A week of validation

Another long and busy week. The first part of the work week gave me a chance to focus on my efforts to understand the BaBar “background filter”, or “BGFilter”. The BGFilter is responsible for taking our triggered data, which is written to disk in a fairly raw format, and filtering it to select interesting events and reject crap. However, this filter also happens to reject my invisible decays of Upsilons, assuming they occur in Nature. Understanding how to tune this filter is critical to making progress in my research.

I saw a more important nook that needed to be filled come midweek. BaBar is currently making a huge effort to understand the new data coming from the collider. This is a delicate and tricky process, as many things have changed since last Summer (when we last took data). I realized, after a brief chat with a colleague, that a project one of the MIT students works on is **perfect** for studying the detector response in Run 5. Yi and I spent Wednesday to Friday working through the details of this comparison, and we’re pretty close to results.

It’s been a busy week on the political front. I became aware of the request from a Congressional committee for financial records, data, and analysis code of several climate scientists whose work is the basis of much called-for reform in industry and energy policy. This is suspicious, only because conclusions to the opposite are never called into question (i.e. those that uphold consumption of fossil fuels and the maintainence of current reckless environmental industry policies). It also doesn’t bode well for other branches of science, since Congress could call for such a private review *outside the scientific review process* to address conclusins with which it doesn’t agree. Dangerous!

Finally, I treated myself to a wonderful lecture (“on the web”:http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/VMS_Site_03/Lectures/Colloquium/050622Scott/index.htm)
by Eugenie Scott, a leader at the “National Center for Science Education”:http://www.NCSEWeb.org. She spoke about the history and legacy of creationism and neocreationism, the “three pillars of creationism” which even intelligent design advocates adhere to (evolution is a “theory in crisis”, evolution and religion are incompatible, and it’s “only fair” to teach creationism with evolution). Her slides are “available from the Fermilab website”:http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/VMS_Site_03/Lectures/Colloquium/presentations/050622Scott.ppt.

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