Biggest Black Hole Ever Found &
Metaphysics of Perforating Tunnels
Planets have craters, caves, volcanoes. Our bodies have cavities, orifices, crevices. Thoughts have depths, flaws, gaps.
In the 1960s, there were four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, according to John Lennon. Right now, there’re billions of massive ones, swallowing whole galaxies across the universe.
For such a geographic, anatomic accident, we give holes a huge amount of attention, and scientific research keeps piling up.
Let’s see what’s that about, from the vastness of outer space, to the rarified atmosphere of improbable research, to that ground hole that may already have our name printed all over it.
10 BILLION SUNS
One of the noblest things to be said about Albert Einstein is that he never let his deep religious beliefs interfere with his scientific quest.
When he theorized that there must be something like a black hole, a force so powerful that not even light can escape it, he also said there should be a law forbidding it to exist.
There wasn’t, and his rigorous calculations prevailed despite himself. As Stephen Hawking and others proved and studied black holes, Einstein’s moral integrity also received a boost.
What even now few are capable of conceiving is the size of these monsters. The biggest one ever discovered, just the other day, is bigger than 10 billion suns.
Before you ask it, though, if you absolutely have to, how astronomers come up with these figures, we must say, it’s complicated. But we’ll wait while you go on the Internet to check it out.
BREAKFAST OF STARS
Welcome back. As we were saying, this guy and his slightly smaller second-biggest ever, are over 330 million light-years away from us, one in the Coma constellation of all places.
Again, if you need to ask what’s a light year, etc, etc.
And what an appetite. These fatties can devour millions of stars faster than you can finish reading this word.
The great fighter Muhammad Ali once said that he was so fast, that he could pull the switch and get in bed before the light would go out.
That’s the kind of fast we’re talking about here. And powerful too.
By now, you probably already know that black holes can warp spacetime around them, so strong is their gravitational pull. Fortunately, we’re not near one right now, so let’s move on.
As it turns out, holes are traps that may have tricked, and tickled) some of the brightest philosophers of our time. And it all started with a piece of Gruyère cheese in the 1970s (yup, 10 years after Lennon got interested in holes).
Lore has it that two scientists named Lewis created an imaginary duo of thinkers, Argle and Bargle, who’d get intrigued with what the holes in the cheese actually meant.
If we’re insulting your attention span, feel free to take a break. We’ll be as brief as our philosophical illiteracy will allow it.
The discussion somehow evolved to the point where philosopher, Kristopher McDaniel picked it up and created a whole new category of ‘entities’ called Almost Nothings.
That’s how holes now belong in the ‘cracks’ and ‘shadows’ category, as we’re sure you were about to ask.
Nowadays, the philosophical field of research about holes is getting crowded. The latest addition is the studies conducted by Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi.
One would think that they would spend better their time analyzing the latest Lady Gaga album, for example, or the probability the Kardashians’ amount of media time will beat Justin Bieber’s.
(Note to thyself: suggest folks at the Improbable Research to propose a staff scientist to develop such a relevant paper).
But no. Casati and Varzi had to come up with something entirely different: blind hollows, perforating tunnels, and internal cavities as three kinds of hole categories.
The MIT Press, of course, hailed their research as a “fascinating investigation on the borderlines of metaphysics, everyday geometry, and the theory of perception.”
Far from attempting to sound as equally instigating as such a distinguished bunch, we could only come up with one pounding line of inquiry that would probably haunt us to no end.
Never mind the, ‘Do holes really exist? And if so, what are they?’ which ignited the two scientists’ curiosity.
We’re just, humbly, wondering: did Argle and Bargle even tasted that damn piece of cheese?