Random Thoughts

Back from vacations, I think I need to report a few random things before I get back into physics blogging. So I'll peruse the science20 article category aptly called "Random Thoughts" for this one occasion.
My summer vacations took place just after a week spent in Ecuador, where I gave 6 hours of lectures on LHC physics and statistics for data analysis to astrophysics PhD students. I did report about that and an eventful hike in the last post. Unfortunately, the first week of my alleged rest was mostly spent fixing a few documents that the European Commission expected to receive by August 31st. As a coordinator of a training network, I have indeed certain obligations that I cannot escape. 
Tragic Elevator Accident in Seville

A woman has died in a tragic accident shortly after giving birth by caesarean section.  It is unfortunate that, due to a new Spanish Law which requires media to invoice Google for even a small snippet of copyright material, Google no longer feeds Spanish news to its Google News pages.
The NCP Theory of Gravity

It seems that NCP (National Car Parks) has a theory that a thin concrete floor can support the weight of a van because, hey, gravity's only a theory, right?  Science, who needs it?

News reports show what happens when concrete isn't up to a task it was never intended for - like making airmail envelopes and such.
No, this is a theoretically based rant about TSA. My students can get credit for reading it!

When "Guardians of the Galaxy" was in development, I was skeptical. When I was a kid, they were simply different Avengers, in space. Seriously, they had a Major from America, an archer, a strong guy, etc. And everyone knows Marvel had sold off the movie rights to the popular characters to prevent bankruptcy so they had only B level characters left.

But one of those B-level characters was Iron Man, and Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Jr. and a whole team of four writers (usually a bad sign) turned in arguably the best superhero movie of all (1). And it just so happened other B-level characters made up The Avengers, and a boom was born.
Wonky Rockets? Wonky Theory!

The British tabloids Express, Metro, Daily Star, Sun and others seem to think that some or all of the rockets displayed in North Korea recently are bogus.  The "proof" is the wonky nosecones shown in a BBC video.

It's not the Rockets that were wonky.  Rather, the "news" reports demonstrate wonky thinking. Media reports about wonky rockets prove only that some reporters tend to write stories based on their own lack of knowledge.  Due diligence is obviously not a term with which these scribblers are familiar.

“Not only a new kind of community but a new kind of man comes into history with the development of the Jews.” (H.G. Wells:“A Short History of the World” Chapter 22 “Priests and Prophets in Judea”, 1922)

Racism, “a new kind of man”, written by one of the brightest minds who did no less than predicting and warning the world about the second world war:

I was not supposed to start this piece using the pronoun ‘I’.

Today is the first day of the Chinese Year of the Rooster, 2017.
I am addressing this in particular to North American friends, since yesterday evening on TV we saw Michael Portillo on one of his great railway journeys, travelling through the state of Kansas.  In one of his enounters, a young Native American man, in full costume, performed a “prairie chicken” dance from the Blackfeet of Montana.