geek news homer simpson predicted higgs boson
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In a 1998 episode of “The Simpsons” called “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” Homer knew about the Higgs boson (aka “God Particle”) many years before it was even discovered.

He is shown writing an equation on a chalkboard, which actually turns out to be a lot more than just a bunch of gibberish.

“That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson,” Simon Singh, author of The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, told “The Independent”. “If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that’s only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is. It’s kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered.”

Peter Higgs theorized about the particle in the ’60s, and it was finally discovered in 2012.

The writers on the show are all a bunch of math geeks, who have hidden easter eggs throughout the series since it premiered. Another of the equations Homer is working on in the same scene references Fermat’s Last Theorem, which Singh also has written about.

You can read more about the chalkboard scene and the math involved in this chapter from Singh’s book published at Boing Boing.

Here’s a more detailed explanation about the Higgs portion:

The first equation on the board is largely Schiminovich’s work, and it predicts the mass of the Higgs boson, M(H0), an elementary particle that that was first proposed in 1964. The equation is a playful combination of various fundamental parameters, namely the Planck constant, the gravitational constant, and the speed of light. If you look up these numbers and plug them into the equation,1 it predicts a mass of 775 giga-electron-volts (GeV), which is substantially higher than the 125 GeV estimate that emerged when the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012. Nevertheless, 775 GeV was not a bad guess, particularly bearing in mind that Homer is an amateur inventor and he performed this calculation fourteen years before the physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, tracked down the elusive particle.

The Simpsons have also made headlines for “predicting” a number of other future events, including the Syrian civil war, the ebola outbreak, the Siegfried & Roy tiger attack, smartwatches andmalfunctioning voting booths.

But you would think as longest-running animated series in U.S. TV history that they would eventually get a few things right.

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Google-owned Boston Dynamics has been terrifying us for years with their advancements in robotic hell hounds, but their latest video features something slightly less frightening and kinda cute.

Spot is a four-legged, 160-pound robot that is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, and it has a sensor on its head to help it navigate.

Watch it march around the grounds and through their offices, occasionally getting kicked by the staff.

While we know it’s just a robot and it doesn’t have real emotions, it still makes you fell kinda bad watching it react to the abuse.

“No robots were harmed in the making of this video,” they write at the end.

What’s more worrisome, however, is that larger model accompanying Spot up the hill later on in the clip. You do not want to mess with that thing.

Robots are already managing hotels in Japan and eating women in South Korea. And Singapore is hard at work creating a nightmarish eel drone.

It’s really only a matter of time before all of these advancements blow up in our face and we are slaves or dogfood to these creatures.

Via: NPS
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For the first time in nearly 100 years, a Sierra Nevada red fox was spotted in Yosemite National Park.

The fox is one of the most endangered animals in North America with an estimated 50 left in existence.

The above image of the rare creature was captured by a motion-sensitive camera in the northern part of the park, and it was seen on two separate occasions.

“Confirmation of the Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite National Park’s vast alpine wilderness provides an opportunity to join research partners in helping to protect this imperiled animal,” stated Sarah Stock, Wildlife Biologist in Yosemite National Park. “We’re excited to work across our boundary to join efforts with other researchers that will ultimately give these foxes the best chances for recovery.”

The park service is now attempting to collect hair samples from it, to see if it is related to another group of foxes last spotted in an area called Sonora Pass.

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Researchers at the University of Rochester have created a new type of water-resistant metal where drops literally bounce off the surface.

They achieved this by using a special laser-patterning technique that adds tiny structures to the material.

Most other surfaces that are water-repellant aren’t as powerful and rely on chemical coatings which can wear away over time, but this is permanent.

Rochester’s Chunlei Guo says this superhydrophobic material has a lot of real-world applications, especially in developing countries.

“In these regions, collecting rain water is vital and using super-hydrophobic materials could increase the efficiency without the need to use large funnels with high-pitched angles to prevent water from sticking to the surface,” he says. “A second application could be creating latrines that are cleaner and healthier to use.”

If you think this sounds like something a sewage-water drinking Bill Gates might be interested in, you’d be right, as the project was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Years ago, this same team created the exact opposite effect, with a material that attracts water so strongly that the liquid will actually crawl up the surface.

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This conversation will hurt your brain.

QVC is not typically the go-to place for spirited discussions about the mysteries and marvels of space, but this week host Shawn Killinger and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi turned it into one.

Killinger was presenting a "Cherry Blossom Print Boyfriend Cardigan" design by Mizrahi which she thinks looks like the Earth "when you're a bazillion miles away from the planet moon."

And from this point forward we realize our education system has failed us, at least in the science department.

"From the planet moon…" repeats Mizrahi.

"Isn't the moon a star?" she asks, questioning herself.

"No the moon is a planet darling," he says, but Killinger isn't so sure anymore.

"The sun is a star. Is the moon really a planet?" She wonders.

It goes on like this for while. They get people to Google it for them off camera, and Killinger makes a joke about having a blonde moment.

Maybe QVC can book Neil deGrasse Tyson next week to set everyone straight, and while he's at it, pitch his own line of celestial vests and ties.

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Back in November, Bill Gates visited a plant that turns poop into water, and he took a nice big gulp.

The machine is called an Omniprocessor, and it uses a steam engine to convert raw sewage into electricity, clean drinking water and ash. On top of that, it produces enough excess energy to power itself.

He wrote about the experience on his blog:

"I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water."

The visit was part of The Gates Foundation's efforts to improve sanitation in poor countries. A few years ago, he asked people to try to reinvent the toilet as a possible solution to the problem.

The Omniprocessor was built by the Seattle-based Janicki Bioenergy, which will be conducting a pilot test of the machine in Dakar, Senegal in late 2015.

So how did the water taste?

"The water tasted as good as any I've had out of a bottle," Gates writes. "And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It's that safe."

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Sorry bro, your days of dominating everyone at beer pong are numbered.

Empire Robotics has created a robotic arm with a specialized ball on the end of it that hardens and softens to pick up objects.

So, for example, it can pick up ping pong balls and toss them into Solo cups.

Watch it flawlessly make 6 cups in a row in the video above, and – if you dare – challenge it in person at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

"The robot is not perfect, so it's possible for a human to win, but it's pretty good, so you'd have to be pretty good at beer pong," said the company's project manager John Dean.

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