Your Morning Cup of Links

Is the Higgs Boson particle actually the cosmic doomsday particle? Irene Klotz explains

If calculations of the newly discovered Higgs boson particle are correct, one day, tens of billions of years from now, the universe will disappear at the speed of light, replaced by a strange, alternative dimension, one theoretical physicist calls “boring.”

A disturbing report on Egypt’s child abuse scourge, the detention and torture of minors under Morsi.

While the exact number of children arrested is hard to come by—in part because of recent changes to prosecutorial procedures that make it more difficult to track cases—Priyanka Motaparthy, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, tells The Daily Beast that in Cairo and Port Said alone, there have been more than 170 documented cases of child detentions in the last month. And activists, who point out that other cities such as Alexandria, Suez, and Tanta have also experienced unrest, say the problem is nationwide. Mahmoud Bilal, a lawyer who works on the issue, estimates there may be as many as 400 cases from around the country.

Many of the children rounded up during the crackdown have been held in pretrial detention at camps such as Gabal Ahmar, a notorious facility used by Egypt’s central security forces once synonymous with the detention and torture of political activists under toppled tyrant Hosni Mubarak. Such detentions are illegal under Egyptian law, and there have been persistent reports of torture and maltreatment of child detainees. At Gabal Ahmar, the young inmates had been viciously beaten or electrocuted using Taser-style devices, according to Bilal.

On the (supposed) decline of “Downton Abbey”. It’s basically a British soap opera, what do you expect? All soap operas jump the shark at some point, but we will all still love it. God I miss “All My Children.” P.S. There are lots of spoilers in the linked article, so if you haven’t watched it, don’t read it.

The disaster we’ve helped create in Syria by our inaction.

As the world looks on (or away), the country jammed between Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Israel is disintegrating. Perhaps the regime of Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, will collapse in chaos; for some time it could well fight on from a fortified enclave, the biggest militia in a land of militias. Either way, Syria looks increasingly likely to fall prey to feuding warlords, Islamists and gangs—a new Somalia rotting in the heart of the Levant. If that happens, millions of lives will be ruined. A fragmented Syria would also feed global jihad and stoke the Middle East’s violent rivalries. Mr Assad’s chemical weapons, still secure for now, would always be at risk of falling into dangerous hands. This catastrophe would make itself felt across the Middle East and beyond. And yet the outside world, including America, is doing almost nothing to help.

And without help, former moderates are turning to jihad.

Guam is about to receive a planeload of Tylenol-laced, toxic mice to try and solve its snake problem.

Dead mice laced with painkillers are about to rain down on Guam’s jungle canopy. They are scientists’ prescription for a headache that has caused the tiny U.S. territory misery for more than 60 years: the brown tree snake. Most of Guam’s native bird species are extinct because of the snake, which reached the island’s thick jungles by hitching rides from the South Pacific on U.S. military ships shortly after World War II. There may be 2 million of the reptiles on Guam now, decimating wildlife, biting residents and even knocking out electricity by slithering onto power lines.

Picknose control freak Gaius Julius Umbridge Bloomberg is never satisfied. Ordering pizza for a group of people and want a 2-liter soda so everyone has something to drink? Forget it. Want a pitcher of soda at your kid’s birthday party or a carafe of mixer for that table service you ordered at the nightclub? Not going to happen in Bloomberg’s NYC.

In other ridiculous government overreach news, bars and restaurants in DC better make sure there are exactly five ounces of wine in that glass, otherwise the Office of Weights & Measures is coming for you.

The Hollywood White House had to show up at the Oscars last night to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Washington and Hollywood do indeed go to bed together. FLOTUS presented the Best Picture award with smiling military personnel in the background, because the Obamas don’t do anything without people props. Just be thankful they spared the children and the first responders this time. Michelle was happy to do it because the Obamas, “watch movies all the time!” OMG, THEY’RE SO COOL, THEY’RE JUST LIKE US. COOLEST. PRESIDENT. EVER. The appearance was treated like a “state secret” with many measures taken to ensure that her appearance wasn’t “leaked.” It’s too bad those measures weren’t taken to ensure that other things weren’t leaked, like Stuxnet or the Pakistani doctor who is now in jail because he helped us find bin Laden or the double agent in Yemen who helped us stop a terrorist attack. But hey, some things are IMPORTANT.

Ending on a happy note, Nerve gives us the visual history of the vibrator.

What do antique sex toys and Mark Twain have in common? The Arnold Massage Vibrator. It’s rumored that Samuel Clemens himself used this early model. Resembling a hand mixer, the Arnold Massager was advertised as a facial exfoliator to preserve a perpetual youth (orgasms will do that).

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Filed under Around the World, Politics, Science, Sex, TV/Movies

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