Thursday, August 28, 2008

Black holes? I was planning on being snuggled to death by kittens

So, is anybody else worried about the possibility of black holes forming and ending all life as we know it when the world's most powerful atom smasher gets up and running on Sept. 10?

According to the Cosmic Log blog on MSNBC, the CERN particle-physics center is flicking the switch on a 17-mile underground ring called the Large Hadron Collider buried under the French-Swiss border. The LHC will engage in some wacky proton-on-proton action -- dirty! -- and possibly create some microscopic black holes in the process. The article says the LHC might also create "supersymmetric dark-matter particles, quark-gluon plasma, the elusive Higgs boson (a.k.a. the "God Particle") and other exotic stuff." By other exotic stuff, I hope they mean flying llamas. Seriously. If we're going to get crazy with this stuff, let's fuck up some South American pack animals and really go all the way.

Of course, the LHC, which I hope looks like something out of "Tron," is also going to help solve medical research issues and unlock the keys to the universe so I suppoooose it's important but it all seems very dangerous to me. Mostly because I don't understand science and also because the French are involved and I don't trust them with technology. Go drive a Citroen and then talk to me about your confidence levels on this one.

One of the top researchers on the project has the thankless job of reassuring the masses that planet Earth won't wink out of existence anytime least not because of what they're doing. Here's what he says:

The crucial point is this: The black holes that could be produced by the LHC would be very, very small objects. Now, the black hole absorbs matter that gets in its way, right? If you assume that the black hole only eats whatever falls into its trajectory, you find out that it would take a nearly infinite amount of time before it could do any damage to earth. It just cannot grow fast enough, because it’s too small.

So, if I'm understanding this correctly, the black hole will stay small because it can't absorb enough matter in its way to make a difference. So they just need to make sure that Ted, the guy who's put on a few pounds since Christmas and who fills his pockets with Twinkies every day, stays out of the way of these things because if they eat him, we're fucked. Just like those flying llamas.

Of course, if some gigantic rift opens in the space-time continuum and scary dragons emerge, I'm pretty sure all we have to do is throw Sarah Michelle Gellar at it and things will be fine. It worked on "Buffy," right? Although then it led to scenes of Michelle Trachtenberg "acting sad." It might be too high a price to pay.

The good news is that the LHC shouldn't be running at full capacity for another year. So if you have little or no faith in physicists ("That Hawking, he's a bad apple!"), then now would be a good time to do every drunken, irresponsible thing you ever wanted to do...which means Amy Winehouse has probably known about this project all her life.

Alright, well, happy Thursday everyone!


Camera Obscura said...

LHC's harmless. They let John Barrowman tour it.

Liz said...

Hee! :)

Kathe said...

I still vote for snuggled to death by kittens! :)

Liz said...

Seems a lot more peaceful than being ripped apart by gravity, doesn't it?

Liz said...

Dude, this is what David Tennant (or possibly Christopher Eccleston, but DT is likely to be charmingly snarky about it, so let's go with him) was BORN for.

It also resolves the Michelle Trachtenberg issue, so there you go.

Kathe said...

Only if we can actually put "Dawn" in said black hole! :) Did I say that out loud??? Yes, the good Doctor was born to have some kind of episode about this very thing! In fact...someone needs to call the Doctor Who writers this minute!

molly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Grace said...

Hmmm....that managed to freak me out more than it aught.

Michelle said...

Just what I needed this Friday morning to perk me up (and make me laugh!)