THE HIGGS BOSON AND THE 2ND AVENUE SUBWAY --------------------------------------- John Pazmino NYSkies Astronomy Inc firstname.lastname@example.org www.nyskies.org 2009 October 19
Introduction ---------- In the early 20th century there was a major expansion of the rapid transit grid in New York City. The last segments were those of the IND division, that operated by the City of New York itself. The other two divisions, the IRT and BMT, were operated by private companies running city-built facilities, plus some owned by themselfs. The IND lines on Manhattan strived to remove the els from the north-south streets by replacing them with higher-capacity subways. The 6th Avenue el was replaced by the 6th Avenue subway. The 9th Avenue el was replaced by the 8th Avenue subway. The 6th and 8th Av lines were linked together on the west side of Manhattan, more or less duplicating the linkage between the two els. The plans for the IND, devised in the 1920s, provided for the replacement of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue els with a single 2nd Avenue subway. These els were tied into a single unit on the east side of Manhattan and were only lightly connected to the other two on the west side. Likewise, the 2nd Avenue subway would be only weakly tied to the 6th-8th Av lines of the IND. The basic design was completed by the late 1920s but construction was deferred during the 1930s to finish the 6th and 8th Av subways. The Depression slowed or halted work so that these two lines weren't finished until 1940. World War II intervened against turning to the 2nd Avenue subway, but work was scheduled to start in the late 1940s. Since then, the 2nd Avenue subway was deferred over and over again for various reasons, in spite of ardent desire to build it. By the 1950s the 2nd Avenue line became critical because the els it was to replace were torn down. The east side of Manhattan and parts of the other boros attached to the els, were left with grossly deficient rapid transit service. Yet thru the 1960s until the 2000s, the line was never put into vigorous construction with a completion within a credible timeframe. In addition, the plans were continually revised downward, weakening the capacity and capability to a thin two-track road with far-spaced stations and a reach only within Manhattan. In the current design, it is tied to the rest of the city network only thru the 63rd Street line. In this all-too-brief history, the 2nd Avenue line languished, even after a couple false starts, while other lines and stations were built else where in the City.
Why the obstacle? --------------- The simplistic reasons offered for the ongoing deferment of the 2nd Avenue subway (SAS for short) are obstructions by lawsuits, redtape in permits and approvals, funding constraints, redesign for new standards of transit practice, and adding new features for firefighting and disaster response. All of thee seem plausible and are in fact argued convincingly in their favor. However, similar factors impede other works, transit and not, yet they eventually are built or are formally cancelled. When built, they may end up heavily modified from their original proposals, but the facility meets the original purpose. What happens with SAS is that a relief from a certain delay occurs and the City is ready to resume work, then some allnew impediment comes along to put a stop to the effort. Thus, after some 75 years, we still do not have a sensible new rapid transit line on the east side of Manhattan and none is in sight for at least ten more years. On top of all this, the line to be built is only a short piece that reaches just to Yorkville and Carnegie Hill. The rest of the line to the Bronx in the north and to Brooklyn in the south, are in the far late half of the 21st century.
New theory -------- From a philosophical point of view, it seems as if there was some force upstairs that's preventing timely completion of SAS and perhaps allowing only a watered-down version to ever be built. That is, the eventuality of SAS is blocked by a backward influence from the future into the present. This influence seems to evade human efforts to get around it, altho probably no one consciously thinks of what he's up against. I, in this month of October 2009, thru the scuttle-butt of NYSkies, read an intriguing, yet not all that crazy, theory that seems to afflict the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. This idea could be in force for SAS? The Collider, LHC, is a $9 billion machine to propel protons against each other with energies up to 7 trillion electron-volts. The intent is to, among others, produce artificially a mysterious particle known only in maths formulae, the Higgs boson. The machine is bolshoi, having an underground racetrack 30 kilometers around and as large as a train tunnel. It has several stations where the protons are injected by smaller atom-smashers and others where the protons are pulled out for colliding with each other. It draws electric to satisfy fully 1/2 of all of Geneva's needs, which means it has to run only in summer when the town's own need is at the seasonal lowest. In winter, given Switzerland's weather regime, LHC is banked until the next spring. But this project is dogged by one problem after an other in far greater proportion than other humongous projects. That makes it on the same platform as SAS in its experience.
Future influence -------------- The theory was put forth by Dr Holger Nielsen, Niels Bohr Institute, and Dr Masao Ninomiya, Kyoto University, in the mid 2000s. They issued several journal articles about it but I summarize them here descriptively. The maths require a graduate education in quantum physics to follow. The effect of stifling LHC from completion or running at full scale is to delay the discovery of the Higgs boson. This is a hypothetical particle that gives mass to every thing in the universe. Without this particle there would be no mass and the universe as we know it could not exist or even be created. Hence, finding a real example of the Higgs boson, or making one artificially in LHC, would help study the very existence of our cosmos. The properties of the Higgs boson, also called just Higgs like a person, are not well established. Physicists are still tinkering with the theory and the maths to uncover parameters that can assist in running LHC to go and make one. One of the properties suggested by theory is that Higgs knows that it is under chase by some past events, running LHC, and then rearranges nature to prevent those events from going to completion. The LHC has fires, loss of power, weakened magnets, arrest of a spy within its crew, shortage of electric power, defective fabrication of parts, and so on. Each interruption lasts months and eats up money. Nielsen and Ninomiya allude to the idea of future influence as a possible offshoot of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, where the direction of time flow, event following event, is back-tracked for a specific purpose, then allowed to procede normally. What's more, the reversal seems to affect events that otherwise would lead to the future activity by way of routine causality. Other events not related to the instant case continue without this manipulation from the future.
Higgs and SAS ----------- How does this apply to SAS? The symptoms are certainly in place with uncanny correspondence with those of LHC. However, it is not at all obvious what is causing the effect against SAS. It sure looks like, in a manner parallel to LHC, that SAS will eventually operate under greatly reduced capability to somehow prevent the occurrence of some infathomable future event. This has to be an event that could be realized if the line were built and run to full strength: local and express tracks, closer stations, more links to the city network, extension to Bronx and Brooklyn. (It already will be tied to Queens.) What is this future event? We can only imagine what the future is. Like the Higgs boson, its discovery can not be foretold. It may be decades before it comes out of hiding or is syntheticly created. For SAS there could well be some item of nature or city life coming in the next few decades that would take place with a full scale SAS but would be avoided or mitigated with the skinny line. Is it the very Higgs itself? Not for sure, of course. On the other hand, Higgs is the root of all of creation, endowing matter with mass by which gravity exists. Gravity is the all-powerful force that drives the universe from the falling apple to the collapse of blackholes. Surely SAS is in there somewhere, no? Can a subnuclear particle even KNOW about SAS and then decide that it's against its own interest to let it be completed in a timely manner and on the proper scale? Believe it or not, such particles seem to have intelligence of a sort beyond our ordinary human-based understanding. Electrons seem to align within an atom, any atom at all not just its home atom, with unerring precision. Then it seems to know just how to attach that atom to others to make molecules, each of precisely the proper portion of each atom. The accuracy is altogether beyond humans to achieve soon, if ever. Yes, we can grow molecules, like for chemicals or medicines. All we're doing is letting the atomic particles do their own thing under more favorable conditions. We're not putting the particles together in our own arbitrary arrangement.
Getting around Higgs ------------------ We can't. It's like ants plotting to fool a human who molests them. They can talk among themselfs (ants DO talk together!) but they can not effectively influence what humans do. We are like ants before the Higgs boson. It will do its thing as it wants. All we can do is describe its behavior thru our theory but we can not tell Higgs to go and follow our theory. That's assuming we got the right theory after all. It is very imperfect now. Can we fool Higgs (to give the future thingie in the SAS case a definite name) by tweaking SAS into the human-intended full system behind Higgs's back. We build the skinny version but it's really the full one in disguise? We issue a map that shows only two tracks and a couple stations but a rider finds he skipped several stops as an express on its own hidden track. I doubt it. The import of the Nielsen-Ninomiya idea is that the future knows what can happen in the past by looking back in time and seeing how it plays out under various scenarios. It susses out all of the possibilities, like a super-duper chess player looking at myriads of possible moves on the board, and devises ways to block the inappropriate ones. If we constructed express stations but called them locals anyway, Higgs could see that this will work toward achieving the no-no future action. It could slug the station so it can not field an express train. The trackway subsides, rails wander off gage, signals short out from water leak, drivers get dizzy from the tunnel lights, radio interference louses up train electronics. The quick remedy is to abandon express service and run all trains on the local track. Which was the permissible scheme ordained by Higgs in the first place.
Conclusion -------- From the above it seems there could be fighting odds that SAS is afflicted by the future workings of the cosmos that for its own discretion and prerogative doesn't want the line built and operated as a full service rapid transit system in New York. Why and how remain, perhaps for ever, unknown. We can not simply wait for the future because when it arrives, a new future takes over with its own set of needs against the past. So it may be best to accept life as manipulated by Higgs, or what ever is lording over the 2nd Avenue subway, and keep the line out of its way.