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Black Holes From the LHC Could Last For Minutes

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the becoming-greyer dept.

Earth 672

KentuckyFC writes "There is absolutely, positively, definitely no chance of the LHC destroying the planet (or this way either) when it eventually switches on some time later this year. And yet a few niggling doubts are persuading some scientists to run through their figures again. One potential method of destruction is that the LHC will create tiny black holes that could swallow everything in their path, including the planet. Various scientists have said this will not happen because the black holes would decay before they could do any damage. But physicists who have re-run the calculations now say that the mini black holes produced by the LHC could last for seconds, possibly minutes. Of course, the real question is whether they decay faster than they can grow. The new calculations suggest that the decay mechanism should win over and that the catastrophic growth of a black hole from the LHC 'does not seem possible' (abstract). But shouldn't we require better assurance than that?"

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Um...freudian slip? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575309)

From the Summary:

"Black holes...a few niggling doubts..."

Yes, it is well known that niglings begin life by coming out of black holes, but wouldn't it be wiser to provide birf control to the black holes given the state of the economy? Fortunately Obama recently authorized abortion funding [foxnews.com] to ass-backward savage lands which are not specified officially but are known to be Africa, proud motherland of the apes, chimpanzees, macaques, baboons

Re:Um...freudian slip? (2, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575343)

>> proud motherland of the apes, chimpanzees, macaques, baboons

Not to mention humans.

PS Crack a dictionary, read the definition of "niggle." But then again a mind that operates at your level is easily distracted by shiny objects and rhyming words, I suppose.

Re:Um...freudian slip? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26576003)

Yeah, if you call this [youtube.com] a human. You know what they say - you can take a nigger out of the jungle, but you can never take the jungle out of a nigger.

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE (2, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575377)

...Or "Knowing Enough to Be Dangerous".

Stay tuned, as Rocky and Bullwinkle court certain doom!

It's Crazy (5, Funny)

LinuxWhore (90833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575321)

I can't help but think of one of my favorite The Soup clips [youtube.com] every time I hear about the LHC now.

first a black president (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575327)

then a black hole ...

Folks I don't want to hear say oops (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575341)

1. My Barber
2. My urologist during my vasectomy.
3. The LHC scientists during the first collisions.

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (2, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575439)

How can an LHC scientist say oops if their vocal cords have entered another dimension of space and time?

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575615)

How can an LHC scientist say oops if their vocal cords have entered another dimension of space and time?

At the LHC's first collisions, a black hole forms....

scientist: Oops... OMFG! Call the President!
evil voice from inside the black hole: What good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (5, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575641)

Yes. At some point in the future, I'm fine with the universe unfolding like so:

Mother: Tottle, do NOT do that!
Child: But mom, they are just small ones.
Mother: You remember what happened to the humans, don't you?
Child: They danced funny?
Mother: Besides that...... (hand on hip)
Child: (face frowning slowly) Yes mother, they blew up the southeast quarter of the galaxy experimenting with black holes.
Mother: that's right Tottle. It's all fun and games till chunks of the galaxy go missing. Your father will NOT be impressed if he can't find our house after he gets off work tonight.
Child: yes mother
Mother: now put your physics set away and make your bed.
Child: yes mother

Yes, I'd be happy to be a footnote in the history of the universe as an example of what you really shouldn't do with your Acme Physics set that you got for your birthday.

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575989)

Bravo.

Some of the funny/snarky comments written here make me wonder if they were ripped (copied/pasted) from some other location. This, however I don't think applies...I mean where else would this come from?

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575727)

You could reconstruct the "oops" from the Hawking radiation emitted as the black hole evaporates.

It would propably sound a lot like the "crap crap crap crap crap..." from that Homer 3D episode from The Simpsons.

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (5, Informative)

Gareon (1253358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575737)

I wonder if they are taking any bets on the probability of an "oops" incident.

Source: July 16, 1945: Trinity Blast Opens Atomic Age @ Wired [wired.com]
"The Trinity test, as it was known, was the culmination of the American effort to win the race against Germany (and, ultimately, the Soviet Union) in building an atomic bomb. A mere three weeks after the test, the United States used atomic bombs to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
But prior to the 16th, none of those involved in the project knew if they had built a devastating new weapon or a spectacular dud.
With gallows humor, the Los Alamos physicists got up a betting pool on the possible yield of the bomb. Estimates ranged from zero to as high as 45,000 tons of TNT. Enrico Fermi, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1938 for his work on nuclear fission, offered side odds on the bomb destroying all life on the planet."

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26576047)

I, for one, will bet my life savings on it NOT destroying the world.

I say "go for it!" (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575887)

If they're right the benefit to humanity could be enormous.

If they're wrong then it's the end of the economic crisis, unemployment, conflict in the Middle East and world hunger.

So, on balance ... I think they should do it.

Re:Folks I don't want to hear say oops (5, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575889)

I said it before: Lake Hadron. New shoreline real estate for sale, soon.

Don't mind the Schwarzchild radius, come on in!

Group collision mergers (2, Insightful)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575359)

"haven't accounted for 96% of the energy and mass of the universe in their current model."

BUT...they also haven't accounted for all possible group particle mergers and interactions in the LHC. Unlike nature, in a particle accelerator they have groups of high energy particles moving in close proximity. In nature, we have lone high energy particles. We don't know what we can create in group collision mergers of high energy particles and even though these are rare compared with single particle interactions, they can still occur. Even if a black hole like particle was briefly formed and then hit by another particle or two or twenty, then what?. The point is, we simply don't know whats possible, but its very likely to be a different situation than simply a lone particle able to break down. If a group collision merger occured in nature, it would most likely be very rarely occuring, but it could be enough to help account for some fraction of the mass of the universe. We simply don't know, but we do know that in a particle accelerator, its going to happen a lot more often than in nature and we don't know what kinds of reactions group high energy mergers could cause.

While its (mostly) safe to assume single high energy particles are not going to be a problem, as they happen relatively often in nature, we cannot say the same for multiple collsion mergers and all possible interactions of multiple particles, as we simply do not know for sure. The current various theories are not proof its safe and the fact we cannot account for so much energy and mass in the universe is a very good reason to suspect our theories are wrong.

Also the fact they are building the LHC is proof in itself that they build it to learn, so they don't currently know for sure. Also for all their planning, even that magnet failure showed their theories and multi-million dollar design plans about how the machine should function can still go wrong. Humans make mistakes. Thats fine, we all accept that, but making a mistake with the LHC could potentially be the most serious mistake in human history.

What concerns me is their intense desire to learn is going to bias their judgment. (I know my desire to learn has biased my judgment from time to time), but this is the most important experiment in human history, so its vital it doesn't go wrong in any way, or it could be the last experiment.

=Smidge=

Bogus (4, Informative)

Kludge (13653) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575485)

Groups of high energy particles striking each other is not rare in nature. It happens all the time, right in our own atmosphere, on the surface of the moon.

This is all Chicken-Little nonsense.

Re:Bogus (1, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575979)

Not at anywhere near this energy.

Please Mod Parent Up To The Maximum! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575573)

Intelligence is not merely logic, rationality, experience, and knowledge but also taking the unknown into account. The parent post is a fine example of intelligence.

Re:Please Mod Parent Up To The Maximum! (3, Insightful)

chunkyq (995864) | more than 5 years ago | (#26576037)

The parent post is also a fine example of making grand claims about advanced science without providing a single reference.

look at the bright side (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575363)

And I'm not just talking about the glowing accretion disk around the hole. If we do generate black holes that swallow the Earth, at least worrying about that will take our minds off the economy!

Its all okay. Nothing to see here. (5, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575365)

There is absolutely, positively, definitely no chance of the LHC destroying the planet (or this way either) when it eventually switches on some time later this year. ...

But physicists who have re-run the calculations now say that the mini black holes produced by the LHC could last for seconds, possibly minutes. Of course, the real question is whether they decay faster than they can grow.

Well its good to know that despite their uncertainty about the the data, they are absolutely certain of their conclusions.

Re:Its all okay. Nothing to see here. (3, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575953)

Even if the black holes lasted indefinately, their cross sectional area is too small to pick up any significant amount of matter. The Earth would be swallowed up by the sun long before the black hole began to threaten Earth in any way.

Re:Its all okay. Nothing to see here. (1)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | more than 5 years ago | (#26576029)

I'm absolutely certain they want continued funding for this project.

Well... (5, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575369)

...there's one sure way to find out.

Fire it up, boys!

Not so fast there old chap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575733)

We'll only find out if "we" were right if "we" are indeed right or if there's an afterlife conducive to "I told you so!" chatting.

So shall we say we have about 50.01% chance of finding out?

And people say religious faith is anti-science... twaddle! :)

cosmic rays (5, Insightful)

cats-paw (34890) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575371)

I thought that this entire line of doomerism had been dispensed with thanks to cosmic rays.

Since cosmic rays are striking the earth all the time, and a decent percentage of them have a much higher energy level than anything the LHC can produce, we should have already seen such a phenomena.

?

Re:cosmic rays (5, Interesting)

secPM_MS (1081961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575655)

Small black holes are far less dangerous than made out to be. I wouldn't like to be very near one due to its Hawking radiation (virtual photon creation near the event horizon where one of the virtual photons is absorbed and the other turns real as it escapes), but the fear mongers of black holes forget the limiting factor. Matter falling into a black hole is compressed and gets hot. The hot matter radiates light / gamma rays. While in some cases this radiation might be captured as well, it is far more likely that the radiation pressure will limit the rate of matter absorption by the black hole. The radiation pressure effect is known as the Eddinton effect and is a major factor in stellar stability. In the case of a small black hole, the size of the black hole is far smaller than the absorption length of gamma rays, preventing advection of the gammas. Since a non-rotating black hole is likely to convert on the order of 1% of the absorbed mass into gamma radiation, such a source would be more than capable of creating a near vacuum of hot matter about itself.

If such stable black holes were creatable / existed, we should see rather remarkable things with old white dwarfs and neutron stars, which would be greatly affected by such energy sources.

Re:cosmic rays (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575663)

I've heard this argument often before, and for me it begs a question that maybe you can help with. Apparently these collisions happen all the time in the upper atmosphere, and there is a chance that they form shortlived black holes. What happens if one of these black holes happens to intercept a spacecraft as it leaves or re-enters the atmosphere? Does it do significant damage?

Re:cosmic rays (5, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575817)

> What happens if one of these black holes happens to intercept a spacecraft as it leaves
> or re-enters the atmosphere? Does it do significant damage?

No. Try to understand how small these holes would be. They are so tiny that in the unlikely event that they hit the nucleus of an atom they would almost certainly pass through with out interacting at all with any of the subatomic particles there. Your spacecraft is going to be hit by cosmic rays with far more energy and with a far higher probability of interacting.

Re:cosmic rays (5, Informative)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575689)

That's what I thought, too, and in the comment section you'll find a comment from Geoffrey A. Landis [geoffreylandis.com] , scientist at the NASA John Glenn Research Center, stating:

Jeez - read the abstract. Its a calculation based on a theoretical model using some very speculative physics for which there is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER. Really. Ignore it.
The main thing to keep in mind is, cosmic rays have energies vastly higher than the LHC. If the LHC could produce black holes, then there would be black holes floating around everywhere.

Re:cosmic rays (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575935)

Someone mod up the parent, I spent all my mod points already :-(

Re:cosmic rays (5, Insightful)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575999)

There is no need for comments on this article other than the parent. In fact, this article should just be put into idle.

As a physicist, this whole thing has been an embarrassing reminder of just how bad physicists are at public relations and the failure of many people to think logically. I'm not the biggest fan of LHC, but I'd like to see some intelligent criticism out there (Is this really where we should be putting our smartest scientists? Are particle accelerators the best way to do this measurement?), not this junk.

Re:cosmic rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26576039)

The problem is, and scientists aren't sure about this yet, but I am after many late night calculations, is that black holes transfer energy and matter (same thing) from one Universe to another.

The fact that there is some doubt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575373)

Is reason enough not to put this insane collider online. It should not be turned on...period. These scientists should not be dicking around with our lives indiscriminately.

Re:The fact that there is some doubt (1)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575415)

You and what army are going to hold them accountable when they destroy the planet?

Yeah. Exactly.

Re:The fact that there is some doubt (1)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575667)

You should read this: On The Statistics of Improbable Things [blogspot.com] .

"It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull." -- H.L. Mencken

"Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one." -- Voltaire

"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

What could possibly go wrong? (5, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575375)

Hey guys, we thought the first nuclear bomb might burn up the atmosphere and we survived that! Guys?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575441)

We didn't think any such thing.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575601)

We didn't think anything because most of us weren't born yet.

But the same groups of people emerged at the time -- folks who thought the first A-Bomb might start a chain reaction and burn off the atmo, or that the first H-Bomb detonated underwater might punch a hold in the ocean and drain it.

Stupid? Sure, and very easy to dismiss in hind sight. Which doesn't say anything one way or the other about current concerns about LHC, but that these concerns have, in fact, come up before under similar circumstances.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (5, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575631)

Teller did. According to this article [wikipedia.org] , he showed that igniting the atmosphere was possible, but unlikely. He just didn't cover up the data fast enough, and it got out.

Teller also raised the speculative possibility that an atomic bomb might "ignite" the atmosphere, because of a hypothetical fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei.[citation needed] Bethe calculated, according to Serber, that it could not happen. However, a report co-authored by Teller showed that ignition of the atmosphere was not impossible, just unlikely.[6] In Serber's account, Oppenheimer mentioned it to Arthur Compton, who "didn't have enough sense to shut up about it. It somehow got into a document that went to Washington" which led to the question being "never laid to rest".[7]

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575723)

Given the great difficulty we had and still have in fusing Hydrogen, uncontrollable fusion of Nitrogen was the thing of science fiction. Teller knew this, hence "unlikely". Scientists don't like absolute terms, for obvious reasons.

Assurances (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575387)

But shouldn't we require better assurance than that?

What better assurance can we get than mathematical formulas? Unfortunately the only other way to find out is to run an experiment, right? I just hope their formulas and the assumptions they are based on are correct.

Re:Assurances (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26576019)

"What better assurance can we get than mathematical formulas?"

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Math is nothing but self-congruent axioms. Reality trumps everything.

Space Madness (5, Funny)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575389)

And there's no possible way that Stimpy would be stupid enough to press the beautiful, shiny button - the jolly, candy-like button.

and nothing of value was lost?

Re:Space Madness (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575945)

Madness? This is not madness. This is PARTICLE PHYSICS! Please move on.

Storm in a very, very tiny teacup (4, Insightful)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575393)

The Sun in conjunction with the Earth's atmosphere has been colliding particles with WAY higher energies that the LHC could ever manage for billions of years now. As far as I know we've not been consumed by a mini black hole yet.

Well, duh! (4, Funny)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575473)

those mini black holes were up in the air, not next to the earth you ninny.

sheesh, next thing someone will make a video game with this scenario

Re:Well, duh! (4, Interesting)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575581)

Heh - when you're talking about a black hole at or smaller than the size of an atomic nucleus it doesn't matter whether it's at the top of the atmosphere or at the center of the Earth. Matter at that scale is described as tenuous at best. You'd have to get somewhere like the center of the sun or denser before a collision would be anywhere near likely.

Re:Well, duh! (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575599)

If you need gravity, take an object that has large gravity without atmosphere - like the moon.

Advanced Alien Civilizations (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575395)

This could be why we do not see Advanced Alien Civilizations - their technological sophistication gets to a point where they eventually play with some sort of basic question of physics and have a planet ending disaster. Yet another reason to colonize Mars, and do this type of research there.

Re:Advanced Alien Civilizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575629)

yeah, a blackhole at mars orbit will not cause as much damage as a blackhole on earth.

Hm, I think something is missing?
Ironytags, that's it!

Re:Advanced Alien Civilizations (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575829)

What, so we can dig up Martian artifacts and unwittingly open the gates of hell or something?

already happens (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575407)

Anything that could happen due to the LHC, already happens daily. The collisions in the LHC aren't as energetic as collisions that occur in the upper atmosphere from cosmic rays, etc ALL OF THE TIME. The reason to build the LHC and other accelerators is that it's kind of a pain in the ass to mount detectors on balloons and *hope* that your detector intercepts some of said cosmic rays...

forgive me but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575409)

i would prefer something a bit more positive than "The new calculations *suggest* that the decay mechanism *should* win over". i'm sort of hoping its just sloppy use of language rather than sloppy math.

Assurances (2, Informative)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575411)

What about the assurances in the fact that protons with energies on the order of the energy in the LHC, and several orders of magnitude larger, have been bombarding the planet for billions of years without any stable black hole forming, ever? I'm sure that for almost any event you can find some incredibly unlikely scenario of it triggering a sequence of events that will doom humanity. But it's not generally seen as a reason to stop doing things. Because it's never happened despite things going on for quite some time now.

Re:Assurances (3, Insightful)

jespley (1006115) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575637)

To put some numbers on this, the LHC [wikipedia.org] will produce protons with 10^14 eV of energy. At that energy, we expect [wikipedia.org] more than 1 per m^2 per year. I haven't seen any black holes recently in the square meters of the Earth's surface I routinely interact with. You? I wish the numerical illiterate would stop scare-mongering.

I knew it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575447)

The Large Hardon Collider will fuck us all.

Better than "does not seem possible"? (1)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575451)

Like, "It seriously is un-possible dude!"

Bruce Campbell at the LHC (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575467)

Yeah, I would really feel a lot better if the LHC deployed Bruce Campbell, with a shotgun during those Black Hole experiments:

Evil Witch/Black Hole: "I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul!"

Bruce points his shotgun at the Evil Witch/Black Hole:

Bruce: "Swallow this."

*Blam*

seconds and minutes (5, Funny)

phrostie (121428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575481)

when they say seconds and minutes is that in normal earth time or according to the time inside the micro event horizon?

Evolution... Proved! (1)

yup2000 (182755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575491)

1) Build a collider 'thinggy'
2) Create a blackhole which consumes the entire universe... into a single point.
3) this causes a "Big Bang"
4) Big Bang re-creates 'life'
5) 'life' gets too smart for its own good - Goto step 1

Re:Evolution... Proved! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575741)

You forgot steps:
6)???
7)Profit!

Finally! (2, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575493)

Finally, we may have resolved the Fermi Paradox [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Finally! (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575605)

Yep, it's right here. [wikipedia.org]

Science simulating life? (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575501)

Are scientists at the LHC attempting to model US Federal spending?

Mini Black Holes are useful too. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575515)

Well, Arthur C Clarke's novel, "The Imperial Earth" speculates that mini black holes would be the source of power for the rockets flying between Jupiter and Earth. So let us not dismiss mini blackholes out of hand nor do we have to fear them. Let me be the first to welcome our new mini blackhole overlords ;-)

(Of course, it is fiction. But Clarke's other fiction predicted communications satellites in geo stationary orbits too.)

Clark and Shefffield [Re:Mini Black Holes are...] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575661)

Well, Arthur C Clarke's novel, "The Imperial Earth" speculates that mini black holes would be the source of power for the rockets flying between Jupiter and Earth

And don't forget Charles Sheffield's McAndrew stories, collected as The McAndrew Chronicles [fantasticfiction.co.uk] . Great stuff if you're a fan of technically accurate science fiction.

Speculative physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575523)

Read the abstract. It's a calculation based on some very speculative physics for which there is no evidence whatsoever. Really. Ignore it.

The main thing to keep in mind is, cosmic rays have energies vastly higher than the LHC. If the LHC could produce black holes, then there would be black holes floating around everywhere.

Black Holes = Profit! (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575531)

Peronally I am looking forward to mini black holes. So long as the mass is under several thousand tons even dropping a black hole in to the earths core wouldn't hurt the planet.

BUT...

black holes provide pure matter to energy conversion! A tiny black hole feed with matter will radiate generate matter-antimatter pairs which will generate a huge amount of heat!

So..

#1 create tiny black hole and put a charge on it.
#2 create powerplant around it to collect the energy
#3 PROFIT!

Absolutely, positively, (5, Funny)

xav_jones (612754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575561)

There will be no black holes, well except for very tiny ones that will wink out of existence in mere nanoseconds. Certainly no more than a couple of microseconds. At most a second. Likely tops of a minute. Absolutely can't be more than seven minutes ...

What is a blackhole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575565)

A miserable little pile of hadrons!
But enough talk, have at you!

The Quantum Make a Wish Foundation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575567)

Everyone wins a free trip to France.

Uhhh (0, Flamebait)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575575)

Can't they move this thing to the moon and control it remotely, they should have plenty of room for a nuclear power plant of its very own...and if it gets swallowed in a small black hole at least we might have a chance.

Re:Uhhh (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575797)

No. There are over 1500 superconducting magnets in the thing, each of which weighs on the order of 27 tons. Ignoring the cost of developing a transport to move something that heavy into space, and the cost of developing and building a full-blown moonbase to house the workers who build and maintain the device, the cost of fuel for moving even one of the magnets would be literally astronomical.

Supernova? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575611)

Maybe whenever we observe a supernova its because an advanced civilization in that vicinity threw the switch on their LHC variant. If we are stupid enough to destroy everything then we'll get what we deserve. Darwin had something, I think.

this is really simple to solve. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575645)

call as I flip, charmed or strange.. .

If it works the way they say it works... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575657)

If it works as they describe, I wonder if we haven't invented a waste disposal system of some sort? Just shove all of our crap into a singularity like they do on Futurama!

I would love to see a kitchen model! Man! Sure would save me from having to take out the trash!

Can't Grow Fast Enough To Matter (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575659)

> Various scientists have said this will not happen because the black holes would decay
> before they could do any damage.

The argument is stronger than that. Even if the holes don't decay at all their collision cross-sections are so small that they cannot get big enough to matter before the sun turns into a red giant and swallows the Earth.

An even stronger argument is that if the LHC can create such holes so can cosmic rays and yet we are still here.

Gravity still applies (4, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575675)

A black hole is just the gravity well of a given mass compressed into a sufficiently small space. In this case, the given mass is miniscule, so very little (practically nothing, hence the "evaporation" issue) will be drawn to it.

You have more to worry about from the gravitational pull of your shoes.

risk management (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575711)

"Various scientists have said this will not happen because the black holes would decay before they could do any damage."

If they had 100% confidence in this property of black holes, why are they studying them?

Of course, part of me doesn't care, simply because getting swallowed in a black hole is probably a painless way to go, so I won't know or care at that point.

Another part of me wonders if black hole experiments are the answer to the Fermi Paradox.

Screw mini-black holes. (4, Funny)

SilentBob0727 (974090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575713)

It's the ice-9 strangelets that have me worried.

Cite the original paper (3, Informative)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575715)

If you bothered to go past the Slashdot summary of the arXiv blog summary of the paper's abstract summary, and actually RTFA by Casadio et al. [arxiv.org] , you would find the following:

We can conclude that black holes created at the LHC under the warped brane-world scenario and described according to Ref. [4] would always remain microscopically small in mass and radius when traversing through the Earth.

and also this:

We conclude that, for the RS scenario and black holes described by the metric (6), the growth of black holes to catastrophic size does not seem possible. Nonetheless, it remains true that the expected decay times are much longer (and possibly â 1 sec) than is typically predicted by other models, as was first shown in Ref.[4].

Possibly, potentially, maybe, under certain conditions, they might be longer lived than expected. They still can't grow.

Go back to worrying about your 401Ks.

From Fear to Hope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575739)

Make no worry, Sir. There is absolutely no chance that anything harmful may happen here.
Oh, wait...

If anybody acually read the abstract... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575745)

They would see that it is based on a highly speculative model where the authors argue "against the possibility of catastrophic black hole growth at the LHC."

  anti-science types will have a field day with this new "scare"...

Relax (2, Informative)

heavyion (883530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575781)

maximum LHC center-of-mass energy (in a Pb-Pb collision): ~1.14e15 eV

cosmic ray flux at Earth's upper atmosphere: ~1 per km^2 per year with energy > 10^19 eV

Collisions 10,000 times more energetic occur multiple times every day over your head, and you're still here. Except now, we can finally reproduce them for study in the lab.

Reminds me off... (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575877)

It reminds me of the start of this book...
http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/16-ClawsThatCatchCD/ClawsThatCatchCD/Into%20the%20Looking%20Glass/Into_the_Looking_Glass.htm [thefifthimperium.com]

It starts off with what first appears a nuclear level explosion without any radiation or EMP at a major university. It's quickly determined that it wasn't terrorists or nuclear research. So WTH did the guy do to not only blow up the university but a good chuck of the nearby city as well?

The first chapters of getting a multiple PHd guy in to look at it were pretty much all. "This shouldn't be possible by what we we know!"

I'll agree that comic rays are most likely safe. It's obvious that Earth or the Sun can handle them. It isn't really obvious at all WTH this stuff will do. Sort of reminds me of the early nuclear experiments. They were worried about igniting Earth's atmosphere on fire with the first couple of tests and not being able to stop it. Sort of like a Perry Rhodan's Arkon Bomb. (That thing was a fictional bomb that once set off on a planet would start an unstoppable nuclear chain reaction in everything above atomic number 12.)

When you've only got one planet, and no means of escape, you shouldn't be doing some tests there. There are some tests that we'd most likely rather be held on Pluto or in the next solar system. The problem is that its far easier to worry about this stuff than to know one way or another if you even need to worry about it.

I'm sure that if we were an FTL species looking at others that we'd find many "oops" worlds where civs higher than our wiped themselves out by unexplainable means. Problem being is that we don't know what "oops" tech lines to really avoid. (We'd still research them though. You know we would.)

Decay Mechanism Winning Over in the Economy Too (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575901)

The new calculations suggest that the decay mechanism should win over and that the catastrophic growth...'does not seem possible'. But shouldn't we require better assurance than that?"

They could be talking about the economy and it would still make sense...

destruction is relative (1)

bodland (522967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575907)

A the destructive influence of a black holes in the vastness of the universe is pretty small.

If one in Switzerland started growing from microscopic size it might seem like sort of a big deal. But if they take a billion years to grow then what is the problem? Put a SEP field around it and call it a done deal.

In the name of truth! (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575913)

A black hole composed of a single proton has no more mass than a single proton. It will therefore attract things towards itself no more than a single proton would.

If it flew into a wall, it would still not "suck in" even a single other proton, neutron or electron, as its gravity is so ridiculously weak compared to the other forces.

And regardless - collisions of LHC intensity occur continuously in the upper atmosphere. These may or may not produce mini black holes, and these may or may not last for up to several minutes. But they clearly have not destroyed the planet!
</crusade>

Two options (1)

bilbodh (1072728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575917)

As I see it (and as was mentioned before), the only way to confirm the assumptions is to test. One of two things will happen: 1. The rate of decay will be faster than the rate of growth and we'll all be fine. 2. Nobody will be around to bitch. If there's nobody to tell you I told you so, is there any reason not to test the theory?

Everything should be all right... (1)

DrJokepu (918326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575927)

... as long as there is a crowbar at hand [reddit.com] at the LHC.

LHC Risks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26575937)

There was a paper on arxiv that was mentioned in an editorial in Nature Physics recently (vol 5, january 2009), that raised an interesting point.

The paper, "Probing the Improbable: Methodological Challenges for Risks with Low Probabilities and High Stakes" [arxiv.org] , discusses risks assessment, and begins talking about the LHC specifically on page 10.

Essentially, it argues that given an argument A, for some event X, the probability of that event happening is not just simply P(x). That is only the conditional probability, P(X; A).

The full probability is that term plus P(X; not A)P(not A), which in other words is the probably of X occurring if argument A is not true, multiplied by the probability that A is not true.

If you apply that specifically to particle accelerators, what this means is that the full probability of producing a growing black hole is the sum of two terms:
1) The probability of producing a growing black hole if Quantum Field Theory, Quantum Chromo-dynamics, and the like are TRUE
2) The probability of producing a growing black hole if QFT, QCD, etc are FALSE; multiplied by the probability that those theories are false.

The first term is very small, and is the reason physicists are not concerned. But the Nature Physics article asks, "Has anyone calculated the 2nd term?"

No risk, even if they do not decay (1)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26575951)

Even if Hawking Radiation does not exist in nature, there is no danger from uncharged micro black holes produced by the LHC. Any black holes produced would have a mass of a few plank units and would be extremely small in size. Obviously, as black holes, they would have an inescapable event horizon and space-time would be extremely distorted very close to them.

However, because they would be so small and because gravity is so very weak compared to the other forces, such a tiny micro black hole could pass through a nucleus without significantly interacting with the nucleons. Basically, it would need to happen to "directly" hit a quark to swallow it and grow in size. This highly unlikely event (nuclei are mostly empty space) would have to repeat several times before the black hole became large enough to start sucking in nearby matter in a run-away process. Instead, the micro black hole would settle to the centre of the Earth and not significantly interact with other matter or "swallow" anything up.

A natural inclination, I think, (and it certainly is mine) is to think of a black hole necessarily sucking in everything around it. But the whole point of truly small micro black holes is that it is very low-mass and thus has very weak gravitational attraction, although of course highly concentrated.

Outstanding question (for me): This assumes that any micro black holes produced by the LHC would be uncharged. Is this a valid assumption? (I remember reading that it was, but now I can't remember why.)

Even if it does so what? (4, Informative)

Trails (629752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26576001)

If the LHC manages to create mini blck holes, let's be clear here, tese will be very very mini. A black hole weighing what? Same as a couple atoms of carbon?

Consider that even if matter collapses to a singularity, its gravitational effect is still just proportional to its mass. Given that the LHC is a vacuum where the collisions are occuring, the blackhole could only ever mass the sum total of the mass of the particles used in the collision. From a casual outside observer you wouldn't even notice, and the black hole would decay before it could acquire more mass.

Black Hole Ponzi Scheme (1)

CyberSlammer (1459173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26576049)

Phase 1: Create black hole Phase 2: Phase 3: Profit!
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