Brain waves breakthrough: Mind-reading computer enables paralysed man to walk – YouTube

A quadriplegic man has walked again thanks to an artificial intelligence breakthrough. A four-limb robotic exoskeleton controlled by brain signals helped a paralysed man to move his arms and walk using a ceiling-mounted harness for balance. Get the latest headlines:


Elon Musk reveals SpaceX’s stainless steel Starship rocket – TechSpot

What just happened? On Saturday at the Boca Chica Beach, Texas, Elon Musk showed off the first shiny steel prototype of SpaceX’s deep-space bound ‘Starship’ rocket, just a few moments after the company’s employees had finished assembling it. Musk gave a presentation on “the most powerful rocket in history” and discussed Starship’s stainless steel design as it stood next to the Falcon 1, the company’s first rocket that made it to orbit eleven years ago.

Earlier this month, SpaceX confirmed plans to begin testing its orbital-class ‘Starship’ rocket whose first prototype was completed over the weekend. A 200-ton, 165 ft-tall stainless steel rocket that will use three of SpaceX’s next-gen Raptor engines to test out its flight capabilities through a series of propulsive landing tests.

Source: Elon Musk reveals SpaceX’s stainless steel Starship rocket – TechSpot

New Hack Unlocks ‘Hundreds of Millions’ of iPhones: What You Need to Know | Tom’s Guide

The days of the “hack-proof” iPhone may be over.

A pseudonymous Twitter user called axi0mX posted a thread today (Sept. 27) introducing checkm8, a “permanent unpatchable bootrom exploit for hundreds of millions of iOS devices.”

“Most generations of iPhones and iPads are vulnerable,” axi0mX continued, “from iPhone 4S (A5 chip) to iPhone 8 and iPhone X (A11 chip). … This is possibly the biggest news in [the] iOS jailbreak community in years.”

Source: New Hack Unlocks ‘Hundreds of Millions’ of iPhones: What You Need to Know | Tom’s Guide

A new Internet Explorer bug can take over your entire PC, so stop using it | PCWorld

Microsoft and Google warn that a new bug discovered in Internet Explorer for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 can totally take over your PC.

If you haven’t moved beyond Internet Explorer, here’s another reason to do so: Google and Microsoft have discovered a new IE vulnerability that can take over your entire PC.

Microsoft published CVE-2019-1367 on Monday, a scripting engine memory corruption vulnerability that exists within basically every version of Internet Explorer for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. (Discovery of the bug was credited to Clément Lecigne of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, and reported earlier by The Register.) The vulnerability “corrupt[s] memory in such a way that an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user,” according to Microsoft.

The alert goes on explain what this means for users. “An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user,” Microsoft says. “If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could take control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”

In other words, if an attacker is able to convince you to click on an affected webpage, that attacker can do whatever they want to your PC and your stored data.

Source: A new Internet Explorer bug can take over your entire PC, so stop using it | PCWorld

Labor unions are pushing for a four-day workweek – Vox

Americans once worked 100 hours a week, six days in a row. Then, in 1940, came the five-day workweek.

Now labor unions are making the case for even less work: dropping days worked down to four.

That’s one of the changes unions are proposing as part of their vision for the future of work, which is outlined in a report to be released Friday by the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the US. (Disclosure: I am a member of the Writers Guild of America East, which is part of the AFL-CIO.) The report, which was shared in advance with Vox, focuses on finding ways to make sure workers can best benefit from automation and other technological changes.

As technology makes workers more productive, unions argue, why not give them three-day weekends? Not 40 hours compressed into four days. Labor unions are proposing a 32-hour workweek, with employees earning no less than they did before.

Source: Labor unions are pushing for a four-day workweek – Vox

See How AI Stereotypes You

Computers think they know who you are. Artificial intelligence algorithms can recognize objects from images, even faces. But we rarely get a peek under the hood of facial recognition algorithms. Now, with ImageNet Roulette, we can watch an AI jump to conclusions. Some of its guesses are funny, others…racist.

ImageNet Roulette was designed as part of an art and technology museum exhibit called Training Humans to show us the messy insides of the facial recognition algorithms that we might otherwise assume are straightforward and unbiased. It uses data from one of the large, standard databases used in AI research. Upload a photo, and the algorithm will show you what it thinks you are. My first selfie was labeled “nonsmoker.” Another was just labeled “face.” Our editor-in-chief was labeled a “psycholinguist.”

Source: See How AI Stereotypes You

Nuclear Propulsion Could Be ‘Game-Changer’ for Space Exploration, NASA Chief Says | Space

And the tech could power asteroid-deflecting lasers as well.

Spacecraft powered by such engines could conceivably reach Mars in just three to four months — about half the time of the fastest possible trip in a vehicle with traditional chemical propulsion, said Rex Geveden, the president and CEO of BWX Technologies Inc.

Source: Nuclear Propulsion Could Be ‘Game-Changer’ for Space Exploration, NASA Chief Says | Space

Toyota recalls 14,200 RAV4 SUVs over faulty backup camera – Roadshow

When the driver puts the vehicle in reverse, the backup camera may not flick on as it should.

According to the NHTSA documents filed earlier this month, 14,215 RAV4 models are subject to the recall but Toyota estimates fewer than 1% of the models have the actual defect. Affected RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid models were made between May 27, 2019, and July 27, 2019.

The automaker traced the backup camera issue to a damaged electrical connector. During a part check, one of the pins on the audio display unit may have bent in a way that affects the backup camera. When the driver selects the reverse gear, the backup camera may not activate and display on the interior touchscreen as it’s supposed to.

Source: Toyota recalls 14,200 RAV4 SUVs over faulty backup camera – Roadshow

Rocket Lab will reuse its rockets by catching them with a helicopter

SpaceX won’t be the only company reusing its rockets for payload deliveries. Rocket Lab has unveiled plans to recover the first stage of its Electron vehicle. The strategy’s first phase will have Rocket Lab recovering the stage from the ocean and refurbishing it for later. A second phase will be more… audacious. The company intends to have the stage “captured mid-air” by a helicopter, with the aircraft hooking on to the rocket’s parachute array during the descent. It won’t be as elegant as SpaceX’s rocket landings, but it will be efficient if it works as planned.

Source: Rocket Lab will reuse its rockets by catching them with a helicopter


Fernando Corbató, a Father of Your Computer (and Your Password), Dies at 93 – New York Times


Fernando Corbató at M.I.T.’s computer lab in an undated photo. His computer time-sharing system developed there paved the way for the personal computer.

By Katie Hafner

Fernando Corbató, whose work on computer time-sharing in the 1960s helped pave the way for the personal computer, as well as the computer password, died on Friday at a nursing home in Newburyport, Mass. He was 93.

His wife, Emily Corbató, said the cause was complications of diabetes. At his death he was a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Corbató, who spent his entire career at M.I.T., oversaw a project in the early 1960s called the Compatible Time-Sharing System, or C.T.S.S., which allowed multiple users in different locations to access a single computer simultaneously through telephone lines.

At the time, computing was done in large batches, and users typically had to wait until the next day to get the results of a computation.


Power restored after NYC transformer fire causes blackout in part of Manhattan, officials say | Fox News

Power was slowly being restored to thousands of customers in New York City Saturday evening after an outage that knocked out traffic lights, stalled elevators and limited subway service.

Just before midnight, Con Edison CEO John McAvoy said in a news conference that all 73,000 customers affected by the outage in Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side had power restored. At its peak, the outage affected an area from 71st Street south to 42nd Street and east from the West Side Highway to Fifth Avenue.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo added that although service was restored some traffic lights remained out and New Yorkers should stay indoors for their safety.

Source: Power restored after NYC transformer fire causes blackout in part of Manhattan, officials say | Fox News

Why The US Has No High-Speed Rail – YouTube


China has the world’s fastest and largest high-speed rail network — more than 19,000 miles, the vast majority of which was built in the past decade. Japan’s bullet trains can reach nearly 200 miles per hour and date to the 1960s. They have moved more than 9 billion people without a single passenger causality. casualty France began service of the high-speed TGV train in 1981 and the rest of Europe quickly followed. But the U.S. has no true high-speed trains, aside from sections of Amtrak’s Acela line in the Northeast Corridor. The Acela can reach 150 mph for only 34 miles of its 457-mile span. Its average speed between New York and Boston is about 65 mph. California’s high-speed rail system is under construction, but whether it will ever get completed as intended is uncertain. Watch the video to see why the U.S. continues to fail with high-speed trains, and some companies that are trying to fix that. » Subscribe to CNBC: » Subscribe to CNBC TV: » Subscribe to CNBC Classic:

Breaking record for deepest dive, explorer says Pacific’s Mariana Trench ‘incredibly peaceful place’ | Fox News

Victor Vescovo took the journey to what is believed to be the deepest point mankind has visited in any ocean — finding shocking things from new species to human trash — and told Fox News on Tuesday that the discovery of plastic in such far reaches proves the need for more vigilance to protect the oceans.

Source: Breaking record for deepest dive, explorer says Pacific’s Mariana Trench ‘incredibly peaceful place’ | Fox News

Mon Incline REOPENS|

The incline has been out of service since Feb. 4 to repair damage caused by flooding. On Jan. 19, a Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority water main that runs along Grandview Avenue in Mt. Washington broke, flooding the upper station and forcing it to close for five days.

Two weeks later, that same water main broke in two separate locations causing extensive damage.

“I want to thank the residents and businesses in the Hilltop communities, especially those in Mt. Washington, who have been extremely patient over the last three months,” Port Authority of Allegheny County Development Officer David Huffaker said in a news release. “Closing the incline for an extended period of time certainly was difficult, but for safety reasons had to be done.”

Inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry authorized the reopening of the incline Thursday afternoon

Source: Mon Incline set to reopen Friday |

SpaceX launches space station resupply mission, lands rocket on drone ship – Spaceflight Now

Less than nine minutes later, the rocket’s first stage booster fell from the sky and executed a pinpoint propulsive landing just offshore, setting the stage for another resupply mission for NASA using the same rocket this summer using the same vehicle.

The 213-foot-tall (65-meter) rocket lifted off with a flash from its nine Merlin 1D main engines at 2:48:58 a.m. EDT (0648:58 GMT), roughly the moment Cape Canaveral rotated under space station’s orbital plane.

The Falcon 9 tilted toward the northeast to align with the space station’s flight path, riding 1.7 million pounds of thrust as roared into a starry sky. Less than two-and-a-half minutes later, the rocket’s first stage booster shut down and separated to begin a descent back to Earth, targeting SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” parked around 14 miles (22 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first stage lit three of its engines to begin a boost-back burn to reverse course and head back toward Florida’s Space Coast, while the Falcon 9’s upper stage continued with the primary objective of Saturday’s mission — the delivery into orbit of a Dragon cargo craft packed with 5,472 pounds (2,482 kilograms) of supplies, provisions and experiments for the station and its six-person crew.

The interaction exhaust plumes from the Falcon 9’s first and second stage Merlin engines produced a spectacular lighting effect, giving the appearance of a cosmic nebula high above the Florida spaceport.

Source: SpaceX launches space station resupply mission, lands rocket on drone ship – Spaceflight Now

Warfighters Need ‘Uncompromised’ Technology, Official Says > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


“We are in a very highly contested environment, with our opponents quite successfully taking our stuff,” William Stephens said at a forum on supply chain security and software at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noting that U.S. intelligence analysts and other sources support that assessment.

Techniques adversaries use to figure out new U.S. technology before soldiers or airmen get a chance to use it vary greatly, he said, but include such things as exploitation of relationships in the technology community — such as at conferences and trade shows — as well as email and mail, surveillance, exploitation of cyber operations, exports or supply chains, and even insider access and outright theft.

Americans pay for a lot of technology to support the warfighter, Stephens said, and when that technology is compromised before the warfighter is able to use it, Americans lose out on their investment. But the biggest threat from compromised technology, he added, is to warfighters themselves.

Source: Warfighters Need ‘Uncompromised’ Technology, Official Says > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article

BlackBerry Messenger is shutting down for consumers on May 31st | PhoneDog

It’s time to pour one out, because BlackBerry Messenger is shutting down.

It was announced today that the consumer version of BBM is closing on May 31st, 2019. After that date, the BBM app will stop working. Emtek, who licensed the BBM consumer business from BlackBerry in 2016, says that BBM stickers and BBMoji can’t be exported out of the app, so you won’t be able to use them after the shutdown. You can issue refunds of your in-app purchases for stickers that you’ve bought, though.

Source: BlackBerry Messenger is shutting down for consumers on May 31st | PhoneDog

(USA Today) – See the Pope or buy a new iPhone? New Yorkers decide

Miguel Guevara, 24, is waiting the iPhone 6S at the 5th Ave Apple Store. Apple’s phone launches the same time Pope Francis visits New York City (Photo: Eli Blumenthal,)

NEW YORK — As crowds filled around 58th Streetand 5th Avenue, not everyone was awaiting the arrival of the Pope.

The site diagonal to Central Park is also home to Apple’s flagship 5th Ave Store. True to form, lines have been increasing over the last few weeks for its own big event:  the first in-store sales of the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

As of midday Thursday, lines for Apple’s new phones, which have been available for pre-order since Saturday, stretched a half block around the 58th Street store. One security guard monitoring the scene said he expected Apple’s line to grow over to 1,000 people by the evening. Still, that’s a small cry from last year’s line and a drop in the bucket to the hundreds of thousands expected to see the Pope Friday at the United Nations.

Apple’s iPhone launches are notorious for their large crowds. Last year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch saw lines extending over 20 blocks, with some lining up weeks to be among the first to buy the devices.

Many of those in line this year were buying the phones to resell domestically or overseas, where there is high resell value for the devices. Many were speaking languages other than English, particularly Chinese or Russian. For them the wait for iPhone came down to a business decision.

The choice between Pope and phone wasn’t so easy for Miguel Guevara, a 24-year-old Apple fan and devout Catholic from New York. Guevara was fifth in line waiting to buy a new iPhone 6S Plus in Rose Gold for himself and a Rose Gold iPhone 6S for his mother, he said Thursday. He’d been waiting since Wednesday, giving away his shift at retail store Tommy Hilfiger to get in line. He’s also a student at Pace University, but isn’t missing school thanks to the Pope’s visit.

“I’m a religious guy,” says Guevara, showing off a cross tattoo on his inner right wrist and rosary beads that he keeps in his pocket. “Its unfortunate that I’m gonna miss the Pope, but I’m sure its going to be packed anyways.”

“And I have DVR, I have my roommate DVRing it.”

The Papal visit has made waiting a bit more difficult than years past, with security prohibiting tents and folding chairs ahead of the Pope’s arrival.

“It would be nice to see the Pope,” says Jackie, 18, who was fourth in line with his friend Andres on behalf of The site that lets people donate their old devices, which are then refurbished or resold with the money going to support clean drinking water and other charities. Both have been in line for around two weeks, and in exchange for their efforts, will each be getting a 64GB Rose Gold 6S.

Jackie notes that the Apple Store is on the Pope’s route to St. Patrick’s Cathedral so they will still see him while still holding their spot in line.

And while the iPhone line-waiters have become a tradition in New York, the spectacle still draws the curious . “A lot of people walk by here and they ask you every time, almost every five minutes,” says Andres, also 18. “Before they put all the gates up, every five minutes somebody would ask us, because they saw all the chairs, ‘what are you waiting for?'”

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal

Read more

( – Quantum Leap: Info Teleported 60 Miles

When you think of teleportation, you might think of “Star Trek’s” Beam me up, Scotty, or maybe even “The Fly,” but this is different.

Scientists have transferred quantum information carried in light particles — that is, photons — 60 miles along spooled optical fiber.

7 Craziest Intelligence Leaks In U.S. History

The technique won’t transport you and an errant insect from one location to another, but it could advanced quantum computing, unhackable encryption of computer data and even one day lead to a quantum Internet.

The quantum information we’re talking about is the information contained in one photon — its specific time slot in a sequence. It’s called a quantum state and like other aspects of quantum science, the explanation goes beyond the normal, everyday experience.

Essentially, Hiroki Takesue, a NIST guest researcher from NTT in Japan, and his team were able to transfer the quantum state from one photon to another over that 60-mile distance. This infographic from NIST explains the leap.

Although other scientists have tired this before, teleporting the quantum state of a photon down an optical fiber has not been easy. Frequently, much of the quantum data became lost in the fiber and transmission rates over distances were very low.

“Only about 1 percent of photons make it all the way through 100 km of fiber,” Marty Stevens, a NIST researcher, said in a press release.

Quantum Computer To Log Onto Quantum Internet

But Takesue and his team used a new type of single-photon detector developed at NIST.

Although the distance set a record, the researchers have a way to go before we see an unhackable, unbreakable quantum Internet and ever farther before we can teleport to the office to avoid rush hour.

Takesue reported the results in the journal “Optica.”

via NIST and Science Daily

Source: Quantum Leap: Info Teleported 60 Miles

(Yahoo News) – Now you see it, now you don’t: invisibility cloak nears reality

Light reflects off the cloak (red arrows) as if it were reflecting off a flat mirror in this 3D illustration

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cloak of invisibility may be common in science fiction but it is not so easy in the real world. New research suggests such a device may be moving closer to reality.

Scientists said on Thursday they have successfully tested an ultra-thin invisibility cloak made of microscopic rectangular gold blocks that, like skin, conform to the shape of an object and can render it undetectable with visible light.

The researchers said while their experiments involved cloaking a miniscule object they believe the technology could be made to conceal larger objects, with military and other possible applications.

The cloak, 80 nanometers in thickness, was wrapped around a three-dimensional object shaped with bumps and dents. The cloak’s surface rerouted light waves scattered from the object to make it invisible to optical detection.

It may take five to 10 years to make the technology practical to use, according to Xiang Zhang, director of the Materials Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

“We do not see fundamental roadblocks. But much more work needs to be done,” said Zhang, whose research was published in the journal Science.

The technology involves so-called metamaterials, which possess properties not present in nature. Their surfaces bear features much smaller than the size of a wavelength of light. They redirect incoming light waves, shifting them away from the object being cloaked.

The cloaking “skin” boasts microscopic light-scattering antennae that make light bouncing off an object look as if it were reflected by a flat mirror, rendering the object invisible.

“The fact that we can make a curved surface appear flat also means that we can make it look like anything else. We also can make a flat surface appear curved,” said Penn State University electrical engineering professor Xingjie Ni, the study’s lead author.

The researchers said they overcame two drawbacks of previous experimental microscopic cloaks that were bulkier and harder to “scale up,” or become usable for larger objects.

Ni said the technology eventually could be used for military applications like making large objects like vehicles or aircraft or even individual soldiers “invisible.”

Ni also mentioned some unconventional applications.

How about a cloaking mask for the face? “All the pimples and wrinkles will no longer be visible,” Ni said. How about fashion design? Ni suggested a cloak that “can be made to hide one’s belly.”

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Eric Beech)

Related Stories

Source: Now you see it, now you don’t: invisibility cloak nears reality – Yahoo News

The safety of the LHC | CERN press office

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can achieve an energy that no other particle accelerators have reached before, but Nature routinely produces higher energies in cosmic-ray collisions. Concerns about the safety of whatever may be created in such high-energy particle collisions have been addressed for many years. In the light of new experimental data and theoretical understanding, the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) has updated a review of the analysis made in 2003 by the LHC Safety Study Group, a group of independent scientists.

LSAG reaffirms and extends the conclusions of the 2003 report that LHC collisions present no danger and that there are no reasons for concern. Whatever the LHC will do, Nature has already done many times over during the lifetime of the Earth and other astronomical bodies. The LSAG report has been reviewed and endorsed by CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee, a group of external scientists that advises CERN’s governing body, its Council.

The following summarizes the main arguments given in the LSAG report. Anyone interested in more details is encouraged to consult it directly, and the technical scientific papers to which it refers.

Cosmic rays

The LHC, like other particle accelerators, recreates the natural phenomena of cosmic rays under controlled laboratory conditions, enabling them to be studied in more detail. Cosmic rays are particles produced in outer space, some of which are accelerated to energies far exceeding those of the LHC. The energy and the rate at which they reach the Earth’s atmosphere have been measured in experiments for some 70 years. Over the past billions of years, Nature has already generated on Earth as many collisions as about a million LHC experiments – and the planet still exists. Astronomers observe an enormous number of larger astronomical bodies throughout the Universe, all of which are also struck by cosmic rays. The Universe as a whole conducts more than 10 million million LHC-like experiments per second. The possibility of any dangerous consequences contradicts what astronomers see – stars and galaxies still exist.

Microscopic black holes

Nature forms black holes when certain stars, much larger than our Sun, collapse on themselves at the end of their lives. They concentrate a very large amount of matter in a very small space. Speculations about microscopic black holes at the LHC refer to particles produced in the collisions of pairs of protons, each of which has an energy comparable to that of a mosquito in flight. Astronomical black holes are much heavier than anything that could be produced at the LHC.

According to the well-established properties of gravity, described by Einstein’s relativity, it is impossible for microscopic black holes to be produced at the LHC. There are, however, some speculative theories that predict the production of such particles at the LHC. All these theories predict that these particles would disintegrate immediately. Black holes, therefore, would have no time to start accreting matter and to cause macroscopic effects.

Although theory predicts that microscopic black holes decay rapidly, even hypothetical stable black holes can be shown to be harmless by studying the consequences of their production by cosmic rays. Whilst collisions at the LHC differ from cosmic-ray collisions with astronomical bodies like the Earth in that new particles produced in LHC collisions tend to move more slowly than those produced by cosmic rays, one can still demonstrate their safety. The specific reasons for this depend whether the black holes are electrically charged, or neutral. Many stable black holes would be expected to be electrically charged, since they are created by charged particles. In this case they would interact with ordinary matter and be stopped while traversing the Earth or Sun, whether produced by cosmic rays or the LHC. The fact that the Earth and Sun are still here rules out the possibility that cosmic rays or the LHC could produce dangerous charged microscopic black holes. If stable microscopic black holes had no electric charge, their interactions with the Earth would be very weak. Those produced by cosmic rays would pass harmlessly through the Earth into space, whereas those produced by the LHC could remain on Earth. However, there are much larger and denser astronomical bodies than the Earth in the Universe. Black holes produced in cosmic-ray collisions with bodies such as neutron stars and white dwarf stars would be brought to rest. The continued existence of such dense bodies, as well as the Earth, rules out the possibility of the LHC producing any dangerous black holes.


Strangelet is the term given to a hypothetical microscopic lump of ‘strange matter’ containing almost equal numbers of particles called up, down and strange quarks. According to most theoretical work, strangelets should change to ordinary matter within a thousand-millionth of a second. But could strangelets coalesce with ordinary matter and change it to strange matter? This question was first raised before the start up of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, RHIC, in 2000 in the United States. A study at the time showed that there was no cause for concern, and RHIC has now run for eight years, searching for strangelets without detecting any. At times, the LHC will run with beams of heavy nuclei, just as RHIC does. The LHC’s beams will have more energy than RHIC, but this makes it even less likely that strangelets could form. It is difficult for strange matter to stick together in the high temperatures produced by such colliders, rather as ice does not form in hot water. In addition, quarks will be more dilute at the LHC than at RHIC, making it more difficult to assemble strange matter. Strangelet production at the LHC is therefore less likely than at RHIC, and experience there has already validated the arguments that strangelets cannot be produced.

The analysis of the first LHC data from heavy ion collisions has now confirmed the key ingredients used in the LSAG report to evaluate the upper limit on the production of hypothetical strangelets. For more details see this addendum to the LSAG report: Implications of LHC heavy ion data for multi-strange baryon production (2011)

Vacuum bubbles

There have been speculations that the Universe is not in its most stable configuration, and that perturbations caused by the LHC could tip it into a more stable state, called a vacuum bubble, in which we could not exist. If the LHC could do this, then so could cosmic-ray collisions. Since such vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe, they will not be made by the LHC.

Magnetic monopoles

Magnetic monopoles are hypothetical particles with a single magnetic charge, either a north pole or a south pole. Some speculative theories suggest that, if they do exist, magnetic monopoles could cause protons to decay. These theories also say that such monopoles would be too heavy to be produced at the LHC. Nevertheless, if the magnetic monopoles were light enough to appear at the LHC, cosmic rays striking the Earth’s atmosphere would already be making them, and the Earth would very effectively stop and trap them. The continued existence of the Earth and other astronomical bodies therefore rules out dangerous proton-eating magnetic monopoles light enough to be produced at the LHC.

Other aspects of LHC safety:

Concern has recently been expressed that a ‘runaway fusion reaction’ might be created in the LHC carbon beam dump. The safety of the LHC beam dump had previously been reviewed by the relevant regulatory authorities of the CERN host states, France and Switzerland. The specific concerns expressed more recently have been addressed in a technical memorandum by Assmann et al. As they point out, fusion reactions can be maintained only in material compressed by some external pressure, such as that provided by gravity inside a star, a fission explosion in a thermonuclear device, a magnetic field in a Tokamak, or by continuing isotropic laser or particle beams in the case of inertial fusion. In the case of the LHC beam dump, it is struck once by the beam coming from a single direction. There is no countervailing pressure, so the dump material is not compressed, and no fusion is possible.

Concern has been expressed that a ‘runaway fusion reaction’ might be created in a nitrogen tank inside the LHC tunnel. There are no such nitrogen tanks. Moreover, the arguments in the previous paragraph prove that no fusion would be possible even if there were.

Finally, concern has also been expressed that the LHC beam might somehow trigger a ‘Bose-Nova’ in the liquid helium used to cool the LHC magnets. A study(link is external) by Fairbairn and McElrath has clearly shown there is no possibility of the LHC beam triggering a fusion reaction in helium.

We recall that ‘Bose-Novae’ are known to be related to chemical reactions that release an infinitesimal amount of energy by nuclear standards. We also recall that helium is one of the most stable elements known, and that liquid helium has been used in many previous particle accelerators without mishap. The facts that helium is chemically inert and has no nuclear spin imply that no ‘Bose-Nova’ can be triggered in the superfluid helium used in the LHC.

Comments on the papers by Giddings and Mangano, and by LSAG

The papers by Giddings and Mangano(link is external) and LSAG(link is external) demonstrating the safety of the LHC have been studied, reviewed and endorsed by leading experts from the CERN Member States, Japan, Russia and the United States, working in astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, mathematics, particle physics and risk analysis, including several Nobel Laureates in Physics. They all agree that the LHC is safe.

The paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano has been peer-reviewed by anonymous experts in astrophysics and particle physics and published(link is external) in the professional scientific journal Physical Review D. The American Physical Society chose to highlight this as one of the most significant papers it has published recently, commissioning acommentary(link is external) by Prof. Peskin from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory in which he endorses its conclusions. The Executive Committee of the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society has issued a statement(link is external) endorsing the LSAG report.

The LSAG report has been published(link is external) by the UK Institute of Physics in its publication Journal of Physics G. The conclusions of the LSAG report were endorsed in a press release

The conclusions of LSAG have also been endorsed(link is external) by the Particle and Nuclear Physics Section (KET) of the German Physical Society. A translation into German of the complete LSAG report may be found on the KET website, as well as here. (A translation into French of the complete LSAG report is also available.)

Thus, the conclusion that LHC collisions are completely safe has been endorsed by the three respected professional societies of physicists that have reviewed it, which rank among the most highly respected professional societies in the world.

World-renowned experts in astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, mathematics, particle physics and risk analysis, including several Nobel Laureates in Physics, have also expressed clear individual opinions that LHC collisions are not dangerous:

“To think that LHC particle collisions at high energies can lead to dangerous black holes is rubbish. Such rumors were spread by unqualified people seeking sensation or publicity.

Academician Vitaly Ginzburg, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Lebedev Institute, Moscow, and Russian Academy of Sciences

“The operation of the LHC is safe, not only in the old sense of that word, but in the more general sense that our most qualified scientists have thoroughly considered and analyzed the risks involved in the operation of the LHC. [Any concerns] are merely hypothetical and speculative, and contradicted by much evidence and scientific analysis.

Prof. Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Boston University,

Prof. Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Prof. Richard Wilson, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University

“The world will not come to an end when the LHC turns on. The LHC is absolutely safe. … Collisions releasing greater energy occur millions of times a day in the earth’s atmosphere and nothing terrible happens.

Prof. Steven Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University

“Nature has already done this experiment. … Cosmic rays have hit the moon with more energy and have not produced a black hole that has swallowed up the moon. The universe doesn’t go around popping off huge black holes.

Prof. Edward Kolb, Astrophysicist, University of Chicago

“I certainly have no worries at all about the purported possibility of LHC producing microscopic black holes capable of eating up the Earth. There is no scientific basis whatever for such wild speculations.”

Prof. Sir Roger Penrose, Former Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University

“There is no risk [in LHC collisions, and] the LSAG report is excellent.

Prof. Lord Martin Rees, UK Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society of London

“Those who have doubts about LHC safety should read LSAG report where all possible risks were considered. We can be sure that particle collisions at the LHC  cannot lead to a catastrophic consequences.

Academician V.A. Rubakov, Institute for Nuclear Research, Moscow, and Russian Academy of Sciences

“We fully endorse the conclusions of the LSAG report: there is no basis for any concerns about the consequences of new particles or forms of matter that could possibly be produced at the LHC.

R. Aleksan et al., the 20 external members of the CERN Scientific Policy Committee, including Prof. Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics.

The overwhelming majority of physicists agree that microscopic black holes would be unstable, as predicted by basic principles of quantum mechanics. As discussed in the LSAG report(link is external), if microscopic black holes can be produced by the collisions of quarks and/or gluons inside protons, they must also be able to decay back into quarks and/or gluons. Moreover, quantum mechanics predicts specifically that they should decay via Hawking radiation.

Nevertheless, a few papers have suggested that microscopic black holes might be stable. The paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano and the LSAG report(link is external) analyzed very conservatively the hypothetical case of stable microscopic black holes and concluded that even in this case there would be no conceivable danger. Another analysis(link is external) with similar conclusions has been documented by Dr. Koch, Prof. Bleicher and Prof. Stoecker of Frankfurt University and GSI, Darmstadt, who conclude:

“We discussed the logically possible black hole evolution paths. Then we discussed every single outcome of those paths and showed that none of the physically sensible paths can lead to a black hole disaster at the LHC.”

Professor Roessler (who has a medical degree and was formerly a chaos theorist in Tuebingen) also raised doubts on the existence of Hawking radiation. His ideas have been refuted by Profs. Nicolai (Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics – Albert-Einstein-Institut – in Potsdam) and Giulini, whose report(link is external) (see herefor the English translation, and here for further statements) point to his failure to understand general relativity and the Schwarzschild metric, and his reliance on an alternative theory of gravity that was disproven in 1915. Their verdict:

“[Roessler’s] argument is not valid; the argument is not self-consistent.”

The paper of Prof. Roessler has also been criticized by Prof. Bruhn of the Darmstadt University of Technology, who concludes(link is external) that:

“Roessler’s misinterpretation of the Schwarzschild metric [renders] his further considerations … null and void. These are not papers that could be taken into account when problems of black holes are discussed.”

A hypothetical scenario for possibly dangerous metastable black holes has recently been proposed(link is external) by Dr. Plaga. The conclusions of this work have been shown to be inconsistent in a second paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano, where it is also stated that the safety of this class of metastable black hole scenarios is already established by their original work(link is external).


Source: The safety of the LHC | CERN press office