Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

Summary:Nope. That's the answer you'll get from hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.

Nope. That's the answer you'll get from hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com today, despite the LHC's successful startup tests Wednesday. Of course the fact that you're reading this is also a good sign.

The doomsday site was created by Mike Kania (right), a 28 year old web developer who works for Six Apart in Philadelphia. I tracked him down from a comment he left in the source code and asked him a few questions.

[Ed]  Where'd you get the idea for the site? [Mike] The idea for the website came to me.. well, I don't really know where it came from. I know of a bunch of other similar "single serving sites" that perform similarly useless functions (isitchristmas.com, barackobamaisyournewbicycle.com, stuff like that -- there's a good post listing a bunch of them at kottke.org). I guess I just thought that, with the ridiculousness surrounding the possible "end of the world," it would be funny to create a site that lets you know if the world is ending, in case you missed it somehow. So, $10 for the domain registration and 10 minutes of writing HTML later, there it was. And apparently the new bicycle guy got a book deal out of it, so one never knows what to expect.

[Ed] How long you think we'll have, when the end comes? [Mike] I figure if the Large Hadron Collider does defy everyone's expectations & black hole-ifies us all, it'd probably happen pretty quick. I don't think I'd necessarily have much time to think about much besides maybe "Hey, what's th-

[Ed] Do you think they would tell us? [Mike] Would they NEED to tell us? One would expect the world's end to be relatively noticeable. Then again, I suppose people aren't particularly observant, so who knows.

[Ed] So how does the site detect the end of the world? [Mike] If you look at the source, you'll note that it's using the little-known JavaScript "worldHasEnded" variable to determine whether or not we've all been vaporized. [The site's message will change to "Yup." when that happens.] I'm sure glad the guys at Netscape bothered to put that in there way back when.

[Ed] Are you sure it will work? [Mike] I've done some pretty extensive QA on the site but was unable to duplicate the exact conditions under which the Earth is destroyed. I did think I was pretty close at one point, but it turned out I was just kinda drunk.

[Ed] Do you know who did the site at hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com ? [Mike] Yup, we exchanged a few emails actually -- his name is Daniel Drucker. Unfortunately (and weirdly), he's also in Philadelphia, so the websites aren't going to do a great job of providing independent verification of the world's existence -- if he's gone, I'm probably toast too.

[Ed] If the world was ending how would you spend your last few minutes? [Mike] Probably lamenting the things I didn't do, like have a second helping of pie [or another milkshake] -- who needs to worry about looks when the world's ending?

[Ed] Are you really worried the LHC will destroy the world? [Mike] Nah, I think we're pretty safe. Then again, nothing's actually been collided yet (I believe they only fired it up so far with a single beam), so check back with me in October... if we're still around.

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Topics: Browser, Software Development

About

Ed Burnette has been hooked on computers ever since he laid eyes on a TRS-80 in the local Radio Shack. Since graduating from NC State University he has programmed everything from serial device drivers and debuggers to web servers. After a delightful break working on commercial video games, Ed reluctantly returned to business software. He... Full Bio

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