Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sooooooo..... I'm trying really hard not to mention certain stuff on the blog today (see the comments from yesterday's post if you're not understanding).

But there's still plenty of stuff to talk about. I can talk about lots of things. I'm not obsessive, right? RIGHT?!?!

I watched a good chunk of the Packers/Vikings game last night with Team Steans. The Packers did okay for themselves without Favre. Of course, they were playing at Lambeau Field, which always helps, and I'm not sure that the Vikings defense was firing on all pistons last night, but nonetheless, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack did a pretty good job. It was just nice to see that the team isn't going to roll over and die just because Favre isn't at the helm. Plus, of course, it's nice to pick up a win against a division rival in your first game of the season. Soooooo.....hooray for the cheeseheads!

I also watched the season premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles last night. I watched this show last season and thought it was pretty good. The writing was consistently pretty smart, the show did a good job of actually adhering to the overall storyline from the Terminator movies (while still managing to have a style of its own), and there are lots of pretty cool action scenes. Last season there were a number of points where I feared that the show would go off the rails and turn cheesey or riddle itself with a bunch of dumb plot holes, but so far they've managed to keep it on track and keep it fairly interesting.

Anyway, the season premiere last night was pretty good, and I think they're setting up the show to expand its scope in depicting the war that the humans are fighting against the machines from the future. Probably not the kind of thing that everyone will enjoy, but if you like some kick butt sci fi action adventure with homicidal, super-powered robots, you might want to check it out.

What else...? I'm not one to really shrink away from scientific progress or cower in fear at technological development, but the possibility that the Large Hadron Collider (the world's most powerful particle smasher) might produce microscopic black holes which could, according to some particle physicists, have a small chance of swallowing up the earth- well, the whole idea is kind of giving me pause. The use of the collider could do stuff like aid in our understanding of the existence of other dimensions, and eventually it might produce discoveries which could aid us in areas ranging from telecommunications to medicine to energy, but there are also less appealing possibilities- like the production of these tiny black holes or the recombination of quarks into things called strangelets, which turn everything around them into other strangelets (and that's not even to mention the possibility of monopoles- magnets possessing only one charge which might produce other kinds of havoc).

I guess the issue is that although the risk that something will go wrong may be fairly slight during these particle smashing experiments, the potential outcomes if something were to go awry sound awfully nasty. Lawsuits and injunctions have been filed trying to stop the use of the collider in U.S. federal courts and in the European Court of Human Rights, at least until more safety-related questions can be answered.

I really don't know what to think about this whole deal. I want my cell phone to work better, but I'm not sure that I'm willing to implode the planet in order to do that. And I know that plenty of scientists are downplaying the risks associated with this sort of research, and I don't want to be the coward who keeps the human race from moving forward, but we've all heard these sorts of reassurances before and seen how these things turn out...


Meredith said...

Now see how entertaining you can be without even talking politics?? Interesting link to the black hole, planet gobbling atom smasher...didn't hear that info.

The League said...

It is gonna be awesome!

NTT said...

I like the politics. Keep it up!!

Also, you forgot to include the most obvious reference to the Hadron Collider:


In fact, some enterprising bloggers have sent the CERN team a crowbar and alien infestation survival kit:


Anyway...as for the black hole/cascade resonance, we really shouldn't worry. The theory of Hawking's Radiation allows black holes to lose mass, black holes that lose more matter than they gain through other means are expected to dissipate, shrink, and ultimately vanish. Therfore, any black holes created should dissipate before creating any such dangerous gravitational vortexes. A cascade event would also be obviated.

Of course, ummm, the one caveat: the existence of Hawking radiation has never been observed, nor are there currently viable experimental tests that would allow it to be observed.

Oh well.

J.S. said...

Glad to hear that SOMEONE likes the politics.
And how can we be sure these little black holes won't be gobbling up new mass faster than they are losing old mass?
It's the end times, I tell you! The end times!!

J.S. said...

And no matter how we end up going out, doesn't it just make some twisted kind of sense that the whole thing will be predicted by a videogame?

Meredith said...

I didn't say I didn't like the politics. I just tossed out a challenge to see what else you could blog about for a few days. And you're rising to the challenge quite well.

And yes, that would be quite something if the end times were all foretold by a video game....just hope it isn't the Spongebob or Ratatouille games my boys play. That WOULD be scary.