The muppets band The Beetles sing "Letter Be" (to the tune of "Let it Be," of course):
B is for BLACK HOLE...
News doesn't get more exciting and horrifying than this!
MEYRIN, Switzerland (June 29) - The most powerful atom-smasher ever built could make some bizarre discoveries, such as invisible matter or extra dimensions in space, after it is switched on in August.
But some critics fear the Large Hadron Collider could exceed physicists' wildest conjectures: Will it spawn a black hole that could swallow Earth? Or spit out particles that could turn the planet into a hot dead clump?
The collider basically consists of a ring of supercooled magnets 17 miles in circumference attached to huge barrel-shaped detectors. The ring, which straddles the French and Swiss border, is buried 330 feet underground.
The machine, which has been called the largest scientific experiment in history, isn't expected to begin test runs until August, and ramping up to full power could take months. But once it is working, it is expected to produce some startling findings.
Scientists plan to hunt for signs of the invisible "dark matter" and "dark energy" that make up more than 96 percent of the universe, and hope to glimpse the elusive Higgs boson, a so-far undiscovered particle thought to give matter its mass.
The collider could find evidence of extra dimensions, a boon for superstring theory, which holds that quarks, the particles that make up atoms, are infinitesimal vibrating strings.
The theory could resolve many of physics' unanswered questions, but requires about 10 dimensions - far more than the three spatial dimensions our senses experience.
The safety of the collider, which will generate energies seven times higher than its most powerful rival, at Fermilab near Chicago, has been debated for years. The physicist Martin Rees has estimated the chance of an accelerator producing a global catastrophe at one in 50 million - long odds, to be sure, but about the same as winning some lotteries.
Hey, it's all fun and games until your new invention sucks our home planet up through its own ass and we're all obliterated. Well, let's push a button and find out, shall we? It's either gonna be really cool or the last stupid thing we ever see.
Actually, I'm all for this. I've worried about us blowing up the planet ever since I was a little kid. If we're gonna finally do it now, let's maybe discover another dimension first---that makes me one step closer to Doctor Who-land.
Likely there are aliens watching us from other planets, and I'd be much more proud for them to see us blow up Earth in the middle of a huge science experiment (which makes us look a little bit clever) rather than by total world war (which makes us look more like morons). Or perhaps our cool new gadget opens the dimension these aliens have been waiting for to step through and storm the Earth; Then woo-hoo---dinner is on us!