I’ve started getting a magazine called The Week. It is a news magazine for the ADD generation, and I love it. Microscopic stories about this, that, and whatever has happened in the universe over the last week. They round up sound bytes on everything from heavy-duty political topics (should Hilary quit?) to celebrity gossip (Madonna won’t sing “Like A Virgin” ever again).
Every week, I’ve been finding one particular story that really intrigues me, and this week’s was so good I had to share. Did you know we’re all about to be swallowed up by black holes? Or maybe turned into strangelets?
The Large Hadron Collider, a particle-accelerator so big it’s located in a tunnel underneath both France and Switzerland, is scheduled to start smashing atoms this June. Walter Wagner, among others, has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Hawaii for a restraining order to be placed on the LHC until safety considerations are reviewed. He suggests the LHC may generate mini black holes (which would gobble each other up to become a big black hole, then gobble up Mr. Wagner, followed by the LHC, then Switzerland, and eventually the world, muahahaha!!) or strangelets (particles that turn all the other particles they touch into other strangelets and so on until the whole world becomes strange matter, muahahaha!!) or even magnetic monopoles, which sound way less interesting but could presumably destroy the world anyway.
Although (according the the Discovery Channel’s blog) physicists generally “accept that being sucked screaming down a black hole is something that’s fair to worry about,” none of them seem to be particularly worried. Apparently there’s no evidence that any of these things have ever actually happened in the known universe, and if they were going to happen, it would be in nature and not in a minuscule (on the cosmic scale) lab under Switzerland.
“But scientists have been known to be wrong,” noted the article I found in my magazine. The author of said article then advises us to start living under as if the End is near. (Yes, “End” with a capital E. You don’t think black holes will let us rebuild, do you?)
“Tell your friends and family how you really feel about them. Leave work early. Go watch the sun set. And look at the bright side: Everything you know and love may be annihilated, but wouldn’t that be a small price to pay to finally put an end to the Democratic presidential campaign?”
There’s a science fiction story in here somewhere. I’m just sure there is.