I'm just slightly worried...

I'm just slightly worried about the world's biggest and most expensive ($8 Billion) machine, will soon be up and running outside Geneva (the project itself is called CERN). There's a very good chance it will yield enormous scientific discoveries, and a very, very, very small chance it will destroy the planet.

It's called LHC, or Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest high- energy particle collider. Among other things, when it starts slamming steams of protons into other protons at near the speed of light it's expected to answer questions scientists have until now had only theoretical answers for, and that's the problem. Nobody knows for sure exactly what will happen. Remember, some scientists thought there was a chance the first Atomic tests would vaporize the Earth's atmosphere, didn't happen.but nobody knew for sure until they pressed the button.

Among the things scientists say might to be created in the LHC experiments are mini-black holes. In Space, big black-holes suck mass inside them, you know.planets, stars, solar systems.things like that. Physicists at CERN say these tiny black holes, if they're created at all will quickly evaporate and I'm sure they're right. But those big Black Holes in Space, didn't they start out as tiny Black Holes? Couldn't a tiny little black hole, suck in a little dust, then some paper, a scientist's pen, then a scientist, then the LHC, then the planet? OK, OK.I know that's silly, after all, my mind locks up every time I get halfway through Steven Hawkin's "A Brief History of Time" and these guys at CERN are the best physicists in the world, Nobel- prize winners among them.

But. a couple of other pretty bright guys in Hawaii have filed suit, saying essentially that even a small risk of planetary suicide is too great a risk. They want a restraining order on LHC research until we know more about the slight, but decidedly earth-shattering (one of the few times that world isn't overused) possibilities.

All this reminds me of a car ride a few years ago with my nephew Jack, who was just a child at the time. His father was explaining the comet that was visible in the nighttime sky. "What if it hits us", Jack said. My brother answered "Don't worry, the scientists say it'll miss us my a million miles". Jack looked up at the sky quietly for a moment and then said "They could be wrong you know". Exactly.