Friday, March 19, 2010

Einstein's regret, mad physicists CERN regards

"If I had only know, I would have been a locksmith."
- Albert Einstein

Below, the madness Einstein regret to have started, from the 1940's till present, starting with physicists CERN highly regards which two were the inspiration for the mad scientist in the movie Dr. Stranglelove:

July 1945, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, from his cryptic telegram to scientists back at Berkeley before the first a-bomb test "I've become death... the destroyer of worlds."

After World War II, Oppenheimer, recognized as the father of the A-bomb stated "In some sort of crude sense, which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish... physicists have known sin, and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose."

Physicist Enrico Fermi remark about work on the atomic bomb: "Don't bother me with your conscientious scruples - after all, the thing is beautiful physics."

Under the topic Los Alamos, physicist, Edward Teller, known as father of the hydrogen bomb, put forward the remote possibility that an atom bomb would generate enough heat to ignite the world's atmosphere, but approved the go ahead with testing the first explosion to see what happens.

On Edward Teller's Wikipedia page, under the topic Operation Plowshare and Project Chariot, one of the most controversial projects he proposed was a plan to use a multi-megaton hydrogen bomb to dig a deep-water harbor more than a mile long and half a mile wide to use for shipment of resources from coal and oil fields through Point Hope, Alaska. The Atomic Energy Commission accepted Teller's proposal in 1958 and it was designated Project Chariot.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which Edward Teller help found, has something in common with CERN's LHC. Both laboratories have a statue of the Hindu god Shiva, which depicts this God performing a dance called the Nataraja to destroy a weary universe in preparation to restart creation.

From the 1988 Los Angeles Times article "Arms Cut Spells 'Turning Point' for Livermore Lab" - "In a lobby outside the world's most powerful laser here sits a waist-high statue of the Hindu god Shiva, a Hindu god capable both of world destruction and creation."

Photo of Shiva outside CERN, Geneva, where the LHC is located:

Quotes from CERN's mad physicists:

Brian Cox:
* "At every stage of understanding the universe better, the benefits to civilisation have been immeasurable. None of those big leaps were made with us knowing what was going to happen."

* "We might not have thought of what turns up, but we know we've got to see it."

CERN physicist, John Ellis, who conducted the 2008 LSAG report which was said to be conducted by physicists not involved with the LHC experiment, is seen in the first video in the link below promoting the LHC back in 2006 stating "We don't know exactly what we're going to find, but we know whatever it is it's going to be something new."

Experimental particle physicist, Jonathan Butterworth at University College London (UCL), and a member of the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), mentioning the Hawking Radiation theory (unproven conjecture) like it's a proven process when it has never been witnessed in nature: "They would decay very quickly by Hawking radiation. So we'd look for the products of those decays."

The theory, Hawking radiation, was admitted by Stephen Hawking to be in error in 2004, and with this knowledge CERN physicists and followers spread the propoganda like it's a proven process when it could be completely wrong.

From CERN's review of the safety of LHC collisions pdf "Any microscopic black holes produced at the LHC is expected to decay by Hawking radiation before they reach the detector walls".

If you continue reading CERN's pdf file, CERN back tracks on Hawking radiation stating "so far no experiment has had the sensitivity to find direct evidence of it", but turns around in the next paragraph crazily stating "...the existence of Hawking radiation are valid in the extra-dimensional scenarios used to suggest the possible production of microscopic black holes."

November 2009, CERN Director for Accelerators, Steve Myers stated "The LHC is a far better understood machine than it was a year ago." If CERN understands the LHC better now compared to their understanding in 2008, wouldn't that make the 2008 LSAG safety report invalid?

Tribute to physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer from CERN Courier:

Enrico Fermi: genius and giant of science: from CERN Courier:

CERN's immunity contracts from legal process

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, had member countries sign immunity contracts from legal process back in 1955, 1972 and again in 2004. CERN knew future experiments were dangerous in the 1950's and still do to this day. Why else would they have members countries sign this contract to grant them immunity from legal process if all was safe using the LHC as they say?

Privileges and Immunity of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (2004):

I’m assuming the United States signed one of the older contracts since they didn’t sign the 2004 revised version.

Friday, March 12, 2010

LHC Shutdown Hoax: misleading article titles

Seems CERN's PR machine has started a hoax to distract the masses, knowing full well our pathetic media will run with it. I haven't had time to check which news outlet started it, but the news article titles give the false impression that the LHC is about to shutdown for maintenance. Unless surfers read the article instead accepting titles as fact, they wont know it's addressing a future shutdown in 2011 and that the machine is currently operational.

Atom smasher to shut for year

Hadron Collider to be closed amid fears of a very big bang

Large Hadron Collider to close for a year for refit and repairs

Large Hadron Collider ‘to shut down for a year

LHC to shut down for a year to address design faults

The LHC to Shut Down... Again?

Large Hadron Collider Will Shut Down for a Year

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Q&A with CERN physicist about the LHC

Adam: I like to thank you for your time.
CERN: No problem. Who do you work for again?
Adam: I'm just an independent.
CERN: Oh...
Adam: Whoever publishes my work.
CERN: Interesting... Hope it pays the bills.
Adam: I get by. How powerful is the Large Hadron Collider compared to other colliders?
CERN: Beyond your wildest dreams, Ron.
Adam: Try me. *trying not to laugh*
CERN: Presently, it's around 3 times more powerful, which we hope to get up to 7 TeV
Adam: How hot will collisions at the LHC be?
CERN: We once figured it would be 100 000 times hotter than the core of the Sun, but now it might be around 5 times more due to the recent collision temperatures at a weaker collider, the RHIC at Brookhaven.
Adam: How do you contain such heat?
CERN: You're joking, right?
Adam: Do I look like a physcist? *laughing*
CERN: No... you look like a moron. *sly grin*
Adam: You're so kind.
CERN: heh... don't quote that.
Adam: No worries...
CERN: The collisions at the LHC will release an amount of energy comparable to that of two colliding mosquitoes, so there's nothing...
Adam: What?! How was the energy witnessed by colliding mosquitoes to make that comparison?
CERN: You're not asking the right question.
Adam: Let me rephrase... How do you know that collisions between two mosquitoes is equivalent to colliding protons at the LHC?
CERN: *looking almighty* You are truly ignorant if you believe the doomsday crowd.
Adam: Huh... Don't changed the subject. School me if I'm ignorant. Provide proof of the proton mosquito comparison. Was it documented visually? Can I Google it?
CERN: Look, they're small, so logic would dictate...
Adam: You're kidding! That's how CERN came to their conclusion?
CERN: *looking less than mighty* You don't understand...
Adam: You spent billions of dollars on the LHC when you could have simply collided pebbles to produce the same results?
CERN: You're preposterous. There's no comparison...
Adam: ...But there is with mosquitoes?
CERN: *nerves* The energy from colliding pebbles is greater than...
Adam: Greater? Then I should be able to open another dimension by simply clapping my hands.
CERN: *looking upset* I think we're done.
Adam: Look, I wont quote any of it. Could you please answer a few more questions.
CERN: You are obviously trying to make us look crazy.
Adam: No... Just want to help calm your critics.
CERN: sure...
Adam: What do you expect to discover at the LHC?
CERN: *5 second pause, looking suspiciously* We are hoping to discover Higgs Boson, and maybe the existence of extra dimensions which is predicted by string theory.
Adam: Possibly create a portal to another dimension?
CERN: Maybe.
Adam: *Fake gaze of wonderment*
CERN: *smiling* Wouldn't it be amazing if we sent something through to another dimension, or something came out?
Adam: I'll be jumping for joy.
CERN: We're done. *Getting up*
Adam: Hey... You was wide open. I couldn't resist.
CERN: *Giving me the finger* Fuck you!
Adam: I deserve that. Serious, just one more question.
CERN: You know what, I'm curious. What's your next question? Don't forget the punchline after my response. *talking loud sarcastically*
Adam: Hey, twice you provided info I didn't ask for. I was just trying to make you comfortable with humor. Sorry if I offended you.
CERN: Next...
Adam: What's the difference between cosmic ray collisions with Earth particles compared to protons collisions at the LHC?
CERN: Cosmic ray collisions are millions of times more powerful than any collision the LHC will produce, and since we're still here is proof the LHC is safe.
Adam: On your site it states cosmic rays have created a million LHC's, so I take that as about the same.
CERN: *Dear in the headlights look* Either way, we're still here.
Adam: And why is that?
CERN: Particles that get hit by cosmic rays get bounced into space safely, so if a micro black hole was created by a cosmic ray collision, it wont cause us any harm.
Adam: How fast are Earth particles moving when they get hit by cosmic rays?
CERN: Compared to cosmic rays at collision, zero.
Adam: So earth particles are stationary before cosmic ray collisions compared to proton collisions in the LHC?
CERN: *Nerves* It's the same energy, so there's no difference.
Adam: But there is a difference. Cosmic rays are hitting stationary particles which get easily deflected at a high speed into space. Is there any deflection when protons at the LHC collide?
Adam: But they're colliding at the same speed?
CERN: I mean no... look... If a micro black hole is created it wont grow but evaporate due to Hawking Radiation!
Adam: Have anyone from CERN witnessed Hawking radiation in nature?
CERN: *ignoring question* Micro black holes are harmless, even if we created stable ones! They're so small there is no way it will accrete enough matter to cause us harm!
Adam: So you're now saying they'll grow, and you're ok with that?
CERN: *angry, turns into Jessep from A Few Good Men* Risk is what makes the world go round! If it wasn't for us scientists, you'll still be living in the stone ages! The chances of anything caused by the LHC that would threaten Earth's existence is miniscule. Hardly a blip on the radar! I rather see us die seeking knowledge than dying because of a nuclear war started by fools. Can you handle that?!
Adam: Um... nope.
CERN: *Looking stressed, still upset* Sorry... the outburst... *Leaning on table, hand over mouth*
Adam: *getting up* No problem... I'll would take up theater if I was you.
CERN: Yeah... *laughing*
Adam: Take care of yourself
CERN: *looking down, giving me the finger again*

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CERN on trial: could a lawsuit shut down the LHC?

23 February 2010, by Eric E. Johnson
Originally published at New Scientist

COURTS and legal scholars love quoting legal maxims in Latin. One of the most famous is fiat justitia ruat caelum. The phrase is a resolute affirmation of the rule of law. It means "Let justice be done though the heavens fall".

It was intended as hyperbole. But, ironically, courts may now have to confront these words on literal terms. In various countries, plaintiffs have sought court orders to halt the operation of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, with the most extraordinary of allegations: that the experiment may create a black hole that will devour the Earth.

Up until now, the various lawsuits filed against the LHC have faltered. But if the right kind of claim is filed in the proper court, a judge may soon have to face the question of whether an injunction might be needed to save the world.

Injunctions are court orders that command persons to do or refrain from doing something. They are relatively routine, for example when a building of historic significance is threatened with demolition. But wading into the world of particle physics to shut down the LHC would be a forbidding proposition for anyone in judges' robes.

In deciding whether or not to issue an injunction, courts engage in what lawyers refer to as a "balancing test". The idea is that the court weighs the hardships that would be endured by both parties if the injunction were or were not issued, taking into account the likelihood and severity of the alleged consequences. The test closely resembles what is portrayed by courthouse statues around the world - Lady Justice holding up scales to measure the relative weight of the plaintiff's and defendant's cases.

So let's do the balancing test for the LHC case. The hardship CERN would suffer from an injunction is enormous - idling thousands of workers and equipment worth billions of euros, and upending a great scientific adventure. That weighs on the scales heavily. But on the other side is an Earth-mass black hole. That not only tips the scales, it eats them up.

The remaining task is to determine whether the questions raised are sufficiently serious. For that, a court must take a careful look at the scientific controversy. Yet the physics involved is difficult terrain even for physicists. A judge with maybe just a few days to ponder has scant chance of learning the science well enough to confidently decide who is right and who is wrong.

Usually when complex scientific issues are involved, courts turn to expert witnesses. But there is a problem with using experts in this case: none would seem to be without bias. CERN employs half of the world's particle physicists; the other half are their friends. All of them are anxiously awaiting data from the LHC to advance their field. The LHC is not just a particle physics experiment, it is the particle physics experiment. So what is a court to do?

Courts can maintain the rule of law in a fair and principled way by looking at the human context surrounding the scientific debate. While the physics may be largely impenetrable to the court, the human factors are not.

One question a court can investigate is how likely it is that the theoretical underpinnings of the scientific work are defective. Those seeking an injunction could, for example, ask a court to consider the history of shifting arguments for why the LHC is safe.

In 1999, physicists said no particle accelerator for the foreseeable future would have the power to create a black hole. But theoretical work published in 2001 showed that if hidden extra dimensions in space-time did exist, the LHC might create black holes after all. Thereafter, the argument for safety was changed. In 2003, it said that any black holes created would instantly evaporate. But when subsequent theoretical work suggested otherwise, the argument changed again. In 2008, CERN issued a report arguing a safety case based, ultimately, on astrophysical arguments and observations of eight white dwarf stars. These flip-flops on safety might cause a court to find current assurances less persuasive than they would otherwise be.

In addition, a court could look at the sociological and psychological context in which the disputed scientific work was carried out. Social scientists have identified a number of phenomena that can skew attempts to reach objective assessments of risk. For instance, cognitive dissonance describes the tendency of people to seek information that is consistent with their beliefs and to avoid information that is inconsistent. "Groupthink" describes a process by which intelligent individuals, working in a group, can reach a worry-free outlook that is not justified by the facts. And the phenomenon of confirmation bias - the tendency to filter information so as to confirm working hypotheses - was cited by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board as one explanation for why space shuttle programme managers ignored sure signs of trouble.

A court charged with deciding whether an injunction should be issued could consider whether these sorts of social effects plausibly undermine the conclusion that the LHC is safe.

These lines of inquiry might strike physicists as unfair. Many will argue that scientific work should be debated on its scientific merits alone. That objection is well put in a purely academic dispute, but the question of whether the LHC is safe is not academic - it is a real-world question with the highest possible stakes. Evaluating the science from a real-world perspective, and understanding scientific work to be a fallible human enterprise, is not merely fair - where justice is concerned, it is essential.

"The question of whether the LHC is safe is a real-world question with the highest possible stakes"

Eric E. Johnson is assistant professor of law at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He makes these arguments in more detail in the Tennessee Law Review (vol 76, p 819)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Injunction Against the End of the World

Professor Eric E. Johnson's article, The Black Hole Case: The Injunction Against the End of the World (pdf) was subject of discussion on the MIT Technology Review, Bloomberg News, which still has CERN physicists quaking in their boots.

Are CERN physicists afraid their prized particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider will get shut down because of Johnson's article; finally woke up from fantasyland and see even a slim chance of destroying Earth is too much; or are they just tweaking from drinking too much Redbull?

The Case of the Collider and the Great Black Hole

MIT Technology Review
from the physics arXiv blog
Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 - original online article

The physicists have had their say. Now a legal study asks how a court might handle a request to halt a multibillion-dollar particle-physics experiment. The analysis makes for startling reading.

For particle physicists, the Large Hadron Collider is a long-awaited dream that has finally come true. The LHC should supply a steady stream of data for the community to number crunch and that should lead to some fundamental new insights into the nature of the universe. It also guarantees jobs and careers for a generation of physicists around the world.

But there is another group who say that CERN, the organisation that has built and runs the collider, has not done enough to reassure the world that the work is safe. The fear is that the collider can produce black holes that might gobble up the Earth. Various legal actions have failed to halt the work, not because of the scientific or safety issues involved, but because of problems of jurisdiction. CERN has an immunity from court action in its member states and a US court action in Hawaii found that it did not have the jurisdiction to proceed.

Today, we get a fascinating new perspective on the issue from Eric Johnson, an assistant professor of law at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks. Johnson asks what a court should do with a preliminary-injunction request to halt a multibillion-dollar particle-physics experiment that plaintiffs claim could create a black hole that will devour the planet.

This is a problem, he says, that has all the hallmarks of a law-school classic. And to give him his due, it's certainly a gripping read.

Johnson begins with an account of the history of the debate behind the science and its safety. This is worth a read by itself because Johnson writes with flare, clarity and an excellent grasp of the issues that scientists grapple with. He is not a physicist but uses his journey of understanding as a way of benchmarking how a court might come to grips with the issues involved.

Having set the scene, he then introduces the unique legal problems that this case presents. "The enormity of the alleged harm and the extreme complexity of the scientific factual issues combine to create seemingly irreducible puzzles of jurisprudence," says Johnson.

For example, one problem that a court might have to deal with is the expert witness. The problem here is one of independence. There is a huge amount at stake for these witnesses. On the one hand, an injunction would threaten the career of almost any particle physicist who gave evidence. On the other hand, there is the threat to the Earth.

"The experts are either afraid for their livelihoods or afraid for their lives," writes Johnson.

One way round this is to carry out a cost-benefit analysis but this soon runs into problems too. How do you value the future of entire planet? You could argue that it is infinite in which case any risk that it will be destroyed, no matter how tiny, is too much. Another argument, well established in law, is that there can be no award to a dead person's estate. "Death is simply not a redressable injury under American tort law," says Johnson.

By this argument, the downside of a particle-accelerator disaster that destroys the planet--assuming it is quick--is nothing. The cost-benefit analysis simply blows up in our faces.

There is a way out of these legal conundrums, however. Johnson describes four categories of meta-analysis that could be used to address the black hole case.

One line of analysis focuses on the possibility that the scientific theory upon which the safety assurances are based may be defective. He points out that these safety assurances have not yet stood the test of time. In fact, the various safety assurances that CERN has given over the last ten years or so have changed several times as new ideas and challenges have arisen. That's worrying.

And in any case, there is a more general point. Many scientists, even particle physicists, would surely agree that a scientific theory that seems unassailable in one era may seem naïve in the next.

This raises the important question of whether state-of-the-art theoretical physics is up to the task of making a trustworthy prediction that the LHC is safe.

Then there is the possibility that the scientists at CERN who have given the safety assurances have simply made a mistake in their thinking. Is it really possible that a team of world class scientists could make such an error?

Well, yes. One fatal example is the 1954 Castle Bravo nuclear test which was supposed to yield 5 megatons but actually yielded 15 megatons because of flawed calculations. In this case, a Japanese trawler fishing outside the exclusion zone was engulfed by fallout killing one of the crew.

Then there were the calculations that physicists used to reassure the public that another accelerator called RHIC was safe. These too turned out to be seriously flawed.

But perhaps the most worrying problem is the possibility of groupthink, that particle physicists have simply convinced themselves that the LHC is not dangerous and will brook no alternative view. There are some other examples of this in science, perhaps the most high profile one being the Columbia space shuttle tragedy.

Johnson says this: "The report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board ("CAIB") found that decision makers focused on information that tended to support their expected or desired result--that the foam strike that ultimately doomed Columbia did not represent a safety of flight issue."

Indeed CAIB said: "In our view, the NASA organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as the foam."

It would be hard to rule out the possibility that a similar form of groupthink infects the particle physics community. On the contrary, there is evidence that physicists have little time for anyone who questions their safety assurances. Johnson quotes the British physicist Brian Cox who is reported to have said: "Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a twat."

That is not an encouraging sign.

But perhaps the most powerful argument that all is not well with CERN's safety assurances is the fact that the organisation has carried out the safety studies itself. Here is Johnson's take:

"It is remarkable to think for a moment how CERN's situation might be viewed if, instead of operating a particle accelerator, CERN was a developer of pharmaceuticals. If a pharmaceutical firm attempted to take a drug to market based on the safety assessment of a panel of five of its employees, who in turn relied on the scientific work of one employee and one other scientist with a pending visiting position with the firm--it would be a scandal of epic proportions."

Having presented the case, Johnson himself is remarkably relaxed about the issue. "My motivation in writing is certainly not to engender fear. I have no apprehension to share. Nor is it my intent or my desire to shut down the LHC. ... My argument is one of law," he says. He does not not predict how such a legal case might pan out. Instead, he says it would be a matter for a court decide (presuming one could be found with the necessary authority to hear it).

Nevertheless, it is hard to come away from Johnson's analysis with the impression that the global public interest has been well served in this matter.

Johnson says this:

"While it seems absurd, in the abstract, that a group of apparently normal people could risk the entire planet in the course of carrying out a science experiment, the prospect does seem distinctly plausible once one takes a look at the details. Such a disaster is not likely, to be sure, but it does appear plausible enough to give one pause."

Johnson is well aware that this case may never come to court (although he points out that one like it that raises the same issues may well come about in the future).

So the real test will be how the particle physics community responds, whether with spittle-flecked ire or reasoned argument.

There is another possibility of course; that they'll simply attempt to ignore it.

Ref: The Black Hole Case: The Injunction Against the End of the World

Friday, February 12, 2010

Missed facts about CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Due to the sad state of journalism today, lack of research, not asking tough questions, the facts below is compiled as evidence that CERN is clueless about their LHC's experiments, but I hear they're experts at watchmaking!

Theoretical Physicist Stephen William Hawking

1. According to the LSAG safety report, micro black holes will evaporate before they reach the walls of the Large Hadron Collider by a theory (unproven conjecture) called Hawking Radiation, which was admitted to be in error by Stephen Hawking back in 2004.
Hopefully it's not completely false!

2. November 2009, CERN Director for Accelerators, Steve Myers stated "The LHC is a far better understood machine than it was a year ago. We've learned from our experience, and engineered the technology that allows us to move on. That's how progress is made."
If CERN understands the machine better now compared to back in 2008, wouldn't that make the 2008 LSAG safety report invalid?

3. CERN, who produced the 2008 LSAG report stated back in 2007 "mandated a group of particle physicists, also not involved in the LHC experiments, to monitor the latest speculations about LHC collisions" just to find out their loyal LHC cheerleader for years, John Ellis, was head of this group. Below is a video of John Ellis promoting the LHC while at the same time stating "We don't know exactly what we're going to find, but we know whatever it is it's going to be something new," and he was assigned to conduct this report?

4. Experimental particle physicist, Jonathan Butterworth at University College London (UCL), and a member of the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), mentioning the Hawking Radiation theory (unproven conjecture) like it's a proven process when it has never been witnessed in nature: "They would decay very quickly by Hawking radiation. So we'd look for the products of those decays."

5. CERN physicist, Brian Cox quotes of admission of not knowing what to expect at the LHC:

(a) "At every stage of understanding the universe better, the benefits to civilisation have been immeasurable. None of those big leaps were made with us knowing what was going to happen."

(b) "We know it will discover exciting things. We just don't know what they are yet."

(c) "The LHC is certainly, by far, the biggest jump into the unknown."

(d) "We know it will discover something because we have deliberately built it to journey to uncharted waters." Located on page 2 of this link:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

CERN: LHC is better understood than before

That's right... CERN didn't understand their Big Bang Machine before, The Large Hadron Collider, even after issuing a safety report by their own people, but they understand it far better now. Explains CERN physicist Brian Cox's numerous statements of not knowing what to expect. You'll love his last statement. <-- Click!

Steve Myers, Director for Accelerators at CERN:
"The LHC is a far better understood machine than it was a year ago. We've learned from our experience, and engineered the technology that allows us to move on. That's how progress is made." Link

So to all you fear mongers, the LHC is better understood now. Not fully understood, but maybe one day when we implode. Don't make me call you anti-science!