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korgull
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 1:53 am
Posts: 994
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:56 pm 
 

I was just looking over this recent article, and thought it might be of interest and spark some discussion. This is the first I have heard of this device and the controversy surrounding it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/29/science/29collider.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Quote:
The world’s physicists have spent 14 years and $8 billion building the Large Hadron Collider, in which the colliding protons will recreate energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers will sift the debris from these primordial recreations for clues to the nature of mass and new forces and symmetries of nature.

But Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a “strangelet” that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called “strange matter.” Their suit also says CERN has failed to provide an environmental impact statement as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.


Quote:
Although it sounds bizarre, the case touches on a serious issue that has bothered scholars and scientists in recent years — namely how to estimate the risk of new groundbreaking experiments and who gets to decide whether or not to go ahead.

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Earthcubed
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:40 pm 
 

The black hole possibility is not an actual possibility. Similar collisions happen at the edge of the Earth's atmosphere everyday at higher speeds and if there's any tiny black holes floating up there, they obviously are not doing much harm to Earth. Strange Matter is both unproven and unpopular in theory; it isn't like dark matter, which has never been detected but can be reasoned to exist based on readily observable phenomena. I don't think there has ever been any observable evidence for strangelets or strange matter.
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Kraehe
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Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:40 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:00 pm 
 

The "controversy" is fueled almost exclusively by morons. It would be difficult to find any intelligent person who knows a lot on the subject (ie. scientist) to say that this is even vaguely dangerous.

I mean, this "OMG" attitude seems to stem from two sources:

a) Christian dogma "CAN'T MESS WITH NATURE, YOU'RE GOING TOO FAR, THE DAY OF RECKONING IS UPON US!"
b) Shit Hollywood films in which scientists are mentally disturbed and do not care about the consequences of their actions

As scientists know the most about this, and are not suicidal (eg, they not only want to live, but do not want to blow up the planet either), then it's safe to assume that the dangers are more than minimal.
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Cheeses_Priced
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 6:11 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:19 pm 
 

You people certainly are killjoys. IIRC there was some minor controversy as to whether or not the Manhattan Project could set off some chain reaction that could destroy the world, but no such luck there either.

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DustyFox
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:27 pm
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:56 pm 
 

I say this to everyone who thinks that a particle accelerator is going to destroy the world, disrupt the false vacuum etc., and that is that the energies that are reached in the particle accelerators pale in comparison to energies reached elsewhere in the universe, and that we've not been obliterated by the universe settling into a new state of equilibrium, or miniature black holes or anything like that yet. They carried on about this type of thing years ago, if my memory serves me correctly, over a different particle accelerator and the whole experiment worked without a hiccup, as far as leaving the world intact goes.

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Avaddons_blood
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:26 pm 
 

I doubt it will do anything other than be a giant waste of time and money.

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The_Beast_in_Black
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:42 am 
 

Ah, the LHC. It's gotten all the technophobes pretty spooked.

If the scientific explanation of it doesn't set your mind at ease, simply consider the number of scientists working on it. Most of them would have families. Can anyone really believe that all of these people are so evil that they'd endager the lives of their children for this project? No, of course not. It's perfectly safe.

People have been getting worked up like this for every major scientific project in history. Don't go around the world, you'll fall off the edge. Don't set off atomic bombs, you'll incinerate the atmosphere.
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DanFuckingLucas
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Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 7:30 am
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:56 am 
 

Avaddons_blood wrote:
I doubt it will do anything other than be a giant waste of time and money.


Obviously your parents thought the same when the idea of prophylactics arose.



The LHC is a funny story that indeed has created quite a scare by people who don't trust the people who do what they do for a living to do what they do for a living. Evil scientists don't really exist, but people don't seem to want to believe it.

Quote:
The new worries are about black holes, which, according to some variants of string theory, could appear at the collider.


That's so incredibly ambiguous it's laughable.

Seriously, people need to leave the science to the scientists.
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opprobrium_9
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:02 pm 
 

It would actually be pretty great if they could harness the power of black holes, because then if they could do that then they might be able to move over to harness the power of dark matter and then anti-matter. I have forgotten my physics, in terms of the degree of forces, but i think in terms of power they occur in that order. In any case, if they did then we could actually think about exploring other galaxies or solar systems and maybe find other intelligent life. Because there is no way we could accomplish a "there and back" mission in one lifetime without the power of one of those forces.
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Qwerr
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:43 am
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:01 am 
 

opprobrium_9 wrote:
then they might be able to move over to harness the power of [...] anti-matter.

They're doing that already.

Anyway, world's best physicists work at CERN so, please, leave these issues to them.
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opprobrium_9
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:50 pm 
 

Qwerr wrote:
opprobrium_9 wrote:
then they might be able to move over to harness the power of [...] anti-matter.

They're doing that already.

Anyway, world's best physicists work at CERN so, please, leave these issues to them.


really? do tell.
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Qwerr
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:43 am
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:04 pm 
 

opprobrium_9 wrote:
Qwerr wrote:
opprobrium_9 wrote:
then they might be able to move over to harness the power of [...] anti-matter.

They're doing that already.

Anyway, world's best physicists work at CERN so, please, leave these issues to them.


really? do tell.

At CERN several anti-hydrogen atoms have been produced already, read this for further information on the subject : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter
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hippiedrow
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:15 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:32 am 
 

I read an article about the LHC colider in Popular Science magazine, and I have to abmit that the slim possiblilty of it destroying the universe does seem fairly interesting.
If the universe is really that unstable though, natural cosmic phenomnea would already have destroyed the universe.

On a slightly unrelated tangent, if the uneverse is constantly expanding and growing, acording to the law of conservation, then the universe could also be getting destroyed at the same rate that it is expanding.
That is a little thing to contemplate :)

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orionmetalhead
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:54 am
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:35 am 
 

Edit: To make this a worthwhile post... I really doubt that this thing will produce enough energy to create any kind of black hole. In the very worst, it will destroy anything in a small radius from its location. I think that the risk is worth taking to discover more fundamental truths as to the nature of existence.
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ForNaught
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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:37 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:16 pm 
 

Guys the real reason people are actually worked up about this is Dan Brown. Seriously. The book "Angels and Demons". I don't advocate reading it or anything, by the way. But it involves CERN, the LHC, and an antiparticle bomb (which they don't have the ability to actually make, by the way). That's all people need to put it firmly in the BAD mental category, along with other ill-understood bugbears like global warming and communists.

Personally I feel that this experiment should be allowed to proceed. The potential for a deeper understanding of the fundamentals our universe is incredible. Honestly, I feel it's worth the risk, which I'm fairly confident has been grossly inflated by sensationalist reports anyhow. If you check out some of the less dry descriptions of the chances of such a disaster, such as "like you winning the major prize on the lottery 3 weeks in succession" (Prof. Frank Close, acc. Wikipedia), then you'll see just how vanishingly small the chances are. I LIKE those odds.
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DanFuckingLucas
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:49 pm 
 

Indeed, I see people throw the figure of "50% chance of destroying the universe" about. I've no idea where that one came from, but it's entirely balderdash, and entirely frustrating, just like the global warming thread.
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The_Beast_in_Black
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Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:34 am
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:11 am 
 

Yeah, you might as well be afraid of a plane crashing on your house or a pea-sized asteroid blasting a hole in your head.
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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:01 am 
 

The_Beast_in_Black wrote:
Yeah, you might as well be afraid of a plane crashing on your house or a pea-sized asteroid blasting a hole in your head.


Actually, I've seen some scientists put the chances of you dying from an impact event of any scale (massive comet or small meteorite) at greater than the chances of you dying in a plane crash or a severe weather event. The thing is, when the big boys rain hellfire down they kill so many lifeforms that it kind of throws the whole scale off, nevermind the frequency with which large impact events happen.
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Avaddons_blood
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:51 am 
 

Talk it up now. When the universe is destroyed you’ll be quite embarrassed for taking the scientists side.

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ForNaught
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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:37 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:15 pm 
 

Avaddons_blood wrote:
Talk it up now. When the universe is destroyed you’ll be quite embarrassed for taking the scientists side.


In the event that every atom in my body is converted into strange matter I will owe you a personal apology, okay? ;)

This thread has inspired me to start reading Exit Mundi again, which is always a good thing. It mentions both of the horror scenarios the detractors bandy about, both in an "eh, you needn't worry about this one" kind of manner. There's a cool new bible section on there, too.
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Sir_General_Flashman
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Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:23 am
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:45 pm 
 

If steven Hawking says it's safe, it's safe.
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ROBL250
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:26 am
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:21 am 
 

Random fact of the day.

If the Universe was 80 miles wide..our Solar System would only be less than a millimeter in comparison.

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ForNaught
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:52 pm 
 

Guys, there is a page on the website of CERN that addresses the key points about mini black holes and strangelets here:

http://public.web.cern.ch/Public/en/LHC/Safety-en.html

I find it a little patronising in tone, but is written entirely in layman's terms with no jargon, so if any of you are interested to know what the scientists have to say about all of this without getting bogged down with talk of Higgs bosons and Hawking radiation, this may be of interest to you.
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Star-Gazer
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:21 pm 
 

why doesnt anyone make a real doomsday machine and hold the world hostage like in the movies? theres gotta be some way we can figure something out with radio waves lasers or something - quick someone get Nicola Tesla's notes and find something

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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:55 pm 
 

einvolk wrote:
why doesnt anyone make a real doomsday machine and hold the world hostage like in the movies? theres gotta be some way we can figure something out with radio waves lasers or something - quick someone get Nicola Tesla's notes and find something


The best way to cause quasi-doomsday death would be to detonante several nukes at the poles. The resulting flood of melting snow would drench all the coastlines in water for miles inland. I'm surprised nobody's bothered to consider the possibility of a terrorist doing it. Hell, Islamic terrorists kill enough of their own kind as it is, I don't think it would be too much of a stretch for one group to find a moral justification for doing so.
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goatmanejy
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:38 am
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:28 am 
 

Kraehe wrote:
The "controversy" is fueled almost exclusively by morons. It would be difficult to find any intelligent person who knows a lot on the subject (ie. scientist) to say that this is even vaguely dangerous.

I mean, this "OMG" attitude seems to stem from two sources:

a) Christian dogma "CAN'T MESS WITH NATURE, YOU'RE GOING TOO FAR, THE DAY OF RECKONING IS UPON US!"
b) Shit Hollywood films in which scientists are mentally disturbed and do not care about the consequences of their actions

As scientists know the most about this, and are not suicidal (eg, they not only want to live, but do not want to blow up the planet either), then it's safe to assume that the dangers are more than minimal.



Im Christian, and almost everyone I know is Christian or ex-Christian, and the only people who say that are fundies, which you should not judge people for the radicals. Would you approve if I criticised atheism on grounds of Columbine which is just the radical atheists who did that? So whay criticise Christianity for fundies?

And yes your right about the hollywood thing. Hollywood takes no responsibility as a cultural force. There happy to keep on spreading misconcpetion.
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goatmanejy
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:38 am
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:30 am 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
einvolk wrote:
why doesnt anyone make a real doomsday machine and hold the world hostage like in the movies? theres gotta be some way we can figure something out with radio waves lasers or something - quick someone get Nicola Tesla's notes and find something


The best way to cause quasi-doomsday death would be to detonante several nukes at the poles. The resulting flood of melting snow would drench all the coastlines in water for miles inland. I'm surprised nobody's bothered to consider the possibility of a terrorist doing it. Hell, Islamic terrorists kill enough of their own kind as it is, I don't think it would be too much of a stretch for one group to find a moral justification for doing so.



An amazing idea. And yes, someone could find moral justifacation for it. Though religious, I must sadly admit that this would probably come in the form of some apocolyptic psuedo-christ sect.
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Kraehe
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Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:40 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:32 am 
 

goatmanejy wrote:
Kraehe wrote:
The "controversy" is fueled almost exclusively by morons. It would be difficult to find any intelligent person who knows a lot on the subject (ie. scientist) to say that this is even vaguely dangerous.

I mean, this "OMG" attitude seems to stem from two sources:

a) Christian dogma "CAN'T MESS WITH NATURE, YOU'RE GOING TOO FAR, THE DAY OF RECKONING IS UPON US!"
b) Shit Hollywood films in which scientists are mentally disturbed and do not care about the consequences of their actions

As scientists know the most about this, and are not suicidal (eg, they not only want to live, but do not want to blow up the planet either), then it's safe to assume that the dangers are more than minimal.

Im Christian, and almost everyone I know is Christian or ex-Christian, and the only people who say that are fundies, which you should not judge people for the radicals. Would you approve if I criticised atheism on grounds of Columbine which is just the radical atheists who did that? So whay criticise Christianity for fundies?

And yes your right about the hollywood thing. Hollywood takes no responsibility as a cultural force. There happy to keep on spreading misconcpetion.

It's not explicit Christianity, just something of Christian morality which seems to have become implanted in the western psyche, so that deep down (whether they class themselves as Christian, ex-Christian or never been Christian), a lot of people feel uneasy about the frontiers of science.
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