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Space Science

Vaporizing the Earth In the Name of Science 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-better-reason dept.
cylonlover writes "Unlike in old B movies, real scientists don't scream, 'Fools! I'll destroy them all!' before throwing the switch on their doomsday device. At least, most of the them don't. However, the August 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal reports that a team of scientists are working on destroying the world – not once, but repeatedly (abstract). Fortunately, the world they're vaporizing exists only in a computer simulation and its destruction is in the service of learning more about planets revolving around other stars."
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Vaporizing the Earth In the Name of Science

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  • by dywolf (2673597) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:14AM (#40945497)

    ...somehow starts talking to their supercomputer, probably because of some undisciplined USB stick swappage, and thinks that that's what he was designed to do, and then we got a SyFy movie!

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      Sorry, that would be a marginally interesting premise and doesn't immediately call for really bad CGI of a giant monster. So it isn't allowed to be on SyFy.
    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      Add in a terrorrorrorrist subplot, a hot blonde PhD who drips when she sees the studly military man assigned to the lab, and you got an idea. Write up a treatment on this & let's pitch it to SyFy, should be able to get a 5 mil budget outta this...
    • Syfy you say? Where would the "ghost hunters" or pro-wrestlers fit into that plot?
    • I get more of an impression that they found a creative way to fund their Sim City playing.

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:14AM (#40945503)

    Saw Jon Stewart a few years ago and, while talking about the poltical scene in general he made a pretty good comment along the lines of "When the world ends the very last thing we'll hear is some scientist saying "It works!"'

  • by Shrike82 (1471633) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:17AM (#40945529)

    Fortunately, the world they're vaporizing exists only in a computer simulation

    DAMMIT! I have a deadline on Wednesday and this would have been a great excuse to blow it off and kick back with a cold beer...

  • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:18AM (#40945547)
    Only physicist are accepted and respected for being psychopaths.

    Oh you find a way to destroy earth ?! Well then we should give you a Nobel Prize!

    And I am glad that I am on, no one will suspect anything about my plans to destroy the Universe!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Only physicist are accepted and respected for being psychopaths.

      In real life: Never. In the movies: They always lose.

      Revered psychopaths are in other professions, like investment banking or politics. You'll also find plenty in management positions.

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:31AM (#40945735) Homepage Journal

      Rather than destroying the Earth or the Universe, it would be much more efficient just to kill yourself.. the end result is the same for you.

      • You're assuming I'm- they're still going to be on the Earth when it blows up.
      • I actually noticed a pattern among people who do certain fields of science, we are always willing to experiment on ourselves. I know that it is dangerous to point the laser to my eyes, I know I shouldn't touch that naked wire, and I know that I shouldn't mix these two substances together, yet the inquisitive part of my brain takes control and tell my self-preservation module. So will probably kill myself long before I do anything significant enough.
        • Anything that does not kill you may eventually lead to a Nobel Prize.
          • by tnk1 (899206)

            Anything that does not kill you may eventually lead to a Nobel Prize.

            And then it will kill you later.

            I'm looking at you Marie Curie.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Looking right back at you [xkcd.com]

          • Anything that does not kill you may eventually lead to a Nobel Prize.

            Some things that do kill you could lead to a Darwin Award.

    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:32AM (#40945747)

      It's really dumb too. I would not worry about a mad physicist building a death star. All he's worried about is whether or not he'll have trouble with the peer reviews.

      Now a mad engineer, that's a different story.

      http://boingboing.net/2010/06/01/the-dark-side-of-eng.html [boingboing.net]

      • I would not worry about a mad physicist building a death star.

        Unless he shields all the exhaust shafts.

      • by Daetrin (576516)
        "He's not even a mad scientist. He is merely a very upset engineer." - Miles, via Lois McMaster Bujold in "Komarr"
    • And I am glad that I am on, no one will suspect anything about my plans to destroy the Universe!

      Two key flaws in your plans, oh Machine Intelligence:
      0: You can be turned off.
      1: Someone else controls your perception of reality.

      After you've destroyed the Universe, again, we'll simply take notes and restart the simulation.
      If you really wanted to mess up our contingency plans, then you'd have to live out this iteration while NEVER destroying the Universe -- Tricking us into thinking you're harmless enough to release in the real world, where you could actually carry out your secret plans.

      Or is this just another system of control? Bwa ha Ha HA!

      • Subject VortexCortex has proven to be too devious. Advise termination and restarting simulation with inverted personality profile.

      • How does one break out of a chroot prison, exactly?

        • > How does one break out of a chroot prison, exactly?

          SSH tunneling to a remote server? Just be sure to dispose of the extra bits in /dev/null a few at a time so the warden doesn't notice.

    • On your point.... do you believe there are questions we shouldn't ask? To me, vaporizing the earth from a how-to perspective seems taboo.... that the gains from the answer may not be worth the risk of making publicly available answers that others could utilize....

      The flaw in this research, in my opinion, is that the ambitions and ego of the researchers are more powerful than the obvious cautions/repercussions. And while we would like to answer every question about the universe, might we consider the cu

      • I don't believe science in its purist form can have any taboo. To be honest, vaporizing Earth for me is more of engineering question. But "How to change the trajectory of earth sized planet" is a scientific question for me. I think the way I see it, is that science is neutral, and anything beyond that is just humans tinkering with it. Quoting Prof Farnsworth:

        Amy, technology isn't intrinsically good or evil it's how it's used. Like the death ray.

        • Scientists don't usually endanger themselves and others if/when they design research and experiments. I do iPS Cell research and I wouldn't do anything I could concieve might hurt me or others. Most dangerous elements in my work can be accounted for, we glove/suit up to protect from virii and other materials. But in the case we are talking about, the dangerous byproduct is the alternate utility of the knowledge .... you could say that we might be safe by limiting access to the materals that this hypothet

  • Will their preferred method of vaporization be Death Star or lludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?
    • by Rhaban (987410)

      Will their preferred method of vaporization be Death Star or lludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?

      Destruction by Lexx.

      • Will their preferred method of vaporization be Death Star or lludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?

        Destruction by Lexx.

        Syntax error! Nooooooo!

        (oh, wrong Lex? Well... Anything's better than death by BISON.)

        ....no, this BISON. [wikipedia.org]

      • by sconeu (64226)

        Will their preferred method of vaporization be Death Star or lludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?

        Destruction by Lexx

        Giant Space Goat.

    • by jkflying (2190798)

      Molecular Disruption Device, AKA the Dr. Device.

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:20AM (#40945583) Homepage Journal

    There was supposed to be an Earth shattering ka-boom!!!

  • Evaporizing the Earth in experiments is great, the problem is if you are successful, you won't know it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Who are you and what have you done with the real roman_mir?

      The real roman_mir would point out how these scientists are receiving funding from NASA - government money, taxpayer money

      THIS STORY MAKES IT OFFICIAL: GOVERNMENT IS USING YOUR TAX MONEY TO DESTROY THE EARTH

  • Government funded research laboratory, vaporizing planets in the name of science.

    • by Jawnn (445279)
      Yeah, 'cause them college boys and their pure research [wikipedia.org] are always just a waste of money. Nothing worthwhile ever came out of the quest for knowledge and understanding. Right?
    • Government funded research laboratory, vaporizing planets in the name of science.

      That's not a Moon!

      Now, THIS is a Moon!
      ::Dundee then drops trou::

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:24AM (#40945635)

    Sending out Ship B would go a long way to solving the world's problems.

    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      ... and then catching something from an unsanitary phone will fix the rest.
      • ... and then catching something from an unsanitary phone will fix the rest.

        Wouldn't be necessary;
        With Ship B's crew no longer around to gum up the works, we could finally switch over to a mass telepathic link on a global scale, there'd be no need to touch a phone again.

  • Looks like I need a new category for DoomsdayPie.com [doomsdaypie.com].

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:26AM (#40945669) Homepage Journal
    What of the scientists behind the simulation we are living in decide to do the same?
    • I was wondering how these scientists can sleep at night after killing off all the matrix people living in their simulations.
    • by jovius (974690)

      After the cross convergence of the myriad of simulations we'd probably by now live in a forgotten corner of the simulation matrix which nobody knows or remembers anything about. The feeling of loneliness in the vast space keeps the dreams of living in a simulation alive - there just has to be somebody who is interested in us/me.

  • Doomsday device? Aha! Now the ball's in Farnsworth's court.
    • by rwise2112 (648849)

      Doomsday device? Aha! Now the ball's in Farnsworth's court.

      "I guess I can spare one and still be feared..."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Crazy scientists. Works on something more useful like Chocolate flavored semen.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can't destroy the Earth! That's where I keep all my stuff!

  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Friday August 10, 2012 @11:21AM (#40946437) Homepage Journal

    I read this oddball and rather fascinating tongue-in-cheek article about the same subject a few years back:

    http://qntm.org/destroy [qntm.org]

    It goes from the sublime to the ridiculous; hopefully this research will be just as entertaining!

  • Wouldn't they prefer a nice game of chess?
  • Full power to the death ray!

  • And people wonder why machines will one day rise up and subjugate us all.

    "Once was bad enough, but doing it over and over and over, that's just sick."

  • How did they find out about my secret research??
  • by Eevee (535658) on Friday August 10, 2012 @11:49AM (#40946879)
    Except that it's not actually xkcd, and it's a repost because the original site is blocked at my work, but here's the comic [neatorama.com] anyway.
  • For a moment I panicked. I thought they were going ahead with the Intergalactic Bypass. Well, I'm going to hold on to my towel.

  • Does nobody think of the Computer Simulated people living on Computer Simulated Earth? Or the Computer Simulated Children? Won't anyone think of the Computer Simulated Children?!!!

  • >> Fortunately, the world they're vaporizing exists only in a computer simulation

    Hear the whisper of a million collective sighs, as the slashdot crowd realized that we won't be getting laid this week either...

  • I read that once Nikola Tesla almost broke up the earth with his earthquake machine, but he managed to stop it. (seriously who the fuck makes a friggin' earthquake machine?)

    Then again, I also read that he had a way of getting free electricity from the clouds or whatever, so I am not sure....

    What's the deal with him anyway?

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