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Thursday, August 7 12:00 AM ET

Group Protests Treament of Hadrons at CERN

By Brian Briggs

Geneva, Switzerland - As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) nears completion, many people have worried about the implications of colliding subatomic particles at high velocities. Some have suggested that the device could destroy the Earth by creating black holes or dangerous subatomic particles, but a new group calling themselves People for the Ethical Treatment of Hadrons (PETH) are worried about the health of the subatomic particles.

Hadron Protest"You've got these subatomic particles accelerated at great speeds for the sole purpose of being destroyed. No one thinks of the ethical implications of this," said Tia Aumiller who founded the group. "There's a limited supply of hadrons in the universe. Do we just want to go around destroying them? What if we run out? What if the hadrons can feel pain? Will we look back at this hundreds of years from now and regret it? Kinda like we do with the killing of bacteria with antibiotics now."

Scientists at CERN working on the LHC say this is a new one to them. "We've got the wackos who think we're going to rip a hole in the universe, and the people who think our real purpose is to create a race of Dr. Manhattans, but this is just weird," said Erich Stanhoffe who heads the LHC project.

Stanhoffe admits that no research has been done on whether hadrons can feel pain or might get sick traveling at such high speeds, but that's only because the idea is "patently ridiculous."

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Aumiller responded, "That's what they said about the other group I founded, Mothers Against unDead Drivers, which warns people of driving while a zombie, but they'll see."

Dozens of people from PETH protested outside the CERN headquarters with signs reading "Don't fark with the quark" and "Subatomic Pain is Still Pain."

Officials at CERN do not expect the protests to delay the "end of the world..uh...commencement of scientific research" in October.


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