The day has just begun and already I’m faced with myriad problems. For example, my chum Jay Dowling just emailed me to inform me that my brain is getting bigger. As proof, Jay pointed me at this Why Your Brain Is Literally Going to Get Bigger This Summer article on Yahoo!

It appears that our brains change size from season to season, swelling to their largest volume in the warmer months. Of course, summer in the northern hemisphere occurs during the months of June, July, and August, so that’s when we should expect maximum brain expansion (unfortunately, I don’t think I have anything suitable to wear for the occasion).

I always suspected that my brain was getting bigger (Click image to see a larger version — Image source:

By comparison, the antipodean summer in temperate climes occurs in December, January, and February. This might go some way to explaining why it’s so hard to understand what Australians are waffling on about, since when our brains are at their largest theirs are at their smallest, and vice versa, of course.

I replied to Jay that I had been aware of this issue at a subconscious level for some time. I also made mention of the fact that, while my brain does indeed increase in size, capacity, and performance during the canicular days, it fails to shrink again when the cold winds blow. Somewhat unsympathetically (I thought), Jay responded that my problems were only going to increase in the decades to come due to the effects of global warming.

My tribulations continued when I was subsequently made aware that scientists at Fermilab may (or may not) have discovered a fifth fundamental force of nature (Jay pointed me at this BBC article, while my chum Charles Pfeil directed me to a similar piece on the Interesting Engineering website).

It’s not the size of your particle collider, it’s what you do with it that counts (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Reidar Hahn / Fermilab / US Department of Energy)

Until now, we’ve been forced (pun intended) to scrape by with only four fundamental forces in the form of gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, and the weak force. Unfortunately, while these concepts explain a lot of things — including how all of the bits and pieces forming the universe interact with each other — they also leave a lot of perplexing paradoxes, posers, and aenigmas unresolved.

According to the aforementioned BBC article, “Prof Ben Allanach, from Cambridge University, who was not involved with the latest effort, said: ‘My spidey sense is tingling and telling me that this is going to be real.’” Well, far be it from me to argue with anyone’s spidey sense — especially one belonging to a Cambridge Professor — so I’m in.

At the core of this discovery is that fact that muons (similar to electrons but with 200 times the mass — much like my relationship to GQ models) wobble at a faster rate than predicted by the Standard Model. If it is determined that a fifth fundamental force does indeed exist, it could explain all sorts of things, from dark matter to dark energy. In this case, the next question will be what to call such a force. Prof Allanach has offered a number of alternatives, including “flavour force,” the “third family hyperforce,” and — in a fit of whimsy — “B minus L2.”

Meanwhile, noting that “Sheldon Cooper would be pleased with this choice,” Jay offered “speed force” named for the American superhero the Flash (the speed force is an inter-dimensional source of dark matter energy that provides a particular variation of meta-humans known as speedsters with their powers). For myself, I might be tempted to call it the “wibble wobble force,” although if you’ve ever seen my friend Little Steve at a disco, you might feel this nomenclature was better suited to one of his dance moves.

How about you? How is your day going? What new things have you learned today, and have any of them left you scratching your head saying, “What the #@&^?”?