Why Not Just Turn it On? – K. Gillespie

Large Hadron Collider


“Why not just turn it on?” asked the young professor whose name in English was written as Stimy Exard (while it may have been written that way it was probably pronounced differently).

“To what end?” Stimy’s colleague, professor Mothy Andylleman (whose name would similarly be incomprehensible to the average Englishmen), shouted back.

“Maybe it will work,” said Stimy, who had gathered up some courage to push Mothy into doing something for a change.

“Impossible,” retorted the wrinkled old professor Andell. “The math involved is so complicated, it would likely short-out every circuit and electro-pump in the building if we gave it the time it needs.”

“I realize that,” the younger man replied. “Your algorithm is sound, but we have other options. Why not abandon all that and just roll the dice?”

Mothy leaned forward in his chair. The Bleemwood floorboards groaned slightly as he shifted forward and delivered a lengthy over-the-glasses-stare at his young cohort. Mothy had done the estimations. Trying to crack the equation could take millions of years of picking numbers at random. At the very least his algorithm could reduce that to thousands.

“I thought you had to have some concept of numbers to work in the math department,” he finally uttered.

“Oh come on now, what’s the harm? It’s an impressive machine and you have barely ever asked anything of it. Sure, we’ll never have time to work through the algorithm, and certainly it may never find the right number at random. But we could at least try it out for a few minutes, just to see if the program even works.”

Though Mothy had grown old and most of his sense of fun had long ago abandoned him to a resigned fate, Stimy’s youthful sense of adventure and awe convinced him to try it. There was no real downside, as long as they shut it down before the electro-pumps and encabulators overheated.

So the process began. Stimy and Mothy went about the lab, activating the pumps and encabulators, bringing the beastly Vactro-max Ataxiatron online. After 30 minutes they were prepared with the dual ignition keys.

All Stimy could think about was the chance at success. A lucky one in a 1,000,0001,000,000 draw would mean faster than light travel. A chance to see new worlds! All Mothy could think of was the chewing-out he was going to get from the department head about the now depleted electron budget.

They simultaneously turned the keys and the great machine roared to life. Encabulators throbbed away slowly as the required electron paste came surging through the pumps.

“Well this should be uneve-” Mothy was cut of as a rather impetuous ‘ding!’ cut through the air.

A dead silence hung in the room, where not moments before the roar and clank of machinery had dominated.

“Is it done?” asked Stimy, his words cautiously probing the still air.

“Impossible!” Shouted Mothy.

“Well, strictly speaking, no. It’s not,” said Stimy with a look on his face like that of a chimpanzee who had just found the King Midas of Bananas.


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