mirrorshard: (Terrella)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
A couple of retired nuclear safety officers are suing CERN in a Hawaiian district court, claiming that the possibility of producing small black holes or clumps of strange matter are all too real and may destroy the Earth in pursuit of scientific knowledge. How I wish this was an April Fool story, but it's all too real.

Really, this kind of fuckwittery is ridiculous. In order to be scared of nano-black-holes, you need to believe that Hawking radiation isn't going to happen - otherwise, any black hole with less mass than the Earth will evaporate within a second or so. And these experiments take place, for fairly obvious reasons, in hard vacuum.

Something similar goes for strange matter - it can't eat and convert normal matter, at least without being specifically made to.

Date: 2008-04-02 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malvino.livejournal.com
Quick, someone call Ded d'd'd'd'd'd'd'ded!

Date: 2008-04-02 01:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fu-manchu12.livejournal.com
What struck me was that surely there are only two real grounds for suing CERN for potentially destroying the world: (1) the hadron collider has already destroyed the world, in which case the case is probably moot; or (2) the consensus of expert opinion is that it might destroy the world, which is unlikely since the experts on hadron colliders are the ones building it.

Date: 2008-04-02 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] midnightmelody.livejournal.com
Yay for legal knowledge!

Date: 2008-04-02 02:43 pm (UTC)
ext_3375: Banded Tussock (Default)
From: [identity profile] hairyears.livejournal.com
How are they going to sue a European Joint project, notionally on Swiss Soil but actually in several countries, from a court in Hawaii? And how will an Hawaiian court enforce judgement?

Date: 2008-04-02 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
Well, technically it's a US federal court, and they've included a couple of CERN's US suppliers (including FermiLab) in the suit.

As for how it's going to enforce judgement, your guess is at least as good as mine.

Date: 2008-04-02 05:16 pm (UTC)
ext_3375: Banded Tussock (Yellow Tussock)
From: [identity profile] hairyears.livejournal.com


I wonder who's funding their case.

Enforcing judgement? Essentially they'll try to impose injunctions, fines or even a seizure-of-goods against US-based participants and suppliers.

Which is to say: a US court will impose economic sanctions against an EU enterprise by er, penalising US companies and forcing CERN to buy from Japanese and European manufacturers.

I'm waiting for a post-monkey-trial state to sue (or impose economic sanctions) against overseas institutions conducting research that is contrary to received Christian Doctrine. In the meantime, this case is quite entertaining enough, thank you very much.

It will continue to be entertaining, right up to the moment when CERN's scientists end up like increasing numbers of UK businessmen: the ones who can't overfly the USA or change planes there because a US court has declared extraterritorial jurisdiction over trading activity that is perfectly legal within the United Kingdom and was conducted entirely outside the USA.

Someone's going to find out about that the hard way: taken off the plane in manacles and put into a federal penitentiary with the 'roaches and the rapists 'til a hearing date is set. Sounds extreme, but that's the procedure for foreign detainees: maximum security, as there is a perceived risk that they will skip bail and leave the country.

We live in interesting times. And CERN's academic and technical staff might be unwilling to visit English universities when they find out that America can have them arrested and extradited from the UK merely by requesting it: there's no legal review whatsoever - just a rubber-stamp hearing with no 'case to answer' test and no appeal.


Date: 2008-04-02 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blue-mai.livejournal.com
as you say - amusing story, less-amusing eventualities/implications...

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