Feeds

Feds urge court to dismiss lawsuit protecting life on Earth

'We'll take our chances with the strangelets'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The US government has asked a court to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to stop the world from ending.

Late last week, federal lawyers along with other defendants asked for summary judgment in a lawsuit designed to halt the start-up of the most powerful particle accelerator yet built. The lawsuit, which was filed in Hawaii last March by Luis Sancho, a Spanish science writer, and Walter Wagner, a retired radiation expert, against the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, and its American quislings, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, claims that the Large Hadron Collider could create microscopic black holes, strangelets and the ominous-sounding “magnetic monopoles.”

The collider will smash subatomic particles together at close to the speed of light in search of ever more fundamental principles of physics, but Sancho and his cohorts contend that the collider runs the risk of creating new and dangerous particles with the potential to devour the earth.

The so-called “strangelets” would in theory be created when the quarks that form the basis of the atom recombine to form novel, more stable quarks that would then fuse with normal matter. As the complaint warns, “repeated fusions would result in a runaway fusion reaction, eventually converting Earth to a strangelet of huge size.”

The lawsuit also contends that there is a very real possibility that the collision of matter at near light speed will result in an implosion and the creation of a miniaturized black hole, and “eventually all of Earth would fall into such growing micro-black hole, converting Earth to a medium size black hole, around which would orbit the moon, satellites, the ISS, etc.”

Not to be outdone by known hazards such as black holes, the complaint claims that magnetic monopoles are massive magnetic particles that would catalyze the decay of “protons and atoms, causing them to convert into other types of matter in a runaway reaction.”

Attorneys for the Department of Justice moved to dismiss the complaint on a variety of grounds, not least of which is its theatrical absurdity. Government attorneys argued in supporting memoranda that the case was moot, since the American contribution to the project had already been made, and that, regardless, the United States was not part of CERN. An American injunction would consequently have no impact on the operation of the accelerator.

Government filings also note that this is not Mr. Wagner’s first rodeo, so to speak – he filed an almost identical lawsuit against the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, or RHIC, in 1999, to no avail - the complaint was dismissed for lack of credible scientific foundation. The motions for summary judgment and dismissal will be heard on Sept. 2, 2008, giving us at least a couple of summer months to enjoy life as we know it. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.