back to article Boffin-botherer's LHC doomsday case thrown out on appeal

Eccentric botanist and soi-disant physicist Walter L Wagner of Hawaii, continuing his futile battle in the US courts against the Large Hadron Collider, has been handed another stinging legal bitchslap. Wagner's original case was thrown out in 2008, but he appealed this decision and found himself back in Hawaii's federal court …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Where would we be without eccentric nutjobs?

    Probably doing the jobs we're paid for rather then being here on El Reg... But thankfully thats not the case!

    Anonymous in case the boss checks into El Reg as well...

  2. Rogerborg

    Well, he'll have the last laugh if he's right

    Very, very briefly.

  3. Paul Naylor

    Thank you Reg!

    For giving two fantastic phrases that I will endeavour to weave into every day conversation: Boffin Botherer and "leaky as a Swiss cheese rowing boat".

  4. slack


    "Accordingly, the alleged injury, destruction of the earth, is in no way attributable to the U.S. government’s failure to draft an environmental impact statement."

    Ok, I laughed, whoever wrote that has a wicked sense of humour.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beak = judge

    I mention this purely for the benefit of those of our colonial friends whose minimal grasp of the kind of British colloquialisms that pepper El Reg frequently prompts indignant forum posts about the lack of consideration displayed for less-British readers, their frustration seemingly rendering them unable to seek a translation through, for instance, Google, ...

    1. Alex Wells


      Whilst being enormously good fun for translating and then laughing at the results (a bit like an idiot savant with one of those dogs that does cartwheels) unfortunately doesn't manage this, I now look like said idiot after someone took the dog away.

  6. frank ly

    Where Can We See Them?

    "..a "record-breaking" 14-hour collision sequence.."

    Have they posted videos of any of these collisions on You Tube yet? I'd really like to see them.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    careful now

    with those facts about being jailed. this guy seems the type to sue for libel even when everything is true

  8. Gobhicks

    14-hour collision sequence

    Ah, well, you see right there... what was it about the LHC not doing anything that didn't already happen in nature?

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Already in nature

      We already get a 24-hour collision sequence in the upper atmosphere every day, with much higher collision energies. What makes the LHC's collisions special is that they're happening inside some stupendously expensive detectors so we can watch up close, as it were.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A colonial judge admitting they have no jurisdiction? No way they can let that precedent stand. If not by firing, then death by accidental deadly accident will do nicely.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    judges that don't judge

    Astounding, as if CERN has judged not an impartial Court:

    1) Perjury: CERN was served by a Notary which under Roman Law has even higher standing than a judge. The documents were in power of this court

    2)Selection of facts. Plaintiffs proved ad nauseam that injury will be a fact of science under standard Einstein cosmology. Facts of science are accepted in all courts as 'facts'. Only if speculative Hawkings theories about time travel in black holes are truth, we are safe. The court cherry picked the sentence 'potential' among tons of facts of science. If facts of science were not proofs our civilization would not exist. I.e.:. If someone puts a gun to play a russian roulette - in this case a quantum roulette- and says it is going to shoot you physical facts of science prove he is committing an attempt to murder.

    3) Cynicism. How a court that must protect american lives states that 'the destruction of the earth' - ergo the death of 320 million americans -' is in no way attributable to the Us Government failure?' We spent billions of $ in the Iraq war to 'prevent' harm to american lives from WMD they didn't have and the US government cannot protect us from the real weapons of mass-destruction of CERN  - which CERN itself recognizes in its web affirming in a recent leak that 'it will likely produce strangelets' (see last post at on this astonishing confession)

    4) Omission, Plaintiffs expressly quoted the Patriot act that obliges the american government to intervene when there are nuclear substances that can harm american lives. The court ignores the patriot act when it was liberally applied for years.

    5) Falsity. The Same CERN acknowledged this week that the 9% of cuts asked by EU countries will imperil its operations. Thus the lost of a similar sum paid b y the US will imperil operations.

    6) Callousness. There is a certain acknowledgment of danger: 'even if Wagner demonstrated...injury in fact... the destruction of the Earth' - such injury would be the biggest crime ever committed, the genocide of our species , and this court dismisses this menace on flawed technical points?

    Those judges can AFFIRM in capital letters whatever they want or are told to say, but the Final Judgment will be exercised by the Laws of the Universe not by the corruption of our systems and the arrogance of physicists playing to be God.

    1. rpenner
      Thumb Down

      Oi! Speak English! (And try to use facts and logic)

      Your first sentence is unintelligible. Are you Luis Sancho?

      1) Wagner's very own process server reported the service had problems. The Swiss mission to the US wrote a letter to the court helpfully outlining the International Law (Hague Convention) and legal methodology required by law. The US District court asked Wagner to explain how the service complied with relevant law, which Wagner didn't meaningfully address.

      2) You are Luis Sancho aren't you? Sancho's bizarre courtroom lecture on "true science" was not from the witness stand, so it doesn't count as evidence. Wagner and Sancho have never passed voir dire, so what they say certainly doesn't count as expert evidence. When asked time, and time again to explain a concrete scenario where the LHC would be more dangerous than pouring water onto a plant, Wagner and Sancho dither and hand-wave. So everything is speculative and non-concrete on the plaintiff's side.

      3) It's about demonstrable cause and effect. You failed to demonstrate, so regardless of the effect, it can't be blamed on the named causes. Being a foriegner without even pretensions of understanding the US Federal court system, Sancho is excused to a degree for not understanding the courts' limited role and the decades of balancing what the consequences of Article III of the US Constitution mean. Wagner, however has a J.D. from an unaccredited law school, and this may have given him delusions of competence.

      4) You are confusing 18 USC § 831 (1982) with the various provisions of the Patriot Act. (See above link)

      5) If true, this was Wagner and Sancho's job to figure out before they filed the case. Ironic that you claim CERN is the source of all truth. Nevertheless, 9% of CERN's total budget is far more money than the US's paltry contribution to operational expenses like keeping the lights on at US-staffed workstations.

      6) Dismissing on technical points is less personally insulting then explaining that the case fails to meet any of the three legs of standing to sue under Article III because the plaintiffs spend more time posturing than thinking, hunting evidence, following procedure, knowing the law, using logic, and explaining a rational basis for their viewpoint.

      I was in that appellate courtroom and Wagner and Sancho behaved like buffoons, insulting the center judge's years of experience, rocking back and forth in swivel chairs, acting chummy with the (teenage?) daughter of an attorney, and squabbling over the microphone in the final minutes.

      What did they want? They wanted the LHC to shutdown.

      Why did they fear operation of the LHC? No basis for this was ever communicated.

      Who did they want to shutdown the LHC? A single judge in Hawaii.

      What law did they cite? A possible requirement to do paperwork in 1997, over ten years before their lawsuit was filed.

      Did the law apply to construction of the LHC? Judge Gillmor said no (September 2008)

      Did the law apply to US funding of the scientists who work at CERN? No case made.

      Is there any evidence today that plaintiffs were directly harmed by the lack of paperwork? no.

      Is there any concrete case that any LHC disaster scenario is possible in this universe? no.

      Is there any link between filling out paperwork and the discovery of a natural law that would render particle colliders more dangerous than commonly thought? No.

      Is there any way a US judge can order a non-party to do something? No.

      Did Wagner and Sancho try a legal back door to do something better done another way? Yes. The correct/honest/understandable way to sue someone for doing something that's allegedly dangerous to you is to do that directly. But Wagner and Sancho only wanted to proof that some paperwork hoops were not jumped through. They perhaps though having the whole burden of proof was too hard. They abandoned the effort to do science and demonstrate their claims. They even abandoned the effort to separate good claims from bad claims -- they took every line of speculation which they heard.

      Why did Wagner and Sancho ignore their process server, the Swiss mission, and the judge who asked about the CERN process? Good question.

      1. rpenner

        proof vs. prove, etc

        Sorry for the uncorrected typos. I should have taken extra time on that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So sorry, but...

      ... CERN will just have to wait in line until somewhere after Iran has been invaded, pacified, and democratified. There's a limit to how many wars the USoA can wage simultaneously, you know. Or what would you have that judge do, hm?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      See title.

    4. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Hello, Luis!

      You don't need to post as AC - we can recognise you anyways :-)

    5. Mephistro
      Thumb Down


      "Plaintiffs proved ad nauseam that injury will be a fact of science under standard Einstein cosmology"

      stating != proving

      Sir, from your post it seems quite obvious you can't tell the difference between "standard Einsten cosmology" and a bag of tomatoes. What 'standard cosmology' says is that there are lots of natural processes that create bigger collisions than the LHC. Said processes have existed for a long, long time and the Universe is still here, around us. Perhaps you live somewhere else?

      Sir, you fail.

      *Note to other readers of this thread: Yeah, I know I'm feeding the trolls. Sometimes I just can't help it.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Legal knowledge anyone?

    "and said the Wagners can be recharged."

    Not under US law he can't. 5th Amendment b*tches. It ain't dead yet.

    "...nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..."

    1. rpenner

      Legal know-how

      "...nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..."

      Without a jury being called and empaneled, the defendants would not yet be in jeopardy, I believe. (Your results may vary from state to state.)

    2. Ed Deckard

      Case was "dismissed without prejudice"

      Which means he hasn't been put in jeopardy of anything quite yet.

      The case was never tried so the prosecution gets another shot.

    3. Hombre sin nombre

      Not exactly.

      A person is not considered 'tried' until a jury presents a verdict. If a mistrial is declared of if consensus cannot be reached by the jury, there can be another trial. For one so proud of the Bill of Rights you seem to lack understanding of its interpretation and application.

    4. Black Betty

      Dissmissed without predjudice.

      Not the same as an aquittal. Which would bring the 5th into play.

    5. Neoc

      RE: Legal knowlegde anyone?

      <sigh> and you'd better look up your own judicial system: Double Jeopardy only applies to offences *that have been tried*. If the charge is *withdrawn* (i.e., it hasn't gone to court yet, otherwise the term would be "dismissed") then the D.A. can re-issue amended charges at any time within the statute of limitations (assuming the offence actually *has* such a statute).

      I'm not American, and even *I* know this much about the US legal system.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    If only we would see his vision...

    ...oh we could make a whole cult out of it, and I'm sure he'd finally feel philosophically fulfilled, at that.

    or, alternately, we could keep letting his "theories" get rhetorically batted back by the courts, until he finally wises up, or else, gives up.

    Anon. in case he may already have unfortunate followers.

  13. David Neil

    @ AC 23:11 and 5th Amendment

    The case never reached judgment, the charges were dropped before the trial was concluded, therefore there is no block in the 5th to him standing trial again.

  14. Lghost

    @ac.. re "judges that don't judge"

    amanfromars has more style, poetry, soul ..and makes more sense ( scientific and / or otherwise ) frequently,

    nice try though ;-)

    just dont give up "the day job" could have had 7 out of 10 for effort ..right up until you finished off with a skyfairy..

    So LHC and intrestin' science ..1 ..Wagner and flat earthers and "dont annoy the sky fairy" posters / believers ..0

    the beer is for be shared ( via straws ) with Ms Bee ..I enjoy the posts of the pair of you ..just as I do those of Mr Pott

  15. mhenriday

    Alas, the real threat to CERN

    doesn't come from individuals like Messrs Wagner and Sancho, but rather from the draconian budget cuts ( being forced upon the organisation by member countries, a decision in which the present British government, like its predecessor, is playing its typically ignoble part. Money for imperialist wars of aggression or kit with appealing names like «Vengeance» they can always find, but learning more about the basic structure of matter - no, that's simply too too dear and of no immediate relevance. Where do these Ministers get their priorities - or rather, where do we get these Ministers ?...


  16. Dr Dark Energy

    Fasten your safety belts; - be ready to biosphere’s suicidal reproduction!

    The most probable time interval of the Earth explosion is about 1000 days. At the beginning of this interval no one will see anything unusual. The first people, who can know that we are already doomed to die, are physicists, who work at neutrino observatories. And more, - they also can define what are the type of dangerous droplets are growing inside the Earth: droplets of strange matter or microscopic magnetic holes. The last ones will eject electronic antineutrino; the first ones will eject different sorts of neutrino and antineutrino. At the rate of growth of neutrino flux physicists will be able to say - how many days we still have to live. A man with a cancer illness has the right to know about his illness. The Civilization also must have to know, is our Biosphere a doomed to die, or It is still healthy.

    There is a big probability (several dozens of percents) that the dangerous condensate is impossible and, consequently, the Earth will not been exploded. But there is also an opposite probability, so, fasten your belts…

    People, do not forget to ask apologizes in Walter Wagner, Otto Rössler, Luis Sancho and many others opponents of deadly experiments in high-energy physics, if you will know that the flux of neutrino begin to grow. Neutrino is not dangerous. But the growing excessive flux of neutrino is a harbinger of the future explosion of the Earth.

    People, don’t fear to die and perform your sacred mission. Fasten your safety belts; - be ready to biosphere’s suicidal reproduction! Glory to CERN!

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