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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 Mr.123 (661787) on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:09AM (#30003906)
    Where's the humor tag? I kept looking for the Onion link or humor tag. I have a hard time believing this. It's gotta be joke.
  • by addsalt (985163) on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:09AM (#30003908)
    A baguette did not shut down the LHC because the LHC wasn't running (doesn't take superman to halt a train that isn't moving). Even the summary states

    The LHC was not operational at the time of the incident

    and the TFA

    This incident won't delay the reactivation of the facility later this month

  • Here's an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:18AM (#30003942)

    Hypothesis: There are multiple universes. Many of them build the LHC. In those that build it, most turn it on, destroying themselves. Not only do they destroy themselves, but they take out their planet, their galaxy, and their universe, including time, such that they essentially never existed.

    Obviously we can't live in one of those universes, so a series of accidents, bizarre or mundane, probably take place until someone decides it's not worth the effort and the project is scrapped.

    That would explain the long delays and the mind-bogglingly arbitrary accidents.

    Alternative hypothesis: The LHC is an internationally-funded, politically-changed science experiment of immense complexity. That alone would explain the delays and problems, and would also lead to it probably never being switched on.

    3rd hypothesis: The LHC is switched on eventually, gives us much scientific knowledge, and doesn't kill us all. But really, that's boring and doesn't make for compelling science fiction. Just compelled science.

  • by rdnetto (955205) on Friday November 06, 2009 @06:12AM (#30004114)

    Nope

    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.

    They don't need to invest in roofs, what they really need are doors.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday November 06, 2009 @06:13AM (#30004128) Homepage Journal

    You have been reading too many Greg Egan books.

  • There's a saying (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Friday November 06, 2009 @06:35AM (#30004196)

    "Never attribute to a time traveling malicious Higgs boson what can easily be attributed to human stupidity."

          Physicists spend too much time in the lab in theoretical situations. It's amazing that when they design a machine that will go outside, they forget that birds tend to crap on everything.

  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Friday November 06, 2009 @07:38AM (#30004424) Homepage

    Now apply Occam's razor to those multiple hypothesis.

  • Re:Confused (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dragonslicer (991472) on Friday November 06, 2009 @10:46AM (#30005554)

    Can any1 explain why it's a good idea to be messing around with a machine that 'might' produce teeny-tiny black holes that 'shouldn't' cause any problems?

    Because a black hole with the mass of a carbon atom exerts exactly the same gravitational force on other particles as a normal carbon atom. You don't see normal carbon atoms causing the collapse of the galaxy, do you?

  • by philgp (584302) on Friday November 06, 2009 @12:04PM (#30006248)
    But surely that's just another way of saying "It's impossible to create free Higgs Bosons".
  • Re:le sigh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spazztastic (814296) <spazztastic@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Friday November 06, 2009 @12:28PM (#30006488)

    I read your post five times and I still have no fucking idea what you just said.

  • Re:Confused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:49PM (#30007302)

    Its not the galaxy you have to worry about, its Earth. And normal carbon atoms don't consume others that get close enough, they repel them at a certain point. Of course, if you put one of these black holes on the end of a popsicle stick, it'd take years to devour the stick, which would give us plenty of time to design some sort of containment unit to keep other mass from adding to the problem.

    Of course there is no actual proof that being 'sucked into a black hole' will destroy anything, its all pure theory.

    Assuming that crossing the event horizon causes a conversion from mass to energy for some reason, thats still not something to be concerned about since the theoretical time dilation effects as you move closer to the event horizon are going to make it so you never really cross the event horizon.

    The next assumption is that you'll be torn apart by the gravitational pull, but this is also likely as incorrect as the theories about the pressure being too great on the ocean floor for life to survive. I'm more inclined to believe the gravitational stresses would cause death, but I also believed that life couldn't survive at the very deepest parts of the ocean.

    One thing science has taught me, and taught me well is more often than not, our theories are wrong. Just because there are 'great minds' working on this doesn't change that, these minds are working on 'great things'.

  • by Wraithlyn (133796) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:26PM (#30007632)

    "Listen, a 4 ounce bird could not possibly hit a small thermal exhaust port. It's impossible!"

    "It's not impossible, I used to bullseye wamp rats - wait, do you mean a European or an African swallow?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:38PM (#30008476)

    Seriously. You don't know the word "baguette." You're a sheltered simpleton.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @04:18PM (#30009056)

    This is a "normal" fault of this sort. Birds (and often squirrels) get into substations easily, and can cause such a fault condition (essentially, a short). There really isn't any practical way to guard against this completely either for LHC or your local substation...

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