This is the pentaquark. It's smaller than an atom, and until now, no one knew it existed.

This is an image of an elusive, smaller-than-microscopic particle that not a single scientist on planet Earth knew existed before now.

Pentaquark rendering by CERN.


It's called a pentaquark.

Scientists have been looking for it for a little while. But thanks to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, we now know that it's a real thing. Like, for real for real.

Pentaquark? Hm. I guess I've heard of quarks. Is it kind of like that?

Yes! Quarks are essential building blocks of pretty much everything in the universe. If you stick three quarks together, you get a proton or a neutron. Stick a bunch of protons and neutrons together, slap on an electron or two or 37, and you get an atom.

The pentaquark is five quarks stuck together, in fact. Or, more specifically, it is four quarks stuck to an anti-quark.

There must be a German word for the specific mix of shame and pride getting this joke is probably conjuring in you. Image by Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr.

The discovery happened because, thanks to the Large Hadron Collider, scientists finally had the tools they needed to actually look for the thing. According to a CERN press release, "It's as if the previous searches were looking for silhouettes in the dark, whereas LHCb conducted the search with the lights on, and from all angles."

Which basically proves:

The Large Hadron Collider is awesome.

Image by Image Editor/Flickr.

In case you haven't heard of the Large Hadron Collider before, it's basically a giant particle accelerator that shoots two high-energy beams of tiny, ultra-microsopic matter at each other through ultrahigh vacuum tubes and around superconducting electromagnets at -271.3 degrees Celsius, which is colder than space.

And the only reason it exists? To smash tiny particles together.

And the only reason it smashes tiny particles together? To discover awesome new things about science.

That's plain fantastic.

Scientists will have to study the pentaquark for a little while longer before they figure out what its existence really means.

It's not immediately clear what exactly the point of pentaquarks are or why they matter. But the fact that they exist opens up a vast world of research possibility that didn't exist yesterday.

Eventually they could lead to all sorts of cool stuff.

For now, thanks to CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, we just get to enjoy the pentaquark.

Still feels weird, but good.

And let's face it. We've earned it.

via Noti Tolum / Facebook

A group of beachgoers in Mexico proved that when people join together and stand up for justice, you can triumph in even the direst of circumstances.

Municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo got received a tip that there were men allegedly committing "immoral acts" on the beach. So the officers, armed with AR-15 rifles, picked up two Canadian men.

"The officers approached a group of young foreigners," local politician Maritza Escalante Morales recounted in her video. "After about 20 minutes passed, a patrol car arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs."

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

This story was originally published on The Mighty.

Most people imagine depression equals “really sad,” and unless you’ve experienced depression yourself, you might not know it goes so much deeper than that. Depression expresses itself in many different ways, some more obvious than others. While some people have a hard time getting out of bed, others might get to work just fine — it’s different for everyone.

Keep Reading Show less
via @jharrisfour / Twitter

The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicked off in Orlando, Florida on Friday. It's three days of panels and speakers with former President Donald Trump delivering the keynote speech on Sunday night.

It's believed that during the speech Trump will declare himself the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 nomination.

So far, the event has made headlines for a speech by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who tried his hand at stand-up comedy. "I've got to say, Orlando is awesome," Cruz told the cheering crowd. "It's not as nice as Cancun. But it's nice."

Keep Reading Show less