Where does the time go?

By JoAnne Hewett | September 8, 2006 1:54 am

The past 2 weeks have flown by in what seems like a day. Does anyone else have this problem?

First, I went to visit my parents in their new digs. They were on the East Coast and I had been begging them for years to move to California. They finally capitulated – part way – and settled in Colorado….sigh….parents these days, what will they do next? After the visit, I was home for 10 hours (time enough to change the dirty clothes in my suitcase to clean ones) and went to Fermilab for a committee meeting. Upon my return home from that, I have been ear deep in writing sections for the committee report. That finally got finished today and now life can begin again. Whew! The report will be public in about a month and you will read all about it here. Meanwhile, I have 46 hours to prepare for my upcoming trip to Trieste, Italy….

In the meantime, I have missed too many blogging opportunities! I could have told you about:

  • California leading the way: The esteemed governor of California and his efforts to curb global warming. I am not usually an Arnold fan, but this time he’s done it right. He’s thumbed the Bush administration in the nose (yet again I have to say) and helped push a bill to cap greenhouse gas emission in the state so that such emissions will be reduced to the 1990 level by 2020. That’s a reduction of 25%. It’s amazing to me that it takes 14 years to reduce emissions to where they were just 16 years ago….shows how rapidly we are increasing our production of CO2. Here’s a website that tells us what we have to look forward to in California if we don’t act now.
  • What is going on down South? A close colleague just returned from a trip to Mexico and expressed his amazement at the lack of reporting here in the US on the aftermath of the Mexican elections. Mexico did a reenactment of Gore vs Bush in 2000. Only this time the Gore-type candidate, Lopez Orbador, is not conceding after the supreme court ruling. Apparently there are massive protests on the streets and real fears of civil war breaking out between the North and South regions of the country.
  • I’m ready to finish up with committee meetings and focus on actually doing scientific research.
  • Speaking of which, there were lots of interesting papers on the archive the last 2 weeks. Everyone is writing up the results of their summer vacation! A couple things on blackholes at the LHC, and a new analysis of the “slinky universe” where collider measurements of dark matter particles may not tell the whole story.
  • While in Chicago, I did get to see a seminar by Gabriela Barenboim on the “slinky universe.” She and Joe Lykken have an interesting model where the universe undergoes a repeated cycle of inflation, then radiation dominance, then matter dominance, then over and over again. Here, both dark energy and inflation are explained by the evolution of a single scalar field. It’s kinda cute.
  • While in Chicago, I feasted on my favorite Chicago-style stuffed pizza. Giordano’s. Pepperoni, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Had it for 4 nights in a row. Gained about 5 pounds.
  • As a result of my parent’s move, the family piano was shipped to me in California! I’ve had it for 2 weeks now. Not enough time to practice much yet, but nonetheless I have almost mastered by 5th grade recital piece. I pulled out my 6th grade recital piece in anticipation and stared at it for awhile. Lots of notes there.
  • Otherwise I have been kept busy chasing squirrels away from my tomatoes! For those who have been following – the rats are dead rats and now there’s a squirrel issue.
  • Saturday, before I board a flight for Trieste, I am going to the annual heirloom tomato festival at Kendall Jackson vineyards. The event is sold out and I am looking forward to it! Should be lots of good seeds there which I’m sure the squirrels will appreciate next year.
    • http://quasar9.blogspot.com/ Quasar9

      hope you are more ‘liberal’ with squirrel’s rights
      than you were with the other ‘squatters’ rights
      Easy with the the love of Pizza in Trieste, or
      at this rate you may have to pay excess baggage fee on your return trip
      Is that slinky universe cycle every 3 billion years or every 30 billion years, ie is Planck within the current cycle, and does it still create a pancake or pizza universe. I guess if the slinky universe, has too much pizza it expands, and then either goes on a diet of tomatoes & salad, or collapses under its own gravity…
      I’ve got a new model of the universe coming up where quasars recycle matter and ‘blackholes’ consume it (slowly condense or compress matter) creating a sort of harmonious cosmic oscillation, and Susskind’s bubbles or pocket universes become the galaxies we see inside the Megaverse we already know & love.
      Like black & white keyboards on a piano, the whole universe riples creating a melodious cosmic ballet. I’ll let you know more soon.

    • http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/plan.html Warren

      JoAnne sez:

      …amazement at the lack of reporting here in the US on the aftermath of the Mexican elections.

      I watch BBC World News. (Orbadee, Orbador, life goes on.) Originally I switched because I got tired of hearing about just Iraq; then the UK became the US’ main partner. (If only I got Australia World News, then I could just watch news about national wear-khaki day.)

      I have a new cosmological model, the “stinky universe”. Even if you can’t see dark matter, you can @ least smell it.

    • http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/plan.html Warren

      Oh, sorry, the Obrador pun was better if we both had spelled his name right.

    • http://quasar9.blogspot.com/ Quasar9

      I didn’t realise you were hoping to enter the heirloom tomato festival. No wonder you were miffed at the assault and carnage by rodents on your ‘prize’ crop.
      Shall have to see if I cannot bring some magic tomatoes seeds to add to your collection for next year’s crop.

      Civil War in Mexico? is that the script for the next hollywood wannabe blockbuster turned flop.

      Entering the third cosmic epoch of accelerated expansion??? makes any human concerns about climate change on earth, sound positively like small potatoes.

    • http://RiofrioSpaceTime.blogspot.com Louise

      It is very nice to see you back. I hope this is the beginning of more posts on science in CV. If you are 1500 miles from Giordano’s, Zachary’s in Berkeley has the best pizza in the Bay Area.

      In your absence, I have decorated the blog with equations and graphs about the expanding universe and other fun things. The equations would fit on a frisbee.

      Tomato Festival? Beware the Were-Rabbit!

    • http://eipipuz.blogspot.com Guillermo Alcántara

      From México, the fears for a Civil War are mostly exaggerations. Obrador, or as we commonly refer AMLO, is just a guy with a thousand of people behind. They have “arrested” the center of Mexico City, but will move by Sept 16 (Our Independence Day). At least, that’s the common belief.

      There’s no way he can push a civil war, mostly because he’s a blue-collar-acting-as-left politician and the fact that he only has power in Mexico City. The army and the rest of the country isn’t really in the mood to follow that guy. We have work to do, like the Transparency Law reform.

      I think the rest of the world should look him, as our Norton I. He did pressed for second floors on some roads, something that sounds to me a lot like the SF bridge.

    • alienmist

      Love your website, but being a scientist does not automatically mean being anti-bush, or a democrat.

      I for one do not blindly agree with the president but I have to admit he is right in some issues that I and many other strongly believe in.

      About the passage of time, I am relived that am not the only one whos is absolutely alarmed. “someone check the size of that hole in the hourglass”

    • Raymundo Arroyave

      Great Blog!

      I am also from Mexico and I agree with Guillermo. There will be no civil war in Mexico. Obrador is not fighting for ideals, social change or anything even close to what revolutions are about (at least in theory).
      What he would love to do, though, is to stage a coup. However, the hard-core support needed to do this kind of thing is simply not there. As time passes, more and more of his followers are realizing that he wont be president, nor dictator, emperor or king. At most, he would just be the village idiot.

    • http://RiofrioSpaceTime.blogspot.com Louise

      P.S. Have you forgotten what has its anniversary September 8? I haven’t.

    • http://goldenship2.blogspot.com/ Goldenship2

      Where does time go???
      Some people say it’s still here
      some people say, no, it’s over there
      and you JoAnne are asking where, where
      Geological time is right beneath your feet
      Spacetime among the stars that’s some feat
      Look at the sky and what do you see
      that’s right it’s the Past is what you see
      the present here, the future is yet to be

    • Haelfix

      I know plenty of scientists who are pro bush, nobel laureates too. This is one website, where it just so happens the bloggers are leftish leaning, certainly not indicative of a dogma within the scientific community. Otoh, I’d venture to say the hot subjects that Bush is associated with that strikes a quasi unanamous sentiment amongst scientists would be:

      1) the Creationist mumbo jumbo
      2) Stem cell research
      3) Various obstruction to research involving points 1-2.

      I’d put global warming in there, but Im skeptical about the extent of certainty climatologists have, and im far from the only one in physics departments.

      Other than that, he has shown positive sides as well. Pro nuclear, decent NSA budgets, Mars exploration (ok this one irratates some scientists, b/c they feel its misallocatement of resources, which is probably true.. Otoh its like pure welfare for engineers)

      A lot of the disagreement with Republicans comes from an age old battle between science and religion, which for whatever reason, still persists in the United States. Its unfortunate that some in the republican party cater to this fringe squad, it just as easily as far as im concerned could have been associated with the democrats. (In Europe there are xtian groups that are notoriously liberal) -shrug- Special interests and politics.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/mark/ Mark

      Certainly the single largest reason I hear from people of reason why Bush is an unmitigated disaster is the unjustified and disgusting war in Iraq, sold to the American people through lies. This applies to scientists and non-scientists alike, and dwarfs the three points made above by a large margin.

    • Cynthia

      It started with a BANG and moved towards a BOUNCE. Then it converged into a SPLAT followed by a SLINKY. Doubtlessly, astro-children are remarkably creative when it comes to playing games with the Universe.;)

    • Haelfix

      Yes, but the Iraq war has absolutely nothing to do with science, and physicists opinions on the subject are about as relevant as Michael Moore’s or Ann Coulters, read no better than the layman. Nor is there any sort of consensus on the subject within a physics department regardless.

    • Elliot


      I disagree with your statement that the Iraq war has nothing to do with science. I will concede that physicists opinions are not better than others but the Iraq war consumes significant resources that could be otherwise used for scientific research in a variety of areas. It also, under this administration, encourages government and non-government investment in the tools of war as a by-product.

      I also wouldn’t put Michael Moore and Ann Coulter in the same sentence. He is a thoughtful provacateur. She is a raving lunatic.


    • http://vacua.blgospot.com Jim Harrison

      Aside from the fact that everybody, scientist or not, is responsible for what their nation does, you’d think that the scientists would be interested in politics in order to protect their interests. The Bush administration has an impressive anti-science track record. It’s not just the enemy of Michael Moore.

    • http://countiblis.blogspot.com Count Iblis

      Where does the time go?

      Time translation is just a unitary transformation, right? :)

    • Dan

      Appallling that you would consider Obrador a gore type candidate. He has openly autoproclaimed himself as a modern Gandhi, and his accusations on electoral fraud are recognized only by his most hardcore followers. Moreover, mexican politics cannot be simplified as a left vs. right thing. If you are an american democrat there are not many reasons you should support Obrador, certainly not now when he is considering self-proclaiming himsef the new president despite of the overwhelming evidence against him.

      As for civil war…well, it’s kindda like if Ross Perot would try to conquer USA. Sure he has some followers, but people is not crazy enough to follow him to those extremes.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

      Hmmm – I no longer think of global warming as a partisan, left vs right, issue. And neither do several prominent Republicans. The California programs and resulting legsilation was sponsored by our very Republican governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. The day the bills were signed, I received mail from the honarable Republican Senator John McCain. He was urging me (and goodness knows how many other millions of people) to support the Environmental Defense programs to fight global warming. Our Republican President, of course, does not wish to take action on this issue. But then again, he thinks we’re God’s creation and that the Iraq war was justified to fight terror…

    • http://quasar9.blogspot.com/ Quasar9

      Hi JoAnne,
      It is easier to find what people disagree on than to hold onto what they agree on (or have in common) other than jewishness, whiteness, americaness…
      So take God or whichever concept of the Prime Mover out of the equation.
      What caused the spontaneous bigbang, where’s the great big accelerator or collider in the sky, what ‘created’ it. That some people call the prime mover or cause above causes God, and then embue it with anthropomorphic qualities, is not so unreasonable or illogical.
      Is there any other animal on earth, or the universe asking themselves the origin of the universe (and life)?

      The fact that someone believes in A God, does not make them a good (righteous or even lefteous) person, nor does the fact that someone does not believe in A God or Prime Mover make them right (or good) or leftist.

      You can be a fascist atheist. Most Roman Emperor’s thought they were god, and most States with nuclear weapons think they are gods, the more missiles the bigger gods they think they are. But I ask what does a GOD need nuclear weapons, or any weapons or armies for??? unless of course he is a false perishable god with feet of clay that can be brought tumbling down.

    • http://quasar9.blogspot.com/ Quasar9

      And as much as I hate to admit it, humans and mortals love drama, tragedy, competition, sport, wars …
      except they all hope to be on the winning side, but in any competition or battle there have to be winners and losers, and in any war both sides are LOSERS.
      However the USAF, the US Military & the Pentagon, is an enterprise or corporation just like NASA & SLAC, with vested interests: monthly wages, bills, career, promotion, medals, recognition & retirement or pensions.
      The Military strategy to take the war to the enemy is logical. Now you can argue what have you to fear from a bunch of horse riding bandits in afghanistan, if the worse they can do is fly a plane or two into the twin towers, something not likely to happen again, mainly because the twin towers are no longer there. You can argue that the war on Iraq was about Oil & Greed, greed for power and lust for power. You can argue that the war on Iraq was a war by proxy on behalf of the state with no name. But the military fight wars, weapons are created to be used or dumped whether on Iraq or the Moon.

      Now, that we’ve aired our differences, or different ovbserver points of view (perspectives) on human events, perhaps we can discuss our shared interests and find common on cosmic events, other than just the ground or earth we are walking on and trying to grow prize tomatoes in.

      What do you want your contribution to ’21st C society’ or humanity in spacecitime to be. To have discovered, to have revealed, to have unveiled …
      with what applications, benefits – other than the making you and I happy or wealthy or famous or reknowned???

    • http://quasar9.blogspot.com/ Quasar9

      Hi JoAnne,
      on big bang and gamma ray shadow
      did you get to read this:
      Science Daily 5th Sep 2005


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