February 23rd, 2010

OMG, Stop

The world of the breadcrumb

Could a lawsuit shut the LHC down? (New Scientist)

This article, written by a professor of law rather than physics, points out how the LHC project has shifted its reasons for why it could not possibly go wrong. It is not a pleasant read.

But there is one other argument, thanks to our dedicated atheist friends. When looking at how the universe is uniquely fine-tuned for life, they will uniformly reply that if it were not, we would not be here to observe it. According to the branching multiverse theory, there is an enormous number of possible universes. We just happen to live in the one where all the coincidences fell into the right place at the right time so that we are here to talk about it.

Well, look at the long string of misfortunes that has delayed the Large Hadron Collider and then closed it down repeatedly, culminating with a bird losing a bread crumb at the exact spot where it could overheat a vital component and shut down the project. Using the same logic, how could something this unlikely happen? Because we live in the world where we are alive to see it. We live in the one universe where the bird dropped the breadcrumb...