Saturday, March 29, 2008

Black Holes In Our Discourse

An embarrassingly bad opening four paragraphs in a NY Times article about two men who claim that the Large Hadron Collider will create a black hole when it's completed and turned on later this year:
More fighting in Iraq. Somalia in chaos. People in this country can’t afford their mortgages and in some places now they can’t even afford rice.

None of this nor the rest of the grimness on the front page today will matter a bit, though, if two men pursuing a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii turn out to be right. They think a giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole that will spell the end of the Earth — and maybe the universe.

Scientists say that is very unlikely — though they have done some checking just to make sure.
"Maybe the universe?" A black hole will swallow the universe? Do you know what these words mean, Dennis?

"Some checking?" Yeah, scientists pursed just a few lines of "checking" during the process of designing the LHC.

There's an interesting story in all this, but this version seems like it was written for InTouch.

I do like the ending, though.
Dr. Arkani-Hamed said concerning worries about the death of the Earth or universe, “Neither has any merit.” He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.”

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