Thursday, September 11, 2008

CERN/LHC is on but we're still here

They turned on the LHC over on the Franco-Swiss border, and the accelerated nuclei took their first trip around that thirteen mile test track, and guess what? We're still here. No black holes, no uncontrolled matter/anti-matter reactions, not even a strangelet phenomena, and I don't even know what that would look like. I'm happy we didn't all wake up dead Wed. morning, but I don't guess I would have even known if we didn't.

It reminded me of a story I read by Ray Bradbury in high school about a family that knew that the world was going to end that night, and they did all of the things that they did every other night, ate dinner, read, put the kids to bed kissed them goodnight, and went to sleep. Probably they were a little nicer than usual. No one screaming, "Get to bed!" or "Don't you know tomorrow's a school day?" It was all sweet and nice. The mom probably made a nice dinner, one everybody liked. I don't think it would be like that at my house, but maybe it would, we didn't lie awake waiting for them to light off the LHC, we just went to bed and went to sleep, just like the people in the story. I think it would be this way no matter what.

We can't conceive of a world without us, and we sure can't conceive of a universe without our world in it. Besides, what are you going to do? Drive all over the place trying to get off. Order a bunch of things on the internet on your charge card? Why? You're never going to have to pay for them, but you're never going to get them either. For me at least, just ordering stuff isn't good enough. I have to drive myself crazy trying to get whatever it is, out of the packaging. Then I look at it for a few minutes, savoring its specialness. Then I put it someplace safe, and promptly forget about it, until I trip over it three months later and wonder what I was thinking when I ordered this piece of junk.

Maybe you could get on e-bay and buy five Ferraris just for the joy of winning the auction.
"See, I got every one of them." You could say to yourself.

But, if everyone knows the world is going to end everybody's going to bid like there's no tomorrow. Because, there isn't. But what if you’re wrong?

You wake up late for work the next morning. You didn't set the alarm clock. Why? It wasn't supposed to be there. You're running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get the kids ready for school and you ready for work. The kids are wondering what in the heck is going on. "Boy, they were so nice last night. Now they're hollering like crazy. Dad cussed a blue streak because he forgot to put the garbage out last night (remember, it wasn't supposed to be there in the morning)."

Then you remember the five Ferraris, the ones you were bidding against all the other poor saps that didn't think the world was going to be here this morning. What was the final bid? Thirty-four trillion apiece? "Oh crap," you exclaim, watching the neighbor shoving his three kids still in their pajamas into his Suburban. “I put that on the American Express, the one with no limit."

Now that's the end of the world.

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