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Observing Editor

One adventuresome atom

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As the planet Mars gradually draws away from us, I wonder that none of the learned commentators who noted its approach saw fit to warn the public on the possible hazards of skygazing. Observation is symmetric: just as we have recently enjoyed a closer point of vantage to study Mars, taking the opportunity to lob several probes in his direction, any observer on Mars would have had a similar opportunity to study our blue globe in more detail than usual. For that matter, the time would have been ideal to launch an invasion from Mars to Earth in return for our probes, although no actual invastion appears to be underway. We have thereby lost another opportunity for bringing humanity together in a unity of purpose for the betterment of the world, but I fear I am straying from my point.

The observer is also the observed. For example, one reason that physicists are finding it difficult to get a good look at a Higgs boson is that these grave little vectors of the Higgs field are notoriously guarded about their private lives. At available energies, the Higgs particles have become adept at spotting physicists on the prowl for a picture and routinely give them the slip, much like celebrities dodging the paparazzi. This reticence has the physicists clamoring to invest billions in longer lenses, which is to say higher-energy accelerators that will allow them to snap some candids of a Higgs before it happens to notice anything. Of course, the Higgs may have the last laugh by simply failing to exist, and if physicists do manage to get some topless photographs of a Higgs that prove its existence, the resulting celebrations will entirely lack gravitas.

The Geek Chorus: Dood, that hurts.

Once again, I appear to have strayed onto a tangent, as the ant in the clavichord said.

The Geek Chorus: Dood! What are you doing?

Myself: I was in the midst of a public service lecture on the dangers of watching the night sky when others may be watching you.

The Geek Chorus: What? Like you’re totally into looking up, and someone else sees you and steals your iBook or something?

Myself: That is a possibility.

The Geek Chorus: Dood, that’s paranoid. Whatever, but you gotta stop with the puns, man. I’m seriously gonna lose it.

Myself: I am sorry to hear that.

The Geek Chorus: By the way, I hate to break it to ya, but Fiendster is way overrated.

Myself: Howso?

The Geek Chorus: Well, I can manage my enemies OK, and the chat/plot functionality is pretty spiffy, but there’s not enough actions I can take.

Myself: Actions?

The Geek Chorus: Hell, yeah. These are my enemies, right? So there should be actions that you can initiate from the system against your enemies. What else am I supposed to do, just watch ‘em work against me?

Myself: I see.

The Geek Chorus: So, I got bored. Last few days, I’ve been checking out a new site called Doomster that has a fully-automated payback system in addition to enemy management. It’s awesome.

Myself: That doesn’t sound entirely legal.

The Geek Chorus: The service is just in test mode now, they’re still waiting for an MI5 license to go into full production.

Myself: MI5?

The Geek Chorus: Yeah, it’s a Scottish outfit running the site, y’know. Anyway, you better check out the competition, dood, if you want to stay in the game. L8r!

Myself: Goodbye.