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God or time-travelers?

And I want to gamble with Dennis Overbye

A couple of physicists have theorized (and I am not making this up) that the universe really doesn’t want us smashing up protons in a collider. Seems that they think the universe finds this act abhorrent to nature and so God or time-travelers are trying to stop us from doing that. Because it could kill us all. Such an action could create the Higgs boson, which using my own highly technical physics terms may be either a big ass thing (which it might not be since it’s apparently going to be small) or one of those mathematical concepts that can kill us all. And we know how much I hate those. Anyway, either God or time travelers may be thwarting our attempts at this and I think it’s amusing when physicists talk about God and time travelers.

And the author of the article, Dennis Overbye, writes:

Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Ninomiya have proposed a kind of test: that CERN engage in a game of chance, a “card-drawing” exercise using perhaps a random-number generator, in order to discern bad luck from the future. If the outcome was sufficiently unlikely, say drawing the one spade in a deck with 100 million hearts, the machine would either not run at all, or only at low energies unlikely to find the Higgs.

Sure, it’s crazy, and CERN should not and is not about to mortgage its investment to a coin toss.

He calls odds of 99,999,999:1 a coin flip? I want to gamble with this guy.

9 Responses to “God or time-travelers?”

  1. bwm Says:

    On an unrelated note, what odds would you require to gamble for $1 billion vs your life.

    People thought I was crazy for saying I’d do it for 1000:1

  2. SayUncle Says:

    Not crazy, but you understand math.

  3. tkdkerry Says:

    I don’t understand why they don’t just ask the magic 8-ball.

  4. Mikee Says:

    The bit about the Superconducting Super Collider was amusing to me. I live in Texas, and happen to know that the SSC was a cover project for fire ant eradication research. Thank God, as a result of the SSC we have Amdro now to move fire ants out of our back yards.

  5. Vote For David Says:

    We just use Ortho (with Orthene!) for the occasional mound in our yard.

    Anywho, I’m more inclined to blame human error for the repeated problems with the LHC. I used to tighten gas lines for a job and every once in a while, you get a little leak. Times a few dozen miles of helium cooling lines, and you’re going to have to cool, test, find leaks, warm-up, fix leaks, and cool again *a lot* of times before it’s all sealed up tight enough to use.

  6. ChrisTheEngineer Says:

    I’m not sure if the LHC is a waste of money or not. But the energies that it might someday reach are vastly below cosmic rays (1Joule / particle!). So I’m not concerned about it.

    You all know where the web (& browser) were invented, right?

    Who is this Higgs Bozo, anyway?

  7. Lyle Says:

    “…I think it’s amusing when physicists talk about God and time travelers.”

    Is there something strange or out-of-place– some irony there that I’m not seeing? Is there something about physicists that disqualifies them from such discussions? Or is it that, as with me, you’re simply fascinated by discussions of God and time travel? In that case, why single out the physicists’ discussions, particularly?

    Since the universe does plenty of its own smashing of subatomic particles, I don’t see why “it” should mind that we do it on a teeny tiny scale (assuming “it” has a mind or a will or something).

    If there is (will be) some super-duper civilization that can travel back through time, one would think that their traveling directly to the site at the time of the experiments would be too late, or at least it would be a questionable tactic. Why not travel to, say, a time before the collider thingy was built, or if it’s that all-important, why not time-travel waaay back and see to it that human industrial civilization never happened in the first place? Why not assassinate a few key players, like Einstein and his contemporaries? Surely their little tamperings with the experiments would be detectable at some point, in which case “they” may as well just come right out and declare themselves and their mission.

    I mean, if God really, really didn’t want this or that happening, why beat around the bush about it if it’s all that con-founded important? Why the sneaky, subtle little cues? Maybe God is a woman, like my wife– can’t come right out and say much, but must instead speak in riddles and innuendo.

    No, when you hear stuff like this it’s just plain old garden variety paranoia. Paranoia, self hatred and/or envy; “If Man had been meant to fly he’d have been born with wings”. No, little Grasshopper. If man had been meant to fly he’d have been born with the intelligence and the resources to invent and build things like airplanes…and particle colliders.

  8. SayUncle Says:

    why single out the physicists’ discussions, particularly?

    Because god isn’t very sciency.

  9. Mike Says:

    I’m with Lyle on this one. Even physicists have a superstitious tendency but they proposed a measurable scientific test to prove or disprove it.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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