The current excerpt at Tor.com (and don’t worry – there is still plenty of book left to read once they’re through excerpting) features an overview of a condition some in society suffer from called “Fear of the New.”
While there is a theme running through “Fear of the New” which highlights the ever-evolving nature of communication (from pencils to printing presses to phonographs to computers), that is not the only type of new technology that had folks sweating: plenty were also once afraid of that big scary thingamabob called the steam engine.
As a tie-in with the Tor timeline we offer an update on the latest in terrifying tech: the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Built between 1998 and 2008 – and then tinkered with for another five years – the giant device is designed so that scientists can throw particles together really really fast to test different theories of high-energy physics. The most common fear people have over this super-sophisticated (and super-expensive) science experiment is that once activated it would DESTROY THE WORLD!!!
Some (non-scientists) worried that the LHC could create microscopic black holes that would hang around long enough to lodge in the planet’s gravity well, thereby giving this mini-black hole the time and energy it would need to expand into a hole so big it would consume Earth inside out. So far, it looks like that hasn’t happened. But if you want to be sure you can check this website:
Even though the LHC has been fully operational since February, some panicked members of the public are still sending death threats to the poor physicists involved.
So, guess that means some people have a legitimate reason to be afraid.