What a fabulous headline:
Botanist sues to stop CERN hurling Earth into parallel universe
Thank you, Boing Boing for calling it to my attention. My “reading week” semester break is drawing to a close, I failed to completely catch up on reading – let alone get ahead – and I was feeling a little stressed and glum. This really puts things in perspective:
A lawsuit has been filed in Hawaii in an attempt to hold up the start of operations by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) atom-smasher on the French-Swiss border.
…Firstly Wagner is concerned that careless atom boffins might slip up and create a miniature black hole. This would then suck in surrounding mass, gaining unstoppably in size and power in a runaway process until it had engulfed the entire Earth and packed it down inside its swelling, unescapable event horizon.
Some physicists have theorised that black holes might act as spacewarp wormhole portals into alternate universes, or something. Summarising, it appears that the boffins at the LHC – should one of them clumsily spill his tea on the controls, for instance – could easily catapult the entire world through a rift in the very fabric of space-time, into another universe which could be entirely hostile to life as we know it. (Eg, essential processes such as fermentation of alcohol, TV, pizza delivery, gravity etc might simply not work; or there could be a parallel Earth ruled by an evil victorious Nazi empire with space battlecruisers and so forth.)
That would be bad: but even if the LHC guys manage to avoid it, there are other ways in which their meddling might destroy the world.
A particularly violent game of proton billiards, for instance, of the very sort the LHC’s superpowered seven trillion electron-volt atomic cues are designed to play, might lead to all sorts of trouble. Quarks might get mixed up into “negatively-charged strangelets” which would turn everything else they touched into strangelets as well. The Earth, and then perhaps the entire universe, could be turned into a fearful strangelet soup; or perhaps custard.
CERN representatives of course insist the particle smasher “is not a threat to the Earth.”
Hillary Clinton promises to atomize the Democratic Party if that’s what it takes to be the nominee this fall. And she’s got the chops to do it, having steeled her nerves dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, negotiating peace in Northern Ireland, and making friends with arch conservative and former arch-enemy Richard Mellon Scaife (yes, the man who orchestrated the vast right-wing conspiracy to bring down the Clinton presidency) – who now has glowing things to say about her.
Easy to see why McCain supporters are getting worried about his airtime, what with the two-ring circus that is the Democratic Primary. But that benign neglect comes in handy when the press gives him a continuous pass on some serious whoppers. After McCain repeatedly confused Sunnis and Shiites a couple weeks ago, Chuck Todd told Tim Russert that McCain has enough foreign policy experience “in the bank” to get away with these little “slip-ups.” The comment inspired Kevin Drum to write the best characterization of McCain I’ve yet seen:
Let’s recap. Foreign policy cred lets him get away with wild howlers on foreign policy. Fiscal integrity cred lets him get away with outlandishly irresponsible economic plans. Anti-lobbyist cred lets him get away with pandering to lobbyists. Campaign finance reform cred lets him get away with gaming the campaign finance system. Straight talking cred lets him get away with brutally slandering Mitt Romney in the closing days of the Republican primary. Maverick uprightness cred allows him to get away with begging for endorsements from extremist religious leaders like John Hagee. “Man of conviction” cred allows him to get away with transparent flip-flopping so egregious it would make any other politician a laughingstock. Anti-torture cred allows him to get away with supporting torture as long as only the CIA does it.
Remind me again: where does all this cred come from? And what window do Democrats go to to get the same treatment the press gives McCain?
Finally, during my relative silence of the last couple weeks, we passed the 5th anniversary of Bush’s illegal war in Iraq, and lost the 4000th (plus) American service person. What does Dick Cheney have to say about the losses? “They volunteered.” Wow. For 3, 4, and 5 tours? For stop-loss? I’m sure that’s all in the fine print, but what an attitude from Mr. 5 Deferments. (Here’s the source of the remarkable image above.) And for all you HRC voters who say you’ll switch to McCain if HRC is not the Democratic nominee this fall? McCain promises he won’t change course in Iraq. Is that really what you want?