I am not making this up. Nor is this the first time that an animal has wrought havoc with the world's largest particle accelerator. In 2009, a gull dropped a baguette on "critical electrical systems," and shorted the whole thing out, causing damage that required several months to repair.
These sorts of things have caused an immediate bout of eyebrow-raising amongst the woo-woos, who tend to have the belief that nothing happens by accident. If oddball problems arise, then it is not simply because the world is a bizarre and chaotic place (an observation that in my opinion explains a good 90% of the weird events that happen). It is an indication of a conspiracy, or a bad omen at the very least.
And the fact that twice, animals have shut down the LHC? That can't be happenstance.
And as I predicted, already the wingnuts are beginning to ferment with speculation regarding the possible explanations for the recent Weasel Attack. Here are a few selected comments from online news sources that carried the story:
- What would make a weasle [sic] eat a power cord? There's something they're not telling us.
- This isn't the only time this has happened. A few years ago a seagull damaged the Large Hardon [sic] collider and now its [sic] happened again. Nature and God are trying to tell us something that we are not supposed to be doing this. What happens when its [sic] fixed and started up and something goes wrong? We should take this to mean that the Large Hardon [sic] collider should be shut down permanently.
- Some scientists believe that this is happening because in the future CERN has created a black hole or something else bad, and they're sending us messages back in time to stop us. We better listen.
- We sink billions of dollars into something a weasel can destroy. How fucking stupid are we?
- Once was a weird thing to happen. Twice is too much to be a coincidence.
- Why does a weasel eating a power cord mean there's "something they're not telling us?" As far as I can see, all it means is "a weasel ate a power cord."
- I'm sorry, but the mental image I get whenever someone writes CERN's facility as "the Large Hardon Collider" is so hilarious that I can't even stay serious long enough to consider anything else they might say. I may have a juvenile sense of humor, but there you are.
- As far as how fucking stupid we are, as a species, I think you can find a whole lot of pieces of evidence along those lines other than building a piece of expensive and fragile equipment. There are far better examples to choose from of how fucking stupid we are.
- When one weird thing happens, it can't be a coincidence, because a "coincidence" is when two similar events coincide. Thus the name.
- If CERN created a black hole in the future, my guess is that there wouldn't be an Earth around at that point, much less scientists to send a Tactical Assault Weasel back in time to stop it from happening.
Doesn't this have the look of a time-traveling vandal from the future? [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]
Be that as it may, Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, has said that the repairs will only take a couple of weeks. The Large Hadron [note the spelling] Collider should be back online, and ready to smash atoms and/or end the universe as we know it, by mid-May.
Unless the scientists in the future send some other animal emissary back in time to wreck it again. Maybe this time with a highly-trained Military Attack Wombat with a strategic banana peel. You can see how effective that would be.