Posting in Design
Call it the matchup between the Higgs boson and Murphy's Law. And a reminder that even the most visionary projects in the universe can be tripped up by small details.
Call it the matchup between the Higgs boson and a bread crumb. And the bread crumb seems to have prevailed in this round.
The $6.5-billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland -- which is supposed to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, or "God particle," which gives matter in the universe its mass and simulate the Big Bang -- apparently was no match for a small bird with a bread crumb.
It seems the folks running the LHC had to postpone their plans last week to emulate the universe's Big Bang because of a piece of baguette. According to a news report, LHC -- "designed to recreate the conditions present at the beginning of time -- had to be switched off after a bird dropped a bit of baguette into it, causing it to overheat."
The bird allegedly dropped the bread crumb on a compensating capacitor – where the main electricity supply enters the collider – cutting power to the LHC during a test run.
Nice to see nature still knows how to keep us humble. The lesson is that even the most thoroughly and painstakingly laid plans -- and grandest visions (in this case, uncovering the origin of the universe) -- can be tripped up by the most unexpected and down-to-earth things. Then again, maybe more organizations could use birds with bread crumbs to make decision makers think twice about pouring money into mega-expensive black-hole projects.
Nov 6, 2009
@konkreet: No, a pocket protector and lab coat are optional. Perspective is important. Yes, the cost for big, long-vision projects is large, but it is still a small cost in comparison with other budget items. Pure and natural sciences are foundation of developments 30 or 40 or more years afterward. Consider NASA's 2010 budget ($18.686 billion. Source: www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html). Huge. USA's 2010 budget request? 3.552 trillion (source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/fy2010_new_era/Summary_Tables2.pdf ). That's 3652 billion. Nasa represents 0.52606981%. Is half a percent of your tax dollar too much? Other programs to consider: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid: $ 1438 billion (source: ibid). I think you are right to want better results from social programs. Remember though, Medicare/Medicaid wouldn't have much success if medicines and medical technology were never funded. X-Rays didn't have many practical applications outside of pure science at first, as an example. It would have been hard to convince an investor back then to pony up $$ so that 100 years later we can print circuit boards using techniques adopted from that advance. PalmPirate
@ abbiesomone One does not need a pocket protector and a lab coat to decide whether spending billions of dollars on "proving" an esoterical question like "is there a God particle". It's like all the arguments about space exploration - are there benefits? Yes. Are they worth the money considering what that money might otherwise be used for? No. I liken it to someone buying a 100" wide-screen OLED TV, while their children run around in rag, eat out of garbage cans, and are sick all the time. Nothing wrong with the TV, everything wrong with the priorities. It is true that we "need" to keep moving forward. But since we clearly haven't even got something as basic as looking after one another on a daily basis (food, clothing, housing, hope, security, job prospects and decent education), then farting about with theoretical stuff that MAY be useful for SOMETHING some time in the distant FUTURE is a waste of time, money and focus. All the technology in the world is useless if a society is in chaos (which on the whole the world-wide societies are)...
> pouring money into mega-expensive black-hole projects Hey, stick to the "biz" stuff. You're clearly out of your depth when it comes to science.