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Systemic - Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems

Black Hole Disasters

19 Feb 2017, 18:52 UTC
Black Hole Disasters
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Given the current situation, the destruction of planet Earth through an encounter with a black hole is a low-probability scenario that should elicit relatively little concern.
Nonetheless, the industry surrounding black holes and their various associated activities generates non-negligible economic activity. By way of setting scale, an article in this week’s New York Times points to the statistic that the total US commercial honeybee pollination industry has an annual value of order $500 million, with slim margins and the ongoing specter of colony collapse disorder. The movie Interstellar, by contrast, generated $675 million in receipts based on a $165 million production budget. Having seen the movie, I would hazard a guess that a significant, if not decisive, factor in the box office draw centered on the numerical calculation of ray bundle propagation through the curved spacetime of a spinning Kerr black hole, as described by James, Tunzelmann, Franklin & Thorne (2015).

Figure 16 from James et al. (2015)
Activities as diverse as the technology development and staffing of LIGO, the awarding of multi-million dollar prizes, and lurid television documentaries are all parts of the thriving Black-Holes-as-a-Business paradigm. Sure, I’m being a little facetious here, but not really… It’s a real ...

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