule will get highly utilized. think of the filters/rules as large conduits -- the main "plumbing" if you will, if your email. On my gmail account at one time I had over 30 filters -- Thirty! That just creates (trust me. I know from experience) a fragile, and convoluted email routing system. I think rules and filters should max out around 10, with a few strange exceptions. Good reliable filters that i always use are routing my Facbook and Myspace emails into @LATER/C and @LATER/Myspace, respectively. I get a lot of those updates Consistently -- the consistency is the key parameter for making a rule --and this way they're all consolidated in a seperate folder that I peruse leisurely, "@Later". Consistency is key. At one point, I set up all messages from certain friends to be automatically labelled as "friend". That's cool. Except that when you do that with 10-20 email address and then those people write irregularly, you've got 10-20 extra filters/rules clogging your "email plumbing" which just adds ot confusion, instead of subtracts it. Bottom-line: Rules/Filters should have a high threshold of criteria before they're applied:
1. Regularity -- You must Consistently Receive certain type of email (like Social-networking updates)
2. Consolidation -- Would prefer to have this messages redirected out of the inbox in a seperate folder
3. Decreases Confusion & Clutter -- Adding said filter/rule decreases confusion, instead of adds to it.

With the "Auto-labelling-as-friend" filter, I'd have a friend email me every month or so and "miss" the email because it popped up in "Freinds" instead of inbox. All emails that are irregular (meaning that it's up to the recepient, instead of some auto-responding program like Facebook notifications) should be unfiltered and go to your inbox for you to process directly. Here's an example using all three criteria: Filtering newsletters rerouted to @LATER or @LATER/Newsletters fits reflects "regularity" because you'll recieve those like clockwork weekly or monthly or whatever the scheduled frequency was; "Consolidation" fits because why would you want to read a 4-page newsletter in the midst of processing your main email. You want those in the "@LATER" folder, consolidated and out of the way to optionally read after you've handled stuff that could potentially "blow up". Finally you can check of "Decreases confusion and clutter" because seeing a swelling "Inbox" can cause alarm but if all of those are "Newsletters" you'll just see a swelling "@LATER/NEwsletters" which decreases confusion and panic!

Another example: Bank and Financial NOtices. Any important alerts that you want to receive immediately should, obviously not be filtered, but your weekly or monthly bank statement that sends via email, as long as it can't possibly contain something that could "blow up" or an action coudl be routed to @Later or @Later/Finances, for your Liesure perusal of your financial emails.

On the Nature Of @LATER Emails: Stopping the Dam
It's important to note that all emails directed to @LATER should be emails that could potentially go unread for months or years and nothing "would be missed". Anything important or tied to an action should never be filtered. This is why you don't filter friend's emails because they could have an action buried in there (the rare exception is the loving aunt who only always sends just "Checking in" emails). Don't Assign a rule to something you need to see in your inbox! So given that everything auto-routing to @Later or its sub-folders is just "Leisure reading", the question arises "If I don't Need to read that stuff, why do I even subscribe to it?" Answers will vary, but it's immensely valuable to just plug the leak and simply unsubscribe to junky newsletters or updates you rarely read in the first place. Redirecting All newsletters and automated notifications to @LATER is half the solution. The next solution is eliminating via unsubscribing the junk @LATErs (i.e. the junky newsletters or notifications that you dont' care about in the first place). This is just stopping the dam intstead of redirecting the fluidity of your flow to another folder. If what accumulates in @LATer is primarily "sewage" in other words, eliminate the sewage from the source and stop just "redirecting it around" for goodness sake!

So to conclude we've talked about the "Rules for Rules" or the Three criteria of Regularity, Consolidation, and Decreasing Confusing for assinging a rule and we've talked about just eliminating and being SELECTIVE about the @LATER emails you recieve in the first place.

Those to excellent solutions is your calling card to the delightful and enlightening experience of lightning fast inbox-zero anti-clutter email.

Here's the down-low summary on how to work email with the most simplistic methods possibly (i'm drawing from merlinn mann, David allen, some macworld gurus and other productivity experts and my own experience).

I've detailed the horros of the overly-byzantine system above.

Possible Emails -- Email_IDEAS
This folder should contain REsponses that you foresee as plausible. When I email. I typically already know what a person will say in response so This way I have the responding part covered. Alternatively, which is the best to do, this should be in Drafts and labeled a different color indicating that it's a "canned response" to a pre-written email. When you know how people think, you already know the type of response you expect to get, so just write your response to that future response then so you don't have ot worry about thinking about in the future.

Edit GMail Filters -- remove most
Ensure I'm aware of what emails are skipping inbox.
AFter some consistency has been established with these folders add in mail-acton and mailtags features ONLY if those programs are non-trial
READ about Mail-acton
Read about Mail-Tags
Get Mail-acton to work
Get a license for it for free or buy it before fully using it
Learn how it works and create some useful rules
Set up mailtags
Elminate all archiving folders after setting up mailtags
Find Mail Aggregator for myspace and facebook accounts

Tuesday News Blip


Transportation: Interestingly enough, local Californians and many other commuters have grown a liking to the public transportation method of commuting they adopted to deal with outrageous gas prices not too long ago. Now that gas prices have dropped, many commuters still prefer the public transportation method. Hey, better for the environment, less pollution, and cheaper; they just have to make sure they get a good bus driver!


Real Estate: Californian real estate continues costs top dollar, especially compared to other places around the U.S. Take La Jolla's average house cost of $1.8 million compared to Sioux City's average house cost of $133,000. You'll get comparable actual houses for 13 times more or an additional $1.67 million in California. One small factor is unemployment in some mid-west states like Ohio or Michigan, unemployment rates have slashed home values, but that's not the bulk of the price variation. So what's the deal? I think local home owners would agree that mountains, ocean, surfing access, and perfect year-round whether is well worth 20 times the amount of paying to live in a place with no ocean, no mountains, and colder temperatures half the year. So in a sense, CA real estate is a bargain! Going international, however, it turns out Dubai, United Arab Emirates takes the cake for most expensive home, costing $2.5 million, or a 1/3 more than the average La Jolla cost. However, some east coast places like Greenwich, CT ranked in at comparable prices to the expensive California coast cost. While on the other end of the spectrum, the study showed house prices like Jackson, MI, Akron, OH, and Arlington, TX as the lower end prices, but obviously, that cost cut reflects the cut in climate quality and environmental resources.


Technology: Google plans on ousting Microsoft's Internet Explorer with its own browser, Chrome. While Microsoft remains convinced its newest IE 8 will hold the market, Google's browser undoubtedly will be tough competition given their dominance in internet searches already. The announcement could've effected stock prices already as MSFT dropped a few cents while GOOG jumped over a $1 but those prices could have been coincidental. Some features of Chrome are going to be tough breaks for Microsoft though. Like "protected tab surfing" or "crash control" where (not unlike the protected memory feature of Mac OS) if one tabbed page crashes while surfing only that single tab will restart, not the entire browser, making for much less glitchy web surfing. And features like "incognito" which keeps hidden your Internet navigation history as well as an auto-updated list of top site visits. It's quite possible that the introduction of the iPhone, Bill Gates' departure, and now Chrome poking tough competition at IE 8, could have started a slippery slope for Microsoft, inhibiting it from holding the monopolizing technological stance it once had. However, it's important to point out that most all features present in Chrome alreasy existant in Apple's Safari browser.


Immunology: New discoveries in the origins of poison ivy reveal insights into developing an immunity to the plant, but a consistent cure remains to be found.

Science: Oh...and there's just one more thing. The Large Hadron Particle Collider could change the way we view the entire universe, gravity, and our relationship between matter and energy. Just one last tidbit to throw in there. I found this little rap pretty convenient and instrumental in explaining all the fine details of the process:
LHCB is where the antimatter's gone. ALICE and ATLAS looks at collisions of lead ions. CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind. They're looking for whatever new particles they can find. The LHC acclerates the protons and the lead and the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.

The LHC will reveal to us details about dark and antimatter. It's like an opportunity to replicate some never before-seen conditions, and answer millions of unknown questions; doing that, sometimes scares people! haha.

It's amusing how much irrational fear this amazing scientific breakthrough has caused. Talks of "the end of the world", "silly Jesus stuff", "recreating the big bang's destructiveness" are just ignorant and irrationally loony. It's astonishing how far ignorance and blind naivety will allow people to take them; some people even went as far as trying to have a legal barring of this incredible and fantastically monumental breakthrough in science. But people always fear what they don't understand albeit one the biggest cosmological breakthroughs ever, so hopefully the above rap will eradicate that fear with a simple explanation:
size = 17 miles, cost = 8 billion, energy consumption = 14 trillon electron volts

but a complex explanation could be even more enlightening, but this inside look is what really takes the cake for being the most helpful. Of course, learnign something about Higgs boson and the Standard Model couldn't hurt either. This is a the collaborative product of over 8000 physicists and 85 countries. It's a grand uplifting event not a destructive one! The collaborative efforts of that type are second only to things like the Olympics. This most certainly is a fine day for the world and for science.

C to the E to the R to the N
...ahh that's the best part of the rap.

Conclusively, I say:

The LHC will reveal to us details about dark and antimatter. It's like an opportunity to replicate some never before-seen conditions, and answer millions of unknown questions; doing that, sometimes scares people! haha.

It excites me and most scientists, too, though!


Tuesday News Blip


Entertainment: Hollywood does it again, with the inverse relationship between entertainment and economy -- if the economy slumps, movie ticket profit soars -- Hollywood has made $4.2 billion from May to Labor Day. Interesting to note that the big box-office sellers were super-hero movies like "The Incredible Hulk", "Batman", "Hancock", and "Iron man". Who knew that some adventure action movies would be the big box office hits?


Humorous: Talk about your ultimate typos, The Bloomberg News accidentally released an obituary of Steve Jobs, despite the fact that he is still very much alive to this day. The multiple-paged obit, apparently "hold for release", got out of the bag and wasn't held. You can view it here. And here is actually a list of the embarrassing history of many untimely obituaries of the past, some of the most astonishing are Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Mark Twain on two accounts! The painter, James Whistler, read his accidentally published premature obituary and said it actually made him feel better: ""tender glow of health"!


Weather: While, hurricane Gustav's 45 mph winds caused 2 million people to evacuate Louisiana's coast, the local resident's there were more-or-less prepared after the hard-learned lessons from Katrina in 2005.

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