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SCRATCHING MY HEAD OVER BLACK HOLES

How would you like to be the judge assigned to a civil suit in Hawaii in which two scientists contend that a new particle accelerator scheduled to begin operations this summer outside Geneva, Switzerland will create a black hole that will swallow the entire earth and possibly destroy the entire universe too? Pretty scary stuff indeed. Sort of makes any other news in the world, now matter how dramatic, seem like small potatoes. The particle accelerator is designed to juice up protons to seven trillion electron volts (whatever they are) before colliding them together. Physicists figure that smashing these protons together will recreate conditions that existed a trillionth of a second after the BIg Band that created the universe.

I'll have to take their word for it since I don't understand these things all that well no matter how many Steven Hawkings books I read. But some people do, and the accelerator has taken 14 years and 8 billion dollars to build so that scientists can study these things, towards what end I don't know. Maybe they'll figure out some cool stuff and invent some more little gadgets for us to mess around with. Or hopefully find out some useful information about the world and the universe and teach us some fascinating things.

But according to Walter L. Wagner, a former radiation safety officer for the Veteran's Administration and Luis Sancho, an author and researcher on time theory, the Large Hadron Collider could produce a tiny black hole which they say could eat the earth. Not exactly the optimal results one would hope for, no? While that would be a pretty neat trick, well, who would know how clever these guys are if the whole world gets sucked into their black hole? So maybe this thing bears a little examination before they plug that bad boy in and flip the switch.

Another odd thing is that the suit is being filed in Hawaii when the Large Hadron Collider is located in Switzerland and run by CERN, which stands for the European Center For Nuclear Research. It is explained that the suit was filed in Hawaii to save money. It is not explained why CERN, an intra-governmental European entity, would pay any attention to a Federal Civil Court in Hawaii. While I can understand that Hawaii must be a pretty cool place to hang out, I can't understand why if these two guys are so convinced this machine will convert the earth to a lump of dead matter the size of a basketball that they just don't go to Switzerland and file their lawsuit there. Pretty odd. Seems like sort of a lazy type of save-the-world-heroics. That's like Superman deciding that flying into outer space to deflect that flaming comet racing towards the earth would work up more of a sweat than he felt like at the moment so he just throws the Rock of Gibraltar at it and hopes for the best.

So maybe the judge in the case will agree with me and tell these guys to either get their lazy asses to Switzerland or shut the hell up. What judge wants to hear a case like that anyway? Especially a Civil Court judge. They're more used to hearing cases where somebody's suing the Federal Government because they broke their leg in their job as a Park Ranger or something like that. The fate of the planet certainly never rides on a civil court judge's decision. Yet another reason to tell these guys to go to Switzerland with their suit. Who needs the heat if you make the wrong decision and the little black hole starts eating the earth? It could take some time and you don't want the last words on everybody into world's tongues to be a curse on your vile name for letting the black hole suck them into little globs of antimatter.

If it takes a couple of years he'd have a hard time showing his face in public in the non-eaten portions of the world. Presumably the scientists running the accelerator will be the first ones eaten so nobody will get a chance to lynch them. And being that Hawaii is pretty much on the opposite side of the world from Switzerland it would probably be the last place to get sucked in, so those two guys filing the law suit will have plenty of time to say "I told you so" over and over and blaming the dopey judge for the end of the world. Well, on June 16th there's a meeting to set a court date and pick a judge. That doesn't leave much time to stop the Large Hadron Collider from making that black hole since it is scheduled to go online that same week.

The plaintiffs want a judge to issue a 4 month restraining order while an investigation is conducted and then a permanent restraining order if the findings in the investigation indeed confirm that a black hole will be made and it will eat the world. Aside from Cern, codefendants named in the suit are the United States Department of Energy, the Fermi National Accelerator in Batavia , Illinois, and the National Science Foundation, which is a United States Government agency that supports scientific research in science and engineering. They are included for their roles in supplying and maintaining the huge superconducting magnets required to accelerate the infinitesimal protons to the dizzying speeds necessary to collide them and create Big Bang-like conditions. Or create planet-swallowing black holes, depending on who you believe.

The Department of Justice is representing the Department of Energy in this lawsuit so a lot of high profile U.S. Government people are involved in this lawsuit and they'll probably feel pretty silly about the whole thing, sort of like they were litigating the argument over who was the brainiest scientist alter-ego of a super hero, The Incredible Hulk's Bruce Banner or Spiderman's Peter Parker. Lawyers are not exactly enamored of these sorts of law suits. For one thing, and the main thing to attorneys, there's no big money settlement demanded to either take a huge chunk of or prevent your client having to pay out, thus earning a handsome fee.

And there's also the nerd factor of having to cross-examine scientists who can't explain their theories to the average person unless that person learns several new branches of mathematics and theoretical physics. There won't be an open eye in the court room when some of these human sleeping pills start their convoluted and incomprehensible spiels. And if they bring in Steven Hawkings it will take him an hour and a half just to get sworn in, never mind the length of his testimony that will be measured in weeks instead of hours. By the time all of these guys get finished, all the lawyers, the judge and the jury will be looking for a handy black hole to jump into.

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