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Concern Over Creating Black Holes

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the nothing-to-fear dept.

597

Maria Williams writes to tell us about worry surrounding the impending startup of CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Some fear that the device, in creating mini black holes, could jeopardize Life As We Know It. While the tiny black holes should evaporate quickly — throwing off so-called Hawking radiation that can be detected — CERN software developer Ran Livneh reminds us that "Any physicist will tell you that there is no way to prove that generated black holes will decay." The LHC site assures us there's nothing to worry about. The flap is reminiscent of the time the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider went live. The worry then was that "negative strangelets" could gobble up the world.

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597 comments

Please, for the love of God... (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082503)

...no crap about John Titor [wikipedia.org] actually being a real person.

Thanks.

For those who don't know, in the John Titor story, the CERN LHC allegedly lays the groundwork for using artificial black holes as part of a time machine (made for the military by General Electric, of course!).

(And no, John Titor is not a real time traveler.)

For example:

Along with the prediction of World War III, another notable prediction is that of a Civil war in America, which was predicted to begin in 2004, around the time of the presidential election, and would escalate until 2008, which, according to Titor, "[is] a general date by which time everyone will realize the world they thought they were living in was over."

Even statements like this are subjective and many people still choose to believe; I'm sure there are many slashdot readers (judging from the kind of posts I see here) who believe we are currently in a nascent "civil war" and that, indeed, the "world they thought they were living in was over." This is all typical vague crap that can be viewed a variety of different ways, Nostradamus-style, and never soundly disproven, conspiracy-theory-style. Even now, people are arguing that John Titor's visit may have allowed us to "change our future". Yeah, because the mental giants who believe the John Titor story have had a huge impact on things.

...

It's quite impressive how many people actually believe this tripe, though.

Of course he's not a real person... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082592)

...Yet

Re:Please, for the love of God... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082596)

John Titor was exactly the first person I thought of when I saw this article about particle colliders. Thanks for letting others know about the other side of the Titor debate.

Re:Please, for the love of God... (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082645)

Debate? Thats like saying there is a large debate going on about weither we should have pie and chips, or get a free geico quote.

Re:Please, for the love of God... (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082664)

What is there to debate? Pie and chips are awesome!

Re:Please, for the love of God... (1)

Xeger (20906) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082807)

Pie and chips are awesome; therefore, John Titor must be real. All hail the Geico gecko!

Civil War (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082755)

Even statements like this are subjective and many people still choose to believe; I'm sure there are many slashdot readers (judging from the kind of posts I see here) who believe we are currently in a nascent "civil war" and that, indeed, the "world they thought they were living in was over."

Actually, the civil war prediction is pretty clear-cut. Do we have two or more large factions of Americans shooting each other for political purposes? No. Therefore, while the country is certainly polarized, we aren't in a civil war.

The line may be fuzzy -- people are still arguing over whether Iraq is in a civil war, but they're shooting at each other (and us). So far, though, the USA is clearly on the negative side of that line.

The American civil war is generally agreed to have begin with the firing on Fort Sumter, not with the polarization of the country or even with the first states to secede from the Union.

Re:Please, for the love of God... (5, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082783)

...Civil war in America, which was predicted to begin in 2004, around the time of the presidential election...

On November 3rd, 2004, civil war was narrowly averted when Kerry supporters realized that only 0.03% of them owned a gun.

Ack! (4, Funny)

ultramk (470198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082507)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

It's already begun!

m-

Feh. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082644)

It's already begun!

Don't worry about it. 3 billion years from now and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) will be ripping this place to bits.

there's also the Great Attractor, so we're all doomed eventually anyway.

OMG Crazy People (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082515)

I can't believe people are scared of being sucked into nothingness. What the fuck is wrong with them? Its just a black hole!!!!1

[/sarcasm]

Calling Dr. Freeman (5, Funny)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082519)

As long as Gordon Freeman is there to watch over the experiment, I think we'll all be okay. Maybe.

I hear the Vortigaunts are our allies.

Dr. Freeman? Meet Mr. Blackwood! (1)

DarthStrydre (685032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082663)

If I get some mod points, and Arthur lets me, I will remember to come back and mod you down.

  - Gage Blackwood
      Agent 5 of the Temporal Security Agency

Re:Calling Dr. Freeman (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082834)

With all our luck, Gordon Frohman will order 10000 miniature black holes...

Creating them is a problem (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082520)

The worry then was that "negative strangelets" could gobble up the world.

You see, the problem is that we could all get sucked off before we know what's going on.

Re:Creating them is a problem (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082575)

You see, the problem is that we could all get sucked off before we know what's going on.

I meant sucked in.

Re:Creating them is a problem (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082767)

False.

A black hole cannot just "suck in" whatever it wants, the matter and energy in question must physically come in contact with the boundary of the body to begin with. Note that no object in the immediate vicinity of a newly formed black hole has its orbit disturbed in any significant way. The gravity of a black hole to anything standing outside its bounds is not particularly fascinating - they do not behave like a drain, contrary to the way they're usually drawn.

The holes being created (IF they even get created) would be so incredibly tiny that they would immediately be attracted to the core of the planet, happily flying right in between molecules and even atoms, only occasionally colliding with them and obtaining their mass.

If, by chance, they are wrong about the decay and one escapes, it could take much longer than you or I need to worry about it until it becomes massive enough (density != mass!) to destroy the planet.

Of course, while we're speculating on silly doomsday scenarios, it could also randomly collide fast enough to grow at an exponential rate and destroy us all nearly instantaneously.

That's not too likely either though.

The world didn't end last time... (4, Funny)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082523)

Seems to me that the only real problem with blowing this sort of thing off by saying "this is just like last time when we tried something that had a small chance of destroying the world and it worked out okay then" is that you really only have to be wrong once.

"Oh shit! Yeah, our bad -- man, are our faces red. Sorry about that, everybody."

Re:The world didn't end last time... (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082624)

I think microscopic black holes couldn't eat up the earth due to the three stooges problem. They are so small that only an atom at a time can get in, but the gravity is strong enough to try to suck in more, so all the atoms get bunched up around the event horizon like the three stooges all trying to get through a door at the same time. Problem nullified. Whoop hoop oop! Nyuck nyuck, why I oughta!

Re:The world didn't end last time... (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082787)

I don't think I buy that reasoning. That's like saying that a {particle beam, laser} won't work because the hole at the end of the tube is only big enough for one {atom, photon}.

Except it's worse than that. As soon as things shift around a little so that a single atom goes in, the event horizon is now slightly larger. Repeat ad infinitum. All it takes is an occasional atom getting through.

A microscopic black hole either dissipates or it doesn't. If it does, great. If it doesn't, we have a problem. It may take millennia to become a serious problem, but....

Re:The world didn't end last time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082726)

I think you misunderstand the nature of the disagreement. The problem is not that scientists agree the experiment will have a 0.1% chance of gobbling up the earth ("OK, boys, cross your fingers!"). It's that people that do not understand what the scientists are doing are spreading FUD. "Black holes gobble up stars! Surely we are at risk!"

Of course, no one can say with absolute certainty how things will work, but when you flip on your light switch, it's generally reasonable to assume that it's not going to cause your light bulb to vaporize your city. It's perfectly possible that our knowledge of physics is inadequate to the point where it couldn't have foreseen this, but we understand things well enough to know that this isn't likely to happen, and, indeed, it is happening naturally all the time. You can't hypothesize a risk that you do not understand and go on to tell people that they can't flip on any more lights.

Re:The world didn't end last time... (4, Funny)

2short (466733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082760)

I remember that last time, and I think a friend of mine summed it up best:

"Scientists constructing a device that could potentially destroy the earth? Don't we have super-heroes to deal with this sort of thing?"

its one way to go... (3, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082524)

Well, it beats being hit by a bus....

Standing at the pearly gates it would be a great converstation starter... "oh yeah? I was killed by a black hole...."

Re:its one way to go... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082740)

And those of us who believe in reincarnation will be stuck in an infinite loop!

Am I the only one that read.... (5, Funny)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082527)

....Hard On Collider? I think I'd prefer an earth swallowing black hole.

Re:Am I the only one that read.... (1)

Clazzy (958719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082712)

I know what you mean. My physics exam last year nearly had a slight misunderstanding with the word hadron...

That's not quite the way it would happen (4, Funny)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082528)

The black holes would only eat up Kurt Vonnegut. However, the efect would be the same as if they ate up the whole world, since it's all a figment of his imagination.

Re:That's not quite the way it would happen (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082758)

You've been waiting since the last large collider story to use that line haven't you?

Re:That's not quite the way it would happen (4, Funny)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082804)

If the black hole is inside the world, doesn't that mean Vonnegut will disappear into his own imagination?

Woah, man. I think you just blew my mind.

keanureeves If I even have a mind.... /keanureeves

Okay... (5, Insightful)

addaon (41825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082531)

Being cautious about a potentially real issue is one thing, but of course the big issue here is that collisions of similar energy happen, if not commonly, at least not entirely rarely due to cosmic rays. If the world could be destroyed by the side-effects of such a collision, we wouldn't be here to be nervous about it.

Mod Parent Up (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082593)

This is exactly right. There is nothing to be concerned about here.

I would say the "The Lifeboat Foundation's" chances of building a self sustaining space colony by 2020 are about a quadrillion times greater than the chance of a man-made mini-black hole eating us all.

You Fear What You Don't Understand (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082648)

Precisely, although, if I may add a bit as to why people might still be afraid of this research ...

It's natural to fear what you don't understand. It might even be a quality of a species that determines its success as many things in nature are quite dangerous. For better or for worse, mankind has this built in as a default setting no matter who you are whether you're fearing a black hole or suffering from xenophobia.

I am not a physicist but I think the fears here are quite unfounded. All the math and theory point to a black hole having a finite event horizon. If the black holes they are producing are microscopic and last relatively little amount of time, they shouldn't be very dangerous. I think this has been covered before [slashdot.org].

It is interesting though, because I believe a black hole's event horizon has a radius proportionate to the amount of mass it consumes. I believe that if you make them small enough, however, they don't last long enough to expand. I would be concerned if they were attempting to make massive singularities to destroy garbage heaps with these but I don't see how those would be possible to create as the only known method is to accumulate so much mass in such a small volume that gravity crushes it into a singularity. My understanding of the collider is that it smashes particles together at a fast rate and, as a result, very tiny and brief black holes may result. As this article [nature.com] states:
The physicist Stephen Hawking predicted in the 1970s that black holes would evaporate by radiating away their energy. For astrophysical black holes this is a very slow process, but extremely small black holes should last about as long as a snowflake in hell.

People will, as always, fear what they don't understand so I believe it's hopeless to quell all fears about physics research. I'm sure a lot of people are concerned about this being the next "atomic bomb" technology. Where we "drop" black holes on enemies. Though that doesn't really make sense, it still could have military applications such as creating electromagnetic devices that are so strong they displace gravity and aiming them at your enemies. Sure would make for a cheesy sci-fi book whether it was true or not!

Re:You Fear What You Don't Understand (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082827)

It's the mass packed into a certain volume that matters. You can have all of the mass in a galaxy, but if it's spread out over the volume of a typical galaxy, you have no black hole. Once you pack it into a certain density, you reach a point where the local gravity becomes strong enough that light cannot escape. I haven't read TFA, but it seems clear that they aren't trying to pack a bunch of mass to create a "tiny" or "microscopic" black hole. They're colliding exceedingly small amounts of mass into an exceptionally small area. Billions of times smaller than "microscopic".

Unless our understanding of gravity is WAY off here, there's nothing special about this region of space except that we have a bunch of mass compressed into a small area. The black hole has no chance of affecting us because the mass that makes it up is no greater than the mass we put into it. Unless we seriously misunderstand gravity, this thing will disappear instantly because it can't hope to sustain itself.

Thrice upon a time (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082536)

Reminds of 'Thrice upon a Time', where receiving information from the future was creating micro-black holes, which then were causing detectable micro-damage elsewhere, IIRC.

Cool book, anyway.

lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082549)

another lame attempt to become popular... Everyone wants to be heard.. So if you cannot create the machine, be its number one troll. this will gain you equal fame.

No way? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082556)

"Any physicist will tell you that there is no way to prove that generated black holes will decay."

Of course there's a way. Empirical research, just like they're doing. First you make a black hole, then you see if it expands until it destroys all life on earth. Simple, straight forwards, effective.

SETI paradox resolved (5, Interesting)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082557)

Where are they? Gone.

Civilizations routinely destroy their home planet by creating miniature black holes thereupon whilst trying to figure out what makes them tick. Technology advances faster than democracy, and it has never yet in the long history of the universe been put to a vote.

Re:SETI paradox resolved (1)

Rhys (96510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082784)

I think that global thermonuclear war is really a much more likely option than being wiped out my a miniature black hole. Or polluting the planet to such a state it is unable to sustain modern technological life.

Re:SETI paradox resolved (1, Interesting)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082786)

There was a book where they kept building bigger and bigger experiments, the latest one with a diamater of part of the solar system - and one of the characters postulates that that was how the big bang always started. Scientists of an advanced civilization solving the only problems left to solve would eventually try to re create the big bang out of a search for knowledge.

Forget the name of the book though.

Perspective (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082561)

Some scientists were very concerned the first atomic bomb would produce so much heat it would ignite the atmosphere and burn the entire surface of the earth. Fortunately it didn't happen. But it's good that people bring up these ideas so we challenge assumptions and try to be safe while still advancing science.

as usual, this is old news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082564)

TMQ [nfl.com] had it first!

I thought everyone knew... (4, Funny)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082566)

This is the reason that the Earth entry was changed from "Harmless" to "Mostly harmless".

Hot Damn! (1, Troll)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082569)

Some fear that the device, in creating mini black holes, could jeopardize Life As We Know It.

I was worried that my poor highschool and early college grades, plus lack of practical experience in government would go against me. It's comforting there are people like that out there are people of the land, the common clay of the mankind, you know... morons.

Meanwhile, the warming of the earth in 50 years time, at the rate we're going is going to displace hundreds of millions, cause unimaginable famine and natural disaster, bring countless birds and animals which can't suddenly adapt to extinction and bring to an end life as we have known it. This might just be the solution to the Greenhouse problem...

if this thing starts a blackhole which ends up killing us all, I'm going to be really angry!

Re:Hot Damn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082812)

This might just be the solution to the Greenhouse problem...

Either by solving our energy problems, or eliminating us.

Don't bring ethics into this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082585)

Ethics are the philosopher's business. Science needn't worry about such things.

I suggest the following items: (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082586)

Considering the massive force of a black hole explosion (implosion, whatever), tinfoil is *not* going to be strong enough (sorry, saskboy [abandonedstuff.com]). I'll stock up on the following items, courtesy of the Periodic Table Table entry for "Silver":

Silver-lined tinfoil hat [theodoregray.com], cleverly disguised as a normal trucker's hat.

Silver Boxer Shorts [theodoregray.com] -- while all you smartie-pants rationalists are protecting your *brains*, I'll be protecting Man's truest contribution to the future of humanity.

There was concern over atomic weapons too... (3, Informative)

awing0 (545366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082599)

Edward Teller speculated that an atomic weapon could ignite the atmosphere. Another physicist discredited and disproved the idea, but the fear wasn't laid to rest until the actual weapons were used.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project [wikipedia.org] (wikipedia, blah blah blah)

Again! (1)

franknagy (56133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082637)

Here we go again! People, people, people... if this was going to happen it already would have happened. The univese has been bombarding the Earth with much higher energy particles since the beginning (cosmic rays) and the Earth is still here and a bunch of debris in an acretion ring about a black hole.

Cosmic rays have prior art (5, Informative)

arevos (659374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082641)

Primary cosmic rays impact the earth all the time, and these often have far higher energies than even our largest particle accelerators are capable of producing. For any experiment we attempt, we can be reasonably sure that colliding cosmic rays have already produced the same results, sometime within the past few billions years. If we could create massively destructive black holes through our particle accelerators, one would expect that stray cosmic rays would have already done so.

Re:Cosmic rays have prior art (0)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082761)

For any experiment we attempt, we can be reasonably sure that colliding cosmic rays have already produced the same results, sometime within the past few billions years.

Within the past few billion years? Like when a stray cosmic ray wiped the entire dinosaur population within minutes?

Fermi knew the answer long ago (5, Informative)

Framboise (521772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082665)

This type of fear occurred many times during the nuclear physics history, when higher and higher energies were explored. The answer against fears of unknown catastrophic effect has been that some cosmic rays are much more energetic than any artificially accelerated particles (10^21 eV for some cosmic rays in comparison to the feeble 10^12 eV in today accelerators such as LHC). For sure the Earth and the Sun did already receive zillons of cosmic rays without disappearing...

Natural Particle Accelerators (5, Interesting)

noretsa (995866) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082668)

If it were really so easy to destroy the world it would have happened long ago.

For example, there are as yet little-understood phenomena that can accelerate particles six orders of magnitude faster than anything achievable in a lab. Try reading about Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays [wikipedia.org].

More specifically read the story of the Oh-My-God Particle [fourmilab.ch]. This was a proton detected in October of 1991 that had an energy of 3.2 * 10^20 eV. The equivalent energy of a baseball thrown at 55 mph... all in a single proton travelling at 99.99999999999999999999951% the speed of light!

While something travelling that fast has little probability of interacting with anything you could imagine the surprise if one of those hit you! I think that the fact we are alive with such powerful forces already at work in our universe means we have little to fear.

so what (1)

jt418-93 (450715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082672)

is my honest answer. between the impending floods as the ice melts (notice that the new trans american union hiway runs along the projected coast line), the wars the us starts (hey lets nuke iran for the elections), the insane ppl with bio weapons, something will kill the planet off soon enough.

and if we make it to 2012, it all blows up anyway.

color me pessimistically unimpressed

Industrial Accidents (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082684)

Could it be that black-holes, super-nova, and dark matter could be the result of some tech going horribly wrong ??

Utter Crap (5, Interesting)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082688)

I work one of the LHC expirements (low-level grad student, no one important), and this is utter crap.

Yes, there are physicists who are concerned. There is a chance that this could happen - one of those "if everything we know about high energy physics is completely wrong, this could happen". There is an approximately equal chance that Pat Buchanan will be nominated as the Democrat candidate for president in 2008. No physicist can prove that this won't happen - just like no physicist can actually prove that Superman doesn't exist.

Unfortunately, it's about the only way a reporter can "sexy up" a story about a particle accelerator. I can't wait to see the headlines in 2007 - "Will the Earth end tomorrow?" (subheading: "Respectable scientists say 'No'").

Re:Utter Crap (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082764)

I can't wait to see the headlines in 2007 - "Will the Earth end tomorrow?" (subheading: "Respectable scientists say 'No'").
The beauty of it is, either way the papers won't have to print up a retraction the next day.

This will be awesome if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082699)

it can be contained somehow and then be used for disposing trash.

Already did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082703)

Our government already knows how to create a black hole that threatens life as we know it. It's called the United States Budget Deficit.

mini- big bang (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082721)

didnt they say the same thing when some scientists were trying to create a mini- big bang in the lab? well, the universe appears to be unaffected...

Re:mini- big bang (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082819)

But I bet all the people who evolved in the mini-universe created by said big-bang are really pissed about how little room there is in their universe.

OK, imagine the black hole not decaying... (5, Funny)

Yonzie (516292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082724)

What will happen?

We'll all die. Simultaneously. Noone will feel anything.

What's the big problem aside from the end of the earth?

Might actually improve things... (1)

squidguy (846256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082728)

Hey, there are worse fates than being sucked into a black hole. Might clean things up in the world!
Then again, those who believe this should join the tin-hat club...

Bad dudes. (1)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082731)

I knew a couple of negative strangelets a few years back. They wear some bad dudes. They kept eating all my stuff. So I hooked up with a positive normlet and she really took care of those guys!

Has anyone seen my car keys? (2, Funny)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082732)

"Has anyone seen my car keys? I set them right next to the collider."

  This reminds when I read Brian Greene's Elegant Universe, he mentioned that there was a possibilty of creating another Universe when (if it were possible) smashing together Superstrings. Something like that, I'm not sure where I put the book.

The Hole Man (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082735)

Larry Niven won a Hugo for his story about a tiny black hole used (allegedly) as a murder weapon and later consuming Mars.

"The math is chancy..."

I once read (1, Redundant)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082742)

That at the time of the Manhattan Project, some people were afraid that detonating a nuclear bomb would start a chain reaction that would burn off the Earth's atmosphere.

That was ridiculous too.

No *wonder* there are no advanced civilizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082757)

...and plenty of dark matter.

Better we kill ourselves... (2, Funny)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082769)

before the big asteroid or comet comes. Or the sun goes red giant. Or the sun shoots off enough matter to defeat the ozone and expose us all to radiation. (Yes, I have heard this one.) Oh, or Yellowstone goes all explosion on us and brings about a second ice age or something. (There was a Docu-drama on this one.) Oh, or maybe the moon can be partially destroyed and threaten to crash into earth. (Reference to a ABC Family comedy or in some ways to Cowboy Bebop). Oh, or nuclear winter. I am sure I forgot some.

But better us then nature!

Empirical evidence (1)

frostilicus2 (889524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082773)

Ok, so as long as this remains theoretical we don't know for certain. But, this is unlikely, very unlikely. We should first look at empirical evidence - Collisions with energies of this magnitude happen in space all the time from natural sources (solar radiation etc), and yet cause us no ill effect. So its clear that such an event occurring is very unlikely. Its good that we consider such possibilities, but I'm sure that the probabilities are tiny, one in several billion perhaps. I would consider this to be an acceptable margin to perform an experiment that could destroy the earth, especially one from which we can learn so much.

These people watch too many movies.

This must be said. (1)

elgee (308600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082780)

If one MUST be created, do it in Redmond, Washington.

Re:This must be said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16082796)

If its going to gobble up the whole world, then I don't think where you do it is relevant. Linux will be gobbled up just as much..

There is no stinking Higgs particle (1, Offtopic)

sweetser (148397) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082792)

The reason several billion dollars are going into the electromagnetic crop circle known as the Large Hadron Collider is to detect the Higgs particle. The standard model of physics predicts all the detected particles we have seen out there. The model can be represented by the symmetry groups U(1) for EM, SU(2) for the weak force, and SU(3) for the strong force. Well, it can do that so long as none of the none forces has a mass. Oops, that's not what the experimentalist tell us.

So what do theoretical physicists do? They try to sneak in something without breaking it. That is what is known as Higgs mechanism, or the false vacuum Mexican hat dance. Instead of saying the vacuum is a vacuum is the home field of zero, it is claimed that vacuum is utterly false, there is a Higgs field everywhere there can be a where, so that fundamental particles can get some mass when they need it (always). This mathematical trick works because it doesn't mess up the symmetry in the Lagrangian (a fancy way of writing all the interactions that can happen in a volume), but does get the vacuum to add the mass back in.

You may have noticed gravity is not in the standard model. Guess what is going to happen when gravity gets in? Gravity will break the nice symmetry, and no Higgs boson will be needed.

The uber-sophisticated will complain (whine) that gravity is done by a spin 2 particle, but the Higgs is all about inertia, so it must be spin 0. This is not a flaw, it is a sign from Einstein, specifically the equivalence principle that gravitational mass (the spin 2 thing) must be cow-tied to inertial pass (the spin 0 thing). There is no way to wrestle a steer to the ground unless those two are expressions of one and the same thing.

The way I do it, because of course I have my own personal unified field theory, is to use a second rank symmetric field strength tensor for gravity and the spin 2 stuff, and then use the trace of that very same tensor for the spin 0 Higgslike stuff.

Blowing sophisticated bubbles out my butt,
doug

What happens when multiple black holes combine? (1)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082794)

If "multiple" tiny black holes are being created, and they combine, don't we
get a "less tiny" black hole?

And isn't that... "bad"?

It's not like we'll ever _know_! (0)

MikTheUser (761482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082795)

If a black hole is created and remains stable anywhere on earth, you won't even have time to scream "Oh, shit!" before your molecular structure is torn apart.

So, no sense in worrying about an event that you will not notice is happening and will never be able to remember.

Misplaced priorities (1)

cunina (986893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082821)

People get worked up over a remote chance of a theoretical event when a new collider is built... yet McDonald's opens 500 "restaurants" a year and nobody worries about the end of life as we know it.

Martial applications? (1)

Firefly1 (251590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16082831)

I can think of at least two weapon systems which involve black holes (or something akin to them):
  • the Black Shark missile from Descent 3 (reference [wikipedia.org]); and
  • the 'vortex' secondary fire of the missile launcher in the old SNK arcade game SAR: Search and Rescue
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