Despite what Stephen Hawking says to the contrary, there would appear to be the teensiest, weeniest little possibility that the world will cease to be at around 5pm this afternoon AEST. Physicists somewhere under Switzerland will by then have begun the essential work of propelling protons at speeds close to the velocity of light prompting mock-cataclysmic collisions in the hope of replicating either a: the sub atomic circumstances that followed the Big Bang or b: the sub atomic circumstances that preceded the Even Bigger Bang. We may never know which, though option B would be a bummer for fans of The Hollowmen on ABC TV. It would also finally resolve the whole Peter Costello thing, though this would have the minor collateral drawback of leaving Brendan Nelson as the last ever leader of the Australian Liberal Party, but what can you do?
If nothing else this moment of slight global apprehension provides us with a window onto the wonder that is the human soul under mortal stress. Faced with the prospect of impending oblivion how do we bahave? What are our last thoughts and actions? Do we pay careful attention to our closest relationships? Make affirmations of what will now be almost certainly eternal love? Hold our children and pets and turn an anxious eye to the heavens? Eagerly await the press release from the Business Council of Australia pointing out that the end of the world renders Garnaut carbon targets over-cautious? Think twice about backing the Western Bulldogs to win the AFL flag? Ask anyone we know for Megan Gale’s mobile? Call Keith Windschuttle and have him tell us the protons don’t actually exist? Or join The Large Hadron Collider’s Going to Kill Us All (So Let’s Party Harder) Facebook group? (If you answered Facebook, then that’s ample evidence that the planet is doomed anyway so what the hey.)
We here at Crikey are keen to learn how our readership would choose to spend the last few hours of their puny existence. Tell us what plans you would make … we’ll dutifully publish the best thoughts tomorrow. Maybe. Send them to [email protected] with “Hadron planner” in the subject field.