Time Traveling, Anti-Physics Saboteurs Now Enlisting the Aid of Birds?


Large Hadron Colliders are for the (evil, time-traveling, physics-hating) birds.

A few weeks back, I wrote about the argument put forth by two respected physicists that the Large Hadron Collider was failing due to sabotage from the future. Absurd, right? Except that more evidence just keeps piling on: According to reports, the LHC has undergone a series of troubles, and recently shut down due to a bird dropping a piece of bread into a key section of the machine:

The Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, just cannot catch a break. First, a coolant leak destroyed some of the magnets that guide the energy beam. Then LHC officials postponed the restart of the machine to add additional safety features. Now, a bird dropping a piece of bread on a section of the accelerator has, according to the Register, shut down the whole operation.

Of course, if those scientists are right, we should be thanking the errant bird for doing its part to save the world. 

Previously at Reason, Ron Bailey examined whether the LHC might cause the end of the world. (And for the easily panicked, if you're ever uncertain about whether or not it has, you can always find out here.)

NEXT: Kids Today, With Their Briar Pipes and Fancy Cigars

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  1. Either it is time traveling quantum particles or it is an enormously large and complex machine that is prone to breakdowns. Gee I wonder which is the more likely answer?

    At what point did dropping acid on a daily basis become a requirement to work in physics?

    1. It does no good at all to drop acid on a daily basis. By the third day it would have no effect at all.

      1. You sure bout that? I used to smoke pot everyday and let me tell ya’. You get high with every application.

        1. Very different, dude. Trust me.

          1. High is high, sage. Quit tryin’ to mess with my head.

            1. Gotta agree with sage on this one…best to have a few days between doses.

      2. You just switch it off with Peyote and PCP.

        1. Try Ayahuasca root too, or its derivative DMT

    2. Everyone knows you don’t need drugs to science, just prog rock.

    3. I was thinking this is more of a coke/acid or coke/shroom combination. That would better explain the “Jump-to-Conclusions-Mat” behavior and paranoia.

  2. Make all the jokes you want, but that bird is still out there. It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with; it doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. EVER – until you are dead!

    1. Sarah Connor?

      1. Alfred Hitchcock?

  3. Back off, man, I’m a scientist.

  4. My future self claims that if LHC goes online everyone should grab their anckles and hold on. The space-time rip could cause severe taint withering.

  5. Any universe in which the LHC is allowed to operate has been destroyed. Therefore, the LHC will never operate. QED.

    1. Will never operate in this universe, I mean. Obviously.

      1. That’s some sly logic.

      2. Actually, assuming you’re talking about Many Worlds, there are an infinite number of offspring universes from this one where the LHC operates (momentarily before the universe is “pruned”).

  6. “Sabatuers”? Did time travellers from the future break your spell-checker?

    1. That is actually the proper spelling in the universe that is seeking to destroy that collider. I know. I am from that universe.

      1. I know you guys! You use Extensible Spelling Language. Who owns Oracle there in your day?

    2. In the future same letters are absalete.

  7. JD, you fool! Don’t offend their time sensibilities. They meant to spell it that way.

  8. So does that mean that Republicans from the future were responsible for shutting down the Superconducting Super Collider in 1993?

  9. Let me get this straight. Someone in the future trained a bird to drop a piece of bread into this thing, in just the right spot. And it HAD to be from the future since the death of Skinner was also the death of training birds to do tricks until the next century?

    1. Was this bird named Luke?

  10. Is anyone going to mention the movie 12 Monkeys? I think Bruce Willis is the one doing the sabotage. He is trying to prevent an apocalyptic future.

    1. No, it’s an invisible Harrison Ford beaming in from another movie.

      He then has a cage death match with Kevin Bacon over the whole invisible man issue, but Ford outwits him with an invisible replicant.

  11. No, no, no. Bruce Willis wasn’t a hero. Just a poor lackey. The woman on the plane was the real hero. She blew the entire plane to smithereens!

  12. Is anyone going to mention the movie 12 Monkeys?

    No. The mods will go back in time to stop them.

  13. They aren’t saboteurs from the future until one of them throws their space shoe in it.

    1. Does a glove count?

      1. Only a white one with sequins.

  14. I for one am terrified of the collider being sabotaged by Gwar…

    1. All of those fluids spraying onto the LHC can’t be good for it.

      1. Right. Better keep Warty away from it.

  15. An actual rift in the space-time continuum could drag a single salty tear from the eye of the most stoic person on the planet.

    1. Are you a god?

      1. “When someone asks you if you are a god, the answer is YES!” — Winston Zeddemore

      2. “I’m not the God, I’m a god.”

  16. By the way, what is that supposed to be a picture from or of?

  17. That’s a great pic of Suki.

    1. Finally unblurred.

  18. Umm.. there is an important detail that they are leaving out. The bread didn’t actually harm anything. The bread WOULD have caused a problem IF the machine was running. It wasn’t, so it didn’t.

    1. So, the ability to travel through time and teach birds bread tricks in no indication of superior planning or thought!

  19. Fear not my friends interested in the advance of science… these are all minor hiccups ensuring that the final use of the LHC’s operating is postponed until its Mayan-forecasted date of 12/21/2012.

    1. Is that an excuse to have a huge party or what? Mayan end of the world party sounds pretty cool.

      1. The soundtrack alone would kick ass. I’m already throwing “Blackout” and “Apocalypse Please” by Muse into the mix.

  20. RC’z Law on the alt text. Nice one.

    1. I think he was using the correct spelling of Hadron from univers trying to destroy the collider.

      Just ask John.

    2. (Please recall that currently, Peter is planning his honeymoon)

    3. Oh, excellent RC indeed.

      1. I was unaware, Gobbler. So you’re trying to say that Peter is preoccupied with hard-ons?

        1. Yes, which should be of concern to his fiance’.

  21. No no no noooo

    There canNOT be any actual, conscious saboteurs in the future deliberately causing the machine to fail. It would create a paradox. Because if I send a bird with some bread back into the past to shut down the LHC, and it works, then I have no reason to send that bird back to shut down the LHC, so I don’t. Do you see the problem here?

    If there actually IS a saboteur, it’s not intentional or conscious, it’s just some sort of unconscious universe equilibrium metaphysical thing. Or God, I guess.

    But seriously. A bird dropped some bread on the LHC? What the fuck.

    1. Just call time machines paradox machines and be done with it.

    2. Doesn’t the multiple universe string theory, or was it M theory, solve the paradox issue?

      So we still need to worry about this damn bird.

    3. Not necessarily. If you in the future knew that in the past people were trying to get the LHC to work you could keep sending things back to interfere with its operation until they gave up.

      1. Yes. But once they give up, IN THE PAST, this changes my PRESENT and recent past, still leaving me with NO REASON to interfere with the past.

  22. Well, if time travel is possible, you might as well call a time machine a paradox machine.

    Seriously, someone has to have already pointed that out.

    1. It can only be reconciled with an infinite (well, not technically infinite presumably as much as a finite number so far outside of human comprehension that it makes the federal deficit look like kindergarten counting numbers) permutations of universe theory. By traveling back in time, you don’t alter the universe you came from, you hop into a new universe.

      If this sounds a little difficult to fathom, try more drugs until it makes sense.

      1. Hmmm. Cool, but I still say that violates the laws of thermodynamics (or does it?).

        1. The only reason I think that is because from the “prespective” of the adoptive universe, something has appeared out of “nowhere”. But I guess if you can transfer energy from one universe to another, you’re not violating physics.

          1. Now forgive my ignorance or failure to adequately explain as I am not all that well versed in the world of quantum physics, but my understanding of the work of Hugh Everett is something along the lines of quantum decoherence and undermining the traditionally accepted wavefunction collapse. Or something like that or completely contrary to that. Ugh, my friggin head is going to explode.

          2. Art,

            You ought to read The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson Tucker. He deals with the energy exchange of forward time travel very well (although it is the same timeline.)

            1. I’ll have to remember that recommendation. I’m honestly impressed that you’ve managed to read so many books.

              1. Insomnia and I started on Heinlein really young.

                Tucker is one of the forgotten talents of the genre. He also wrote one of my favorite Last Man on Earth novels, The Long Loud Silence.

        2. It does, unless you are replaced by equal mass from said destination universe. Dark matter?

            1. For the win.

  23. Disconcertingly, I clicked on the handy web app that indicates whether or not the LHC has caused the end of the world and it no longer said “NOPE”.

  24. Next time I design something that doesn’t work, I’m using the “Well, how do you know the universe wouldn’t end if it did?” excuse as well. While the LHC hasn’t done much for physics so far, it’s greatly advanced the field of theoretical blame passing.

  25. It would appear that no future travelers are necessary for this outcome. The universe is taking care of itself. Which means the universe is an intelligent entity. A, uhm God. Well, that takes care of the prime mover dilemma.

  26. I read the article I saw about this twice, both times I read this thing is buried underground, way underground. And I assume the entrance to the thing is highly secure . . . so how did a bird get down there to drop bread in the darn thing?

    1. I wondered how a bird got all the way underground with some bread too. It sounds too weird…i wondered if this was an onion article or something…

      1. It was probably an enterprising bird that realized all the worms were underground.


  27. I saw all of this in my Flashfoward.

  28. The REAL reason for the LHC:
    AH HA!

    15 minutes or it is free

  29. I can’t believe this needs to be said, but, this is clearly just quantum immortality in action. We’re just experiencing the small fraction of universes in which we still exist. Really, the world has ended, just not in this unlikely world.

  30. i’m so confused. when does the Doctor show up?

  31. It’s really a Murphy partical acelerator. Someone called the collider in Texas, that we spent 93 billion on and never finished, an anti-miracle. Therefore, the collider in Europe is a miracle. Obviously, they are canceling each other out and no information will come from the the collider in Europe until the collider in Texas is either destroyed or finished.

  32. Tweet Tweet;-)

  33. All I am worried about is that the LHC creates just a tiny bit of Strange Matter and that tiny bit eventually coerces the entire universe into becoming a Strange Goo, starting with us. As you know, Libertarians cannot abide unwarranted coercion in any form.

  34. So a backward time-travel machine is really a dimension-traveling machine, yes? Because once you get there, you’re immediately in a different dimension/timeline, right? So here’s the interesting thing to me: Suppose you are in a near-lightspeed vehicle. This is, of course, a forward time-machine. While you are speeding away from your point of origin, people there are making all kinds of decisions that are spinning off all kinds of timelines. Then, you turn around and come back, and reappear decades or centuries after you left, but only a few months or years older. During this time, have YOU been spinning off new timelines, and if so, at what rate? How have you remained integrated, or how can you become reintegrated, with the timelines that have been spun off while you’ve been “out of the loop” in near-light travel?

    I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I suspect that becoming “unstuck in time” has more profound implications than most people appreciate.

    Didn’t even need a doobie for that one!

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