Another day, another "Large Hadron Collider will destroy the planet" news story. But this one reveals just how much the doomsayers actually understand the subject: the most recent blog-surge is based on a paper called "On the Possibility of Catastrophic Black Hole Growth in the Warped Brane-World Scenario at the LHC." A paper which, four sentences in, says "We argue against the possibility of catastrophic black hole growth at the LHC."
This hasn't stopped the usual host of posts and "Oh please vote this up on Digg/Reddit" entries. The reason is a single horribly misapplied graph extracted from the paper which shows how black holes of a certain critical mass could survive for minutes. Never mind how the paper then says that such a mass won't happen, or how the whole thing is based on a particularly extreme unsupported variant of brane theory, or how that graph is generated by turning up all the variables until the handles snap off, or even how the author then writes - based on THAT EXACT GRAPH - "the growth of black holes to catastrophic size does not seem possible."
When a researcher can invoke models of five dimensional anti de Sitter space and he still concludes that some shit just ain't gonna happen, you have to take his word over people who can only spell "spacetime continuum" two tries out of three. Researcher Robert Casadio's work is interesting abstract science - the application of esoteric models to interesting examples - but he's not entirely innocent of courting this attention. Throwing around phrases like "penetrate the Earth" is spotlight-seeking, no question, and while it's hard to resist the urge to attract some attention to your work you really shouldn't ramp up what's basically a physics fan-fiction as a threat to the planet.
Posted by Luke McKinney.
LHC: Still Safe. http://arxivblog.com/?p=1136