The God Particle pp. 171-201, Ringworld 71-101, and Time To Go House 31-61

Last night I warned that it would be short, and then it wasn’t. This time, it shall!

I went out looking for the Transit of Venus tonight, and I believe I saw its form in the shadow of sunbeams cast up from clouds the sun wandered behind, but I have no sure knowledge of it. It’s possible that my eyes just did funny things because I’d been squintily looking through my sweater at the sun. I found a neat viewing spot, and enjoyed a brisk walk around my neighbourhood and some last minute sunshine in the day.

Today was the last of our programming classes; we have a pizza party next week, but there’s no further educational content to be shared. I don’t feel like the kids are leaving empty-handed, but when I consider what we might have accomplished, I consider this to be a failure. I’ll write more about that in the future, after the team holds a retrospective on our efforts.

Today is also day two of real speed-reading. I saw a significant improvement in my times for The God Particle and Ringworld, and a slight worsening of my time on Time To Go House. I hypothesize that speed reading, especially when unpracticed, is hard, and even moreso when very tired. I did God Particle -> Ringworld -> Go House this time, proceeding from hardest (and most words / page) to easiest (and fewest), with 15 pages of God Particle done earlier in the day — between 11:15 and 12:20 I got the remaining 75 done.

The God Particle

This passage was a little bit of wrapup of the development of quantum theory (specifically the Bohr/Einstein discussions), and then a long diatribe about quack-physics, “revolutionary iconoclasts”, and the ease with which people misinterpret quantum mechanics and the scientific process. I can’t say that I disagreed with any of it, and it was good to see a well laid out discussion of how science works and the fact that a “revolution” in physics does not mean slates are wiped clean, but may mean new language to phrase problems and solutions in, while preserving and agreeing with old results.

But it felt like a long, flame-y comment in a thread on a physics forum where someone had made the mistake of mentioning that they liked What the Bleep Do We Know. I question whether it needed to be in the middle of a book like this in the chapter about particle accelerators, because anyone who has gotten here probably isn’t the problem anyway, but I suppose it had to go somewhere.


Louis, Speaker, Nessus, and Teela wandered around the puppeteers’ migrating homeworld a bit and then took off in a general products #3 hull fitted into a tri-wing. We got a small history lesson about the man-kzinti wars and the general products hulls, and about man’s encounters with other species so far. The crew also embarked on their way to ringworld and is nearing it rapidly, looking for signs of communicative life.

Time To Go House

Smalleata met Raffles, a house-mouse, after they settled into their winter quarters. She explored the house with him a bit, giving us a good introduction to the environment, and they jumped down the stairs together. I remember that capturing my imagination when I was little! I put myself right into their mindset, thinking. “Wow, if I were a mouse I would have SO MUCH fun jumping down stairs!” Toilet-paper as bedding was introduced, and Smalleata made a grand personal goal of one day sleeping on a bed of it.

We were also given some very strong foreshadowing of an important event, and what appears to be a description of a gnome that enters the house to watch a television program each winter. I don’t quite remember that bit. Anyway, Smalleata just went into the kitchen with Raffles. I suspect that there may be danger there.

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