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LHC Shut Down Again — By Baguette-Dropping Bird 478

Posted by timothy
from the first-causes dept.
Philip K Dickhead writes "Is Douglas Adams scripting the saga of sorrows facing the LHC? These time-traveling Higgs-Boson particles certainly exhibit the sign of his absurd sense of humor! Perhaps it is the Universe itself, conspiring against the revelations intimated by the operation of CERN's Large Hadron Collider? This time, it is not falling cranes, cracked magnets, liquid helium leaks or even links to Al Qaeda, that have halted man's efforts to understand the meaning of life, the universe and everything. It now appears that the collider is hindered from an initial firing by a baguette, dropped by a passing bird: 'The bird dropped some bread on a section of outdoor machinery, eventually leading to significant overheating in parts of the accelerator. The LHC was not operational at the time of the incident, but the spike produced so much heat that had the beam been on, automatic failsafes would have shut down the machine.'"
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LHC Shut Down Again — By Baguette-Dropping Bird

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  • by pmontra (738736) on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:03AM (#30003882) Homepage

    This article [timesonline.co.uk] gives more information

    Further investigation into the failure of a cryogenic cooling plant revealed an unusual impediment. A piece of crusty bread had paralysed a high voltage installation that should have been powering the cooling unit.
    [...]
    A spokeswoman for CERN confirmed that baguette was responsible for the latest hiatus, but she conceded that mystery surrounded the way it got into the vital power installation, which is protected by high security fences.
    “Nobody knows how it got there,” she told The Times. “The best guess is that it was dropped by a bird, either that or it was thrown out of a passing aeroplane.”
    “Obviously this was slightly surprising. Within the team there was some amusement once they had relaxed after initial concerns.”
    The bread was discovered on a busbar - an electrical connection inside one of eight buildings above ground on the 17-mile (27km) circuit in the Swiss countryside.
    The spokeswoman said: “The collider extends over a very large area – you have to have a very comprehensive system to try to avoid problems of this kind. We’re talking about a couple of days down time.”
    Scientists hope that the temperature will be restored by around midnight tonight allowing work to continue. The failure of the cooler meant the temperature rose around 5 degrees to the equivalent of about -266C.

    A lot of things will drop on sections "of outdoor machinery". It seems that this LHC machine has been designed in such a way that will never get a chance to work.

  • Re:Bird briefing... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:12AM (#30003922)

    *Only a precise hit

  • by PaSTE (88128) <`ude.etats-oiho.spm' `ta' `etsap'> on Friday November 06, 2009 @06:08AM (#30004096) Homepage
    The LHC is designed with very good fail-safes so that random events like this won't shut down the accelerator for huge amounts of time. It would mean at most a day or two of no beam before things got started again. These kinds of safety trips are to be expected a couple of times a month with a machine as huge and complicated as the LHC.
  • Re:Bird briefing... (Score:3, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday November 06, 2009 @06:43AM (#30004232) Homepage Journal

    On the subject at hand I recommend Quarantine [wikipedia.org]

  • by CosmicRabbit (1505129) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [oaneuqeppj]> on Friday November 06, 2009 @08:57AM (#30004722)
    Is here [web.cern.ch]
  • oblig (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @09:30AM (#30004932)

    Well, the LHC doesn't consider a small bird to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense. But the approach will not be easy. You are required to maneuver straight down this trench and skim the surface to this point. The target area is only two meters wide. The shaft leads directly to the reactor system. A precise hit will start a chain reaction which should destroy the accelerator. Only a precise hit will set off a chain reaction. The shaft is small, so you'll have to use baguettes.

  • by Coren22 (1625475) on Friday November 06, 2009 @10:03AM (#30005198) Journal

    Are you kidding? Bird is a term used to refer to women, typically in UK and AU.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday November 06, 2009 @10:28AM (#30005386) Homepage

    > ...anyone'd think they invented the internet or something...

    Well, you might. The rest of us know that they invented the Web.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @10:45AM (#30005530)

    They have made changes. Now there is a German fellow at the top and there have been changes in policy. It's refreshing how much more open CERN is about problems now in particular. They are in fact taking constructive criticism again and doing what they can to improve things.

  • by crazyjimmy (927974) on Friday November 06, 2009 @11:23AM (#30005908)

    There is no other fauna shown on his desert homeworld that is "about two meters" Everything was much larger or much smaller, even in the remastered edition.

    You didn't watch the real version: Super Star Wars for the SNES. The first level with luke is you whompin' whomprats. :)

    --Jimmy

  • by mano.m (1587187) on Friday November 06, 2009 @12:16PM (#30006374)

    'Higgs-Boson' sounds like a particle discovered by two people named Higgs and Boson, which is not the case.

    The Higgs particle was predicted by Higgs, amongst others, in '64. Its statistical behaviour classifies it as a boson (i.e., a particle that follows Bose-Einstein statistics), which are named after Bose.

  • news from CERN (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:30PM (#30007104)

    http://user.web.cern.ch/user/news/2009/091106b.html

    News: 6 November 2009

    LHC "bird-bread" strike

    On Tuesday 3 November, a bird carrying a baguette bread caused a short
    circuit in an electrical outdoor installation that serves sectors 7-8 and
    8-1 of the LHC. The knock-on effects included an interruption to the
    operation of the LHC cryogenics system. The bird escaped unharmed but
    lost its bread.

    The standard failsafe systems came into operation and after the cause
    was identified, re-cooling of the machine began and the sectors were
    back at operating temperature last night. The incident was similar in
    effect to a standard power cut, for which the machine protection systems
    are very well prepared.

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