Storage Soup

Mar 28 2008   2:26PM GMT

CERN black hole flak headed to court?

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Last August I wrote about Swiss research facility CERN and its plan to store petabytes of data from its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) device on commodity NAS and in tape silos for scalability and cost savings. A month ago, it came to my attention that some people thought the collection of that data beginning in May might create a black hole that will eat the Earth.

Anybody who’s ever been exposed to TimeCube will know that just because people are shouting about something scientific on the Internet doesn’t make it solid science or make them experts. So my first post on the black hole issue was tongue in cheek–and it still all seems far-fetched (which is what CERN apparently wants us to believe…cue spooky music).

But since that post, more people with a bit more gravitas have come forward with black hole concerns. Such as a Scientific American blogger who commented on my original post. And former U.S. nuclear safety officer Walter Wagner, who according to MSNBC has filed a lawsuit against CERN to stop LHC in Hawaii.

There’s one puzzling element of the story about the lawsuit for me: the MSNBC writer says conferences on the suit are scheduled for June 16. In part, the suit seeks a temporary restraining order to keep CERN from turning on LHC until everybody’s satisfied it’s not going to bring about Armageddon. But last I knew, LHC was supposed to start up in May, making that hearing on the restraining order about a month too late if something disastrous does happen…

P.S. Speaking of lawsuits (or, at least, potential lawsuits), I got a very interesting followup call to my story on Atrato this week from a man who declined to tell me who exactly he is or why he’s interested, but who claims not to have been able to find evidence of the more than 100 patents Atrato claims for its Self-managing Array of Idle Disks. (An Atrato spokesperson sent a link to a Google search page when asked for a list of the patents.)

One thing this followup caller did happen to mention to me is that he’s an attorney in Minnesota. The light bulb went on…there’s another Minnesota-based company that has been rumored to be working on a product very similar to Atrato’s.

Could just be coincidence, though.

7  Comments on this Post

 
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  • neil
    May Date is a lie!!! I have been studying CERN and there ajenda for about 7 years now. This is the count down from the CERN website. http://aliceinfo.cern.ch//opencms/system/galleries/pics/AlicePublic/countdown.swf
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  • Beth Pariseau
    A black hole needs an enormous amount of energy to substain their existence. And since the particles that are being smashed together are extremely small, the theoretical black hole will collapse within nano-seconds.
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  • Beth Pariseau
    Several Atrato patents are pretty easily found on Google patent search; they are filed under "SHERWOOD INFORMATION PARTNERS" (company's previous name before Atrato), Daniel M. McCormick and/or Jonathan E. Hall. Would be nice to see your search link from the horse's mouth though, as I am only seeing 14 patents - though they cite "hundreds of patent claims" which would be technically correct given 8-10 claims per patent. I question the Minnesota attorney's competence and/or motives. FYI, I have no special interest other than as a spectator, and potential end user.
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  • Beth Pariseau
    Isn't this "black hole that will eat the Earth" concept like the "theory" that the detonation of an atomic bomb might ignite the atmosphere, i.e., nonsense?
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  • Beth Pariseau
    Re: atomic bomb might ignite the atmosphere, i.e. nonsense: The black hole scare is indeed reminiscent of that 1945 fear. But if I remember correctly - set me right if I'm wrong - that "nonsense" was a serious concern of a minority of Manhattan Project scientists before the first bomb tests. After all, it was all terra incognita, and that the chain reaction might get out of control was probably a legitimate even though improbable concern. If I remember correctly, it was then a U.S. general who ended the discussion by taking personal responsibility for any consequences. Yes, that's what the world needs: Daring men who do not mind taking responsibility - at their own risk and at that of the rest of humankind.
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  • Beth Pariseau
    If black holes need enormous amounts of energy to substain their existence, then we would not have super giant black holes at the center of our galaxies that should very rarely accrete real matter. Like our own solar system, all is in orbit and in balance, the matter orbits rather than being accreted by the sun. So why have the super massive black holes in the center of the galaxy not evaporated? And how did they get so big? Do we know that they are not growing? If so, what are they feeding on. Do we know that they are not feeding on vacuum energy? I suspect that micro black holes are rarely created in nature. How often would cosmic rays of identical mass and speed collide exactly head-on to focus all energy precisely to a single point? It will happen in the collider...
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  • Beth Pariseau
    As long, as no black hole exists at The CERN, there are, however, some few things, I don't know, if I can deny thinking about, & on which issue Any Swiss Lawyer/Judge is of course quite welcome to take this time travel investigation issue up with me, so that I can of course tell the questioned one & e.g. help myself find out, what purpose is whose, something which, however, requires a certain motivation, please. Greetings, Ifoundittout@yahoo.com.
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