Large Hadron Collider to shut down again – epic fail

WHEN the inevitable alien invasion happens and our new multi-tentacled overlords are about to wipe us out/ anally probe us for their diabolical reasons, I always thought I’d be secure in the knowledge that somewhere, a charmingly eccentric boffin would be standing by to kick ET’s ass using the power of science (and a laptop).

It seems my faith in our white coated colleagues was somewhat misplaced, at least if the CERN large hadron collider is anything to go by.

It turns out that it faces another year of repairs – this time to fix the copper stabilizers. (Thanks to Nerdvantage for the heads up)

Jeez! I mean, who is running this operation? The Chuckle Brothers?

It’s laughable to think that people were worried Cern would mean the end of everything once the  super collider was switched on, as it would create a black hole that would swallow the world.

That’s because back then it was billed as the greatest scientific experiment ever – firing beams of protons around a 17 mile tube underground so they collide together and hopefully reveal the Higgs bosun, called the god particle, as well as answering some of the other fundamental questions of physics.

The best question so far has been who built this thing, as it has done nothing but go wrong from when it was switched on in September 2008.

First of all after just a week,  a gas leak caused it to shut down for a year, then a bird dropped something through a vent that messed it up, and now – after running for a month in Nov-Dec 2009, it was shut down then started again last month … at half-power.

The plan is it will be shut down for another year in 2012 so they can fix it to be operated at full power in 2013.

That’s providing nothing goes wrong in the meantime and seeing as their operating record so far isn’t exactly spotless, I’m not holding out much hope.

Of course, we are talking about one of the most complex and advanced machines ever created here, and even with a team of top boffins and  a 99.9% success rate of all the parts involved, that still leaves thousands of potential accidents waiting to happen. It is also a massively experimental piece of kit, so some setbacks were to be expected.

But with an operating budget of £5.6billion, you’d expect more than just over a month of operation in total without it going tits up.

And what’s with the enormous downtime? After all, the boffin against whom all other boffins must be measured – Scotty from Star Trek – could fix the USS Enterprise after a devastating phaser attack in just a few minutes using Captain Kirk’s corset and a paper clip.

In short, must do better. A future in which we avoid an extended spell of alien anal probing depends upon it!

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