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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Happening

I need to point this out. This is the gold mine from The Zero Game. This is exactly what I said they'd do with it. This is exactly what they're doing. They see you right now. They told me. They see you shaking your head. They see it all.

Work begins on world's deepest underground lab AP
By DIRK LAMMERS, Associated Press Writer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Far below the Black Hills of South Dakota, crews are building the world's deepest underground science lab at a depth equivalent to more than six Empire State buildings — a place uniquely suited to scientists' quest for mysterious particles known as dark matter.

Scientists, politicians and other officials gathered Monday for a groundbreaking of sorts at a lab 4,850 foot below the surface of an old gold mine that was once the site of Nobel Prize-winning physics research.

The site is ideal for experiments because its location is largely shielded from cosmic rays that could interfere with efforts to prove the existence of dark matter, which is thought to make up nearly a quarter of the mass of the universe.

The deepest reaches of the mine plunge to 8,000 feet below the surface. Some early geology and hydrology experiments are already under way at 4,850 feet. Researchers also hope to build two deeper labs that are still awaiting funding from Congress.

"The fact that we're going to be in the Davis Cavern just tickles us pink," said Tom Shutt of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, referring to a portion of the mine named after scientist Ray Davis Jr., who used it in the 1960s to demonstrate the existence of particles called solar neutrinos.

Davis and a colleague named John Bahcall won a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize for physics for their work.

The old Homestake Gold Mine in a community called Lead (pronounced LEED) was shut down in 2001 after 125 years. Pumps that kept the mine dry were turned off years ago, so workers have been drying it out to prepare for the new research.

Before the labs are built, crews must also stabilize the tunnels and install new infrastructure. The lab at 4,850 feet is not much to look at yet. A rusty orange film covers the walls, floors, ceilings and debris left behind by miners.

The first dark matter experiment will be the Large Underground Xenon detector experiment — or LUX — a project to detect weakly interacting particles that could give scientists greater insight into the Big Bang explosion believed to have formed the universe.

Shutt, along with Brown University's Rick Gaitskell and nearly a dozen collaborators will work at the site to search for dark matter, which does not emit detectable light or radiation. But scientists say its presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter.

Scientists believe most of the dark matter in the universe contains no atoms and does not interact with ordinary matter through electromagnetic forces. They are trying to discover exactly what it is, how much exists and what effect it may have on the future of the universe.

Physicists have said that without dark matter, galaxies might never have formed. By learning more about dark matter, they hope to understand better whether the universe is expanding or contracting.

The research team will try to catch the ghostly particles in a 300-kilogram tank of liquid xenon, a cold substance that is three times heavier than water. If they tried to detect dark matter above ground, the highly sensitive detector would be bombarded by cosmic radiation.

Scientists hope to start construction on the two deepest labs by 2012 and open them by 2016. The projects are expected to cost $550 million.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Brad's Graduation Speech

Last night, we went to the graduation ceremony for City Year Miami. When Brad got up to speak, he told the graduates that when he was 22 years old and graduating from the University of Michigan, he entered the schoolwide competition to be the graduation speaker. He lost, never even making the second round. But as he said last night, he's a stubborn bastard. He is. And then he reached into his pocket and pulled out the speech that he'd waited nearly 20 years to give. See below. Back then, the term Gen-X wasn't even invented, but his words are as relevant now as they were then (and does it sound like him, or what?). Just some fun to remind us when we were young.

Feel free to send to others, of course...

- Cori

Chase Your Dreams; Find Your Road Runner
By Brad Meltzer, age 22

The media loves to speculate about what our generation will accomplish. They call us the "Television Generation" or "The Baby-busters." Above all else, the media loves to report that our generation, aged 18-25, will be the first generation in history to have less than our parents. I cannot express how much this annoying little factoid bothers me.

I do not question the economic principles on which this prediction is based; rather, I am concerned about the consequences of the statement. It is both silly and bothersome to hear anyone "tell" us what we will be. The logical flaws alone are staggering. How can they know what our generation will accomplish when so many of our future leaders are still sitting here, awaiting graduation? It is as if they are trying to write that widely read year-in-review article before the year takes place.

They don't know our capabilities or the extent of our ingenuity. They simply base their "prediction" on the assumption that our limits are equal to the limits of their generation. They are wrong. This is a new generation. Graduates, it is "our" generation, and we differ from all others. Granted, we may have lower national math scores, and lower geographical knowledge. Certainly, there is some truth to the notion that we will not have the same economic advantages that our parents had. Yet, that does not mean that we will necessarily have less than our parents. Let the world know - we will not be counted out. I am confident we will surprise them. We have a different type of knowledge; more street-smart and clever. We are imaginative and more ingenious.

Creativity is an elemental force of nature. Use that force in whatever you decide to do. Whether you choose law, medicine, business, teaching, or any of the other limitless doors that are open to you, show the world - our time has come - we have arrived, and we will not be easily defeated.

As we face graduation, do not be scared of the future. Embrace it. Do not weather the storm. Control it. Make the most of your time, and we will make the best of our generation.

For the past two decades, we have seen Wile E. Coyote chase the ever-elusive Road Runner. For twenty years, we have known that he will never be able to catch him; yet, we still continue to watch. No matter how impossible our dreams might be, we must all practice the childhood lessons of Wile E. Coyote. Be persistent as you chase your own dreams, so that you may one day find your Road Runner.

Thank you, and good luck to you all. Go Blue.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

New Secret Treasure!

Alright partypeople, the new secret treasures are now hidden (parts 2 and 3) in the team-up we're doing with the Freemasons. If you're saying, "What the hell is he talking about?" go read this to hear more about how you can GPS to find the geocaches that are hidden in the DC/MD/VA area.

As before, each clue overlaps thematically with The Book of Lies. And they're really getting cooler and cooler. Solve the puzzle...get the coordinates...find the goodies. One of them can only be seen at night. Pretty sneaky, sis.

So here you go -- and thanks to Johnny_Cache and Sue Hislop, our masterminds.

Book of Lies: Part 1, Scene 2, Alligator Alley

Book of Lies: Part 1, Scene 3, The Canal

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Old Jews Telling Jokes

I am now going to do you a favor. I used to hate Father's Day. It was a fake holiday. Until I got presents on it. So take this link, send it to your Dad, and wish him a Happy Father's Day with it. He deserves it.

Thanks to Jason S. for finding it.

Old Jews Telling Jokes

Thursday, June 04, 2009

New Cover

Here's the newest foreign cover -- this one for the paperback in the UK and Australia and published by the always classy Hodder & Stoughton (my first editor there was named George Lucas, so he called me on the phone the first day and left the message, "I'm George Lucas and I want to buy your book." Hurm). Clearly, they like the scary little running man over there too.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hidden Treasure!

One of the things we're doing to promote the paperback of Book of Lies (see, plug right there!) is a collaboration with the Freemasons. Yes. The Freemasons. I love those guys. And after The Book of Fate, we connected in that Mork/Orson way and they started pointing out all these Freemason things that had been running through my books without me knowing it. Was wild.

And so, we're launching a geocaching puzzle.

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt played throughout the world by people armed with GPS devices. The basic idea is to solve puzzles and locate hidden containers, called geocaches, that're hidden all over. You don't need to read the book to do the puzzle. But you do need one of those cool GPS devices (though an iPhone does the trick).

I'm not saying any more, but if you're in (or plan to be in) Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia, go to (on the homepage) and get ready to find. We hid the stuff, but good.


Watch this. I know. It's a trailer for a new videogame, but...just trust me. It's the Beatles.