Toggle light / dark theme

Next January Stephen Hawking will be 74 years old. He has lived much longer than most individuals with his debilitating condition. In addition to being an unquestionably gifted cosmologist, he has invited controversy by supporting the pro-Palestinian, Israel-BDS boycott and warning about the dangers of alien invaders who tap into our interstellar greetings

Antisemitism, notwithstanding, this man is a mental giant. He is Leonardo. He is Einstein. Like them, his discoveries and theories will echo for generations beyond his life on earth. He is that genius.

Forty years ago, when Stephen Hawking still had mobility, he delivered a paper on a mystery regarding information-loss for entities that cross the event boundary of a black hole.

In the mid 1970s, Astronomers were just discovering black holes and tossing about various theories about the event horizon and its effect on the surrounding space-time. Many individuals still considered black holes to be theoretical. Hawking’s analysis of the information paradox seemed extremely esoteric. Yet, last month (Aug 2015) , at Sweeden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Hawking presented a possible solution to the paradox that he sparked.

I can barely understand the issue and cannot articulately rephrase the problem. But my interest in the black hole event horizon takes a back seat to my interest in the amazing tool created to compensate for the famous cosmologist’s handicap. Watch closely as Stephen Hawking offers a new theory that provides a possible explanation for the paradox.

Near the end of the video (beginning at 7:22), the camera begins a steady zoom up to Hawking’s face. Unlike a year ago, when he could still smile at a joke or move his eyes, he now appears completely motionless. Throughout his speech, there is no sense of animation—not even a twitch—with or without purpose. His eyebrow doesn’t move, his fingers are not restless, he doesn’t blink anymore.


So, how, then, does Hawking speak with normal cadence and just a short delay between sentences? (If we assume that his computer adds emphasis without additional effort, I estimate that his ASCII communications rate is roughly equivalent to a 1200-baud modem, circa 1980). Yet, clearly, there must be a muscular conduit between thought and speech. How is it that his thoughts are converted to speech at almost the same rate as someone who is not paralyzed?

That magic is enabled by a tiny camera that monitors a slowly deteriorating cheek muscle. It is Hawking’s last connection to the outside world. What began as index cards with words and then an Apple II computer, has evolved into a sophisticated upgrade process involving cutting edge analysis of the professor’s slightest tick combined with sophisticated computing algorithms. The camera and software that interprets this microscopic Morse code is tied to a process that optimizes options for successive words and phrases. He is actually communicating at far less than 1200 baud, because—like a court stenographer—he employs shorthand and Huffman encoding to compress words and phrases into his twitch pipeline. Drawing on a powerful processor and connected to the Web, his gear is constantly upgraded by a specialized Intel design team. StenographerThey are engaged in a race to offer Hawking the potential for communication up until he has no capacity for interaction at all.

In a recent documentary by Hawking himself,* he laments the likely day when he will no longer have any capacity for output at all. No ability to discuss physics and cosmology; no way to say “I need help” or “I love you”; no way to show any sign of cognition. At that time, he reflects, the outside world will no longer be certain that there is anything going on behind his blank stare. They will never really know when or if he wants them to pull the plug. Even more mind boggling, humanity will never know what secrets his brilliant mind has unlocked to mysteries of the cosmos.

* Referring to his 2013 autobiographical film and not the 2014 feature film about his life, Theory of Everything.

Philip Raymond is CEO and Co-Chair of CRYPSA,
The Cryptocurrency Standards Association.

[from Engadget]
Black holes are, by definition, impossible to see by conventional methods and are often further obscured by thick blankets of dust or gas. But that’s not an issue for NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). It can peek through the obscuring layers and monitor the black holes via the high-energy X-rays that they emit. And, after a recent survey that spotted five previously unknown supermassive black holes in the centers of various galaxies, NASA researchers now think there could be millions of of them dotting the Universe like the holes of an intergalactic colander.

“Thanks to NuSTAR, for the first time, we have been able to clearly identify these hidden monsters that are predicted to be there, but have previously been elusive because of their surrounding cocoons of material,” said George Lansbury of Durham University in a statement. “Although we have only detected five of these hidden supermassive black holes, when we extrapolate our results across the whole universe, then the predicted numbers are huge and in agreement with what we would expect to see.” The team’s research has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

Article: Harnessing “Black Holes”: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Posted in astronomy, big data, computing, cosmology, energy, engineering, environmental, ethics, existential risks, futurism, general relativity, governance, government, gravity, information science, innovation, internet, journalism, law, life extension, media & arts, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, open source, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, quantum physics, science, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, treatiesTagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment on Article: Harnessing “Black Holes”: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Harnessing “Black Holes”: The Large Hadron Collider – Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Why the LHC must be shut down

CERN-Critics: LHC restart is a sad day for science and humanity!

Posted in astronomy, big data, complex systems, computing, cosmology, energy, engineering, ethics, existential risks, futurism, general relativity, governance, government, gravity, hardware, information science, innovation, internet, journalism, law, life extension, media & arts, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, quantum physics, science, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, treatiesTagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment on CERN-Critics: LHC restart is a sad day for science and humanity!

CERN-Critics: LHC restart is a sad day for science and humanity!
These days, CERN has restarted the world’s biggest particle collider, the so-called “Big Bang Machine” LHC at CERN. After a hundreds of Million Euros upgrade of the world’s biggest machine, CERN plans to smash particles at double the energies of before. This poses, one would hope, certain eventually small (?), but fundamentally unpredictable catastrophic risks to planet Earth.
Basically the same group of critics, including Professors and Doctors, that had previously filed a law suit against CERN in the US and Europe, still opposes the restart for basically the same reasons. Dangers of: (“Micro”-)Black Holes, Strangelets, Vacuum Bubbles, etc., etc. are of course and maybe will forever be — still in discussion. No specific improvements concerning the safety assessment of the LHC have been conducted by CERN or anybody meanwhile. There is still no proper and really independent risk assessment (the ‘LSAG-report’ has been done by CERN itself) — and the science of risk research is still not really involved in the issue. This is a scientific and political scandal and that’s why the restart is a sad day for science and humanity.
The scientific network “LHC-Critique” speaks for a stop of any public sponsorship of gigantomanic particle colliders.
Just to demonstrate how speculative this research is: Even CERN has to admit, that the so called “Higgs Boson” was discovered — only “probably”. Very probably, mankind will never find any use for the “Higgs Boson”. Here we are not talking about the use of collider technology in medical concerns. It could be a minor, but very improbable advantage for mankind to comprehend the Big Bang one day. But it would surely be fatal – how the Atomic Age has already demonstrated — to know how to handle this or other extreme phenomena in the universe.
Within the next Billions of years, mankind would have enough problems without CERN.
- A new paper by our partner “Heavy Ion Alert” will be published soon:
- Background documents provided by our partner “LHC Safety Review”:

- Press release by our partner ”Risk Evaluation Forum” emphasizing on renewed particle collider risk:

- Study concluding that “Mini Black Holes” could be created at planned LHC energies:

- New paper by Dr. Thomas B. Kerwick on lacking safety argument by CERN:

- More info at the LHC-Kritik/LHC-Critique website:
Best regards:

Here is my attempt at interstellar black hole jokes. With the 2nd and 3rd I was attempting humor with a minimum number of words. I’ve managed a 2 word joke. I hope you finds these funny and please contribute your version of these interstellar black hole (family friendly) jokes.


The Mechanic & The Owner

Spaceship owner tells spaceship mechanic, “I lost my black hole. Can you help me find it?”

Spaceship mechanic asks, “Where? You didn’t lose it around here, did you?”

Spaceship owner replies, “I’m not sure, the black hole warning light came on a few minutes ago, and I thought I’d come straight overrrrr …”


Knock, Knock

Knock, Knockkkkkk …


Murphy’s Law Experienced

I just found a black hhhhhhooooooolllllllleeeeeeeee .…


Benjamin T Solomon is the author & principal investigator of the 12-year study into the theoretical & technological feasibility of gravitation modification, titled An Introduction to Gravity Modification, to achieve interstellar travel in our lifetimes. For more information visit iSETI LLC, Interstellar Space Exploration Technology Initiative.

Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland co-authored the paper Are Black Hole Starships Possible? ( that suggested that one could use Small Black Holes to propel starships close to the velocity of light for interstellar travel. To give them credit, they stated that this is at the “edge of possibility” and would only be possible in the very distant future:

“The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether it is possible to build artificial BHs of the appropriate size, and to employ them in powerplants and starships. The conclusion we reach is that it is just on the edge of possibility to do so, but that quantum gravity effects, as yet unknown, could change the picture either way… Many questions which arise in this program lead to calculations in general relativity which have not been done. Whatever the other merits of our proposal, we are confident it will pose many interesting problems for classical and quantum relativity.”

Note, BH = Black Holes

That is it. Crane & Westmoreland were presenting an academic exercise to pose “many interesting problems for classical and quantum relativity”.

However, others like James Messig and Paul Gilster and Marcus Chown have taken this to mean a real engineering problem that can be solved . . . Read their articles.

I only found out about Marcus Chown because Paul Gilster says “Chown does a good job with this material” quotes him, and I reproduce here,

“The resulting million-tonne black hole would be about the size of an atomic nucleus. The next step would be to manoeuvre it into the focal range of a parabolic mirror attached to the back of the crew quarters of a starship. Hawking radiation consists of all sorts of species of subatomic particles, but the most common will be gamma ray photons. Collimated into a parallel beam by the parabolic mirror, these would be the starship’s exhaust and would push it forward.”

What a parabolic mirror … with black holes in the same paragraph? This I must see. I traced Marcus Chown comments to his article Riding a black hole to reach the stars. Chown actually states this paragraph above.

Here are the problems with Marcus Chown statement & Paul Gilster’s unquestioning nod of authority to Chown’s statement.

1. How do you control a black how?
Small Black Hole radius = 0.6 x 10-18 m, in comparison assuming a spherical shape (Illinois University), the typical space between particles in the gas is 2×10-9 m, and the average distance between two bonded atoms in water is 2X10-10 m, and generally speaking the space between two bonded atoms is around 10-10 m. That is one can fit 108 or 100 million Small Black Holes between two atoms in an average chemical compound.

So how does one control a 1,000,000 ton black hole that is more than million times smaller than an atom?

James Messig had suggested “Now imagine that a 1,000 metric ton rest mass ship could be coupled to the black hole via electrically charging the black hole or otherwise setting up a coupling field between the ship and the black hole”

Funny, James Messig contradicts Crane & Westmoreland. Crane & Westmoreland write “Note that if an isolated SBH is initially endowed with an electric charge, then it will quickly, and almost completely, radiate this charge away”.

But wait, there is another problem. Even if you could somehow electrify this black hole contraption the electric field breaks down into a discharge in air at 3kV/mm or about 1kV/mm in vacuum. So you cannot hold an black hole in a container with an electric field.

If you try, one whiff of the electron cloud on the atom and the electron cloud is gone. Another whiff. Another whiff… and before you know it there are millions of naked nuclei without their electron clouds, and an electric force based explosion, because the black hole (BH) of this size could whiz past matter striking down electron clouds in its path without ‘colliding’ with their nuclei.

Crane & Westmoreland write “As to confinement, a BH confines itself. We would need to avoid colliding with it or losing it, but it won’t explode.” They weren’t thinking about massively ionized matter because they had already stated “need to avoid colliding with it”. In their paper they were comparing black hole with antimatter.

Never mind the naked nuclei explosion that is a small matter. The real problem is that the black hole gets lost (because it is 0.6 x 10-18 m small) and it sucks out the air or the Earth, maybe the Sun. Don’t forget black holes love a good meal and will consume anything in their path and get bigger, and bigger … Need a black hole in our neighborhood? No thanks.

2. How do you maneuver the spacecraft?
Remember you are lugging around at least 1,000,000 tons of black hole matter to your 1 ton. Oops, I misspoke, the laws of physics require that it is actually the other way around. 1 ton of spacecraft is lugged around by 1,000,000 tons of black hole matter.

So how does one alter the direction of the Hawking Radiation that this 1,000,000 ton black hole is producing? Archimedes is reported to have said that if you give him a fulcrum long enough he could move the Earth. So what would be the equivalent of a “large enough fulcrum”? Hmmm. I know! Another black hole!

3. How do you collimated gamma rays with a parabolic mirror?
Really? Gamma radiation passes through everything we know of, if the material is not thick enough. Maybe Chown was reporting science fiction? Remember this was 2009. What do you think?

In all fairness I think the gamma ray problem is a more realistic problem than the black hole control & maneuvering problem.

No wonder, Prof. Adam Franks stated in his July 24, 2012 New York Times Op-Ed, Alone in the Void, “Short of a scientific miracle of the kind that has never occurred, our future history for millenniums will be played out on Earth”.

Done. Black hole interstellar drive debunked.

The next blog post in this debunking series.


Benjamin T Solomon is the author & principal investigator of the 12-year study into the theoretical & technological feasibility of gravitation modification, titled An Introduction to Gravity Modification, to achieve interstellar travel in our lifetimes. For more information visit iSETI LLC, Interstellar Space Exploration Technology Initiative.

Solomon is inviting all serious participants to his LinkedIn Group Interstellar Travel & Gravity Modification.

On a casual read of the appraised work of Duncan R. Lorimer on Binary and Millisecond Pulsars (2005) last week, I noted the reference to the lack of pulsars with P < 1.5 ms. It cites a mere suggestion that this is due to gravitational wave emission from R-mode instabilities, but one has not offered a solid reason for such absence from our Universe. As the surface magnetic field strength of such would be lower (B ∝ (P ˙P )^(1÷2)) than other pulsars, one could equally suggest that the lack of sub millisecond pulsars is due to their weaker magnetic fields allowing CR impacts resulting in stable MBH capture… Therefore if one could interpret that the 108 G field strength adopted by G&M is an approximate cut-off point where MBH are likely to be captured by neutron stars, then one would perhaps have some phenomenological evidence that MBH capture results in the destruction of neutron stars into black holes. One should note that more typical values of observed neutron stars calculate a 1012 G field, so that is a 104 difference from the borderline-existence cases used in the G&M analysis (and so much less likely to capture). That is not to say that MBH would equate to a certain danger for capture in a planet such as Earth where the density of matter is much lower — and accretion rates much more likely to be lower than radiation rates — an understanding that is backed up by the ‘safety assurance’ in observational evidence of white dwarf longevity. However, it does take us back to question — regardless of the frequently mentioned theorem here on Lifeboat that states Hawking Radiation should be impossible — Hawking Radiation as an unobserved theoretical phenomenon may not be anywhere near as effective as derived in theoretical analysis regardless of this. This oft mentioned concern of ‘what if Hawking is wrong’ of course is endorsed by a detailed G&M analysis which set about proving safety in the scenario that Hawking Radiation was ineffective at evaporating such phenomenon. Though doubts about the neutron star safety assurance immediately makes one question how reliable are the safety assurances of white dwarf longevity – and my belief has been that the white dwarf safety assurance seems highly rational (as derived in a few short pages in the G&M paper and not particularly challenged except for the hypothesis that they may have over-estimated TeV-scale MBH size which could reduce their likelihood of capture). It is quite difficult to imagine a body as dense as a white dwarf not capturing any such hypothetical stable MBH over their lifetime from CR exposure – which validates the G&M position that accretion rates therein must be vastly outweighed by radiation rates, so the even lower accretion rates on a planet such as Earth would be even less of a concern. However, given the gravity of the analysis, those various assumptions on which it is based perhaps deserves greater scrutiny, underscored by a concern made recently that 20% of the mass/energy in current LHC collisions are unaccounted for. Pulsars are often considered one of the most accurate references in the Universe due to their regularity and predictability. How ironic if those pulsars which are absent from the Universe also provided a significant measurement. Binary and Millisecond Pulsars, D.R. Lorimer:

High energy experiments like the LHC at the nuclear research centre CERN are extreme energy consumers (needing the power of a nuclear plant). Their construction is extremely costly (presently 7 Billion Euros) and practical benefits are not in sight. The experiments eventually pose existential risks and these risks have not been properly investigated.

It is not the first time that CERN announces record energies and news around April 1 – apparently hoping that some critique and concerns about the risks could be misinterpreted as an April joke. Additionally CERN regularly starts up the LHC at Easter celebrations and just before week ends, when news offices are empty and people prefer to have peaceful days with their friends and families.

CERN has just announced new records in collision energies at the LHC. And instead of conducting a neutral risk assessment, the nuclear research centre plans costly upgrades of its Big Bang machine. Facing an LHC upgrade in 2013 for up to CHF 1 Billion and the perspective of a Mega-LHC in 2022: How long will it take until risk researchers are finally integrated in a neutral safety assessment?

There are countless evidences for the necessity of an external and multidisciplinary safety assessment of the LHC. According to a pre-study in risk research, CERN fits less than a fifth of the criteria for a modern risk assessment (see the press release below). It is not acceptable that the clueless member states point at the operator CERN itself, while this regards its self-set security measures as sufficient, in spite of critique from risk researchers, continuous debates and the publication of further papers pointing at concrete dangers and even existential risks (black holes, strangelets) eventually arising from the experiments sooner or later. Presently science has to admit that the risk is disputed and basically unknown.

It will not be possible to keep up this ostrich policy much longer. Especially facing the planned upgrades of the LHC, CERN will be confronted with increasing critique from scientific and civil side that the most powerful particle collider has yet not been challenged in a neutral and multidisciplinary safety assessment. CERN has yet not answered to pragmatic proposals for such a process that also should constructively involve critics and CERN. Also further legal steps from different sides are possible.

The member states that are financing the CERN budget, the UN or private funds are addressed to provide resources to finally initiate a neutral and multidisciplinary risk assessment.

German version of this article published in Oekonews:

Related LHC-Critique press release and open letter to CERN:

Typical physicist’s April joke on stable black holes at the LHC (April 1 2012, German):

Latest publications of studies demonstrating risks arising from the LHC experiment:

Prof Otto E. Rössler:

Thomas Kerwick B.Tech. M.Eng. Ph.D.:

Brief summary of the basic problem by LHC-Kritik (still valid since Sep. 2008):

Detailed summary of the scientific LHC risk discussion by LHC-Kritik and ConCERNed International:

We wish you happy Easter and hope for your support of our pragmatic proposals to urgently increase safety in these new fields of nuclear physics.

LHC Critique / LHC Kritik — Network for Safety at nuclear and sub-nuclear high energy Experiments.

[email protected]

Tel.: +43 650 629 627 5

New Facebook group:

Lee Smolin is said to believe (according to personal communication from Danila Medvedev who was told about it by John Smart. I tried to reach Smolin for comments, but failed) that global catastrophe is impossible, based on the following reasoning: the multiverse is dominated by those universes that are able to replicate. This Self-replication occurs in black holes, and in especially in those black holes, which are created civilizations. Thus, the parameters of the universe are selected so that civilization cannot self-destruct before they create black holes. As a result, all physical processes, in which civilization may self-destruct, are closed or highly unlikely. Early version of Smolin’s argument is here: but this early version was refuted in 2004, and so he (probably) added existence of civilization as another condition for cosmic natural selection. Anyway, even if it is not Smolin’s real line of thoughts, it is quite possible line of thoughts.

I think this argument is not persuasive, since the selection can operate both in the direction of universes with more viable civilizations, and in the direction of universes with a larger number of civilizations, just as biological evolution works to more robust offspring in some species (mammals) and in the larger number of offspring with lower viability (plants, for example, dandelion). Since some parameters for the development of civilizations is extremely difficult to adjust by the basic laws of nature (for example, the chances of nuclear war or a hostile AI), but it is easy to adjust the number of emerging civilizations, it seems to me that the universes, if they replicated with the help of civilizations, will use the strategy of dandelions, but not the strategy of mammals. So it will create many unstable civilization and we are most likely one of them (self indication assumption also help us to think so – see recent post of Katja Grace

But still some pressure can exist for the preservation of civilization. Namely, if an atomic bomb would be as easy to create as a dynamite – much easier then on Earth (which depends on the quantity of uranium and its chemical and nuclear properties, ie, is determined by the original basic laws of the universe), then the chances of the average survival of civilization would be lower. If Smolin’s hypothesis is correct, then we should encounter insurmountable difficulties in creating nano-robots, microelectronics, needed for strong AI, harmful experiments on accelerators with strangelet (except those that lead to the creation of black holes and new universes), and in several other potentially dangerous technology trends that depend on their success from the basic properties of the universe, which may manifest itself in the peculiarities of its chemistry.

In addition, the evolution of universes by Smolin leads to the fact that civilization should create a black hole as early as possible in the course of its history, leading to replication of universes, because the later it happens, the greater the chances that the civilization will self-destruct before it can create black holes. In addition, the civilization is not required to survive after the moment of “replication” (though survival may be useful for the replication, if civilization creates a lot of black holes during its long existence.) From these two points, it follows that we may underestimate the risks from Hadron Collider in the creation of black holes.

I would repeat: early creation of a black hole suggested by Smolin and destroying the parent civilization, is very consistent with the situation with the Hadron Collider. Collider is a very early opportunity for us to create a black hole, as compared with another opportunity — to become a super-civilization and learn how to connect stars, so that they collapse into black holes. It will take millions of years and the chances to live up to this stage is much smaller. Also collider created black holes may be special, which is requirement for civilization driven replication of universes. However, the creation of black holes in collider with a high probability means the death of our civilization (but not necessarily: black hole could grow extremely slowly in the bowels of the Earth, for example, millions of years, and we have time to leave the Earth, and it depends on the unknown physical conditions.) In doing so, black hole must have some feature that distinguishes it from other holes that arise in our universe, for example, a powerful magnetic field (which exist in collider) or a unique initial mass (also exist in LHC: they will collide ions of gold).

So Smolin’s logic is sound but not proving that our civilization is safe, but in fact proving quiet opposite: that the chances of extinction in near future is high. We are not obliged to participate in the replication of universes suggested by Smolin, if it ever happens, especially if it is tantamount to the death of the parent civilization. If we continue our lives without black holes, it does not change the total number of universes have arisen, as it is infinite.

Experts regard safety report on Big Bang Machine as insufficient and one-dimensional

International critics of the high energy experiments planned to start soon at the particle accelerator LHC at CERN in Geneva have submitted a request to the Ministers of Science of the CERN member states and to the delegates to the CERN Council, the supreme controlling body of CERN.

The paper states that several risk scenarios (that have to be described as global or existential risks) cannot currently be excluded. Under present conditions, the critics have to speak out against an operation of the LHC.

The submission includes assessments from expertises in the fields markedly missing from the physicist-only LSAG safety report — those of risk assessment, law, ethics and statistics. Further weight is added because these experts are all university-level experts – from Griffith University, the University of North Dakota and Oxford University respectively. In particular, it is criticised that CERN’s official safety report lacks independence – all its authors have a prior interest in the LHC running and that the report uses physicist-only authors, when modern risk-assessment guidelines recommend risk experts and ethicists as well.

As a precondition of safety, the request calls for a neutral and multi-disciplinary risk assessment and additional astrophysical experiments – Earth based and in the atmosphere – for a better empirical verification of the alleged comparability of particle collisions under the extreme artificial conditions of the LHC experiment and relatively rare natural high energy particle collisions: “Far from copying nature, the LHC focuses on rare and extreme events in a physical set up which has never occurred before in the history of the planet. Nature does not set up LHC experiments.”

Even under greatly improved circumstances concerning safety as proposed above, big jumps in energy increase, as presently planned by a factor of three compared to present records, without carefully analyzing previous results before each increase of energy, should principally be avoided.

The concise “Request to CERN Council and Member States on LHC Risks” (Pdf with hyperlinks to the described studies) by several critical groups, supported by well known critics of the planned experiments:

The answer received by now does not consider these arguments and studies but only repeats again that from the side of the operators everything appears sufficient, agreed by a Nobel Price winner in physics. LHC restart and record collisions by factor 3 are presently scheduled for March 30, 2010.

Official detailed and well understandable paper and communication with many scientific sources by ‘ConCERNed International’ and ‘LHC Kritik’:

More info: