The best fear-mongering press release ever written about the Large Hadron Collider

Do you ever wish for the book that truly had everything in it, from conspiracy theories and volcanoes to dramatic misunderstandings of scientific events and awesomely portentous predictions of MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DYING? Seriously, this is the best fear-mongering press release I have ever read about anything in the world of scienticians:

Could Discovery Of God Particle Threaten Our Existence?

New Book Links Hadron Collider To Two Cataclysmic Mayan Doomsday Events

West Palm Beach, FL, October 24, 2012 - Back in July, physicists in Geneva announced the existence of the Higgs Boson, or ‘God particle,' a subatomic particle thought to be the key to understanding the makeup of the universe. What these physicists forgot to mention is that smashing protons together at near-light speed using the Large Hadron Collider also produces a potentially planet-ending byproduct — miniature black holes.

While CERN physicists contend that these black holes are too small to threaten the Earth, a new book just released by NY Times best-selling author Steve Alten links the Large Hadron Collider with two very real cataclysmic threats prophesied by the Mayan Calendar, with the doomsday event predicted for December 21st of this year.

Author Steve Alten consulted with physicists while researching his book, PHOBOS: Mayan Fear, which graphically details these two ticking time-bombs of Mother Nature. The first is a 3,000-foot-high mega-Tsunami originating from La Palma, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. Scientists concur the threat detailed in the book is real and that the described mega-Tsunami would strike the east coast of the United States, leveling New York, Boston, and Miami.

The second major event described in the book is the eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, a super-volcano packing the equivalent of ten thousand Mt. Saint Helens. Besides the widespread devastation and destruction, the eruption would blanket the Earth's atmosphere, cutting off the sun's rays and leading to a 100,000-year Ice Age.

PHOBOS: Mayan Fear reveals that both of these seismic threats could be accidentally triggered by a miniature black hole generated by the Large Hadron Collider.


I love that the author "consulted with physicists." About what? Their dinner plans? The best way to measure the fluid dynamics generated by the wind whistling between his ears? I suppose if I want to find out the answer to this all-consuming mystery, I'll have to read this startling book that ties together all my favorite disasters with my favorite misinterpretation of Maya history!

Oh and the best part (other than the whole mini black hole thing which Jennifer Ouellette has already debunked marvelously)? This whole press release, and the book trailer, are carefully designed to make you think this book is actually a work of science. But no — it's just really bad science fiction. Cue wacky trombone noise.


(Hat tip to Carl Zimmer, who — for some reason — didn't see fit to write about this momentous book in the New York Times.)

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The earth has a circumference of 40,075km, but due to positioning and land mass, the wave would likely only span half that. So.. 20,000km long and 50m high at that distance. Let's be generous and say it's 25m deep, or 1/2th it's height. That means the tsunami at it's greatest would encompass

25,000,000,000L and 1 litre of seawater has a mass of 1027g.

Total mass of seawater? 2.5675e+13 or 25.68PL.

E = MV^2

According to scientists, it would take at least 8 hours to travel the 6357km to the Eastern US coast. That's 794.625km/h or 220.73m/s

E = 2.5675e+13*220.73*220.73

E = 1.2509305e+18 Joules.

That's 1.25 exajoules of energy. To put that in perspective: The 2004 surface waves from then Indian Ocean released 110 PJ or 1/11 of the energy this wave would need to posses by the time it reaches the US. That's... a huge amount of energy. Roughly the amount of electricity every year in the US alone. Which means at it's source, we'd need roughly an energy expenditure 364,000 times greater.. or roughly the same amount of energy expended when the meteor hit the Yucatan.

Somehow I doubt that even releasing that much rock would cause an event of that magnitude. Just displacing water alone wouldn't cause a tsunami and the math really assumes a lot of things that would drastically weaken any effects it could create.