Famous eccentric American botanist, lawyer and soi-disant physicist Walter L Wagner has failed in his bid to have the US courts close down the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The Hawaiian federal judges reportedly felt that the enormous 27-km proton deathrace track lay somewhat outside their jurisdiction, located as it is beneath the Franco-Swiss border and funded mainly by other governments.
The New York Times reports that federal beak Helen Gillmor dismissed Wagner's atomsmasher-busting lawsuit in a ruling issued on Friday. Wagner had argued, along with his fellow plaintiff Luis Sancho, that the US government had a duty to act under environmental legislation.
Judge Gillmor wrote:
Neither the language nor the history of [the National Environmental Policy Act] suggest that it was intended to give citizens a general opportunity to air their policy objections to proposed federal actions.
Wagner and Sancho had famously argued that the LHC would function in effect as a terrifying engine of planetary or even universal destruction. The men felt that meddlesome boffins, probing the shattered body parts of violently-deceased hadrons, might inadvertently assemble terrifying sub-subatomic Frankenstein monsters of various kinds.
For instance, Wagner was openly worried that the LHC - should someone perhaps press the large red button on the control panel labelled "Do Not Press This Button" or similar - might give birth to a teeny weeny black hole. This would naturally plummet to the centre of the Earth, guzzling more and more liquid hot molten magma, its terrible hyperdimensional thirst unslaked, gaining unstoppably in size and power until the planet collapsed into the swelling event horizon and humanity disappeared from the universe.
That scenario might in some of the wilder theories offer the chance of the human race subsequently reappearing in another space-time - perhaps a lovely cheerful one, rather than some hellish continuum where beer was nonexistent, gigantic evilly-intelligent maneating cockroaches or shoeshop clerks held sway, etc. However the process of being pulled to bits by runaway tidal forces before being further compressed into superdense incrediblo-paste and squirted through a network of unfeasibly tiny and possibly nonexistent nano wormtunnels would probably be a traumatic one.
If all that wasn't bad enough, Wagner and Sancho also felt that crazed LHC boffins might easily unleash various kinds of awful self-replicating zombie style concept particles - monopoles, strangelets, that sort of thing. In a fashion akin to extremely small brain-scoffing undead shambler hordes, these little fellows would swiftly convert every particle they encountered into more of themselves.
First the LHC, then the underground boffins - flee as they might in their small electric carts - then the entire galaxy would be turned unstoppably into strangelet blancmange, monopole custard or somesuch apocalypto-topping.
This last does seem strange, as Wagner has actually claimed in the past to have personally discovered just such a zombie particle himself - yet neither he nor any bystanders were abruptly converted into monopolar milkshake.
Mr Wagner has also been embroiled in other legal disputes in the Hawaii courts, especially with the owners of a botanical garden he managed some years ago. The Honolulu Advertiser, reporting on his indictment in February by a grand jury on counts of first-degree identity theft and attempted first-degree theft, quotes Wagner as saying:
"This is news to me, and certainly there is nothing that we've done that was improper or illegal, and I don't know what they mean by identity theft - that's weird."
According to Ken Francik of World Botanical Gardens, as quoted by the Advertiser, quite apart from criminal proceedings Wagner has had civil judgements of more than $900,000 awarded against him in cases related to the Umauma gardens finances since 2004.
Still, no matter. With the LHC lawsuit thrown out before it could begin, and boffins even more highly qualified than Wagner (who boasts a physics minor from Berkeley) having many times sounded the all-clear on the collider, everyone can relax. No doubt Mr Wagner will soon be refunding the now unnecessary donations he has solicited via his website to carry forward the LHC legal action. ®