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Large Hadron Collider Struggling

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the trillion-here-a-trillion-there dept.

Science 371

Writing in the NY Times, Dennis Overbye covers the birthing pangs and the prospects for CERN's Large Hadron Collider (which we have discussed numerous times). "The biggest, most expensive physics machine in the world is riddled with thousands of bad electrical connections. [And] many of the magnets meant to whiz high-energy subatomic particles around a 17-mile underground racetrack have mysteriously lost their ability to operate at high energies. Some physicists are deserting the European project, at least temporarily, to work at a smaller, rival machine [Fermilab's Tevatron] across the ocean. ... Technicians have spent most of the last year cleaning up and inspecting thousands of splices in the collider. About 5,000 will have to be redone... Retraining magnets is costly and time consuming, experts say, and it might not be worth the wait to get all the way to the original target energy [of 7 TeV]. Many physicists say they would be perfectly happy if the collider never got above five trillion electron volts. Dr. Myers said he thought the splices as they are could handle 4 [TeV]. 'We could be doing physics at the end of November,' he said in July, before new vacuum leaks pushed the schedule back a few additional weeks. 'It's not the design energy of the machine, but it's 4 times higher than the Tevatron,' he said."

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It's Europes Orion (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944755)

It's just that they got started earlier wasting the money.

Large Hardon Collider? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945625)

That's how I read that. Sort of a European sci fi porn movie.

Re:It's Europes Orion (2, Funny)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945675)

Why did I read the title 'Large Hardon Collider Struggling'? Christ, I must be at home here.

John Connor did it (-1, Offtopic)

vaporland (713337) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944763)

to stop Cyberdyne from sending the Terminator back to kill his mom. Unfortunately, the Terminator got sidetracked and is terminating the government of California...

european work ethic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944769)

FTF.

not a typo (1, Offtopic)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944777)

birth pang [thefreedictionary.com]
n.
1. One of the repetitive pains occurring in childbirth. Often used in the plural.
2. birth pangs Difficulty or turmoil associated with a development or transition

Re:not a typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944905)

Why did you feel the need to point out the obvious?

Re:not a typo (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944987)

Who said it was a typo? The phrase is in common usage - it isn't even an idiom!

Re:not a typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945503)

I did, but it was only in my head.

Re:not a typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945249)

Welcome to the English language. You must be new here. Let us show you around.

anything worth doing (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944781)

is also usually hard to do

the setbacks are part and parcel of such a complicated effort

keep up the hard work, you are broadening mankind's knowledge, the expense and the hard work are as valid an endeavour as any other that can be proposed

Re:anything worth doing (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944821)

Agreed. There's a reason the term "cutting edge" is used to describe cutting edge science, and in cutting edge science, well, if it worked perfectly the first time it probably wasn't very ambitious.

Re:anything worth doing (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945343)

Is this really cutting-edge technology, or just a bigger circle?

Re:anything worth doing (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945621)

Is this really cutting-edge technology, or just a bigger circle?

From an engineering standpoint, scalability is always a cutting-edge type of problem. No different than .... IT stuff.

5000 bad joints != cutting edge, It's ineptitude (5, Insightful)

BBF_BBF (812493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945665)

Just because it's "cutting edge" doesn't mean it must fail the first time they try to run it for real.... having so many bad joints as part of the reason for failure is a sign of poor workmanship and quality control given the multi-billion dollar budget. It's not a bunch of mad scientists working in their garage on their own dime, it's a bunch of *highly paid* mad scientists using scads of public funds.

I'd give them the "cutting edge" argument if the physics didn't turn out as expected, but bad joints... give me a break.

So much for swiss workmanship. ;-)

Re:anything worth doing (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944855)

Given the reduced energy: Re, the Higgs Boson (that's the one that everybody talks about): Is that still the one sure thing that this machine will sort out? If the Higgs exists, will they still see it right away, and if it doesn't, will the scientists still finally say, "There is no Higgs, we need new physics to account for why; things have mass, something in our standard model went awry"?

Re:anything worth doing (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944929)

Love the reference. I think I had her singing it in my head as I read it just now.

Temporarily Lower Energy (5, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945637)

The aim is still to go to 7TeV/beam this is only a temporary reduction in energy. In addition all the evidence so far points to a low mass higgs, not up at the hard ~1TeV/c2 limit where the energy is actually important. This is not unprecedented - the Tevatron which was supposed to be 1TeV/beam ran at 0.8 TeV for the first run and increased it to 0.96 TeV for the second run.
However, That being said it was never really the case that would would turn the machine on and the Higgs would magically pop out of the ether for all to see. The most likely scenario is a low mass Higgs which decays to b-quarks. Unfortunately the LHC will be EXTREMELY good at producing b quarks from known physic processes (there is even a entire experiment devoted to studying them - LHCb). The result is that a lot of hard, painstaking work will be needed before we can spot the b quarks from a Higgs from background "ordinary" b quarks. Of course there is still a chance that the Higgs might have enough mass to decay to two Z bosons which would be very easy to see early on but, if the Standard Model Higgs exists, the chance looks slim.

Re:anything worth doing (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945717)

Given the reduced energy: Re, the Higgs Boson (that's the one that everybody talks about): Is that still the one sure thing that this machine will sort out? If the Higgs exists, will they still see it right away, and if it doesn't, will the scientists still finally say, "There is no Higgs, we need new physics to account for why; things have mass, something in our standard model went awry"?

No, it won't. Actually God keeps breaking the LHC. You didn't think (s)he'd let a bunch of monkeys have h(er/is) particle do you?

Re:anything worth doing (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945027)

is also usually hard to do

the setbacks are part and parcel of such a complicated effort

True. But could there be additional complications? To compare it to another grandiose project, the Three Gorges Dam. For starters, it's a prestige project so the Party cannot allow it to fail without losing much face. Second, if there are any technical shortcomings in the design, they will be covered up due to the pressure from on-high. Third, there's theft by contractors in the substitution of inferior materials, allegations of defective workmanship, and so forth. And again, these issues would be covered up to prevent embarrassment of the national government which is funny in funny-uh-oh way because tearing things up and fixing the problem now would be less costly and embarrassing and lethal than finishing the dam, flaws and all, and letting it fail years later during a quake with a full head of water in the reservoir.

So, what's the Hardon's problem? (Yeah, I keep calling it the Large Hardon Collider. It's funny.) Anything worth doing is going to be complicated. That's the one I'm hoping for. Is the design sound? Are there defects in workmanship? Any corruption from subcontractors?

Re:anything worth doing (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945267)

(Yeah, I keep calling it the Large Hardon Collider. It's funny.)

CITATION NEEDED

Re:anything worth doing (0)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945389)

(Yeah, I keep calling it the Large Hardon Collider. It's funny.)

CITATION NEEDED

Millions of snickering boys and men who can appreciate juvenile humor. It's inherently funny, like a banana or Sarah Palin speech.

invalid analogy (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945663)

aside from huge expense and huge technical complication, the negatives of the three gorges dam are completely unlike the negatives of the large... hardon

Re:anything worth doing (3, Interesting)

tacarat (696339) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945037)

True, but I'm sure the term "lowest bidder" had something to do with this as well.

Re:anything worth doing (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945493)

+1 at the very least

Hey you id (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945651)

diot. I think part of your sentence got cut off there. Oh wait no. I see what you did. You put the first bit of your sentence in your subject line. You know the subject line is for giving a one sentence premise of what you wrote, so one scrolling through comments can see what your post was about, rather than three words of your first sentence. They provide this big text field for you to explain that premise. You're worse than those jerks who put their initials in the body of their message instead of their signature line.

Honestly these things aren't difficult to figure out.

AC

All (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944785)

High school physics students will tell you that physics experiments are doomed from the start.

If it smells, it's Chemistry.
If it squirms, it's Biology.
If it doesn't work, it's Physics.

Just how they managed to suck billions of dollars from governments is beyond me, unless political "science" isn't really a science at all!

PS: for the humor impaired: This is a joke.

Re:All (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944921)

PS: for the humor impaired: This is a joke.

Perhaps; but for the rest of us it isn't.

Re:All (5, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945177)

Just how they managed to suck billions of dollars from governments is beyond me

Well, you could say the LHC working better than intended. Instead of making a black hole, it became one.

Re:All (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945477)

Indeed, and they'd better be preying to the all-powerful Atheismo that Fermilab doesn't beat them to it. You know the other collider that looks like it has a good shot at beating them to it with a much smaller collider and for a fraction of the cost. I mean of course since they haven't already, they might not ever for one reason or another, but it'll be terribly embarrassing for the Europeans if they do.

Re:All (1, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945811)

It is not a joke. Or you're *really* bad at humor. If it were a joke, it would be funny. Placing a P.S. stating that "it is a joke" below a random statement, does not magically make it funny. And the blokes thinking they would look dumb when they don't laugh and moderate you funny right now, because of their weak self-confidence, do so even less.

PS: for the humor impaired: This is a joke.

P.P.S.: It really is not. ;)

P.P.P.S.: GOTO 10?

haha EU sucks BUY AMERICAN and you'd not be there (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944799)

You'd be a lot better off !! EU is SOOO corrupt it makes China look like the a turkish bizaare !!

Re:haha EU sucks BUY AMERICAN and you'd not be the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945285)

Even Americans don't buy American. Get raped!

Did anyone else think... (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944815)

...that's what happen when you hire the low bidder?

Re:Did anyone else think... (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945169)

This isn't flamebait, it's a good observation. How exactly do you design a project of this size, and somehow screw up the electrical connections? It isn't rocket science; you just make sure every connection is specced for more than the peak current that will be flowing through it.

Re:Did anyone else think... (5, Insightful)

SMQ (241278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945381)

But the peak current is tens-of-thousands of amps, and the connections are between superconducting cables made of exotic materials, and once the connection is made at room temperature it has to be cooled down by almost 300 degrees (150 times colder than where it started) with all the flexing and stressing that causes, and still can't have more than one or two nano-ohms resistance or the whole experiment blows up. Yes, the electrical connections in the LHC are the equivalent of rocket science.

Re:Did anyone else think... (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945697)

Ah, good point. I thought they were just talking about your typical commercial-type electrical connections.

Re:Did anyone else think... (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945387)

How exactly do you design a project of this size, and somehow screw up the electrical connections? It isn't rocket science; you just make sure every connection is specced for more than the peak current that will be flowing through it.

And then hire the cheapest technician you can find to make that solder joint. Good solder work is hard, and while just about any idiot with a solder iron can glob a few wires together (as I have proved on occasion), it takes someone really good at it to make a connection which can be put under a microscope and called good.

Re:Did anyone else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945639)

This isn't flamebait, it's a good observation. How exactly do you design a project of this size, and somehow screw up the electrical connections? It isn't rocket science; you just make sure every connection is specced for more than the peak current that will be flowing through it.

Well, things get slightly more complicated when the electrical connections in question are between superconductors, at temperatures near 0 kelvin, and in very intense magnetic fields.

Somebody is very touchy today (1, Troll)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945609)

Seriously, I'm a troll?

This is some pretty difficult, complex work. As a sibling post pointed out, there are very highly stressed systems. Whoever bid this - and, no, I don't know anything about how it was bid but I have my suspicions - probably didn't decide to go hire a crack team of the best assemblers in Europe. They figured their standard labor for guys (and gals) who wire up buildings, telecom, and other lab environments. I work with these types of people sometimes, and they're not always focused on the end product (to put it nicely). QA for a project like this can only be so rigorous until the QA dwarfs the scope and cost of the actual construction. Sometimes it's a conscious decision (Hubble), sometimes it's a matter of budget or politics. Regardless, it only takes a moderate percentage of not-quite-perfect workmanship to really foul things up when you push a system to its limits.

Ubuntu--what the fuck (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944843)

Ubuntu install hacked [trollaxor.com]

Magnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944845)

How much loss is there when retraining a magnet?

Couldn't we use magnets to store energy for electric cars, instead of batteries?

Re:Magnets (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945021)

Yes, you can store energy in strained magnetic fields -- so-called "spin batteries" [sciencedaily.com] . But it's poor energy density. Magnetic "batteries" are still trying to get up to the energy density of supercapacitors, which are in turn still trying to get up to the density of lead-acid batteries, which have been left in the dust by techs like lithium ion batteries. But it's a very new tech, so we'll have to see where it goes.

Large Hadron Collider Struggling (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944849)

For now, it will only be able to collide small and medium Hadrons...

Conspiracy (4, Funny)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944851)

Anyone ever think that Fermilab is paying Cern employees to sabotage their collider? Each setback adds 6-8 months to the life of Fermilab...

Re:Conspiracy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945163)

Fermilab has barely enough money to pay its top scientists $20k/year each, they're underfunded and always weeks from being completely canceled as a project. They've had to let many bright minds go in recent years. I highly doubt they have enough money to bribe people, let alone have afford to have meetings about bribing people. LOL. Besides, CERN employees had a very well funded and organized project, why would they take bribes from an underfunded one to sabotage a well-funded one? Your logic does not make sense.

The problem here is not a conspiracy, its that the scientists working at Fermilab have their shit together. Their design is good, their scientific foundation was sound, their wiring, electronics and magnets were correctly assembled, and they are more experienced.

CERN does not have a majority of these under their belt. It might be a difference in how they are managed. Perhaps Fermilab has a better hierarchy, better safety rules and prioritizes work more efficiently. Maybe they actually triple check each wire before they press the On button and CERN cuts corners. This is all supposition, but reality is a harsh mistress and it is obvious they're doing something wrong.

Re:Conspiracy (1, Insightful)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945213)

no.

Re:Conspiracy (4, Funny)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945375)

Says the man whose .sig links to his Fermilab profile page! We're onto you!

Re:Conspiracy (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945287)

And don't forget the first failure ocurred because of a design fault on one of the Fermilab-built magnets. I'm with you on this one, those sneaky physicists.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945575)

Not to pass the blame, but was there really no way of testing it for design faults before installation? I mean sure you can't see how the whole thing works until you turn it on, but if the LHC guys can't figure out how to test it before installation, I'm not sure how the Fermilab guys could have.

Yeah, I know it's a tad blame the victim like, but it seems to me that this is an EU sort of problem.

Re:Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945463)

This sounds plausible - in fact, I've snapped a photo of one of the Tevatards in action!

http://www.contentimages.de/content/GlobalPictureGallery/30/189624430_1149761594389.jpg

With the construction of the CERNOBOTS, the tide is likely to turn however.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/d/dexter3.jpg

Or in other words: No.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945525)

I really don't. FNAL has a huge LHC team: they devote 3 floors of Wilson to supporting the US contingent of the experiment. Any LHC setback is a setback for Fermilab as well.

2012 (5, Funny)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944857)

FTFA:
"scientists say it could be years, if ever, before the collider runs at full strength"

Looking more and more likely that a Dec 2012 full-power test could be on the cards.

Drawing ever closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944865)

...Ever closer to 2012, I see.

Ah, memories (3, Funny)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944867)

This makes me think back to when I used to play World of Warcraft.

There was a character running around named: "Drphillip" and I thought to myself, "huh, interesting name he has." And then all of a sudden, he started shouting in town:

"OH NOES. teh large hardon collider is turning onz0rz!!!"

I was wondering why the world hadn't imploded... (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944877)

...now I know. They haven't actually flipped the switch yet.

Okay, back to work. Maybe a Vogon constructor fleet will get here first.

Re:I was wondering why the world hadn't imploded.. (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945393)

Don't worry, the Vogons will not be here until 2012.
You know that famous Maya calendar? Well, actually it's the timing diagram for the final phase of Earth's computer program.

Of course it is struggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28944879)

I don't care who you are, a Large Hardon Collider has GOT to hurt.

Re:Of course it is struggling (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945153)

So I says, "Super collider? I just met her!" And then they built the super collider. Thank you, you've been a great audience.

Give them time... (4, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944883)

I'd give them 3 years, 4.5 months to get it up and running correctly. But that's just me.

Lazy Europeans (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944885)

Maybe if you weren't taking those 5 weeks a year of vacation time and working more than 35 hours a week, you could get it done on time! ;-)

Re:Lazy Europeans (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945111)

Not to mention that if they ever get this thing up and running think of all the jobs that will be lost.

Re:Lazy Europeans (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945203)

But if we don't ever get it up and running, how would we ever kill the Pope?

Re:Lazy Europeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945253)

Say, smartass: how far behind schedule is the Boeing 787, and how many times has it been delayed?

Re:Lazy Europeans (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945553)

Maybe if you weren't taking those 5 weeks a year of vacation time and working more than 35 hours a week, you could get it done on time! ;-)

Well, there's the difference between the US and the EU. Do you want it done on time, or do you want it done correctly? (yes, I know you were joking, but then so am I) ^_^

Re:Lazy Europeans (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945591)

What about just one of the two options?

Sensible Europeans (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945761)

...and yet the Run II of the Tevatron was similarly delayed and that was for a machine which was only upgraded. So having established that 5 weeks of holiday a year does not seem to affect the outcome perhaps "sensible" would be a better description.

oh the humanity (1)

Pike (52876) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944891)

I don't blame it. If I were a Large Hadron Collider, I would probably struggle too.

WTF??? (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28944923)

After I invested my entire 401(k) in crowbars???

Re:WTF??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945687)

... a real scientist only needs one (1) crowbar.

You were jacked

maybe aliens sabotaging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945065)

because it really will create a black hole if they are successful? never know :)

it's the space-time continuum messing with them. (2, Insightful)

notgm (1069012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945075)

1. once an effective way to control time travel is discovered, said method will be able to exist at all times.
2. no method has yet been discovered.

therefore,

3. the method cannot be discovered.

and finally,

4. any device which will allow its discovery cannot ever be operational.

it's in the manual, dummies.

Re:it's the space-time continuum messing with them (3, Funny)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945349)

1. once an effective way to control time travel is discovered, said method will be able to exist at all times.

CITATION NEEDED

Re:it's the space-time continuum messing with them (1)

notgm (1069012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945505)

if it isn't able to exist at all times, it isn't an effective way to control time travel.

recursive.

Parallel universes (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945455)

1. once an effective way to control time travel is discovered, said method will be able to exist at all times.

Not in all the parallel universes [wikipedia.org] . If you travel back in time and change one fact in the past, you'll create another universe where that event actually happened.

Re:it's the space-time continuum messing with them (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945561)

1. once an effective way to control time travel is discovered, said method will be able to exist at all times.

If the time travel method needs some pre-existing infrastructure at the destination time, you can't travel back beyond the time that infrastructure is built.

When the world is running down, you make the ... (1, Offtopic)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945093)

... best of what's still around. I've noticed a distinct decline in the quality of professional services in the last decade. In the midwest and the New England region of the US, at least. Based on this story, maybe the same is happening in Europe. In the past 2 years, I've had electricians, plumbers, painters, carpenters and landscapers at the house to execute various jobs I have needed. In most cases, I have had to fix problems myself after the "professional tradesman" declared the job finished, wrote up an invoice for his/her expensive services and departed. In almost all cases, I could have done the job more carefully and better myself if only I had the time. Ironically, everyone to a man was extremely skilled at the invoicing and billing process. When it comes to getting paid, everyone is a genius. Pride in the work? Not so much. This story about the LHC sounds eerily familiar. Assuming the work was done by the local (or imported) tradesmen, is it possible that the work was sub-par?

Re:When the world is running down, you make the .. (1, Offtopic)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945277)

That's interesting. Here in Arizona, it's a little different. Most of the contractors like you mention are either illegals, or meth-heads. The meth-heads can't return phone calls, can't show up on time, are flaky and unreliable. The illegals are cheap, but frequently don't know what the hell they're doing and do substandard work as a result. Non-illegal, non-meth-head, reliable and competent contractors are extremely rare around here.

Re:When the world is running down, you make the .. (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945377)

Both of your stories are a result of our society telling teenagers that if they want to get ahead, they should go to college, even if their academic skills are no better than average and their trade skills are above average.

Re:When the world is running down, you make the .. (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945535)

I've lived in the Southwest. Not that different, really. Most of the 'state-licensed' contractors here in Connecticut (my home for the last 2 years) haven't returned phone calls, shown up on time and are flaky or unreliable. They are decidedly NOT illegals - these are people that I've picked out of the available pool *because* they actually have a license to operate within the state. I shudder to think what havok the "illegal" population would wreak. Actually, they could not do much worse than the so-called professionals. The explanation from the long time locals used to be that "they have more work than they can handle". Surprisingly, nobody seems to be eager for work now that the economy is down. And I'm not talking "I''ll pay you half your normal rate because you need the money and have no work" - I *still* can't get people to return my calls. I have no idea WTF they are doing to earn money. I'm not sure they want to. People just seem to put their houses up for sale and disappear. But back to the original story - I'm still not sure whether the requirements of the LHC were just too close to the cutting edge, or whether they just could not find competent people to do good work. I have all the respect in the world for competent tradesmen, but I loathe the incompetents. I am happy to pay for good work, but I can't abide shoddy work.

Re:When the world is running down, you make the .. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945671)

No, here the non-illegals are the ones who are flaky and unreliable. I'm pretty sure most of them are on meth. You wonder what they do to earn money since they can't be bothered to return phone calls? I imagine meth has something to do with it.

The illegals, on the other hand, are actually very reliable and punctual. They show up early in the morning when they're supposed to. They really make the "licensed contractors" look bad. For things they're good at, they generally do a decent to good job. But they're just not that skilled at many things, and it shows in their quality of work, so you have to be careful what you hire them for: landscaping, moving, etc. you'll have few problems, but anything requiring more skills (like plumbing), don't do it. Communications is also a big problem since so many don't speak English.

Generally, for anything where quality is important, I've found it's best to just make the time and do it myself rather than 1) pay someone to screw it up, or 2) spend tons of time chasing around a meth-head contractor.

Re:When the world is running down, you make the .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945519)

Right, because Swiss tradesmen are subpar...

The Universe is Safe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945175)

For now.

Freudian Slip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945219)

Anyone else read that as "large hardon collider"?

I bet that would cause some birthing pangs.

Don't Settle (2, Insightful)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945227)

I hope they don't settle for running at a lower energy just to avoid criticism about the start date. There is too much potential for what we could discover using the collider's full capacity.

If it is at all feasible to get this running at or near 100%, it's worth it to put in the time now to fix it. I'd rather wait another year now, then wait 30+ years for the next accelerator to be built.

Re:Don't Settle (2, Informative)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945365)

Aside from the electrical connections, the magnets need to be trained to reach the fields necessary to sufficiently bend a 7TeV beam. The last talk I heard on the status of the magnets was that this was a very non-linear effect. We could probably get to 5, 5.5 with not that much difficulty (again, when the electrical connections are repaired)... but even getting to 6 will take *quite* an investment of down-time. The cost/benefit curve has a very clear kink in it.

Large Hadron Collider and Tevatron (2, Funny)

Stele (9443) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945265)

Sounds like they need to get the Milliard Gargantubrain or the Googleplex Star Thinker working on a solution, and fast!

physics equivalent of International Space Station? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945309)

Sure, some science gets done at both. But at the cost of constructing these facilities?

Bad news good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28945359)

Bad news, Europe was just sucked into a black hole. The goods news England now has a viable source of wind energy.

Where's Moore when you need him? (1)

textstring (924171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945385)

Ouch, only 4 times the energy in 25 years. I'd hate to be in that game.

I'm glad I'm an atheist... (2, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945421)

otherwise, I might think that God really does hate scientists like the fundamentalists claim.

time travelers from future stalling it (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945471)

They know if the thing is turned on it will create "red matter" and suck the whole Earth into it. (Sounds like a movie plot)

Re:time travelers from future stalling it (2, Funny)

ijakings (982830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945821)

Yeah I wonder where from? Must be one of those B-Movies, red matter doesnt sound to well thought out or explained. Maybe Rambaldi was behind it somehow.

VERY LARGE test bed? (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945523)

I have long wondered how it is that physicists can create ONE monstrous detector, and be completely certain that it works within spec... and within the design precisoin and accuracy.

BUT chip makers, SSD hard drive makers [slashdot.org] , space telescope mirror makers and rocket engine companies can have test runs in the zillions... and they still fail. Either catastrophically, or just bad math answers ;-) Their bugs go undetected until production. I've done spacecraft component testing where a valve passes 1,000,000 times but fails on the next (or on orbit!)

Can anyone explain how the physicists get the good manufacturing karma?

Merde (1)

complex(179,-70) (1101799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945559)

The biggest, most expensive physics machine in the world is riddled with thousands of bad electrical connections

That would probably be: The French Connections

Clever Tevatron People (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945583)

Real clever of those Tevatron people to masquerade as electricians during the LHC construction. They'll have the God Particle safely in the bag while those upstart Europeans are still chasing their tail.

At least they have time..... (1)

Hanging By A Thread (906564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945683)

....to change the sponsorship decals to "The Shack".

I am suing them. (0, Troll)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28945749)

I am a super student with a GPA of 2.7 and a near perfect (>89%) attendance record. I am going to sue these guys who are building this big thingie in a hole in the ground for not finding me and giving me a job. If they had done that, the project would be in A-OK shape.
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