Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Today is a momentous day for geeks around the world, from professional particle physicists to science amateurs like Macro Man. Yes, today is the day that the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is turned on, and with it mankind will attempt to replicate the conditions that existed at the time of the Big Bang.
Protons will be sent at virtually the speed of light to collide in mega-energy explosions. And with it, physicists hope to find all matter of esoterica: Higgs bosons, the so-called "God particle" that gives matter its mass; symmetric superparticles, massive counterparts to massless force particles; and, potentially, new dimensions in the fabric of spacetime.
One of the side effects may be the creation of microscopic black holes, which some prophets of doom are heralding as the end of the earth. A more apt forecast may involve Lehman Brothers, which appears to be travelling on the road to oblivion at close to the speed of light. Certainly financial markets appear to have created new forces and new dimensions in which to lose money; Macro Man himself has seen part of his portfolio disappear down a microscopic black hole thanks to a series of conflicting headlines about Lehman and KDB this morning.
Before his train pulled into its London terminus this morning, Macro Man had locked in losing round trips in USD/JPY and S&P futures. With Lehman set to announce its Q3 losses (as opposed to earnings) at 12.30 pm London time today, it will be all too easy to feel like one of the protons being sent around the Large Hadron Collider at 299,700 km per second.
The key is to make sure you exit the ride before the collision.