Proton. Mass. Higgs. Phantoms of science.

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

A proton’s mass is more just than the sum of its parts. And now scientists know just what accounts for the subatomic particle’s heft.

Protons are made up of even smaller particles called quarks, so you might expect that simply adding up the quarks’ masses should give you the proton’s mass. However, that sum is much too small to explain the proton’s bulk. And new, detailed calculations show that only 9 percent of the proton’s heft comes from the mass of constituent quarks. The rest of the proton’s mass comes from complicated effects occurring inside the particle, researchers report in the Nov. 23 Physical Review Letters.

Quarks get their masses from a process connected to the Higgs boson, an elementary particle first detected in 2012 (SN: 7/28/12, p. 5). But “the quark masses are tiny,” says study coauthor and theoretical physicist Keh-Fei Liu of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. So, for protons, the Higgs explanation falls short.

Instead, most of the proton’s 938 million electron volts of mass is due to complexities of quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, the theory which accounts for the churning of particles within the proton. (1)

Not the sum of its parts…

Can this be true in any way?

Everything is the sum of its parts. But some of the parts are invisible. And you need to know where to look for them. Why do we not see the QCD as part of the proton? Why don’t we see the soul as part of man? Why don’t we see man as part of the cosmos? Why don’t we see the cosmos as part of God?

Our ability to see the parts of things is intently related to our ability see just parts of those parts. For if we were able to see all the parts we would simply look at the whole…

It may sound weird, but only when we look at no parts at all will we be able to see them all at once…

How can anything be part of something?

To what else can everything be part of?

If not part of nothing?

See the proton.

There is no proton.

Can you see its parts now?

Walking with your hands… (and feet, ok) Living. Dying.

We humans walk with our feet. This is true, but not entirely. Walking, as part of locomotion, is a coordinated whole-body movement that involves both the arms and legs. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have identified different subpopulations of neurons in the spinal cord with long projections. Published in Neuron, the results show that these neurons coordinate movement of arms and legs and ensure a stable body posture during locomotion. (1)

Every move we make is a composite one.

We do not walk just with our feet.

We use our hands, mind, ears, eyes as well…

The same applies for everything else.

Everything is composed of many parts – what part we choose to acknowledge is exactly that: a matter of choice. The act of writing involves thinking, knowing, seeing, moving. The act of speaking involves moving the mouth as well as the hands, the mind, the eyes. The act of living involves dying. Oups! No, I do not want that.

Let’s stay in the “walking with the hands” case.

Yes. I like that.

Walking with hands.

How interesting…


Comet 67P. Micro-organisms. Humility…

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, studied in detail by the European Space Agency Rosetta and Philae spacecraft since September 2014, is a body with distinct and unexpected features. Now two astronomers have a radical explanation for its properties – micro-organisms that shape cometary activity. (1)

What seems big is shaped by things seemingly small…

Everything is made up of parts.

Parts so unimportant, so tiny, so petty.

And yet so important, so great, so significant.

A whole cosmos made of monads.

A whole cosmos made of voidness.

Be humble. You are God because you are made of nothing…

Skin, stomach, heart – The “alternative” brains…

We are all familiar with that uncomfortable feeling in our stomach when faced with a threatening situation. By studying rats, researchers at ETH Zurich have been able to prove for the first time that our ‘gut instinct’ has a significant impact on how we react to fear. (1)

While touch always involves awareness, it also sometimes involves emotion. Now, scientists describe a system of slowly conducting nerves in the skin that respond to gentle touch. Investigators are beginning to characterize these nerves and to describe the fundamental role they play in our lives as a social species. Their work also suggests that this soft touch wiring may go awry in disorders such as autism. (2)

We believe the brain leads the way to thinking.
But it could be possible that the skin and stomach play an even more major role.
If the skin and the stomach play such an important role, who can question the role of the heart?

Old people thought we can only see the world with our heart.
We tend to mock them.
We “know” that the brain is truly the one organ which helps us know the cosmos.

Is it?

Are we really that wise?

Listen to your heart…
Are we so certain we are correct?
Are you so certain that your brain is in your… brain?
Are your views your views or have they been imposed on you?

When do you know that you know?
How do you start your quest if not from a fixed starting point to which you believe in?
How would you be able to even think without your heart?

What does your… gut tell you?

We are a whole.
Let’s try to act as such.

Sentient machines. Thinking in wholes. The impossibility of AI.

Sentient machines may never exist, according to a variation on a leading mathematical model of how our brains create consciousness.

Over the past decade, Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues have developed a mathematical framework for consciousness that has become one of the most influential theories in the field. According to their model, the ability to integrate information is a key property of consciousness. They argue that in conscious minds, integrated information cannot be reduced into smaller components. For instance, when a human perceives a red triangle, the brain cannot register the object as a colourless triangle plus a shapeless patch of red.

But there is a catch, argues Phil Maguire at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth. He points to a computational device called the XOR logic gate, which involves two inputs, A and B. The output of the gate is “1” if A and B are the same and “0” if A and B are different. In this scenario, it is impossible to predict the output based on A or B alone – you need both. (1)

We try to think like computers.
But we have forgotten that science has proved computers cannot think… (see Godel or this analysis)
Thinking in “wholes” is what makes us unique.

How typical…

From Leibnitz (monads) to Parmenides (One) to Christianism (God), humans have for a long time thought they are just parts of something bigger.

People ask what the monads are made of.
People ask what God is made of.
People ask what One is made of.

But, as opposed to the particles* CERN hunts for, they are not made of “something”.
They are just… everything!

One we Are!

I am!
Just… being.
Shinning here.
For ever.

* If particles can be torn into as many pieces as we like, does that tell us that they are not… real? How can something be broken into parts by the human brain if the human brain cannot… break something into parts? 😉

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