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CERN to restart Large Hadron Collider to search for ‘dark universe’ behind visible one

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Scientists at Europe’s physics research center CERN on Sunday restarted their “Big Bang” Large Hadron Collider (LHC), embarking on a bid to probe into the “dark universe” they believe lies beyond the visible one.

CERN reported that particle beams were successfully pushed around the LHC in both directions after a two-year shutdown for a major refit described as a Herculean task that doubled its power — and its reach into the unknown.

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“It’s fantastic to see it going so well after such a major overhaul,” CERN Director General Rolf Heuer told delighted scientists and engineers as the beams moved round the tubes of the 27-km (17-mile) underground complex.

But it will be two months before particle collisions — mini-versions of the Big Bang primordial blast that brought the universe into being 13.8 billion years ago — begin and at least a year more before any results can be expected.

Study of many billions of collisions in the LHC’s first run from 2010-2013 produced proof by 2012 of the existence of the Higgs boson and its linked force field, a long sought mechanism that gives mass to matter.

But that was part of the 40-year-old Standard Model of how the universe is believed to work at the level of the fundamental particles that make up everything in it, including life.

With its capacity to smash particles together at almost the speed of light and at a collision energy twice that of its first run, scientists hope that the revamped LHC will produce evidence of what has been dubbed “New Physics”.

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Among elements of this concept are the “dark matter” thought to make up some 96 per cent of the stuff of the universe while being totally invisible, and super-symmetry, or SUSY, under which all visible particles have unseen counterparts.

“If I had to bet on what we will find, I would go for SUSY,” said Oliver Buchmueller, a scientist on one of the four machines around the ring that records each collision. “But we could also find something very, very unexpected,” he added.

“This is what makes life on the energy frontier so exciting.”

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But CERN will only gradually move towards applying the full energy now within the power of the LHC, mindful of a helium leak in 2008 that forced postponement of the machine’s first LHC run for two years, and an electrical fault that put off Sunday’s start-up, originally set for last month, by two weeks.

(Reporting by Robert Evans; Editing by John Stonestreet and Stephen Powell)

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Maddow destroys ‘bad faith’ complaints about impeachment from Republican Trump supporters

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The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Friday blasted "bad faith" arguments from Republicans about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Maddow recounted the process complaints by Republicans -- each of which has disappeared.

"After going through all of that, they now have unveiled a new objection as to why President Trump cannot actually be subject to this impeachment proceeding, a new noble stand they're taking for fairness and the American way -- they have rolled it out with our friends at the Fox News channel," Maddow said.

She played a clip of former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich on Fox News.

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Everyone is baffled by Trump’s rambling rant about flushing toilets ’10 times, 15 times’

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Another day, another truly baffling series of words coming from President Donald Trump’s mouth.

Speaking at a White House meeting on Friday about small business and regulation, Trump went on one of his trademark riffs, touching on a number of subjects with the clarity of a muddy puddle. He seemed to be referring to a series of complaints that have been raised over the years about various consumer product regulations (a favorite topic of Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky) but without making a coherent point about any of them.

Read the whole stream of consciousness rant to get a sense of what it was like:

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Adam Schiff pushes Pence to declassify aide’s secret information — implying it might be embarrassing or illegal

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House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter on Friday to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to declassify the entirety of his Sept. 18 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky for use in the impeachment inquiry.

Though the vice president’s office, along with the rest of the administration, has stonewalled the impeachment inquiry’s requests for documents, Schiff’s committee obtained information about the Sept. 18 call through Jennifer Williams, a Pence aide who has already testified. Initially, Schiff explained, Williams testified about Pence’s call and did not assert that any part of it was classified. When she testified publicly, however, she said Pence’s office had since determined that the call was classified. She later sent the committee a “supplemental submission” after reviewing “materials” that refreshed her memory about the call — and it’s that supplemental submission that Schiff would like to see declassified.

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