Sunday, 5 January 2014

The New Year Madness Has Begun!

As always, the thrill and excitement of the New Year is upon us once again, where promises are made and broken (often simultaneously!) and the gym is packed with hopes and long, long queues. At least it forces the more "modern" of us out into the wide world of nature where we may run amongst the trees and...etc.... Yes :) Though I would actually love to do so if there happened to be snow here. As miraculous as it seems to me, there is no snow this winter in Uppsala! (okay, there was a little that lasted for a short two days but that doesn't count).

But why, you ask? I have no idea. I keep Googling it, hoping to see the words "Heavily Thunderous, Incapacitatingly Voluminous & Copiously Covering Amount of Blizzard-like Snow Approaches Uppsala for the Forseeable Future (And It Will Be Fantastic)" appear, but I see nothing. Either I'm the only one who cares that winter isn't freezing this year or Googling no snow uppsala :( aren't suitable keywords.

EDIT: (I'm actually editing this while I'm writing this, but my search has turned up GOOD news!) This Friday, the 10th, it's expected to snow. The actual numbers I can't confirm because I'm certain meteorologists just make this stuff up (that's not true, I just don't understand meteorology very well and I'd rather blame them, than my ignorance, for this lack of snow... Human nature, eh?) Anyway, Google predicts -11 C that night... Mmm... Delicious. Other sites say -2 or -4 with some light snow... which is OKAY because it's always colder than what they say. Will definitely take pictures to celebrate :) It would have been nice to have it for Christmas but oh well, better late than never! 

Now that the mandatory weather discussion is out of the way, what else has been happening? Well, neither Peter Higgs nor François Englert would come to Uppsala for the annual Nobel Lectures due to "prior engagements" and "senility"(http://www.unt.se/uppsala/nobelpristagare-forelaser-i-uppsala-2743775.aspx). Disappointing, I know... For those who don't know, those gentlemen were awarded the prize for their work contributing to the mechanism by which particles acquire mass (previously, nobody knew. The theory "predicted" that particles shouldn't have any mass because it would violate certain symmetry properties needed in the theory for consistency. They found a way of keeping the symmetry in general but "breaking" it temporarily such that a field, called a Higgs field, interacts with itself and other fields to gives particles mass (that's a sloppy explanation but I'm not talented enough to explain it without mathematical concepts like Lagrangians and Gauge Symmetries). It would have been really cool to hear a description of it from the horse's mouth.)

I would also like to take a short moment to congratulate my good friend Andrea Palaia for recently (14th December) acquiring his Ph.D in Accelerator Physics (originally titled Who Screwed Up my Beam?). Now that he is onto bigger and better things, I wish him all the best in the future :)

Oh, one very cool thing that is a consequence of cold weather is that there's an ice skating race from Uppsala to Stockholm (the course is supposedly 80 km long!) called Vikingarännet. There's even a shorter "family friendly" version that is only 15 km long which I'm considering very heavily of doing, despite the fact I've only done ice skating once in my life, 12 years ago, and that memory is vague at best. But I have done quite a bit of rollerblading (a mere 8 years ago) and ice is just the new tarmac... Right?

Anyway, we'll see how cheap blocket can sell smelly old ice skates :P The site is here for anyone who is interested... http://vikingarannet.com/en/training-and-equipment/equipment/ That will be my New Year's Resolution - trick my friends into skating 15 km! Misery deserves company :P

Till next time, Gott Nytt År! :)

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