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They Say You Can't Fight the Future, But Maybe It Can Fight You?

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Whatever the science editors at the New York Ti

GREATSCOTT!

mes were on when they published this story, I want some. In what's definitely the weirdest Times story I've read this week, it seems that two noted physicists are floating the theory that problems with the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest atom smasher, area result of sabotage by unknown forces… from the future. Great Scott!

There's little explanation as to how this might be happening, but the idea's originators do have an idea why: The LHC was designed to allow scientists to produce a particle called a Higgs boson, which some have theorized might result in serious calamity, like, for example, the end of the world. Nature, the two scientists suggest, is not willing to let that happen.

No, I am not making this up. From the NYT:

A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

…According to the so-called Standard Model that rules almost all physics, the Higgs is responsible for imbuing other elementary particles with mass.

"It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck," Dr. Nielsen said in an e-mail message. In an unpublished essay, Dr. Nielson said of the theory, "Well, one could even almost say that we have a model for God." It is their guess, he went on, "that He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them."

This malign influence from the future, they argue, could explain why the United States Superconducting Supercollider, also designed to find the Higgs, was canceled in 1993 after billions of dollars had already been spent, an event so unlikely that Dr. Nielsen calls it an "anti-miracle."

Wouldn't this mean we're in one of those time-travel paradoxes, like in the third Harry Potter movie, or every other episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Maybe not! Instead, it would be more like the first Back to the Future, in which Marty McFly has to travel back in time and ensure that his parents get together so that he will eventually be born.

While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus. In the case of the Higgs and the collider, it is as if something is going back in time to keep the universe from being hit by a bus. Although just why the Higgs would be a catastrophe is not clear. If we knew, presumably, we wouldn't be trying to make one.

The cheap crack here would be to ask why the future couldn't come back and sabotage health-care reform instead (or maybe it is!). Instead, however, I'll leave you with what's sure to be the most important question for libertarians: What might this mean for the singularity?

Previously at Reason, Ron Bailey asked whether European physicists might destroy the world (short answer: so far, no).

UPDATE: A colleague reminds me of this helpful web application, which determines whether or not the LHC has destroyed the world yet. Sometimes I really have no idea how anyone did anything before the Internet.

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189 responses to “They Say You Can't Fight the Future, But Maybe It Can Fight You?

  1. most important question for libertarians: What might this mean for the singularity?

    I get the idea of the singularity, but why is this important to libertarians as opposed to everyone. Could someone please explain why this is distinctly libertarian? Is it just that we’re more likely to be into science fiction?

    1. Well, obviously, because everyone else hates progress.

      Oh, wait…

      1. I like this more depressing possibility:

        “I think the appeal is getting rid of all the boring people in the world. One of the few films that plays with the actual wish-fulfillment fantasy of the end of the world as we know it is the much-misunderstood Red Dawn, which expresses precisely that strange survivalist mix of preparedness and eager anticipation that characterizes popular images of the apocalypse. Except for a few gloomy nuke dramas, not many end of the world stories involve imagining oneself among the many, many dead. In a sense, end of the world dramas are the ultimate Reggie Perrin fantasy, doing away with the old life and starting over again. Also, There’s an aesthetic pleasure in ruins (at its most extreme, see the bucolic apocalypse of After London) and a Peter Pan-like joy to playing pirates. There’s the selfish fact that we all envy posterity. When we die, we miss the end of the story and that can be infuriating. There’s a sense that if we have to go, we’d rather the board were swept clean with us.”

        -Kim Newman, Apocalypse Movies: End of the World Cinema

        1. I think the apocalypse provides people with the same sense of opportunity and freedom that the American frontier once provided.

          Like the frontier, a post-apocalyptic world is a leveling place where everyone is equal, land is free, and your survival and standard of living are purely dependent on your own ability and willingness to contribute to the survival effort.

          It’s also a place where past history, both personal and collective, are eliminated. Immigrants to the US escaped oppression and religious warfare. Individuals could escape their old lives and build new ones. And, It’s a blank slate where any kind of vision for yourself and/or society may be attempted.

          We fantasize about the apocalypse because it provides the liberating opportunity to try something new.

    2. Maybe because most people’s idea of the future is horrible, and singultarians think the future could be incredibly wonderful?

  2. Sadly, physics stopped being science a few years ago. Now it is just theolgy with the holy gail being the most elegant theory regardless of little issues like verification.

    1. So does that make it as respectable as all that crap you believe about virgin-birthed magic carpenter zombies from the sky?

      1. The scientists who are advocating this are suggesting using a program to generate random numbers from a set(a deck of cards). If, after running this, the result is sufficiently improbable, they propose not to turn on the LHC.

        They’re assumption is that the future would direct us not to turn on the LHC by giving us something so improbable, it had to have come from some form of intelligence or universal safety mechanism.

        Now…. who else proposes that the universe is so improbable, only an intelligence must explain it? Religious folks.

      2. john is pathetic

  3. Maybe Scaroth is responsible.

  4. Sadly, physics stopped being science a few years ago. Now it is just theolgy with the holy gail being the most elegant theory regardless of little issues like verification.

    Did it ever occur to you that the LHC has been built precisely to verify current particle physics theories?

  5. You use Harry Potter as an example but not Terminator?

    1. Damn, beat me to it.

      Are you Sarah Connor?

    2. or futurama? “I did do the nasty in the pasty”

        1. I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Dr. Who…he’s all about “wibbley-wobbley-timey-wimey…um…stuff.”

  6. There’s little explanation as to how this might be happening

    “How” isn’t a meaningful question, really. The whole time-travel framing that makes you wonder “how” is just the Times being dumb news for dumb people.

    A marginally less dumb explanation:

    The subatomic world is (apparently) timeless and nonlocal. Everyplace there and everytime there are the same place at the same time. So if you try do something subatomically “wrong,” it’s simultaneously and everywhere “prevented.” To an observer, the universe’s adverse reaction appears to precede the attempt at wrongness, but it doesn’t. The impossible thing just doesn’t happen, and the timeline that shows “how” it didn’t happen is self-falsifying.

    Yay physics.

    1. Yes, more pedantic news for pedantic readers, please!

      1. Yeah. Where the fuck did the reporter come up with that whole “time travel” schtick?

        “…a series of papers with titles like Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal and Search for Future Influence From LHC.

        Oh. Right.

    2. The subatomic world is (apparently) timeless and nonlocal. Everyplace there and everytime there are the same place at the same time.

      So are you saying there is no ‘there’ there?

      I never knew Gertrude Stein had such a grasp of particle physics.

      1. So are you saying there is no ‘there’ there?

        No, he’s saying there is no ‘then” then.

        1. “So when does then become now?”

          “Soon.”

    3. I’m time travelling right now… going forward of course… who wants to explore the future with me?

  7. This was similiar to the plot of the book Einstein’s Bridge IIRC. Our heroes had to go back in time to stop the building of the SSC in 1993 (which had been built in their time) because its research led to a hostile alien invasion. They apparently were the reason Clinton was elected instead of Bush I for a second term. Not a bad quick read. Especially if you like your physicists as heros.

    1. I should add the subtext of the book is pretty humorous as the author clearly had some axes to grind.

  8. Now it is just theolgy with the holy gail being the most elegant theory regardless of little issues like verification.

    Just for you John, The Holy Gail. NSFW!

  9. I just want baseball analysts to acknowledge that, if Damon had not been caught stealing, Teixeira might not have followed with his home run. I want them to acknowledge that Damon’s out altered everything that came afterward, that Teixeira’s homer was not a given. Is that asking too much? Is it?

    1. One could argue this about almost every game. If some player didn’t misstep and wind up on the DL, if the pitcher held the ball a bit differently when he threw it? if we ever discover how to view parallel universes, we will find very different sports results.

    2. You will probably never encounter more irrational superstition than when you listen to men talk about baseball.

  10. The impossible thing just doesn’t happen, and the timeline that shows “how” it didn’t happen is self-falsifying.

    So, this kind of puts the kibosh on that old saying “if you can dream it, you can do it”?

    1. Hey, Your fucking mouse is an asshole. He kicked the shit out of one of the Jonas brothers. Fucking asshole.

      1. He did? Wow, I’m going to support perpetual copyright if he keeps doing cool things like that.

  11. It’s demons.

  12. Or, and this is just a thought, an incredibly complex machine which no one has ever built before will have operational problems which will eventually be straightened out and allow the machine to eventually work.

    Really, you shouldn’t assume future interference unless someone throws a warning note back through the stargate.

    Or if the machine becomes fully operational on Dec 21 2012. Sure, modern day Mayans say nothing is going to happen, but I bet they’re looking forward to the destruction of the rapacious whites.

  13. My argument against the possibility of time travel has always been that it violates the law of conservation of mass.

    At any instant, the amount of mass (this applies for energy as well through E=mc^2) in the universe is constant…it may change forms, but the amount remains constant.

    In order for a person to go forward or backward in time, the addition of that person to the universe at that instant would add mass to that universe, while subtracting it from whatever universe he just left.

    Since the force of gravity is exerted on every object, by every other object, any additional mass added to the system, ie the universe, would cause the universe to have to reach a new equilibrium.

    This new equilibrium may or may not include the existence of Earth, thus jeopardizing the human race.

    So if it was possible, it’d probably be catastrophic.

    1. Sorry, you are not allowing for off budget mass, which only gets balanced much farther in the future.

      Add a little government finance to your physics and you can do anything!

    2. Not if 1) two identical masses were swapped between the two periods or

      2) the same exchange was made via energy transfer.

      Every time I travel through time I burn a big hole in my laboratory.

      1. I had to stop when the North Pole began melting and exposed my lair.

        1. You deserved the exposure if you built your lair in the North Pole.

          Sitting pretty in a volcano, myself.

          1. I’m moving it to a fake deep-sea drilling rig. Nobody will find me there!

  14. “While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus.”

    I’m confused. My grandfather actually MET my grandmother after being hit by a trolley. Should I have stopped that?

    1. Linda McFly: How am I supposed to ever meet anybody?
      Lorraine Baines: Well, it’ll just happen. Like the way I met your father.
      Linda McFly: That was so stupid! Grandpa hit him with the car!
      Lorraine Baines: [wistfully] It was meant to be.
      Lorraine Baines: Anyway, your Grandpa hit him with the car, and brought him into the house. He seemed so helpless, like a little lost puppy. And my heart just went out to him.
      Linda McFly: Yeah, Mom, we know. You’ve told us this story a million times. You felt sorry for him, so you decided to go with him to the Fish Under the Sea dance.
      Lorraine Baines: No, no, it was the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.

  15. There’ll be no looking back from tomorrow on today.

  16. “In order for a person to go forward or backward in time, the addition of that person to the universe at that instant would add mass to that universe, while subtracting it from whatever universe he just left. ”

    No James, you’re looking at it wrong. When I travel through time, 10,000 liberal’s brains disappear to offset my arrival.

    Yes, there have been many time travelers coming lately…

  17. Holy Gail linky not work.

  18. Holy Gail linky not work.

    Op tested it. It’s operable.

    1. Me happy now . . .

  19. Taking the logic of quantum mechanics as it has been theorized that current (and hence future) events correct past ones making history consistent with itself. What is observed in the future has a direct impact on what happened in that future’s past and thus we are at the mercy of the future’s observation. In a sense “god” is the observer at the end of time….

    This makes the statement in the article seem less far-fetched than the way it was presented.

  20. This is the same reason our manned space program mysteriously plateaued in the 1970s. The future has intervened, adding invisible giant weights to rockets, making getting to orbit too expensive for establishing a toehold in the rest of the solar system.

  21. Does this mean that if the warming trend stops and we go through decades of cooling, the Times will blame mysterious quantum effects from the future?

  22. John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness is now the most prophetic movie of it’s time.

  23. This may also explain why an Al Qaida-linked physicist working on LHC was recently arrested there…there can be no basis for a global Jihad if the future changes the past.

  24. “Sadly, physics stopped being science a few years ago.”

    John, that’s just not true. I suspect you are thinking about string theory and some of the specualtive interpretations of quantum theory. These things are philosophy and not science, but I don’t think that the practitioners of these fields are claiming that it is. There is still plenty of physics being done that is empirically based hard science.

  25. John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness is now the most prophetic movie of it’s time.

    SugarFree,

    All of Carpenter’s movies are prophetic. All of them.

    1. Indeed! “They Live” showed the true nature of Republicans many years ago!

  26. All of Carpenter’s movies are prophetic.

    Well, The Thing sure did anticipate Lindsay Lohan, so I’ll give John that.

  27. Larry Niven postulated that IF time travel were possible and IF time travelers could change the future then we would live in a universe with no time travel. After all, people would continue going back in time over and over and over, and the timeline would change over and over and over until we arrived at a timeline equilibrium where no time machine was ever invented.

    1. That’s only if you have a time travel free market. Something that will never be achieved.

      1. True. If time travel existed, Congress would argue that you’re travelling across state timelines, thus authorizing government regulation of time travel.

        I’m warning you, don’t time travel to hit someone with a baseball bat and use a racial slur at the same time.

      2. Unless it was already achieved, and the product of the time travel free market (time travelers) self-corrected themselves out of existence?

        1. No, the rent seeking time travelers get a monopoly enforced by the government and they protect their market.

    2. But this ignores the possibility that within a timeline like we have, time travel may be an inevitability. An emergent system based solely on complexity. This would allow time travel and change to exist in any universe still containing intelligent life.

      1. Sheldon, from the CBS show The Big Bang Theory, has a very interesting view on inventing time machines:

        “If I were to invent a time machine, the first thing I’d do is go back in time and tell myself how to do it.”

        That really takes all the work out of it. We just have to sit back and wait…

  28. Time travel is silly. The universe corrects for silliness. Therefore, there is no time travel.

    One of the things that makes Star Trek not so great as pure science fiction is its constant return to the time travel trough.

    1. Uhgreed.

      With TV shows, it’s obvious the writers have run out of ideas when all the female characters start getting pregnant.

      With movies, the writers have run out of ideas when they start using time travel.

      1. I refuse to use time travel in my books. Others tempted me with it but I resisted. Cooler communications, secure transactions, nicer guns, better laws, more interesting drugs, but I say NO to time travel.

      2. Well, unless it’s covering for all the female cast being actually pregnant.

    2. Time travel is silly. The universe corrects for silliness.

      Then explain Al Gore and Michael Moore within the bounds of your theory.

      1. They’re going to die, man.

        1. Idunno, I think they eat brown rice.

          1. Entropy, decay, the death of fat people.

            1. So, let me see if I have this right, nothing lives forever is your ‘proof’ of theory?

              1. Yep. Besides, both are likely to face untimely deaths due to their risky lifestyles. In addition, I believe the universe intends to serve up to each a karmic comeuppance.

    3. I think the addition of time travel to an existing narrative is silly, but there are many great time travel stories.

      “By His Bootstraps”, “All You Zombies–“, The Man Who Folded Himself, “The Man Who Murdered Mohammed”, etc.

      1. I absolutely do not mean to say that all time travel stories are bad. Stand-alone stories that do something interesting are fine. The End of Eternity, Lest Darkness Falls, etc. are entertaining and interesting.

        But I’m no fan of tossing time travel into an established science fiction universe, because it usually mucks up everything.

        The one exception is The Brady Bunch. That show should’ve involved time travel.

        1. Gumby traveled in time once. Or was that just matter transportation?

      2. Time Machine wasn’t bad either.

        1. There’s a whole list. Even in the example I gave, I think a few of the Star Trek time travel stories were okay. But they screwed up everything in the Trek universe and make causation a big problem–why not use time travel to fix everything? Usually, the attempts to “fix” such problems are handled so ineptly as to make the problem even worse.

          Ditto the transporter/replicator, which, of course, makes immortality easy. Or the possibility of a world of Kirk clones, which, of course, must exist.

  29. Actually, I just discovered that we are currently paying protection money to the Eternals to leave our century alone. That’s why we have to maintain these massive deficits.

    1. If Batman could travel through time he would fix that.

  30. One of the things that makes Star Trek not so great as pure science fiction is its constant return to the time travel trough.

    Citation needed.

    1. How do you cite an opinion? Are you asking him to cite episodes and films where Star Trek wanders into the realm of TT? There are probably hundreds of examples by now.

      1. It’s been ridiculously frequent in the successor series and in the movies. TOS only did it a few times, but they also ran the dodge of running across worlds with parallel development. That was more acceptable for that series, because it was really a bunch of morality plays as much as it was science fiction.

        1. I misunderstood. I thought you were speaking only about TOS.

  31. The “future” is not sabotaging this experiment. The (mightily pissed off) denizens of the moon are.

    As foretold by the Mayans.

    1. “The (mightily pissed off) denizens of the moon are.

      As foretold by the Mayans.”

      …And Robert Heinlein

      1. …And Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

        1. Some would say that the earth is our moon, but that would belittle our moon which is…the moon.

  32. The Multiple Universes (Many Universes, Multiverse) interpretation from Quantum Mechanics allows for time travel. However, time travelers would create a new universe from the moment of their impact: e.g. were I to travel back and kill baby Hitler, there would be a new time line in which there was no Hitler but the one from which the time travel came would still be the one in which there was WW2 etc. No paradox yet with time travel.

    See Dragon Ball Z for an example (Trunks saga).

  33. Star Trek’s real crime with time travel is the persistent desire to utterly destroy your narrative universe and simultaneously preserve the status quo. Comic books are the worst about this, but ST injected it into pop Sci-Fi worse than anything else. Time travel as deus ex machina is the real problem. (Well, deus ex machina is the real problem, whatever form it takes.)

    1. Deus ex machina is bad story telling, most of the time. Literally, that refers to the ancient practice of having an actor playing a god swoop down via a crane to solve heretofore insoluble problems. If you’re going to do that, I say bring back the crane.

      1. Literally, that refers to the ancient practice of having an actor playing a god swoop down via a crane to solve heretofore insoluble problems.

        You leave House out of this!

        1. There’s no crane in House, man.

        2. I thought he was talking about Cheers and Frazier.

          1. They both have Crane, but they lack gods.

  34. Looking at this mechanistically is all wrong. It’s not an efficient cause from the future, but a final one. Apply the teleology of the Weak Anthropic Principle. Anything that could have caused this universe not to exist, which of course would result in our not observing it, is clearly impossible in it.

  35. Note to self: If I get time travel later on, be sure to use it to stop threaded comments from ever being invented.

    1. I kind of like them. I got sick of < i > all the damn time.

    2. Good idea.

      And if we were a simulation rather than real we could test time travel.

    3. i hope you do… what’s the word on threading anyway? do we just have to live with it?

      1. I’d like to lodge a protest. Isn’t a compromise available? You know, like Hit & Run Classic? I can’t abide the taste of New Hit & Run.

  36. …it seems that two noted physicists are floating the theory that problems with the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest atom smasher, area result of sabotage by unknown forces… from the future.

    Wait, I’ve read this book before! Was it by James Hogan or Greg Benford?

    1. Depends:

      If we live it’s Hogan.
      If we die a horrible death, its Benford.

    2. Hogan’s — definitely the one with the groovy looking hippies standing in front of a high tech physics experiment on the cover.

  37. Note to self: Prevent SugarFree’s conception.

    1. I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night.

      1. Enjoy your pith while you have it. I’ll be eliminating you from existence as soon as I get my time machine. NOTHING will stop my plans to remove even the possibility of threaded comments. In fact, maybe the Internet must go altogether (Note to self: Stop Al Gore’s conception, too).

        [Sits back and patiently awaits access to a time machine.]

        1. You will never get your time machine. If you did I wouldn’t exist and there’d be no threaded comments.

          PREDESTINATION PARADOX’D!

        2. I just want one for making wise investments.

          1. Paradoxes only exist in weak minds like yours. You exist now only because P Brooks hasn’t loaned me his time machine yet.

            If we are just a simulation or in Plato’s cave, then we could have all the time travel we wanted.

            1. And if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump it’s ass a-hoppin’.

              1. Surely you aren’t questioning the existence of P Brooks’ time machine. Why he refers to it just a few posts down! Proof!

                By the way, I found out something. Episiarch is your father. He borrowed P Brooks’ time machine first.

  38. James Hogan wrote The Genesis Machine, which kinda sorta dealt with something like this.

  39. What if it is propelled back through time but because of the slowing force only manages to slightly alter its existence instead of eliminating it? What if we end up with a Large Hard-on Collider?

  40. I think its fairly obvious that in the event of time travel, the missing matter would create a vaccum that the existing matter would attempt to fill. Thus, the universe would fold in on itself, creating a massive black hole that essentially be the big bang in reverse. The big bang would then happen again.

    Either that or “dark matter” would replace the missing matter and we’d be alright.

  41. So does this LHC theory explain all the bugs in Windows?

    1. The future is all Mac and they love fucking with you.

    2. The future is all Mac and they love fucking with you.

      1. Ah, crap. A double post.

      2. Ah, crap. A double post.

        1. Mac? Ha! The future is CP/M.

              1. The future was going to be OS/2, but the universe was not about to allow that to happen.

  42. One point twenty-one jigawatts!? One point twenty-one jigawatts!? Great Scott!

    1. That is surely a jigantic amount of power.

      Do you pronounce it jiga or jyga? I still sometimes use the hard g. It’s a not so bad habit I’m trying to break.

  43. Note to self:

    Send Pro Libertate back in time to stop threaded comments.

    And to smash LoneWacko’s Sinclair (with LoneWacko).

  44. Look, I got some Sucka MCs to go slap. Y’alls keep it real for me.

  45. To quote:

    There’s no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine.
    People get so hung up on specifics, they can’t see the whole thing.

    Take South America, for example:
    There, thousands of people go missing each year. Nobody knows where they go. They just disappear.

    But if you think about it, you realize something: There had to be a time when there was no people, right?

    Well, where did all these people come from? I’ll tell you where: the future.
    Where did all these people disappear to?

    [The past?] – That’s right! And how did they get there?

    Flying saucers.

    Which are really…

    yeah you got it…
    … time machines.

    1. John Wayne is a fag.

  46. Forgive me, but images like the one of Mr. Doc Brown should be in jpeg format not png format.

    1. And appropriately sized.

  47. No Culthlu comments?

  48. I’m a totally casual observer of science, as I assume most of you are. When a biologist explains the underpinnings of the theory of Natural Selection and other evolutionary theories, I am satisfied with the evidence, the theory, and the lack of falsifying evidence. Great. Now I can go on with my life.

    But then a physicist comes along and tells me the universe is populated with “dark matter” and “dark energy”, which can’t be observed but only inferred. He says this phantom matter may take the forms of WIMPs or MACHOs. And you can’t take these unobserved elements out of the theory because then the theory would fall apart. “Without dark energy we would not be able to explain the rotation of galaxies,” they say. Well that’s not my problem, bucko. Get back to the drawing board and find a theory that doesn’t require inventing invisible undetectable non-matter. That’s what Einstein did, and it worked out pretty well.

    And don’t even get me started about Global Warming (non-)theory. The one good thing about the AGW “consensus” is that its very existence is yet another data point in favor of the sociological/psychological Theory of Anthropogenic Stupid Scientific Consenses, which says that scientific communities will always go about tackling the most difficult issues in the worst way possible, and arrive at the wrong answer first, which will be defended for an inordinate amount of time. I should write a paper.

    So yeah, Higgs boson? Might not exist. But now they’re saying it must not exist? And God is intervening to prevent it? Calling the Discovery Institute, you may have a good candidate for grant money…
    [/rant]

    1. No, they’re not saying it does not exist, but that nature really, really abhors a free Higgs boson.

  49. Taking the logic of quantum mechanics as it has been theorized that current (and hence future) events correct past ones making history consistent with itself.

    This is exactly why I no longer have any faith in modern science. Is this really the most plausible explanation or are they just trying to invent new plots for science fiction.

    1. The best part of that bit of twisted logic is that it is unprovable either way since history is constantly being made to remain consistent.

  50. If nature really wanted to be rid of the thing, large scale spontaneous proton decay would be the way to go. A nice continent-destroying burst of positions and gamma rays would certainly get the point across.

  51. It’s the Morlocks’ fault.

    Or Warren’s.

    Whichever came first last first last first last F**K it. You figure out the causational loop.

  52. Are we sure this isn’t just some elaborate ad for ABC’s Flash Forward?

    1. Could be, ABC needs a hit show.

      1. Probably not. This is the same plot as the book, but the plot of the TV show seems to have been drastically altered from what I’ve seen so far.

  53. No this is all wrong….the future is preventing me from sleeping with Eva Green and the Higgs Boson problem is simply a side effect.

    1. That’s genetic determinism acting in its own beautiful way.

    2. Is it the future, your creepy stalking or Eva Green’s common sense?

  54. If true it would mean that the universe is not only not irrational but it is hyper rational to the extent of having a built in mechanism to prevent a bunch of opposable thumbed monkeys fuck it up beyond repair.

  55. “It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck,” Dr. Nielsen said in an e-mail message. In an unpublished essay, Dr. Nielson said of the theory, “Well, one could even almost say that we have a model for God.” It is their guess, he went on, “that He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them.”

    I think these guys simply are taking aline from Global Warming team members. If we get more hurricanes it is global warming if we get less hurricanes it is global warming. If we get a cooling Antarctica it is global warming of we get a warming Antarctica it is global warming…

    If we get proof of Higgs Boson then it exists…if we can’t prove it exists then it exists.

  56. If that machine can do what you say it can do, destroy it, George! Destroy it before it destroys you!

  57. Time Machine wasn’t bad either.

    And I thought that I was the only one here familiar with Reg Grundy’s less-successful shows (see more here and here).

  58. Supercollider? I hardly know her!

  59. I hope no one already posted that…

  60. Ok… I hope no one else has posted this cause I’m way late on this one… BUT:

    “While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus. In the case of the Higgs and the collider, it is as if something is going back in time to keep the universe from being hit by a bus. ”

    YES, that IS a paradox!

    If your grandfather was hit by a bus, you are never born. If you’re not alive, then you can’t prevent your grandfather from dying.

    Alternatively, if your father was already born by the time your grandfather gets hit by a bus, and we flash forward to the future… You know he was hit by a bus, so you can go back and try to fix it… BUT If you go back in time to stop your grandfather from getting hit by a bus and you succeed, then back in your own future, you will have no knowledge of him being hit by a bus (since he wasn’t) and thus you have no impetus to travel back in time to “save” him in the first place… Time travel isn’t only a paradox of physics, but one of epistemology. If you go back in time with a specific goal to change the past, and you succeed, then you remove the future reason for you to have the goal at all and thus your future (which is actually your present) self will never think to go back to begin with.

    I mean… Geesh. Altering the timeline is ALWAYS a paradox and a massive failure of logic.

    Always.

    1. A paradox can always be paradoctored. – RAH

    2. Time travel isn’t only a paradox of physics, but one of epistemology. If you go back in time with a specific goal to change the past, and you succeed, then you remove the future reason for you to have the goal at all and thus your future (which is actually your present) self will never think to go back to begin with.

      I mean… Geesh. Altering the timeline is ALWAYS a paradox and a massive failure of logic.

      There is a glaring hole in the Anglo-Saxon logic of your premise given epistemology is a mere subset of aesthetics in the sciences. If what you say is indeed true, and that all time travel results in a paradox than why does Gretchen Mol look tres chic in a police woman’s uniform of the early 1970’s variety?

      http://www.contactmusic.com/pi…..220811.jpg

      Would not a modern woman in the dress of a previous era be much less fitting of that dress than one born into the era? Yet, on Mol it seems, shall we say, Pr?t-?-Porter, and not contrived?

      Yet, there is a harmony of elements in this assembly that is at one with nature and Nature’s God therefor your protestations on display here can only be construed as wrong headed.

      If further evidence is needed, here is Gretchen Mol in the style of dress common to 1940’s pin up models.

      http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage…..x460,0.jpg

    3. Note the sublime contours of her symmetry. Surely if you were correct, instead of beauty on display, she would be ghastly and unsettling.

      And here, she does an homage to Marylin Monroe where her mod?le de robe est absolument d?vastateur.

      http://www.tvpredictions.com/hotmol.jpg

      I realize that at this point my disassembly of your argument into mere arbitrary components is absolute, and any more would be overkill, but I cannot resist the coup de gr?ce.

      http://www.tvpredictions.com/hotmol10.jpg

      Bon soir, bon homme!

    4. You can avoid the epistemology problem if your reason for traveling in time was NOT to save your grandfather.

      As long as you are ignorantly and in furtherance of some other goal traveling through time and saving your grandfather, you’re golden in epistemological terms. You just have an “Ah ha!” moment where you realize, “Wow, when Grandpa told the story of the mysterious stranger who saved him from the bus that day, he was talking about ME!” Like in Harry Potter 3 or 12 Monkeys.

    5. But your grandfather never got hit by a bus, because you saved him. I think you’re going wrong by assuming that you intentionally went back in time to save him from dying, which I agree makes little sense. I think the scenario suggests that you go back for some unrelated reason, and end up saving your grandfather’s life, thus ensuring that you are eventually born and are able to go back in time to save your grandfather’s life, thus ensuring that you are eventually born and are able… etc.

  61. Altering the timeline is ALWAYS a paradox and a massive failure of logic.

    Unless you like the interpretation that your consciousness has simply jumped back up the tree of causality, and is now multiversing its ass down a different path.

    1. I don’t believe this is the case…

      You run into the same problem with multi-verses.

      Say I go back in time to save my grandfather from getting hit by a bus. By doing that, I create an alternate timeline in which my grandfather doesn’t die – in that timeline a completely different “me” gets to experience life with a grandpa. But back in Universe A (the fighting mongooses!), I am stuck with the same paradox – either I fail to save my grandpa and have the life that led me to trying to save him, OR I grow up with a living grandpa which mitigates my reasoning for ever going back in the first place.

      Even if there is a parallel universe created in which another version of me experiences the joys of getting charlie horses from the papa as a kid, but the paradox for *me* – the version of me who tries to save the man – still applies.

      1. Yeah, but you are not experiencing that universe in which you had a grandpa; some other consciousness inhabiting the body corresponding to yours in that universe is.

        Fuck, I need some dope now.

        1. No no no. You have left your former universe and are in a new one (eventually with your younger self presumably unless your actions made it not so in the new universe)… back in the former universe you no longer exist.

          1. Yes, but in some other universe, you do, and you have a grandpa.

          2. Right – that’s fine… but then you’re not altering time per se… If you no longer exist, then what’s the point of doing it? It doesn’t help you to go back and then make someone else’s universe better. And of course, then now you’re stuck in your own past permanently as you can’t exactly go back to a future that no longer exists with your version of “you” in it.

            1. Right. To restate what you’ve said, you’ve moved your consciousness to a different part of the causality tree than the one you started on.

              …Fuck, I’ve been thinking about computer science too much or something.

  62. ‘A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists’

    I presume that both physicists have doctoral degrees, so that means that we’re dealing with a pair o’ docs.

    ‘the hypothesized Higgs boson . . . might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one . . .’

    Arrr, belay that stop-the-collider stuff, ye landlubbers. If that Higgs bosun, or the bosun’s mate, be givin’ any trouble, I’ll keel-haul him, or my name ain’t Captain Jack Rackham the Pirate.

  63. So, there you are, in the middle of the street; you just pushed some guy out of the path of the oncoming omnibus, and now you’re completely baffled, scratching your head, wondering where you are, and what you’re doing there, when…

    WHAMMO!

  64. The reference to the Higgs boson reminds me that it’s time to update a certain famous pirate song:

    Fifteen researchers on an LHC
    With a yo ho ho and a glass of white wine
    The tempted the wrath of the Singularity
    And now on their flesh the fishes dine.
    Time itself destroyed the Higgs bosun’s life:
    Higgs bosun was slain by a carving knife.
    The chief scientist’s throat was marked belike
    It had been gripped by fingers ten;
    His future self came back to kill him
    So was he a hero or was he the villain?
    This paradox so strange has gotten me swillin’
    A whole bunch of bottles of rum.

    Fifteen outstanding scientists
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
    Dead and damned in a strange plot twist!
    They posted about it on Hit & Run!

  65. While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus.

    What if you go back and become your own grandfather?

    1. That is so close to what happened in the Terminator movies it’s almost scary!

  66. Scientists: “Trust us. The particles created by the LHC won’t destroy the world, nor even most of Europe.”

    Skeptics: “But you don’t know what particles you might create, or what their properties might be.”

    Scientists: “That’s why we built the LHC! It’s for fundamental research, testing theories and gaining new knowledge!”

    Skeptics: “So you don’t know what will happen when the thing goes online, do you?”

  67. For those interested in a scientific (but easy on the math) treatment of time travel, check out Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe, by J. Richard Gott, a professor of astrophysics at Princeton.

    He has come up with several internally consistent models of the universe (consistent with Einsteinian physics) that allow time travel. In some, time travel is possible at some times but not at others.

    In one model, time travel is possible after a time machine is built, but not before. In another model, time travel was possible in the universe’s past, but isn’t now (which allows for the possibility that the universe created itself.)

  68. I’m you from the future! You have to help me finish our time machine before the Angels of Destruction find the portal!

    1. There is a newspaper comic series called Brewster Rocket, Space Guy, and in one strip where the grouchy female crew member Pam is sitting down eating lunch, Brewster phases in, and yells at her, “Hello skinny Pam, I am Brewster from exactly one year in the future. Put down that doughnut!”

  69. I read most of one of the papers cited and I get the distinct impression the authors were having a good laugh.

  70. The other possibility is the Many Universes theory.

    If all possibilities occur simultaneously in various different quantum universes, what’s happening is that we have lots of universes where the LHC works and the Higgs Boson is produced, and lots of universes where the LHC fails and the Higgs Boson is not produced. But we can only experience the ones where it fails, because in the one where it succeeds we all die and don’t experience anything else. So no matter how absurd the events needed to make the LHC fail, we’ll experience only those events because in the universes where we don’t experience them, everyone has already died.

  71. “There is a theory which states that if anybody ever discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

      1. Now we have to prevent from finding out what the question is.

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  73. What’s really weird is that I am not reading “Manifold Time” in which something very similar happens – our future descendants are trying to send us messages via neutron pulses.

    1. The pandora warm autumn wind, air mixed into the firecrackers fire taste;

  74. For some background on understanding all this, Wiki “Schrodinger cat”.

    This issue is related to interpretations of quantum mechanics as it deals with observables and, therefore, observers, such as “consistent histories” and “many worlds”. I’ll describe it in terms of the latter, although they all lead to the same observations, so feel free to sprinkle “it is as if”‘s liberally throughout, much in the way that Copericus’s followers were forced to by the Vatican. I’ll add the first one myself.

    Assume turning on LHC destroys the earth. Regardless of how dangerous the LHC is, or the SSC would have been, “it is as if” there will always be some future observer in the multiverse since there is always a finite probability of something interfering with it being turned on. In the case of the SSC, it was funding fickleness. In the case of LHC, a bad solder joint. Observers (human ones, at least) in the future can only recall a “consistent history” in which the LHC did not destroy the earth, for obvious reasons. It is logically impossible, therefore, to be living in a universe where something did not prevent this. This is a form of natural selection, so one can expect the usually “Intelligent Design” type confusions, as we see here.

    Think about how “lucky” you are that none of your maternal ancestors (mother’s mother’s mother, etc), going all the way to fish, got killed by a dinosaur or something before giving birth (laying eggs, whatever). Not one! In other words, regardless of the magnitude of past perils, we are always the cat that lives.

    If you view these ideas as crazy or read from others that do (like in this thread), consider the words of Niels Bohr to Wolfgang Pauli (founders of quantum mechanics), “We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough?”

  75. The pandora warm autumn wind, air mixed into the firecrackers fire taste;

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