Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tactical assault weasel

So the Large Hadron Collider is having problems again, this time because a weasel chewed through a power cord and shut down the whole operation.

I am not making this up.  Nor is this the first time that an animal has wrought havoc with the world's largest particle accelerator.  In 2009, a gull dropped a baguette on "critical electrical systems," and shorted the whole thing out, causing damage that required several months to repair.

These sorts of things have caused an immediate bout of eyebrow-raising amongst the woo-woos, who tend to have the belief that nothing happens by accident.  If oddball problems arise, then it is not simply because the world is a bizarre and chaotic place (an observation that in my opinion explains a good 90% of the weird events that happen).  It is an indication of a conspiracy, or a bad omen at the very least.

And the fact that twice, animals have shut down the LHC?  That can't be happenstance.

And as I predicted, already the wingnuts are beginning to ferment with speculation regarding the possible explanations for the recent Weasel Attack.  Here are a few selected comments from online news sources that carried the story:
  • What would make a weasle [sic] eat a power cord?  There's something they're not telling us.
  • This isn't the only time this has happened.  A few years ago a seagull damaged the Large Hardon [sic] collider and now its [sic] happened again.  Nature and God are trying to tell us something that we are not supposed to be doing this.  What happens when its [sic] fixed and started up and something goes wrong?  We should take this to mean that the Large Hardon [sic] collider should be shut down permanently.
  • Some scientists believe that this is happening because in the future CERN has created a black hole or something else bad, and they're sending us messages back in time to stop us.  We better listen.
  • We sink billions of dollars into something a weasel can destroy.  How fucking stupid are we?
  • Once was a weird thing to happen.  Twice is too much to be a coincidence.
Okay, let me address a few of these points.
  • Why does a weasel eating a power cord mean there's "something they're not telling us?"  As far as I can see, all it means is "a weasel ate a power cord."
  • I'm sorry, but the mental image I get whenever someone writes CERN's facility as "the Large Hardon Collider" is so hilarious that I can't even stay serious long enough to consider anything else they might say.  I may have a juvenile sense of humor, but there you are.
  • As far as how fucking stupid we are, as a species, I think you can find a whole lot of pieces of evidence along those lines other than building a piece of expensive and fragile equipment.  There are far better examples to choose from of how fucking stupid we are.
  • When one weird thing happens, it can't be a coincidence, because a "coincidence" is when two similar events coincide.  Thus the name.
  • If CERN created a black hole in the future, my guess is that there wouldn't be an Earth around at that point, much less scientists to send a Tactical Assault Weasel back in time to stop it from happening.
Doesn't this have the look of a time-traveling vandal from the future?  [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]

Be that as it may, Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, has said that the repairs will only take a couple of weeks.  The Large Hadron [note the spelling] Collider should be back online, and ready to smash atoms and/or end the universe as we know it, by mid-May.

Unless the scientists in the future send some other animal emissary back in time to wreck it again.  Maybe this time with a highly-trained Military Attack Wombat with a strategic banana peel.  You can see how effective that would  be.

1 comment:

  1. It's becoming obvious thatbuilding a Large Hadron Collider as a first effort was a big mistake. They should have started on small hadrons first to get some practice.