Cluster Map

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pollyanna shows up late, but here she is

Pollyanna wishes to start with best wishes for the holiday that just ended, Eid el Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan 1432 AH,  to all her Muslim friends.and a Happy Labor Day to all our friends in North America

She also wishes to apologize for the delay in the blog caused by an internet glitch that lasted for a few days. For several days YandA had no Internet. They survived the deprivation by actually talking to each other of which Pollyanna approved and in fact they did better than the XKCD folks.

 She would like to share with you an infrared view of the Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334).

The Cat's Paw Nebula (NGC 6334) is a vast region of star formation. The whole gas cloud is about 50 light-years across. (Credit: Image courtesy of ESO)

This new portrait of the Cat's Paw Nebula was created from images taken with the Wide Field Imager (WFI) instrument at the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, combining images taken through blue, green and red filters, as well as a special filter designed to let through the light of glowing hydrogen.

Last night Pollyanna went with her blogger friends, Titan and YandA to a massive demonstration in Tel Aviv.
It was possibly the largest demonstration ever in Israel and it showed the depth of anger and dissatisfaction of young Israelis with their situation under a neoliberal capitalism that has enriched a very few and effectively destroyed the future of an entire generation. While we support the aims of the protesters and their tent cities that have sprouted up around the country, we cannot but share the regret of Diana Kimmerling over the lack of political content in their protest. Despite this, Pollyanna believes that they are worthy of the support of all decent people. They are in real trouble and people who are not sure where they will live next month or how they will feed themselves and their families can be forgiven for not having a broader view. They also have been indoctrinated since birth with the Israeli ethos, which is basically a totalitarian type of democracy (vid. Titan's blog last week) and generations of brainwashing cannot be overcome easily or quickly. . The fact that they are finally able to reject the spurious arguments about "security" that are being thrown at them now is in itself a minor miracle. Dr. Shiri Tannenbaum, who is both a medical resident leading the young doctors' protest against the recent collective wage agreement signed between the government and the Israel Medical Association and an activist in Physicians for Human Rights,  spoke fervently. She  raised the issue of the blatant inequality in medical care including the state of the Arab and Bedouin communities and was received  positively by the participants. Let us hope for the best.

Pollyanna is glad that a  child in Pennsylvania who was about to be tried in adult court for a murder he committed at age 11(now he is 13) has been transferred to juvenile court. This was a case about which Amnesty International and other human rights groups raised a mighty outcry and it worked. We are all very pleased as well about a man who was wrongly convicted was exonerated by DNA evidence and finally met the people whose  technology freed him.. In particular we like it because Yosefa's son Adam is the Sr. Manager, Business and Product Development and the Israel Site Director of Life Technologies.

One very exciting new result is that  gastric bypass , a surgical procedure designed to help obese people lose weight has a surprising side effect. It can reverse the progress of Type 2 diabetes. This was initially considered almost alchemy, but now the biochemistry has been elucidated as well. We wish this had been known long ago.

 SUSY is elusive or in trouble:No this is not a runaway child, just supersymmetry in elementary particle physics. It appears that the Large Hadron Collider is not coming up with the anticipated particles. “For supersymmetry, this is a decisive moment in time,” said theorist Lars Bergstrom of Stockholm University.

Supersymmetry is a model that solves some significant problems of the Standard Model of particle physics. SUSY doubles the zoo of elementary particles by adding a partner for each of the particles we already know. It handily relates different types of particles in the  Standard Model and offers an appealing candidate for dark matter.  So far, scientists have found no evidence of SUSY particles at the LHC.

Things are  looking bad for the simplest models of supersymmetry. Scientists at the LHC have been chipping away at two basic SUSY theories since they began analyzing data in 2010. But dozens of other models are still in the running, and scientists have more than one way to test them. Still, as Prof. Bergstrom says, never underestimate theorists. On the other hand, the lower limit on the mass of the Higgs boson seems to be coming down. Stay tuned!

GEOPHYSICS AND SEISMOLOGY  have some news for us as well. It appears that life is older than we thought and recent discoveries in Australia indicate that life was around and metabolizing sulfur something like 3.4 billion years ago. The results are out in Nature . If anyone has difficulty bringing up the paper, just email Pollyanna and she will be glad to help. On the physical side, new research is revealing more details than we have ever known about the core of the Earth. To understand what form it might take under the extreme conditions at the center of the Earth, Professor Kei Hirose set himself a seemingly impossible challenge: to recreate the  conditions at the core in his lab at the SPring-8 synchrotron near Osaka, Japan. After 10 years of trying, he has finally succeeded. Others have used .wave propagation through the core to deduce its characteristics

Our Science News in Brief for this week deals mainly with astronomy. We hope you find it of interest.

Our book review is about a the cells of a woman who died of cancer but whose immortal cells have served medical research for over sixty years. The book Eternal Life by Rebecca Skloot  was recently reviewed in the NYTimes by Lisa Margonelli.

Gene Weingarten is still not around, but Pollyanna is glad that Colonel Gaddafi

has been run to earth albeit in an unlikely place, reported by Andy Borowitz and our friends from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal have a solution for the problems of existence.


  1. When posting on this blog I should call myself Dr. Eviatar the Fourth ... I think it is probably very wise of the young people to avoid political content *for now*. As soon as they align themselves with one traditional political party or another, Netanyahu will have all of his traditional arsenal to use against them. Now he is just confounded, and we'll hope things start to change SOON.

  2. So many good news and a wonderful development from the social protest front - I believe it'll transform into social change. Actually, it already has, e.g. the hundreds of thousands of Israelis that left there homes to march across the country.
    Hope and love, Yael

  3. Dr. Eviatar IV, the issue is not a political party, they all are loaded with social sins. What is meant is that social justice is possibly only if merged with democracy and protection of human rights.