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Atom Smasher

2008 ,    »  -   40 Comments
Ratings: 8.70/10 from 27 users.

Atom SmasherThe Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, intended to collide opposing particle beams of either protons at an energy of 7 TeV per particle, or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV per nucleus.

It is expected that it will address the most fundamental questions of physics, hopefully allowing progress in understanding the deepest laws of nature. The LHC lies in a tunnel 27 kilometers (17 mi) in circumference, as much as 175 meters (570 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.

The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics, including the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by super-symmetry. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.

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40 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Yavanna

    Progress without sore knees!

  2. Capricious
  3. Capricious

    Can anyone briefly explain to me in laymens terms what we have learned from the LHC so far? I ask because I have a friend who is telling me that findings from the LHC support his argument (which I won't get into). However, I was under the impression that they had problems the first time and it wasn't able to go online, but, when I checked wikipedia and it said they actually solved that first problem pretty quickly, successfully ran one test, and then it had to go offline once again. But what little information I can find about this first test or its results is either way over my head or doesn't really explain anything. Thank you in advance.

  4. Kumar
  5. Kumar


  6. Yavanna
  7. Yavanna

    I agree Capri - it is a magnificent experiment but seems to me an extravagant use of resources. No matter the beauty of this science what is the use? Sometimes there can be too much "knowledge" and what is the point if only a billionth of the populace can understand it. Speaking coarsely and with basic logic - could these resources have been used more wisely? I`d rather feed the hungry that know about the Quark personally.

  8. Marian
  9. Marian

    Knowing about Quarks may help someday to feed the hungry, or will lead to who knows what else and change the world for the better.
    Any progress and new knowledge is welcome. The argument that we should solve poverty and hunger first rather than go to space or invent or reasearch anything else is just absolute madness.
    For one thing people do not like to work on just one thing because they are different and have different talents and things that they like to do.
    It would just crush human creativity, as all field nowadays are interconnected on some level. Understanding quantum physics for example is very important because even nature uses it, all leaves use it to convert light into oxygen. Imagine being able to make artificial leaves.
    Even if such experiments are used purely for proving or disproving theories today, maybe someday they will have practical applications.
    Practically, the easiest solution for solving poverty and hunger would be to wipe out billions of people.
    To prevent this we need hundreds of other solution for differnt things and that's why research in any field should be open.
    Having said all this I do agree that some reorganizing of priorities and a reduction of the capitalistic mentality of the big corporations would be in order.
    They are leading us into ignoring climate change and better greener technologies.
    I do hope we'll make through the next century.

  10. Yavanna
  11. Yavanna

    Good post Marian - I do believe that whilst science is amazing; sometimes the priorities are hard to understand.

  12. BBC
  13. BBC


    If you were hungry, then it might be a concern to you. It is easy to discuss what is important and what is not important, especially when one is wealthy. Everyone in the 1st world is wealthy, because no matter how poor you are, there is somewhere you can go to get food. In the third world this is not true, and this is very sad. For myself when i think of it, i am dismayed. So, i go one with day to day life and its busyness to avoid thinking about it.

    Marian, a question to ponder. I am not looking for you to answer it.

    What is the greater good? Solving all the worlds hunger in 10 years, allowing millions to die. Or attempting to feed as many as we can now, so that many will not die?

    If i was starving, i would hope that people would care enough to help feed me now, not in ten years because i would not be around.

    I always say if i win the lotto i will give millions to feed the hungry. Why do i need to wait to win the lotto? Chances of that happening are pretty slim. I should just do it now.

    For the record, Technology is great, those water filters that help clean drinking water in the third world are great. However i live in Vancouver Canada, and we have spent billions on the Olympics, which us taxpayers will be paying off for the rest of our lives, and we still have homeless people in our city. But governments spends billions for two weeks?? It just makes no sense, well it does for big business. Making money is worth more then peoples lives.

    Sorry for the rant.

  14. Marian
  15. Marian

    Like I said before, people, countries, companies could do with a rearanging of priorities.
    As for your solution think of it like this. So you shell out the tens/hundreds of billions needed to feed all of the world's poor, but instead of solving the main problem you prolong it indefinitely, because fewer money goes into reasearch or other programs, and however rich a country is it can't just give that kind of money away year after year without getting something in return.
    And would you want the poor countries to become completely dependent on other nations? It starts with food then with everything.
    However good and kind this solution sounds now in the long run it will cause even more misery and probably more wars over food and water.
    I definitely wouldn't want to be the one that has to make these kind of decisions but i'm fairly sure that,unfortunately, people will still die one way or the other.
    What I have learnt so far from the world is that nothing is just white or black. The world is a gray blob with many tiny black and white spots and good intentions don't always have good outcomes.
    I may sound uncaring or cinical but just throwing money on a problem does not guarantee its resolution. We live in a cruel and complicated world in which common sense does not always apply.
    I wish we could change it but how and where does one have to start to make it happen??

  16. Yavanna
  17. Yavanna

    That's a really heavy document to get your head around but it does basically tie in with what is discussed at the end of the doc on TDF called "Time." It is said that production of wormholes (and bubbles of static time) is now scientifically possible - and that's just with the technology we are allowed to be aware of.

  18. Dreighen
  19. Dreighen

    We could solve world hunger, watch the zeitgeist documentaries.

  20. Triad
  21. Triad

    Pretty damn expensive,
    All so scientists can jerk off to It.

    Marion by the time any result from this gets around to helping the hungry, THEY`LL BE COMPOST!

  22. Triad
  23. Triad

    @ Marion.
    You said earlier, Quote,
    "So you shell out the tens/hundreds of billions needed to feed all of the world’s poor, but instead of solving the main problem you prolong it indefinitely, because fewer money goes into reasearch or other programs."

    You seem to presume that the only way to solve the hunger crisis Is by technological advancement??

    Its just not true.
    I dont need to look at whatever video you posted the link for, as I do NOT hate technology.
    But what I do hate, Is waste.

    Here`s a simple fact, there Is enough money In the world to make EVERYONE a millionaire.

    Unless this experiment their conducting Is going to rid people of selfishness and greed, then I stand by my opinion,
    Waste of money.

    What the world needs, DESPERATLY, Is a massive change In the way we relate to each other, In how we act as human beings.
    And anyone who wastes, not just money, but time and energy on something other than helping the people who are suffering, from hunger and everything else, Is selfish, and Is more Interested In playing with expensive toys.

    To be a scientist?
    or to be human? Hmmm...

    And to answer your question, do I do all I can to help the hungry?? Yes I do.

  24. Marian
  25. Marian

    Here's two problems with your thinking.

    One: distributing wealth is not a solution or anyway not a good one, it was tried tested and failed miserably creating more poverty and misery than a paradise on Earth.People need to be rewarded equitably for their work and usefulness. So making everybody a millionaire is not the answer. Sure I agree that some people get more money than others without deserving it, that's one point that needs changed, but it's gonna be a tough one.

    Two: Quote: "And anyone who wastes, not just money, but time and energy on something other than helping the people who are suffering, from hunger and everything else, Is selfish"

    Are you serious? Ok we should do more to help eachother as fellow humans, I give you that, but everyone working for everybodyelse's benefit is just another utopian dream. Our society is made of individuals we're not bees in a bee hive. It's not a good or bad thing it's just our nature to act individually and mostly for own sake.

    Also in our nature is curiosity, discovery, compassion and love, all have good and bad sides. In your view there is no room for art, hobbies having fun etc. just helping people 24/7

    Even if you say you don't hate technology or science you think it should be used for one purpose only like feeding us.

    I say again you should watch that video.

    I'm not saying all is right with the world but becoming a hive of humans is not the solution either.

    I can only add what I said in one form or another in previous posts, that we do indeed have problems and we need to make changes but taking shots at discovery and science is not the answer.

    The problem is more with our society than anything else, at this I agree with you, but change can't happen over night or we'll have another wave of "communist" or "fascist" governments on our hands.

    No one view is gonna make the difference, but the world is changing all the time, science changes mentality and mentality changes science, that's how progress happens you can't force it.

    Yes people will die, maybe poor maybe wealthy, people always die, we should try and stop people dying for stupid reasons, but it's not that easy.

    I can see that your socialist views are at odds with my liberal ones so I know you will disagree with me on whatever I say on the subject, just keep an open mind and.

    And if you really do all you can to help the hungry than I admire you, the world needs more people like you, but not all the people can be like you or should be.

  26. Triad
  27. Triad

    @ Marion

    You are presuming again. I did not say that distributing wealth was a solution.

    I said there Is enough money to make everyone a millionaire.
    This means that people are not dieing and suffering because of "lack". But really the route cause Is because of a problem with society. As there really Is enough resources there for everyone.

    When I said about anyone who wastes money and energy on something other than helping people being selfish, I am talking mainly about colossal projects like this collider.

    So much money, so much time, and so many great minds tied up with an unimportant job In comparison to ALL the other problems we face!

    You said that curiousity, discovery, compassion and love are also In our nature?

    Really? Compassion and love?

    I know, lets spend a trillion dollars on planting a flag on the moon, and billions on other projects like this collider.

    Hardly born out of compassion and love Is It??

    I am not taking a shot at science or technology,
    I am taking a shot at the fact that helping solve society,
    Is extremly low on our list of priorities.

    Therefore this Is a waste of money.

  28. Axmed
  29. Axmed

    people are understandably angry at the readiness to agree to spend this eyewatering money on this.

    I agree with triad.
    Mariam appears to have reconsiled herself with the ugliness of this world. Liberals

  30. Marian
  31. Marian

    First of all I'm MariaN, second i'm a guy and third you have to understand the world for what it is to be able to change it, just being an utopian will either get you nowhere or the changes you bring about are not in touch with the realities of our lives. I mention againg communism, please watch the documentary on socialism, on this site. In that you will see how the utopian view of socialims from the beginning gave birth to the perverted communist states.

    I clearly see that you guys don't have a realistic view on the world.Instead of attacking this project which in it self does not produce profit, only knowledge, attack the corporations like Monsanto who if they could would own everything even your DNA, and make more money than anyother fby cheating farmers on others. Alo attack your government for not doing enough for the environment, ignoring GLOBAL WARMING, etc.

    So please stop spitting in the face of progress and ignoring the real evils and stupidity of this world.

  32. Triad
  33. Triad

    You really are having a laugh.

    I make an obvious point of the world being In a mess,
    Poverty, starvation, and suffering.
    People In the 3rd world and 1st world are suffering,

    I say this money could have been better spent along with trillions wasted,and you call me a UTOPIAN!!!
    Haha.. Is that a new word for someone with a little common sense?? or hold on, Im also giving birth to communism, funny.

    Clearly It Is you that needs to understand the world before you can change It, not just the world, yourself, your own state of mind.

    You are the one that needs to have a realistic view on the world.

    Look at the suffering caused by this recession, just one example,all this mess that Is effecting everyone Is a result of greed, a lack of Intelligence and common sense. Then look at the money and talent being wasted on this and other projects. When you have a "realistic view" you will see there are much MUCH more Important problems to solve, and In desperate need of money.

    There Is an Inability to run the world efficiently, yet you believe projects like this are going to help???

    Oh, but Im a "Utopian/Communist" ???

  34. Triad
  35. Triad

    Oh dont go Miriam!
    Was having so much fun..........

    First off, I said there were many projects that were a waste.

    The reason Im talking about this one...
    Because this Is what this documentary Is about!!
    So Im not soo against this one, Im against all wasteful projects! You said I cant understand that this money Is a drop In the ocean compared to all other money being wasted.
    You like to presume what I think dont you. Thats news to me!! I thought I understood very well, Oh but because Its just a drop In the ocean, you think Its ok then!!!

    Amazing, really, I say that money would be better spent on something that would make more of a difference to peoples lives.

    You then follow with..
    "then by all means let the world go back to the Middle Ages and let the poor be taken care of by the Church or whatever."

    Yes please dont bother to reply,
    Your making me sick.

  36. Rip
  37. Rip

    Lol, wow, give it a rest you two, lol. I thought I had no life. Both of you are wasting your time with each other, as I am. The world is going down the drain, its simple. There is more pollution and devastation than greening and recovering, death and extinctions of species, imbalance of the ecosystem of the entire planet, has the same outcome at the end of every story or senario.


  38. Triad
  39. Triad

    @ R.I.P.

    I think you`ve got the wrong documentary boy.

    Your looking for the 2012 world going to end documentary.

    They should appreciate your optimistic comments there.

  40. Jota
  41. Jota

    Marian... Marian... Marian...

    Calm down... and stop answering to those guys.
    You were a little naive by being caught in their trap.
    Take a deep breath at start to rationalize that there are too much people that will never do a sh** about this world, only criticize everything other people say or do. That’s the only way they have to feel intelligent and important.

    You were wasting your time back there, because they'll only listen to their own voices. The only thing they believe is in… simply nothing.

    I'm also a utopian, and I agree with you, but you cannot expect the same thing from all other people, even if you (we) are right.

    And you should know that it's easier for critics (stupid and not stupid ones) to hit the weaker link of the chain than the strongest. That’s why they all criticise LHC and not the wars promoted by their own countries, or the mass thefts leaded by banks or financial speculators. Do you think they will ever go to the streets and yell against war, mass murderer, or incredible things like the 1 billion dollars profit that Soros made in one single day, only by speculating? Not in their lifetime. That’s too f****** dangerous for all them.

    It’s easier to sit down in a chair, turn the pc on, see some stuff in the Internet, write some stylish (empty) thoughts in a blog and… in the end… criticise some dork scientists that had the stupid idea of creating a complex and boring machine capable of recreating the birth of the Universe. Recreate the birth of the Universe? What a waste of time! Better to drink a soda and use the keyboard to smack the head down of a guy called Marian that had the childish idea of believe in something.

    Marian! Stay always close to what you believe and be ready to defend it by words and acts.
    Those guys back there will never do the same thing like you, because they only know to mumble, stay at home doing nothing important, and use other people thoughts.

    You are a utopian? Good for you? In the Middle Age, at Europe, democracy also was a utopia. Nowadays everybody wants it. Some people have short memory and a lazy mind. To bad for them!

    Greetings from Portugal to you all (including the dorks) and sorry for my written English :)

  42. Triad
  43. Triad


    What you need to realise Is you have made a number of false and nonsense statements...

    Like this one..
    "The only thing they believe is in… simply nothing"

    You dont know what I believe In fool!!

    The next stupid statement you made..
    "That’s why they all criticise LHC and not the wars promoted by their own countries, or the mass thefts leaded by banks or financial speculators"

    What makes you think I dont criticise war??? hahaha or mass thefts ?? well? did I say I didnt?

    and by the way fool, there has never been a war promoted by my country you f king d. khead
    Ever heard of neutrality????????????????
    but you like pretending to know everything about me haha

    Quite simply,
    none of your points are valid,
    you failed to make any.... funny.

    You made no points..and make no sense

    In fact thats so ridiculous, I think you are miriam!!

  44. Jota
  45. Jota

    Dear Triad!

    1 - It seems you lack some kind of social attention, because the first think you thought was that I was talking about you. Paranoia? Egocentric? If that’s true, then is better to find a boyfriend, or girlfriend, to get “that” kind of special attention. That always work, and it’s good to your heart (in both senses).

    2 - If you don’t like what I said, or don't agree... to bad for you. Some statements are crud and cold facts (sorry do disappoint you but I’m an historical pragmatic), other are opinions and have the value that all the opinions have.

    3 – You have a great lack in historical background. That, I can’t forgive my friend! Are you the kind one who studies history and political diplomacy in short documentaries at Internet, or by listening government propaganda? If yes… then you are at great risk of becoming irreversibly short minded! Better start travelling to other countries, speak with a lot of different and intelligent people, and then read many … but many books (about everything). Don’t become a jarhead!

    4 – This is your ignorant statement: “You failed to make any…. funny.”
    Sorry if I ask you, but is this some kind of TV contest, where the funniest guy wins the stupid trophy and some lousily bucks??? With yes… keep the fuc**** trophy to yourself, because I don’t want it. I’m just sarcastic. And I’m European… we like to be sarcastic!

    5 – Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not Miriam. Better not to become a detective… and never play in the lottery, because you don’t’ have a great future as a guesser.

    5 – Clearly, you are very… but very (perhaps incredibly) dumb. Intelligence is not your goal, only arrogance…. AMERICAN ARROGANCE is! As so, I’ll not make any more comments to what you write. I’m not going to spend my time with you, because I need it to learn interesting things from intelligent people.

    Goodbye my friend.

  46. Marian
  47. Marian

    Ok, I promised I would not reply to more posts but insulting me just ticked me off. OH and please get my name right at least once, it's MARIAN, it's written on all of my posts.

    Look Triad I don't care how smart you think you are but I have the right to have a different opinion from you and so do other people. You don't own the monopoly on being right or...wrong.

    I don't know if my views on the world are 100% correct, but they are my views and I'm entitled to them, people have spilt blood for me to have this freedom. I repect the fact you have your own views and won't part ways with them, so keep them, I really don't care how many people believe like me or like you I'm not trying to get elected into office.

    I have been polite in all of my comments so I wish you could have been too.

    I should point out that people who don't think like you they're not necessarily dumb, stupid, idiots etc. and can still be right despite what you might think. Having a closed mind is the only sin which I believe to exist, and there is no excuse for it.

    I wish you would just respect the people posting here and stop displaying such a condescending attitude. Nothing indicates that your opinions are the best, the right or the just ones.

    And if you really want to change the world for the better you have to gain people's respect, how can you achieve such a thing when you can't even do it in this insignificant place as a blog, i guess it's easier to insult strangers ignoring that they are human beings like you and have read and studied too.

    I wish you well and more respect for others.

  48. Triad
  49. Triad

    You said,

    "I don’t know if my views on the world are 100% correct, but they are my views and I’m entitled to them"

    followed by,
    "Having a closed mind is the only sin which I believe to exist, and there is no excuse for it"

    A contradiction In my books. Nice one.

    Yes and people are entitled to believe In religion aswell.

  50. Marian
  51. Marian

    Aham....It may be a contradiction for you but not for me. Believing firmly in your views does not mean you don't have an open mind. It means you have a strong personality and not easily swayed by others.
    My views have changed with time, experience and knowlege, not because people imposed theirs on me. If they made sensible and rational arguments then I aquired a bit of knowledge if not then I stuck with my views.
    And yes people are entitled to believe in religion, I'm not religious myself and believe that religion has done a great deal of harm to the world, but I strongly believe that any person should have the right to think freely and decide for himself/ herself if they believe one way or the other.
    I shudder to think how it would be to live in the world you would make.

    I also like how you ignored the rest of my post and went for the only thing that you thought would make a good insult.Nice one. So much for my respect speech.

  52. Triad
  53. Triad

    Ok then , Il go back and take care of that for you hehehehe.

    Id hate for you to think I Ignored It!
    Just that sometimes I have better things to do!!
    I tried talking to the wall, was going much better!

    Funny to see you back posting! Especially since youve been posting since feb 12th!!!!!!!

    In reference to your last post,
    I have total respect for people, your statement Is false.
    I never make a nasty comment towards ANYONE unless provoked!!
    But when jota makes comments that have been CENSORED OUT, Im going to give It back! I have responded to other peoples Ignorance ONLY. So dont try that respect bull c rap with me.

    You then talk about gaining respect. From who? There Is only one other person that agrees with you on this entire blog!!!!!!!!!!! Am I going to try to gain your respect?? When I.diot jota Insults me, and has his comments censored?? and you that refuse to even have an open mind on the matter, says "then by all means let the world go back to the Middle Ages and let the poor be taken care of by the Church or whatever." Yeah exactly what I wanted! Why on earth would I bother trying to gain your respect.

    By the way there are 6 people on this blog that agree with me. Maybe you should try gaining their respect????

    As for your last statement, "Believing firmly in your views does not mean you don’t have an open mind."

    Are you totally Insane?
    Of course It means you dont have an open mind, It Is Impossible to have an open mind, a completly free and open mind, If there Is ANY form of belief.

    Does a detective walk on to a crime scene and say, "I dont like the look of that guy, he did It" A great detective will completly suspend ALL belief! Only when all beliefs, opinions, prejudice are set aside can the truth be revealed.

    So It Is a contradiction.

    And you shudder to think of the world I would make, you said?

    You think Its okay for people to go and believe whatever they want?? Nazis? Suicide bombers? How much blood has been spilt over religion? Which you think Is ok, because you should believe whatever you want!! Exactly what you said.
    Thank f u c k the allies didnt think like you when Hitler was around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Likewise I shudder to think of the world you would make,

    Oh hold on, Im already living In It.

  54. Marian
  55. Marian

    I don't care who agrees with you or with me, you missed the point entirely.

    My thoughts are not a democracy. And you think that because some people I don't know on some blog on the internet believe like you I should be somehow compelled to change my views?

    Respect is indeed gained but does it mean people who believe differently can't also respect each other? I guess in this case it does mean that.

    Instead of aknowledging that we have irreconciable opinions on the matter and stop insulting, you continue to blabber like a mad man that can not understand others.

    People's minds should never be controlled, it is society's duty to keep in check deviant behaviour from being acted upon or becoming the norm.
    If you can't choose what to think or if there is no risk of things going wrong then what's the point, where's free will?

    You go and say about Hitler, terrorists the church but make the same mistake that they made. They all thought they were right without leaving room for discussion or debate without trying to see the other's point of view. You are exactly like what you fear, an intolerant ignorant.

    You don't care to understand people you just care to be right.

    You can see the differences between us in my attitude towards you and people in the posts. Being polite is sometimes more important than being right or thinking you are right.
    I may have not made the best arguments or gave the best examples to support my views, i'm not perfect, but I certainly do not pretend that I'm the wisest man that ever lived and what I say is always right.

    I don't know where you got the idea that my views would have supported Hitler. Does being a liberal means being evil, does it mean I want to kill?
    No it does not, it means I believe in individual freedoms of thought and action, and people are responsible for what they do and think and bare the consequences of that.

    You don't even know me and yet you pass false judgements about myself and others. You disgust me and this time i'm gonna definitely stop replying to your posts, I don't care what insult you will say next.

    Have a nice life.

  56. Triad
  57. Triad

    Wow, What a load of dribble.

    Another contradiction!!

    You said that people should be allowed to believe In religion,

    Followed by "People’s minds should never be controlled, it is society’s duty to keep in check deviant behaviour from being acted upon or becoming the norm"

    Haha you give me such a laugh. very good.

    Wait, wait, this Is the my favourite of all,

    "You go and say about Hitler, terrorists the church but make the same mistake that they made. They all thought they were right without leaving room for discussion or debate without trying to see the other’s point of view."

    mmm.. In other words..
    You could say they "believed too firmly In their views!!"

    This Is where the whole Hitler story came In, You and hitler have that much In common, your so taken up with your own nonsensical Ideas, you cant see true.

    Say whatever you like, but when someone believes In something to the point they cant see the truth anymore, their lost. And they have lost their Intelligence.

    This, Im afraid, Is your problem.
    I do hope you get over It.

  58. Vic
  59. Vic

    World hunger is very sad, but those people will have to sacrifice for the sake of the large hadron collider. Solving how the entire universe and everything in it came to be is far more important than feeding a few humans who won't make an impact dead or alive anyway.

  60. Triad
  61. Triad

    @ Vic

    "Solving how the entire universe and everything in it came to be is far more important than feeding a few humans who won’t make an impact dead or alive anyway."

    Solving the entire universe?

    The only thing that needs to be solved Is hunger, suffering, lack of compassion, and whatever It Is that makes people make statements like that.

    How could anything else be more Important?

  62. Randy
  63. Randy

    The electron was discovered in the late 1800's. Nobody knew what to do with it, indeed, nothing significant was done with it for another thirty years. Then, we were off to the races.

    How many lives have been saved and enriched by electronics? By a discovery that seemed useless at the time?

    Discovery is the only answer to any of our problems. It is desperately important to the advancement of our failing species.

    Go, Marian!

  64. WastedUK
  65. WastedUK

    They mention the purpose of this experiment is to "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything".

    Well I can tell you they wasted their time because the answer is 42.

    They should have built a machine to tell them what the ultimate question is; only then will the answer (42) make sense.

    The computer (Deep Thought) that arrived at the answer 42 was then asked to produce The Ultimate Question, the computer says that it cannot; however, it can help to design an even more powerful computer (Earth), that can. The programmers then embark on a further ten-million-year program to discover The Ultimate Question. This new computer will incorporate living beings in the "computational matrix", with the pan-dimensional creators assuming the form of mice. The process is hindered after eight million years by the unexpected arrival on Earth of the Golgafrinchans and then is ruined completely, five minutes before completion, when the Earth is destroyed by the Vogons to make way for a new Hyperspace Bypass. This is later revealed to have been a ruse: the Vogons had been hired to destroy the Earth by a consortium of psychiatrists, led by Gag Halfrunt, who feared for the loss of their careers when the meaning of life became known.

    Lacking a real question, the mice decide not to go through the whole thing again and settle for the out-of-thin-air suggestion "How many roads must a man walk down?"

  66. WastedUK
  67. WastedUK

    Q: How many roads must a man walk down?

    A: 42

    humph deceptively simple eh?

  68. Richard
  69. Richard


    Reading this forum is like coming across the scene of a recent battle and wondering if any of the combatants are still alive and waiting to jump out and attempt to do harm to you!

    First of all, I haven't watched the documentary, so I have nothing to offer anyone there.

    I find some of the comments here to be really interesting and thoughtful though; particularly the main theme as to where we should be investing our time and effort as a society.

    I'm a libertarian and my beliefs on this might be different enough for both Marian and Triad to agree on! I believe that protection of the (human) species and society is instinctive to most humans and explains why most people believe in the concept of a common good, what is good for society as a whole, even though we almost always differ on what the common good might actually be. In this case it might be the discussion of whether the common good is best served by advancing science (with projects such as the LHC or even the space programmes) or instead by using our existing knowledge and resources to the benefit of the poor and needy in less well-off countries. I realise that this is probably a gross oversimplification of each of your views, but it serves for the alternative that I wish to offer.

    I don't believe that the common, or greater, good is served by either of these things. I believe concentrating resources and money into government(s) inevitably leads to a situation where people end up fighting each other (philosophically on this website, but even physically in the real world) over what happens with the pooled resources. It doesn't matter whether it's about education, healthcare, military spending, providing for those unable to provide for themselves or building huge tunnels in the ground to smash atoms into each other with. We can't all possibly agree on the best way to allocate government funds so we're destined to forever disagree over how it's spent. Furthermore, when our money is taken in tax, we feel that we have a right to get something back in return for this, which heightens our emotional attachment to our views on how that money should be spent.

    I believe in minimalist government; that government should only exist to ensure the basic liberties of the people. That government should not be authorised to do any other thing other than those required to meet these basic needs (ie a civil government, judiciary, police force, defence force etc). In the US, this view would be considered a constitutional position, as it is in effect the intent of the US constitution. The US constitution has been one of the many documents that has influenced most (but not all) modern democracies.

    So what is my basic point? It is that government should not exercise this much control in the first place. I don't think that the US government should have been involved in the space race (after it became clear that it was no longer about military defence) or that a host of governments be funding the LHC or funding the IMF and World Bank to lend money to 3rd world countries so that they can become more like us (like that's something to aspire to).

    I think that each individual should be free to keep their discretionary income to use as they see fit. Triad - you mentioned that you do all you can to help those that can't look after themselves; good on you. Marian - if you decided to invest money in a commercially funded project to achieve the same goals as the LHC (with a lot more accountability no doubt) then that would be your choice. NASA has already signed contracts with private companies to send supply ships to the ISS at a cheaper cost than they themselves could have achieved. It is in the nature of humans to build bigger and better things and it is also in our nature to want to look after each other. Not all of us do, but enough of us do. Whether we choose to send money to 3rd world countries, or give blood, or any number of things in our local or global communities, most of us are motivated to contribute in some way. Contribution may be to help feed the starving, or contribution may be to advance the sciences or even to service in public office (and I don't mean this in a cynical way). What I do know is that when people are free to donate their resources (time or money or whatever else they have) as they see fit then the competition for resources we so often assume to be real, becomes a lot less relevant.

    I could even say that the poverty and apparent helplessness in many countries in Africa is a direct result of our way of looking at things. Africans suffer today because of a colonial viewpoint established 150-200 years ago. Humans are arguably the only species on the African continent that think they can survive throughout a seasonal year without migrating throughout the continent according to the availability of food, water and other resources. For 50,000 years our ancestors have been nomadic because of the dictates of nature. Is it any surprise that so many African countries are unable to establish viable ways of feeding themselves throughout the years without fear of drought or flood? But I digress.

    So my bottom line? Minimal government with respect for individual choice is to me the most stable form of civilisation. Governments aren't authorised to collect tax like the lotto commission so that they can do a poor job of deciding which scientific or humanitarian endeavours are worthwhile, the people get to make poor decisions about what they're going to do with their money. Some will spend it down at the pub or gamble it away but a significant few will put their efforts into the areas that have been discussed here.

    Every civilisation before us that has moved towards greater centralised control (of money, resource, power etc) has ultimately failed and I think we are heading in the same direction. Our global community will end up collapsing financially, then there will be darkness, after a while there will be light again and then small communities will band together and then people will start playing ABBA again (but not the Bay City Rollers because we will have learned from that mistake) and then women will get to vote again and then we'll remember not to drink where we pee again and so the cycle of civilisation will swing back up again. The cycle is well documented, I expect that we'll have many of our liberties back in another three or four hundred years.

    I really did digress.

    I hope this has added another perspective to the general discussion.

  70. Richard
  71. Richard

    Actually, after all that, I wasn't very clear what my point was sorry.

    My point is that determining the value or scientific discovery vs social needs is muddied by the fact that the money usually comes from a large bucket (held in this case by our respective governments). Once we've filled the bucket we now get to argue about whether we're best served to use the bucket to go put out a fire at a neigbours place (social responsibility) or fill the bucket with beers to take to a party at another neighbour's place (scientific advancement and possibly helping the needy also). The two needs compete because the resources come from a bucket that we all own a tiny bit of, but no one of us has direct control of.

    I didn't mean to make this look like a political argument, but I believe that in reality it is. The question to me is not whether scientific advancement is more important than helping the needy. These are individual value judgements and it seems to me that both Marian and Triad have reasons for their views (as do others) and we spend so much time within society arguing about the merits of our own views only because we chose to put all our eggs in the one bucket to start with (now I'm mixing metaphors dangerously).

    I believe we should keep our own eggs (ie not give them to our governments or some other institution to make decisions for us) and/or donate them to whatever cause we consider worthy.

    I hope this has made this post more clear. Marian, I trust if you're still reading this that you won't assume that I'm suggesting that you wouldn't want to put out a fire at your neighbour's place and Triad I hope you don't assume that the beers in your bucket will be safe from the rest of us whilst you're off saving the world!

    I think my work is done now.

  72. Mantram
  73. Mantram

    But that is not the way it works : D

  74. Vlatko
  75. Vlatko

    You;re right @Mantram. I've replaced the clip.

  76. bonk22
  77. bonk22

    Excellent doc. Very concise, very informative. I you want to solve hunger then educate people, research ideas, find new energy sources (this research may help there) and most of all limit population. The Earth cannot support 6 billion humans. If there were fewer people we would all be able to live better. Humans, each and every one of us, must be educated that it is not in our interest to reproduce ourselves into possible extinction.

  78. JN
  79. JN

    I find it crazy that people here can complain what a waste this research is, while typing it from a device that was made possible only by the study of the behaviour of electrons, among many other fields of research. The average person doesn't need to have a degree in electronic engineering to operate a computer, just as the average person doesn't need to understand the research currently taking place to have the future technological benefits that our scientists are creating.
    The money needed to end world hunger dwarfs all scientific research undertaken. Furthermore, countries with proper infrastructure could solve their own issues, but corruption keeps them at their knees. Money being taken away from research would do nothing to change that.

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