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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old September 4 2008, 10:08 PM   #16
Arrqh
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

captcalhoun wrote: View Post
Arrghman wrote: View Post

On the other hand, I am a little worried about a resonance cascade...
ah, but this is at CERN in Switzerland, not at the Black Mesa...
Where Gordon Freeman goes, trouble follows. Well as long as they let him push a button...
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Old September 4 2008, 10:16 PM   #17
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

Jim Steele wrote: View Post
So, good people of TBBS, should I be worried?
Yes.

I fear that that has the potential to destroy human civilization once and for all.
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Old September 4 2008, 10:48 PM   #18
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

Iasius wrote: View Post
Jim Steele wrote: View Post
So, good people of TBBS, should I be worried?
Yes.

I fear that that has the potential to destroy human civilization once and for all.
Kill it with fire!
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Old September 4 2008, 11:03 PM   #19
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

Arrghman wrote: View Post
Iasius wrote: View Post
Jim Steele wrote: View Post
So, good people of TBBS, should I be worried?
Yes.

I fear that that has the potential to destroy human civilization once and for all.
Kill it with fire!
I'll man the harpoons too....just in case
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Old September 5 2008, 12:31 AM   #20
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

I don't exactly think the initial concern was silly... but I think once LHC convened a safety commission to evaluate the possibilities and determined they were like... astronomically minimal-approaching-zero, that continuing to claim it's going to be disastrous is a little silly. I mean, I think the strangelet probability is like lower than the probability that all of the atoms in your body will simultaneously and spontaneously tunnel onto the moon and you'll die of suffocation.

I'm mixed on the semi-metaphysical question of whether anything we can do can actually damage anything significant. On one hand you can say no because of how meager our knowledge of the universe is. on the other hand you can say yes because of how meager our knowledge of the universe is. Given our lack of understanding of singularity physics it's entirely possible that our universe was created by some goofball scientists trying to figure out this very thing and producing these energy collissions. Or, maybe not these, but at higher energies we haven't, but eventually will, reach. Who knows. As a scientist I'm not willing to stop so, if it happens because our ignorance is just so great that we can't possible see it happening... it happens
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Old September 5 2008, 12:34 AM   #21
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

scotthm wrote: View Post
Why do you think that non-scientists are foolish to question the wisdom of experiments that hypothetically may have serious negative consequences?
Generally the people who are questioning the experiments do not have a full enough scientific knowledge of the physics behind it to be able to determine if there actually is a danger are not; most of them are just being hysterical. That is certainly foolish.

This doesn't mean that no one should question it... but it's pointless to do so without a proper grounding in the actual science.
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Old September 5 2008, 01:09 AM   #22
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

Arrghman wrote: View Post
Generally the people who are questioning the experiments do not have a full enough scientific knowledge of the physics behind it to be able to determine if there actually is a danger are not; most of them are just being hysterical. That is certainly foolish.
I don't know who's getting hysterical about it, but you shouldn't expect the average person to become a physicist. It's not particularly unreasonable for the average person to be somewhat nervous when they're told that there might be a possibility of catastrophe, however slight. After all, these are experiments being performed, meaning that even the most learned physicists aren't absolutely certain of the outcome.

---------------
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Old September 5 2008, 02:16 AM   #23
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

scotthm wrote: View Post
Arrghman wrote: View Post
Generally the people who are questioning the experiments do not have a full enough scientific knowledge of the physics behind it to be able to determine if there actually is a danger are not; most of them are just being hysterical. That is certainly foolish.
I don't know who's getting hysterical about it, but you shouldn't expect the average person to become a physicist. It's not particularly unreasonable for the average person to be somewhat nervous when they're told that there might be a possibility of catastrophe, however slight. After all, these are experiments being performed, meaning that even the most learned physicists aren't absolutely certain of the outcome.

---------------
Nobody's absolutely certain of anything in physics, and the degree to which physicists aren't absolutely certain that something catastrophic will happen is a dozen orders of magnitude smaller than the colloquially referred to margin of certitude lacking in most people's decisions. When you say that you can't be absolutely certain that driving home after 4 or 5 beers will be ok, there's at least a measurable statistical probability that that's enough to inhibit you enough to cause an accident. So my point is, the biggest frustration to physicists when people like this enter the discussion is because the words they use don't mean what they think they mean. When the layman says "absolutely certain", the lacking certainty he's talking about is like an inch, compared to the physicist's which is about a micrometer.

It is technically true to say they're not absolutely certain. But I don't think the layman making these arguments is fully aware of this particular definition of absolute certainty.

Also, I don't mean to speak generally, but you will sometimes discover that if you question the people most hardcore about trying to stop the LHC from being built or go live, you will find that for some of them, this resistance is religiously based in the descendent of the kind of stuff Gallileo faced. The "we don't have the right to study the creation of the Universe" stuff. A lot of them just see a science article that uses the words "moments after the birth of the universe" and "secrets of creation" and their heresey bells go off.

That's not to say every one with a question is one of these people. But I've met 1 or 2.
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Old September 5 2008, 02:24 AM   #24
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

scotthm wrote: View Post
I don't know who's getting hysterical about it, but you shouldn't expect the average person to become a physicist.
Of course not, but I do expect people to accept that they don't know enough about a subject to understand what's actually going on and to defer to people who do. Namely, the physicists. That's certainly what I do!

And of course we don't know exactly what would happen, otherwise we'd have no need to run the experiments. But we do know enough to say beyond a reasonable doubt that it will not be harmful to us... because if it was we would already be wiped out by all the cosmic rays that are constantly smacking into our atmosphere at higher energy levels then LHC will produce. That's I think the most important thing to understand about LHC... that the events that it will produce are not unique in the universe. In fact they're quite common.
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Old September 5 2008, 06:47 AM   #25
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

John O. wrote: View Post
The "we don't have the right to study the creation of the Universe" stuff. A lot of them just see a science article that uses the words "moments after the birth of the universe" and "secrets of creation" and their heresey bells go off.
Like this nutcase?

LHC = SATAN'S STARGATE
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Old September 5 2008, 09:08 AM   #26
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

all them big magnets are gonna cause all the compass needles to point toward switzerland when they fire that thing up
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Old September 5 2008, 12:13 PM   #27
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

Jim Steele wrote: View Post
John O. wrote: View Post
The "we don't have the right to study the creation of the Universe" stuff. A lot of them just see a science article that uses the words "moments after the birth of the universe" and "secrets of creation" and their heresey bells go off.
Like this nutcase?

LHC = SATAN'S STARGATE
Wow.... Funny and ultra sad at the same time.

What.A.Nut
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Old September 5 2008, 12:40 PM   #28
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

Jim Steele wrote: View Post


What a brilliant way to start the day!

Thanks for the laugh -I'm going to post it in my Viddy this!-thread right away
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Old September 5 2008, 05:19 PM   #29
Meredith
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

Jim Steele wrote: View Post
John O. wrote: View Post
The "we don't have the right to study the creation of the Universe" stuff. A lot of them just see a science article that uses the words "moments after the birth of the universe" and "secrets of creation" and their heresey bells go off.
Like this nutcase?

LHC = SATAN'S STARGATE
Who is going to play Jack O'neill in this one? The angel Gabriel? What about Daniel Jackson, Carter and Teal'c?
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Old September 6 2008, 03:33 AM   #30
M'Sharak
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Re: LHC fears: Valid or Silly?

scotthm wrote: View Post
JustAFriend wrote: View Post
We simply dont matter that much in the Universe, kiddies....
I don't think the people worrying about these experiments are worried about the Universe, but about Earth, our teeny, tiny, little corner of the universe, which we obviously can affect.

Why do you think that non-scientists are foolish to question the wisdom of experiments that hypothetically may have serious negative consequences?
According to whose hypothesis are these serious negative consequences of which you speak possible? What qualifications and credentials does this hypothetical hypothesiser hold?

There's nothing wrong with wondering about consequences, but this:

scotthm wrote: View Post
It's not particularly unreasonable for the average person to be somewhat nervous when they're told that there might be a possibility of catastrophe, however slight. After all, these are experiments being performed, meaning that even the most learned physicists aren't absolutely certain of the outcome.
suggests that you're assuming the worst, simply because of a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word "experiment" (similar to the misunderstanding underlying the oft-repeated phrase "it's just a theory") and because someone (no doubt the same hypothesiser referred to above, who possesses credentials of an unknown, perhaps irrelevant or possibly nonexistent nature) told you "that there might be a possibility of catastrophe, however slight," which really sounds to me like nothing more than plain old garden-variety uninformed alarmism.
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