On February 27th, McCain began posting "porkiest projects" on Twitter. He did so again on 3/02, 3/03, and 3/04 (only six on the 4th when I last looked). So these have got to be kinda nutty, right? Or, you know, 13/36 could be science related. How's this for a list?
- Apparently museums aren't public goods. Nor the building of produce jobs.
- Who needs them there sea turtles anyway. Not like species extirpation has ever caused environmental problems ...
- Lobster populations aren't shrinking. Really.
- Now, I think nuclear is the way to go, but apparently McCain really has something against solar power
- Along the lobster line — no need to keep up those pesky fish populations either.
- By the way, we never found out anything useful by studying other species' genetic profiles. Obviously funding that is dumb.
- Apparently he is just outright misinformed and doesn't know how problematic — and expensive — theft of copper wires actually is.
- By the way. Las Vegas is totally sustainable and uses only its own resources. Not like its a drain on three surrounding states at all.
- He really has a bone to pick with population genetics, huh?
- To channel Peter Griffin, though, it really grinds my gears when he dismisses astronomy right out.
- I suppose McCain never heard how beavers have massive ecosystem impacts, huh?
- Startling honey bee decline, anyone? Apparently he just has it out for flowering plants. Who needs angiosperms.
- While we're at it, lets just not have as nutrious or plentiful crop for our grazers. Really, genetics is the work of the devil.
Suddenly, I'm gladder I didn't vote for him. I really thought he was more pro-science than that.
That is to say, the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, turned on today at 10:33 CET, and we're all still here. The test beam went in one direction (not the two necessary you know, for a collision) at less than full power, so doomsayers can't possibly have been correct. However, I think it might be worth listing off a few reasons why the LHC couldn't destroy the Earth:
- You've got protons. Accelerated really fast. So if you make a black hole, its going to have a really tiny Schwarzschild radius, or the radius of the event horizon (Rs). Like, GMc-2 (to first order). Which is to say, at the speed these guys are traveling, a completely tangential approach would only decay into the black hole at < 1.5Rs. How big is Rs? Ballparking, we have
(10-11)(10-26)/(1016)=10-43 m. That's really really tiny. And since black holes evaporate roughly as ħm-2, really small things evaporate really really really really fast — in this case, 1020 kg/s. This little mini black hole will need to get within 10-43 m of particles faster than it evaporates, which even at a hairs breadth below the speed of light it doesn't cut it. Really roughly, it'll last:
10-17m3 s = 10-98 s, Which translates to a distance of under 10-90 m — virtually no distance at all, and an infinitesimal fraction of a nucleus. In fact, being a very small fraction of a Planck length, its virtually meaningless to say it traveled at all.
- This is a bit more complicated by the fact that black holes have no hair but retain charge, so this will be a charged nearly light-speed traveling black hole. Very small correction, but there.
- The strangelet hypothesis also won't happen. Sure, colliding strangelets with normal matter can convert normal matter into strange matter. But, cross-sections are again really tiny, and statistics ensures that the reaction would die out by decaying of the strangelet.