Followup: Economic Physics & the Big Bang Theory

Money and the laws of gravity. Calculating the speed of falls.  If quantum physicists didn’t know the relationship of matter to gravity, what could these Federal Reserve officials figure out about the gravity of things, where the economy would land. 


Speaking of Big Bangs, on the afternoon of September 10th, the world held its breath as the Large Hadron Collider machine sparked up.  And ever since Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was started on September 10th, the start-up glitches in the massive complex machines used by scientists to smash atoms have continued.  The Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment team of around 2,000 scientists is racing with another team that runs the Atlas detector, also at CERN, to find the Higgs particle, one that is responsible for mass in a 17 mile tunnel located something like 100 meters below ground.  Quantum physicists still don’t know the relationship of matter to gravity.  First a transformer failure shut down its cooling plant, then a new hardware malfunction stopped the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  Technical setbacks have plagued the Large Hadron Collider which cost more than $8 billion.  Of course all of its hardware was new.  This time repairs will take more than two months.  And that presents a problem, as the LHC facility shuts down to save on energy costs during winter months.  According to James Gillies, the LHC’s Gala Inauguration party set for October 21st will still take place. 

First, hackers mounted an attack on the Large Hadron Collider, raising concerns about the security of the biggest experiment in the world as it passes an important new milestone. Hackers targeted the Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment, one of the four ‘eyes’ of the facility that will be analysing the fallout of the Big Bang. Then on Friday, “during a test, one of the bus bar connections linking cables between the magnets failed, melted, and caused approximately a ton of liquid helium to leak into one of the tunnel sections. With its -271°C operating temperature, all of this had to be confirmed.  The fire brigade was called to handle the situation. “It seems to be a badly made connection,” said Gillies, director of communications at CERN. The electrical link between two of the particle accelerator’s massive 30-ton superconducting magnets has failed, causing a magnet quench event. Due to having to warm up the section of the tunnel containing the magnet in order to conduct repairs, and then cool it back down to its-271°C operating temperature.


In other Big Bang disasters over the past few two weeks, if you missed the news about free markets and private enterprise, drawn from another blog is that the U.S. government has:

– nationalized the two engines of the U.S. mortgage industry, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and flooded the mortgage market with taxpayer funds to keep it going;

– crafted a deal to seize AIG, the nation’s largest insurer, fired its chief executive and moved to sell it off in pieces.

– extended government insurance beyond bank deposits to $3.4 trillion in money-market mutual funds for a year;

– banned, for 799 financial stocks, a practice at the heart of stock trading, the short-selling in which investors seek to profit from falling stock prices.

– allowed or encouraged the collapse or sale of two of the four remaining, free-standing investment banks, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch;

– asked Congress by next week to agree to stick taxpayers with hundreds of billions of dollars of illiquid assets from financial institutions so those institutions can raise capital and resume lending.

When no one knew the relationship of matter to gravity, it was going to be another rollercoaster ride this week.  The troubles of those 2,000 scientists seem to be shadowing those of Wall Street.


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