Beware of anything that comes with an acronym: ECT, EBL, ASAP, AVO, ALP, LNP, KGB, ATM, ASBOS. There's a reason why James Bond was mortal enemies with SMERSH.
And now we've got another acronym to worry about: LHC. That's short for Large Hadron Collider, which is long for... I don't know what.
There's something thrillingly cryptic about the name 'Large Hadron Collider'. Wherein does the largeness consist? Is the LHC a large thing that simply collides hadrons? Or is it a little thing that collides large hadrons? What are hadrons anyway? Do hadrons come in large and small and in-between sizes? Why would you want to collide them, and what do you collide them with? Is this how boffins get their boffinly thrills, by crazily smashing a bunch of random hadrons into one another as if they were involved in a game of quantum conkers? Or do they collide the hadrons with something else (an old race guide, perhaps, or a puppy), throwing them about the LHC any old how and just hoping for them to end up any old where? Apparently, they want to find the Higgs-Boson, which is a bizarre theoretical something postulated in order to explain the existence of another bizarre theoretical something.
It's all charmingly naive, this idea of throwing hadrons around a large collider, or throwing large hadrons around a small collider, or whatever: it sounds like the ultimate of eccentric hobbies. But there's a sinister side to it, too: a few theories suggest that just by scattering a couple of hadrons about the place to see what they smunch into, physicists might - just might - create the conditions for the annihilation of the earth, the moon, the sun, and the solar system. That is, if everything these physicists say turns out to be right. Or wrong. Depending on your point of view.
So, to sum up: an ambiguous thing that performs strange functions to vague sub-molecular objects in order to find a hypothetical entity may, or may not, cause Armageddon. That's reassuring, isn't it?
I'm sure there's a very good answer for all of this. I have absolutely no idea what it might be.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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