Two stories about the possible destruction of earth caught my eye last week. Guess my brain was looking for something new to worry about. One story said the destruction could potentially be caused by man’s experiments, and the story documented that our planet’s death is inevitable, as nature and physics go about business as usual.
First Story: The End of the Earth
It seems that two men in Hawaii are trying to stop the European Center for Nuclear Research from making their giant particle accelerator operational. The men claim the proton smashing experiments could produce a black hole that would devour the earth. The other possible scenario (they only have two?) states a “strangelet” could be created, reducing the planet to “strange matter.” Strange matter indeed.
The collider has taken 14 years to design and build at a cost of over $8 billion. I don’t think a lawsuit is going to stop anyone at this point. Do we actually believe that responsible physicists would knowingly put our planet at risk so they could get published in Scientific American? Well, I guess we don’t know they’re responsible. Just good at smashing things on a way big scale.
Hello gentlemen in Hawaii. I have some questions for you guys who seem to have a handle on this issue.
- How long would it take for the black hole to eat us? I mean how much time do I really have? A Day, years? I still haven’t visited Alaska.
- Will it hurt or will death be instantaneous? Or, will it be a super rush?
- Since the collider is in Geneva, does Europe go first?
If it does come about I’ll look pretty silly now won’t I. It will be a cool show for those orbiting in the International Space Station.
Second Story: The End of the Earth… Again
Our solar system has a basic problem. The sun is growing bigger and brighter over time. And by time I don’t mean a decade or two. In roughly a billion years from now the sun will be 10 percent brighter than it is today. May not sound like a lot, but it will be enough to boil the oceans away. The story went on to describe other details, but do we really need to know more than that?
So there you have it. Just when we thought the war, the sub-prime crisis, Bear Stearns implosion and our depressed economic state wasn’t enough to get us down. It can always be worse.