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CERN experiment fears: Legitimate concern or crackpot hysteria?

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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:36 AM
Original message
CERN experiment fears: Legitimate concern or crackpot hysteria?
discuss.
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Ex Lurker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
1. why worry? If something happens we won't feel a thing n/t
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melody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. Crackpot hysteria n/t
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Are you a physicist? If so, how have you come to your conclusion? Thanks. nt
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melody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:00 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. No, I'm not a physicist
The black holes that the Collider could (theoretically) create don't have enough energy to light a frickin' light bulb. The worst case scenario chances are 1 in 50 million. There's a FAR greater likelihood that we'll be smacked by a low-flying meteor. Are you going to lose sleep about that?
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:33 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. I only asked if you were a physicist so I could better understand this
side of the argument. But it appears know about this better than some of those who are. Impressive. :eyes:

So thanks for the reply, but I don't think I'll be counting on your strong opinion to help me come to a decision either way.


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melody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #10
23. Well, as you may have noticed, we didn't get sucked into the void
I understand and sympathize with your concern but there really was nothing to be worried about.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #23
27. Ah,, but the thing is, it didn't do any 'colliding' yet..
It was just turned on. It will take time to go through what they call the commissioning process, and it won't reach full power until next year. So we have time to REPENT! :7


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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #10
33. Self-delete
Edited on Wed Sep-10-08 10:40 AM by LanternWaste
Self-delete
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Renew Deal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #8
49. 1 in 50 million is better than the lottery
Edited on Wed Sep-10-08 04:32 PM by Bleachers7
:shrug:
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melody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #49
54. Yes, but that's only because tons of people purchase tickets
This is one collider and one instance.
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sudopod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #6
24. Cosmic rays from deep space strike the earth every day
Edited on Wed Sep-10-08 08:15 AM by sudopod
with energies energies millions of times greater than anything the LHC could ever dream of.

For example, protons can be accelerated up to 7x10^12 eV in the LHC.

Cosmic rays can have energies on the order of 10^20 eV.

*Sigh*

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Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #6
41. I am, and I say
crackpot hysteria.
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entanglement Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #6
48. Physics is a vast subject...a condensed matter physicist, for instance wouldn't be able to provide
expert opinion on something like the LHC (more the domain of high energy / particle physics). To generalize even further, some of the "doomsday" claims were made by a biochemist - who isn't qualified any more than a layman on such matters. As they say, always be wary of people who have PhDs in one field and attempt to pass off as experts in another.

:hi:
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Kutjara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. Clueless raving by people who...
...don't believe their lack of any understanding of a topic should preclude them from having their opinions on it taken seriously by those who do.

It seems to be a common trait these days.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:46 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. I'll ask you the same question -- are you a physicist? And if so,
how did you arrive at your conclusion?

I've seen compelling arguments from both sides by respected physicists (maybe your colleagues?) so I'm not really sure what to think.

Thanks.


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Kutjara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 02:52 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. While I'm mot a practicing physicist....
...I have done postgrad work in physics and have an advanced mathematics background. Also, I've been avidly reading the literature on particle physics for most of the past twenty years, so I'm fairly well clued up on the expected outcomes of the experiments about to be run on the LHC. The likelihood of creating a planet-gobbling black hole is so vanishingly small that I'd sooner bet my entire net worth on the chances of my spontaneously phasing through the floor of my apartment. It's just not going to happen. When you get concerned about things that have a 1 in 10^30 chance of occurring, you really are worrying too much.

Remember also, these same "scientists" were forecasting doom when the new accelerator went online at Brookhaven a couple of years ago, and yet here we still are. The same thing will happen this time. Experiments will be carried out, results will be collated, theories will either be supported or refuted, and our body of knowledge about the physical world will inch forward. All the while, there will be those who cry that we are prying into things we weren't meant to know, but such souls have always been with us.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #15
28. Thanks for your input - I keep learning.
Although I'm spanking you for using the quote around "scientists" -- not fair. Remember Teller, who was considered one of the leaders in his field at the time, thought a fission weapon could ignite our atmosphere. And he wasn't the only one. Just because someone is mistaken doesn't take away from their credibility or validity.

I for one am really excited about this experiment, and can hardly wait until it gets up to full power (not until next year) and we actually begin the experiments.



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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #15
34. there's one problem, though
Not many people really appreciate what it means for the likelihood of an event to be 10^(-30). Physicists should remember that we're dealing with a public that gets pretty enthusiastic about state lotteries.

From a PR perspective, it would be better for physicists to round 10^(-30) down to zero.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #34
38. Correct
A lot of people don't understand "powers" of numbers.

The expression 10^(-30) means a 1 with 30 zeros behind it, or

-1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

So we're not talking about something that has a one in a hundred thousand chance of happening
or something that has a one in a million chance of happening
or something that has a one in a billion chance of happening
or something that has a one in a trillion chance of happening

but something far, far, FAR less than that.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #34
40. The sad thing is that there's people who'd view 10^(-30) to equal 1 because it's not exactly 0 (nt
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Kutjara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #34
45. Excellent point.
I remember trying to explain huge exponents to someone a few years back. I said something like, "Well, the chances of you winning the lottery jackpot is about 1 in 1 x 10^6, while the chances of (whatever phenomenon I was describing) is something like 1 in 1 x 10^12, so..." To which they immediately piped in, "So that means the thing you're talking about is half as likely as winning the lottery, right?"

Er...no.
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entanglement Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #15
51. A mathematician's answer would be that it's neither necessary nor sufficient
to be a physicist to have an opinion on the LHC. ;)
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Kutjara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. Or, as Clint Eastwood put it,...
"Opinions are like assholes: everybody's got one."
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #7
36. Can you please provide further information...
about the respected physicists on the "the world will end" side of the fence?

Thanks,

Sid
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. Why?
I don't mean to be rude, but this has evolved into people calling on me to PROVE that the world is coming to an end - and I don't believe that at all. I'm actually really excited about this and am in the "pro" column, but as with anything, I'm interested to hear both sides. That helps me arrive at my own decision and conclusion -- and belief.

That's why I asked those who were so totally dismissive of any concern to explain why -- in an attempt for me to better understand.

But as so often happens here, one can't get into a discussion without being attacked.

So I'm letting it drop. I feel no need to discuss this with any of you any further.

Again, not meaning to be rude, but it's not worth it to me to keep going around in circles.




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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. Tomorrow they're just turning it on. The smashing comes later.
As with most issues, both sides present compelling arguments - at least they each make sense to me, a non-physicist.

A concern that I haven't seen addressed but has occurred to me is -- it's possible that nothing dramatic would occur, but do we know if there might be a cumulative effect somehow? There are many instances now where initially we felt whatever it was was a success, only to learn years later of devastating ramifications.

What do you think?


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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
21. "both sides present compelling arguments"
Which sides have presented arguments?

I've only heard one "compelling argument": from scientists, who say nothing bad will happen.

It seems the GOP-controlled media have found people who are no more advanced than the morans who hang out at Area 51 or Roswell awaiting aliens.

Out of curiosity, you asked a couple people upthread if they were scientists to determine the legitimacy of their comments.

May I ask you some questions?

Do you believe in ghosts? UFOs? Did you think all computers would fall apart and malfunction on January 1, 2001? Is climate adversely effected by man-made pollution? Should creationism be taught in science classrooms?


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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #21
31. Actually, I wasn't questioning if the DUers were scientists to 'determine the
legitimacy of their comments." I was asking because I was looking for further input -- education, to better understand this. I thought I made that clear, but apparently I wasn't as clear as I wanted to be.

UFO's, ghosts - I don't know. I've never seen either so I can't make a first had decision, but just because I haven't experienced them first hand, doesn't mean they don't exist. And I don't give them much thought because if they're here, they're not affecting my life. Don't much care either way :shrug:

Y2K - I had no strong feeling about that one way or the other, either. It was beyond my pay grade, as Obama says. I do know that lots of people scoffed, lots of people issued dire warnings, and the government and companies spent a lot of money to ensure nothing occurred. I knew that my opinion wouldn't cause a particular outcome either way, so was just neutral. My approach was wait and see and if something did occur, we'd figure out how to adapt and deal with it.

Creationism in science classrooms? I currently believe there is no scientific evidence to back that theory, so no, I don't think it should be taught in science class. If somehow irrefutable science could show it occurred, I would change my opinion.

Humans affecting climate change? That's another one I don't have proof either way. I tend to believe yes, but I don't know if these climate changes are part of a bigger global cycle. Regardless, I do feel our contribution to polluting the planet is without question. I just have to look at the horizon of any city to see just one of the results.

May I ask why you asked me these questions?
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #31
42. "May I ask why you asked me these questions?"
As a way to see what your "science literacy" might be.


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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
37. both sides present compelling arguments
No, they really don't. One side (the physicists) arguments are based in scientific fact. The other sides argumen (flat earthers worrying about micro-black hole formation) are not.

Let me explain on a larger scale that might be easier to understand.

Lets say the sun, right this second, turned into a black hole (impossible, but bear with me). Eight minutes from now (the time it takes light from the sun to reach earth), the sky would go dark and it would get deathly cold very quickly, but otherwise, nothing would change. The black hole would exist in the same place the sun did and all the planets would continue to orbit the black hole the same way they orbit the sun, because the black hole would have the same mass as the sun.

A black hole doesn't have any more mass (and possibly has less mass) than whatever it formed from, at least initially. So lets say the collider does produce some micro black holes. We're talking about black holes with the mass of a few protons. You would need an electron microscope (at a minimum) to detect them. Said black hole (which is really just a singularity surrounded by an event horizon...the black part) being the most dense thing on the planet would fall to the center of the earth (assuming it didn't dissipate nearly instantly, which it probably would). It might "suck in" a few atoms on the way down, but we're still talking about something with so little mass that it's hard for the human mind to wrap itself around just how small it would be. In the unlikely event that the above were to take place, the mass of the black hole would probably be less than a single heavy metal molecule. One molecule of nickle, for example, would be far more massive.

Just recall some of the simple sciences you learned (probably) in high school. Mass creates gravity, but something with nearly no mass creates nearly no gravity, so it's "sucking" potential is teeny-tiny...invisible to the naked eye and probably invisible to even the most powerful micorscopes. You need an electron micorscope to see it, it's so tiny.
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imax2268 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. well...
who knows...either we are ok or not...I think hysteria mostly...
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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
9. I get a "Coast to Coast AM" vibe from the worries
but i was wondering if anyone remotely credible is involved in them, as AP seems to be giving it all a disproportionate amount of coverage
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:39 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Are Coast to Coast AM Listeners/Guests whack?
I think there are some credible physicists who argue for both sides of the position. And even if someone is credible, that doesn't necessarily mean that he or she couldn't be mistaken, either way. :shrug:

Some of the physicists who were afraid that the hydrogen bomb would ignite our atmosphere were some of the greatest physicists at the time.


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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:44 AM
Response to Original message
12. I think there was some concern with the first nuclear bomb test
... that a chain reaction would be set off, destroying the world. Admittedly nothing good came of it, but the Earth as a whole is still around.

I'm not a physicist, but it's not as though an atomic-weight black hole is going to suck the Earth into its craw. It won't have any more gravitational attraction to anything outside its event horizon than the equivalent amount of ordinary matter.

Color me completely unconcerned. I'm excited to see what happens!
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:47 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. They're getting close to the "turn on" time. At 3-something a.m. Eastern.
I don't know how long it will take it to 'get up to speed' - but I'm excited, too.
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #12
22. Renate, the question was twofold:
First, could a chain reaction, that is the disruption of atoms releasing the energy binding them in the form of an explosion, be achieved, and second, would the chain reaction, once begun, ever stop, or would it feed itself and destroy ALL atoms everywhere.


mark
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morgan2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:45 AM
Response to Original message
13. I heard it was designed by a mad scientist
to take over the world.
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Party Line Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 02:57 AM
Response to Original message
16. Whatever happens
It's going to be a cool trip...err, thing...I meant "Thing".
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 03:00 AM
Response to Original message
17. For people who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old and flat, it is a "legitimate concern" ...
... for those who can read and write and think for themselves, it is science.


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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 03:19 AM
Response to Original message
18. Hey!
x(

Don't insult crack pot hysteria like that!




:rofl:


Okay, I don't worry about a black hole vastly smaller than an electron and massing nanograms. It's not high on the list of things I worrty about. It's on the same level as my worries about Bush's intestinal bacteria population being healthy.
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and-justice-for-all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 03:50 AM
Response to Original message
19. HYSTERIA....
People and their END OF THE WORLD crap. Yes, the world will come to and end, but no one will be around to see it.

You know, no matter what happens to us or life in general on Earth, the Earth will continue either until the sun swells up and consumes it some 3 to 5 million years from now or the Universe expansion leaves it out in the cold. In that time, life as all but passes out of existence or we managed to get out shit together and move beyond the known comfort zone.

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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 03:58 AM
Response to Original message
20. Great pictures (before the experiment) from Der Spiegel ...
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paparush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #20
26. One Day, the scale of this device will be likened to the orginal Bombe computer
at Bletchley Park.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #26
43. That will be an amazing thing. n/t
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Malikshah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
25. Read Stephen King's The Mist--- We're dabbling with things beyond our
ken!!!!!

Oh...

:sarcasm: :sarcasm: :sarcasm: :sarcasm: :sarcasm: :sarcasm: :sarcasm:

:)
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bobbert Donating Member (548 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
29. Crackpot Hysteria
I'm a Ph.D. student, degree in physics. It's not much different than the experiments that have been done for years, just with particles at higher energies (i.e. traveling faster). If the particles escape, they hit some rocks and stop with the impact relative to a speck of dust landing on the wall. The particles they are creating are ubiquitous anyways, they just last a tiny fraction of a second so it takes a controlled environment like the one they are using in order to actually study them. It takes a TON of power to run the machine, yes, but most of it is wasted... accelerating particles is very inefficient. The worst that could happen is a small animal gets into the tunnels near the accelerator magnets and gets radiation poisoning.
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chemenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
30. You need to be far more worried about being sucked into
the black hole created by a McCain/Palin administration. God forbid ... that would be a science fiction/horror armageddon story of epic proportions. :scared: :scared: :scared: :scared: :scared:
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
32. Crackpot Hysteria
In nature, particle collision occur much more frequently and at much higher velocity than the super-collider is likely to generate. So far, not micro black holes have sucked in the earth (also physically impossible) despite the fact that particle collision has been going on around the earth for it's entire 4.5 billion year history.
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vanderBeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
35. Hysteria
Though I am fascinated by the experiment, even though I could never really get into Physics.
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cynatnite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 02:53 PM
Response to Original message
44. Concerned, but not overly worried about it n/t
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
46. Let's just put it this way... to be NOT concerned, you need to know a TON of Physics
This is what has most people worried.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
47.  Crackpot Hysteria
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entanglement Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
50. The sad part of it is that beyond the doomsday scenarios, most people aren't curious or remotely
interested in the LHC or the fact that it may hold the key to unlocking more of nature's most fundamental secrets.
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HVAC600 Donating Member (14 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
52. crackpots
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