Fun LHC article in USA Today

By Phil Plait | November 6, 2008 9:22 am

My old friend Dan Vergano wrote an article in USA Today the other day about the irrational fears over the Large Hadron Collider. It’s a pretty good collection of the silliness that’s gone on from people who think the LHC will destroy the world (and it has a brief list of a few other fizzled doomsday scares).

It’s a pretty even-handed and rational response to the doomcriers. That’s good, because my own inclination is to mimic Brian Cox’s response.

Tip o’ the tin foil beanie to … my mom, who told me about this article.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Debunking, Science, Skepticism

Comments (19)

  1. I love it, so… English. I think they say it so it sounds like “hat”. In Oz we say like “wot” although I’ve heard both pronunciations. Either way it works for me.

  2. People still read print papers? Oh, your mom, that explains it. :)

    I too would, and have, taken Brian’s approach!

  3. MarkW

    shane: yes, in England we pronounce it to rhyme with ‘hat’. lol.

    OT: I’ve just ordered Death From The Skies from amazon. Can’t wait…

  4. José

    Why have I never heard of the The Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic before? How could this not have been made into a movie?

  5. Todd W.


    They tried, but the dialogue just wasn’t compelling:

    “Oh my gosh! The windhsields! They’re…they’re pitted! Aaarrgggghhhh!”

  6. Here’s another article that may be of interest to you lot:

    World’s Top Scientists Ponder: What If The Whole Universe Is, Like, One Huge Atom?

    Click on my name for the link.

  7. José

    What if C-A-T really spelled dog!

  8. I should add that Dan in a very real sense helped jump-start my career: he was the one, back in 2001, who told me that Fox was about to air a Moon Hoax TV show. :)

  9. Cathy

    Stephen Colbert mentioned the LHC on The Colbert Report last night. He “blamed” the LHC for causing Obama to win the election–something to the effect that, when it had been briefly turned on earlier this autumn, the LHC must have jolted us into a parallel universe exactly like our own except that Barack Obama is president and the Phillys are world champions.

    He was very deadpan. As usual.

  10. José

    he was the one, back in 2001, who told me that Fox was about to air a Moon Hoax TV show.

    That’s not nearly as fun as hearing about it from your crazy brother. I’ll have mine call you next time. He usually calls around 2:45 AM, so you should stay up if you don’t want to miss him. If you do miss him, don’t worry. His voicemails are equally entertaining.

  11. Oh, noes!!!! The dreaded t-word!! 😉

    Really, you guys in UK pronounce it like ‘hat’?

    I learn something new every day…

  12. *Sigh*

    A comment in the article:

    “Nothing to worry about?” That’s exactly what the group of scientists said billions of years ago as they were trying the exact same thing. Who’s to say we don’t live in the universe they created when theirs was destroyed? Come to think about it, who knows how many times this cycle has repeated itself?

    Think about it.

    Anyone seen any remnants of past universes lately?

  13. Todd W.

    @The Chemist

    Well, no, duh! All traces are beyong the visible horizon of the universe. ;P

  14. The Chemist, I saw that and went on the hope that the person was trying to be funny.

  15. José

    @Todd W
    “Oh my gosh! The windhsields! They’re…they’re pitted! Aaarrgggghhhh!”

    The more I read that, the more I know I’d watch it… and love it.

  16. BAMom

    Hi Larian Le Quella,

    Yes, some people will read almost anything we can get our hands on while sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for a friend to get out of surgery. [ Silly me, I forgot to take Phil’s book with me.]


  17. Cairnos

    @ The Chemist

    Yeah we’ve got one floating around in one of the corners of the mens room, we keep asking the cleaning staff to do something about it but apparently our building manager saved money on the contract by agreeing that degenerate remnants of previous universes weren’t covered.

  18. Okuro Oikwaw


    I do not think that it is a problem! Although they do not have controll of the LHC, there will not be any black holes. Perhaps, but not as long as it can “suck” anything.

    With kind regards
    Okuro Oikawa


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