Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Wacky world of David Rountree PhD (?) MSEE(?) Liar(?)

David M. Rountree is a star of now cancelled TV show Ghost Stalkers and  director of operations at S.P.I.R.I.T (scientific paranormal investigative research and information technology. Acronyms are cool) labs, whose site features 10 downloadable PDFs on quantum mechanics authored by Rountree himself. In addition to this there are 10 PDFs on the correlation between quantum physics and paranormal phenomena ranging from UFOs to ghosts and through cryptozoology.

Roundtree should know what he is talking about here, just look at the qualifications he claims to hold, and besides... HE WROTE THAT HE IS A PHYSICIST ON TWITTER! No-one lies on social media!

Looking at some of Rountree's PDFs its clear he has some knowledge of quantum physics, but none of them go into much depth beyond what you'd find in a pop culture physics book, not that there is anything particularly WRONG with pop culture physics books.... but Rountree is naming these PDFs 101-1 etc... implying that there is some academic merit to them.

Also he makes some quite fundamental errors. For example in Quantum Physics 101-1, which consists of nothing more than the potted history of some of discoveries that led to the development of quantum physics, Rountree states this about Planck's constant:
"This is known as Planck’s Constant, and along with the speed of light, is one of the two key constants in physics."

Now even a second year degree student, like me, knows that there are far more than two key constants in physics, and Rountree claims to have a PhD in Quantum mechanics from Princeton!
He goes as far to even talk about Newton's theory of gravitation in the same paragraph, did he forget about Newton's gravitation constant G? What about all these constants?  Seems like an odd thing for a physicist to forget.

These are just for starters. I used every one of those during my first year.

Looking through the other PDFs among a few silly mistakes and over-simplifications, I couldn't really find anything that screamed "This was wrote by a PhD". For example, there isn't one single equation for example, in fact I'd say most of the imparted information could be found on Wikipedia or in a popular science book in any bookshop.
To be fair everyone makes mistakes, but this is a PhD and the PDFs never really rise beyond the level of a second grade book report.

I linked the documents to the awesome Dr. Matt Hunt PhD in applied mathematics, formerly of the much missed Fundamentally Flawed podcast, he made the same observation as I had:

"There are no equations when talking about quantum mechanics which suggests he doesn't have the skills to understand them."

This led me to question whether Rountree actually has a PhD in quantum mechanics, could he be lying about his qualifications? Before I deal with that (and boy will I), what is Rountree's actual claim linking quantum physics to the paranormal?

Taken from Quantum Physics 101-2

Woah woah woah.... The will of the observer?

See what Rountree does here? He blinds you with the wonder of legitimate science, the non-intuitive nature of quantum physics, then he sneaks past you a  BIG FAT LIE. Will isn't a measurable quantity, never has been. Never been show to have the damnedest effect on reality either, quantum or otherwise. Rountree has reality confused with a Green Lantern comic book. And "will" as with consciousness, has damn all to do with collapse of a wave function.

Also Rountree doesn't seem to understand the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics (again important to remember this is just one of many possible explanations for the probabilistic nature of quantum physics). The Copenhagen interpretation doesn't state that "nothing is real until you observe it" but that a quantum system doesn't adopt a fixed state until it interacts with something in its enviroment, causing the collapse of its wavefunction! The wavefunction being everything that can be known about the system while it remains isolated.

Rountree continues based on this faulty premise:

So a ghost is a quantum wave? There's one great big glaring problem with this premise. A "ghost" wouldn't be a object on a quantum-scale. As its visible with the naked eye, and often human sized, we'd assume it to be a macroscopic object, the number of particles it would have consist of (and it would have to consist of particles as to be seen it has to interact with photons) would exceed Avagado's number generally taken to be the limit of microscopic to macroscopic objects, otherwise there would no seeing it at all, it wouldn't be dense enough to even appear transparent.

I put this to Dr Matt, he had this to say:
Thanks Matt.

Also remember when we talked on the last blog about the collapse of the wavefunction causing the observables to take a set value? Well the observables aren't "imaginary" and "real" are they? No they are things like momentum and position and energy... wait...  He actually said the wave is imaginary, therefore the ghost is imaginary. FUCK! I totally agree with that!

He spoils it by continuing.

The rest of Rountree's first set of PDFs reveal little else of his theories, instead he deviates on to other subjects such string theory. The second set of PDFs feature Rountree's connections to various paranormal phenomena.

The first PDF "Anti-gravity and UFOs" quickly spirals into conspiracy theory and pseudo-science: Nazi saucer projects, anti-gravity weapons. The stuff of nonsense.

So Tim Ventura floated an object across the room, this is how UFOs travel, firstly Ventura's research can't be found in peer reviewed journals but in UFO sites and magazines. This is one of the first sources that Rountree has really cited and its pseudo-scientific rubbish. I can't even show a picture of the device Tim built because even the site American Anti-Gravity have removed it!

Also you know how Tim's object "defied gravity"? With a stream of ionized air!

Anyone need me to tell them why this isn't going to allow aliens to travel across THE VOID OF SPACE!

"Many UFO reports indicate the craft are able to create a field to counter Earths gravity, or at least to manipulate it." 
What reports? Any chance we can see them? Nah, just take his word for it.

Moving on to the "Ghosts and Crytzoology" PDF, here Roundtree offers an alternative second hypothesis on the origin of ghosts.... because frankly I'm losing the will to live... I give in here.

There isn't an iota of evidence in any of these documents that Rountree is actually a PhD in quantum physics as he claims.

Rountree's qualifications

The first thing I did to check into Dave's education was go to Princeton's home page, from there I can search their library of thesis dating back to 1926, with thesis from 1997 onwards represented by full text. As Rountree claims to have qualified in 2012 his dissertation should definitely be there.

First searching David M, Rountree.

Hmmm... nothing.

Let's try just David Rountree:

Hmm.... a few Rountrees. No David. And no results in quantum physics or mechanics. Why would there be no doctoral dissertation for David Rountree?

Try yourself.

A General search reveals something unsurprising, Rountree is exposed on various sites by a multitude of people as, to be frank, a liar. Not only about qualifications but also about military service.
Let's be clear here what follows is the hard work of the cited individuals, who have been on Rountree's case for sometime. I reproduce it simply because I think as many people as possible should know what this man this. These people, who will be named, are awesome. I suck.

So has Rountree produced any evidence of his qualifications? The PhD in quantum mechanics, no not one jot, he's posted evidence of other qualifications, so why not this one? I'll let you draw your own conclusion.

On the left here's one he has posted, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering awarded in 2007. But from where? The seal of the certificate is obscured. If you look at the profile at the top of this blog Rountree does claim an MSEE in 2007. The crucial difference is Rountree claims that he got this degree from NJIT, the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Problem is, that isn't their seal. Its the seal of Belford University.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Belford is a scam university, a diploma mill, unaccredited. offering "life experience degrees". In 2012 it was hit by a $22.7 million dollar class-action lawsuit, which has, unfortunately not had much of an impact on its trade.

So Rountree is a Master of Science in the same sense as Kent Hovind is a doctor. i.e. Not at all.

Two qualifications down. One to go. His BSEE. Again Dave has posted "evidence" of this qualification on twitter:

I'm going to let the authors of the brilliant No Blue Falcons Blog tell you the problems with this one, after you read this go tell them how much they rock.
"The first big red flag is the word “neccessary” in the first line under his name, which should actually be spelled NECESSARY... The second problem is in the following line. The words “here by” is also incorrect. The correct word should be “hereby”... David M. Rountree was born May 22, 1954. That means he did not graduate high school until 18 years later, which would be 1972. How was he able to obtain a four year degree in ONE year?" 

And there is much more, you can read more of their conclusions here.

Rountree's lies don't stop at his qualifications as mentioned, but I do. My aim was to examine his claims with regards to physics and I have. You shouldn't stop here though. This man deserves to be exposed.

To read more about this shocking claims and fabrications follow these links:




So why does any of this matter?

Rountree is lying to gain respect in the paranormal field, he hides his bogus claims behind the shield of  authority in physics, It insults physicists and exploits ignorance. In doing so, he spits on everyone who worked their arse into the ground to gain a qualification IN ANYTHING, because he skipped the work and went straight for the reward and respect. And he's gettin' it too.

And how does he respond to his critics? As I've shown with more fabrications and with CHARMING images like this:

Really? A gun. What an outstanding man of science.

Tell you what Dave, I will retract all of this. Every word. I will sing your praises for a year. I'll Grovel.

All you have to do is one thing... tell me the title of your doctoral thesis and link me to it.

That's it.

Up for the challenge soldier?

Thanks to everyone who helped me research this post. I got an immeasurable amount of assistance from TK Anderson, who also wrote this open letter to Rountree. The No Blue Falcons run a regular blog on the antics of Dodgy Dave, which is a second to none source of information. And To Matt Hunt for his expertise. Plus immeasurable others who contributed without even knowing.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Quantum weep: "Like the scent of burnt toast...."

Physics is hard.

And that difficulty associated with physics leads to a general lack of understanding amongst a lot of people. And if we're talking about quantum physics you can amplify this as much of the theory is non-intuitive, even illogical. It isn't deterministic, its probabilistic meaning we can perform the same experiment twice in exactly the same conditions... and the results can be different. That flies in the face of much of the scientific method. Einstein, for one hated the idea that the universe maybe governed by probability. It led to one of his most famous quotes "God does not play dice". Add to this quantum theory isn't complete, there are varying interpretations, and where there is ambiguity, superstition can be squeezed in.

To someone who has discovered the elegance and beauty of physics, the general lack of understanding among others can be saddening*.

Now on to something that ANGERS those who have actually put in the time and tremendous effort it takes to study physics. People exploiting the general public's ignorance of physics to support supernatural bullshit. All physicists have been through the same things. They learnt advanced calculus, polynomials and quadratics and binomial theorem. They learned to differentiate and integrate in their sleep.  They've sat horrible exams. They've stayed up until two or three in the morning agonising over a problem they just can't quite define. These people have skipped all that.

Let me be clear, and I say this in no uncertain terms....



Let's look at a few common claims then a specific one.

Here's a comment left on a recent post on site I visit quite often. In the interest of fairness I won't say where or who posted it. It just happens to be quite a good example of some of the claims that are used to connect the paranormal and quantum physics.

Wow, that's a lot of  quantum related words thrown about with, unfortunately, very little understanding behind them.

To be fair, Chris is just repeating common claims here, he has likely obtained them from another source and just accepted to be true, he's not really passing himself off as an expert, but he is circulating ignorance.  Shame of him for not doing further research, but why would he? He has the answer he wants already.

First of all there is no "Law of observation". What I think Chris is referring to here is the observer effect. As in the very act of observing a physical process changes the outcome of that process. Now if you think of that in everyday terms, or the macroscopic world, that concept would be pretty stunning. Imagine if observing an oak tree grow caused to grow differently. Or change the outcome of a chemical reaction...

One might reasonably conclude that something in the act of viewing, perhaps consciousness itself. has effected that process. That's what Chris has concluded, but here is the problem with that reasoning:

The observer effect as Chris seems to mean is seen only quantum and particle physics (the observer effect also applies in thermodynamics and electronics, in both cases its a direct effect of the instruments). Taking particle physics as an example, to observe an electron its necessary to bombard the electron with photons. The electron must interact with the photon, which naturally changes its state as the energy state of system depends on the energy of individual electrons, which changes as a result of... photon emission and absorption.  Absorption of photons of particular energies moves an electron from its ground state to a corresponding excited state, emission moves it from an excited state to a lower excited state or a ground state,

Thus act of observing a quantum state, defined by observables such as energy, position and momentum, has changed that state, thus it changes all possible future states.

There are many interpretations of the phenomena described. One thing is clear:

Consciousness isn't a factor.

To understand why see don't see these effects in the macroscopic world we have evolved to comprehend, consider this: One wouldn't expect the influx of photons to effect an oak tree because statistically we are talking about a lot of atoms, a lot of electrons and a huuuuuge amount of photons here: the amount of absorbed photons is balanced by the amount emitted by electrons returning to ground state or lower excited states via a process known as spontaneous emission.

Another concept that Chris touches on is entanglement. Again this is a phenomena not seen on a macroscopic level, and one that Chris introduces with an immediate and fatal misunderstanding. Entanglement doesn't show that ALL THINGS are connected. Pairs or groups of particles are entangled when they are created via the same process. You can't extrapolate this to all things!

The physical properties of particles that are entangled are spin, polarisation, position and momentum. The measurement of these properties in one of a pair of particles created in the same process causes is the immediate adoption of converse values in its partner.... even if its on the other side of the universe.

This was an immediate problem for physicists such as Einstein, who saw this as a violation of the universe's set speed limit of c the speed of light and of the theory of general relativity, information shouldn't be able to travel instantaneously. Its an area of intense research and there is yet to be a solid explanation for the phenomena, but there are a lot hypothesis that go some way to doing just that. Did Einstein call this "spooky"? Kind of. He actually referred to it as "spooky action at a distance" the word "spooky" here isn't referring to anything supernatural, and the instantaneous transfer of information we are talking about isn't information in a classic sense. For instance it isn't useful, you couldn't use it to pass a message for example. Certainly not from the dead via a medium, or from an owner to a dog letting them know they are heading home.

At least Chris showed some understanding of what he's talking about. He HAS done some reading. Its what he has been reading that is the problem.

Maybe its been tripe like "The Quantum Theory of ghosts"

What?  What does that even mean? I Googled it to find out. Guess how many exact results I found.... one. This page. Its word stew. Thrown together because seems intelligent, it isn't. Its fucking nonsense. Let's just say I accept the phrase means something, anything, why would a strong emotion impact on the physical properties of the universe beyond the brain of the person in the midst of the emotion and any action they may take? We're asked to make two massive assumptions here based on nothing. That consciousness extends beyond the brain and can effect the universe at large.

"Quantum tapestry of the universe" again Googled it. One exact result. It was the home page of MIT.... not really it was this goon again. So ghosts are created when the observer's emotions.... wait a second... the observer CREATES the ghost? Then what are they "observing" exactly? The ghost they haven't created yet? Surely that violates causality. Effect can't precede cause. The ghost can't be there to be observed if the observer hasn't observed it yet... GAH. I can't believe I even had to just type that shit.

AND I'll just realised that whoever Googles  "Quantum tapestry of the universe" and  "subatomic weave of the universe" will now get this blog as well as the Quantum Theory of ghosts. Hello I'm not a quantum woo... you can go now future Googler....WAIT! What's the future like? No don't tell me...

Anyway now they're gone now, back to the bullshit...

 Negative emotions many times more likely to cause those effects... any evidence for that? Considering that you are unable to show any emotion has any effect... I can just dismiss this out of hand can't I? After all, what can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed just as easily. Also, the universe doesn't have "spin" in the sense used when when we discuss particles. Dismiss that as well then.

This just goes on and on. Claim after claim. Dividing ghosts into categories, sorting which emotions make the biggest indents.  No substance at all, certainly no evidence, no peer reviewed papers. Because this isn't science... none of it.

Its superstition dressed as science. 

Sorry Chris, you seem like a nice chap, but there isn't a damned thing behind any of the words you sprayed out like silly string that suggests that Auntie Mildred can communicate from the great beyond. Entangled particles and talking to the dead: does not compute.

And sorry nutter who wrote a load of gubbins about ghosts... you can't just make up phrases and make a ton of claims without so much as a jot of evidence.

There's no way I could've been exhaustive here, there's so many people out there linking quantum physics to the paranormal based on nothing but ignorance, it just wouldn't be possible. I've tried to cover some general and some specific claims. In the next part I look at another specific claim and someone who is claiming to be an expert on Quantum physics. Someone who prepared to lie to obfuscate the truth to an extraordinary level.

* As a side note: What we need to resolve this lack of understanding is better physics education, part of the problem in England for example, is that many of the teachers actively teaching physics to our children aren't qualified in it. I'm sure most do an adequate job, good even, but the most neglected aspect of teaching is imparting passion. How do you do that if you never had that passion in the subject yourself? Its a fault not of any individual, but of the system that doesn't offer adequate reward for one of society's most vital roles.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Counting the cost.

Ghosts and ghouls.

The paranormal community is in shock today over the murder of Debbie Constantino by her partner Mark, who then committed suicide. Debbie and Mark were paranormal investigators, who have appeared on "Ghost Adventures" and as such had something of celebrity status in the para-community. It goes without saying that our thoughts at this time should be with the friends and families of Mark and Debbie and a second victim murdered by Mark.

Obviously this story is a saddening and shocking one and many details are yet to emerge, I'm not going to rake over the details that are clear at this time, I didn't know Debbie and Mark, I'll reserve judgement.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the aftermath of this terrible story has been the speed at which someone has come forward to attempt to exploit it. Steve Huff of Huff Paranormal has publicly stated he has attempted to contact Debbie by EVP and encourages others to do the same:

I'd categorically say whether you believe that a 24 hour period is the best time to reach the deceased or not... basic human FUCKING decency dictates that you don't take to social media boasting about it!

Steve attempts to justify this by saying 62 people asked him to attempt contact with Debbie, so what? Its hardly an overwhelming demand is it? Would it not be possible to tell 62 people "Sorry, I don't think that's appropriate." Sorry Steve that excuse is a cop out and you know it.

He then claims that he is a "researcher" and that justifies performing an EVP experiment so soon. I'd argue with that, foremost because I don't see any validity in EVP, but also, just because you are conducting "research" 
doesn't mean that you have to post about on Facebook! His third justification is that contact with becomes harder the longer one waits after death (I'd say any time AFTER death, you've waited too long). Any evidence of this statement Steve?

No, didn't think so.

Its all just ad-hoc justification in a situation where you probably should have just said "sorry, I was insensitive". 

His justification continues, the excuses flow, and frankly he gives me the impression of a man with a massive ego, who doesn't really know how to talk to the living never mind the dead. You can read the full statement here.   

Needless to say all this has led to an inevitable, and probably deserved backlash, with some people calling for Huff to be stuck out of the community.

Strong stuff. Personally I'm not sure whether I agree with people being drummed out of communities. I prefer a dialogue, but as Steve has already stated anyone who disagrees with him will be blocked, that isn't going to happen.  And besides, I think all this masks a far greater problem here, and one that needs to be addressed.

I see, amongst certain quarters of the paranormal community, a fundamental lack of respect for the deceased that can actually be quite staggering.

A little while back I wrote about the death of Elisa Lam and the way it  has been used to bolster the legend of the Hotel Cecil. Its been my least well received post thus far, many didn't seem to understand what point I was trying to make. They didn't understand that the Roadtripper's article I was commenting was exploiting the death of a young girl?

 That scares me. That lack of understanding, Of compassion.

Another example. How may times have you seen the story of the death of Anneliese Michel discussed on Facebook pages and paranormal blogs? Understandably, as its one of the most well known "possession"  stories due to being immortalised in a major motion picture. I'm sure you've seen the grizzly photos of Anneliese in her final days, often touted as evidence of the paranormal, how often have you seen this picture though? Anneliese as a normal young girl, with her life ahead of her, who eventually suffered a cruel and torturous end at the hands of those she loved and trusted?

Elisa and Anneliese have become part of a narrative, urban legends to be repeated and shared and poured over, speculated upon. Do they deserve this. Do their families? Do the others who have been assimilated in popular culture deserve this?

This isn't even considering the countless grieving families who have the memories of their beloved relatives manipulated and exploited by fraudulent mediums and physics.

Its not counting the public seances of the latest deceased celebrity. The alleged EVPs, The urban legends. The morbid tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of their phantom around their homes or places of death.

What about the Ghost Hunting TV shows in which a muscle bound idiot walks around a derelict building screaming at the supposed spirits of the deceased there?

For a community so interested in the afterlife, its worrying how little respect for the dead we can show. And its disgraceful how little respect we show their living relatives.

I'm not convinced that ghosts or spirits exist... but ghouls sure as hell do.

"What's the harm in believing in (insert supernatural belief here)?"

Every "skeptic" has had this put to them at some point of another. There is an entire website, quite brilliant at that, dedicated specifically to answering that question. But on some days its easy to see the cost, some days the cost can be given a name, or a face... or both.
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Those days are rarely good.

The Huffington Post, and numerous other sources, report today on the tragic death of toddler Bella Bond and the trial of her accused murderer Michael McCarthy. You can find the story here, but I have to warn you that it isn't a particularly easy read. Even before her death, Bella has seemingly subjected to some quite horrific treatment.

The connection to the paranormal lies in the accused  man's seeming obsession with the occult. Numerous books on the occult and in particular, demons were found amongst his belongings and he is alleged to have said to his partner, the child's mother Rachelle Bond, also on trial as an accessory:

"She was a demon, anyway, It was her time to die."
A friend of the couple's told investigating officers that McCarthy had believed Bella to be possessed.

Now we have to bear in mind here that there are other underlying issues here that have contributed to Bella's death. I have little doubt that McCarthy has mental health issues and there is certainly a substance abuse issue here, but McCarthy has at the very least used belief in demons and the supernatural to excuse the abuse and subsequent murder of a child, if he is guilty.

Would Bella still be alive if belief in demons and possession was less prevalent? One can only speculate on that. And by no means am I suggesting that these beliefs DIRECTLY led to murder, but in the mind of someone with mental health or substance abuse issues, they certainly seem to be harmful.

What's the harm in belief in demons and possession?

One less 2 year old little girl in the world.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.... clearing up misconceptions and conspiracies about the LHC.

There are few scientific endeavours over the last few years that have caused as much concern and consternation as the operations being carried out at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva (other than GMOs perhaps). Most of these concerns stem from a general ignorance amongst the general public about what actually happens at the LHC, add in some misunderstood and often wilfully misquoted scientists and the human trait of doom-saying and you've got an explosive mix.

So should you be worried when the LHC fires up again on Wednesday?

In a word no. But let's look a bit closer at some of the misconceptions, conspiracies and down-right bullshit surrounding the LHC courtesy of some nuts websites, a pontiff and a very mixed up individual I came across on social media this week.

The Daily Mail completely hysterically highlights those fears in article headed: "Are we all going to die on Wednesday?" And 2.9 million people have liked it thus far on Facebook alone!

This ignorance clearly needs to be addressed:

Back to basics. The lunatics at CERN are trying to RECREATE the big bang!
Taken from Global research: Large Hadron Collider weapon of mass destruction. 

So how true is that? Note very, What scientists are actually seeking to recreate are conditions immediately following the "Big Bang" when energy levels were much higher. Taking place at ALICE (a Large Ion Collider experiment) conditions are such that its possible for Quarks the particles which make up baryonic matter such as protons and neutrons to exist out of confinement, in the form of "Quark-gluon plasma". From this its possible to observe how particles such protons and neutrons form.

This isn't achieved by replicating the big bang, but by replicating everyday events which are unfortunately difficult to observe due to their location....

Could the LHC open multiple black holes? That would suck.

One of the most repeated claims about the LHC is that it could open multiple black holes, surely not a good thing, right?

One thing worth considering when you hear this claim, is as already mentioned, the LHC only recreates particle collisions that are occurring constantly in the upper atmosphere. Cosmic rays, composed mostly of  90% protons and roughly 9% alpha particles with a small percentage of heavier nuclei, strike particles held in Earth' natural magnetic field at energies of 100 - 1000 TeV. The maximum energy the LHC is capable of reaching is 14 TeV.

So even if these collisions are capable of creating miniature black holes, then wouldn't it be safe to assume that they'd be harmless as surely they'll be in a state of creation constantly in the upper atmosphere. Current theories suggest that if a black hole WAS created in such a fashion it would almost instantly decay, but observation of this decay would teach mush about the early universe.

Much of the speculation about miniature black holes and CERN comes from investigations into a highly speculative hypothesis  of quantum gravity called Rainbow Gravity and a recent paper by  published in Physics Letters by Ahmed Farag Ali, Mir Faizal, and Mohammed M. Khalil.

The paper in question neatly brings us on to the next item on the fear monger's list of LHC dangers.

You, but with a beard... and evil. Could the LHC open a doorway to other dimensions and parallel universes.

This is a claim that's stuck a particular chord with both conspiracy theorists who have watched way too much Sci-Fi and conservative Christians alike. Here's what Pope Francis, in all of his scientific wisdom had to say:
“My fellow Christians, we are living in desperate times” he told the crowd.“Science is about to test the limits of God and his creation. God has created boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Are these scientists about to unleash upon us the Gates of Hell?” he asked his followers, visibly shaken. “Are these the days of darkness spoken of in the Bible? Are the hordes of demons lurking in the fiery pits of Hell about to be thrust upon the world? These are questions we must ponder before allowing scientists to proceed to such experiments” he explained." 

Hasn't that been the refrain of religious luddites for years: Science stepping on the toes of god. Let's say for a moment I accept the existence of god, why are scientists acting against him? Would god want us to remain ignorant? Why believe in such a small and petty god so protective of his secrets?

Here's a slightly less unhinged version:

Dark age fear mongering aside, part of our problem here is our concept of "other dimensions". Here's what Dr Faziel had to say on the matter:

"Normally, when people think of the multiverse, they think of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, where every possibility is actualized. This cannot be tested and so it is philosophy and not science. This is not what we mean by parallel universes. What we mean is real universes in extra dimensions. As gravity can flow out of our universe into the extra dimensions, such a model can be tested by the detection of mini black holes at the LHC. We have calculated the energy at which we expect to detect these mini black holes in gravity's rainbow [a new theory]. If we do detect mini black holes at this energy, then we will know that both gravity's rainbow and extra dimensions are correct."
So the key is here, we need the reconsider what the phrase "other dimensions" actually means. What we are actually talking about are additions to our tradition view of dimensions in the length, height and width or the x, y and z directions if you prefer.

Sorry Guys.  Party is off. 
So essentially don't worry about being murdered by vampire versions of your mates on Wednesday. As for "gates of hell" a phrase picked up on by a multitude of religious cranks, remember these collisons are occurring frequently and no gates of hell as of yet. Not so much as a letter box!

But wait even Stephen Hawking has warned about LHC! Hasn't he? 

Here's what Live science reported that Stephen Hawking had warned about the LHC and the Higgs Boson in particular.

" Now, in the preface to a new collection of essays and lectures called "Starmus," the famous theoretical physicist is warning that the particle could one day be responsible for the destruction of the known universe."
Wow! Pretty scary stuff, if its true. "If" being the operative word here it turns out. Here's what Hawking ACTUALLY said in the preface of Starmus:
"The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100 [billion] gigaelectronvolts (GeV). This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn't see it coming."
Wait,  "The Higgs potential " does he mean "the potential of the Higgs Boson" here? No. The Higgs Boso, which is the force carrying particle of the Higgs field and the Higgs potential are different concepts. Think of it like this, the Higgs potential is equivalent to the voltage of an electric field, whilst the Higgs boson is equivalent to the electron.

Another clue the Hawking is talking about a different concept here is he discusses an energy level of above 1.00 x 10^11 GeV. The Higgs Boson was found with the LHC running at an energy of below 6.5 TeV, which is around 6.5 x 10^3 GeV. When its switched back on it will be operating at around 13TeV will the potential to reach 14 TeV which is 1,4 x 10^4 GeV, short of Hawking's prediction by a factor of 7.14 x 10^6!

Sorry Live Science got it wrong, and as its considered a trusted science many media outlets followed suite. Shame on you guys

The Conspiracy Theories.

What lurks in the bowels of the LHC? UFOS!

The Sunday Express reports on a UFO sighting at CERN here, I don't normally comment on UFOs the reason being frankly you could be looking at anything. That's certainly the case here. But what makes this different is the conspiracy theorists have jumped on this because there is talk of UFOS in official CERN documentation! As was put to me in a Facebook discussion recently by a chap who repeatedly asked me "What's in the tubes?":

Turns out this IS a genuine quote, but unfortunately for rabid conspiracy theorists like Gary the term UFO here is just an unfortunate choice of acronym, or perhaps some waggish scamp at CERN winding up the cranks. In this case UFOs  refers to Unidentified falling objects, most commonly speculated to be.... dust. But wait! There's something else lurking in the tubes! A ULO, Unidentified Lying Object. Gary is also quite worked up about this too!

So what is the ULO? Truth is CERN don't know, its in a sealed vacuum pipe which would cause considerable upheaval to remove. But let's put the ULO into context, its radius approximately
150 um and its not caused any issues thus far, the engineers at CERN suspect its a nut of bolt. What Gary and others seem worked up by is the potential threat posed if the ULO moved. Sure Roeck admits it could pose a problem for "the operation", i.e;- beam disruption so how do Gary and others extrapolate this to be a potential Earth destroying hazard?

This'll send a Shiva down your spine! Why is there a huge golden statue of the Hindu god of destruction at CERN?
"Natural" website "Be a Good Steward of Mother Earth" certainly have an opinion about what the statue represents:

"Can there be a coincidence that the statue at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) is none other than Shiva Nataraja – the dancing Shiva, also known as the primordial destructive force of the universe?.... The picture above was taken in front of the CERN complex in Geneva, Switzerland. This statue of Shiva Nataraj is casting a shadow on the headquarters building. Is this a message “from the universe” about the destructive potential of a particle accelerator which collides opposing streams of protons and most recently lead ions) at the speed of light in an effort to create a mini big bang. We sincerely hope that the unique and strategic placement of this sacred statue will somehow represent an auspicious outcome of CERN’s endeavors, and will not prove to be an ill omen."
The site's author also makes several comments about the arrogance and ineptitude of science. Funny how these "natural" sites chose to spread their dross on the internet, one of the crowning achievements of modern science,  Surely they should be scrawling their bullshit on papyrus using burnt twigs? Isn't that more natural?


The not at all hysterically named website "Now the End Begins" (yes really, we aren't expecting fair and balanced here are we?) sees a far more sinister motive for Shiva's presence at CERN:

"The bible clearly tells us that the Hindu “dark one” who inhabits the “burning ground” is none other than Satan himself. Is the picture starting to become clear to you now?
The same “science” that inspired the builders of the Tower of Babel, men who like Satan said they did not need God to reach Heaven, is also behind the work of the people at CERN. People who have dedicated the whole of their research to the “dark one”.
There are no accidents and no coincidences. The New World Order is sending a clear-cut message. They are awaiting for the appearance of their lord, the Antichrist, and will attempt to destroy the world and recreate it in his image. The bible tells us how it all will end:
“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” Daniel 11:44,45 9 (KJV)
The big question this raises amongst the religious nonsense, why on Earth would a world governing SECRET organisation, with a SECRET satanic plot to end the world... FUCKING ADVERTISE THE FACT WITH A GIANT GOLDEN STATUE OF A GOD OF DESTRUCTION?

The truth about the Shiva statue is this is Shiva in his dancing form, or Nataraja, symbolising "life-force". It was a gift from India to celebrate CERN's long relationship with the country.  Its also a nod to Carl Sagan who in his book Cosmos equates Shiva's dance to the study of sub-atomic matter.

And there's more.... So much more....

This list of conspiracies and misconceptions about the activities of CERN and at the LHC is by no means exclusive. And it will continue to grow. There's always mistrust of science, especially such cutting edge science... but we have a choice here. We can embrace the future with wonder or fear. We can soar with pride at the advancements and achievements of our remarkable species, we can marvel at how much we understand about our universe.

Or we can remain mired in fear and superstition.

Take a look at that image of Shiva outside CERN again. Know why his left leg is raised, what that is under it? Its a demon representing ignorance. Pretty apt if you ask me.

PS. You'll notice I've not talked about the science behind the LHC here, or given many details of the activities conducted there. I was aware this would be a quite lengthy one and there are loads of great sources out there wrote by far more qualified folks than me. Check them out starting with CERN's home page here: http://home.web.cern.ch/topics/large-hadron-collider

See you next Thursday!