July 1, 2008


Switzerland, France and Germany –some of your more Godless countries- are home to CERN. CERN has several large particle colliders, and they are constructing another. It has been in the Pop-News lately.

Irresponsible journalists have suggested in otherwise science-free accounts that there are a couple of possibilities. They are IMPROBABLE, mind you. The probability may be VERY SMALL. That is, expressed by a VERY SMALL NUMBER. We mean, for god’s sake what are the odds, for the betting man, of his kind of thing?

In fact, it is not appropriate to try to understand such things by means of probabilities, or even statistics, for that matter. Even Pop-Stats! It is either physically possible for of these things to take place, or it is not. And if possible, either one or more of them will happen, or will not. It may be like getting hit by a train. Either you do or you don’t. This isn’t best understood or analytically described as a probability, when you are staggering around next to the railroad tracks, blind drunk, with obscenities written all over your forehead. It’s a sort of a maybe thing.

So. Could this collider create a Magnetic Monopole? Mind you, a very SMALL monopole. And what might then happen? You tell us. Seriously. Or could it create a VERY SMALL black hole, or zone of Extremely, Seriously Dense gravitational field? And what might then happen? Or a Strangelet for dear god’s sake? We can’t let them marry white women.

Well, our Journalists suggest, as a matter of Human Interest, that the World might wink out of existence in an eyeblink! Remember what your CRT screen looked like when DOS crashed and your monitor went green? There was that little, tiny flash of electron-white right before the Darkness? Well, we imagine that the not-world following such an event might be that kind of green. A sort of a late-night, down-at-the-rail-yard tequila green.

The bad taste, poor judgment and sheer ignorance of these accounts –and what they say about us- may not be so funny just by itself. But the idea, the thought of it, and the image of it, of the world just… winking out of existence, due to human fiddling about, is just hilarious. Seriously, we think the idea is funny, and we think it would be just uproariously funny if it actually happened.

The funniest and yet most pathological part of this story, though, is that Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho have filed a petition in a Honolulu court to stop the project. Nice a place as any, we suppose. The tragic folly of this bears some examination. They are, clearly, pretty worried about this thing. We mean, this could really fuck things up. OMG! And the hubris of those physicists. This puts Dr. Moreau and even Dr. Frankenstein in the weeds in terms of Trying to be Gods. This Folly must Be Stopped! Or a Bad Thing might Happen!

Think of the angst and ignorance of these people petitioning a US court to stop this. This is Science and Technology after all! And what U.S. court does anything this year? We are talking EYEBLINK here! An UNBELIEVABLY small amount of time!

The newspaper account that we saw just said it is too late, anyway. March of Progress and all. The account did say, though, that The Government responded with a “barrage of some 40 documents.” We wonder why they bothered, really. We suppose because they could. Oh, they’re lawyers. For the Government.

Those lawyers made a couple of nice points. They argued that the possible events that Mr. Wagner and Mr. Sancho are concerned about are “pure speculation.” Right. They haven’t happened yet. We think theoretical physics is called theoretical, right, because it’s speculative? Science ‘n all? Like evolution? Clearly, this Court could only have any standing to intervene and stop Something Terrible like this if it had Already Happened.

The lawyers argued too, that Fermi National Accelerator Lab is not subject to any legal action because it is not an “entity” but only a collection of assets of the Department of Energy. This is Good Law, but more than that it is Damn Good Physics! It isn’t even a speculative entity? It might be a non-entity, but we hope it is an anti-entity. We do hope that the theoretical physicists aren’t offended. While they do traffic in anti-matter, they also seemingly concern themselves with “entities.” They may believe themselves to be “entities,” unless they are Deists. In that case, betting is closed. We guess that Fermilab (and the Department of Energy) exist- or rather do not exist- in the same legal Black Hole as Blackwater. The names are strangely evocative, and they seem to have the same lawyers. Maybe they’ll all collide, and wink out of existence.

If we were afraid of a god, we suppose we’d be really afraid of what might happen after we and our Kind caused the World to wink out of existence.

But in truth, we really don’t think this would be such a bad thing, ourselves. As far as human folly goes, this may be just the anti-folly that the Doctor ordered. Just bringing her all to a nice, tidy, final perpetual tequila green wold be a rather funny, elegant and poignant way to bring a relentless and perpetual stream of hate, violence and destruction to an end, don’t you think? Wouldn’t this be a consummate act of a just god?

As for caution and conservation, we’re all for precautionary circumspection. we’re as troubled as y’all by the sheer stupidity of our ravaging and plundering of our global future- our headlong rush to ecosystemic annihilation. We’re dismayed that anyone swallows the doctrine that a bit of deliberation might Harm our Economy! Indeed- just what are conservatives conserving? The argument that there can be no public, civic action to avert disasters that haven’t Taken Place is the ultimate Gordian, hypocritical dissimulation of a neo-conservative doctrine.

But we are not too worried about particle accelerators. Ending the Game in that way would just be a lot more benign than a now-inevitable accelerating and comprehensive social and environmental collapse. That could hurt. We’re all kind of used to getting annihilated from video-games anyway, aren’t we?


Patently ridiculous Popularly disseminated pseudo-Statistic. Pop-Stat. Presumes popular ignorance and absence of common-sense. Does violence to the meaning and power and dignity of statistical measure. Scrubs out possible credibility of statistics and measures. Certainly clouds and confuses, probably misinforms, and most likely deceives and befuddles. Impoverishes communication.

Got your own definition of a pop-stat? Got a great example of a Pop-Stat? Send it along! You could be our next Guest-Pop-Stat Contributor, and we’ll send you a hilarious t-shirt.

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editor @ 10:20 pm

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