Scientists to reveal progress in search for Higgs boson

Scientists are expected to reveal “significant progress” in the

search for the so-called “God particle” today, but will not be able to

say whether it exists or not, they said.

The Higgs boson, nicknamed the God particle, is theoretically responsible for mass, without which there would be no gravity and no universe.

In May scientists predicted that within two years they would either find the Higgs boson or show conclusively that it does not exist.

The search for the Higgs boson is taking place at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which fills a 27-kilometre circular tunnel 100 metres below the French-Swiss border near Geneva.

Dubbed the “Big Bang machine”, the LHC was built at a cost of around £2.6 billion to recreate conditions a fraction of a second after the birth of the universe.

The machine, weighing more than 38,000 tonnes, accelerates streams of protons – the “hearts” of atoms – close to the speed of light and smashes them into each other at unprecedented energies.

Scientists at Cern – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, which co-ordinates the LHC project – have been hunting for the particle and are expected to present the status of their searches at a seminar today.

An announcement on Cern’s website said: “These results will be based on the analysis of considerably more data than those presented at the summer conferences, sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the Higgs.”

Even the discovery that nature does not contain a Higgs particle would be a momentous event in physics. If this was shown to be true, scientists might have to abandon the “Standard Model”, the best theory so far for explaining the fundamental mechanics of the universe.

In May this year Cern director general Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer said: “I’m pretty confident that towards the end of 2012 we will have an answer to the Shakespearean question for the Higgs boson: to be or not to be.”

via Scientists to reveal progress in search for Higgs boson – Science – News – The Independent.

Cameron vetoes EU treaty deal


David Cameron has refused to sign up to the EU treaty deal saying it is not in Britain’s interest, leaving Europe to agree reforms without the UK.

After 10 hours of talks in Brussels about how to bring stability to the eurozone and European markets, David Cameron has refused to agree to the proposed EU reform deal.

Hungary has also opted out of the treaty deal, and the Czech Republic and Sweden will consult with their parliaments before making a decision. But the rest of Europe will go ahead with talks aimed at saving the eurozone.

EU leaders had been hoping for a treaty change agreed by all 27 countries. But Mr Cameron said that if Britain could not opt out of the proposed financial regulations, it was not in the country’s interests to accept the proposal.

Speaking at a press conference in the early hours of Friday morning, the prime minister said he “effectively wielded the veto”.

“It was a tough decision but the right one,” he added.

‘Unacceptable’ demands

French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded by saying that Mr Cameron’s demands were “unacceptable”.

“We were not able to accept (the British demands) because we consider quite the contrary – that a very large and substantial amount of the problems we are facing around the world are a result of lack of regulation of financial services and therefore can’t have a waiver for the United Kingdom,” he said.

But Mr Cameron said he had to secure British interests.

“We want the Eurozone countries to come together and solve their problems. But we should only allow that to happen within the EU treaties if there are proper protections for the single market, for other key British interests,” he said.

“Without those safeguards it is better not to have a treaty within a treaty, but have those countries make their arrangements separately.

He added that his decision had not soured UK relations with the rest of Europe.

via Cameron vetoes EU treaty deal – Channel 4 News.

Federal judge: ‘Blogger’ is not a ‘journalist’…

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

via News from The Associated Press.

News from The Associated Press

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

via News from The Associated Press.

Exclusive: Government Activating FEMA Camps Across U.S. has received a document originating from Halliburton subsidiary KBR that provides details on a push to outfit FEMA and U.S. Army camps around the United States. Entitled “Project Overview and Anticipated Project Requirements,” the document describes services KBR is looking to farm out to subcontractors. The document was passed on to us by a state government employee who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

via » Exclusive: Government Activating FEMA Camps Across U.S. Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

‘Completely Exaggerated’: EU Leaders Attack S&P After Ratings Warning

European share prices and the euro fell on Tuesday after ratings agency Standard Poor’s warned it may downgrade 15 of the 17 euro-zone nations, including triple-A nations like Germany, as a result of the euro crisis.

European policymakers criticized the timing of the announcement, just three days ahead of a make-or-break EU summit on Thursday and Friday, and said the agency hadn’t taken into account proposals for far-reaching reforms of the euro zone’s debt rules agreed by the leaders of France and Germany on Monday.

Standard & Poor’s had warned late on Monday that it may carry out an unprecedented mass downgrade of euro-zone countries if EU leaders fail to reach an agreement on how to solve the debt crisis at this week’s summit.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said the S&P announcement was “like a knockout blow” to countries that were cutting their budget deficits.

“I find what Standard & Poor is saying completely exaggerated,” Juncker said in an interview on Deutschlandfunk radio early on Tuesday. “I have to wonder that this news reaches us out of the clear blue sky at the time of the European summit; this can’t be a coincidence.”

Merkel, Sarkozy Insist Fiscal Union Will Work

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded in a joint statement late on Monday that they “took note” of the move by S&P, while both countries “reinforce their conviction” that common proposals for closer fiscal union in the European Union will “strengthen coordination of budget and economic policy,” and promote stability and growth.

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said S&P had not factored in the French-German plan to overcome the crisis that was announced on Monday, and said France required “no third savings program” and “no further measures.”

The S&P warning piles pressure on the EU leaders to agree on a convincing strategy. On Monday, Merkel and Sarkozy agreed to propose changes to the EU treaty to impose budget discipline across the euro zone through automatic sanctions and balanced-budget legislation in national member states.

At their meeting in Paris, they also proposed bringing forward the establishment of the permanent euro bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to 2012 from 2013. Both again ruled out the introduction of euro bonds.

Bank of France governor Christian Noyer, a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank, said on Tuesday that ratings agencies were in danger of themselves worsening the euro-zone debt crisis.

“The agencies were one of the motors of the crisis in 2008. Are they becoming a motor in the current crisis? That’s a real question we all need to think about,” he told a conference on corporate finance in Paris.

Hans Michelbach, a member of parliament for the conservative Christian Social Union party, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats, called the S&P warning “an arbitrary decision with no relation to reality.” The aim of the announcement, he said, had evidently been to create additional nervousness ahead of the EU summit. He called on the EU to crack down on the “uncontrolled games” being played by the ratings agencies.

Cyprus was left out of the S&P warning because its credit rating is already under examination. Greece, too, was not included as it already has the worst credit rating of any country in the world.

Barroso Drops Call For Eurobonds

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday that it was likely to take four or five months for the European treaty changes to come into force.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Barroso dropped his demand for euro bonds, saying they were not a solution to the current crisis. “Joint sovereign debt requires a much higher level of integration and discipline within the euro zone, which we haven’t reached at the moment,” he said.

He added that Germany’s angry reaction last month to an EU consultation paper on euro bonds had surprised him.

via ‘Completely Exaggerated’: EU Leaders Attack S&P After Ratings Warning – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International.

V for Vendetta’s Alan Moore, David Lloyd Join Occupy Comics

Nearly 30 years after publishing V for Vendetta, writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd are throwing their support behind the global Occupy movement that’s drawn inspiration from their comic’s anti-totalitarian philosophy and iconography.

Moore will contribute a long-form prose piece, possibly with illustrations, to the Occupy Comics project. His writing work will explore the Occupy movement’s principles, corporate control of the comics industry and the superhero paradigm itself.

Lloyd signed onto the growing Occupy Comics project last week, as did Madman’s Mike Allred and American Splendor’s Dean Haspiel. Occupy Comics will eventually sell single-issue comic books and a hardcover compilation, but an innovative arrangement with Kickstarter means that funds raised through pledges of support can be channeled directly to Occupy Wall Street’s populist ranks now.

“It’s fair to say that Alan Moore and David Lloyd are unofficial godfathers of the current protest movement,” said Halo-8 founder and Occupy Comics organizer Matt Pizzolo in an e-mail to “It’s really amazing to see two creatives whose work was inspiring to street protesters join a creative project that is inspired by the street protesters. It’s a pretty virtuous cycle.”

via V for Vendetta’s Alan Moore, David Lloyd Join Occupy Comics | Underwire |