Thursday, 11 September 2008

Large Hadron Collider, what else can go wrong?

See, we haven't all fallen into a singularity after all!

I really shouldn't be doing this as I have more pressing writings to attend to, but not since the whole Climate change debacle kicked off has a science story dominated so many headlines (although as people observed, on the day one of the most groundbreaking experiments ever began, which may advance humankind further than ever, the headline of the Sun was basically 'Talentless woman has a new haircut').
But as with climate change, the only way Science seems to get this level of attention is when it implies that it might kill us all. The LHC experiment set a new record in paranoid scaremongering with people worrying that it might eventually destroy the universe. Nice, but lets be honest, are we as a species really that arrogant? We're still at the mercy of lumps of rock and circular air currents (big ones, admittedly) and we think we have the resources to take on gravity. My barber made this point to me yesterday, which was oddly profound, then he said that the purpose of the LHC was to discover alternate universes and travel to them. Not sure if that's precisely what the researchers are after, but as I always say, don't contradict the guy holding a razor to your neck.
But the LHC doesn't threaten us, Stephen Hawking said so. He wouldn't lie (lets be honest, in his current condition he probably wouldn't waste time like that). And even if all the experts are wrong (which has never happened, ever) and a huge black hole does form, it'll be fine. Even if we are sucked in instantly, the closer you get to a singularity, the slower time goes until it eventually stops. So we won't die, we'll live forever. It'll be dull, admittedly, but there are worse ways to go.
But are there still dangers from the LHC? Yes, here's a few I thought of.

  • WHO OWNS IT? - Apparently, the LHC is built on the Switzerland/France border. This may explain why it cost £5 billion (a lot of people have complained about the cost, £5 billion could have paid for a whole day of the war in Iraq for goodness sake, what a waste!) Would it have cost so much if they hadn't had to get planning permission from two governments? And if some very interesting results do occur, who owns them? Obviously the team behind it, but what if both France and Switzerland start fighting over it? They could go to war. Admittedly, according to stereotypes, that would be the most pathetic war in history. But then others would get involved. And it all kicks of from there.
  • ALIENS! - According to Star Trek - First Contact, Aliens first visit Earth when we achieve warp flight, the energy signature showed we were advanced enough for contact. What if the LHC provides the same thing? Maybe aliens will detect the processes and come say hello. And what if they're not nice ones? Or even nice, but massively annoying, like guests hat come round but refuse to take the hint and leave after 8 hours of dull conversation? Imagine that on an intergalactic scale.
  • MASS REDUCTION - One of the things that the LHC could produce is evidence of the Higgs Boson, the theoretical 'God' particle that gives everything it's mass via some highly complex do-hickys and what not (I'm not a physicist, I could try and use the correct terminology, but if I get it wrong that would freak me and fellow brainiacs out). If they find the Higgs, learn to control it, then they could feasibly reduce it's influence or 'deactivate it'. That means instantaneous weight loss. Healthy eating could be a thing of the past, what's the point? The food crisis will only get worse! Worse, I tells ya!
  • STEPHEN HAWKING - If this all goes well, expert scientists will be wanted for quotes and opinion, and everyone will want Hawking's input, it's started already (check the link above). He's not well! He can barely move as it is! This extra pressure won't do him any good, it could put him out of action prematurely, and what if he's not had time to explain it to us all? Admittedly, the fact that he's not directly involved with the project implies that there are more scientists who understand this than just Hawking, but are any of them as well established in the media?
So there, a comprehensive guide to other calamities that could result from the LHC. Not quite Universal destruction I admit, but unpleasant all the same. And lets not forget the actual experiments which could cause a black hole haven't been done yet, they happen in October...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I keep on having a re-occuring dream that something terrible is happening to the world.I'm locked away in buildings/complexes with people I used to know from school.None of us know what is going on but there are always UFO's being spotted and stuff.There is always an unseen enemy.The wrath of God,aliens,walking dead,invading countries.

No joke!

I had one last night where I was fighting in a war.Freaked me right out.I've been waking up traumatized.

These dreams have been getting more and more frequent(1 or 2 per week).

Do you have any thoughts on what this could be?


P.S. And don't say too many horror films.

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