The CERN black hole

Is this really what will happen when the physicists at CERN finally start smashing particles in the Large Hadron Collider this fall? If so, at least we're all in it together. Black holes don't discriminate. [YouTube]

Previous coverage:
  • Dudes sue the LHC to stop total world annihilation

  • Scientists: “Mini Bangs” Dangerous? Nah!

Uninformed alarmism? The Greek chorus to our hubris-ridden end?

Well guys, it was a fun ride.

The only way to *know* is to see if the planet implodes come Sept. 10. I really don't think that anything apocalyptic will happen (read: fervently hope), but I guess we have to end sometime. I think that I will treat myself to a very nice dinner that night, and consider it an exercise in existence-appreciation.
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Considering they've already started, no.

Also, a black hole would not get bigger. It would stay the same size. It would also not move toward the center as it does in the video.

Why are you trying to spread more of this paranoid hysteria?
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Hi Mattie:

Paranoid hysteria? We're just having a bit of fun!

They haven't started using it yet. They've been "warming it up" (super-cooling it down?). I don't think the real particle collisions are scheduled to start until October.

At least we'll be able to see the sugar maples turn their autumn colors one last time...
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I like the whole "At least we're all in it together"

It's like if you know that everyone else is going to die then you feel okay about dying...

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see really i do love science.
but honestly, why even take a chance like that?
i mean, sure MORE fragging knowledge.
but people just can't accept that they won't have the answer to everything and let things like this go, even for the sake of well, everything?
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Speaking as someone who doesn't care about impending earthly doom...unless particle smashing leads to the eradication of cholesterol and HIV and acne why is anyone funding this?
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"It’s like if you know that everyone else is going to die then you feel okay about dying…"

I've never thought of it that way before, and it's oddly comforting. I mean, as long as there's no warning and it's instantaneous. Sorta nice knowing you won't have that "left out" feeling...
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I suppose that since it's depicting a pretty silly idea, it should be no surprise that the video would be so wrong, but still. I know that that we call it a black "hole", but that doesn't mean it makes a literal sinkhole in the middle of Europe. If it starts to suck, it's going to start sucking from all sides, up, down, left and right, not just make it look like "a bukkit in da Earf."

That said, I'm inclined to agree with Mattie about the paranoid hysteria claim; even if you're just having a bit of fun, there's a nauseatingly large number of people out there who do take this seriously, and I don't know if it's necessarily good form to make light of people's fears or encourage public ignorance.
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I guess that certain people don't understand the idea and meaning of "pure science" which has given them a lot of things that they use. Medicines, technology, space travel (mmm satellites for those precious t.v. lovers), all come from people fraggin' around trying to figure how things work. It's only after someone realizes that either a) the technology can be commercialized to idiots (stop balding now! ED cured forever) or b) it's something people really need to know about (HIV cure) that people care. (See the beginning of 2001: A Space Oddessy to see how messin' around with a stick can really change history.)

Also, as far as black holes go: IF (and that's a really big if) CERN manages to produce a black hole, it would be so small that it would eradicate itself before it got it's hands on something bigger, such as the world. Read some of Hawking's and Tyson's published works. They are amazingly easy to read and explain hard concepts. Also, they're available at your nearest bookstore/library.


Finally, the video is amusing. Thank you Neatorama for making my procrastination easier.
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Ignorance of science aside (the LHC will NOT cause a black hole...the physics required to make a black hole are the same physics that will cause it to evaporate can't have one without the other, so people need to stop spreading this anti-science hogwash), I just don't think the animation is all that great.

If there was a black hole, it would look nothing like that, and the animation itself is rather amateurish.
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I was conversing about this earlier, when I heard something that will probably stick for my views on this:
'It's better then we die out of curiosity than rather die from stupidity'. Well informed curiosity got us where we are today... A lot of that 'blackhole LHC gonna implode earth' is way too sensationalist for me. Then again, if you aren't revolutionizing science without controversy, you aren't doing it right.
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"It’s better then we die out of curiosity than rather die from stupidity"

Interesting point, actually every little baby growing up is living after this motto. That is why we have to grab them as soon as they learn to crawl and heading for the stairs.
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"IF" it actually happened, we wouldn't even know because it would happen so fast. like Tracy said, it would suck from all directions and would not just form a bukkit in da earf. there wouldn't be people running down the streets trying to excape inevitable doom, and we wouldn't have time to be sad and upset. we could not possibly replicate a real black hole. we can smack particles together and such, but nothing man-made is EVER as good as the real thing. i mean, just look at EZ-cheese. even if it says it on the bottle, it's not real cheese! even if they say the CERN will create a black hole, it won't be a REAL black hole! it will be a fake black hole with black hole properties and characteristics. it will probably just create a world-wide rash. i guess that's better than inevitable doom, though.
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Theoretical Physics postulates that if you throw a ball into the air, there is a chance that it will not drop back down.

This is far more likely to happen to you twice today than for this Doomsday scenario to happen ever.

Also A black hole wouldn't function like a sink with the plug removed, it would pull matter into itself from every angle
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So many smart people here.What amazes me is that I think only one person here has said "what if??????????" Lot of posturing here but has anyone here done this before? I imagine 75 percent of people here are cube dwellers and armchair physicist.I always look at the "what ifs" I guess working in infosec field makes me overly paranoid.
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@ Tracy, Mattie:
Really? Neatorama shouldn't post this because some people might get upset and think the world is going to end? It might not be "good form" to make fun of peoples'(stupid) fears, but it sure is fun!
Seriously, all I can think of is the mokeys in 2001 waving bones at the obelisk when you say stuff like that.
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It doesn't surprise me in the least that I'd find this hogwash here. Neatorama is a good blog for funny, interesting news and little tidbits from around the web, but fails utterly whenever hard science is the topic.

As for the "What ifs"... If the LHC produced a black hole it would evaporate almost instantaneously. It would most certainly not pose a threat to mankind or the planet earth. Trying to bend physics to your imagination doesn't work, folks. Please, leave the science to those who understand it and learn from them, okay? (There are many well intentioned idiots out there who have been told, falsely, by their mothers that they're smart and special and wonderful, which has unfortunately led to may people who completely ignore experts in various fields who's statements are back by hard evidence because they (The unfortunate idiots)have a "feeling" about something or other.)
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CERN and the LHC has basically been built to prove what the math has already theorized, and the math hasn't theorized making black holes.

It's funny, about a decade ago it was anti-matter blowing up the Earth, now it's black holes swallowing us up. *forehead slap*
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Look, here's the deal. There is NO POSSIBLE WAY this will happen. See, the energies the LHC is producing are occuring NATURALLY, EVERY DAY when the earth is struck by high-energy gamma rays. If this sort of thing were going to happen in the LHC, it would have ALREADY HAPPEND NATURALLY.

So please, people, put down the crack pipe and let the scientists do their stuff so we can more fully understand the universe.
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Look, it's obviously ridiculous scientifically. But it's a video of the earth getting sucked into a black hole. That's neat isn't it? Spend 38 seconds enjoying the cool visuals and move on with your day. Thanks, Adam, for putting this up (and putting up with cantankerous readers).
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Screw science! It's time for Michael Bay's "LHC Collider"

Terra-ists have taken over the LHC, set off a nuke, and using the operator's manual you downloaded off the net (, you single-handedly save the world from the terra-ists!

As the the ginormous explosion expands (in slow-mo), you (manually) switch on the black hole generator and suck the explosion backwards into another dimension and save the earth.

Problem is, the explosion is actually zapped to an inhabited planet in another dimension, and the Pan-Dimensionalites mount a retaliatory attack on the Earth. Our hero then modifies the LHC (paying careful attention to the manual) into a (large) hand-held weapon and single-handedly fends off the alien invasion by shooting miniature black holes at them.

Yes, I’m working on my “Best Screenplay” acceptance speech right now.
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The problem is not the black hole / CERN theory. It's just that it was a post from Adam : even a rather innocent post from him is driving people crazy ;)
I bet there is a Facebook group named 'I hate Adam Stanhope and makes sure I'm posting some harsh comments' ;p

Sorry Adam ;)
and you know anyway I'll be one of the firsts to go, living only 3h30 away from Geneva!
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Those Mayans must have gotten their dates mixed up. This is supposed to happen in 2012.

As for hard science - I stopped taking science in school because it was too hard. I much prefer the easy science.
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Did anyone read that Larry Niven story where a guy commits murder with a micro-black hole? There's an interesting analysis in it of how a tiny black hole would eat a planet. The story starts, "One day, Mars will be gone." This was before, I think, Hawking realized that smaller black holes evaporate pretty quickly.
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First of all, to correct someone else - a black hole would indeed move to the center of the earth - but it would keep moving until it comes out (or almost comes out) on the other end. It would swing back and forth like a pendulum until finally coming to rest in the center.

Also, it would be black. You wouldn't be able to see what was going on because the light would not make it to your eyes - it would be sucked into the black hole.

There is a roughly 10^-40 to 1 chance that this will happen. That number looks like this:


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Oh I forgot to mention that there is also a roughly 10^-40 chance that all the air in the room you're sitting in right now suddenly decide to re-align themselves to the end of the room away from you.

Nothing is impossible, just highly improbable.
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I for one would welcome the end of the world. My Mother-in-law is flying in from Scotland tomorrow (she doesn't need a plane, just somewhere to park her broom!).
I could die happy knowing (albeit very briefly) that she was not going to enjoy her week of moaning about my house / everything that I do!!!
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If it was that dangerous, why have not seen any demonstration or manifestation in the front gates at CERN (I know, I work there as a technician) We (at CERN) have a great understanding of what is going to happen, but we laugh at all religious freaks that think it’s the end of the world (to all of you freaks, why are you just sitting behind your PC and post unfounded crap? Did you read ANGELS AND DEMONS by Dan Brown? It’s a great book it has a few mistakes about CERN but its close, and yes we do have and produce anti matter.) One last thing to all the religious freaks, in your book (the bible) Jesus would be back to save us all again? What are you worried about? Maybe it’s time to confess your sins, repent yourself in the name of …. (who ever you believe in).
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Oh well - it's 0834 BST & we're still here!
Only 4 hours to go until the broomstick lands :-(

Don't suppose anyone knows if there is a hurricane on its way towards the South Coast of England do they?
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The odds of something happening are irrelevant to me.

If all goes to plan then everyone is happy - champagne is drunk and 'woo hoo' for CERN and break out all the Nobel Prizes.

However, if it goes horribly wrong and it's 'Ooops - that wasn't s'posed to happen' then it's not exactly something that can be undone, is it? Massive black-hole consuming all and time to kiss our asses goodbye - if we have to time to do so, that is. I don't think there will be a disaster movie on it......

Ultimately, there is no practical use for this.

OK, we could have a greater understanding of the universe but, so what???

There are a few thoughts already on things like this - 'only fools rush in' or 'can we or should we' and as far as I am concerned if there is a risk - irrespective of how small - even if there's 100 googal squared of a chance that we can blow ourselves up (or suck ourselves in????) then this whole thing should be stopped.

As no one can ever reassure me otherwise - and never will - especially as nothing good will be achieved from it, then, time to pull the plug.

In the future, if our lives depended on its success, then go ahead - we're doomed anyway.

However, as this is not the case, is it really, really, really worth to 'potentially end life as we know it' if it the 'Oops' scenario occurs.

I say not.
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Well, the singularity that occurs will not be anti-matter which would neutralize and destroy itself when contacting matter. So it would only grow larger and denser and heavier particle by particle, until the result you see becomes reality. Only thing is the speed with which it will proceed would be measeured in nanoseconds. Bye Bye.
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okay thats bullshit... first of all thats not what would happen. our fucking planet wouldnt open from the top. it will break peices of the planet andand the black hole will suck it all up to nothing. and you dont have to worry because when they do this experiment in december 2008 it will be fine... there not gonna do a project that could possabliy destroy human race. fuck nutss. there is way more energy in this world then that fucking experiment to do something called the black hole... and even if it did the black hole will only stay for a billionth of a billionth of a second so dont be scared of this experipment.
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There was opinion offered that the first fission and fusion explosions would ignite the entire atmosphere of the planet and kill all our grandpas and grandmas. Evidently, grams and gramps survived.
We could shut down CERN and go live in it, like a cave....
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Well, I really don't know if the world will end this way or not What about the sun exploding in 100 years?

It's an educational video though. It's important to open our eyes up sometimes if nothing else, even if it's only a possibility. I always thought that the black hole was out in space someplace, and they've said we're too far from it anyways for this to happen
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This video doesn't take Hawking Radiation into account, among many other things...A black hole with the mass of an atom would exist for about 5x10^-97 seconds before it evaporated. I don't know that it could gather enough mass from the Earth to stay alive long enough to kill us all, imagine how tiny the event horizon of the Black Hole would be, it definitely couldn't eat up matter at that sort of rate. I'd have to run the math, but the chance of a black hole being created is basically impossible and the chances of a black hole eating anything IS impossible, as far as I can tell.
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