There are a lot of things to celebrate today, including Chinese New Year, the winter Olympics, and the America’s Cup, but Valentine’s Day holds a special place in our hearts, because it is so closely associated with CERN Love core values, including love, hearts, ridicule, loneliness and depression. We would like to take this moment to thank you, our readers, with a special poem.
Roses are red,
Dipoles are blue,
All you lonely physics groupies, remember,
CERN Love loves you!
We’d like to share an email that was sent to the ATLAS Collaboration and intercepted by our electonic intelligence division. You might expect the ATLAS lost and found to be full of pocket protectors, graphing calculators and dosimeters, but it’s not. We’re not sure what this says about ATLAS physicists.
Oh, email@example.com, I know you mean well, but come on…
I’m not at CERN right now. Of all the places in the world where might I be? The safest guess would be “back a my university or lab,” but let’s not be so generic. If you had to guess one specific place I bet your safest guess would be Fermilab, home to the second highest energy accelerator in the world (but only by a hair, for now). At least in this case you’d be correct. As the LHC continues to slowly work toward interesting collisions, a scientist has got to get his science fix from somewhere. There are hundreds of scientists associated with CERN who continue to work at Fermilab, which makes the security warning email I received recently about the most absurd imaginable (emphasis mine).
Subject: [xxx] XXX: Logins from unusual location(s)
CERN computer security checks have detected login(s) using your account
at an unusual location. This might indicate that your account has been
Please CHECK whether you have established any connection to CERN
between 2010/01/xx-xx:xx:xx and 2010/01/xx-xx:xx:xx (Geneva local time)
from the following domain(s):
dhcp.fnal.gov (131.225.xxx.xxx, United States, Fermilab)
- If NOT, please urgently contact Computer.Security@cern.ch. Your
account XXX has most probably been broken into.
- If YES, then please ignore this e-mail. You will not get another
e-mail notification for your sessions from the domains listed
Thanks for your collaboration.
CERN Security Team | http://cern.ch/security
OK, I’ll admit I don’t connect to one of their login computer every day, maybe not even every week when I’m not at CERN (you pull data off the grid and work locally most of the time), but I certainly do now and then. It never occurred to me I might be operating from a den of l33t haxors.
Clearly, with all the excitement that comes along with proton beams and collisions, it’s easy for us to get a little ahead of ourselves. In all honesty, we simply get a bit cocky when we’re setting world records on a weekly basis — in the context of high energy particle physics, of course. As such, we feel it’s appropriate to push the limits, in many areas of our lives.
One such area in which the boundaries have recently become blurred is in electronic communication. Now, CERN is no stranger to ridiculous e-mail incidents, but I feel like the past week has exposed a new and dangerous beast.
In the past two weeks, my inbox has exploded. I’ve received over 2000 e-mails related to the naturally exciting developments we’ve been a part of recently. As such, it’s reasonable that the authors of these many messages might have stopped paying attention to details. The occasional mis-capitalization, excessive use of commas, and over-use of the phrase “in principle” are not new features to e-mails passed around CERN. However, I saw something for the first time this week which truly stunned me.
In a salutation of an e-mail sent to one of the many e-mail lists of which I am a member, I saw something truly special. Consider this e-mail:
I’m addressing everyone on the list, and I clearly have to say whatever it is I’m saying quickly. I’ve demonstrated that in my salutation.
At first, I was baffled. After an instant, though, I realized what he was doing. I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from seeing this.
To my collaborators: please, don’t. Don’t do that. Stop.
Please, allow us to suggest a template for your use when composing e-mails to a working group, or even for your use in everyday communication with colleagues:
The _____ (1) is enabled only for people on _____ (2), coipled[sic] to _____ (3). People not holdig[sic] any expert role are thus not able any longeer[sic] to open a terminal in _____ (4), nor to do any operation on _____ (5). This will stay like this from now on.
(1) Insert role here
(2) Insert roster for horrible job here
(3) Insert barely-working scheduling software here
(4) Insert dismal office area here
(5) Insert barely-working physics software here
NB: incorrect spelling is encouraged, and correct grammar should be used sparingly.
Everyone that moves to CERN gets to experience it: the apartment hunt. Missed appointments, shitty furnishings, and questionably strange landlords are just a few of the guaranteed spices one tastes when sampling the Housing Buffet in Geneva and its nearby French villages.
Recently, I expressed interest to a certain CERN engineer who was advertising a studio in St. Genis for a reasonable price. I visited, and told him immediately that I would take the apartment. After informing me that there was one other competitor in the queue to visit the unit, he said that he would contact me at the beginning of the following week with information about applying for the apartment. It was CLEAR that day that both myself and my rival would be applying, and that it would be up to the rental agency as to which of us got to start a lease. Needless to say, I was skeptical…
By Tuesday of the next week, I had not heard from said engineer, so I wrote him a message:
Is there any news about the apartment? Will I still be able to submit an application?
Wednesday, Thursday…no response…
On Friday, I received this e-mail from my engineer-friend:
the studio is renting now
have a good day
(NB: This was NOT in response to my follow-up e-mail. Nay, he sent this e-mail as a response to my initial message to him, in which I expressed interest in visiting the studio…)
In case that’s not clear to the readers, allow me to translate:
the studio is renting now
have a good day
Fuck you again!
Do not ever speak to me or attempt to contact me again,