I have it on good authority
That someone found what appears to be a magic wand with Sellotape holding it together, right where this happened.
CERN's search for exotic particles has been put on hold for a couple of weeks – after a small mammal gnawed through a power cable, incinerated itself and killed current to the world's most expensive scientific instrument. According to the daily log for the Large Hadron Collider, a beech marten, a weasel-like mammal common in …
Schroedinger cat experiment has a potentially unlimited number of observers. For example you observer the cat is dead while being inside a closed room yourself. You have to open the door to tell someone else the result. The result can propagate outwards from the event at most at the speed of light.
By putting the dead weasel in the news, the information has spread around the world to a great many observers, increasing the quantum certainty that it is in fact dead.
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I was going to say the same thing. Even if there is only one grid in the area, with all the money they spend on the LHC and how many smart people are sitting idle when it isn't running, surely they could dangle a few tens of million or whatever it takes to get the nearest secondary grid to run a redundant line so this sort of thing can never happen again?
Pretty sure there is a dedicated gas turbine feeding the LHC and the computers.
Now, shorting the whole circuit is what would be called "a random excursion", you don't know how the equipment was affected and you really want to look at everything after a microsecond break. If military greatness depended on the "always on" condition, sure, there would be dual feeds. Here, an UPS will do for the calculating machines. As for the collider, it will lose its rapidly circulating set of hadrons or lead ions in a jiffy. I know there is a "beam dump" made from a large block of carbon - but I don't see how the beam can even be safely diverted into that if there is a power outage?
IIRC - I may well be wrong! - that ~35KV is for the distribution of a small village (ie the wonks' living quarters etc). Approx double that would be needed for powering up the photon generator, or WHY. Plus this scientific village is fairly isolated..
So at huge expense (that sci can't afford) you lay a redundant cable from the 'nearest grid' to enable you to shut down that grid as well due to oversupply, occasionally & with 0 warning?
I'm sure the assorted resident wonks (including our beloved Brian of the floppy hair) are frustrated that their experiments may be delayed, but I'm equally sure that they can apply their time to theoreticals or data analysis in the meantime..
RE 'IIRC - I may well be wrong! - that ~35KV is for the distribution of a small village'
I am afraid you are. You are confusing potential difference (volts) with power (watts).
The transmission voltage is selected depending upon distance from the generation source with respect to power requirement. The more power you require further from the generation source, as a rule of thumb, the higher the transmission voltage as it reduces the transmission current and conductor cross section requirements and therefore the losses.
I would expect the CERN installation power requirements to be in the multi megawatt range.
Was told by a German colleague that the nasty little critters also chew through brake pipes of your car in the time it takes you to get your shopping. Had actually seen one sneak under a car and emerge shortly afterwards (presumably laughing evilly to itself).
Our native UK stoats are of course stoatily different in their habits and never attempt such sabotage.
"Our native UK stoats are of course stoatily different in their habits and never attempt such sabotage."
No, over here it is the bastard rabbits that do the chewing!!
Many moons ago, when I used to be involved in trialling equipment for the the MOD out in Sunny Essex, we were caught out one night with three power outages on some equipment that was stationed about 400m downrange from our position. All happened in the space of about 15 minutes - It seems that Thumper, and a few of his mates, had had taken it upon themselves to make an impromptu midnight snack of the three mains cables supplying the kit under test.
There was a LOT of damage done to the cables, but we only found only two of the critters - Thumper, who'd had his teeth blown out by the 415V searing through his gnashers, and his friend Bobtail who had been munching on Cable-2. Bobtail looked completely untouched, except he was lying about 3 metres away from Cable-2... but was sans eyes! The cables had been ripped to bits over about two hundred meters. They were not armoured - we hadn't realised there was a need - we usually ran the trials in the daytime...
The mess near the Cable-3 was a LOT worse. Apparently, Brer Fox had turned up after the last of the power went out, and had helped himself to a brace of flash-broiled coney (multiple flash-over marks along the cable pointed to more than one cooked bunny).
1. Brer Fox is a terribly terribly mess eater (Either that, or the bunnies had exploded).
2. Cables were soon put up on metre-high stakes when running a night trial (and no, we never did buy decent cables!).
3. Hungry rabbits are bastards that eat cheap MOD-supplied rubber-sheathed cables! (Yes, this was last millennium, but the cables were still in use in the late '90s!!)
Lessons learnt. (Icon = Killer Bunnies From Hell!) :D
"Was told by a German colleague that the nasty little critters also chew through brake pipes of your car in the time it takes you to get your shopping. Had actually seen one sneak under a car and emerge shortly afterwards (presumably laughing evilly to itself)."
This actually happens, with mice, and other critters, but only with car manufactured by utter morons that think it is a jolly good idea to have cable trays and other parts of the car, made out of cereals.
What can possibly go wrong ?
We need to ferret out the dirty rats serving as moles in the CERN organization! I won't badger you too much, but we don't want to be mousey about mounting a stoat defense of such an important facility! For starters, there otter be safeguards protecting high vole-tage equipment!!!
I live about 2km from the LHC and can testify from experience about the local wildlife.
First of all, nights are cold here. Second, the little buggers like to stay warm. Third, they are highly territorial and have very sharp teeth.
When one decides to nest in your warm engine compartment on a cold spring evening and a second one decides to move in, the two mammals do not fight with each other directly. Instead, they thrash about wildly and bite through anything within reach, usually the nearest spark plug leads.
My current vehicle is diesel, and maintenance costs are now considerably reduced. I suspect CERN's repair bill will be much higher than mine ever were however.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that the little bastards are a protected species?
Any piece of electrical equipment in a rural setting is liable to become home to the local fauna as it is often the only warm, dry spot for miles around.
A standard 20mm hole is more than sufficient space for entry, and the little buggers are happy to rip out or chew up seals, grommets, cables and plastic plugs to get through.
A colleague used to maintain the matrix signs on UK motorways, and one of the most common causes of failure is something (briefly) setting up home inside the PSU. Apparently the odour of carbonised fauna is unmistakable.
Add house mice to that list, namely Mus musculus. These little balls of fluff get *everywhere* including inside microwave ovens. I once found one with its head wedged between the L and N connector on the input PCB, explaining why the mains kept tripping.
Also they have a nasty habit of gnawing power cables and have been responsible for many unexplained fires.
This is why I don't fear Skynet.
It'll be some big arrogant highly intellectual AI system then one of its data centres will be taken out by a birds nesting and taking dumps in its cooling systems or wasps will move into its air vents.
Or some kind of extremophile organism will figure out how to munch circuits.
Biology is ruthless and loves warm, nutrient rich places to hang out.
Bacteria, fungus and moss could probably take out any AI once they got the hang of it.
Think of it like a fluffy, feathery, cute 3.7 billion year old version of the Borg ;)
The AI will not be a sitting mainframe. More likely an ever-reconfiguring organized mass, like a large bioblob with a fearsome immune system, and likely to inhabit deep Maginot-like caves, separated into temporarily autonomous physical units for redundancy.
Death will come from accumulation of learned stuff polluting the pristine logic of the newborn only ...
Residents of Sector 34.0 Upper Esplanade were treated to a rare meteoric event this morning, when an unidentified object breached the atmospheric barriers and embedded itself in the principal facet of the Temple of Zoar. The Planetary Defence committee identified the object as the highly carbonized remains of an oxygen-breathing rodent unknown on this planet or any of its neighbors.
The current working theory is the creature entered a wormhole without properly aligning itself with respect to the direction of travel, resulting in a plasma-combustion of its carbon-based corpus.
its not that small. From wiki:
" Males measure 430–590 mm in body length, while females measure 380–470 mm. The tail measures 250–320 mm in males and 230–275 mm in females. Males weigh 1.7–1.8 kg in winter and 2–2.1 kg in summer, while females weigh 1.1–1.3 kg in winter and 1.4–1.5 kg in summe"
so small cat-sized, not mouse-sized
Obviously this weasel is part of the Cyber Squirrel conspiracy. While they don't have a break-down of all their agent types and only list successful attacks by Squirrels, bird, raccoons etc, I'm sure it was them.
You can find out what other successes they have had at http://cybersquirrel1.com/
A penguin is a bird, right? (277 successful missions so far)
Are you a passionate engineer who is at ease with powerful high voltage equipment? Are you ready to become a key player in the design, development, production, installation and commissioning of some of the largest power converters in the world? Take part!
Resolution of the Staff Council
- the Management does not propose to align the level of basic CERN salaries with those chosen as the basis for comparison;
- in the new career system a large fraction of the staff will have their advancement prospects, and consequently the level of their pension, reduced with respect to the current MARS system;
- the overall reduction of the advancement budget will have a negative impact on the contributions to the CERN Health Insurance System (CHIS);
And a warning to non-western members:
"The cost [...] has been evaluated, taking into account realistic labor prices in different countries. The total cost is X (with a western equivalent value of Y) [where Y>X]
source: LHCb calorimeters : Technical Design Report
ISBN: 9290831693 cdsweb.cern.ch/record/494264
The limbs of the body I saw were missing and the body itself was completely black. The weasel probably turned into a small lump of coal with 66 kilo-volt cable. Not to sound morbid at all, it is just something I experienced that fit the story.
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