Friday, September 26, 2008

Non, Je ne Regrette Rien

The best and brightest of French engineering suffered a major set back in their race with the Mayans to end the world. The Mayans famously renowned for their prowess at pyramid construction, skill at ball games involving severed human heads and carving big impractical pocket calendars out of stone had predicted that the world, or at least this cycle of time, will end on December 21, 2012. The French gamely took up the challenge and constructed a machine that, at least some people think, could end world before the Mayan imposed deadline.

The Large Hadron Collider is a 27 kilometer (17 miles for those still using God's ordained system of measures) ring tunnel designed to let scientist observe the destruction of atomic particles by smashing them together at nearly the speed of light. In other words its exactly the same as the time you put all those firecrackers in your cousins model of the Forestall and blew it up by ramming a model of the Bismarck, similarly packed with explosives, into it except its in a big ring in France surrounded by super conducting magnets at or near absolute zero, operated by CERN an acronym no one has figured out yet, funded with billions of euros and you're not hiding it from Mom or are high as a kite from huffing the airplane glue fumes. One possible side benefit to the reams of information we will reap by having Frenchmen smash things is there is a minuscule chance, and by minuscule I mean a one in three chance, they will accidentally create a black hole that will swallow the world.

As one who thinks being perched on the event horizon with one eye on the singularity and the other on the rest of the universe red shifting away into infinity is the perfect metaphor for my life,
(shit, thats the way the universe appears to observers who assume we're in an expanding universe not being sucked into a collapsing black hole which would produce identical observations. Note to self: call CERN and see if anyone answers the phone.)
I love these little ambiguities, particularly when I'm being reassured by engineers from a country that produced the Renault.

Things were going swimmingly at CERN, they were running tests, everybody looked smart in their clean white lab coats and invitations to the end of the world gala had gone out when a power bus melted down and pooped the party. A power bus by the way is usually a charged bar or power supply that other devices get their power from, they are usually bars of copper or iron, how they melted one at absolute zero I can't say. At the very least we will have to wait till April to find out if the French have created something at least as lethal as their grooming habits and sexual practices.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Anyone can laugh at himself...

Hurricane Ike beat up on Texas so bad they're changing it's name to Tina.