back to article Large Hadron Collider scuttled by birdy baguette-bomber

A bird dropping a piece of bread onto outdoor machinery has been blamed for a technical fault at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) this week which saw significant overheating in sections of the mighty particle-punisher's subterranean 27-km supercooled magnetic doughnut. According to scientists at the project, had the LHC been …

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You'd have thought..

You'd have thought that leaving a Star Wars-esque vulnerability would be high on the "list of things not to do when designing a multi-billion euro device".

Not to mention, one that can irradiate a massive chunk of granite.

Large and complicated fine, contractor messes up join and liquid helium spills everywhere, bad. A piece of generic debris falling from the sky.. What happens if it rains? Hails? Badgers take up residence?

Looking forward to seeing some results though, go LHC, go!

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Beam dump?

Bugger that - shoot the beam into space!

Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!

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Murphy's Law

The biggest and probably the most expensive machine on the planet and a random bird knocks it out? That's the sort of class-act cock-up I would create. A case of tunnel (sic) vision in the design department?

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Mushroom mushroom

You KNOW what happens if badgers take up residence.

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Alien

Weird

There was a theory around a while ago that the LHC might be sabotaging itself from the future by the simple expedient of ensuring that the quantum waveform of the universe always collapsed in such a way that the experiments failed. Think it was on New Scientist.

I speculated in a comment at the time that if this were true, then the faults and accidents would become increasingly outlandish and far-fetched as efforts to get it working ramped up.

And now a passing bird drops some bread right onto critical equipment and nobbled it again. And that was only the SECOND fault.

Can't wait for the next one. Hope it involves blancmange. Or rodeo midgets.

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Boffin

How many dumps can they take?

I'm wondering if they can dump into a dump core more than once, because it sounds like they are expecting they will need to dump more than once, and it would be very inconvenient if they had to remove 750 tons of radioactive material and install 750 more tons of unsoiled material every time they needed to take a dump.

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Pint

British Rail excuse

Sounds like the wrong kind of leaves on the line to me...

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Sweltering

>As a result, temperatures in part of the LHC's circuit climbed to almost 8 Kelvin

Reports of a busload of Geordie girls sunbathing in the glow are expected to be confirmed shortly by the release of video footage on youtube. If indeed proved to be true Ryanair will start regular flights between Newcastle and Geneva. After taking into account the distance between the reported destination and the actual airport Carnage UK will be offering a quicker route by means of an organised pub crawl. This will terminate at the LHC and Ferret Arms, a Watney's watery that opened recently in anticipation of such a failure.

In other news British Rail are looking for the mole that leaked the excuse, a spokesman said the leak was highly embarrassing as it was their number one choice for the coming seasonal disruptions to rail services. Other sources said it was somewhat a relief as the use of a baguette might have stretched the credibility of the excuse a bit too far even for the British public.

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Boffin

"The dump core would become extremely hot and quite radioactive"

How radioactive? I wouldn't have thought a beam of protons would make a block of granite very radioactive for long. As I understand it, irradiating graphite with protons produces nitrogen 13, which decays by positron emission and has a half life of only ten minutes. Those positrons then pretty swiftly annihilate with all those electrons hanging around and give off a few gamma rays which get absorbed by the shielding and/or surrounding rock. Give it a day then, and that graphite should be safe enough to eat!

I wouldn't want to be standing next to it at the time, of course...

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Alien

A bird ?

Are you sure the baguette bomb wasn't thrown by the scaly hands of our lizard overlords?

They don’t want us to find the secrets of black holes, hyperspace, time travel and the real nature of god.

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WTF?

Reg Readers

Some El Reg readers were watching the temperatures online while this thing isn't even operational??? Look guys, I know some of us are sad, but seriously, get out more!

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Black Helicopters

Baguette bomb

Are you sure it was only bits of baguette that were found? Could this have been a suicide baker recruited by the Taleban?

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Practice Run

The birds are actually getting in some practice sessions for when they get chance to drop the bread down the ventilation shaft and onto the LHC core.

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Badgers

@snafu

You swine! I can't get that out of my head now :)

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@elephant

Looks like that's exactly what they plan:

http://proj-lbds.web.cern.ch/proj-lbds/pictures/TED/blindage.htm

Presumably the stack of yellow blocks on the right are the cores, the green blocks are the sheilding, and the crane along the top is used to move them. I'm not sure what the bicycle is for though...

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FAIL

Austin Powers/Dr Evil story line

is what it sounds like!

If the bus bars are that critical, the obvious question is why they're not protected in some way.

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@snafu

I dunno, are mind-numbingly huge particle accelerators susceptible to Bovine Tuberculosis?

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Anonymous Coward

I bet there is a guy running around down there...

with a crowbar, having to solve ever more complicated puzzl...,, sorry, system problems.

Anyone know if there is a Dr. G. Freeman on the employee list at LHC? :)

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@Dennis

Surely you mean ther Talibun

Im not proud of that by the way

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Paris Hilton

"almost 8 Kelvin"

Phew, time to get out the swimming shorts/bikinis

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Data Pages?

Does anyone have a link to the mentioned live data pages? Sounds might interesting to me!

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Happy

Re: shoot the beam into space!

There's precedent for that (well, nearly).

Tha famous Geneva fountain, the Jet d'Eau (hands up all the 40/50-somethings who immediately thought "Alexandra Bastedo"?) started life as the safety valve for the hydraulic power network that kept Geneva machines working. At 5pm, when factories shut down, the overpressure was blasted down the lake horizontally. The mounting on the quay couldn't take the strain, so someone had the bright idea of dumping the excess energy straight up. To their surprise this became a tourist attraction, visitors used to congregate just before 5pm to watch the dump (seriously!).

When the hydraulic network was closed, the jet had become so symbolic that it was kept, then enlarged and moved to its present site.

CERN could do some great fireworks shows if they got rid of the block of granite & just dumped the beam straight up... That would teach the baguette-bombing buzzards a lesson, too.

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Gordon Freeman at the LHC

@AC

Actually Gordon Freeman does work at the LHC as previously noted on El Reg comments:

http://api.ning.com/files/8fil5gmLgTbnvHiB9qe7ZlP*PesdnleY89Wa1XSwTN2VJOF-MRR*27IOl5yulIJ9a4-EFM6xPdeCTe4IvZZRdFoRF1G9upzR/GordonFreemanSpottedAtCERN.jpg

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Joke

Granite

Isn't that radioactive already? Releases xenon gas, if I remember correctly.

Something about Cornwall, bosses, and webbed feet... Although the latter may not be related to the former.

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Paris Hilton

Hadron?

Oh, it is hadron, I thought it was the Large Hardon Collider http://largehardoncollider.com/

Paris, as she knows how to deal with a large ha...on

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@Steve X

With a bit of fiddling, you could use it to write you name on the moon! You might get as far as three letters (anyone else remember that episode of The Tick?)

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Pint

Baguette-bombing buzzards?

@ Steve X

Please pay attention!

It was our Lizard overlords wot caused it.

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Coat

New Reg unit

I guess you need to add the "aircraft carrier underway" as a new unit of energy. :)

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FAIL

Know why it failed last year?

It failed last year because, (due to time constraints, whereby the politicians needed it to be switched on in 2008), they only tested 1in10 of the magnets.

Scary or what???

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Joke

wait just a farking minute

You mean to tell me that the Swiss eat electrically conductive bread?!?

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Terminator

Tweet1000

The bird in question may have been a 'terminator' bird sent from the future by the LHC itself if some crackpot theories are to be believed.

In fact, as the bird dropped it's payload it allegedly could be heard to squawk "Hasta la vista, Polly!"

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Boffin

@Ed Blackshaw

My guess is that the bicycle is for navigating the tunnels of the LHC. It would be a bloody long way to walk!

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Boffin

@Ed Bradshaw

This isn't you're simple "Carbon irradiated by protons" type of thing. These are high energy protons. What you're going to get is lots of sub-atomic, quark-on-quark strong interactions, ultimately creating a helluva lot of pions and muons, not Nitrogen.

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@AC

Turns out I don't understand it correctly then!

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Nice to see...

...that the massed ranks of El Reg comments are up to their usual high standard. Keep up the good work chaps - very entertaining at the end of a busy day. Especially the badgers.

Meanwhile, just reading about all this stuff with the LHC reminds me why I used to love Physics so much at school and why, at one time, I did hope to end up working at CERN.

Not that it ever happened, but reading about those dump caverns and thinking about the energy (and engineering) involved in all this does give me a slight, passing sadness that I didn't end up going down that particular road in life.

Oh well, back to doing boring things that don't involve potentially catastrophic high-energy and radioactive incidents. Well, not usually anyway...

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This is crap, isn't it?

".... "dump caverns" lying a little off the main track...."

"...become extremely hot and quite radioactive..."

Are you really trying to say that when they take a dump it leaves a huge, steaming pile in a side room? I think I knew that.........

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Joke

I had a dump like that once......

... And it took more than graphite to take that radioactive stench away. The several pints of ale dealt with the quenching issue though.

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Grenade

Bird bomb

So does anyone have eyewitness reports of Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho being seen feeding the pigeons nearby?

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Flame

T-16?

This thing won't last I mean, If I can shoot womp rats in my t-16, any old bird could poo in the wrong place and screw the whole thing up.

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Pointing the beams into space ...

... would be costly.

There are two beams travelling in opposite directions, so you would need a pair of quarter rings to divert the beams upwards. If the beams could be curved into a tighter (cheaper) circle, then they would have been - so you are looking at quarter rings that curve 8km into the sky. That would be spectacular even without a beam dump. If these extra rings were ever used then they would emit synchrotron radiation (X-rays going out radially). Anyone standing underneath would not be pleased.

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I thought

Pions are what you get when a large crowd of pious clergy are gathered.

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Number of dumps

And no, I'm talking about the result of eating too much fondue. A beam dump is a regular occurrence, and usually will happen at the end of each fill of protons, which will last about 12 hours. When the beam quality deteriorates (due to planned collisions, lateral dispersion, parasitic collisions with remaining gas in the beam pipe etc) too far, the beam gets dumped and a new one inserted.

So, these beam dumps are planned to last many years!

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@Baguette bomb

If it had been the Taliban then they would have used a chapatti.

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Joke

@AC 16:52

Pions? Every good evil machine overlord needs a few good pions!

I for one welcome our new evil machine overlords.

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Joke

The origins of said bird please!

It is a well-known fact that a european swallow would never be able to carry a baguette.

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@Kevin Campbell & a suggestion

Kevin wonders: "You mean to tell me that the Swiss eat electrically conductive bread?"

We all do, Kevin, given the correct energy densities.

All: Has it occurred to any of you that the birds are living INSIDE the machine? Granted, having uncovered bus bars (even indoors) is not a good idea, but I can see how the project leaders would shave things like that out of the budget ... Bean counters are rarely in touch with the RealWorld(tm).

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Aircraft Carrier? Pfft, Subaru Equivalent!

I just read http://lhc-machine-outreach.web.cern.ch/lhc-machine-outreach/beam.htm and there's a calculation for the speed a Subaru would need to be travelling to possess equivalent kinetic energy. One question: what Subaru weighs 3140 kilograms?

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Alert

Hmmm

Call The Doctor, we have a paradox machine.

What if there can be only one Higgs-Boson?

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Boffin

goes to show yet again, you just cant trust birds

"However Dr Mike Lamont, who works at the CERN control centre and describes himself as "LHC Machine Coordinator and General Dogsbody" later confirmed that there had indeed been a problem. "

goes to show yet again, you just cant trust birds...

its a good job D&M the General Dogsbody are on the case though, this is apparently now to be officially called 'Operation get what Pigeon?'.

was it one of those Dastardly Yankee birds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skDQ5r5DBes

you just could make it up could you :)

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Alien

@Lizard overlords

> They don’t want us to find the secrets of black holes, hyperspace, time travel and the real nature

> of god.

Or they want a strangelet to form and create black hole to form and annihilate the planet ourselves. Much more convenient than coming with a fleet of constructors ships.

Remember End Day? Good. Remember Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy? Good. Now put both of them together and throw in "budget cuts due to economic depression" as an excuse. I assume that Earth isn't the only planet hit by the recession.

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