Pharyngula

Now that the LHC is online, The Editors have catalogued three ways it will destroy the world, using the Airwolf scale of awesomeness crossed by a goofiness scale. It looks like being sucked into a black hole is one of the more pedestrian scenarios.

I am relieved that they didn’t consider the possibility that TeV collisions might be the last trump that summons the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Some things may be even too goofy for the Poor Man Institute.

Comments

  1. #1 davrosfromskaro
    March 31, 2010

    My favourite comment about LHC and the end of the world comes from Prof Brian Cox:-

    “Anyone Who Thinks the LHC Will Destroy the World is a Tw*t.” :-

    http://www.astroengine.com/?p=1240

  2. #2 Sven DiMilo
    March 31, 2010

    I am relieved that they didn’t consider the possibility that TeV collisions might be the last trump that summons the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    OK, wait, is that a metaphor?

    it’s getting so difficult to keep track

  3. #3 paulnaveau
    March 31, 2010

    I can think of few human endeavours than the LHC that would be more appropriate to indeed trigger the apocalypse, the atheist apocalypse
    (please pronounce in your head with a terrible booming voice)
    (link posted on pharyngula a while back)

  4. #4 watchingthedeniers
    March 31, 2010

    I for one welcome our strangelet overlords. Long may they turn things into strange shit.

  5. #5 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    March 31, 2010

    I remember when I was getting my doctorate in particle physics that we used to discuss things like that.

    It turns out that one way the vacuum could be unstable was if there were a sufficiently large number of quarks (I think 32, but this was 20 years ago, and it’s not something I use in my day job). Alas and alack, it appears there are only 6 flavors. We do not live in a Baskins & Robins Universe.

  6. #6 AJ Milne
    March 31, 2010

    Say what you like, I’m still not putting this crowbar down. It just makes me feel…. safer.

    (/Checks under bed for head crabs again.)

  7. #7 Athena
    March 31, 2010

    A typo seen on another website: Large HARDON Collider.
    IOW, screw you, conspiracy theorists.

  8. #8 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    The hardon is everywhere and has been for years.

    Thirty-two flavours? Wasn’t the response to the bottom quark: “Who ordered that?!”

    http://www.hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com/

  9. #9 squealpiggy
    March 31, 2010

    I simply feel that the physicists at CERN are being short sighted and naive by running the LHC before inventing the gravity gun. If we are going to be overrun by the Combine I want to be able to pick up handily coloured red exploding barrels and fire them at antlions.

  10. #10 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    March 31, 2010

    Sili, actually I think the “Who ordered that?” quote dates back to the strange particle days and was a response by I. I Rabi to the discovery of the muon.

  11. #11 ldcornett
    March 31, 2010

    Ice-9. My favorite(ridiculous)scenario…thank you Kurt Vonnegut.

  12. #12 Butch Pansy
    March 31, 2010

    Of COURSE the Large Hardon Collider made a bottom quark, that’s the natural order of things. Looks like ID to me, hardons and bottoms. I’m a little biased, I’m told…or is that bent?

  13. #13 Tulse
    March 31, 2010

    Credit where credit is due: using “Airwolf” as the universal term for awesomeness comes from an extremely funny spoken word piece by Ernie Cline. His other stuff is great as well — he may be best known for Dance, Monkeys, Dance (which has a nice bit of atheism in it), and I especially like Nerd Porn Auteur and Tech Support.

  14. #14 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    March 31, 2010

    ldcornett, re Ice-9

    Did you hear the story Vonnegut told about the time he was at a party about the time he was writing Cat’s Cradle and met a crystallographer. He told the guy about his Ice-9 idea, and shortly afterward, they guy made his excuses and disappeared. Vonnegut didn’t see him for a couple of hours and though he’d left. Then just about the end of the party, the crystallographer reappeared with a couple of cocktail napkins and whispered in Vonnegut’s ear, “It’s impossible.”

    For every possible way of destroying the planet, there’s always a nerd who will say, “Oh, cool!”

  15. #15 TWood
    March 31, 2010

    I am relieved that they didn’t consider the possibility that TeV collisions might be the last trump that summons the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    Since you’re like the Fifth Horseman of the New Atheists, it’s at least a step in the right direction.

  16. #16 James Sweet
    March 31, 2010

    Personally, I think a race of hyperintelligent aliens is monitoring us as we speak, and they have grown frustrated with how some aspects of civilization have made mankind incurious and dull. If the LHC is canceled because of vague fears of black holes and things, that will be the last straw, and the aliens will deem homo sapiens a dangerous and fundamentally reactionary species with no possible future place in the galactic community, and will unilaterally obliterate us.

    If the LHC is canceled, the world might be destroyed!

  17. #17 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    March 31, 2010

    I’m more worried about the Large Hardon Collider.
    Sounds very painful.

  18. #18 SteveM
    March 31, 2010

    Not to mention the Large Earth Collider

  19. #19 SteveM
    March 31, 2010

    re 17:
    I’m more worried about the Large Hardon Collider.

    “…has broken its own record for high energy particle streams.”

    ORLY? Ouch indeed!

  20. #20 Rey Fox
    March 31, 2010

    Well, here’s to hoping we all get turned into kittens. That would be awesome.

    Also, a possible typo there? “this scenario recreates the goofiness believed to exist 1 billionth of a second before the Big Bang.” Time did not exist “before” the Big Bang, am I right?

  21. #21 Mobius
    March 31, 2010

    This reminds me of the very silly Sci-Fi Channel series Lexx, where the discovery of the Higgs Boson would lead to the immediate destruction of the discovering planet.

  22. #22 SteveM
    March 31, 2010

    re 20:

    Also, a possible typo there? “this scenario recreates the goofiness believed to exist 1 billionth of a second before the Big Bang.” Time did not exist “before” the Big Bang, am I right?

    As one who is always ready to overanalyze a joke… If you believe in the Inflationary Theory, what I would consider the “real” Big Bang did not happen at t=0 but whenever the universe “inflated”. So a billionth of a second before the big bang (meaning, inflation) does indeed make sense.

  23. #23 SteveM
    March 31, 2010

    re 22:

    and by “believe in”, I really meant to say “accept”.

    Re 21:

    I don’t remember that in Lexx. [and while Lexx was broadcast on Sci-Fi Channel, they did not produce it]

    Anyone, some goofy scientists were recently proposing that the LHC kept breaking because discovering the Higg’s Boson would create a time wave that would prevent its discovery.

  24. #24 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    Thanks, arids. I sit corrected. I shall proceed to drown my shame in beer.

  25. #25 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 31, 2010

    But if the LHC creates a black hole, that’s an opportunity for the gods show themselves, and, save earth from oblivion.

  26. #26 dNorrisM
    March 31, 2010

    This is not something I should admit, but Lexx is one of the reasons I got cable. I keep the cable now for the Showtime shows, Weeds primarily.

    Here’s to hoping for a forth season of Lexx sometime, despite the fact that the Lexx destroyed the Earth. But Kai destroyed the carrot mothership by converting it to strange matter with a collider.

  27. #27 cuco3
    March 31, 2010

    My biggest fear is that it will actually re-create the conditions of the big bang and start off a whole new round of expansion.

    My next biggest fear is that it will subtly change the laws of the universe and destroy all the Toblerones. I really think the LHC should have been built somewhere which doesn’t produce anything worthwhile. Think of the boost tot he local economy if we’d put it in Tierra del Fuego.

  28. #28 blf
    March 31, 2010

    … the discovery of the Higgs Boson would lead to the immediate destruction of the discovering planet.

    I first read that as ?the discovery of Higgs Bacon would …? and was thinking Well, I know a few creatures really detest bacon, but isn’t blowing up the world going just a tiny bit too far?

  29. #29 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 31, 2010

    It turns out that one way the vacuum could be unstable was if there were a sufficiently large number of quarks

    Just goes to show: “Don’t fark with the quark!”

  30. #30 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    March 31, 2010

    Credit where credit is due: using “Airwolf” as the universal term for awesomeness comes from an extremely funny spoken word piece by Ernie Cline. His other stuff is great as well — he may be best known for Dance, Monkeys, Dance (which has a nice bit of atheism in it), and I especially like Nerd Porn Auteur and Tech Support.

    I loved the Nerd Porn Auteur, because that’s exactly what I look for in any potential mate. The only folks I’m interested in are a guy and a gal who are both smarter then me, for instance.

  31. #31 DLC
    March 31, 2010

    Oh, and it was the Pion, that goes with the “who ordered that” quip. as in Pion and coffee.

  32. #32 aratina cage
    March 31, 2010

    If the LHC is canceled, the world might be destroyed!
    -James Sweet #16

    Oh, that was good. :D

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