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Sunday, September 28, 2008

No man knows the day or the hour... or do they?

For those of you who have not met, let me introduce you to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This gargantuan investment of billions of dollars, stretching 17 miles under the Swiss Alps is the worlds largest particle collider. It has the ability to take a particle, accelerate it to nearly the speed of light, and then smash it into other particles. You know... just to see what will happen. Well, some people seem to think this will create a lot of little black holes. For those of you not familiar with the basics of a black hole, it is a point in space with such a strong gravitational pull that matter and electromatic energy cannot escape its pull. It is black because even light cannot escape its iron grasp. So... some scientists think the LHC will create a bunch of little black holes. I'm no scientist, but even a little black hole seems like a big deal. The great and respectable Stephen Hawking seems to think that even if these little black holes are created, they will collapse in on themselves. What if our dear Hawking is wrong? I mean... if a black hole, even a little one, were to be created on earth... um... wouldn't it have the ability to get larger and larger, sucking in everything around it, gaining mass (and consequently more gravity to suck even more things in), possibly engulfing the entire world? Hey, just a thought...

So anyway. They fired this thing up recently, it made headlines all over the world. No, no, the world didn't end. But! they only fired particles in one direction at a time. When the real deal goes down in October, they will fire them in opposite directions and smash them into each other. Or, that was the plan anyway. Seems in their little experiment they melted some vital cooling components. Something about a Helium leak, coolant system failing, super conductance destroyed, blah, blah, blah. Luckily for us, it's offline for a little while, until next year at least. So, looks like those words stay true. No man knows the day or the hour of [the end of the world]. I'm not saying this thing is going to end the world, or that Jesus is going to pop out of a black whole and say 'gotcha'... but I'm not not saying it either.


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