Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Big Bang Day: End of World NOT EVEN VAGUELY Nigh. No Cause For ConCERN.
To be honest, quantum physics gives me a massive hadron...
...but I wish people who didn't have a PHD would just shut the frack up with their uneducated whining about the end of the world. People like this, and creationists (will you just frickin' look on the back of the £10 note, take a hint, and don't even get me started), are just holding back human progress. Despite what certain newspapers seem to think, safety levels at the collider are monitored by the Safety Assessment Group and not Homer Simpson.
"The chance we produce a black hole is minuscule," said a British spokesman for Cern, which perhaps wasn't the best way to phrase it admittedly. "And even if we do, it can't swallow up the Earth." Which did make me wonder – so, just Geneva, then? That's not so bad. Just Switzerland? Damn, no more cuckoo clocks, cheese with big air bubbles or white chocolate Toblerones, how will we live? Europe? Hmmm? Hmmm? Seriously though, not a showballs chance in hell.
This isn't the first time the end of the world has been predicted, no siree. Interweb doom-mongers are convinced that 21 December 2012 will be the end; it's the final date of the Long Count Calendar of the Mayans. Jehovah's Witnesses cheerfully and eloquently debate the coming final conflagration while standing on the nation's doormats. The Millerite Sect, led by William Miller, predicted that the apocalypse would fall on 22 October 1844 and, when SFA happened, Mr. Miller shamelessly called it "The Great Disappointment".
It's all shamooy and a crock. Such is the power of the Internet that stuff like this gets out into the public domain from a couple of words of misunderstanding, fuelled by the story hungry plonkers of Fleet St.
Good old Stephen Hawking was on Radio 4 earlier, wheeled out to reassure listeners that the world wouldn't be inverting itself today and all was all going to be hunky-dory and they could still go out and consume tonight in ASDA on the way home, safe in the knowledge they wouldn't be beating on aliens with crowbars and trying to find a HEV suit charge point by the middle of next week.
The Radio 4 audience knew this already (or are waiting for Torchwood and accidentally tuned in early), it's the Radio 1/2 crowd who needed the reassurance of electronic voiced coffee table science from a scientific icon they recognise from The Simpsons.
Bless him though, he did say he'd bet someone £100 as to whether the "Higgs boson" particle would be discovered. The Hawking is betting on the outcome? One ironically recalls reading that Robert Oppenheimer had a bet with other members of the Manhattan Project that the first A-bomb would kick off a chain reaction that would kill the Earth's atmosphere. I digress.
Anyway, there he was on Radio 4, or an Apple Mac impersonating him while he's being held by scientific occultists who want to open a gate way to the dimension of elder gods (which seems a far more interesting and plausible scenario to me) you be the judge.
Bring it on @CERN, and fingers crossed for a successful first pass firing, the real fireworks start end of next week. If you want to check on what's going on, you can also watch the live feeds from the CERN Webcams.