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LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?

 
Wasayo
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LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
Shutdown of the LHC, by Kevin Black


As the LHC supposedly gears up, Harvard physicist Kevin Black, based at CERN, investigates rumors that the particle accelerator may, in fact, soon be shut down—by ripples from the future.

From Kevin Black:

I came across a bizarre paper recently suggesting that the LHC might be shut down. Not because of the funding cuts that have been threatening particle physics projects around the world, nor because of law suits accusing the LHC of threatening life on Earth. (Not even because we at the LHC have recently been accused of having far too much fun rapping.)

No, the paper suggested that future effects caused by the production of particles, such as the Higgs, could ripple backwards in time and prevent the LHC from ever operating.

If it hadn't been written by two very well respected and accomplished theoretical physicists, I would have stopped reading at the title alone:"Test of Effect from Future in Large Hadron Collider; A Proposal".

To be completely honest, the title reads like titles that occasionally appear in my inbox—“Relativity Principle Untenable," "Quantum Mechanics a Hoax," and other nerdy versions of the emails from the supposed attorney of my long-lost Nigerian uncle who apparently has died and left me millions of dollars, if I can only send him $50,000 so that he can get it to me.

But I didn't stop. I read the article. I read it for another reason other than the somewhat awkwardly sounding title and not just because the authors, Holger Nielsen, of the University of Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya, of Kyoto University, are somewhat famous. I read it because when I come across such things it tends to remind me of the first time I learned about quantum mechanics. To be honest, if it hadn't come from a professor at a university and a published text book I would have thought that the whole thing was some sort of a scam as well. I mean, really? Sometimes it acts as a wave and sometimes it acts as a particle? The first time I heard about wave/particle duality I was expecting to be asked to send the authors money (perhaps to Nigeria?).

So what did the article say? Well, it started out with a reasonable enough point. One of the basic assumptions of classical physics is that time flows in one direction and that when describing a physical system one needs to know the equations of motion and the initial conditions in order to predict the future behavior of a classical system.

However, quantum mechanics changes this a bit. Classical mechanics can be formulated in such a way that one sets up an “action” integral. The solution to the physical system can be expressed as the path that minimizes the action integral. It turns out that in quantum mechanics one needs to not simply take one path—but take the sum over all possible paths. For example, if you want to work out how a photon gets from a lightbulb to your eye, you need to take into account not just its straight-line trajectory, but contributions of all possible paths it could have taken, including paths where the photon bounces round the room. It's a bit strange, but it seems to work and 60 years+ of detailed experiments have confirmed this description over and over again to remarkable quantitative precision.

The authors of this paper claim to show that other terms can be added to the quantum mechanical action that are consistent with current theory and experiment. However, some of these possible terms include conditions in the future that need to be taken into account and summed over. That is to say, what happens in the future could (according to this paper) affect what happens in the present.

Why the LHC? The authors argue that these sorts of time-violating interactions could be associated with whatever new particles we create at the LHC. For example, the production of a large number of Higgs particles in the future could have a backwards-in-time causal effect on the machine that produced them, stopping the machine from ever running. As possible “evidence” for such a backwards-in-time effect, the authors cite the now-canceled Superconducting Super Collider (SSC)—a particle accelerator that was meant to hunt the Higgs and was partially constructed in Texas before Congress pulled the plug on the project. As the authors write in their paper: “Such a cancellation after a huge investment is already in itself an unusual event that should not happen too often. We might take this event as experimental evidence for our model in which an accelerator with the luminosity and beam energy of the SSC will not be built.”

It’s as though the Higgs plays the role of the time traveler who goes back to the past and murders his grandfather, thus preventing his own birth.

Now, I must admit that this is where I started to get a bit skeptical. The authors go on to suggest that the LHC is also under threat from a possible “miraculous” shutdown caused by the backward influence of particles like the Higgs, which it may create in the future: “Since the LHC has a performance approaching the SSC, it suggests that also the LHC may be in danger of being closed under mysterious circumstances.”

Visions of the X-Files’ Fox Mulder launching into some hour-long diatribe about future conditions (and of course government conspiracies) started to appear. But I read on nonetheless, becoming a little bit more amused and a lot more confused as I tried to finish the paper.

In order to make it topical they proposed an experiment. Play a game of cards—a kind of particle physics tarot—to determine if future LHC conditions could affect the draw of the cards. The idea being that if the cards were arranged to represent different possible LHC outcomes—discovery of the Higgs particle, discovery of SUSY, failure or cancellation of the LHC, destruction of the world by the creation of mini-black holes, etc—then what actually happens in the future could affect the outcome of the card drawn now.

As crazy as it sounds, it’s at least a novel idea. Certainly, time travel and causality violation are topics that physicists, such as FQXi’s Ken Olum, are seriously investigating (see “Charting the River of Time”); so why not look for backwards causation at the LHC?

As an experimentalist working at CERN, I’m ready to pull cards out of a hat in the name of science, even at the risk of prognosticating the demise of the LHC. However, I can't get my head around one basic thing. How can this possibly prove or disprove the theory? They went through some argument (which I can't say I completely understood) claiming that a concrete test of this idea could be put in place, but I am not convinced. Even if I pull the “shutdown card” and the LHC is indeed shut down, how will I know that this is proof and not just a strange coincidence?

Conventionally, scientific hypotheses are considered “scientific” if and only if they can be falsified by some experiment (at least in principle). That is to say, it may not be technically possible to conduct such an experiment right now but at least in principle such an experiment could be made. That's the part I couldn't get my head around. How could you ever design an experiment that would disprove future causal influence on a current condition? I just can't imagine how one could do that, but I am open to suggestions. Any ideas?

So, for now, I will just put down the paper and get back to the grind of my usual days—debugging software and trying to commission the ATLAS muon spectrometer. I will pass this paper off as quirky, but probably not likely to lead to any major discoveries. But then again, one day I might be teaching this experiment out of a text book to incredulous students who think I am trying to sell them the Brooklyn bridge...

--

Kevin Black is a postdoc at Harvard University. He works with the ATLAS experiment at CERN, and sincerely hopes that LHC isn’t shut down any time soon.


[link to fqxi.org]
"Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him." Prov. 30:5
Kanigo2

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08/06/2008 01:04 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
TY Wasayo
Alt+F4 Allows GodLikeProductions User to Check Current score in Thread Dialog.

"GLP has some batty shit, but yours takes the fucking biscuit "-Disputed-

Hurray for Anarchy! This is the happiest moment of my life.
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2008 02:01 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
This makes my head hurt.
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2008 03:33 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
could be. i know it is going to be stopped in a dramatic way, who's to say it wasn't like they proposed.
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2008 03:42 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
imagine a bunch of glp'ers coming out of a warp hole waving around guns and shit lol
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2008 03:48 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
One of the basic assumptions of classical physics is that time flows in one direction...
 Quoting: Wasayo


false premise #1

iamwith
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2008 03:49 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
This makes my head hurt.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 478773


fuck yeah.
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2008 04:04 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
WTH does "Wasayo" mean? It's driving me crazy!
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2008 06:52 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
I can find 666 in the CERN LOGO
OxygenX

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08/06/2008 07:28 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
Interesting this has a number of implications.
It means that they will NEVER find the Higgs Boson, becuase they instant they do the particle causes a backwards ripple rendering the machine useless so it would never be able to find the higgs in the first place.

It also means that and would prove Time Travel is only possible back to the point at which you first turn on your time machine..meaning Titor is full of shit :)
Cheers.
-----------------------------
"Shit, if this is gonna be that kind of party, I'm going to stick my dick in the mashed potatoes."

"The gene pool is stagnant and I am the minister of chlorine"

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence"
Robbie
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09/13/2008 10:27 AM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
They haven't actually started high energy collision tests yet, so... the black hole possibility is still there. Here's what might

happen (it's a flash but it shows the real possibility):

[link to www.yaplakal.com]

The guys behind LHC say nothing like that will happen and suggest that nature conducts similar experiments in the Earth's

atmosphere every day. However Dr Wagner is pretty sure that nature does not collide two highly focused beams of particles with the

energies seen only when the universe was born. See his web site here:

[link to lhcdefense.org]

The second argument of CERN is that even if a microscopic black hole appears, it will quickly evaporate due to hawking radiation.

However, hawking radiation is just a theory. Hawking changed his mind about black holes once, and there's not reason to think he'd

get it right this time. There's not reason to bet your life, the life of your children and the future of the planet based on a

word of one quantum physicist.

Even though the odds of the black hole appearing are not that high, did anyone ask you if you're willing to trust a bunch of

scientists with your life just so that they can test their theories?

I sure hope that the next time $6 bln dollars are spent by scientists it will be on finding cure for cancer and not the

hypothetical higgs particle. Last time quantum physicists produced something useful resulted in millions of people dead in

Hirohima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl.

The first high power experiments will be conducted end of 2008 or early 2009, so there's still time to stop this doomsday device.

I hope that anyone who cares about the future will take an action. Please suggest your ideas on how to do this (no violence,

please). Will injunction help? For example:

[link to answers.yahoo.com]

I hope that if enough of us do that, we will be able to save our planet.
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 10:30 AM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
don't worry
yesterday i saw tomorrow and all is well

we just have to get everyone UP TO SPEED
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 10:37 AM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
This makes my head hurt.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 478773

Something you'll do in the future is probably causing this.
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 10:53 AM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
at BNL mini black holes were created on accident
with LHC being 100x+ the size, no one can make any guarantees

[link to space.newscientist.com]

[link to www.newscientist.com]
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 11:00 AM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
at BNL mini black holes were created on accident
with LHC being 100x+ the size, no one can make any guarantees

[link to space.newscientist.com]

[link to www.newscientist.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 375440

Thanks for the links. The second article is very interesting !
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 01:22 PM
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bump
Anonymous Coward
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
They are playing with fire-and they shall reap FIRE, god of Hellfire




this is the way to mans undoing-watch them as they spin the weather and anomalous happenings like the Metrolick train on the same track as the the freight train-head on collison-of course only about an hour before that another Metrolink hit a car on the tracks-timejumping causes rifts-that cannot be repaired by man


wake up and rise up, boldly with the truth
Turtles Know
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09/13/2008 04:26 PM
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Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 04:29 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
Shutdown of the LHC, by Kevin Black


As the LHC supposedly gears up, Harvard physicist Kevin Black, based at CERN, investigates rumors that the particle accelerator may, in fact, soon be shut down—by ripples from the future.

From Kevin Black:

I came across a bizarre paper recently suggesting that the LHC might be shut down. Not because of the funding cuts that have been threatening particle physics projects around the world, nor because of law suits accusing the LHC of threatening life on Earth. (Not even because we at the LHC have recently been accused of having far too much fun rapping.)

No, the paper suggested that future effects caused by the production of particles, such as the Higgs, could ripple backwards in time and prevent the LHC from ever operating.

If it hadn't been written by two very well respected and accomplished theoretical physicists, I would have stopped reading at the title alone:"Test of Effect from Future in Large Hadron Collider; A Proposal".

To be completely honest, the title reads like titles that occasionally appear in my inbox—“Relativity Principle Untenable," "Quantum Mechanics a Hoax," and other nerdy versions of the emails from the supposed attorney of my long-lost Nigerian uncle who apparently has died and left me millions of dollars, if I can only send him $50,000 so that he can get it to me.

But I didn't stop. I read the article. I read it for another reason other than the somewhat awkwardly sounding title and not just because the authors, Holger Nielsen, of the University of Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya, of Kyoto University, are somewhat famous. I read it because when I come across such things it tends to remind me of the first time I learned about quantum mechanics. To be honest, if it hadn't come from a professor at a university and a published text book I would have thought that the whole thing was some sort of a scam as well. I mean, really? Sometimes it acts as a wave and sometimes it acts as a particle? The first time I heard about wave/particle duality I was expecting to be asked to send the authors money (perhaps to Nigeria?).

So what did the article say? Well, it started out with a reasonable enough point. One of the basic assumptions of classical physics is that time flows in one direction and that when describing a physical system one needs to know the equations of motion and the initial conditions in order to predict the future behavior of a classical system.

However, quantum mechanics changes this a bit. Classical mechanics can be formulated in such a way that one sets up an “action” integral. The solution to the physical system can be expressed as the path that minimizes the action integral. It turns out that in quantum mechanics one needs to not simply take one path—but take the sum over all possible paths. For example, if you want to work out how a photon gets from a lightbulb to your eye, you need to take into account not just its straight-line trajectory, but contributions of all possible paths it could have taken, including paths where the photon bounces round the room. It's a bit strange, but it seems to work and 60 years+ of detailed experiments have confirmed this description over and over again to remarkable quantitative precision.

The authors of this paper claim to show that other terms can be added to the quantum mechanical action that are consistent with current theory and experiment. However, some of these possible terms include conditions in the future that need to be taken into account and summed over. That is to say, what happens in the future could (according to this paper) affect what happens in the present.

Why the LHC? The authors argue that these sorts of time-violating interactions could be associated with whatever new particles we create at the LHC. For example, the production of a large number of Higgs particles in the future could have a backwards-in-time causal effect on the machine that produced them, stopping the machine from ever running. As possible “evidence” for such a backwards-in-time effect, the authors cite the now-canceled Superconducting Super Collider (SSC)—a particle accelerator that was meant to hunt the Higgs and was partially constructed in Texas before Congress pulled the plug on the project. As the authors write in their paper: “Such a cancellation after a huge investment is already in itself an unusual event that should not happen too often. We might take this event as experimental evidence for our model in which an accelerator with the luminosity and beam energy of the SSC will not be built.”

It’s as though the Higgs plays the role of the time traveler who goes back to the past and murders his grandfather, thus preventing his own birth.

Now, I must admit that this is where I started to get a bit skeptical. The authors go on to suggest that the LHC is also under threat from a possible “miraculous” shutdown caused by the backward influence of particles like the Higgs, which it may create in the future: “Since the LHC has a performance approaching the SSC, it suggests that also the LHC may be in danger of being closed under mysterious circumstances.”

Visions of the X-Files’ Fox Mulder launching into some hour-long diatribe about future conditions (and of course government conspiracies) started to appear. But I read on nonetheless, becoming a little bit more amused and a lot more confused as I tried to finish the paper.

In order to make it topical they proposed an experiment. Play a game of cards—a kind of particle physics tarot—to determine if future LHC conditions could affect the draw of the cards. The idea being that if the cards were arranged to represent different possible LHC outcomes—discovery of the Higgs particle, discovery of SUSY, failure or cancellation of the LHC, destruction of the world by the creation of mini-black holes, etc—then what actually happens in the future could affect the outcome of the card drawn now.

As crazy as it sounds, it’s at least a novel idea. Certainly, time travel and causality violation are topics that physicists, such as FQXi’s Ken Olum, are seriously investigating (see “Charting the River of Time”); so why not look for backwards causation at the LHC?

As an experimentalist working at CERN, I’m ready to pull cards out of a hat in the name of science, even at the risk of prognosticating the demise of the LHC. However, I can't get my head around one basic thing. How can this possibly prove or disprove the theory? They went through some argument (which I can't say I completely understood) claiming that a concrete test of this idea could be put in place, but I am not convinced. Even if I pull the “shutdown card” and the LHC is indeed shut down, how will I know that this is proof and not just a strange coincidence?

Conventionally, scientific hypotheses are considered “scientific” if and only if they can be falsified by some experiment (at least in principle). That is to say, it may not be technically possible to conduct such an experiment right now but at least in principle such an experiment could be made. That's the part I couldn't get my head around. How could you ever design an experiment that would disprove future causal influence on a current condition? I just can't imagine how one could do that, but I am open to suggestions. Any ideas?

So, for now, I will just put down the paper and get back to the grind of my usual days—debugging software and trying to commission the ATLAS muon spectrometer. I will pass this paper off as quirky, but probably not likely to lead to any major discoveries. But then again, one day I might be teaching this experiment out of a text book to incredulous students who think I am trying to sell them the Brooklyn bridge...

--

Kevin Black is a postdoc at Harvard University. He works with the ATLAS experiment at CERN, and sincerely hopes that LHC isn’t shut down any time soon.


[link to fqxi.org]
 Quoting: Wasayo



Ya either shut down or Lermed out of exsistance.
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 04:35 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
bump
Ostria

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Greece
09/13/2008 05:51 PM
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bump
Himie
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09/13/2008 06:27 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
You guys mock this, but it sounds well within the realm of possibility... we have matter and antimater... it was just a matter of time for antimatter to make its way on the scene. We know for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.. all these things lead to the very plausible chance of anti-time. Time, that flows backwards, or effect followed by cause instead of vice versa.

So do not poo poo an idea just because you do not understand the basic concepts it employs.
Ostria

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09/13/2008 06:38 PM
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You guys mock this, but it sounds well within the realm of possibility... we have matter and antimater... it was just a matter of time for antimatter to make its way on the scene. We know for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.. all these things lead to the very plausible chance of anti-time. Time, that flows backwards, or effect followed by cause instead of vice versa.

So do not poo poo an idea just because you do not understand the basic concepts it employs.
 Quoting: Himie 490291


You are right, its not easy to understand it but I think that the example with the SSC is quite incompatible with this hypothesis, isnt it?
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 06:57 PM
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WTH does "Wasayo" mean? It's driving me crazy!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 480014

bsflag
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2008 11:42 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
WTH does "Wasayo" mean? It's driving me crazy!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 480014


[link to www.the-webcam-network.com]
Anonymous Coward
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09/14/2008 12:46 AM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
dV = -32.2 X 228 X (662lb/1380lb) = 3520
Niko

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09/14/2008 12:50 AM
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Craaaaazy times.
Anonymous Coward
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09/14/2008 11:16 AM
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Charting the river of time.

[link to www.fqxi.org]
Himie
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09/14/2008 11:37 AM
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You are right, its not easy to understand it but I think that the example with the SSC is quite incompatible with this hypothesis, isnt it?
 Quoting: Ostria


Hey Ostria,

By SSC do you mean the Superconducting Super Collider in texas? If so, I am not that familiar with the project, and unsure of the example of which you speak. Could you please elaborate?

If that is not the SSC you are speaking of, then I am at a total loss and in need of some clarification. If this is the case, could you please define SSC in the context you are using, as well as the example or incident of which you are referring.
OrangeRay3
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09/14/2008 11:53 AM
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WTH does "Wasayo" mean? It's driving me crazy!


[link to www.the-webcam-network.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 502852


This is a direct quote from Wasa:
It was given to me in 1992 by the Hopi Chief in Show Low, AZ who gave me my spiritual name... "Wasayo" (in the Hopi and Shawnee tongue)... and "Skyrider" (in English). The meaning is: *She who talks with the Star Nations*. I do.
Ostria

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09/14/2008 12:01 PM
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Re: LHC might be shut down... by the Future... huh?
Hey Ostria,

By SSC do you mean the Superconducting Super Collider in texas? If so, I am not that familiar with the project, and unsure of the example of which you speak. Could you please elaborate?
 Quoting: Himie 490291


Hi Himie
I m referring to this paragraph in the article (in the opening message)

As possible “evidence” for such a backwards-in-time effect, the authors cite the now-canceled Superconducting Super Collider (SSC)—a particle accelerator that was meant to hunt the Higgs and was partially constructed in Texas before Congress pulled the plug on the project. As the authors write in their paper: “Such a cancellation after a huge investment is already in itself an unusual event that should not happen too often. We might take this event as experimental evidence for our model in which an accelerator with the luminosity and beam energy of the SSC will not be built.”