Quarks of nature

And for this morning I’d like to offer a pointer/reblogging of “Quarks of Nature”, on a Labor Of Like’s WordPress blog. Labor of Like writes a good number of pieces using a comic mode that I’ve somehow avoided in these parts, that of the mock news article. Labor of Like also works heavily in the science-news stream, which is a tough kind of humor to write: there’s a terrific drive to write informationally if you start talking about subsurface oceans of gas-giant moons or superlatively weird constructions of quarks, if nothing else to make sure the average reader has a hope of knowing what’s being talked about.

This bit, about the discovery of a bizarre kind of quark construct dubbed Z(4430), gives I think a fairly good sense of what the blog’s humor style is like and so, if you like science-news-based-humor (and done in the style of stuffing each sentence full of jokes, a style that I can find exhausting to write, but which if it works evokes the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker films with jokes piled on top of jokes) then this could be something fresh that you’ll enjoy.

A Labor of Like


In matter-that-doesn’t news, the recent discovery of a four-quark something or other has triggered a new round of physics gang warfare.

The new particles go by the name Z(4430).  Physicists give these particles names starting with the letter Z because all the good letters, like M and G, are already taken.  The number is derived from the fact that the particle showed up sometime between 4:00 and 4:30, while scientists were out having afternoon tea.  “I just came back, and there were these 4 quarks laying on the floor of the collider.  They weren’t there when we left, but we’re not sure exactly when they showed up.”

In 2008, the Belle Collaboration*, a street gang of Hot and/or BrightDisney heroines, announced it saw the world’s first evidence of Z(4430) in Japan.  Then another group, led by the elephant king BaBar, ran its own experiments in California. BaBar said their…

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

3 thoughts on “Quarks of nature”

  1. Thank you for the kind words, Joseph. High praise indeed coming from a man of whom I often find myself saying, “Crap, I wish I had written that!”

    I must say, however, that I experience almost no drive to write informationally about science. Mostly, my eye catches some bright, sparkly article by title alone, then I read until I find the hook, or run out of article. Once I stumbled onto an article (with the word “Indisputable” in the title) about a dispute between entities called “the Belle Collaboration” and “BaBar”, my brain saw a Ludlum novel about turf warfare between a Disney princess and a cartoon elephant. The quark stuff is just there to link the sentences together.

    (By the way, the picture of Natalie Portman was supposed to link to the article being mocked. Instead, it pointed to a slightly larger picture of Natalie Portman. That has now been fixed.)

    Thanks again. Oh, and please, call me John.


    1. Well, my, thank you, and I’ve read quite a few of your pieces and been envious that I couldn’t write that funny. So I’m glad we seem to be getting along together well.

      I’m surprised you don’t feel an impulse to explain as well as entertain, but I come from a strong academia background and maybe can’t imagine simply being amusing.

      I’d taken the Natalie Portman thing to just be a joke I didn’t quite get, but that’s all right, as there are plenty of other jokes to be had.

      And, thanks, John. I’m Joseph, at least in most crowds.


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