The God Particle, Martians, Tricky People & other news of the week

So many things to report today. That’s what I get for not attending last week’s Friday link party.

A particle of science: Higgs Boson Discovery Confirmed (Huffington Post)

(Image: CERN via AP)

Image of a 2011 proton-proton collision that produced four high energy electrons (the green and red lines), believed to be evidence of a subatomic Higgs boson particle. (Image: CERN via AP)

After an experiment already being hailed as worthy of a Nobel Prize, physicists this week confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson subatomic particle, also known as the God particle. Finding the Higgs boson is a key step in understanding the origins of our universe. From the article:

“The particle’s existence helps confirm the theory that objects gain their size and shape when particles interact in an energy field with a key particle, the Higgs boson. The more they attract, so the theory goes, the bigger their mass will be.”

A spot of advice: Tricky people are the new strangers (Checklist Mommy)
Great, calming advice on how to teach your kids to navigate the world safely and with less fear. Key quote:

“Right after Diddy was born, I was in the car listening to NPR and I heard a child safety educator say, ‘Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day. Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe. You know who’s safe? A mom with kids. Period. Your kid gets separated from you at the mall? Tell her to flag down the first mom with kids she sees.’”

But really, the whole post is awesome, so go read it.

A note of caution: Child Identity Theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it’s a real thing.

“A child’s Social Security number can be used by identity thieves to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live. Check for a credit report to see if your child’s information is being misused. Take immediate action if it is.”

Tips for preventing & responding to it.

(Note: That link doesn’t always seem to work for reasons I can’t figure out. If it doesn’t work for you, you can also find the FTC’s primer on Child Identity Theft under Specific Types of Identity Theft on the Repairing Identity Theft page.)

 A buried lede: Life on Mars. Seriously. (Talking Points Memo)

Rocks found at two different sites by the Mars Rover Opportunity and Curiosity. (Photo: NASA)

Rocks found at two different sites by the Mars Rover Opportunity and Curiosity. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/MSSS)

Well, maybe. No actual fossils yet, but that may just be a matter of time. From the article:

“NASA scientists say tests on a Mars rock show the planet could have supported primitive life.”

 A bout of insomnia: The Science of Sleeplessness (The New Yorker)

Sleep. Apparently we’re all doing it wrong. From the article:

“Until a century and a half or so ago, Wolf-Meyer observes, ‘Americans, like other people around the world, used to sleep in an unconsolidated fashion, that is, in two or more periods throughout the day.’ They went to bed not long after the sun went down. Four or five hours later, they woke from their ‘first sleep’ and rattled around…. (Benjamin Franklin reportedly liked to spend this time reading naked in a chair.) Eventually, they went back to bed for their ‘second sleep.’

“Wolf-Meyer blames capitalism in general and American capitalism in particular for transforming once perfectly ordinary behavior into conduct worthy of medication. ‘The consolidated model of sleep is predicated upon the solidification of other institutional times in American society, foremost among them work time,’ he writes. It is ‘largely the by-product of the industrial workday, which began as a dawn-to-dusk twelve-to-sixteen hour stretch and shrank to an eight-hour period only at the turn of the twentieth century.’ So many people have trouble getting enough sleep between eleven at night and seven in the morning because sleeping from eleven to seven isn’t what people were designed to do.”

Another fun tidbit, when a school district in Minnesota adjusted its school day to allow teenagers to sleep in a bit later, the average SAT score for the top 10% of the class shot up 200 points.

Read the whole thing.

A dollop of chocolate: 30 Gorgeous and Delicious Literary Cakes (FlavorWire)
Well out of my league, but a Mommyo can dream, and a Five-Year-Old with a new EasyBake oven can get right to implementing. If she succeeds, I’ll be sure to post photos. In the meantime, here’s my favorite from the article.

Those are some mad skills. (Photo: Sugar Therapy via FlavorWire)

Those are some mad skills. (Photo: Sugar Therapy via FlavorWire)

And I’m out. What caught your eye this week?

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About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, or musing about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.wordpress.com.
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