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Science from the Soap Box


black holes and proto-stars

Did you know that India has a tiger problem?  In the last century tigers have killed and eaten over 17,000 people!  There was one tiger, reported to have been more than a tad peckish, swam out to a boat and settled in for a handful of homo-sapien hors d'oeuvres.  His snacks-to-be watched him as he paddled out to the boat—and they could have gotten away by simply diving into the water for crying out loud!   (Jump, Pramsu! Jump!)

I didn't know this before I wrote my first book but of all the animals in Africa the hippopotamus is the most deadly to us humans.  The why kind of stumped me but, when you think about it, to be speared at for millennia by us two-legged mutherfuckers would probably give ya'll a case-of-the-ass for bipedalism too.  Just sayin'...

And to go off-topic for just a sec, what's all this crap about deadly this and deadly that?  Does saying something is deadly make it all deader than fatal or lethal?  Just recently I heard a report on a "deadly murder" during a Fox newscast.  I guess there's no limit to stupid, right?

Monsters do exist.  We tend to be lulled into complacency because tigers look cuddly and hippos are cute but...naw, just kidding!  Tigers and hippos love huggy time, and sharks really like it when you scratch 'em under the chin.  Try it next time you see a big-white one!  As for bears you meet on a hike I only have one word...pattycake! 

We have a totally distorted view of the nature of the natural world.

This is not just an issue of poetic license but outright dumb and dumber!  Case in point, doves are a symbol of peace but in reality they are some hateful little critters to be sure.  In fact, if you could train and issue them all little dove machine guns, al la Robot Chicken, you would have a God damned genocide on your hands!  The species would be wiped off the face of the Earth inside eight months.

Did you know there are groups who attribute magical healing abilities to dolphins and these brainiacs have no idea that dolphins (like wild ponies) are in the natural order nature's assholes!  In my opinion these people could really use a frontal lobe spring cleaning .40 cal style.

People have this tendency to project their esthetics, perspective and sense of mystery onto objects of the natural world and they really do read shit into things.  It's annoying as hell when Jane and John Doe do it, but it is beat your face against the pavement maddening when the scientific community does it—and they do it all the time!

The worst of it is when scientists jump off the deep end when it's about things they cannot see and black holes are a prime example.  Over the years when theorists have talked about them you would think they were talking about Enrichment Center portals, The Time Tunnel and Cthulhu (i.e. the badass of badass'), but they are nothing of the sort.

THERE IS NOTHING MYSTERIOUS ABOUT BLACK HOLES!  They're simply material objects where the gravitational phenomena is so great that the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light (c) and anything else that can be said about them is abstract theory, conjecture, fantasy and just plain Forest Gump stupid. 

Black holes are not "monsters" nor do they "feed" except through said poetic license.  If these things were alive then these descriptions would be apropos, dead-nuts on even, but, as it is, they are inaccurate.  Black holes are just there, and the fact is they are passive objects.  Things go spinning around them and things fall into them and these things have an incredible "long reach" influence on the things in proximity to them, but the long and short of it is—they are passive objects.  These things are not alive and they have no soul, awareness nor choice.  They just are.

Black holes are NOT worm-hole transportation pathways.  Black holes are NOT portals to other dimensions, universes or alternate states of being.  To those of ya'll who insist in believing in these ideas then feel free to verify it by jumping on into the event horizon! 

I'll hang back here and watch from a distance...for the lulz.

Black holes are NOT singularities by any definition!  Not in space-time, not in real time and...to risk going off-track a second time in this diatribe but why the fuck is it that every branch of science has their own twist on the word singularity?  Like the ridiculously excessive use of strategic in business it appears that everyone and their second cousin has to have it in their lexicon and, for the record, it's asinine!

You do not lose information in a black hole and, if you know what I'm talking about, this was the most moronic debate and raspberry blowin' fuck-tardary that was shamefully public!  Just because something is theoretically possible does not mean it's physically doable, the idea is impossible really, and if you do or do not lose information who cares!  Heated debates over what would be in the realm of God are just plain dumb and he (or she for that matter) just couldn't give less of a shit!

Incidentally, the laws of physics DO NOT break down in a black hole.  It's our ability to think and reason with a clear head that seems to lose traction!  Like with dark matter and energy, things we cannot see, we humans tend to let our imaginations run wild.

Look, the closest thing to a black hole is a neutron star and their escape velocity extends up to the value of c and beyond that they will become a black hole.  So, riddle me this...WHAT'S THE FUCKEN' DIFFERENCE?  A neutron star that's right on the edge of an escape velocity of the speed of light still radiates and has a cross section AND a measurable radii.  If you throw in just enough matter for it to cross-over into black hole status does not mean it suddenly becomes a Magical Robot Unicorn!

Not all black holes are the same.  They all have different masses and gravitational reach.  BLACK HOLES DO NOT HAVE ZERO VOLUME NOR INFINITE GRAVITY FOR FUCK'S SAKE!  If they had zero volume they would not exist because there would be no mass.  No matter how infinitesimal a something is it still requires a volume!  They do not have infinite gravity.  If that were the case we would not have made it past the protostar phase.  The universe would have collapsed in on itself with the first supermassive black holes when they formed.  Infinite gravity, if it ever comes, means we can pucker up and kiss our asses' goodbye!

Hey, science dweebs, to say something is 'clothed' allows you to say anything you want about it and is pulling the wool over your own eyes!

A threshold is just that—a threshold.  As it relates to black holes that threshold holds in anything that can't exceed c and chances are the object inside the event horizon, the threshold, has a cross-section, a radii, is hotter than hell, displaces space like a mutherfucker and goes spinny-spinny fast-fast! 

How big, how much radii, how hot, and how much it spins we have not a clue.  As to how much pull a black hole has...well, we can measure that. And that pull is a pretty good indicator as to how much stuff is in it.

That's pretty much all we'll ever know.


Runaway accretion, ever hear about it?  I haven't but here goes...

Regardless of what "origin of the universe" theory, story or fantasy yarn you subscribe to (e.g. big bang, bounce, belch or celestial genie-blink) the one thing we do know is that it happened.  By whatever mechanism it happened and we'll never know proof-positive what caused it.

There has been a lot of speculation about the first proto-stars after the formation of the microwave background radiation, and there's been a lot of talk about the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, and I am here to say that they are basically one in the same.

While a star is developing, and the fusion in the core switches on, the mass that can add itself to the star proper before it becomes convective and radiant determines how big the star will become.  Nowadays all we ever see is anywhere from 0.1 to 150 solar masses, 200 maybe, but we tend to believe that 200 solar masses is the max a star could ever be. 

Oh, so not true!

The amount of mass that jumped on the accretion band-wagon at the proto-star stage of the universe ranged from the millions to billions of solar masses for each one.  The early universe had hundreds of billions of runaway trains whose respective cores fused into iron inside 10 to 50 thousand years.  Sad to say but the original proto-stars in our universe never did achieve Starhood.

The idea of an imploding star taking everything along with it is not new, but in the early universe our proto-stars were still in the accretion stage when they collapsed into the galactic supermassive black holes we see in the galactic cores today.

In my mind there's nothing really mysterious about all this but if NOVA or the Science Channel were to do a special presentation you're gonna have Night on Bald Mountain on the music queue up when they present you some spectacular light show of a feeding supermassive black hole and a pinwheel of the material that will become its future galaxy self. 

Back in the day, 27 billion years ago, this whole thing happened pretty much in the dark.  How science programs would depict this event can't even come close to the eeriness of what actually happened.

There'd be monsters out there, says I.  Cosmic golems coming to be al la Sefer Yetzirah.  Who suckled and grew and yet...from the womb they emerged to make all the difference.

nicholas ralph baum
March 24, 2011

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