The Large Hadron Collider and the End of the World?

The Large Hadron Collider/ATLAS at CERN
Creative Commons License photo: Image Editor

It’s been rather, well, amusing to see the news coverage of the test firing of the Large Hadron Collider over the large few days. As somebody who has worked in physics and may occasionally classify themselves as a “physicist”, it’s really nice to see physics making the headlines! But I thought the news coverage was absolutely sensationalist and ridiculous.

The downmarket British tabloid The Sun was ridiculously sensationalist with it’s headline “End of the world due in nine days”. It wrote:

SCIENTISTS are trying to stop the most powerful experiment ever – saying the black holes it will create could destroy the world.

That is why boffins are now trying to stop the project with a last-ditch challenge in the courts.

They fear the LHC experimenters are tinkering with the unknown and putting mankind — and our whole planet — at risk.

The Black Hole
Creative Commons License photo: lautsu

It wasn’t just the downmarket tabloids at it. BBC News discussed the outlandish theory, and ITV originally reported the story as so on their website:

Scientists at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (Cern) are pressing ahead with the experiment despite warnings that it could destroy the universe.

And I woke up in the morning to a long discussion on the radio about the LHC would cause the end of the world.

I’m sorry, but as if any serious scientists thought the LHC would lead to the end of the world. It’s a totally ridiculous theory.

But I’m more than happy to be proved wrong. Check out the live webcams from the LHC and let me know if you see anything 😉

Google Chrome Easter Egg: about:internets

I haven’t seen much about this on the internet, so here goes. There is an easter egg in the Google Chrome browser – type in about:internets to see it.

Robert Accettura worked out how this was implemented by exploring the Chrome source code. All Chrome does is to call the Windows Screensaver inside a tab.

If you don’t understand this easter egg, this is what Wikipedia has to say:

Series of tubes” is an analogy used by United States Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to describe the Internet in the context of network neutrality.[1] On June 28, 2006, he used this metaphor to criticize a proposed amendment to a committee bill. The amendment would have prohibited Internet service providers from charging fees to give some companies higher priority access to their networks or their customers. This metaphor (along with several other odd choices of words) was widely ridiculed as demonstrating Stevens’ poor understanding of the Internet.

Oh, and Mozilla’s new Javascript engine beats Google’s V8 Javascript engine in tests.

Great Prank: Scaring people with Flash Fullscreen

This is an absolutely hilarious prank.

Flash 9 comes with a fullscreen mode. It’s used in the YouTube player, BBC iPlayer and so on. When fullscreen mode is opened, Flash displays a semi-transparent message telling you full screen has been activated – the reason for this is so somebody couldn’t spoof a user interface using Flash to steal your personal information.

This prank distracts you from that message and proceeds to scare you using full screen mode. Press Escape to exit.

The only way this could be improved would be with a message saying “Press any key to restart your computer”. That would scare anybody out of pressing Escape. Although it would certainly cross the line of being very evil!

The Fifth Face of Mount Rushmore

We had the photos from our holiday in America developed and it was a surprise to see this photo of Mount Rushmore. But alongside the four faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, there is one more…

If you can’t see it, it’s above Abraham Lincoln!

Photoshop Mistakes

These days, almost every image that is used in marketing and promotion material gets photoshopped before. One of my favourite websites is Worth1000 which is a photoshopping contest website. The galleries contain a whole range of great photoshops. For example, check out the gallery of photoshops on life without electricity.

Today CyberNotes pointed out some photoshop mistakes. These include celebrities with three arms, headless people and hands with extra fingers. For example, check out the High School Musical 2 album cover.

There are a whole collection of photoshopping mistakes, errors and just general disasters at the Photoshop Disasters blog.

Facebook Relationship Statuses

I found this picture from CollegeHumor really funny. But beyond that, it’s a great commentary on how Facebook and the Social Web is changing people’s relationships and how they communicate with each another.


It’s time for Facebook to introduce a new relationship status: It’s an effing disaster.
(from CollegeHumor)

In fact, a disturbing trend is how some youngsters have switched from splitting up with partners via text to splitting up by changing their Facebook relationship status.

A rap about search engine optimization

This video made me smile!

My favourite part:

don’t use bold, please use strong
if you use bold that’s old and wrong

It looks like this guy (the SEO rapper) is totally serious and looking through his other YouTube videos, hes also got raps about social networking, link building and web advertising.

This reminds me of some really lame HTML jokes:

Why did the XHTML actress turn down an Oscar?
Because she refused to be involved in the presentation.

Why was the XHTML bird an invalid?
Because it wasn’t nested properly.

Boom boom.

Wallpaper April Fools Prank

It’s April Fools day tomorrow so I wanted to share one of my favourite april fools pranks.

When a close friend is away from their computer, minimise all their windows and start moving all the icons around on their desktop into random places. Take a screenshot of this new disorganised desktop and save it as an image. Now go back to the desktop and move the icons around once again. Once you’ve finished, set this screenshot you took earlier as the desktop wallpaper. For extra laughs, hide the system taskbar.

Happy April Fools!

Bible Codes: World Ends 2006

Ryan reminded me of the prediction in the bible code that the world would end in 2006. According to Wikipedia:

Bible codes, also known as Torah codes, are words, phrases and clusters of words and phrases that some people believe are meaningful and exist intentionally in coded form in the text of the Bible. These codes were made famous by the book The Bible Code, which claims that these codes can predict the future.

Fans of the bible code claim to have shown how the bible code has predicted past events such as the assassination of JFK.

So if we believe these bible codes, the world is going to end in the next few days. Michael Drosnin is the journalist who has probably publicised bible codes the most and is one of it’s biggest supporters. He wrote the series of books on the Bible Code in which he claimed the Bible was written by aliens from space.

The best bit?

The third book in the series is to be released in 2007, called The Bible Code III: The Quest. The Bible Code makes numerous predictions and post-diction, such as the coming of the apocalypse in 2006

From Wikipedia (my emphasis)