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It’s about time!

July 6, 2012
By Wes Burns , Times-Republican

Jetpacks, baby! Woooooooooooooooo!

That's a 16 'O' Woo up there in case you were wondering.

What could possibly incite such a joyous expenditure of vowels AND unexplained claims of jetpackitude? What possible event could have transpired as to warrant such exuberant expulsions?

They found the Higgs boson!

Since myself and every other nerd worth their pocket protector have been collectively losing our mind for the last few days you may not have heard about the greatest scientific discovery since dropping Mentos into Diet Coke.

The Higgs boson is a particle that gives fundamental particles their mass.

This means that we are now beginning to understand why some objects are light, some objects are heavy, and some objects are just a little bloated.

While most of the scientific community has been partying like they just landed a giant grant to study reruns of "Star Trek" there are, of course, the naysayers who claim that the Higgs just confirms the Standard model of the universe at really doesn't provide any new understanding of the universe.


Then there are the people that say this sort of thing is far too costly, and that the funds could go to something more important ... usually tax breaks.

That's why they found the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, and not at the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas.

In the early 90s the Superconducting Super Collider was set to outpace the Large Hadron Collider in size, scope and name-ridiculousness. Then, in what I'm sure was a total surprise to everyone in Congress that voted to fund the project, it turns out that making a machine capable of revealing new depths of the universe is kinda expensive.

So they shut it down. Great move guys! We would have hated to have this discovery made in same place were we first split the atom or went to the moon, and that extra $9 in my tax return was totally worth it! Forget the Higgs boson, I'm going to Arby's!

I have nothing against Arby's (except when they run out of roast beef, which is just stupid) but we, the United States, missed a chance to show the world that we've got a little more going on than global warfare and "The Jersey Shore."

I think the reason Americans never got the importance of finding the Higgs boson is that it wasn't presented in a way that we enjoy.

The previous approach was to have some guy in a white coat address Congress with an impassioned speech about bettering mankind and the search for tomorrow and whatever else they would blah blah blah.

I even bored myself with that hypothetical.

Instead they need to have one person, no white coat, walk in with a projector and say "The Higgs boson is what gives mass to matter. Now we need money to figure out how to manipulate the Higgs particles so the mass of an object can become next to nothing. If we do this we can lower a person's mass to near zero, and then they can fly around with a jetpack made from a seat belt and a fire extinguisher."

Then show a picture of a man, preferably wearing a Hawaiian shirt, high above the city skyline, dropping a cup of coffee on unsuspecting suckers that don't have their own jetpack.

Funding: Approved!

Then we would be knee deep in jetpacks, hover cars, space ships and all the other stuff they've been promising us since the 1950s.

Instead we'll have to settle for some Euro model jetpack with all the gauges in metric. And as much as I?hate the metric system, and I do, I'd still use it.

Jetpacks, baby! Woooooooooooooooo!


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Friday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or



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