Sunday, December 03, 2006

Wondering about Wonders (VOTE NOW)

CNN posted an amusing series of articles last week on "Modern Wonders" of the world, taking stock of the great engineering feats of the last couple of decades. Near the bottom of the page, they give us the humble readers a chance to vote on our "choice", of which they give us seven possibilities. Now while it would have been more interesting for the readership to nominate their own, who can complain: CERN alone accounts for two of them -- the World Wide Web and the LHC itself -- and those are the two that have topped their informal poll on which is the "greatest wonder" of the seven.

It's gratifying that these two projects have been recognized by the public. Instead of just being a big bridge to admire, one of them spawned the largest "world mind" that anyone could have imagined, and the other will hopefully give that collective mind a few new things to rattle around in its collective brain for the next decade. Of course, I really hope the media avoids interesting non-sequiturs like this one in the future:
It is so powerful, it is capable of creating mini-black holes. The hope is that the collisions -- up to one billion per second -- will reproduce the conditions that were in existence immediately after the Big Bang some 10 billion years ago.
Really, I appreciate the interest of news outlets like CNN, but would a tiny level of fact-checking hurt anyone?

(Thanks, Howard)

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