I haven’t written much about the impending “End of The World”. Mostly because I’ve been busy. I mean, when the world ends, there’s not much I can do about it, right? So when it does, I’ll face it all with a bottle of Grand Marnier and a cigar made of leafy green goodness. I imagine some folks haven’t heard that the end is nigh. They’ve probably been busy watching American Idol, or obsessing over the fact that Jessica Simpson has gained some weight. You know. The important stuff.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s this gadget in Switzerland called the Large Hadron Collider. It’s the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, intended to collide opposing particle beams, protons at an energy of 7 TeV/particle or lead nuclei at 574 TeV/particle. No, I don’t exactly know what that means, either. But I do know that scientists believe that by smashing atoms and such together that they can observe some of the fundamental principles of how matter is created and how things generally work at the sub-atomic level.
“It is theorized that the collider will produce the elusive Higgs boson, the last unobserved particle among those predicted by the Standard Model. The verification of the existence of the Higgs boson would shed light on the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking, through which the particles of the Standard Model are thought to acquire their mass.”
The verification of the existence of the Higgs boson would shed light on the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking, through which the particles of the Standard Model are thought to acquire their mass. All you need to gather from this headache-inducing stuff is that scientists believe that they can learn about certain fundamental physics processes by observing the Higgs boson, and the Large Hadron Collider was designed to help them with that.
So… why am I writing about it?
There are some scientists on the fringe of the scientific community who believe that it might be possible for the LHC to create black holes. Actually, the fact that it does create microscopic black holes is beyond dispute. But these black are, well, microscopic, and they decay and cease to exist in a millisecond. This hasn’t stopped some folks’ imaginations from running wild, theorizing that it’s possible the LHC could create a black hole that would not decay and would keep growing, sucking in matter until it had eventually consumed the entire Earth. Yes, I know. It sounds like science fiction to me, too. But if you acknowledge the fact that the LHC creates black holes at all, you have to concede that, while the odds are astronomical, it’s at least theoretically possible that a black hole could be created and we would all be sucked into it. As in “The End of The World” and all that.
What amazes me about this is that the same people who believe it’s possible for the LHC to create a black hole that would destroy us tend to be the same people who don’t believe that Global Warming is really happening. These also tend to be the people who believe that dinosaurs roamed the Earth 6,000 years ago. In short, they’re not the most reliable judges of what is and what is not possible.
Most scientists scoff at the idea that the Large Hadron Collider could end all life on this planet (and in this solar system, to boot). What really amazes me about this issue is that people who can’t find India on a map have formed opinions about whether or not it’s possible for the LHC to create a black hole that will devour us. Mostly because they keep reading and hearing about it from Fox News and the other Right-Wing nutjob misinformation outlets. To them it’s not possible that mankind could have caused Global Warming, but it’s definitely possible that he could create a black hole that extinguished all life on Earth.
Myself, if I had to choose between being sucked into a black hole or spending the rest of my days baking in a desert, starving because it’s become impossible for human beings to grow food, watching the oceans rise and the Appalachian mountains become beach-front property, I’d rather get sucked into the black hole. Honestly, between the two, though, Global Warming seems more likely. After all, there’s evidence to support the fact that it’s happening; not just nutjob theories by fringe scientists.
The biggest problem where the LHC is concerned is that the people who are most alarmed about it seem to be those people who get their religion, politics and science jumbled up together. They can dismiss the idea of Global Warming as Liberal propaganda, believe it’s scientifically possible that dinosaurs and human beings co-existed on Earth at the same time, all while mentally masturbating over the idea of an End Times brought on by the scientific tinkerings of the Large Hadron Collider. If anything, their only objections in regard to the LHC are that we might destroy ourselves before God can come down and do it for us. It’s not that they mind the idea of an End Times scenario, it’s just not the one they’ve been waiting for.
There were scientists in the 1940’s who believed that it was possible that testing the atomic bomb would lead to an ever-expanding ball of fire that would spread across the entire Earth and kill us all. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Not to say that it’s impossible for something like that to ever occur. We’re human beings. Overall, we’re a bunch of children playing with dangerous toys. But from what I’ve read I figure the likelihood of the LHC creating a black hole is about as likely as a savior riding down from the sky on a white stallion or a Republican admitting that they drove the American economy into a ditch. I’ll take my chances with the LHC.
In the meantime, I’m not going to be distracted by these mundane things. We have more important things to worry about. Jessica Simpson’s weight problem, for example. It’s American Idol season. They’ve mailed out the Oscar ballots. And the Super Bowl is next Sunday! I’ll worry about the black hole when it’s eating away at the weeds that edge of the yard.
By the way, if you really must know if the LHC had destroyed the Earth, there’s a web site you can visit to find out at;