The weather beavers are foretelling all sorts of atmospheric nastiness for today and tomorrow. Or I should say that the local audio-visual electromagnetic receiver weather beavers are. The tone of the Yankee government weather service and the national weather types is somewhat more restrained. So what we are being told is conflicted from the get go.
That conflicted runs through this matter. Do we all sit in the basement and wait for the house above to vanish off to Oz? Do we go and invest in spirits so that we may be anesthetized when we discorporate from being ripped asunder by winds, pummeled to goo by hail, burnt to crispies by lightening, or impaled by flying debris?
Or do we just go seize the day with the sure confidence that ending is stochastic?
In similar vein, I have received several emails from non-physicist colleagues, who are poking or peeking (to borrow that old metaphor) about the rumor that a Higgs boson has been observed. [Link]
The bogs among these have almost universally used the phrase ‘god particle’ which I find rather distasteful. It implies a rather chauvinistic relationship between deity and dohickey. There is the implication that the particle embodies the deity or that the deity embodies only that particle. As one of my oldest and most respected of colleagues, Dielectric Current Momentum, used to chastise me, pantheism is contrary to christianist doctrine, which implies that god is not omnipresent, which in turn casts doubts over omniscience.
The particle, if it exists, and is as the standard model theorists hope, is the mass propagator. That is, it manufactures that quality of stuff that is gravitational in nature. Whether it propagates inertia is as uncertain as what either gravity or inertia actually are.
I do not object to it being named although I feel this to be a disservice to Higgs. If this does turn out to be a boojum, then his excellent work will immediately be bankrupt to the masses.
But what is most telling is that more than one instance of a particle must be observed to assure that the dohickey is actual and not an artifact of inaccuracy. When we have seen a few hundred, and under suitable variation, then we may be confident that there is something. Until then, the matter is as elusive as the deity often is.