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Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 76
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...Page 4 of 9    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Those folks involved in the science producing the LHC, as well as other associated sciences, understand the world enough to where they at least are resting on knowledge produced at a 10 Dimensional level.

Fortunately, that is not the case, since any physics that requires more than the usual 4 spacetime dimensions is speculative and completely lacking in experimental support. In the case of the LHC, the arguments regarding radiation from black holes requires the same theories from which the concept of radiating black holes arose in the first place. Anyone who doesn't believe the safety arguments also has no reason to believe in radiating black holes or even black holes. If someone doesn't believe in black holes, they can't argue that the LHC might produce one.

The same is true for strangelets. If someone doesn't believe the arguments from standard model of particle physics against producing killer strangelets, he/she also can't believe in strangelets, much less argue that one could be produced by the LHC. The only theory in which strangeness is a quantum number is standard model. (The term strangeness is historical in origin.)
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 77
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/15/2010 5:49:49 PM

Can you provide any observational evidence that mini black holes evaporate at a rate that would prevent an LHC black hole disaster? There isn't any. It's theory that predicts the rapid evaporation.

Actually, you're the one sounding the alarm. Therefore, you should be the one who can provide something of real evidence for substantial risk or, at the very least, sufficient risk to justify scrapping a couple billion euros worth of investment.
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 78
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/15/2010 6:48:13 PM
I'm not talking about theories themselves,

You should be, since the only reason we belive in anything is because we have models of those things which are either supported by the phenomena they predict or disproven by incorrect predictions. For example, you can't say anything about an atom if you don't have a model that defines what an atom is. (You can't even do that for a rock).

Simple way to find out whether this is true or not. Find out whether string theorists,or example, are receiving any grant funding.

Are you actually claiming that funding for string theorists is evidence that string theory has made any experimentally verifiable predictions? I certainly hope not, unless you believe string theory predicts funding for string theorists.

You might be surprised to learn that they are, at quite impressive levels.

I have a ph.d in nuclear physics and I've worked on high energy physics experiments. I happen to know some string theorists personally, so I will not be surprised in the least that they recieve funding. I already know that. However, funding has nothing to with what I said about there being zero experimental evidence to support string theory.

If you disagree with what I actually said, then feel free to provide a reference to some experiment in which a prediction from string theory has been observed. The closest thing to a prediction of which I am aware, is the calculation of an obscure sum rule in which the calculation done using string theory agrees with the calculation done much earlier using quantum field theory, but for which, the string theory calculations was supposed to be easier to perform. On the other hand, no one has even shown that string theory reduces in some limit to the standard model which is known to be correct to the extent that no experimental data contradicts it. (I have nothing against string theory. I've studied it and a two volume set on the subject written by some of the most prominent string theoriists, e.g., Ed Witten, David Gross and others. However, anyone's personal opinion about string theory does not change the fact that there is no experimental evidence that supports it.)
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 79
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/15/2010 7:27:50 PM

It seems as though you have quite strong, and hopefully valid, concerns about LHC.

Huh? I have absolutely no converns about the LHC whatsoever. I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion.

As to the empirical support for string theory, and similar fields yet in their infancy, the LHC will further serve to discredit, support, or modify their theories.

That is a completely different issue. Unless some string theorist pulls a rabbit out of a hat and figures out some extremely subtle experiment that is amenable to testing string theory at the low energies (relatively speaking) that the LHC is capable of producing, the LHC is totally irrelevant to string theory. As it stands, no one of wghich I am aware knows how to devise an experiment that can test string theory at any energy that would ever be created in a laboratory.
Actually, string theory is not really in its infancy. It has been tried and discarded at different stages of development all the way back to the Kaluza-Klein theory (in the 1940's, I think). That doesn't mean it's wrong. It does mean that it may get discarded again by lots of theorists until someone figures out how to do something with it that is relevant to physics.

That's what further investigation, including LHC is all about -- to lend support, call for modification, or discredit existing theories.

Sort of. The fact is, that the only particle required by the minimal standard model that has so far not been discovered, is the higgs boson. Other theoriesm such as supersymmetry predict the existence of new particles, but none of them actually predict the energy at which those particles will appear (apart from minimal SU(5) which was shown to be incorrect about 20 years ago when its prediction for the lower limit on the proton lifetime of about 10^32 years was WAY to low.) It would be nice if the LHC discovered some new physics, but I don't think anyone can say that it will with better odds than a coin toss.
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 80
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/16/2010 4:10:42 PM


Considering what the stakes are, it's better to err on the side of caution. You yourself said that the experiments could rewrite physics. Then might they not rewrite the theory that says that black holes evaporate rapidly?

Indeed, but that wasn't the question.

The question was, can you provide observational evidence that would offer a meaningful assessment of risk that would warrant a shut down of the experiment? You know, actual physical evidence from a previous accelerator experiment - remember, LHC isn't the only accelerator in operation and can produce nearly a tera eV of power.

Any reasonable and informed assessment of risk must come with some observational evidence, otherwise it amounts to little more than "well, something bad could happen."

Here's observational evidence for its relative safety...

It has been argued that to conserve energy and momentum, any black holes created in a collision between an UHECR (ultra-high-energy cosmic rays) and local matter would necessarily be produced moving at relativistic speed with respect to the Earth, and should escape into space, as their accretion and growth rate should be very slow, while black holes produced in colliders (with components of equal mass) would have some chance of having a velocity less than Earth escape velocity, 11.2 km per sec, and would be liable to capture and subsequent growth. Yet even on such scenarios the collisions of UHECRs with white dwarfs and neutron stars would lead to their rapid destruction, but these bodies are observed to be common astronomical objects. Thus if stable micro black holes should be produced, they must grow far too slowly to cause any noticeable macroscopic effects within the natural lifetime of the solar system.
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 81
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/18/2010 3:11:07 PM

As the O.P. pointed out, your apology wouldn't do us a whole lot of good if you turned out to be wrong.

My apology for what? Please feel free to define what culpability I might share, not having had anything to do with the proposal, development or operation of the LHC. So, if it operates fine and we don't die, are you prepared to apologize for...something?

I'd say it's a pretty important question, if the LHC might make low-speed black holes within a few feet of the Earth's solid surface.

But that wasn't the question that I asked you which was what actual, observational and quantifiable evidence do you have for your alarm other than you've heard something bad might happen? I mean, hey, a physicist could flip a switch on an otherwise seemingly harmless contraption tomorrow and blow up the planet, couldn't he? Should we vet all experiments in physics to consideration of world-ending risks?

So it's the same thing as before: Physicists on both sides. Which physicists are right? I don't know. Shall we find out? The hard way?

You know what...I've gone back through the posts and I can't find any references to which physicists you're referring to. The OP cites an article with a legal challenge from a lawyer, not a physicist, and that failed because the courts were disinclined to proceed as it was outside of their purview.

But again, I issue you the challenge...if you are that much in objection, why do you not go over to the Hague and file your own objection? If the stakes are that high, surely it must be worth any price to you to see it stopped!

While you do that, I'll just be outside, keeping an eye out for herds of stampeding dinosaurs.
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 82
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/18/2010 3:52:02 PM

Should we vet all experiments in physics to consideration of world-ending risks?

I'm guessing that his answer is going to be 'YES'... with the neo-Luddite attitude that says that we shouldn't try *anything* new unless we've figured out all the possible consequences. (Which is a rather odd attitude - since we can't always know what the consequences ARE until we try...)

Sure - I'm all for letting the work of people who've spent their LIVES thinking about the problems inherent in their reasoning be judged (and if necessary, stopped) by others who have a tabloid-level knowledge of what their proposals and plans are...
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 83
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/18/2010 6:30:35 PM

Thanks. The way I see it, we HAVE to keep showing these types of people that their fears are groundless... otherwise they'll get the upper hand and put a halt to ALL areas of scientific inquiry.

Some people just need to be shown that all the Doomsday movies coming out of Hollywood these days are nothing more than fictions that play on our darkest fears... and are NOT to be taken seriously.
Joined: 5/19/2009
Msg: 84
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/19/2010 12:38:59 AM
I really don't see the legal impediment...

If the Hadron Collider created black holes hungry enough to suck in the whole Earth , there would be no one left to sue CERN the operator for millions and billions of dollars,
because CERN, the billions and the lawyers would have been sucked in along with the offended party...

Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 85
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/19/2010 10:41:42 AM

Cats, ya, but we'll get sucked up in that thar black hole, too.

Why is that? What's the gravitational field of a proton at the proton radius? What's the gravitational field of a black hole with the mass of a proton at the proton radius? The gravitational fields at the proton radius are identical.
Joined: 11/30/2007
Msg: 86
view profile
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/22/2010 10:25:47 PM

You mean the physicists who have spoken against the LHC, due to its risk? So your knowledge of the relevant physics is better than theirs?

Until you pony up some names, preferably with some relevant background in their resumes (beyond scaremongering for attention, of course), your repeated hammering of this point is meaningless noise, less than even a straw man.
Joined: 2/25/2009
Msg: 87
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/22/2010 11:18:29 PM
Whilst I'm happy to see this has created a healthy and happy debate - for the most part - as a reader of Skeptical Inquirerer, I'm more concerned with "groupthink" mentality than anything else. In the Jan/Feb issue there was a wonderful article to this effect. They had a great article on Thomas Gold in this regard, where he went against convention several times - only to be called a quack and later proven correct. He demomstrated very clearly the danger of groupthink - something every boundry breaking scientist has had to deal with.

Now forgive the cheese, but after watching "The Core" the other night, it raised a good point where Stanley Tucci's character, Dr. Conrad Zimsky said....

Col. Robert Iverson: Forgive me, but, you know I'm not the expert here, but what if the core is thicker or thinner? I mean, what if it's not what you think it is? Isn't that going to affect the way the explosions are...
Dr. Conrad Zimsky: Yes, yes, yes, yes, and what if the core is made of cheese? This is all best guess commander. That's all science is, is best guess.
Col. Robert Iverson: So my best guess is you don't know.

Ok, that's fiction, but how closely art imitates life, n'est pas? I mean, as I stated prior, the scientists at the test of the first nuke were still betting if the atmosphere would go up in flame. That's a hell of a bet.

So now we're playing with something, with potentially massive and devestating energies, because we don't really understand it, yet the groupthink line is, 'Don't worry about it' even though they can't say for a certainty, one way or another, that it may be a major risk . And how many times has science said, 'Don't worry about it' when we should have. Thalidimide anyone? et al.

From everything I've read and understand, it's low to a point it's not worth worrying about. Yet, no one can say that for a certainty. I understand that risk brings reward, but the risk in this case can potenitally put everyone at risk. It just seems a big goddamn gamble when no one is certain about this either way, except the groupthink people who - history has shown - are wrong more often than right on many levels.
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 88
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/23/2010 4:28:07 AM

What we have there is a suggestion by some physicists that black hole production has significant probability.

No, what we have is the suggestion by some physicists that black hole production has a NON-ZERO probability. The ones I've found make statements along the lines of "while there is a minuscule chance that black holes may be produced, it should be taken into account" - it's a statement I agree with, but I also feel that the probability HAS been taken into account.

I never liked the idea of atmospheric nuclear testing, and it has turned out to be a bad idea.

It was a bad idea POLITICALLY... which has nothing to do with the physics involved. Like it or not, there is a difference. Agreeing with politicians and lawyers doesn't mean you were 'right' about the testing itself...

Like StarGazer said - if you have a concern, make the effort and take it to the World Court. The original article posted stated that the court that ruled the petition was outside its' jurisdiction was a State Court in Hawaii... so go up a couple of levels and try your arguments there.
Joined: 2/25/2009
Msg: 89
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/29/2010 6:36:31 PM
If the physicists on the pro side knew for an absolute certainty there was no risk then they wouldn't need the LHC in the first place, would they? You don't build something like this because you already know the answers and the possible outcomes. And when you're messing around with energy on those scales - which no one has done before - than you can't be certain what the results will be. It's one thing to put a few guys in a rocket and send them off into space, the risk is to the guys in the rocket. Here we could potentially all be victims. If that's not a reason for pause, I don't know what is.
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 90
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/29/2010 7:15:47 PM
It's one thing to put a few guys in a rocket and send them off into space, the risk is to the guys in the rocket.

Why is that different? If you've never done it before, how do you know that it won't cause the end of the world?

If that's not a reason for pause, I don't know what is.

Then I guess you should never do anything you haven't done before, since you can't possibly know what might happen.
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 91
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/29/2010 7:26:56 PM
You all do realize that the initial discussions for the LHC date back to the '80s, don't you? That the initial agreement to begin construction was in the early '90s? So those of your firing off the warnings of doom, where were you then?

App, you indicate that the only thing the public will get out of this is a few articles for mass consumption and yet, from what I can tell, you're basing your objections on what you've articles written for mass consumption. So on the one hand, your stating that this is not nearly enough information to gain a full appreciation of the science and the risks, but you're relying on that same source for your objections.

Do you not see the irony in that?
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 92
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/30/2010 8:16:02 PM

Do you not see the irony in that?

Oh, I see tremendous irony in this reply...

The fact that I've seen some of the descriptive simplifications is irrelevant. The point is that that's all that most people, including you, will be able to get from the experiments.

So what's good for the goose is definitely not good for the gander. Your objections and my support, though based on the same material in your estimation (never mind Abelian who's actually read the material from the source) don't carry the weight. Yours outweighs mine because....why? It's you? Yes. Likely, knowing your ego.

Bottom line, you don't know what you're talking about any better than most (and even less than several) on this thread. However, like chicken little, you insist on running around yelling "the world is ending! The world is ending!"

And the best you can come up with to be insulting is "Car-Chaser."

And you fancy yourself an intellectual.
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 93
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 4/30/2010 8:33:21 PM

Like StarGazer said - if you have a concern, make the effort and take it to the World Court.

Thanks for the advice. Would it offend you if I don't take it? As I told Stargazer, others have already pursued the case.

Why would I be offended...? Your response tells me two things, though...

1 - that you failed to realize that I suggested going to the WORLD court. All of the other legal challenges have been put to either State or Federal courts, which have no jurisdiction. Since the UN court has no such jurisdictional problems, that's the place you should go.

2 - you like to talk a good game, but you don't have the willingness to take action to support your beliefs. Have you AT LEAST donated some money to the people who put up the original legal challenges...? I guess it doesn't bother you enough to do more than cry about it...

You ludicrously seem to believe that I'm the only person to voice any concern about the LHC.

And YOU seem to believe that the arguments put forth by the opponents of the LHC are more valid than they actually are...
Joined: 11/30/2007
Msg: 94
view profile
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 5/2/2010 1:43:33 PM

But, because of that delay, the added delay of waiting till we can build the thing in space isn't a significant, serious or problematic delay.

Horse-crap. If you can even remotely demonstrate this to be true, I will drop dead of shock. Even the best projections for reduced cost-to-orbit are about $3000 per kilogram in the next ten years. At $8 billion for the collider, try tacking on $3,000,000,000 plus costs for living facilities, etc... the ROI will simply cease to exist.

There were those who said detonating a nuclear device in the atmosphere would ignite it. Should we still be waiting for the spinoffs from the nuclear physics behind the development of nuclear weapons, some 70 years later? You'd be typing on an IBM Selectric, MAYBE.

There were those who said manned space exploration would expose us to alien viruses that would kill off humanity. Should we have waited on that, too? Never mind the $8-$10 return to the economy on every dollar spent in the space program.

Then let's consider those arguing AGAINST the LHC:

Otto Rössler, a German chemistry professor at the University of Tübingen, argues that micro black holes created in the LHC could grow exponentially.[67][68][69][70][71] On 4 July 2008, Rössler met with a CERN physicist, Rolf Landua, with whom he discussed his safety concerns.[72] Following the meeting, Landua asked another expert, Hermann Nicolai, Director of the Albert Einstein Institute, in Germany, to examine Rössler's arguments.[72] Nicolai reviewed Otto Rössler's research paper on the safety of the LHC[68] and issued a statement highlighting logical inconsistencies and physical misunderstandings in Rössler's arguments.[73] Nicolai concluded that "this text would not pass the referee process in a serious journal."[71][73] Domenico Giulini also commented with Hermann Nicolai on Otto Rössler's thesis, concluding that "his argument concerns only the General Theory of Relativity (GRT), and makes no logical connection to LHC physics; the argument is not valid; the argument is not self-consistent."[74] On 1 August 2008, a group of German physicists, the Committee for Elementary Particle Physics (KET),[54] published an open letter further dismissing Rössler's concerns and carrying assurances that the LHC is safe.[2][55] Otto Rössler was due to meet Swiss president Pascal Couchepin in August 2008 to discuss this concern,[75] but it was later reported that the meeting had been canceled as it was believed Rössler and his fellow opponents would have used the meeting for their own publicity.[76]
On 10 August 2008, Rainer Plaga, a German astrophysicist, posted a research paper on the arXiv Web archive concluding that LHC safety studies have not definitely ruled out the potential catastrophic threat from microscopic black holes, including the possible danger from Hawking radiation emitted by black holes.[3][77][78][79] In a follow-up paper posted on the arXiv archive on 29 August 2008, Steven Giddings and Michelangelo Mangano, the authors of the research paper "Astrophysical implications of hypothetical stable TeV-scale black holes",[56] responded to Plaga's concerns.[80] They pointed out what they see as a basic inconsistency in Plaga's calculation, and argued that their own conclusions on the safety of the collider, as referred to in the LHC safety assessment (LSAG) report,[5] remain robust.[80] Giddings and Mangano also referred to the research paper "Exclusion of black hole disaster scenarios at the LHC", which relies on a number of new arguments to conclude that there is no risk due to mini black holes at the LHC.[3][59]. On 19 January 2009 Roberto Casadio, Sergio Fabi and Benjamin Harms posted on the arXiv a paper, later published on Physical Review D, ruling out the catastrophic growth of black holes in the scenario considered by Plaga.[81] In reaction to the criticisms, Plaga updated his paper on the arXiv on 26 September 2008 and again on 9 August 2009.[77] So far, Plaga's paper has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Let's not forget Walter Wagner, the guy with the undergraduate minor in Physics, who filed suit in Hawai'i against the LHC. He's allegedly got a law degree, too, and he didn't realize the issue of venue would arise? He's clearly just trying to get famous and make a mint for a couple of years on the talk circuit.

NO BIG NAMES in theoretical or particle physics have come out against the LHC. Why? Because it's safe. The only people who have come out against it are dilettantes or desperate attention whores, with educations in other fields and a desire to stand in the limelight for a few months.

Appeal to non-authority authorities. Red herring. Straw man. Scare-mongering. Come up with something new, would you?
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 95
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 5/3/2010 8:57:14 AM

You're missing the point of what I said. I said that you won't get the information from the LHC experiments because it will be beyond your level. You'll get simplified descriptive articles and books. My point is that there's nothing in it for you. ...

You seem to think that anyone who find fault in your "logic" somehow misses your point. Quite the opposite. Your point is invalid. You're not a physicist so you have no original research from which to base an objection. You, by your own admission, lack the technical know-how to read and understand original research from physicists including the mathematics.

So your source of your objections is...what? Popular articles.

My point is that there's nothing in it for you. ...except for possible technical innovations, a long way down the line, resulting from knowledge gained in the experiments. But, because of that delay, the added delay of waiting till we can build the thing in space isn't a significant, serious or problematic delay.

What, you mean like...the internet? Yeah, too bad we've had to wait so long for that!

Some of them hope to make black holes, some of which will likely be slow, gravitationally-capturable black holes, close to the Earth's surface, and they don't know what will happen, because, as you yourself said, the experiments could rewrite phyisics.

Given your own admitted lack of knowledge in physics, how do you define "likely?"

The problem is that no one knows what will happen. The problem is that there are physicists on both sides of the safety question. That isn't what I call safety-reassurance.

Again, how can you sit there and so vehemently defend the alarmist position you've taken when your arguments and sources for your objections have repeatedly been shown to be so flawed!?

Some who know the relevant physics say the LHC is safe. Some who know the relevant physics disagree, and contest the theories that say it's safe. That's the problem.

More accurate to say that MOST if not ALL who know the relevant physics say the LHC is safe. A vocal minority who DON'T know the relevant physics disagree, and contest the theories that say it's safe. But, as in so many things, if you're in the minority, shout louder and make your claims even more extreme. Then proceed to insult the intelligence of those who dare to disagree with you.

Either way, it's academic. The thing is turned on and doing science. I look forward to your admission that you were wrong when the end of the world fails to materialize.
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 96
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 5/3/2010 12:51:54 PM

Similiarly ridiculous. Most things you haven't done before, like trying a new ice-cream flavor, have no suggested scenario for destroying the Earth.

Why not? The only evidence you have that it won't is a theoretical likelyhood based on what we know about physics. I can make up a theory that postulates the existence of some flavor of ice cream that no one has tried, but will destroy the world if tasted. There's no evidence that suggests such a theory isn't ridiculous, but as long as you expect a guarantee instead of going with the odds, you couldn't rule it out.

Some of them do have a danger scenario for you--skydiving or bungee-jumping, for instance. So don't do them unless you want to risk your life. Risk yours, but yours only.

How do you know that skydiving from 200,000 feet isn't safe? No one has ever done it. The only evidence you have that it isn't comes from extrapolating the safety of skydiving from lower altitudes. Sort of like the sprculation about danger at the lhc.
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 97
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 5/3/2010 1:38:07 PM

I look forward to your admission that you were wrong when the end of the world fails to materialize.

Won't matter - the line will then become "Well, it may not have happened TODAY, but it could happen TOMORROW."

There's no way to win against the paranoid...
Joined: 12/26/2007
Msg: 98
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 5/4/2010 9:04:08 AM
Fears on the LHC are as unstoppable as they are vague.

A lot of people seem to think the scientists are just making stuff up, like they don't know what's going to happen and are just crossing their fingers and hoping it's interesting.

I've heard it stated by scientists that the amount of energy involved in the collision is roughly the same as throwing one mosquito at another mosquito. For particles that's an insane amount of mass to have (due to their accelleration) but it's hardly some terrifying amount of energy.

The argument seems to be based on the notion that if something's never happened before it could potentially be bad - but that's simply not true. Not only does it not follow logically that it's bad, but this sort of collision and interaction occurs all the time in nature. It's just hard to see and study.

A final point on black holes. Black holes operate by having tremendous mass. That's what produces the gravity well. If a black hole has that little mass it should snuff out. If not, there's the often cited risk of it going into the centre of the planet and slowly hollowing it out.

Remember, though, that the thing still has little to no mass. It would accrete material and new mass very very slowly. Some of the figures I've seen calculated how long it would take to pose a threat to the planet, even if this did happen. It was about 10 times longer than the remaining lifetime of the sun.

I think we're fine.
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 99
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 5/8/2010 2:22:57 PM
That's the difference, you see: A genuine suggested scenario of danger.

There would only be a difference if I agreed that the suggested scenario was genuine. I don't.

Black holes are known to consume things.

Correction - the definition of what black hole means comes from a theory, general relativity. The concept isn't meaningful independent of the theory. The only evidence for their existence is due to measurements that fit what the theory describes. That rules out even creating a black hole without resorting to creating a new theory (for which no evidence exists) specifically tailored to create black holes at the lhc. It makes for a good pr campaign to sell the lhc, based on wild optimism, but it doesn't mean squat as a scientific argument.
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 100
New legal challenge for the Hadron Collider...
Posted: 5/11/2010 4:07:06 AM
They also report the naysayers - who I can't say I was particularly impressed with. Only one individual with any reasonable background in the type of physics we're talking about here - and his arguments were found to be "flawed". Maybe some people just want their few moments of "fame".

I'm, mot sure which person you refer to with respect to the ``flawed'' arguments, but I took a wild guess from what I read in that link and read reference 68: (Rossler, Otto). I can dispense with this one in short order and I think I can make clear just how flawed this article is. The text of the article may be found at:

On page 2, Rossler mentions the Schwarzshild soluntion, but since he doesn't write it down, I'll include it her for reference. It's the equivalent of the ``pythagorean theorem'' (i.e., the measure of distance) in curved spacetime. I'm leavcing out the angular part, since it isn't relevant and clutters everything up:

ds^2 = -(1-R/r)dt^2 + dr^2/(1-R/r) [To get enginering units, replace R/r by 2Gm/rc^2)

R == 2Gm/c^2 is the radius at the horizon. Apart from the minus sign and the coefficient (1-2m/r), this looks just like ds^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 in plane trigonometry. The thing to note here is what happens as the coordinate r takes the value R (the horizon). Then, (1-R/r) = 0 and the second term becomes infinite and hence is a singularity. That could be one of two things. Either the coordinates are not good coordinates or it really represents a singularity. A coordinate singularity occurs in regular spherical polar coordinates (theta, phi) at the north pole. The coordinate phi isn't defined there, since (0, phi) is the same point for any value of phi, the azimuthal angle). As it turns out, we have a coordinate singularity which we can eliminate by picking better coordinates.

However, Rossler doesn't seem to get this idea. Instead, he goes to commit a second error (eq 1). In his notation, he writes the radius R at the horizon as r_s and he integrates the function:

integral dr / (1 - r/r_s)

through the horizon. In other words, he gets the right indefinite integral and blindly plugs in the limits on either side of where the function goes to infinity, thereby not even integrating the function correctly. Someting similar can be done correctly (cf ``tortoise coordinate'' or ``Eddington-Finklestein'' coordinates at Wikipedia). Rossler then concludes (1) That it takes an infinite amount of time for a light ray to reach the horizon (which would sort of be correct if he wasn't sloppy and he interpreted it correctly; and (2) therefore the speed of light goes to zero.

That would be ok if he was talking about the result if he was claiming that this result was his. Then we could simply conclude he was wrong. Instead, he claims the result is what orthodox general relativity gets, but the interpretation is wrong. But, it gets worse before we finish the page.

In the last paragraph, he Rossler tosses out a lot of word salad regarding ``the constant c'' interpretation and the ``variable c interpetation.'' I admit, this took a minute to figure out what the hell he was talking about, since in orthodox general relativity, the speed of light is constant, contrary to what he claims. What he actually means by constant is globally constant and what he means by variable is locally constant. The prcise mathematical meaning here isn't relevant because a simple physical example will make this clearer than it is to Rossler.

You and a friend start at the North pole and walk in opposite directions toward the south pole at a constant velocity. When you arrive at the South pole, you are walking toward each other. This probably seems unsurprising, but it illustrates the fact that on a curved surface, it appears that you changed directions, which you can't do by walking at a constant velocity on a flat plane. If the Earth was flat, you would walk away from each other forever. However, neither of you changed velocity, so obviously you cannot define a velocity for either of you in a global way. Iy doesn't make sense to compare vectors at different points on a curved surface. Each person can, however, measure his own velocity and conclude that it's constant. If each of you tries to measure the other's velocity and compare it yours (which is constant), you'll conclude that the other person's velocity changed.

How does this apply to Rossler's argument? We don't need the Schwarzschild metric to see that he's wrong. The bending of starlight during a total eclipse or gravitational lensing will do. If two light rays that are parallel are bent around a massive object, the rays will be bent toward each other. If you assume that the speed of light is constant, then you have to conclude spacetime is curved. Otherwise, the velocity of the two light rays have to change to be bent toward each other. Hence, the only way to interpret a constant speed of light is in terms of a local velocity (what Rossler calls the variable speed interpretation he claims is wrong.) The only other option is that the speed of light is really not constant, however, since we have never made a measurement where the speed of light is not c, that wouldn't be correct. Since everything that follows is based on more than one erroneous statement, there's no point in looking at the next page. To paraphrase W. Pauli, Rossler is not right. He's not even wrong.

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