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Atom Smasher May Create "Black Saturns"

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the distinctive-Hawking-radiation dept.

Science 423

David Shiga writes "If we ever make black holes on Earth, they might be much stranger objects than the star-swallowing monsters known to exist in space. According to a new theory, any black hole that pops out of the Large Hadron Collider under construction in Switzerland might be surrounded by a black ring — forming a microscopic 'black Saturn'. This could happen if extra dimensions exist, as string theory suggests, and if they are large enough." An evocative excerpt from the article: "...there is an outside chance that in a few years in a tunnel near Geneva, physicists will make a black hole far smaller than a proton and circled by a squashed four-dimensional black doughnut."

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423 comments

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4D black donut? (5, Funny)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005842)

mmmmmmmmmmmm, higher dimensional.

Oblig (0)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005968)

Finally John Titor will be proven correct!!! Yay for the tinfoil hats!!!!

(no flames on the efficacy of tinfoil hats or spelling, m'kay?)

Re:4D black donut? (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006344)

Think of all the bad science fiction that could result from this.

"Captain! The warp drive just farted out a quad dimensional donut, possibly chocalate with cherry filling."

Re:4D black donut? (4, Interesting)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006498)

I don't know about you, but I'm going to be keeping a shotgun and a chainsaw close by at all times!

Re:4D black donut? (-1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006566)

you do that...
I'll have the BFG
-nB

Re:4D black donut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006646)

Eeeewwwwwww, nano goatse.

mmmm (-1, Redundant)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005846)

mmmmmm four-dimensional black doughnuts

Re:mmmm (1)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006112)

Not that I disagree with the mod here but why is this modded funny and the first post modded off topic - when they make the SAME JOKE!

Re:mmmm (5, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006310)

It has to do with quantum moderation - a post can be in multiple states at once (offtopic/funny) until you look at it, then it takes assumes one and only one.

Re:mmmm (5, Funny)

kypper (446750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006466)

I feel my chances of getting laid drop with every chuckle at this joke.

Re:mmmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006564)

Aren't females wonderful? Keep it up, girls, the gene pool is just too damn smart right now!

Pic from article (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005868)

black saturn [flickr.com]

Re:Pic from article (3, Insightful)

Dark Kenshin (764678) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006002)

The funny part is, even though the relation you are joking about is obviously not the original intent; the article doesn't do much better. The need to relate a look or description to a common object is very standard in media. Saturn is not the only object surround by a ring, nor does it really relate to the ring that the article is taking about. It just make a more personal relationship to the concept by stating that it's like Saturn.

Re:Pic from article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006082)

Yah! I know something that has a ring...

D'OH! goatse'd yet again!!!

Re:Pic from article (4, Funny)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006328)

Here's a better picture: .

Note: Image has been heavily magnified.

Now wait a minute.. (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005874)

Are you actually suggesting that string theory might actually predict something that the standard model doesn't, and what it predicts might actually be measurable?! That's crazy talk! Next you'll be suggesting that string theory is disprovable and therefore actually science. I'll believe it when it happens.

Re:Now wait a minute.. (2, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005924)

Yeah, I'm pretty confident that it won't happen, and that it won't slow down even one of those string-theory-mystics that make up today's physics departments. They'll just be like "Oh, our theory only really makes the predictions that are actually observed." But I hope my cynicism is misplaced!

Re:Now wait a minute.. (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006230)

But I hope my cynicism is misplaced!
It is. Learn some physics. I don't like string theory either, but at least I actually have legitimate reasons for not liking it. "It's not science!!1one lol!" is not one of them.

Re:Now wait a minute.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006364)

"It's not science" is a very good reason. Science is by definition the refining of hypotheses through observation. String Theory is just about coming up with the simplest way of making the equations work out to cover the raw, gaping interface between quantum and classical mechanics. If there is no way to observe, test, or predict something, it's *not* science and does not deserve the label.

Re:Now wait a minute.. (4, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006612)

So Quantum Field Theory is not science either. QFT is just as broad, perhaps even broader, in what it could conceivably describe, as string theory. The Standard Model is a QFT, and not a particularly pretty one at that. Much of the work that goes on in string theory is looking for a string theory, a particular model within the framework of string theory in the same way as SM is a particular model within the framework of QFT, that describes our universe. String theory is already just as good, and arguably better than, QFT, except in that finding models in string theory seems to be much harder.

There are ways to test QFT, and there are ways to test string theory. For instance: Lorentz invariance. Just because nobody reasonably suspects that Lorentz invariance will turn out to not be a real feature of our universe does not mean that it is not a testable prediction. The frameworks of both QFT and string theory include Lorentz invariance.

Furthermore, string theory is not as purely descriptive as you seem to think. It begins with some quite simple and quite basic first principles, and then attempts to derive all of physics from those. If it turns out that they can't describe all of physics from those principles, then they'll have to go back to the drawing board and look for new principles. Those principles are hypotheses. They have left the observation up to other physicists, and are using the existing theories as a description of those observations. So, they are letting observation refine their hypotheses.

If they were merely looking for a way to describe all our known data, then they would just say "Well, our theory is: The Data Is As It Is." Such a theory would be absolutely right. It would even be science. It would be pretty poor science, but it would be science nonetheless. If they are truly looking for the simplest way to make equations that work out to cover all the physics that we know, then it is absolutely science. Simplicity and good description of data are what make a scientific theory good. And yes, they are trying to describe data. If they are trying to make particular limits of their theory match up with extant theories that are known to work in those same limits, then they are trying to describe data, simply because those extant theories are only extant because they themselves describe data.

Now, I don't much care for the particular approach that string theory takes, but that in no way makes it not science.

As I said, learn a little physics before you try and comment on physics. Learn a little bit more of the details of what string theorists actually do, and also learn a little bit more of the details of how every other scientific theory in existence was formulated. Not that they were all identical to string theory at some point, but at base, they all tried to find the simplest way of making equations describe data, and sometimes those data were represented by other equations.

Re:Now wait a minute.. (4, Funny)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005934)

We are the String Theorists. You will be assimilated. Resistance is non-dimensionable!

Re:Now wait a minute.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18005970)

That was what I thought when I read the article. One of the major complaints about string theory has been that there's supposedly no way to test it experimentally. But the article says such a structure could only exist if there are really four dimensions. So if we succeed in creating one, would that be an experimental confirmation of string theory? Seems to me, at the very least it would confirm one of the major premises.

Re:Now wait a minute.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006382)

4 dimensions

length
width
height
time

QED

Re:Now wait a minute.. (5, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006006)

Testing String Theory: [sciencedaily.com]

Physicists create string theory test

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Scientists have long questioned the validity of "string theory" and now U.S. physicists have created a test for the controversial "theory of everything."

[... click link to read article]

Re:Now wait a minute.. (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006610)

Large Extra-Dimensions are a set of theories inspired by string theory...sort of like a Hollywood movie that is "inspired by" true events. While finding them would certainly make people take more interest in string theory, they would not confirm nor deny string theory - just like you may get a hint of the "true events" from a Hollywood movie but it is in no way an accurate picture of what really happened. So sorry to disappoint you but this would still not confirmation of strings - just a hint that maybe we are on the right track.

Ringed black hole (3, Funny)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005880)

I can't read the fine article because CyberSitter blocks it. However, I did remember an article a while back that changed the way black holes were perceived to operate.

Hm. Maybe google [google.com] will help me to remember what it was. Oh yes. There [slashdot.org] it is. Darn. CyberSitter blocks loading that page. I know, user prefs, threshold 5. There we go. Now I can at least see the summary. Click, read, yep, that's the one I remember. Now, Samir Mathur, I remember a very nice .pdf showing his original hand-drawn representation along with some of the mathematical principles behind the whole "there is no true event horizon" hypothesis. Where was that [google.com] ? Ah. There we go [ucsb.edu] .

Someone please tell me how the current article lines up with these from years past. Please try to do so without profanity so that I can click my comment and read the reply without CyberSitter dumping the page.

Re:Ringed black hole (1)

Dark Kenshin (764678) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006356)

I hate to burst your bubble, but the article was IMO poorly written. It makes wild assumptions without much meat to back it up. Not only that, but they don't have any working models to help develop the theory. I don't mean to be hating, but the amount of applicable date in the article is about the same level as every story from an 8 yr old starting with "Wouldn't it be cool if ..."

from TFA: "The black Saturn can only exist in a space with four dimensions, rather than the three we inhabit. In 3D, a black ring is impossible, so there are no big black saturns out there for astronomers to spot - but at a microscopic level, they might really exist.

This statement annoyed me the most. Either it does or does not exist, not both. There might be properties we can't observe in a 3D model, but that doen't negate the existance of it; nor does the difference of "out there" and "the microscopic level" have a relation to something really existing... but maybe you don't want to hear me rant, so basically, I don't feel the actual article was worth the read.

Re:Ringed black hole (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006540)

This statement annoyed me the most. Either it does or does not exist, not both.

From flatlander's point of view, a sphere does not exist anywhere in his 2D universe; however a projection of it does (a circle or a point.) The article is correct to say that a certain 4D object can not exist (such as being fully contained) within a 3D space, just as a 3D billiard ball can not be contained within a 2D sheet of paper. Even a flatlander can't deny existence of billiard balls if he can conjecture the possibility, even if he can't directly observe them.

Re:Ringed black hole (0, Offtopic)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006436)

Dude, you're posting on slashdot about black holes and you can't defeat cybersitter? ...I didn't know they were teaching string theory to kindergarteners these days! Wow, elementary school has gotten a lot better since I left...

Re:Ringed black hole (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006606)

I have this strange feeling that the prev parent is using an internet cafe. I cant imagine why i would think this.

We shouldn't be messing with black holes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18005890)

After all, the Romulans use them as power supplies for their ships, and we all know how interdimentional aliens just love those damn engines to store their eggs. We don't want that now do we? /posting as AC due to shame.

Mmmmmmm universe! (3, Funny)

Synesthesiatic (679680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005898)

Wait, so Homer was right about the donut shaped universe [citebite.com] ? Damn Hawking, always taking credit for other people's ideas!

Re:Mmmmmmm universe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18005998)

physicists will make a black hole far smaller than a proton and circled by a squashed four-dimensional black doughnut

Let's be a little more scientifically precise here, shall we? Are we speaking of a black dough nut or a chocolate one?

Re:Mmmmmmm universe! (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006166)

perhaps more of a soylent green?

You know all those unexplained gamma-ray bursts? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18005900)

The ones that occur without warning, last only a short time, and emit enough energy to wipe out entire solar systems?

What if every time we see one of those gamma-ray bursts, we're watching a civilization gain the necessary technology to do something like this?

Things that make you go "Hmm."

Re:You know all those unexplained gamma-ray bursts (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005916)

Then suddenly global warming won't seem like such a big deal?

Saturnian black holes? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18005910)

Scientists have produced us new groundbreaking visual data [goatse.cz] of this magnificient natural phenomenon.

Wow, you can actually see inside those higher dimension, though the field of vision is clearly distorted by high-scale redshift.

Re:Saturnian black holes? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005942)

haha i'm so gld i looked at the address of that link before i clicked it. that's nasty fucker.

Re:Saturnian black holes? (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006052)

You do have to admit that was a brilliant setup with the given contents of the link.

But it does answer the question... (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006352)

But it does answer a question once asked by a headline, when another planetary ring system had been tentatively identified:

"Is there a Ring of Debris around Uranus?"

Dangerous mini-black-hole (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18005946)

Am I the only one concerned that making mini-black holes might suck in the whole earth? That they're trying this kind of stuff is pretty scary. What about doing it on the moon or on mars instead? Sheesh..

No you big wuss! (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18005988)

You just watch safely from another dimesion.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (3, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006028)

I suppose it would be funny to see the Moon or Mars get sucked into nothingness after a catastrophic black hole test. Would be even funnier if one made a "sluuuuuup!" noise as one watched it suck up on itself.

Then the Cyberdemons would invade. Doom had black holes on Mars didn't they? My memory is fuzzy.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1)

Skidge (316075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006060)

Nah, if the Earth gets destroyed, you'll either get to spend eternity in paradise with whatever god you believe in, or we'll all just blink into nothingness and nobody will be around to even care anymore. It's win-win!

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (5, Informative)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006128)

Am I the only one concerned that making mini-black holes might suck in the whole earth?

You're not the only one worrying, but trust me, there's no danger of this whatsoever. First of all, they will dissipate almsot instantly due to Hawking radiation. Second of all, they are so tiny that they will rarely (if ever) get close enough to swallow something else. Remember, on an atomic scale there is mostly space. And these things are not just small -they are so small its hard to fathom. They are formed by smashing together protons moving at 99.999999% the speed of light. A black hole (might) be formed, if, during the collision, the resultant density of the object is greater than the density required to form a black hole. The gravity will be no greater than the mass of the objects combining it, so you don't need to worry about it sucking things in. Let me jsut give you an example. A basketball could, theoretically, become a black hole, so long as you compressed its mass into a small enough area -but it would still have the gravitational pull of a basketball. And here, we are talking about turning protons into blackholes! In short, nothing to worry about chap!

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (-1, Troll)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006244)

I admire your confidence, considering the incompleteness of our species understanding of physics. But I think a lot of us would appreciate it if these experiments were conducted on SOME OTHER FREAKING PLANET considering that, if you're mistaken, WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE INFINITELY STRETCHED ALONG THE SCHWARZCHILD RADIUS OF A GODDAMNED SINGULARITY THAT WE CREATED.

Dan Simmons called this "The Big Mistake" (although later it was revealed that the AI's stole the Earth...)

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006360)

Dude, nothing bad ever happens in Switzerland, its fucking paradise on earth. Plus the swiss military would kick any upstart black holes ass.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (3, Funny)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006496)

I always wondered why they added the event horizon nullifier in swiss army knives!

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006500)

Plus the swiss military would kick any upstart black holes ass.

Their knives are teh r0xorz!!!

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (2, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006588)

Cosmic ray interactions in the upper atmosphere are performing essentially this exact experiment right now, and have been since the planet formed. If there were any chance of a black hole forming and destroying the earth on a geological time scale, it would've happened already.

Besides, the resultant black hole would be absolutely minute - much much smaller than a proton. At that scale, even the densest of earthly materials is just so much empty space. The mean free path of any such hole would be absolutely huge, meaning that the chances of it getting close enough to even a small handful of atoms to swallow them as it passes through the planet are absolutely tiny.

Dan Simmons called this "The Big Mistake"

Dan Simmons writes science fiction. Perhaps you should try reading a little less sci-fi and a little more real science before yelling at people.

Third of all... (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006318)

First of all, they will dissipate almsot instantly due to Hawking radiation. Second of all, they are so tiny that they will rarely (if ever) get close enough to swallow something else.

Third of all: The kind of (and energy of) collision in question occurs with non-trivial frequency when cosmic rays hit atoms in the atmosphere. If it created a long-lived black hole that could suck down a planet in a geologically short time we would have been down the drain LONG ago.

Re:Third of all... (-1, Troll)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006558)

First of all, they will dissipate almsot instantly due to Hawking radiation. Second of all, they are so tiny that they will rarely (if ever) get close enough to swallow something else.

Third of all: The kind of (and energy of) collision in question occurs with non-trivial frequency when cosmic rays hit atoms in the atmosphere. If it created a long-lived black hole that could suck down a planet in a geologically short time we would have been down the drain LONG ago.


Fourth of all, all of this is theoretical so far since we haven't done it. Maybe our models are all wrong and this will in fact create a black hole capable of consuming everything around it and eventually the Earth and solar system. Probably not, but you can't really rule anything out completely.

Re:Third of all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006620)

There is a difference since the cosmic ray collision would create a moving black hole that escapes fast enough before it gets too big. Such a thing could have happened 100 years ago in Sibera [wikipedia.org] (exit hole, entrance on the other side of Earth was still too small to notice).

The supercollider would give you a blackhole at rest, ready to engorge (and what if Hawking is wrong? I mean, if the Americans are still not sure about Evolution, then how can they trust this shit from one guy? Time to bomb France to protect our freedoms!)

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1)

jklappenbach (824031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006456)

IIRC, particles from space, so-called "cosmic rays" [wikipedia.org] , strike the upper atmosphere with more energy than even the LHC will be able to manage. Therefore, if it's possible to make singularities on the quantum scale, it's already happening several miles above your head.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006596)

First of all, they will dissipate almsot instantly due to Hawking radiation.

Since you know about Hawking radiation, then you also know that it is of an entirely theoretical nature. Hawking radiation has never been observed.

The problem with any argument to start making tiny black holes is that assuming that your explanation is correct and everything is already explained by existing scientific theories, then there would be no need to engage in 'research'. If, on the other hand, we admit that current theories do not explain everything, then it is clearly too dangerous to go around doing dangerous stuff like creating tiny black holes.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006604)

"First of all, they will dissipate almsot instantly due to Hawking radiation."

Theoretical Hawking radiation.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006228)

How does one go about disposing of a black hole?

I guess it could be used to safely store radio active waste.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006236)

Am I the only one concerned that making mini-black holes might suck in the whole earth? That they're trying this kind of stuff is pretty scary. What about doing it on the moon or on mars instead? Sheesh..

Heh, the premise of Roger MacBride Allen's science-fiction novel The Ring of Charon [amazon.com] (first volume of The Hunted Earth) is that an experiment out near Pluto ends up swallowing the Earth into a wormhole leading to a far-off part of the universe. One can't seem to get far enough away from the Earth to tinker with creation fearlessly.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006260)

David brin talked about man made miniature black holes eating the earth in EARTH in 1990 or so... And I don't think he was the first, or even close.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006304)

Am I the only one concerned that making mini-black holes might suck in the whole earth? That they're trying this kind of stuff is pretty scary

Considering the scientists insisted that no such outcome was possible [bnl.gov] several years ago (while seeking funding), and the same scientists are now excitedly talking about the different exotic types of black holes, black saturns, etc. they're going to produce, you should be.

During the activation of the RHIC project, program managers laughed at the "absurd" idea that a black hole could be created in high-energy colliders. According to physicist Dmitri Kharzeev (of RHIC), "the risk of producing a real black hole in RHIC experiments is not higher than during our daily rides in elevators -- this danger simply does not exist."

Of course, now we find out that Kharzeev and his peers knew this was false all along and actually intend to produce them at higher energy levels now.

Unfortunately science is so far past the politicians that any effort to regulate their ethical misbehavior (an understatement in this case) is lost. It was one thing when they were hooking animal heads up to human bodies, subjecting humans to extreme cold until death, exposing prisoners to exotic diseases, performing bizarre and sickening operations on retarded children and other ethical problems that were identifiable by anyone with the smallest sense of empathy. But this kind of research is so exotic that no politician dares challenge it for fear of being made a fool of.

Perhaps the one answer these scientists will provide is that of the Drake Equation [wikipedia.org] If civilizations can't manage the risk-seeking behavior of its scientists, it is certain to disappear.

Re:Dangerous mini-black-hole (4, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006458)

Don't worry. If the LHC were going to make Earth-swallowing black holes, if there were any real chance at all of it happening, then cosmic rays would have done it long long ago.

Earth-cosmic ray collisions occur at an absolutely fantastic rate, higher than the LHC would ever even dream of. The energies of cosmic rays are distributed across an extremely broad spectrum, extending both above and below LHC energies. If there is any chance of the LHC making an Earth swallowing black hole, then there is precious little chance of the earth being outside of a black hole by tomorrow morning, much less any chance of the earth having survived 4.5 billion years.

Furthermore, pretty much everything in the galaxy, and presumably in the universe, experiences a cosmic ray flux comparable to what the earth sees. If the LHC were going to make planet or star swallowing black holes, then the sky would be mostly nothing but black holes.

Um..... (1, Interesting)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006010)

Does anyone else think that creating a black hole on earth might be a bad idea? I mean, when you talk about hazardous waste, a black hole is about as hazardous as things get. Could you even theoretically shoot it far enough away from Earth for it to not be dangerous? It just seems that um... Something that naturally grows larger and larger while sucking everything in it into oblivion is something that we should, say, not create on the surface of a planet. At least, not where I live.

Re:Um..... (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006062)

Meh. Probably not a bad way to go.

Re: your sig (1)

dolphinling (720774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006210)

<xml><I><am><so><damn>Web 2.0</damn></so></am></I></xml>

Your markup is invalid. Any element or attribute name beginning with the string "xml" is reserved by the spec.

(This is actually a simplification of the truth, see http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml/#dt-name [w3.org] for details.)

Re:Um..... (3, Interesting)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006072)

In theory, such a small black hole will not have enough gravitational pull to keep itself together for very long, much less pull in other matter. Such a black hole should only last a few nanoseconds (if even that), then dissipate... in theory.

Re:Um..... (2, Funny)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006088)

Yeah yeah, typical "not in my back yard!" argument!

Look, buddy! SOMEONE has to get sucked into this black hole, why not you? Huh? Are you too good to get pulled into a string of spegetti and your date erradicated from all exsistance? What makes you so important?

My grandfather was abducted by aliens, the least you could do is get devowered by a massive black hole.

Re:Um..... (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006106)

This is covered in the other /. story, linked below the main one. Here's one of the answers. [slashdot.org]

Re:Um..... (1)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006108)

Any black hole that could be created by any of these experiments would be so tiny that it would radiate away all of its energy before being able to do anything besides exist and vanish a split-second later. It will not, and can not, eat the planet.

Re:Um..... (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006140)

Theoretically speaking, of course. ;)

Re:Um..... (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006326)

How about experimental verification? Let's suppose that we threw gillions upon gillions of extremely high energy particles at every astronomical body in the universe all the time. Energies across a wide spectrum, both higher and lower than those at the LHC. If we should expect to see any planet or star swallowing black holes created by the LHC, we would certainly expect that this program of hurling high energy particles all around the universe would also create a very very large number of similar black holes (since we're throwing a lot more particles at a lot more targets than the LHC could even dream of).

Oh wait. We don't need to do that experiment, because it has been done for billions of years, and is being done even as I type. It's called cosmic rays [wikipedia.org] . If the LHC had any real chance of producing a black hole capable of swallowing the earth, cosmic rays would have already done it millions (probably much higher than millions) of times over.

Ain't gonna happen.

Oh Noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006182)

...but what if they make a tiny black hole that does manage to stay together long enough to begin consuming enough surrounding matter to sustain itself and keep growing?

If that happens, I think I'll be very glad that I've already handed my life over to Jesus!

Re:Um..... (1)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006190)

Well, theoretically, it is incredibly unlikely to last longer than a tiny fraction of a second. Also, these things have very little mass, so they would not be able to attract much of anything. Of course, part of the reason they are trying to form them is to verify their theory.

On the other hand, it would be incredibly cool. The thing would fall right down to the center of the earth and "suck the insides" right out. I don't know how fast death would be for a tiny black hole like that, but it would be fun to see how everyone would behave if they knew the end of the world was inevitable. And unlike a nuclear war, there would be no hope for survivors unless they escaped into space.

Re:Um..... (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006630)

Eureka!!! You've done it! Now we have a place to stash the nuclear waste. You should get some cred for that one!

Re:Um..... (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006650)

Does anyone else think that creating a black hole on earth might be a bad idea?

Apparently nature doesn't because if the LHC can produce black holes the Cosmic rays do too so were they that dangerous we would not be here to debate the point.

Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006066)

Well, with all these black holes around, there goes the neighborhood!

Even more dangerous, the LHC could create... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006092)

...the dreaded Black Uranus.

That is something you don't want anywhere near you.

Or, we might be eaten by strangelets... (1)

amper (33785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006138)

And then we'd never know, would we? Where's that History Eraser Button when you need it most?

Questions from the Peanut Gallery (2, Interesting)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006170)

From the article:

... a black hole far smaller than a proton and circled by a squashed four-dimensional black doughnut ...

I get the impression that the "small size" thing is supposed to be reassuring. But aren't all black holes comparatively small, compared to what they've had for lunch? How big would a black hole be that, say, had accidentally swallowed the Earth? And I suppose mass should also reassure me. But the thing is, my gradeschool science oversimplification of black holes said their defining characteristic was not their mass but their insatiable, chain-reaction-like desire to swallow more mass ... like a rolling snowball.

And it's all well and good to say some theoretical rays we've never seen before will magically swing in at the end and save us, but... Since this is testing an unproven theory and not applying a well-understood theory, what are the procedures for evaluating the level of risk?

And what is the recourse of those who don't agree? Science has ethical guidelines for not experimenting on humans because of risk. Does the fact that humans are in the next room ... or the next building ... or the next city, "safely away" from the black hole being created, mean that there is no ethical obligation for informed consent? It would seem like there are more rules governing putting make-up on a rat than there are on this kind of experimentation...

I don't know the details of this kind of thing. I just have to trust someone doing them does. But I wonder exactly what I'm trusting. Anyone know?

Re:Questions from the Peanut Gallery (1)

Servo (9177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006218)

What if it were a white hole? Would you be so quick to start this kind of fear mongering? Not all scientists are racists, ya know!

Re:Questions from the Peanut Gallery (4, Informative)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006376)

The short answer is: don't worry.

All black holes emit "Hawking radiation [wikipedia.org] ", which causes them to slowly lose mass. For black holes below a certain size, this evaporation due to Hawking radiation will be so fast that they won't even have a chance to grow through matter accumulation before they evaporate into nothing. I know this doesn't match up with the pop-science description of black holes--where they consume all matter around them until nothing is left--but suffice it to say that the pop-science explanation leaves out many of the important details.

So, again, the creation of micro-black-holes is nothing to worry about. Remember that although the energies in the LHC are really massive, there are other similarly high-energy natural events occuring throughout the universe, and they appear not to routinely form micro-black-holes that consume everything around them. Creating stable (i.e.: big) black holes appears to be a comparatively rare event.

Some people are not appeased by the above arguments and point out that our current theory of particle physics may be lacking in some unforseen way, and we will destroy ourselves. Then again, the only reason to think a black hole will form at all is because of the current theory of particle physics. If that theory is wrong, it's more likely that... well... no black hole will form at all. (Again, look around the universe and notice the distinct lack of universe-consuming mega-black-holes.)

Re:Questions from the Peanut Gallery (1)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006674)

The short answer is: don't worry

Oh, ok. Since you ask so nicely. (Thanks for the explanations, btw.)

Creating stable (i.e.: big) black holes appears to be a comparatively rare event.

Right. Happening only once per evolved civilization. Hardly woth mentioning in the grand scheme of things...

look around the universe and notice the distinct lack of universe-consuming mega-black-holes

Well, maybe they're there and they just explain Olber's Paradox [wikipedia.org] .

;)

Re:Questions from the Peanut Gallery (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006480)

Black holes are theorized to evaporate, and the smaller they get the faster they evaporate. However this is an unproven theory [wikipedia.org] , and if it is seriously incorrect then we may have a problem.

On the other hand, if the scientists accidentally produce a constantly growing black hole that orbits above and through the planet and makes holes in everything then at least these scientists' theories will be proven wrong, and they will be ashamed of their stupidity for the rest of their lives.

Alway with the bloody String Theory (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006172)

"""
This could happen if extra dimensions exist, as string theory suggests, and if they are large enough.
"""

Why is it that every single time that something suggests something that string theory "predicts" but has many many other explanations, it's touted as a victory for evidence of string theory? (btw this is similar thinking to that of "Intelligent Design" folks) In this case, there are many other theories that have more dimensions.

Basically, IF this is happens, it is only a HINT that some theory that has extra dimensions is valid. And String Theory is far from the only one. Until String Theory is able to make an experimentally verifiable prediction, that /only/ String Theory predicts, it'll continue to be just a bunch of math and hand waving.

Re:Alway with the bloody String Theory (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006430)

You have it backwards... string theory is not accumulating a long list of predictions (that can also be predicted by other theories), it is struggling to find a single prediction that appears in an experiment. (To be precise, it is looking for an experimental verification of a prediction that string theory makes but which doesn't appear in standard theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity.)

If experimental results start supporting string theory, then it will move from the realm of 'speculative' to 'possible.' If the experimental result also supports other (higher-dimensional) theories, then we can start tuning the experiments to show which theory is correct...

But at present we don't even have concrete experimental evidence that these higher-dimensions exist, so verification of that postulate would be huge. It would make all of these alternate theories (of which string theory is one) finally falsifiable.

This sounds like a 70's Blaxploitian Movie (2, Funny)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006226)

Black Saturn, the street tough PI that got kicked off the force for refusing to go along with some crooked cops. Now, he dispenses his own brand of street justice, but has a heart of gold that melts all the ladies.

Re:This sounds like a 70's Blaxploitian Movie (1)

Ardipithecus (985280) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006544)

Deadlier than Dracula...

Black Saturn!

Resonance Cascade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006238)

Oh god it's Black Mesa all over again...

"Thrice Upon A Time" (2, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006240)

This had been discussed here [amazon.com] , and the plan to create microscopic black holes on Earth is something to be wary of.

Mini-Black Holes Mini-Black Saturns (0)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006374)

How about we create Mini-Stars and use them to collect energy they put out in order to take ourselves off of fossil fuels?

If you can create a Mini-Black Saturn, you have a stillborn star, which is what the real Saturn is, a gas giant that did not turn into a star for some reason.

This could be the ultimate weapon if you can make a Mini-Black Hole large enough to take out a city or something before the Hawking radiation causes it to shrink into almost nothingness.

Could this have happened already? (1)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006416)

Just a thought: maybe this could already have happened. How would you detect a particle smaller than a proton which presumably has no charge?

Re:Could this have happened already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18006628)

By using a piece of string. good ole string.

Theories based on theories.... (1)

Der Huhn Teufel (688813) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006428)

I predict the universe is made up of tiny ice breathing dragons. After all, nothing invalidates it so far. Theories are great, especially theories based on facts. Theorizing on unproved theories based on knowledge we don't really understand nor have the technology to adequately gather is setting yourself up for failure, though. Basically, don't jump the gun.

There is a very low chance of a much larger hole (3, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006490)

If you think Lake Geneva and Lake Constance are large, wait until you see Lake Switzerland.

e-mail (2, Funny)

Ardipithecus (985280) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006506)

to: s.hawking@oxford.edu.uk

priority: highest

re: micro saturn black holes

1. Formation confirmed

2. Evaporation confirmed not!!!!!!!!

Hey! That's the name of my new band (1)

aibrahim (59031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006508)

The Black Saturn's.

We're really small. Our music sucks you in, and we're growing.

Multiple Dimensions (1)

dl_zero (933977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006542)

Finally maybe we can put to rest that crap about there being more than 3 dimensions.

What about Black Vulcans? (1)

halovaa (774219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006552)

"I have a black hole...in my pants!" Um, nevermind.

Wow! Finally an experiment to validate string ... (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006622)

Until now, String Theory has been that, a theory. It has been endless multidimensional mathmetics, on might cynically say to generate Phd's. Now an experiment is on the horizon which could be used to prove/disprove string theory. This should be interesting, especially if the extra dimensions are not observed.

Get a brane [wikipedia.org] ! -- String theory humor

Spinning in which direction? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18006634)

FTFA: The spinning ring would also drag space-time around with it, making the central black hole spin as well.

Perhaps I'm too Newtonian in my thinking here but, in order to conserve the angular momentum (presumably zero) of the particles that went into the collision, wouldn't the central black hole have to spin in the opposite direction of the ring? In that case, since we've got two objects dragging space-time in opposite directions, what happens to space-time in the space between?

Or, since we are talking about colliding protons, are we conserving spin instead of classical angular momentum? What happens then? If the protons are aligned, is the net spin of the black hole 1 (assuming that the exclusion principle has been overcome by gravity)? If they are anti-aligned, is the resulting spin zero?

Or do we throw things completely out the window because we're talking about higher spatial dimensions?

Argh! The Fermions are attacking my brain!

[These aren't really serious questions that I expect serious answers to. I know just enough physics to have those weird questions jump into my head, but not enough to intelligently explore the possibilities.]
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