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Food Dyes: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

 

food colors

What’s really in your food? That carrot cake—did it really contain carrots? Is that fruit punch made from fruit?

The answers are revealing, and kind of scary. Fruit punch is actually made from water, high fructose corn syrup, and Red 40. While this might not be shocking, other ingredient lists are. Betty Crocker’s carrot cake mix contains dye, imitation carrot bits made from seven different ingredients (corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, Red 40, Yellow 6, flour, corn cereal, an unspecified artificial color—oh, and carrot powder), and not a whiff of anything recognizable as a carrot. Even pickles contain Yellow 6 to make them look more appetizing.

Feel like you’ve been lied to? You’re not the only one. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, three-fourths of Americans feel that foods that are made largely with artificial colorings meant to imitate fruit or vegetable content, or any other content for that matter, should bear labels that make that obvious. We shouldn’t have to read the teeny little label on the back to know that Tropicana’s Twister Cherry Berry Blast doesn’t contain cherries or berries.

Interestingly, the United States is behind the rest of the developed world in this area. Use of artificial colorings is being discontinued in Great Britain and the European Union. For example, in the US, Nutri-Grain strawberry cereal bars contain Red no. 40, Yellow no. 6, and Blue no. 1. In Great Britain, they contain Beetroot red, Annatto, Paprika, and extract, all natural colorings.

The concerns go beyond simply being deceptive. After all, we can read labels. We can find websites that point out which foods contain dyes. We can choose to be educated. Even if the variety of processed foods we eat decreases, we can still eat raw fruits and vegetables, and it certainly won’t hurt our health any to do this. However, even if we are educated and make personal choices to avoid the dyes, the greater concern is that the dyes are not safe.

Lab tests have shown that dyes may cause cancer in animals. This hasn’t been confirmed in humans since at this point there is probably no effective way to test this. Most Americans consume lots of the dyes, and there are other lifestyle factors that contribute to cancer. Besides, you can’t ethically bring people into a lab and inject them with Red 40, then sit back and see if they develop cancer.

The strongest concern at this time is allergic reactions. Kids are often allergic to Red 40. We all knew the kid who couldn’t have Koolaid at summer camp. Even that watered down stuff made them sick. (I always thought they were just wimps. I feel bad about that now. I know better.) Blue 1, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 have also caused reactions.

Another concern is hyperactivity in children. While hyperactivity certainly isn’t lethal, it’s problematic for children who are expected to sit still in school. It’s also hard for parents, teachers, and caregivers, especially if you know your child doesn’t normally act hyper. It raises the question of whether the supposed “sugar high” is actually more of a “Red 40 high,” and if the prevalence of kids diagnosed with ADHD might have something to do with the dyes as well.

All of this calls into question the ethics of food companies putting artificial dyes into foods at all. Why do they do it? The obvious answer is attractiveness. They want food to be appealing to consumers, which is reasonable. I want my food to be appealing too. Dyes allow foods that normally wouldn’t be appealing to be attractive. Multicolored sugary cereals are attractive to children. Carrot cake that’s actually orange is more appealing, and white bread colored with dye to make it look like whole wheat makes us feel that we’re eating a healthier food, when in fact we’re not.

Consumers need to educate themselves. It’s probably impossible to stop consuming dyes altogether. Even farm-raised salmon is given dye to make it pink like its wild relative. However, we can certainly eat less. And we can do as the Center for Science in the Public Interest has done and express our concerns to organizations like the FDA and the USDA.

Tell them you’re concerned about your children’s health and your own, that you won’t buy products that contain large amounts of dye, and that you are educating others about this issue. If Great Britain and the European Union have done something, it’s not impossible for the US to do something too.

 

Conservatives are Wrong: Finding Solutions

finding solutions

There is a lot of talks out there, especially as we inch closer to the primary elections, about a variety of social issues. However, the loudest opinions currently blasted are generally not only wrong but willfully wrong and extremely detrimental to society. This negative rhetoric distracts from the real issues at play around us and serves only to prevent meaningful discussions on solving our biggest problems.

For example, arguments about the death penalty do not serve to improve the fundamental problems within our justice system, nor do they contribute any new ideas to preventing crime and increasing public safety.

Rather than talking about the death penalty, we could instead focus on the causes of crime – namely poor coping skills that lead to violence. We can solve this problem through progressive educational programs that teach children life skills and we could make counseling services more readily available to low-income families who need it the most.

Rather than talking about the death penalty, we could instead focus on the causes of crime – namely poor coping skills that lead to violence. We can solve this problem through progressive educational programs that teach children life skills and we could make counseling services more readily available to low-income families who need it the most.

Now, let’s look a more specific example of a problem we could be discussing and solving right now if we weren’t so busy arguing about the merits of welfare programs and the death penalty:

Instead of focusing on how we should punish drug users, why not focus instead on educational programs and rehabilitation? Rather than building more prisons, why not build more detox centers and schools? As a matter of fact, building more detox centers and schools would save us a lot of money, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. In the short term, it would save taxpayers upwards of $15 billion per year, just in administrative costs, to place the offenders who have a history of drug offenses (and nothing else) into an inpatient drug treatment program instead of prison.

It would save taxpayers untold billions of dollars in lost productivity, prevent money from going into the black market instead of local economies, and would reduce overall criminality in neighborhoods by decreasing the demand for drugs. If there are fewer people addicted to drugs, there will be less business for drug dealers, less drug-related crime (such as theft or prostitution to support a drug habit), and more productive folks building up communities rather than tearing them down.

Drug crimes have a recidivism rate of 61%, that means that 61% of the estimated 500,000 people in prison right now for drug related crimes will be back in prison for other drug related crimes in addition to new drug offenders. On the other hand, most inpatient drug treatment programs have a success rate of nearly 70%, which means those people will not go back to drugs and will not require any additional taxpayer funds as a result of their drug addiction. Ok, now for the catch – we do not have nearly enough resources to send these drug offenders to treatment.

So, the task would be to start changing the laws to send drug offenders to mandatory drug treatment, give treatment staff the authority to keep their patients in treatment (rather than letting them sign themselves out, which would defeat the purpose of treatment entirely), and increasing the number of rehabilitation centers instead of the number of prisons. This would create many well-paying jobs without getting rid of our current correctional jobs, and in fact, it would improve the jobs of current correctional staff by reducing prison overpopulation and the subsequent crime that follows overpopulation.

Ok, now for the catch – we do not have nearly enough resources to send these drug offenders to treatment. So, the task would be to start changing the laws to send drug offenders to mandatory drug treatment, give treatment staff the authority to keep their patients in treatment (rather than letting them sign themselves out, which would defeat the purpose of treatment entirely), and increasing the number of rehabilitation centers instead of the number of prisons. This would create many well-paying jobs without getting rid of our current correctional jobs, and in fact, it would improve the jobs of current correctional staff by reducing prison overpopulation and the subsequent crime that follows overpopulation.

This would create many well-paying jobs without getting rid of our current correctional jobs, and in fact, it would improve the jobs of current correctional staff by reducing prison overpopulation and the subsequent crime that follows overpopulation.

So, the task would be to start changing the laws to send drug offenders to mandatory drug treatment, give treatment staff the authority to keep their patients in treatment (rather than letting them sign themselves out, which would defeat the purpose of treatment entirely), and increasing the number of rehabilitation centers instead of the number of prisons. This would create many well-paying jobs without getting rid of our current correctional jobs, and in fact, it would improve the jobs of current correctional staff by reducing prison overpopulation and the subsequent crime that follows overpopulation.

This would create many well-paying jobs without getting rid of our current correctional jobs, and in fact, it would improve the jobs of current correctional staff by reducing prison overpopulation and the subsequent crime that follows overpopulation.

Cutting through bias by returning to the facts:

Each of the problems or concepts below is one that many of these conservative politicians and commentators have either gotten flat wrong or have a very unhealthy view on. If we can all get rid of these ridiculous notions, we can start working toward real solutions for improving the problems that exist in our country. It takes each and

It takes each and every one of us to make our communities better, so I encourage everyone who reads this to do their part by spreading both facts and real ideas for solutions rather than just negativity, name-calling and mudslinging.

You will notice that conservative is placed between quotation marks simply because it is my opinion that the people who have these sort of opinions are not conservative in any meaningful sense, but are those who (incorrectly) believe that they have the answers to everything. There are real conservatives who believe in the old “mind your own business” ideology, and want to take issues slowly to hash out what absolutely needs to be done and what is just a “nice thing to think about”.

These “real” conservatives are willing to discuss opinions in a productive sense and are usually intelligent and thoughtful people. The “conservatives” generally don’t know much about anything, will not listen to anyone who disagrees with them, but feels that they are entitled to scream their woefully misinformed opinions at the top of their lungs anyway. I think it is insulting to lump thoughtful conservatives in with the “conservatives”.

These “real” conservatives are willing to discuss opinions in a productive sense and are usually intelligent and thoughtful people. The “conservatives” generally don’t know much about anything, will not listen to anyone who disagrees with them, but feels that they are entitled to scream their woefully misinformed opinions at the top of their lungs anyway. I think it is insulting to lump thoughtful conservatives in with the “conservatives”.

So, without any further ado, I present the breakdown of the following (and sometimes controversial) concepts that I believe are some of the biggest problems for “conservatives”:

1. Evolution

Technical Definition: The process by which genetic material is preserved and passed on to future generations.

What a child knows: Dinosaurs.

What a “conservative” hears: Liberal propaganda meant to undermine religion.

The plain and simple truth: The simple act of reproduction is a part of the evolution process. Evolution does not equate to making a species “better” or “worse” but is rather a mechanism through which genes compete to preserve and replicate themselves. The genes that make an organism competitive enough to mate will win out over others and become the new norm for a species to eventually be topped by newer genes that give an organism a serious competitive edge in breeding.

And of course, as the environment changes around all of these evolving creatures, those with genes that make them the most adaptable will be the ones that are most likely to survive long enough to breed. The most well-known theory of evolution is Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest”.

The reason that it is the most widely accepted theory of evolution is that it has held up to attempts to debunk it and provides the best explanation of how evolution works. Evolution itself is not a theory but rather a fact; the theories that exist are merely on how evolution actually works.

2. Pregnancy

Technical Definition: The occasional result of an act of coitus or of artificial insemination which leads a fully matured egg to be fertilized by a mature sperm.

What a child knows: A baby growing inside of a woman’s tummy.

What a “conservative” hears: Often the result of a night of drinking or of talking about sex too much. Usually a mistake and an annoyance. Is often a tool used by women to force a man into an unwanted relationship or into unnecessary hardship.

Is often an excuse for women to refuse to engage in unpleasant activities, such as working or doing household chores, though the symptoms are often exaggerated by women who are just looking for attention and/or sympathy. A very unpleasant experience for men.

The plain and simple truth: The result of an act of coitus or of an artificial insemination which leads a fully matured egg to be fertilized by a mature sperm. This can result from an act of consensual sex either without the use of birth control or with the use of birth control that fails, or from an act of non-consensual sex. The resulting change in hormones has the potential to make female carriers experience any number of physical symptoms, including nausea.

The psychological impact of pregnancy can have any wide number of effects on the female carrier based on the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy, her readiness to become a parent, her personality, and her medical history. The medical impact of a pregnancy on a woman is based heavily on her medical history, her psychology, her genetics, and her access to appropriate medical care during the course of her pregnancy.

3. Abortion

Technical Definition: The conscious termination of a pregnancy based on medical, psychological, or social grounds. Can also include accidental termination of the pregnancy.

What a child knows: When there’s nothing growing anymore in the woman’s tummy.

What a “conservative” hears: A homicide or murder on the grounds that the embryo may not have been accidentally terminated later in the pregnancy. The “easy way out” for a woman who refuses to own up to her own irresponsible behavior that led to the pregnancy. An attempt to avoid the negative consequence of becoming a parent.

The plain and simple truth: When a pregnancy occurs, either by accident, rape, or failure of birth control, it often carries a heavy psychological and medical impact for the female carrier. Often times, whether the pregnancy is the result of an accident or was willful, the impact is a positive one for both parents (whether or not they were involved in an exclusive relationship) and brings with it joyful anticipation, curiosity, and wonderment.

However, pregnancy can be a negative experience for a female carrier based on the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy, her readiness to be a parent (including her financial security and access to medical treatment), and her psychology. In these cases where the pregnancy poses a serious medical or psychological risk to the female carrier, it often becomes necessary to end the pregnancy and to treat the underlying problems present for the female.

Failing to do so often results in very serious situations such as (but not limited to) psychological distress, medical distress or death, child abuse, child neglect, substance abuse, or suicide of the child or mother. Terminating an unwanted or unhealthy pregnancy may be the best way to minimize unnecessary suffering with the fewest possible medical side effects of all other options.

4. Woman

Technical Definition: Biological starting point – adult human of female persuasion

What a child knows: Mommy, sister, auntie, teacher, doctor, police officer

What a “conservative” hears: An Uncontrolled mass of emotions incapable of making decisions – put on this planet to serve men.

The plain and simple truth: Have 10 times more white matter with men, meaning brains are denser and have more connections between locations. Typically a bit better at multitasking, memory, and language skills. Emotion and thought centers are more densely connected, making these individuals better at efficient decision making. (the more female the brain, the more this applies)

5. Man

Technical Definition: Biological result of introduction of additional hormones into the mother’s womb – adult human of male persuasion

What a child knows: Daddy, brother, uncle, teacher, doctor, police officer

What a “conservative” hears: Head of household, head of community, decision-maker, in control of emotion though incapable of containing male nature (multiple sex partners, violence, forgetfulness)

The plain and simple truth: Have 6.5 times more gray matter than women, making brains larger and lighter. Typically a bit better at localized tasks that require more detailed memory rather than a “quick-access” memory. Brains are able to withstand a greater amount of damage without compromising functionality, making them more likely to retain high functionality in later years or after a serious injury. (the more male the brain, the more this applies)

6. Gay Man

Technical Definition: A human male born with a genetic factor found in the Xq28 region (also called GAY-1)

What a child knows: A man who likes kissing other men.

What a “conservative” hears: A man who engages in frequent and questionable sex acts, many of which can be illegal, and all of which pose a serious threat to society. Additionally, most of these individuals see nothing wrong with their questionable sex acts and want to create a safe haven for these questionable sex acts.

The plain and simple truth: An individual who is born at some point of the male spectrum, has a male brain, usually, has male genitalia, and is attracted to other individuals along the male spectrum. His sex drive, sex preferences, and preferences in partners vary based on a combination of personality and genetics (which is the case for all males).

Typically has little or no interest in sex with a female though continues to have the same level of non-sexual curiosity of the female body (largely due to human nature and to the fact that gay men do not have and do not want to have female bodies). Not typically offended by the curiosity of his relationship preferences as long as strict adherence to his boundaries is maintained.

7. Gay Woman

Technical Definition: A human female born with a genetic factor found in the Xq28 region (also called GAY-1)

What a child knows: A woman who likes kissing other women.

What a “conservative” hears: A woman who is either so undesirable to men or is so jealous of men’s societal power that she has decided to have tons of sex with other women, mostly to piss off other members of society who would much rather go about their own lives. These individuals hate men and this is the only reason for their sexual deviancy.

The plain and simple truth: An individual who is born at some point of the female spectrum, has a female brain, usually, has female genitalia, and is attracted to other individuals along the female spectrum. Her sex drive, sex preferences, and preferences in partners vary based on a combination of personality and genetics (which is the case for all females). Typically has no interest in sex with a male other than perhaps to fulfill a simple curiosity. Tends to believe that males can be too pushy and are uncomfortable with receiving sexual attention from men. Can be uncomfortable speaking with heterosexual men unless they are in committed relationships or can respect her boundaries. Usually not offended by the curiosity of her relationship preferences.

Typically has no interest in sex with a male other than perhaps to fulfill a simple curiosity. Tends to believe that males can be too pushy and are uncomfortable with receiving sexual attention from men. Can be uncomfortable speaking with heterosexual men unless they are in committed relationships or can respect her boundaries. Usually not offended by the curiosity of her relationship preferences.

Typically has no interest in sex with a male other than perhaps to fulfill a simple curiosity. Tends to believe that males can be too pushy and are uncomfortable with receiving sexual attention from men. Can be uncomfortable speaking with heterosexual men unless they are in committed relationships or can respect her boundaries. Usually not offended by the curiosity of her relationship preferences.

8. Gay Marriage

Technical Definition: The union of two individuals who are along the same gender spectrum in a socially-recognized (and often governmentally protected) exclusive and committed relationship.

What a child knows: When a man marries a man or when a woman marries a woman.

What a “conservative” hears: An attempt to force society into condoning questionable sexual practices, which may include bestiality, incest, and child molestation. Not done in earnest, but rather as a way to spite the rest of society, which does not see their behavior as appropriate.

The plain and simple truth: The union of two individuals of the same gender on the basis of a desire to form a family that is legally protected and recognized in such a way that will not impede the couple’s attempt to fulfill life goals and/or raise a family. A “marriage” is the colloquial term for a publicly recognized romantic union that creates a household where there was none before, this is the publicly recognized romantic union of two individuals of the same gender. May or may not include a religious affiliation (which is the same as in the case of heterosexual marriage). As in the case of heterosexual marriage, this often stipulates that both individuals will remain monogamous and respectful of the other’s needs.

May or may not include a religious affiliation (which is the same as in the case of heterosexual marriage). As in the case of heterosexual marriage, this often stipulates that both individuals will remain monogamous and respectful of the other’s needs.

May or may not include a religious affiliation (which is the same as in the case of heterosexual marriage). As in the case of heterosexual marriage, this often stipulates that both individuals will remain monogamous and respectful of the other’s needs.

May or may not include a religious affiliation (which is the same as in the case of heterosexual marriage). As in the case of heterosexual marriage, this often stipulates that both individuals will remain monogamous and respectful of the other’s needs.

A “marriage” is the colloquial term for a publicly recognized romantic union that creates a household where there was none before, this is the publicly recognized romantic union of two individuals of the same gender.

May or may not include a religious affiliation (which is the same as in the case of heterosexual marriage). As in the case of heterosexual marriage, this often stipulates that both individuals will remain monogamous and respectful of the other’s needs.

9. Death Penalty

Technical Definition: The use of some government-mandated method for putting an inmate to death as a punishment that is determined by a jury.

What a child knows: When someone who committed a crime is killed by the government.

What a “conservative” hears: It is the most appropriate punishment for people who take the life of another. It gives potential murderers a reason to think twice before committing a murder. The murderer didn’t show any mercy for the person they killed, so why should society show them any mercy?

The plain and simple truth: This is considered a form of “punishment” by the American justice system, though it regularly takes decades to carry out the death sentence. There is a belief that this serves as a deterrent to would-be criminals but is widely accepted by experts in criminal justice as having no effect on the murder rate either way.

Currently, the death penalty is not used on violent repeat offenders who pose a significant risk to those in prison who actually have the ability to be rehabilitated. It could, in theory, be better used to make prisons safe for the rehabilitation of criminals more focused on change, but has not been used in that fashion to date.

As the death penalty has been proven conclusively to have ended the lives of innocent individuals who were later exonerated by DNA evidence, it poses significant questions of morality. Additionally, as several constitutional challenges have been raised in response to the death penalty, it has become vastly more expensive to put an inmate to death than it is to keep the inmate in prison for life.

10. Welfare (Government Assistance)

Technical Definition: A government-funded aid program that is designed to act as a safety net of sorts for those living in poverty or near-poverty.

What a child knows: When the government gives money to poor people.

What a “conservative” hears: A corrupt system put in place by naive liberals to allow lazy individuals, who are often addicted to drugs, to get by on the taxpayer’s dime.

The plain and simple truth:  The programs included in “welfare” include: Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI, HUD, TANF, Head Start, Work Study, and Medicare. The biggest goal of US welfare programs is to get households to the point that they do not depend on welfare programs through educational assistance, which is intended to allow beneficiaries to obtain a better job. Most individuals who utilize these programs need welfare for temporary assistance while few rely heavily on those programs.

Unfortunately, due to conservative propaganda aimed at undermining these programs, they are woefully underfunded to the point of becoming less effective. Additionally, as there are many other problems with our system, there are several other factors that need to be addressed to reduce the income gaps that exist.

Most individuals who utilize these programs need welfare for temporary assistance while few rely heavily on those programs. Unfortunately, due to conservative propaganda aimed at undermining these programs, they are woefully underfunded to the point of becoming less effective. Additionally, as there are many other problems with our system, there are several other factors that need to be addressed to reduce the income gaps that exist.

The Good, the Bad, and The Sales Pitch: How to Know if Internet Nutrition Info is Sound

nutrition

There is a proliferation of health and nutrition information on the internet these days, and it’s hard to know which is the good information and which is not. Anyone can purchase a web domain name, post a bunch of information on it, and present themselves as an expert. This does not mean they are an expert, have the degree they claim to, or have any clue what they’re talking about.

There are various of types of health and nutrition sites out there. The main categories include the following:

  • Government health and nutrition sites. These include the sites for the National Institutes of Health, the FDA, and the Department of Agriculture. While some make the argument that these websites have an agenda (and in reality, everybody does, whether it’s a positive agenda or a negative one; “agenda” just means that you have a purpose for what you are doing), the information on these sites is generally written by experts in the field, has sources listed, and is not trying to sell you something.
  • Health blogs. These are generally kept by someone who feels they have something to offer the world in the health field. The blogger may or may not be an expert, have a degree in the field, and may or may not have evidence to back up their claims.
  • Websites kept by universities, health organizations such as research hospitals, and professional health organizations. Similar to government sites, they generally exist to provide information, are maintained by experts, and aren’t directly trying to sell a product, though they may offer services and products in a separate online shop.
  • Privately maintained websites. These are kept by individuals, small organizations, etc. They vary in quality. May be reliable, or may be thinly disguised sales pitches for a “cure-all” product.

 

There are many others, those most frequently found. Since all may be reliable, however many are not, what are the things to look for in a health-related website?

  • Does the information have sources listed; are these sources readily available, easy to find, or even in existence? A website with no sources, no links to similar information, or that is linked to a source by the same author or organization, (“As I said in my book, Carrots: The Miracle Vegetable,” etc.) likely is not a good source. If you want to dig further, sites that use sources that are not well-footnoted or that are clearly opinion pieces, are generally not reliable.
  • Does the website use a lot of negative language, ALL CAPITAL LETTER CLAIMS, different color text to emphasize points, or bash other websites, organizations, or people? Someone who has good information to back them up does not need to personally attack others, unless the other party is providing information that is downright dangerous. Even then, the refutation should be polite and calm, and with good sources to back it up.
  • Is the website selling something? For example, if you find a website that is called Vitamin-C-Can-Save-Your-Life.com, and they have lots of links to their shop where they sell vitamin C tablets, drink mixes, food additives, supplements, and snack bars, then this is probably a sales pitch, not a reliable site for information.
  • Is the person maintaining the site (especially in the case of blogs or other privately owned websites) a credentialed person? Do they list in their “About” information where they obtained their degree, what this degree is, or what their experience in the field entails? For example, did they graduate from Harvard Medical School, or do they just have a mysterious “Dr.” tacked to the beginning of their name? Doctorates can be legitimate medical doctor degrees, or they could be in philosophy, engineering, or even an honorary doctorate for charity work. “Nutritionist” is another deceptive title. It can mean someone who has a masters degree and carries a certification from a prestigious organization, or it can mean someone who went through a minor three-month certificate program.
  • Related to the sales-pitch site, does this site claim that a particular product can change your life? Can it cause you to lose weight, keep you from developing cancer, cure headaches, help you live longer while erasing the effects of aging, and make your high blood pressure, high cholesterol and arthritis disappear, all with one teeny capsule? Odds are, it won’t! Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Save your money. Especially save your money if this site claims that the government has been covering this cure up, or that they are the ONLY site that sells it. This means that they are probably the only ones that can test it for safety, too!
  • Is the only evidence offered for the reliability of the site a collection of glowing testimonials? Remember that there is no reason why the owner of the site couldn’t have written these themselves.

 

Much of this would appear to be common sense, but the best advice to anyone is to read ANY information on the internet with a critical, logical eye. Do not get sucked in and buy something without researching it elsewhere; don’t fall prey to testimonials claiming that this person or site saved their life.

Have Scientists Finally Found the Higgs Boson?

higgs boson

After almost 50 years of searching, scientists at the CERN research center have announced that they have discovered a Higgs-like particle. This new elementary particle, confirmed as the Higgs boson by an estimate of 99.999%, is known in the Standard Model of Particle Physics for giving particles of all kinds mass. The Standard Model does not only explain the masses of elementary particles but also, the interactions and forces of all the mass in the universe, from galaxies and planets to moons and meteors.

Scientists made this historic announcement after analyzing data at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).The LHC is an enormous particle accelerator that spans the borders of Switzerland and France, descending more than 300 feet underground. Thousands of physicists from around the world conduct experiments at the LHC. They send beams of high energy particles to collide at each other, as energy from these collisions travels in opposite directions.

These high energy interactions give data all the way back to the Big Bang. Scientists have sent trillions of proton streams, traveling in opposite directions, down 27 kilometers of the tunnel. These collisions happen billions of times per second, at 99.9999% the speed of light. What they found, after examining these collisions with 3,000 computers is that there is a Higgs-like particle with a mass of 125-126 Giga-electron-volts (GeV). This energy level shows the heaviest boson particle ever found at 5 Sigma, which means the chances for this observation were 1 in 3.5 million. These results came from collaborative experiments done by ATLAS and CMS. Rolf Heuer, the director general of CERN, said about the findings in a recent press release:

“The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.” Some of these mysteries might include how the universe may have originated from “nothing,” at the time of the Big Bang, if a theory of quantum gravity is further established, according to

This energy level shows the heaviest boson particle ever found at 5 Sigma, which means the chances for this observation were 1 in 3.5 million. These results came from collaborative experiments done by ATLAS and CMS. Rolf Heuer, the director general of CERN, said about the findings in a recent press release: “The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.” Some of these mysteries might include how the universe may have originated from “nothing,” at the time of the Big Bang, if a theory of quantum gravity is further established, according to physicist, Lawrence Krauss, in his book, “A Universe from Nothing.”

At this moment, the Higgs-like particle fills up a huge gap in the Standard Model. It shows how some particles have mass and how others do not. Beginning with the theoretical professor, Peter Higgs, it was theorized that particles have mass because they pass through the three-dimensional Higgs Field, which is spread throughout the entire universe. Some particles pass more easily in the field while others only trudge along.

The harder it is for a particle to interact with the field, the more massive it is, while the easier it interacts with the field, the less massive it is. When a particle does not interact with the field, like in the case of a photon or light particle, then it is massless. But the particles that interact with the field interact with other particles too. The Higgs boson mediates the interactions of particles that pass through the Higgs field, while the Higgs boson itself is an excitation from the field.

Physicists have searched for data of the Higgs field by observing energy fluctuations of the Higgs boson or Higgs-like particle with other particles. These energetic traces, when a Higgs-like particle decays into other sub-atomic particles, give evidence to a central part of particle physics, and a profound implication for how the universe may have originated.

Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, and bestselling author said at CNN, “This particle was the fuse that set off the explosion that created the universe. We think that originally the universe was a gas with no particles at all. Think of a crystal, a beautiful crystal, totally symmetrical, but useless. It exploded. The shattering of this crystal gave us all the masses of the particles we have today: the electron, the proton, the neutron, the atom… All of this from an explosion triggered by a Higgs-like particle.” The results of the Higgs-like particle are preliminary, but they are hard not to be excited over. Scientists have evidence of

All of this from an explosion triggered by a Higgs-like particle.” The results of the Higgs-like particle are preliminary, but they are hard not to be excited over. Scientists have evidence of a mass in the universe and have solidified the union between the electromagnetic and weak forces. This discovery has given insight into the workings of the cosmos, and this is only the beginning of a new epoch of discovery.

Everything you need to know about the Higgs Boson in under 4 minutes

 

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