Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Reading

All You Got Left — Charles P. Pierce pens a stump speech for Mitt Romney.

I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.

Look at me up here in one of my three primary residences, zipping around Lake You Can’t Afford It in my jet-ski with just enough chest hair showing, and gathering my incredibly beautiful, incredibly wonderful, incredibly wealthy family around me to celebate the Fourth Of July the way all Americans do, except with better cars. It’s almost hard to believe up here that I actually had to go all around the country to buy this nomination. I could’ve closed the deal from my hammock here. No, though, I was willing to go out and meet some of those people. And now, I’m back in the hammock anyway and,

I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.

Stop sweating me, okay? It’s time for my nap. Tell Kristol to shut up or I’ll look under the lawn chairs until I find enough loose change to buy that little magazine of his and sell it to the publisher of Biker Mamas for a 200-percent profit. Let Kristol go cover Bike Week in Laconia next summer if he wants to run his yap. And Murdoch? He doesn’t like me? Tell you what: How about I get in there and revoke that tin citizenship medal that he’s got and let him go back to selling titty magazines to sheep farmers in Queensland. He’s over here because people like me allow him to be over here. Goddamn immigrant. I hope the senile old fool is tapping my phone, because I won’t have to shout at him that,

I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.

In case you haven’t noticed, they’re still all coming to me. I’ve been running them through the obstacle course up here all week. Jindal’s parking cars, and Pawlenty’s almost got the entire pool cleaned out, and Portman mixes a fine dark-and-stormy for the cocktail hour every day. Ann’s got Portman cleaning out the stalls. Fine man with a shovel, that Portman, but, Jesus H. Christ Come To Arkansas, he’s boring. Ayotte was around this afternoon, but she has to be back on the pole by 8:00 because I promised one of the kids — Tagg, or Tripp, or Tybalt, or Queequeg or whatever the hell his name is — a show for his friends tonight. They will do anything just to be the person I get to send to the funerals of the presidents of countries I could buy for what I’ve spent on alfalfa for that damn horse, because, well:

I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.

Gunned Down — Carl Hiaasen celebrates the defeat of another stupid law in Florida.

Another one bites the dust.

A Miami federal judge has struck down the new law prohibiting Florida doctors from discussing gun ownership with their patients. The ruling extends the legal losing streak of Gov. Rick Scott and right-wing lawmakers, who have set a pathetic record for unconstitutional bills.

Written by the National Rifle Association, the so-called Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act would have prevented concerned physicians from asking patients about guns kept in their houses. It’s a reasonable query in domestic situations in which children might be at risk.

But the GOP-controlled Legislature wants doctors to shut up about guns and stick to lecturing women about their abortion decisions. So much for privacy.

By necessity, doctors ask lots of personal questions. Are you using any illegal drugs? How much alcohol do you drink in a week? Do you smoke cigarettes? Do you suffer from depression?

We’ve all filled out the checklists while sitting in the waiting room. And, on the examination table, we’ve all heard doctors and nurses ask things we wouldn’t post on Facebook.

Say, have you noticed if your urine is changing color?

Uh, no.

Still Don’t Get It? — Garance Franke-Ruta explains the Higgs boson particle.

So I was at a July 4 picnic on Wednesday where one of the other guests used to be a physics teacher at Stuyvesant High School, and he explained this whole Higgs boson thing to me in a way that made it make about as much sense as it’s going to for someone who only took physics in college. And he did the whole thing without using food metaphors — molasses, soup, etc. — which I thought was impressive.

Basically, it’s like this: Sub-atomic particles are either fermions or bosons. Fermions are the things you learned about in high school physics — electrons, protons, neutrons and so on — that share the quality that you can’t have two of them in the same space on an atom. Think of them as the billiard balls: they can be all over the table, but not in the same space at the same time, and where they go is determined by the size of the tables. Most of the widely-known fermions are composites made up of other categories of sub-atomic particles, like quarks (which combine to form protons) and leptons, but the most important thing to know about them for the purposes of this discussion is that they are considered the matter particles.

Bosons are different. Bosons have the capacity to share space because they are more like a force than a thing in the way we normally think of “things” or “particles.” And since the normal understanding of the word particle is that it’s a small thing that has matter — the mote in the sun, rather than the light itself — perhaps a better way for lay people to think of bosons is as entities that have effects; they carry the forces (strong, weak, gravitational or electromagnetic) described by the Standard Model in physics, making them what physicists call force-carrying particles.

But if this whole particle-that-lacks-mass thing is still tripping you up, you don’t need to use that word in your own head; bosons lose nothing for our purposes by being thought of as entities, even if they are still technically particles, which is to say something really small of which other things are made. Some bosons have mass and some don’t. The Higgs boson has a very large mass for a sub-atomic particle, though of course it is still sub-atomic, which is to say tiny.

Nope; still don’t get it. Nice try, though.

Doonesbury — More tweets from the twit.