Planet Gore

With a Bang and a Whimper

Google is celebrating Day One of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN today. 

Meanwhile, Benny Peiser has a fascinating chronicle of some of the End of Days reactions in the European press.

If the experiment goes to plan, Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who first mooted the possibility of the elusive particle, will probably be nominated for the Nobel Prize. Alternatively, if the experiment goes wrong, the LHC might conjure up a black hole which will fall into the ground and swallow the earth. Or it might trigger a catastrophic chain reaction in the very fabric of space and time which will rip apart the entire universe like the skin of a bursting balloon. Could be interesting.

     –Scotland on Sunday, 7 September 2008

Be afraid. Be very afraid. When anyone, particularly a scientist, tells you there is nothing to worry about, you know damn well there is only one thing to do: worry.

     –Richard McComb, The Birmingham Post, 9 September 2008
Where’s the Daily Mail campaign demanding action this day? How can George Monbiot remain silent at a time like this? Doesn’t Greenpeace consider doomsday an environmental issue?

      –David Cox, The Guardian, 19 April 2008
Look beyond the headlines, and questions begin to pile up.

    –Anton Wylie, The Register, 9 September 2008
Scientists working on the world’s biggest machine are being besieged by phone calls and emails from people who fear the world will end next Wednesday, when the gigantic atom smasher starts up. “They phone me and say: “I am seriously worried. Please tell me that my children are safe,” said Gillies. Emails also arrive every day that beg for reassurance that the world will not end, he explained. Many of the emails received by Gillies cite a gloomy book – Our Final Century?: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century? – written by Lord Rees, astronomer royal and president of the Royal Society.

   –Roger Highfield, The Daily Telegraph, 5 September 2008
No decision to go ahead with an experiment with a conceivable “Doomsday” downside should be made unless the general public (or a representative group of them) is satisfied that the risk is below what they collectively regard as an acceptable threshold. It isn’t good enough to make a slapdash estimate of even the tiniest risk of destroying the world.

     –Martin Rees, Our Final Century, 2003, p. 127

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