Who will give up the ghost first? The anti-LHC crowd, or the planet?

OKay, so few souls out there want to hear about the paranoia caused by the Large Hadron Collider. Who, after all, wants to imagine black holes eating away at the earth so that in a matter of time (Minutes? Hours? Days) there is nothing left of our little parade? I know that scientists love to debunk these worries… But one good thing about scientists is that they tend to be fairly focused on accuracy, so if there is a slgiht chance that something may occur, they don’t say that it won’t.

Case in point… According to the physics arXiv, in the post “Black holes from the LHC could survive for minutes” (Jan 23rd, 2009): (Roberto) Casadio have reworked the figures and now say that: “the growth of black holes to catastrophic size does not seem possible.”

Why the switch from “impossible” to “seems impossible”? Because “Casadio and co say: “the expected decay times are much longer (and possibly >> 1 sec) than is typically predicted by other models””

One imagiens that in a matter of seconds, a black hole on the earth could start to have some major effects. Enough to cause it to stick around longer? Who knows… But as any fan of “The Quiet Earth” can attest to, meddling with these things might cause some unexpected problems.

Of course, it’s hard to say as the LHC has not really entered operation yet, but I will be curious to see what happens… or doesn’t happen for that matter.

One thought on “Who will give up the ghost first? The anti-LHC crowd, or the planet?

  1. My problem is this: A reasonable calculation of risk is potential harm times probability. Then you weigh the potential benefits of doing whatever you are thinking of and if the potential benefits outweigh the risks, then the experiment is justified. In this case, potential harm is infinity–the destruction of the earth. Even if the likelihood is one trillion to one, infinity times .000000000001 is still infinity. There are no potential benefits that would justify doing this experiment. I hate the idea that opposition to this experiment is lumped in with flat-earthers and luddites.

    Another example of science taking an unreasonable risk is the development of airbourne pollinating gmo’s. Here, the risk of one of them cross pollinating a food staple crop with a destructive genome is much too high to justify even a benefit like preventing hunger.

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