End of the World

Aunt Polly: Tom, it’s time for your bath.  And make sure to wash behind your ears.

Tom: But gosh, Aunt Polly, I couldn’t do that.  It might cause the end of the world.

Aunt Polly: Land sakes alive, child, what on earth are you talking about?

Tom: Well, pouring water in to a tub releases several foot-pounds of energy as extra motion in the water.  Because thermal velocities are Gaussian-distributed, there will be some molecules with sufficient energy to be ionized, both producing free protons and causing the generation of photons as the molecules recombine.  Now if those ionized molecules and photons just happen to be lined up exactly right, they could cause laser acceleration of one of those protons. And the footpounds of energy I’d be adding to the water is millions of times the energy given the particles in the Large Hadron Collider. So I might create a micro-black hole and destroy the earth!

Aunt Polly:  Well, I never!  Just to be safe, maybe you’d better not have a bath after all. Let’s have a cup of tea instead. Go put a kettle on, there’s a good boy.

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