Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the end of the world as we know it

Big Bang Day has arrived. Today is the day scientists finally switched on the Large Hadron Collider at Cern. The Large Hadron Collider is not just the largest particle accelerator ever made, but its running constitutes the largest scientific experiment ever conducted. Some members of the scientific community believed that switching on the particle accelerator this morning would create mini black holes which could swell and devour the earth. As I am still sitting here typing and drinking my coffee I think we're in the clear. What may be world-changing about this experiment are the questions it could answer. Cern scientists hope to create a mini big bang and examine the resulting particles, possibly including the hypothetical Higgs boson or "God particle," which could help explain why objects acquire mass and help fill in the blanks in the Standard Model of particle physics. The scientists at Cern could get to see first-hand what happened during the creation of the universe and gain a greater understanding of how the universe works, which is tremendously exciting.

black hole!

In the very slim chance the worst does happen, here's some music for the end of the world.

Friday, September 5, 2008

strange creatures

With the combination of one of my housemates arriving home late and noisy every night this week and the workmen across the street starting too early, I've not been sleeping well. Last night I had a very disturbing dream about a group of cat-sized rodents nesting in my bedroom. They had humps like camels, tails like water rats and clawed, webbed feet. I wonder what the humps were for?

(image - Matthew Robins)

Tonight I'm going to watch Matthew Robins perform his "science fiction opera" The Death of Flyboy at the National Theatre, with shadow puppets projected on the fly-tower and live musical accompaniment. Listen to some of Matthew's music here. If you're in London you should come along.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

red letter days

For the past two weeks or so I've been reworking my portfolio, traveling, stressing out and interviewing (as well as getting to see friends I don't see often). The result is that I found out on Tuesday I've been awarded a place on a professional development program for puppetry and puppetry-related disciplines. It's being run by the fantastic Green Ginger company in collaboration with the Puppet Centre Trust and several other theatre companies and arts groups. Funding was provided by the Leverhulme Trust, which is funded, among other things, by sales of Marmite.

mmmm..Marmite. Tasty and good for puppetry!

On the very same day my best friend found out he has been given an allotment. This may not seem like a big deal to those of you not living in London, but in the city waiting lists for allotments can be up to five years long, and he got his in less than five days. He is now the proud tender of a plot of land the size of a tennis court. I'm happy because it's near some wild blackberry bushes, and Ben makes fantastic jam. I've almost eaten the last batch he made me and I've had the jar less than a week. Yummy!