Scientists say it’s “unlikely” that they’ll create a black hole that will eat the Earth..

..but they’re rechecking their calculations just to be sure.

Maybe we should conduct these experiments offsite, like on a space station…?

About marypmadigan

Web designer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Scientists say it’s “unlikely” that they’ll create a black hole that will eat the Earth..

  1. Bruce Parker says:

    I know of at at least two SF stories with this as the theme:

    Brin, David “Earth.” 1990, Bantam. A mini black hole falls into the Earth’s core.

    McAuley, Paul “How We Lost the Moon” in Crowther, Peter, ed. Moon Shots. 1999, Daw. A glitch in a fusion experiment on the Moon creates a mini black hole that eats our satellite.

    I haven’t seen enough of Odyssey 5 to know whether this is also its theme.

    OTOH,

    Enrico Fermi jokingly offered to wager anyone that the bomb would ignite the atmosphere or simply just incinerate New Mexico.

  2. Bruce Parker says:

    I know of at at least two SF stories with this as the theme:

    Brin, David “Earth.” 1990, Bantam. A mini black hole falls into the Earth’s core.

    McAuley, Paul “How We Lost the Moon” in Crowther, Peter, ed. Moon Shots. 1999, Daw. A glitch in a fusion experiment on the Moon creates a mini black hole that eats our satellite.

    I haven’t seen enough of Odyssey 5 to know whether this is also its theme.

    OTOH,

    Enrico Fermi jokingly offered to wager anyone that the bomb would ignite the atmosphere or simply just incinerate New Mexico.

  3. Bruce Parker says:

    And Singularity, by Bill DeSmedt, Per Aspera Press, 2004. The Tunguska meteor was a mini-black hole, and some bad guys are trying to recover it.

  4. Bruce Parker says:

    And Singularity, by Bill DeSmedt, Per Aspera Press, 2004. The Tunguska meteor was a mini-black hole, and some bad guys are trying to recover it.

  5. mary says:

    Imagine if they had newspapers and sci fi writers during the stone age.

    Author J. McMoog would write a short story about how entire villages were wiped out by a runaway wheel.

    The New Pangea Times would report on a lawsuit claiming that reckless experiments with fire would destroy the world’s forests. The common refrain would be that if the gods had meant for us to have fire, they would have given us lightning bolts coming out of our hands!

  6. Dave J says:

    Let me know when they build some von Neumann machines. Then I’ll file the suit myself, because then we really WILL be fucked, as opposed to the paranoid luddism involved here.

  7. mary says:

    The robots in stories like “Terminator” are dangerous when they become self-aware, but they’re usually self-replicating too. This idea is taken to a truly loony extreme in ‘Battlestar Gallactica’ where robots are not only self-replicating, they evolve from toasters to humanoids with the ability to become pregnant in a few generations.

    I could see that kind of evolution over a few centuries if we continue investigating nanotech and bionics, but it might not be as bad as the sci-fi authors predict. They always see the worst case scenario.

    One writer sees many reasons why we wouldn’t develop von Neumann machines.

  8. <i>Brin, David “Earth.” 1990, Bantam. A mini black hole falls into the Earth’s core. </i>

    SPOILER ALERT: two of them, I believe.

    <i>Maybe we should conduct these experiments offsite, like on a space station…?</i>

    Accelerators are underground because they require shielding. Carting all that dirt up into orbit would be expensive. Also, given the large size of accelerators, they would need to be in a very high orbit to reduce the effects of gravitational tides. Besides, I’m not sure I’d be much happier with a quantum black hole in orbit.

  9. Italics is being weird again.

  10. mary says:

    Accelerators are underground because they require shielding. Carting all that dirt up into orbit would be expensive. Also, given the large size of accelerators, they would need to be in a very high orbit to reduce the effects of gravitational tides

    Well, that makes sense. And building them on the moon wouldn’t help either. If you’ve ever seen the Tick (or Space: 1999) you’d know what kind of disaster that could create.

    I think, in the long run, our knowledge about black holes will be equivalent to our knowledge about the sun and fire. On a large, interplanetary scale, these things are mysterious and uncontrollable, but on a very small scale, manufactured, controlled black holes may be very useful. We just have to get past this dicey experimental stage…

  11. mary says:

    the italics worked that time – hopefully the problem fixed itself..?

  12. Well, that makes sense. And building them on the moon wouldn’t help either.

    I was about to say that if a quantum black hole ate our moon, then our environment would be screwed up severely as the lunar tides vanished. Then I remembered that we’d have a black hole in the same orbit as the moon with a similar mass.

    So, no problem.

  13. Well, that makes sense. And building them on the moon wouldn’t help either.

    I was about to say that if a quantum black hole ate our moon, then our environment would be screwed up severely as the lunar tides vanished. Then I remembered that we’d have a black hole in the same orbit as the moon with a similar mass.

    So, no problem.

  14. mary says:

    That’s not a very comforting thought, although it would have a certain novelty value. They’d have to rewrite a lot of songs..

  15. They’d have to rewrite a lot of songs..

    I’m sure the exciting light-show that would occur as the moon is devoured would inspire some new ones.

  16. Dave J says:

    This thread invariably reminds me of this article: Top Ten Ways to Destroy the Earth.

  17. mary says:

    Thanks for the link! What would sci-fi be without the end of the world?

    If you’d like to see another end-of-the-world scenario, rent Odyssey 5, a (cancelled) series about the end of the world and time travel. I haven’t seen it all yet, but it’s pretty good.

  18. Dave J says:

    I think “total existence failure” may be my favorite. Just wait around for the Earth to spontaneously vanish. More than a googolpex to one odds…so you’re saying there’s a chance?! ;-)

    For the sake of some degree of comparison, a googolplex is several orders of magnitude more than the entire estimated number of atoms in the universe.

  19. maryatexitzero says:

    I saw the reason for your aversion to Von Neumann machines (way to destroy the earth #4 – Eaten by von Neumann machines)

    But von Neumann machines would probably be intelligent enough not to keep mindlessly replicating. The greater danger would come from the fact that they wouldn’t need us around to build them.

    But even that wouldn’t destroy the planet – just people..

  20. maryatexitzero says:

    I saw the reason for your aversion to Von Neumann machines (way to destroy the earth #4 – Eaten by von Neumann machines)

    But von Neumann machines would probably be intelligent enough not to keep mindlessly replicating. The greater danger would come from the fact that they wouldn’t need us around to build them.

    But even that wouldn’t destroy the planet – just people..

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s