11 Sep 2008

Black holes and global annihilation: who decides the risk is worth it?

Folk would be hard pressed to miss news of the experiment taking place under the French-Swiss border that scientists suggest could annihilate the planet - well there is an estimated one to 50 million chance of annihilation.

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which has built this vast 17 mile tunnel, 100 metres underground (see pic), hopes that we will learn more about the start of the universe. But many of us are asking who decides what level of technological risk is acceptable? It is of course to some extent in CERN's interest to suggest the risk is less than it might be - but basically the rest of us have no say at all....

Should there be a global referendum? Do any of us without doctorates in physics really understand the technology? And what of the
massive 120MW plus of power it gobbles up every time it is used? Aren't we meant to be making savage energy cuts if we are to tackle climate change? And what of the $10 billion of public funds it has cost? As others have reported that amount could deliver universal primary education.


Russ said...

with 120MW, the 'W' represents the term Watt, which is a unite of power; where as all that matters in terms of energy use is energy, Joules(power*time).

I shouldn't worry about the cost of the project; like someone said on the news, they probably spend more on the Grand Prix, over a period of years; and what is the pursuit of knowledge, in cultural terms, compared to watching cars go round and around, occasionally crashing into each other?

And where's the beef? why don't more greens go vegan, if life on this planet is so precious?

Russ said...

just to add:

If some factory left ONE 100watt bulb on for 24hours, that would power the CERN project, at 120MW, for 24seconds....
Just one 100W bulb; and plenty of factories leave plenty of lights on all day. Think about all the office lights left on in London, through the night.

And with CERN, we're talking about a science project which could possibly lead to a higher under standing of physics: and the knock on effect of that could be a safe form of power, like nuclear fusion(no, not fission), or God knows what.

For the calculation:120,000,000joulespersecond/(100joulespersecond*60*60*24)=24 seconds

Russ said...

Sorry got calculation wrong *thumps head*

the time it would power CERN is 1/24seconds=0.04 seconds.

A hundred 100W lights on all the time would power CERN for 4 seconds a day. The cost of one floor of an office block, in London.

still peanuts, in terms of energy.

Plus 120MW would probably max power for accelerator, which would only need to be powered for a few minutes a day, at a guess.

Anonymous said...

The energy is probably peanuts in the wider picture but $$$$$10 billion is not - we need to get priorities right - I'd also make Grand Pricks pay through the nose for their pleasures.