September 10th, 2008

operesque

The perfect gift for the materialist with everything

I'll spend Big Bang Day -- with consummate irrationality, since we all know it's the last day of life, the universe and everything -- writing my Friday spot for the New York Times website. As if there were going to be a Friday! As if my spot's name (The Post-Materialist) weren't going to be tragically literal by Friday, when all matter will have been sucked into a series of miniature but deadly black holes!



Okay, physicist Michio Kaku doesn't believe this is a risk.



And, as I write, they've already switched the machine on, and sent the first beam of protons around the 27 kilometer-long tunnel near Geneva. So far we're still here (I'm following events live on Radio 4, fully expecting the coverage to turn into Quatermass and the Pit).



I think my theme for the NYT will be the aesthetics of Hadron. I want to tie it in with the architecture of industrial agriculture, seen in the amazing documentary Our Daily Bread. And maybe the science aesthetics of Rod Lord's animation sequences in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which raise the "functional-didactic style" to new levels of cool.



The beauty part is that, although the look of science is somehow dry and non-decorative, it's super-expensive. So I'll be able to portray the Large Hadron Collider as a cool piece of jewelry, a massive ringlet hanging around Switzerland's neck, and for once I'll be able to trump the price tag snobbery of my colleagues at The Moment: this trinket cost five billion. The perfect gift for the girl who has everything! If she hasn't been post-materialized.