The Large Hadron Collider and China’s Three Gorges Dam

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC): What is China’s Three Gorges Dam Doing in this Picture?

by Elizabeth Young

The year is 2010 and to anyone, not in denial, the industrialized nations have entered the greatest calamity the world has ever known:

  • 35 Million Americans on Food Stamps, and that’s before the Obama administration announced a planned three-year budget freeze on government discretionary spending.
  • 18 Million empty houses in the United States and 39 million Americans who are no longer working or looking for work, and that’s before Federal Reserve finishes rewriting the rules of American “capitalism” as US Housing, the Automobile Industry and the American Dream are dismantled. [1]

There are now well over 150 million Americans who feel stress over these things on a consistent basis. Although over 60 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck they still support the state of the art Atom smashing Rube Large Hadron Goldberg Collider (RLHGC), developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). [2]

It doesn’t matter that America and most of the industrialized world is suffering a Technospheric breakdown:

Every bridge, road, reservoir, is gradually degrading along with every office, factory, school, home, as well as the infrastructure for every sewer, municipal water system, electrical grid, airport and railway station are all in a slow but sure process of deterioration and degeneration. [3]

Humanity will be OK if they can just reproduce the Big Bang and either demonstrate or rule out the existence of the elusive Higgs boson a.k.a. the God particle.

We need to find the God Particle and put it back in the Black Hole.

The world was on the bridge to nowhere (recovery) September 10, 2008 when The Large Hadron Collider was set to go into operation.

But a helium leak in the tunnel put the recovery and mankind’s ability to re-create creation by simulating conditions a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, on hold.

Just how serious was this helium leak, and why did they need to cool the 3200 kA of DC current running through 2650 leads anyway?

Scientific American (SA) tried to figure out what caused the malfunction in this custom built complex cryogenic cooling system (CBCCCS) and gave up. If they hadn’t thrown in the towel they would be asking CERN how they built a CBCCCS for less than $8 Billion (that’s around 3.03 billion euros).[4]

If not for Walter “chicken little” Wagner, who says the Large Hadron Collider could destroy the world, proton beams would be traveling at nearly the speed of light around a 17-mile-long looped tunnel buried a few hundred feet beneath the Franco-Swiss border, and a tiny fraction of those protons would be crashing into each other at energies unprecedented in the laboratory. [5]

Walter be Dammed (no pun intended)…what is your problem?

CERN has spent nearly two decades devising an interlocking system of fail-safes.

We (the masses) can’t get along another trillionth of a second without knowing the nature of dark matter—the long-postulated Higgs boson, the existence of which could explain why particles have mass and what physicists wistfully refer to as the Grand Unifying Theory, the Theory of Everything, or Why was I born and What am I doing Here (living in my car)?

The Rube Large Hadron Goldberg Collider was a bargain built allegedly for only $8 Billion.

The initial particle beams were injected into the LHC August 2008. The first attempt to circulate a beam through the entire LHC was at 8:28 GMT on September 10, 2008, but the system went wrong because of a faulty magnet connection, and it was terminated.

The collider resides in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, as much as 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. This synchrotron is designed to collide opposing particle beams of either protons at an energy of 7 teraelectronvolts (1.12 microjoules) per particle, or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV (92.0 µJ) per nucleus. The term hadron refers to particles composed of quarks.

And if you really believe the tunnel, the Rube Goldberg machine, the infrastructure and the CBCCCS, the cooling mechanism to keep this contraption from destroying the world was built for $8 Billion, then I have a Dam in China for sale.

What does this mumbo jumbo translate to?

According to CERN LHC accelerator physicist Rüdiger Schmidt, who is in charge of machine protection systems, each unimpeded beam (there are two) is capable of melting a 500-kilogram block of copper 11,000 times each second.

Let’s see 500 kilograms = 1,100 pounds (no conspiracy here; it really equals 1,102.31131) x 11,000 x 2 beams x 1 = 24 million, 200 thousand pounds of cooper melted every time the LHC is fired.

On Friday the 20th of November 2009 LHC successfully circulated two beams, each with a power of 3,500,000,000,000 electron volts (3.5 trillion electron volts). The challenge that the engineers then faced was to try and line up the two beams so that they smashed into each other. This is like “firing two needles across the Atlantic and getting them to hit each other” according to the LHC’s main engineer Steve Myers, director for accelerators and technology at the Swiss laboratory.

What if they don’t line up, and the interlocking system of fail-safes, fails?

That would be 1,100 x 11,000 x 2 or 24 million, 200 thousand pounds of something, somewhere melted every second, till they figure out how to shut the thing off.

But it’s worth it, because mankind will be able to answer the questions of questions:

  • Is the Higgs mechanism for generating elementary particle masses via electroweak symmetry breaking, indeed realized in nature? It is anticipated that the collider will either demonstrate or rule out the existence of the elusive Higgs boson(s), completing (or refuting) the Standard Model.
  • Is supersymmetry, an extension of the Standard Model and Poincaré symmetry, realized in nature, implying that all known particles have supersymmetric partners?
  • Are there extra dimensions, as predicted by various models inspired by string theory, and can we detect them?
  • What is the nature of the Dark Matter which appears to account for 23% of the mass of the Universe?

Physicists think it could even spit out something called a “strangelet” that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called “strange matter,” but it’s unlikely the LHC will destroy the world.

If you haven’t strangled on that one, then you probably don’t believe the Three Gorges Dam is going to knock the earth off the axis.

The deepest dam in the world and the world’s largest and most expensive hydroelectric project reached its capacity of 574 feet on October 27, 2010.

At peak level, the dam on the Yangtze River would generate an annual output of 84.7 billion kilowatt hours of power. The dam could be as deep as a 99-story building, might be so heavy it could actually knock the Earth off it’s axis, but only slightly. [6]

But why should that bother anyone when each of the project’s 26 power-generating units – can supply 700,000 kilowatts of power so cheap that the people working in slave labor camps (factories) and living in poverty won’t have to burn candles.

Tourists rave about the factories in China and are impressed at how clean they are, and not only that, all of the people who worked inside, for about $1.50 a day really enjoyed their jobs.

They get to live at the factories, too, so they’re never late, and they get fed. The only holiday they get is the New Year, when they all head back home with all the money they saved up, to celebrate. [7]

During the engineered flooding required for the building of the dam that started in 1994 and completed last year only 13 cities, 140 towns and 1,350 villages were submerged and a fraction of the total population, a mere 1.8 million people (who weren’t living in the cities built to make Westerners believe the New China Syndrome was about a world of rapacious, bloodthirsty capitalism) were displaced. Click here to read Meat, Milk and Motors and find out why the United States can no longer say, “Goodbye, from the world’s biggest polluter.” [8]

Chinese officials, before and after the Tiananmen Square massacre, pretend to pursue economic development and industrialization for the benefit of their population, but in spite of the glitter of China’s big cities and the rise of its billionaire class, the country is still run by the Communists and doesn’t tolerate dissent. There is no freedom of speech or freedom of the press but you can shop till you and the rest of the world, drop dead.

Authorities can arrest and imprison people who threaten stability and any group that dares to protest is treated brutally.

There are no civil liberties, labor unions, no centers of political power outside the communist party, so forget about raising awareness about the Three Gorges Dam and let’s concentrate on stopping the Rube Large Hadron Goldberg Collider. China: Capitalism Doesn’t Require Democracy, Robert B. Reich

Normally I don’t recommend those “take action”- campaigns: the ones that tell us, it’s not too late, click-here to importune our “elected”- representatives with emails and faxes.

However, many experts fear that the risk of operating the LHC disproportionately outweighs anything science might gain from this experiment and even CERN scientists concede that there is a real possibility of creating destructive theoretical anomalies such as miniature black holes, strangelets and deSitter space transitions, that have the potential to fundamentally alter matter and destroy our planet. [9]

Write Your Congressman

Writing a letter to your elected representative is an effective way to raise awareness of the dangers of the LHC and gain political support in requiring further safety analysis. Below is a suggested form letter, feel free to copy and expand. For listings of the complete contact information for every elected official in the U.S., click here

Dear Elected Official,

As a citizen of planet Earth and a registered voter in your district, I would like to express to you my deep concern about the potential risks involved in particle collider experimentation, especially those relating to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located at the CERN research facility along the France/Switzerland border. Please explain to me why the United States is supporting this potentially catastrophic research. Know that I reside in your constituency and am fully opposed to this experiment.

I hope that you read more on this subject at and take action to prevent the risky operation of the LHC scheduled to begin later this summer.

Respectfully Yours,

A Concerned Citizen

And while you are at it, don’t forget to contact:

E-mail President of the United States

Call President Obama (202) 456-1414

Fax the White House (202) 456-2461

E-mail The Secretary of State

Call Hillary Rodham Clinton (202) 647-6575 press 1 to leave a comment


[1] The Financial Battle for the Middle Class – Underemployment at 20 Percent, 38 million Americans on Food Stamps and Little Hiring. Can it be a Recovery with no Jobs for this Long?, My Budget 360, The 31-Year-Old in Charge of Dismantling G.M., David E. Sanger, The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA, David DeGraw

[2] From the About Us at the European Organization for Nuclear Research website:

CERN in a nutshell

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions. Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 20 Member States. [End of CERN in a nutshell]

Even before the powering up of the collider made international headlines (and even if you have no interest whatsoever in cosmology or particle physics or science of any stripe), you may have heard about the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC has received considerable media attention thanks to a Berkeley alumnus by the name of Walter Wagner ’72, who sued to stop the LHC on the grounds that the experiment could go awry, spawning killer strangelets (about which more later) or creating black holes which could suck the Earth into the cosmic abyss. As stated in the court affidavit filed by Wagner, “this would be quite deadly to everyone.” Indeed.

Most physicists are quick to dismiss Wagner’s concerns as highly implausible, if not flat-out impossible. CERN and the U.S. Department of Energy, co-defendants in the suit, have issued statements and reports aimed at allaying fears. Journalists, meanwhile, can’t leave the story alone. No surprise there. For connoisseurs of irony, Wagner’s end-time scenario is too good to resist. Think about it: For all the hand-wringing over supposed existential threats like climate change, drug-resistant viruses, and Tehran’s nuclear (non-existent) ambitions, everything (every last thing!) could be rubbed out in an instant thanks to a bunch of geniuses who were trying to unscrew the inscrutable. Deus Ex Machina, Pat Joseph

[3] Why is the World Rushing Headlong into Environmental Armageddon?, Dr. Tom Termotto

[4] $8 Billion, Unlikely. Seven experiments (CMS, ATLAS, LHCb, MoEDAL[13] TOTEM, LHC-forward and ALICE) will run on the collider; each of them will study particle collisions from a different point of view, and with different technologies. Construction for these experiments required an extraordinary engineering effort.

Just as an example, a special crane had to be rented from Belgium in order to lower pieces of the CMS detector into its underground cavern, since each piece weighed nearly 2,000 tons. The first of the approximately 5,000 magnets necessary for construction was lowered down a special shaft at 13:00 GMT on 7 March 2005.

[5] Approximately 3200 kA of DC current will have to enter the LHC machine through about 2650 leads. Cooling these leads in the conventional way would require a liquefaction rate of 290 g/s distributed over the eight cryogenic plants. The development of HTS leads within the recent years allows to envisage new solutions for current lead cooling [1]. The most important aspect is of course the significant decrease of the liquefaction load on the refrigerators. A second gain can be the suppression of warm control valves and piping if the leads are cooled by thermal contact at the cold end of the normal conducting part.

The choice of the cooling method for the leads depends on possibilities to implement them into the cryogenic system and the capabilities of the chosen HTS material.

And the choice to cool the King Kong of colliders…helium.

[6] Yung Chang, the director of new documentary, entitled Up the Yangtze, about the Three Gorges Dam project in China, was interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation this afternoon, and he said that some scientist are speculating that the weight of the concentrated water from this project, which could be as deep as a 99-story building, may prove to be so great that it might actually tilt the Earth on it’s axis slightly.

[7] Digging a Hole All the Way to America By Colby Buzzell

Somewhere in America there’s a neo-Nazi sitting in his room oblivious to the fact that the swastika he proudly hangs on his wall was made in Red China.

But then, there’s really nothing very Red about Shenzhen.

On the coast not far from Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China, is a city of eleven million that did not exist twenty years ago. In 1980, it had a population of less than 100,000. By 1990, about 900,000 people lived here. By 2000, 6.5 million.

In 1979, when the Chinese government decided to make it their first experiment in profit, Shenzhen was just a fishing village. Deng Xiaoping’s experiment in becoming “gloriously rich” seems to be going pretty well, because everything — everything — here in this new city is for sale. Even if something is supposed to be illegal, if it makes money, they generally look the other way. People here say that Shenzhen is the richest city in China. They also call it the most dangerous.

[8] Meat, Milk and Motors: The New China Syndrome, Robert Singer

August 21, 2009 theatres around the nation screened the documentary I.O.U.S.A. and a live discussion with America’s most notable financial leaders and policy experts, including Warren Buffett; William Niskanen, chairman of the Cato Institute; Pete Peterson, senior chairman of The Blackstone Group and former U.S. Comptroller General, Dave Walker.

August 25, 2009 Mr. William Niskanen, CEO of the Cato Institute, confirmed his remarks on the I.O.U.S.A. post-broadcast panel discussion.

Dear Mr. Singer,

I do not have a tape of my remarks last Thursday evening. As I remember, however, I expressed being puzzled why the central banks of China, Japan, and South Korea have continued to invest so much in U.S. Treasury securities.  For these central banks have earned a negative real return on these securities, for which the interest rate has been lower than the depreciation of the dollar.

I would value your judgment about this puzzle… William A. Niskanen

China is a “Hot Topic” at the nationally and internationally recognized Center for Trade Policy at Mr. Niskanen’s Cato Institute, but the research staff has been unable to find a political, diplomatic, military or economic solution to the China puzzle, because there isn’t one.

China’s economic policy is an enigma that would baffle Ludwig von Mises and Karl Marx. The answer to the Chinese enigma: China is now the Air Pollution champion of the world.

[9] Citizens Against The Large Hadron Collider is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of using legal action to prevent the operation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) until further safety tests are conducted.

If you are concerned about the risks posed by CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, take action now by writing your Congressman or making a donation to the cause. We must stop the LHC before it conducts its irresponsible experiments.

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