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Boffin-botherer's LHC doomsday case thrown out on appeal

Hawaiian beaks dismiss 'speculative fear' case

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Eccentric botanist and soi-disant physicist Walter L Wagner of Hawaii, continuing his futile battle in the US courts against the Large Hadron Collider, has been handed another stinging legal bitchslap.

Wagner's original case was thrown out in 2008, but he appealed this decision and found himself back in Hawaii's federal court again this week to hear the result. The boffin-bothering botanist didn't get any sympathy from the beaks, however.

The justices wrote (pdf):

To establish standing, Wagner must demonstrate (1) an “injury in fact,” (2) “a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of” that is not attributable to “the independent action of some third party not before the court,” and (3) a likelihood that a favorable decision will redress the injury.

Wagner cannot demonstrate that he has standing ... Speculative fear of future harm does not constitute an injury in fact sufficient to confer standing.

Furthermore they pointed out again that even if Wagner's case were not as leaky as a Swiss cheese rowboat, the US courts have no jurisdiction over the Collider on the France/Switzerland border.

Accordingly, the alleged injury, destruction of the earth, is in no way attributable to the U.S. government’s failure to draft an environmental impact statement.

Wagner had some better legal news last month, however, when charges of theft and identity theft on which he and his wife Linda M Wagner had been indicted were dismissed. Hawaii prosecutor Jason Skier told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the case was dismissed without prejudice last month due to a technicality, and said the Wagners can be recharged. Skier added that he could not say whether they will be recharged.

Wagner's battle with the board at the botanical gardens where he used to work hasn't gone all his way, however: large sums in damages have been awarded against him in civil judgements.

It's not the first time that Wagner has had trouble with the law, either. He was jailed back in the 1970s for violating restraining orders granted to a woman he was stalking.

Meanwhile outside Geneva the LHC is beginning to properly hit its stride. The massive machine is running happily using 3.5 tera-electron-volt beams, gradually cranking up the number of "bunches" in each beam and so causing more collisions for boffins to analyse.

On Monday, CERN reported a "record-breaking" 14-hour collision sequence, with data pouring out of the subterranean experiment caverns for crunching by the organisation's mighty supercomputers and distributed clusters.

Apparently the 14-hour "fill" of boson-busting mayhem around the great Collider's circuit generated as much data as all previous collisions up to last month. ®

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