Are you sure you should be doing that?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Return of the Mighty Marmite Machine

They've put a new fuse in the Large Hadron Collider and found a few more shillings to run it on off-peak through the coming winter. Ex-D:Ream bandmember and nucular scientist Brian Cox has said "Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a twat".

I've often suspected that those who employ the ad hominem strategy do so because they are on dodgy ground. I'm not a fan of logical proof by abuse, but it has its adherents.

Nevertheless, surely handsome, trendy Cox has heard of the possibility of a "Vacuum metastability event", explained thusly in Wikipedia:

"If our universe is in a very long-lived false vacuum, it is possible that the universe will tunnel into a lower energy state. If this happens, all structures will be destroyed instantaneously, without any forewarning."

How could this happen? A further link in the infallible Wiki universe considers the possibility of cosmic annihilation by particle accelerator:

One scenario is that, rather than quantum tunnelling, a particle accelerator, which produces very high energies in a very small area, could create sufficiently high energy density as to penetrate the barrier and stimulate the decay of the false vacuum to the lower energy vacuum. Hut and Rees,[3] however, have determined that because we have observed cosmic ray collisions at much higher energies than those produced in terrestrial particle accelerators, that these experiments will not, at least for the foreseeable future, pose a threat to our vacuum.

"...at least for the foreseeable future": a phrase to treasure, when set beside the earlier phrase, "...without any forewarning."

Not that I'd mind. After all, we'd know nothing about it. And it'd end the debate about global cooling / global warming / climate change - no guilt, either. And it'd make the Bible a nice bookend for both ends of the history of the universe, starting with "Let there be light" and ending "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night."

Throw that switch, Twatfinder General.

7 comments:

James Higham said...

I've often suspected that those who employ the ad hominem strategy do so because they are on dodgy ground. I'm not a fan of logical proof by abuse, but it has its adherents.

Precisely.

Anonymous said...

I have said elsewhere - and I still believe - that the only thing they'll discover from the Large Hadron Collider is that they need another few £Bn so as to build the Exceedingly Large Hadron Collider.

This in turn will prove that, to find anything of interest, we must then pay for the Overwhelmingly Large Hadron Collider.

Eventually they will want the Quite Improbably Humungous Hadron Collider, which will have a diameter equal to that of the earth, and will need all of Europe's power stations to be dedicated to running it.

And still they'll want more.

Just say no, is my suggestion; let them go back to playing with test tubes. What good ever came of this stuff? Nuclear bombs, I guess.

Sackerson said...

Very funny, Anon.

Paddington said...

I'm sorry. I dasagree with all of you. I suspect that Dr. Cox's statement is more one of frustration, being asked again and again by jounralists about something dreamed up by a retired dentist in Hawaii.

People don't like being micro-managed, and scientists are no exception.

As for anonymous, and others of similar opinions, I would carefully ask yourselves where you would be without the work of physicists - anyone ever had a PET scan?

I truly fear the coming of the endarkenment.

Sackerson said...

P: It just seemed to me a typically modern way of replying to people - rude, refusing to engage, uninterested in persuading. But maybe, as you say, the journalists get in the way.

Paddington said...

S: I have seen too many articles and interviews asking stupid questions to change my stance on this one.

Paddington said...

Read about the social effects of the Industrial Revolution. The landed gentry started to get poorer, both in relative and absolute terms, and a new rich class of factory owners was created. It also gave opportunities to outcasts, like free-thinkers, to be engineers. The 'divine right of kings' class don't like that. That's why the right hated Clinton, and hates Obama, and loved George Bush. The latter was 'old money', and the others are 'upstarts'.