The world won't end on Wednesday and other reasons why it's ok to have your winter coat dry-cleaned this week

It's a real shame Guy Don LaFontaine died last week, not least because he would have been perfect the perfect voice to lead us up to the powering-up of man's most ambitious experiment: The Large Hadron Collider.

[Guy Don LaFontaine*]
"10,000 scientists from all over the globe.."
[cresting mist covered mountains]
"gather 100 metres below the borders of France and Switzerland..."
[green pastureland fly over shot of Geneva]
"to spend 30 years and millions of dollars to build the world's largest particle accelerator.."
[dropping below ground]
"the world's greatest minds..."
"...prepare to know God"
[high speed camera hurtling around the 27 km tunnel]
[camera zooming in on Atlas - one of six particle detectors]
[strobing lights]
[sun elipsing]
[mother clutching a child]
[empty space where our solar system was]

but in reality, it will be more like:

[Dr Brian "you can collide with me anytime" Cox]
"We're preparing to power-up the LHC"
[flicking a switch]
"This is really excitin-ga"
[sound of powering up]
"ok, that's all juiced up, lets circulate a beam"
[button pushed]
"right, that worked, power down"
[sound of powering down]
"how cool was that?!"

In fact, the scientists at CERN don't even intend to circulate an opposing stream until 10th October so there will be no collisions that may produce these allegedly catastrophic mini black holes** so we have at *least* another month before the end of the world. That makes it totally okay to put your winter coat into the dry cleaners - you'll still get a good three weeks wear - and probably more - because even if a mini black hole is created on or after October 10th, it's gonna take months to suck the entire planet into it - and with any luck, one of those super fat dudes will get jammed at the event horizon and save our sorry asses.

*10 Replacements Audition
** don't worry, Stephen Hawking will save us!

PS: if you are at all interested in tuning in to this historic event, it's happening between 6am and 9am GMT (approximately 5:30pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Wednesday 10th 2008. You can read more about it on the BBC Radio 4 website.

PPS: This video does a way better job than my intro script - can you hear Guy Don LaFontaine as you read the text? (note, this video was made a few years ago - I'll be adding more links as I find them)

PPPS: My coat will be ready for pickup from the Dry Cleaners on Wednesday.

[TORCHWOOD LHC EPISODE] Torchwood comes to Radio 4 in a specially-commissioned snaffled drama. Martha Jones, ex-time traveller and now working as a doctor for a UN task force, has been called to CERN. Download mp3.

[DISCOVER SCIENCE TECHNLOGY AND THE FUTURE] Nevermind The Black Hole Hoopla: Here's How the LHC Could Blow Up the World (of Physics)


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