Headlines and particles

Headlines from the main page of CNN.com.

“Kitten’s head gets stuck in pipe”

“Madoff’s bling on auction block”

“Dolly Parton on her ‘double Ds'”

“Boss gives employee his kidney”

Is it just me, or are the headlines getting more and more vacuous each year?

And while there’s a headline about the LHC, it’s “Collider resumes ‘God particle’ hunt” — and oh, how I wish they’d nicknamed the fecking boson a Satan particle instead, or a Wotan splinter, or a Yahweh dongle; something with a little less woo in it. (Then again, the namers are the “black hole, dark matter” people — not that I, as one of the “complex number, simple group” people, can afford comments about the  subject.)

After that, the story begins with these words: “Excitement and mysticism are building around the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider” — and basically at the word “mysticism” a red veil of rage started to slide over my eyes.

Sure, this is an awesomely beautiful and grandiose experiment of curiosity and reason, carefully planned and meticulously constructed to uncover the least obvious and most profound secrets of nature; that’s what this is. So why not invoke some hokey “mysticism” to placate the moron hordes that gibber and sway outside and cannot understand the processes of coldly calculating reason, that cannot see that though there’s allure in knowledge and in mystery, mysticism is something different, and beside unthinking certainty maybe the worst mindborne disease to ever rise among and ravage the human race, and the thing that above all others has blocked clarity, retarded progress, and muted protest; the very thing that has turned unparalleled reasoners into stunted opiate-dream monks chasing vacuous dreams in ever-widening circles, and made men and women of good intentions into twisted horror cheerleaders willing to excuse any ill in the name of their tepid and empty intuitions and their meaningless and pareidolic personal experiences —

Sorry. Got carried away. Feck I hate mysticism. Not mysteries; mysticism. Can’t stand the thing.

The actual article is tolerably nice, though — it calls the black hole and future sabotage cranks “alarmists” and and proponents of “fringe theories”, which sounds about right in a publication that doesn’t tolerate four-letter ur-English expressions.

As I understand it, the whole “God particle” name comes from the atrocious groaner that, since the Higgs boson would be a reason for gravity, it and God both would be “the reason we have mass/Mass”. I have however this uneasy feeling that a whole lot of people read more into the name than a pun that was perpetrated, not spoken!

Ah well, maybe I can hope for a headline that says “No God particle found”; would make my black, stunted little atheist heart glow a little warmer. I’m not picky about my childish amusements. (Or maybe “There is (probably) no God particle. Now stop worrying and study pure mathematics instead.”)

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