Feeds

Hadron Collider switches to heavy ions, tinfoilers wet pants again

Also: Reg hack in large-red-button LHC control room incident

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Particle-punishing boffins at the Large Hadron Collider - the most outrageously powerful matter-rending apparatus and largest machine of any kind assembled by the human race - have switched ammunition. The colossal superconductor massdriver cannons of the LHC are now firing "fully stripped" ultrahypervelocity lead projectiles rather than comparatively insubstantial hydrogen ones.

A heavy ion collision recorded by the CMS experiment. Credit: CERN

Yes, we expected it to do that.

An incident during preparations for the change to heavy-ion operation, in which a visiting journalist* was unable to resist the temptation to press a large red button during a tour of the control room at the ATLAS experiment, appears not to have had any serious effects.

One need hardly add, of course, that the switch to heavy-ion operation at the colossal particle-puncher was thought likely among the tinfoil-chapeau'd community to lead to the destruction of the planet Earth and extinction of the human race - in this case perhaps by producing "negative strangelets" which would "provoke the ice-9 reaction [that] destroys the world throwing a new type of water that freezes the planet, since an ice-9 reaction will condensate the planet in a 15 kilometers ultra-dense strange star". (Or alternatively by creating a "quark-gluon liquid" which would function as the "detonator of a mass-bomb" capable of blowing up the entire solar system. Etc.)

But there's no need for panic, as every major or minor event at the LHC attracts colourful doom predictions: the turning on of beams, power increases, first collisions, probably the installation of a new coffee machine at CERN - all these will generally lead to worried tinfoilers issuing demented predictions to the effect that the planet or indeed the entire universe will explode, implode, turn to soup, be abruptly compressed to the size of a marble or succumb to a collaptic energy ring devil-particle event.

You'll hear no such hysterical ramblings from us here on the Reg boffinry desk, particle-molestation subdivision. We have been briefed directly by top CERN boffins, and we give you the straight info: the LHC does not and never will present any type of planet- or universe-destroying mishap risk - though there is apparently a chance of an interdimensional portal incident of some type, possibly involving invasion of planet Earth by teleporting, rumbling juggernaut-spheroid creatures from the Fifth Dimension. (We may not have fully grasped that last bit: sadly from a news viewpoint it appears that the juggernaut-men would be so minuscule and exist so briefly as only to be apparent to mighty detector instruments.)

In any event, the transition to shooting lead rather than protons at the LHC was carried out smoothly at the weekend, with first collisions on Saturday according to CERN internal reports. Even as this piece is written, tiny bullets are crashing into one another head-on at the speed of light inside the mighty instrument caverns of the Collider, causing large amounts of coloured lines to go everywhere (live images can be seen here and here).

Erratic apocalypse prophet Luis Sancho - a confederate of the infamous Walter L Wagner, well-known for his attempts to get Hawaiian courts to shut the Collider down - has now moved his Doomsday forecast date back to tomorrow: or "certainly, within decades" (see final para - we can't recommend reading the whole post). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter breaks NINETEEN THOUSAND of your EARTH POUNDS
That's right, OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.