LHC downed until after Xmas - Boo

Atomsmash off season delays Higgs-Hawking deathmatch

Proton-punishing boffins at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have confirmed that a recent technical mishap will down the colossal particle-masher until well into next year. The various treats promised once the LHC began living up to its name will not, now, arrive in time for Christmas.

Physicists had hoped that the tremendous circular hadron motorway - which is arranged rather as though the M25 was set up with the opposing streams of traffic having to drive through each other every so often - would by now be spraying sub-particulate roadkill wreckage like zillionfold femto-entrail hail into vast detector collectors. These would pass their data to tremendous hypercomputer arrays, which would sift the riven hadron guts for auguries into the very essence of the cosmos.

It was expected, once the LHC seriously got running, that the Nobel people would eventually be compelled to install some kind of automated prize-dispensing machine in the CERN cafeteria; on busy days, this would give the appearance of a fruit machine paying out a jackpot.

Aficionados of heavyweight tag-team ultimate brain fighting were also hoping to see the Higgs-Hawking grudge deathmatch resolved. Those with still more sensationalist tastes were eagerly anticipating the possibility that foolish CERN boffins - perhaps giving a chinese burn to a colleague operating the LHC's controls - might cause the Earth and human race to be catapulted through a runaway exponential-growth collapsar portal, nonexistence-bubble shift horizon etc into some kind of colourfully hostile parallel reality.

There will even have been some curmudgeons, condemned to Xmas with the in-laws, hoping for oblivion to intervene in the form of an apocalyptic strangelet soup or monopole trifle conversion event.

Sadly, it now appears certain that none of these people's desires can be satisfied. By the time the LHC's duff magno-cannon segment can be fixed, the midwinter price of 'leccy will be too high to turn the LHC on and the boffins will all be off on hols, inventing the next world wide web or similar.

Fans yearning for the proper hadron death-race action will now have to wait until spring. ®

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