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Peter Steinberg | USLHC | USA

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Conundrum

I really intended to get another post up yesterday, and it might have been a good one: there are a few isolated musings on the LHC schedule by some anonymous bloggers out there. But I held my fire.

It’s so tempting when writing for a blog to start really keeping up with and responding to the blogosphere. I mean, it will be great to get all meta on everyone and even discuss Chad Orzel’s recent post about this website (and not just because he was/wasn’t complimenting me on my “veteran” status in the physiblogosphere…) But I checked with my more senior colleagues who couldn’t verify the rumors, and after a lot of soul searching, I’ve come up with a new principle: no gossip from unverified or anonymous sources. As much as I feel that “gossip” in general is actually good for science in general, reminding people that the decisions that are made, even about huge projects like the LHC and its experiments, are made by people interacting with other people, it doesn’t make sense to me at this point to let every quiver of good or bad news propagate outward under its own power, a la light in vacuum. There’s a lot of great journalism out there, fact checked, vetted, edited, etc. And there are lots of great physics blogs out there from different subfields with real named individuals on them who can take responsibility for the information they disseminate. While it would be fun to inspire debate, I think I’ll be conservative for the moment.

Am I wrong? I know I’m setting myself up to violate my own rules, but you have to start somewhere!  The LHC is getting to be such a big deal, both in its importance to science as well as its sheer bulk in terms of resources and mindshare, that the gossip is inevitable.  So maybe this is a warning to readers to take what they hear “around” with a grain of salt.  Fortunately, CERN hasn’t seemed to shy away from bad news when unavoidable.  Here’s hoping there’s not much to report until the spring!

(And super interesting that the Greek god of gossip is “Pheme”, the root of the word “fame”…)

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