After yesterday scoring one for the good guys about the heads-up on the thirty cent jump in gasoline prices, I had to turn away from the "Rick and Scott Show" on WOOD-AM radio this morning, as they started to talk crazy about the initial operations starting up of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN on the Swiss-French border. What they were saying was so science ignorant, it hurt. As I was driving to work, and running a bit late because I had to go to the post office this morning, I couldn't justify taking the time to pull over and call in to the show.
Now... I do have to say that there's been some mileage in making fun of the LHC and the particles it might create and blaming it for every little thing, but these aren't serious. Unfortunately, others are all hepped up about it, including someone in Hawaii suing everyone to stop the LHC.
Here's The Thing
Any microscopic black holes or other weird things created at LHC are likely to be unstable and short-lived. Why? Because otherwise we'd have already seen them. (grin)
Oh, but Dr. Phil, didn't you use the weasel word "likely" in the previous paragraph? Sure. This is how scientists speak. Because this is why we do experiments -- to find out. That doesn't mean we've let the barn door open for Sudden Black Hole Death Syndrome.
But Just In Case You Think It's Smart To Be Dumb
Here's one of numerous articles pointing out the obvious about the micro-black holes which might be created at LHC. Naturally occurring cosmic rays of the same energy level as the LHC hit the Earth all the time. I don't recall the Earth being devoured by a micro black hole previously.
I, for one, am not going to lose any sleep over LHC.
No Doubt I'm Part Of The Problem
I wrote a SF short story a couple of years ago about a laid-off adjunct Physics professor who accidentally created a black hole or wormhole or something in his basement -- "Boxes", 3rd Place winner, published in CrossTIME Anthology Vol. V (2006), pp. 132-147. Hopefully this science fiction short story isn't the source of inspiration for any of the science whackos loose right now. Besides, in my story Jessie Martin is sure the tiny thing sucking in the air isn't really a black hole, as it doesn't have the right characteristics. It is, as I freely admit, just a story.
And the guys on WOOD-AM radio this morning were trying to describe the LHC as "science fiction". Uh, no. I don't think that terms means what you think it means. I'm pretty sure that $8 billion bought a lot of hardware and stuff.
Humor Is Our Only Refuge
Though I don't advocate either binge drinking or even drinking, I always enjoy reading the rules of a good drinking game. The CERN LHC Drinking Game.
Then there's my inspiration from the genius which is xkcd:
Finally, on NPR's Morning Edition this morning they mentioned there's a website, something about "Has the LHC devoured the Earth?", and when you go there, it says "No". Anybody have a link for this? Google didn't find anything right off the bat for me.
UPDATE: Quality Goblin author Jim C. Hines has provided the link: http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/
See the comments below for more discussion. (grin)
UPDATE2: Another webcomic... with bunnies?