Bad news, citizens of Earth: those evil physicists at CERN are once again hellbent on vaporising the Earth and ending the universe as we know it as the Large Hadron Collider ramps up to unprecedented energies. That's according to Lonnie Robinson, intrepid correspondent/prophet of doom for The Daily Reporter in Coldwater, Michigan, who sees the signs of our imminent destruction everywhere he looks (including The Simpsons). He even pegs the specific day on which we can probably expect global annihilation: September 24, 2015.
The good news: Lonnie Robinson is full of shit.
Seriously, I am baffled that this article ever found its way into The Daily Reporter. At first I thought it had to be The Onion or a similar satirical site, but no -- it's an actual newspaper. Were the editors asleep at the wheel? Because the stupid, it burns.
Never mind that the piece is rambling, incoherent and sub-literate, or that Robinson is so ignorant about science that he talks about "molecular particles," and doesn't know the difference between dark matter and antimatter. These are words that Robinson actually wrote, and presumably some editor at The Daily Reporter approved:
"Two of the major goals for CERN is to collapse and break apart the God Particle that creates and maintains our physical world and to tear a hole through the veil that is the barrier protecting our physical universe from the unknown, non-physical universes and other non-physical dimensions believed to be located outside our physical universe.... CERN destroys matter, and everything in our universe is matter. Destroying physical matter eliminates the restrictions and barriers produced by physical matter that keeps us from entering the non-physical universes around us."
There is so much wrong in that short excerpt, it's not even worth debunking. This is the full-on crazy mode of the hardcore conspiracy theorist, made crystal clear by this little gem:
"CERN is being used as a stargate, so that human scientists will be able to go to and from currently unknown, perhaps very hostile, non-physical worlds and dimensions located and currently unseen, outside our physical universe."
Wait, what? Does James Spader know about this? Note to Robinson: The Stargate franchise is not a documentary. And neither was Interstellar.
This is a level of crackpot hysteria rarely encountered outside of conspiracy message boards. It honestly makes me long for the good ol' days, when folks were panicked about the Large Hadron Collider creating mini-black holes or strangelets that would devour all the matter in the universe, and filing frivolous lawsuits in Hawaii. (For the record, CERN maintains a public Website addressing safety concerns relating to the Large Hadron Collider. tl;dr: it's hella safe and will not destroy the world.)
Honestly, maybe we shouldn't even care about an Op-Ed in a small local tabloid by a person with zero scientific credibility who seems to have more than one screw loose. (According to his LinkedIn profile, he is retired from Michigan law enforcement and teaches forensic science and psychological profiling at the University of Phoenix Graduate School. Let's hope that profile is out-of-date.) But this is the digital age, and misinformation can spread like wildfire across the Internet. And maybe I'm just needlessly amplifying the signal by writing this, but at least there's one public rebuttal to Robinson's feverish delusions floating around the ether for some future Googler to find.
Of course, if CERN really is building a sooper seekrit portal to other parallel worlds, let me be the first to volunteer for the mission... I hear the fifth dimension is love.
Pictures: NASA, MGM/Stargate-SG1