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CERN Releases Analysis of LHC Incident 149

sash writes "From the fresh press release: 'Investigations at CERN following a large helium leak into sector 3-4 of the Large Hadron Collider tunnel have confirmed that cause of the incident was a faulty electrical connection between two of the accelerator's magnets. This resulted in mechanical damage and release of helium from the magnet cold mass into the tunnel. Proper safety procedures were in force, the safety systems performed as expected, and no one was put at risk. Sufficient spare components are in hand to ensure that the LHC is able to restart in 2009, and measures to prevent a similar incident in the future are being put in place.'"
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CERN Releases Analysis of LHC Incident

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  • Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:15PM (#25407233)

    It's too bad that projects like the LHC will soon run out of funding as bankrupt nations concentrate on keeping their populations fed and/or preventing the overthrow of their governments, rather than burning issues like "what is mass, really, when you get down to it?". Of course glitches and malfunctions like this (and the previous ones) will only serve to put us past the point of possibly having been able to answer that question, but failing due to lack of funding.

    How many billions of Euros have been spent on this project already?

  • Re:Too bad (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jnmontario ( 865369 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:47PM (#25407463)
    I'll take the above as sarcastic...but sometimes it's hard to tell. Honestly, there's always an argument for 'fix the wrongs of society' before funding pure science. That said, what society is worth living in that doesn't fund pure science. It is completely human (and arguably native to all thinking creatures) and satisfies the deep urge 'to know'. Think of what pure science has done for us. It has lifted us from the caves of Europe/Asia to space and beyond. It has given us everything from the internet to the ballpoint pen. I would gladly give my tax dollars to pure research rather than corporate tax cuts which benefit only human greed.
  • Re:But but.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:33PM (#25408139) Homepage

    AFAIK, there's nothing terribly innovative about the accelerator or cryo portions of the LHC, apart from the scale of the thing.

    The CEBAF in Virginia has been operating at 2 Kelvin since the mid-80s. The technology to operate an accelerator at Liquid Helium temperatures is mature and well-understood.

    Odds are, this is a one-time design/construction hiccup. It's unfortunate that it happened, but should be something which can easily be overcome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @11:24PM (#25408371)
    The LHC did destroy the universe. We're just in an alternate one where it failed instead.
  • Re:Too bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:48AM (#25409485)

    Some social programs DO work - the problem is that when governments spend money on social development they generally either can't predict or don't care about the efficiency of the program. The politician who promises to increase welfare payouts to poor families probably doesn't give a damn about whether his promise will have a positive or negative effect in the long term - he cares mostly about getting votes.

    You see the same things in other examples of government spending. NASA did some amazing things in it's early days, but since then it's become a bloated government body which cares more about maintaining it's source of funding and keeping all it's bureaucrats employed than it does about developing a viable means of space exploration, or about keeping it's astronauts safe.

    Of course, once in a while governments manage to get it right, as in the case of the LHC. But, more often that not, the best way for them to contribute positively is to stay the hell out of our way.

  • Re:Too bad (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:13PM (#25413803)

    nfortunately for most of the population, the amount of money that governments generate is unimaginable.

    Here is the best way to understand those big numbers. Let's that the case if the US. THere are about 250M people here. So when they spend 100B in Irac, I can't "understand 100B" but I can understand that it costs everyone in the US $400. That much is easy. So, take those big numbers and devide by the population.

    That $6B project costs on order twenty euros (give or take) per person. That's much easier to understand.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.