Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Be afraid! Be unhappy! Do as you are told!

Regular readers of this site know that we have been tracking the experiments of the Large Hadron Collider with great interest. The pursuit of the Higgs Boson is the modern day Grail quest for physicists worldwide. Sadly, the brainiacs at CERN had a setback when their atom smasher had to be shut down for repairs shortly after their much anticipated trials began.

While the average American Idol, Nickelback or Sarah Palin fan is completely clueless as to what particle physics is (because thinking is hard), the fact that these experiments are taking place is old news. The debate as to the risks these tests can create black holes is old news. But the misery machine at FOX news has taken a new tidbit of research and did what they do best. They told you what it means (because research and independent thought is, like, such a drag) and why you should be in fear of it.

Here is the article in question. Besides the fact that the article is shorter than a third grade book report (for something that simply cannot be explained in so few words), it is written in the snarkiest of tones. The miniscule amount of research done to create this blurb is also evident in the first sentence which implies the LHC had not already been turned on. They obviously haven't seen this video. Miles away from what any self respecting editor would call "journalism," this piece offends further by the simple fact that nobody chooses to claim credit for having written it (to be fair, FoxNews.com DOES refer to itself in the third person). Come now.. every time I make a sarcastic attempt at wit, I have the decency to tie my good name to it. I guess with FOX it doesn't matter so long as the message is delivered: BE AFRAID. Either that, or as I have long assumed, they have a team of monkeys working around the clock.
Ultimately what the argument on physicist blogsite, ArXiv.org says is that black holes that may form in the LHC experiments could last a little longer than initially predicted. The question of how long a tiny black hole takes to decay is at the root of this debate. Based on what I have read, I think the most brilliant (and misunderstood) minds of our time have things under control. Reading the follow-up comments from people in the know, I will defy voice that wishes to control me and get a good night's rest. One cannot be poisoned if one doesn't swallow the pill.

1 comment:

Comrade Kevin said...

Nickelback fans exist in their own special circle of hell.