Dear TheFeed Readers,
This is the fourth Saturday feature I've had the pleasure of writing for you, and sadly, it may be my last. Not because I'm leaving or because TheFeed is ending it's Saturday Features or anything like that. It may be the last for entirely different reason all together:
The world might not be here next Saturday.
Don't panic. The Earth isn't being demolished in order to make space for some hyperspatial express route and nobody is coming down from the sky to taking us up to an eternal paradise of sitting on clouds and playing lyres. At least, I don't think that's happening.
The threat that is actually facing us, dear TheFeeders, is in Europe and goes by the name of the Large Hadron Collider. It's scheduled for activation on Wednesday, September 10th, and it could be the end of us all.
THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER: MORE THAN A MISSPELLED PORN TITLE
The Large Hadron Collider, which has been constructed beneath the Franco-Swiss border, not too far from Geneva, Switzerland, is the world's largest particle accelerator. That's exactly what it sounds like. The purpose of the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, is to smash sub-atomic particles together and incredible high speeds and massive amounts of force and observe the results of these collisions.
What does smashing tiny particles (mostly protons) get us? Well, scientists are hoping to further validate and explore the possible limitations of the Standard Model, a scientific theory that explains the three primary types of interaction among particles in our universe. Along the way, physicists hope to observe the currently theoretical Higgs-Boson particle, a massless elementary particle. Yeah, that's right. It gets us some seriously nerdy answers to some hardcore deep quantum physics-type sh**.
In short, it allows us to better understand how the Universe works. Or rather, it allows the smartest people on the planet to better understand how the Universe works. Then those smart people can boil it down to some kind of metaphor about an ant crawling across the cover of book in order for us non-quantum physicists to pretend we can fathom the great mysteries of the cosmos.
So, the LHC is a good thing, right? Well, yes. But some people are worried that something could go wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. Chances are unbelievably slim that any of these disastrous events would actually happen, and the scientists behind the LHC basically think you're dumb if you believe this stuff, but if any of them did come true, I doubt anyone would have the chance to realize it, much less say any goodbyes. We'll be exploring the possible deadly outcomes of the LHC and accompany each of them with a scientifically calculated percentile of probability.*
So, what could go wrong? Well, for a start...
"THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIST!"
Some believe that extraordinarily powerful collisions, much like the ones that will be occurring at the LHC, could possibly rip through the space-time continuum and open a door to another world, even another dimension.
Sounds pretty cool, until you think about what could come out of that gateway. I don't know about you, but I'm not really down for spending my last few days fighting off acid-shooting spiders, 30 foot tall lobsters, or devilishly creepy Sam Neills who want to tell me how awesome hell is.
CHANCE OF ACTUALLY HAPPENING: 0.000046%
PEOPLE ARE STRANGE, WHEN YOU'RE A STRANGELET
Scientists have speculated that the LHC's collisions could also result in the formation of mini black holes and strangelets. There is seems to be little debate that these particles could be produced; the only arguments tend to focus on whether these particles pose a threat to you, me, and everyone we know. Mini black holes are exactly what they sound like: Very, very, very small black holes. Unfortunately, the puppies do not come with miniature Maximillian Schells inside them. Rather, they will be microscoping collections of matter so dense that light cannot escape their gravity. Some argue that, despite their small size, their gravitational force would be great enough to cause catastrophic damage to the Earth, possibly enough to wipe out all life on the planet as we know it.
So, yeah, that would be bad.
Strangelets are an entirely different beast all together. A strangelet is an object of strange matter, made up of bound
particles of equal amounts of up, down, and strange quarks. Quarks are sub-sub-atomic particles smaller even than protons and neutrons. Doomsday enthusiasts have said that when strangelets come into contact with each other, they can set off a chain reaction in which all matter in the enclosed system would be altered into strange matter. Should the Cassandras of Physics prove right, the Earth could be transformed overnight into a Quasar.
CHANCE OF ACTUALLY HAPPENING: 23% (23%? Sure! Why not?)
The last of our hypothetical ends of civilization is also the most bizarre. Some scientists believe that the collisions in LHC could result in the formation of a particle that behaves with an almost perfect sense of self-destruction. These particles are not bound by time and bounce back and forth through time the way light can bounce around a room. These particles will naturally bounce through time, and will be drawn back, almost like a magnet, to their point of creation, where they will undo their own creation. Confusing, I know.
The real effect of this occurrence is debatable. Some believe it would simply appear that the Hadron Collider has failed to work properly. Some think it will appear to have a normal collision that is uneventful. And others still think that these particles could create a temporal loop where the same minuscule section of time between the creation of the particles and their own unbirth would be repeated over and over and over again. And none of us would be able to understand that it was happening. I don't know about you, but that's some serious Star Trek sh** right there.
CHANCE OF ACTUALLY HAPPENING: 3%
So, maybe this will be my last Saturday feature, maybe not. I sure hope not. I really just wanted to right this so in case the world ends on Wednesday in a matter of seconds, the last thought across the minds of people all over the world would be: Wow, TheFeed got this one right!
Goodnight, goodluck, and see you next Saturday?
*we picked numbers that look pretty.