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Scientists in Switzerland have reinforced a huge discovery they announced last summer. They said today that they've almost certainly found the Higgs particle, the long-sought missing link that helps explain the basic nature of our universe. This firms up similar results they unveiled with great fanfare in July.
But NPR's Richard Harris reports, it's actually disappointing news for some scientists.
Monarch butterflies in December 2008 at the Sierra del Chincua sanctuary in Angangueo, in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
Credit Mario Vazquez / AFP/Getty Images
Monarch butterflies that once covered 50 square acres of forest during their summer layover in central Mexico now occupy fewer than 3 acres, according to the latest census.
The numbers of the orange-and-black butterflies have crashed in the two decades since scientists began making a rough count of them, according to Mexico's National Commission of Natural Protected Areas.
At a news conference Wednesday, the commission said the count was down 59 percent from December 2011 levels, when the insects filled 7.14 acres of fir trees in central Mexico.
This is what researchers at the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider expect a Higgs boson to look like. The Higgs boson is the subatomic particle that scientists say gives everything in the universe mass.
Credit ATLAS Experiment/CERN
"Scientists working with data from a large particle accelerator in Europe are now almost certain they have pinned down the elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson," NPR's Joe Palca tells our Newscast Desk.
Or, as it's also known, the "God Particle" (more on that moniker below).
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 11:00 am
Last month, a traveler from California named Riya Suising came to Virginia (where I live) on business. While here, Suising decided to visit a spa and relax in its communal, sex-segregated baths, something she, a marathon runner, often does at home.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 9:49 am
By Marcelo Gleiser
Math and sports are expressions of our controlled creativity. Above, Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar watches as the ball sails past for an England goal by Frank Lampard during a friendly at London's Wembley Stadium on February 6, 2013.
Credit Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images
Some results in mathematics have the force of real truths, being independent of interpretation or context. When we state that 2 + 2 = 4 we know that this will be correct for any intelligent entity able to count. In algebra, given an equation, say, x + 3 = 4, we know that there is only one solution, x = 1. The same with Euclidean geometry that we learn in high school. Given certain axioms (assertions taken to be true that are the starting point to obtain results), we can prove a series of theorems that are unique.
Dunkin' Donuts is changing its recipes — though you may not notice much difference the next time you bite into a cruller. In response to pressure from one of New York's top elected officials, the company recently announced that it will set a goal of using only 100 percent sustainable palm oil in making its donuts.
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Big Data: trying to make sense of the numbers
Credit Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP/Getty Images
We inhabit a world of blinding technological change. New devices, new programs and new infrastructure rise up, dominate discourse and pass away before we even have time to comprehend their intent. But for all the change we've experienced, the the most profound transformation of the digital era is really just getting started. Welcome to the era of Big Data.