Friday, November 2, 2007

Shiva holes

Do you remember the Walt Disney film, The Black Hole?

It's a personal favorite of mine, as it remains firmly embedded in my childhood memory as one of the top 5 best ever. Robert Forster, who wouldn't make another big comeback until Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, was the the captain of a ship, the Palamino, who finds another ship thought to be lost hanging just beyond a black hole's event horizon. Reunions, theorizations on travel in a black hole, kidnapping, shooting robots, laser lobotomies, and trips into the great beyond ensue. It had an addictive theme as well.

I had the audio record for the movie. You know the big 33 1/3 speed record you'd play, while reading the accompanying storybook rich with movie photos? Man, those were awesome. I also had 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' and the Star Trek Buena Vista records. I recommend the Robot Masters mp3 sample.

Where was I? Black holes. Some interesting recent work in astronomy suggests that at the core of every galaxy is a supermassive black hole. How big is 'supermassive'? Well, according to an article in the Washington Post (where's there's also an ad in which I was involved: see the Presidential Candidate search), the one at the heart of the Milky Way, which is the galaxy in which the Sol system hovers, is 4 million times the size of our own sun. I can't even comprehend this. Is it like 4 million pushpin heads crammed together in something the size of a carnival balloon...or a hot air balloon?

Even more interesting,
To the enormous surprise of those who study the universe, the size of a supermassive black hole appears to have a direct and unusual correlation to the galaxy around it. Researchers calculated a decade ago that the mass of a supermassive black hole appeared to have a constant relation to the mass of the central part of its galaxy, known as its bulge. This relationship supports the notion that the evolution and structure of a galaxy is closely tied to the scale of its black hole.
This means that every starlight starbright galaxy in the multiverse contains a black hole so massive, that given enough time they could eventually consume the host galaxy, and spit out new elemental particles needed for new stars, suns, planets, and such. Philosophically speaking, they are a catalyst of destruction and creation.They're like giant celestial Shivas busting out an endless Nataraja.

Meanwhile, people back on Earth pay over $3 (if you're lucky) for a gallon of gas and work in cubes like these for eight hours a day for years upon years. Perhaps it could be argued that we impose our own event horizons upon which we spin inexorably to the great unknown at which time the process begins anew. I hope my next cube has a window.

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