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Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the lemon-chiffon-hole dept.

Space 227

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes Black holes are singularities in spacetime formed by stars that have collapsed at the end of their lives. But while black holes are one of the best known ideas in cosmology, physicists have never been entirely comfortable with the idea that regions of the universe can become infinitely dense. Indeed, they only accept this because they can't think of any reason why it shouldn't happen. But in the last few months, just such a reason has emerged as a result of intense debate about one of cosmology's greatest problems — the information paradox. This is the fundamental tenet in quantum mechanics that all the information about a system is encoded in its wave function and this always evolves in a way that conserves information. The paradox arises when this system falls into a black hole causing the information to devolve into a single state. So information must be lost.

Earlier this year, Stephen Hawking proposed a solution. His idea is that gravitational collapse can never continue beyond the so-called event horizon of a black hole beyond which information is lost. Gravitational collapse would approach the boundary but never go beyond it. That solves the information paradox but raises another question instead: if not a black hole, then what? Now one physicist has worked out the answer. His conclusion is that the collapsed star should end up about twice the radius of a conventional black hole but would not be dense enough to trap light forever and therefore would not be black. Indeed, to all intents and purposes, it would look like a large neutron star.

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wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523719)

....huh?

Re:wat (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 months ago | (#47523873)

Black holes aren't "infinitely dense" because that is ridiculous

Re:wat (3, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 months ago | (#47524131)

A lot of phenomena in astrophysics are ridiculous, but real.

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524175)

this thread is ridiculous... and real...

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524281)

Yeah, well... your MOM is infinitely dense.

Re:wat (2, Informative)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47524183)

Infinity and infinitesimals are abstract concepts. They do not occur in reality by their very definition as neither can ever be reached.

Re:wat (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 months ago | (#47524391)

What proof do you actually have of that? Usually people use Zeno as their crutch to justify that argument, but the Zeno Effect shows that the Zeno Paradox isn't an illogical result of infinite, but rather how reality might actually work. So what's your crutch?

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524393)

They do not occur in reality by their very definition as neither can ever be reached.

can you provide proof for this?

Re: wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524543)

This is still only really theory. We don't know 100% that infinities don't exist. There may be some forms of infinity that do indeed exist, outside of virtual concepts. If they DO exist, it will completely change how we view existence when doing science. Now the skies might not be the limit.

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524819)

Plenty of theories in physics treat things as point particles, and provide very accurate descriptions of observations. There may be effects that blur out observations, and you could have a philosophical discussion about whether something is actually what the model suggests it is if there is some abstraction or steps away from observations, but the end result is you can still have theories with infinitesimals and infinities in them that are as functional as any other theory in science.

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524317)

Slapping big numbers on something and making them work does not mean they're right, but I'm all for it, and someday in the distant future I believe we'll figure it all out. Then again we're pretty self destructive meaning we might not make it that far, but I hope we do. It's a damn shame Stephen Hawking is the way he is with ALS I doubt any of us could imagine the amount of shit going on in his head and the small fraction he puts out is most likely just the tip. Now if you guys want to see something that is infinitely dense you should meet my wife. Hiyoooo!

Re:wat (4, Interesting)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 2 months ago | (#47524683)

Since no one has actually peeked inside of a black hole we really can't tell for certain.

What we do know is that when we do the math on our models what we find are things approaching infinity. Sometimes these are just caused by using the wrong coordinate system, but other times when we change coordinate systems, the singularity still exists.

It's important to note that when speaking about infinity don't fall into the fallacy of treating it as a value. You cannot have an infinite amount of something, but you can have something which has infinite characteristics. Consider Hilbert's Hotel which is an example of the hilarity found when trying to add finite numbers and infinity together. The expression " + 1" is meaningless because you can't add a value to infinity any more than you can add "a + 1".

What's actually happening in Hilbert's Hotel is the addition of aleph numbers with finite numbers, which you can do, but has silly results. Aleph-0 + 1 = Aleph-0. But this just describes the extent of the set, suppose we took a sum and looked at it:

1 + 2 + 3 + ... n + 1 = 2 + 2 + 3 + ... n

And no matter what you try to do with it, that extra one is still hiding in the sum. If you take this new set and subtract it by all of the natural numbers, you should be left with the result of 1. One of the most irritating things is when people say you can do things like you can in Hilbert's Hotel, writing it off like it's some quirk of infinity. But it's not. If you shifted all of the guests over to only even rooms, you would still have the same number of guests and rooms.

2((n) n) = 2 + 4 + 6 + ... 2n

You've effectively just doubled the number of rooms. It's a sleight of hand that breaks the rules. "But!" you may say, "You have infinite many rooms, so of course you have a room at 2n!" If you do think this then you're still caught up thinking about infinity as a literal value. You don't have a room at 2n, your rooms only extend to n, and now half of your guests (which is still an infinite many) don't have rooms, but are left to stand out in an endless hallway.

In essence, one kind of infinity does not necessarily equal another kind. /rant

Correct: many phenoma in astrophysics are ideas (4, Insightful)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 2 months ago | (#47524765)

>A lot of phenomena in astrophysics are ridiculous, but real.

No there are many ideas in astrophysics. We don't know if they are real.

Dark matter? Maybe or maybe not. Dark energy? Maybe or maybe not.

Hawking radiation? It is an idea, it hasn't been proven or disproven.

Speed of light limitation? Probably, but how are neutrinos that have mass going 99.9999% the speed of light? That should require almost infinite energy shouldn't it?

Big bang? A large body of evidence points to a time limit to the beginning of the universe, but cosmic background radiation is the only stronger evidence of a big bang --- yet this could have another explanation.

Cosmic inflation? Could be a non-starter for reasons we currently don't have a handle on --- case in point, it is only happening *far away*. Supernova are used as standard candles, but what if we had different looking supernova 10 billion years ago and our measurements are wrong, therefore inflation isn't happening.

Astrophysics is an emerging field, even now. There are few ways to test all the ideas.

Many of the theories of the exotic blackholes rest precariously on a shaky house of cards, because there is no convenient way to test the ideas.

Re: wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524151)

"Proof by ridiculousness."

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524383)

well then, how would YOU describe the density when the volume of a singularity is immeasurably close to 0.

Re:wat (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 2 months ago | (#47524783)

I'd describe that as a theory that breaks at an endpoint.

Re:wat (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524419)

Give Americans a few more generations and they will be fat enough to prove \ disprove the the theory.

Re:wat (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 months ago | (#47523885)

After I read TFS, I am become infinitely hilarity!

Re:wat (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47523927)

Holy crap. The referenced paper is dense enough to have its own Schwarzschild radius.

Re: wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523989)

Does it have infinitely density?

Re: wat (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47524101)

Does it have infinitely density?

After trying to look at it, I feel like I'm infinitely dense. Does that count?

Re:wat (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 2 months ago | (#47524807)

What's the biggest run of consecutive pages of equations in it?

wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524291)

Time-dilation is infinite when you hit a black hole. That means it takes infinity time for an atom to pass through the event horizon. Therefore nothing EVER can, and goop just builds up outside. That's another way to look at this result.

Re:wat (1)

minogully (1855264) | about 2 months ago | (#47524851)

So, if a bunch of "goop" is effectively gathering around a black hole, wouldn't the gravitational pull of all of that matter eventually add up to increase the gravitational field of the black hole, thereby extending the radius of the event horizon? And wouldn't this then effectively make the goop itself enter the event horizon?

Honestly, if someone could explain this one, I'm really interested to know. Even if it's some logical fallacy of mine :)

So black holes are hairy after all? (2)

disposable60 (735022) | about 2 months ago | (#47523731)

Or just not quite as dense as we thought.

Re:So black holes are hairy after all? (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 2 months ago | (#47523783)

Or just not quite as dense as we thought.

They are brown and emit noxious gasses, duh.

Don't mind me, just feeding my inner troll...

Re:So black holes are hairy after all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524345)

They are brown and emit noxious gasses, duh.

So wer'e going to start calling them Fart Holes then?

Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523735)

Indeed, to all intents and purposes, it would look like a large neutron star.

I think you meant "for all intensive purposes". Geez, the quality of editing of submissions has gone way done ever since the Dice takeover.

Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (2)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 2 months ago | (#47523795)

physicists have never been entirely comfortable with the idea that regions of the universe can become infinitely density.

Infinitely density. Wow. The Engrish need helped.

Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (3, Funny)

rk (6314) | about 2 months ago | (#47524059)

What you say! These is much English goodly!

Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523903)

Editors, downmod this anti-Dice shill, please.

Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524155)

Why?

First bad editors, then Slashdot Beta... What's next, pull the plug? Interstory slashvertisement links? slashware pushes to give dice extra cycles for their seti@home or folding@home campaigns?

If Dice were serious about slashdot.org, they'd pull the plug on Beta, it's been brain dead since inception, and work to improve the editors' comprehension of the languages used.

Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (4, Informative)

burisch_research (1095299) | about 2 months ago | (#47524089)

No, you are dead wrong, completely and utterly wrong. "For all intents and purposes" has been down-grammaticised into "for all intensive purposes". The latter has no actual meaning.

Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (4, Funny)

Daetrin (576516) | about 2 months ago | (#47524255)

"For all intents and purposes" has been down-grammaticised into "for all intensive purposes". The latter has no actual meaning.

That is untrue! For all intensive purposes i use an exercise machine!

Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524211)

"For all intents and purposes" is the correct statement. "Intensive purposes" isn't a thing, unless you mean that any laid-back purposes are excluded.

On the other hand, if you're being sarcastic, why not go whole hog with "intensive porpoises".

Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524477)

For hysterical raisins of course...

Re:Do Slashdot editors actually edit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524583)

Your joke is not very funny. :/

Mostly done by 1985... (5, Interesting)

MrKevvy (85565) | about 2 months ago | (#47523765)

Frozen Star [google.ca] by George Greenstein had as a central theme that due to gravitational time dilation that we could never see a star collapse beyond its own event horizon: it would asymptotically approach it as arbitrarily close as we liked given unlimited time but never cross it. So as a natural consequence there was always a tiny but measurable probability that trapped light and thus information could escape.

Although this is a layperson's work, it is based on his published papers which provide a mathematical background.

Re:Mostly done by 1985... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523963)

physicists and mathematical background, you are funny.

Re:Mostly done by 1985... (2)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47523999)

Interesting, but not surprising. It's unlikely that any new idea in cosmology (or anywhere else) is actually truly "new" by the time it garners sufficient support to warrant widespread serious consideration. The process by which knowledge is created -- conjecture and criticism -- almost precludes it. Ideas, even correct ideas, assuming this is and assuming that Greenstein actually had the same idea, not less-correct variant, nearly always come before the knowledge needed to identify them as correct, or at least as more correct than competing ideas. This is why simultaneous invention is so common, because the groundwork is thoroughly well-laid before the crucial bits fall into place that make it possible to put it on a firm foundation.

Re:Mostly done by 1985... (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 months ago | (#47524095)

there was always a tiny but measurable probability that trapped light and thus information could escape.

Isn't that the same thing as Hawking Radiation? I'm sure Dr. Hawking proposed and submitted work explaining the same thing.

In fact, here is what I am talking about [ucr.edu] .

Re:Mostly done by 1985... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524115)

Gravitational time dilation affects the falling object, not the observer. If you claim that if I throw a baseball at a sufficiently large star then I'll eventually see the baseball slow down as it approaches it, then you need an explanation for the repulsive force.

Re:Mostly done by 1985... (4, Informative)

slew (2918) | about 2 months ago | (#47524519)

Gravitational time dilation affects the falling object, not the observer. If you claim that if I throw a baseball at a sufficiently large star then I'll eventually see the baseball slow down as it approaches it, then you need an explanation for the repulsive force.

Actually you probably won't actually "see" it slow down, it will eventually red-shift to be invisible (which is actually slowing down). Gravitational time dilation makes an object an object approaching the event horizon of a black hole to appear to slow down, taking an infinite time to reach the event horizon.

Re:Mostly done by 1985... (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 months ago | (#47524651)

Physicists originally called black holes "frozen stars" because the flow of time stops at the event horizon. Nothing can fall past an event horizon in outside time because that would take an infinitely long time to happen. It also can't happen from the perspective of an observer falling in, provided the outside universe has a finite lifetime. So you can never get a singularity.

I'm not really sure why that idea doesn't get more attention from today's physicists.

Not just physicists (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47523771)

physicists have never been entirely comfortable with the idea that regions of the universe can become infinitely density

I'm pretty sure that editors outside of /. have never been entirely comfortable with that idea either.

Orange? (4, Funny)

Sporkinum (655143) | about 2 months ago | (#47523773)

Orange is the new black...hole...

Re:Orange? (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 2 months ago | (#47523857)

uhm? Was that a reference to Josie and the Pussy Cats?

Re:Orange? (2)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 months ago | (#47523945)

Netflix series. "Orange is the new black".

Re:Orange? (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 2 months ago | (#47524027)

doh! I've not seen it but i watched Josie and the Pussy Cats with my niece last night... if you haven't seen it it is a comedy about subliminal messages in pop music every time a new song comes on what's cool changes orange is the new black or blue is the new orange and all the kids run to the mall to buy all new clothes that color.

Re:Orange? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 months ago | (#47524395)

What's that you say? Orange Star is the new Black Hole?

Re:Orange? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524487)

Amazing. I have never before seen an Advance Wars pun. And will likely never again. Thank you for that.

What about existing evidence? (2)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47523807)

I know that Black Holes aren't supposed to be observable - but I thought there were observations of other things, such as things being eaten by black holes and the interactions between a black hole's massive gravity well and the environment around it. If this study is right, shouldn't the astrophysicists who first observed the by-products of black holes have been able to see them?

Re:What about existing evidence? (3, Informative)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 months ago | (#47524005)

they may not be truly black, in that electromagnetic radiation can actually escape from the surface, but that radiation can still be redshifted heavily and have insufficient energy to be detectable by us.

Re:What about existing evidence? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524033)

The best picture [nationalgeographic.com] we currently have of an exoplanet is about 6x6 pixels.
The closest black hole is heck of a lot further away.
Any observation we have of a black holes are extrapolations from gathered data.

Discoveries of stellar bodies are often presented as facts in the news but the discoveries themselves are little more than "This example would explain the data, together with a hundred other possible scenarios."
Next time you see a headline about discovering a star made entirely out of diamond or whatever, remember that the only proof they have is that no-one has bothered to find out why the signal they got can't possibly be caused by that.

Re:What about existing evidence? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47524065)

Black holes and neutron stars are both examples of stellar remnants, where fusion has stopped, so they're not emitting nearly as much energy as previously, just residual effects of temperature, magnetism and gravity. In the case of black holes, we've been assuming that the radius had collapsed to the point where the escape velocity was greater than the speed of light, hence, "black". Even if that isn't the case, they're not necessarily going to be easy to spot.

Re:What about existing evidence? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47524297)

Unless the objects weren't black holes but a massive amount of dark matter which is invisible across the visible light spectrum, and maybe our telescopes saw nothing, but there actually is a finite mass which does not emit light.

If not black... (2)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 2 months ago | (#47523825)

following the convention for naming stars that are not dense enough to ignite "brown dwarfs", we could name these new, less dense, singularities... "brown holes".

Re:If not black... (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 months ago | (#47524225)

"brown holes"

. . . and their wave function would be the "brown note" . . . ?

This is terrible!!! (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47523845)

Now how is Michio Kaku going to portray black holes as marauding monsters that travel around like itinerant serial killers, gobbling up everything in their path?

Re:This is terrible!!! (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 months ago | (#47524029)

Now how is Michio Kaku going to portray black holes as marauding monsters that travel around like itinerant serial killers, gobbling up everything in their path?

I suggest bringing in a robot sidekick named Maximillian to improve ratings.

So ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47523893)

Indeed, to all intents and purposes, it would look like a large neutron star.

WTF does a large neutron star look like then?

Re:So ... (5, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 months ago | (#47523959)

Chicken. It looks like chicken.

Re:So ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47524049)

Oh, well then, why didn't they just say so?

I knew chicken was the universal standin for what things taste like, I had no idea it was also used for what things look like. :-P

Re:So ... (4, Funny)

Pope (17780) | about 2 months ago | (#47524279)

Imagine a perfectly spherical chicken...

Re:So ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47524337)

Why did the perfectly spherical chicken cross the road?

To get to the black hole (or neutron star).

Seriously, can we get a can analogy (yeah, I know, imagine a perfectly spherical car, bastards! ;-)

Re:So ... (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47524159)

WTF does a large neutron star look like then?

Like a small neutron star. Only bigger.

Infinite density (5, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 2 months ago | (#47523935)

physicists have never been entirely comfortable with the idea that regions of the universe can become infinitely density.

They've clearly never been to DC. I'm convinced that regions of the universe are infinitely dense.

Infinite density (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524323)

You are correct, for all the taking that is done in DC, no information actually escapes. Fortunately nothing of value is lost, unless you value money, then you are hosed.

Derp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523939)

So it's not infinite, it just approaches the asymptote. And it's true because Hawking said so.

And most of the posts on this story are worthless jokes or statements meant to make light of stupidity and convey it as a virtue.

Real classy, slashfags. And you all wonder why Dice posts politcally charged stories so much. Because those get 1000+ comments. Stories of a true and interesting scientific nature get less than 50 comments and are mostly just references to a 17 year old meme from a movie that had sharks with lasers strapped to their heads as comic relief in one scene. One scene.

Pathetic. I suggest slashdot.org just redirect to reddit.com going forward.

Re:Derp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524119)

And most of the posts on this story are worthless jokes or statements meant to make light of stupidity and convey it as a virtue.

Thanks for adding your own worthless post...you must be a wizard! Feel free to come back any time. (anytime you're not hanging out on that circle-jerk known as reddit, that is)

really old news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523943)

What's with the Really Old News?

I read this and hear ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47523975)

... "I am the Doctor" by Murray Gold as if some absurdly clever Man has just saved a planet. Anyone Else? Just Me? *sigh* Fine.

Or, maybe there's no paradox at all. (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47524025)

The paradox arises when this system falls into a black hole causing the information to devolve into a single state.

Or... maybe it doesn't devolve into a single state at all. We can't actually see what goes on inside of black hole... but if our assumptions about what actually happens appear to create a paradox, then maybe it's our assumptions aren't valid, rather than the original basic concept of what a black hole supposedly is. I believe that the concept that black holes are necessarily singularities may be flawed. Space is so distorted by gravity in their vicinity that straight lines which intersect their event horizon never exit it, but I do not think that means that all of a black hole's mass is necessarily at its center, or even necessarily collapsing inexorably towards its center. Its center is just its center of mass.

And yeah, I know that astrophysicists with a vastly more qualifications than I have came up with these ideas, but in the end, an argument from authority does not make one actually right.

Re:Or, maybe there's no paradox at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524161)

About that single state matter, what would then be the Bose-Einstein condensate in which the gas atoms take the form of a single atom? Perhaps the gravity holds things so tightly together that the whole hole is a giant condensate with a state of a single particle. So in a quantum sense there would be a singularity, a single quantum state.

Re:Or, maybe there's no paradox at all. (4, Informative)

dunkindave (1801608) | about 2 months ago | (#47524269)

And yeah, I know that astrophysicists with a vastly more qualifications than I have came up with these ideas, but in the end, an argument from authority does not make one actually right.

This is actually one of my nits with these kinds of articles. When someone says "Now one physicist has worked out the answer", the use of the phrase "the answer" means in English that the question is now closed. He has found THE answer, meaning the one and only answer, hence the use of the word 'the' instead of the word 'a'. In reality, the article should say "Now one physicist has worked out a possible answer". What he has presented is a theory that he believes is consistent with known physics and observations. That is all it is.

Wait (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | about 2 months ago | (#47524041)

can some explain why information can't be lost? this is slightly confusing and that assumption makes it seem like they're building a lot of theory on a pretty shaky foundation.

Re:Wait (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47524219)

Not quite, they're building it on presumption.

Re:Wait (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524513)

can some explain why information can't be lost? this is slightly confusing and that assumption makes it seem like they're building a lot of theory on a pretty shaky foundation.

Why? Who knows why the universe is the way it is. We've yet to observe a quantum system where information is lost. It's not an assumption. It's an observation. Shaky? Why is it shaky? It's as solid as the equations we currently use for quantum systems, because no information is lost in those equations either. If you want to throw out this "shaky foundation", then you need to throw out all of quantum mechanics as well. All of particle physics and a whole bunch of other clearly useful and predictive theories that say information isn't lost.

Re:Wait (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524623)

1) Information is another term for entropy.

2) Thermodynamic says that potential energy and entropy are inversely proportional in an isolated system.

3) Thermodynamics furthers says that the entropy of an isolated system always increases until it reaches a minimum potential energy state. Why? If the entropy of a system decreases, that implies that potential energy is increasing. But if it's an isolated system, where did that potential energy come from?

Because black holes exist within an isolated system that is the universe, if they were able to decrease the entropy of the universe then that would imply that they're generating potential energy. Remember that capacity for work is the same as potential energy, so black holes would then be the equivalent of perpetual motion machines because the expenditure of potential energy (i.e. work) creates more entropy, which would be swallowed by a black hole, which would generate more potential energy, ad infinitum. That state of affairs just wouldn't seem to mirror our larger understanding of the universe.

Also, consider that what we call "time" is effectively the same as an increase in entropy. That is, the universe is evolving to a minimum potential energy state, which is the same as "aging". If you could decrease entropy you'd effectively be making time go backward.

Of course, all this is premised on our definition of information, entropy, potential energy, etc. But as far as we know they're extremely solid and coherent concepts, and it makes more sense that some supposed phenomenon which violates that model is more likely to be false than those concepts are.

Anyhow, I'm not a physicist. I don't even play one on TV. I hope real physicists correct my mistakes.

Re:Wait (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 2 months ago | (#47524731)

I think it's an extrapolation of the idea that if you had a perfect knowledge of a system's current state and the laws governing that system you could then predict any future state and any prior state.

Of course they are not black, (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 2 months ago | (#47524045)

that would be racist.

Re:Of course they are not black, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524617)

that would be racist.

No, no, no!

Precluding them from being black is racist.

Pluto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524051)

We're going to keep calling Pluto a planet.

We're still going to call Black Holes Black Holes.

Seriously Dark Gray Holes just doesn't have the same ring to it.

String theory deals with singularities similarly (2)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 2 months ago | (#47524071)

IIRC, string theorists have also proposed the idea that there are no singularities. In their model, the gravitational collapse of a star of sufficient mass causes all the strings of its component particles to coalesce into one highly-energetic string, sort of a super-particle. The information content of the original matter would be preserved in the vibration pattern of the final string.

Collapsed star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524111)

Why does it have to be a collapsed star? To a casual observer it appears no different then a drain of some sort. Where it is draining would be my question.

So Black Holes don't exist.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524239)

Why not just admit that then?

So Violet in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524271)

If visible at all. Interestingly, purple is literally made up in the human mind. Your eyes cannot process it, your mind does!!

Humans don't really see purple. They sense it through their mind.

Re:So Violet in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524321)

Basically, your mind is genetically configure to label "purple = none of the above".
Sorry magenta is completely abstract to us, but you can't have purple/violet without some element of magenta.
The Royal Institution: Color Mixing [youtube.com]

New Universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524293)

They do devolve into a singularity.
This creates the 'black hole' in our universe, something that can be accurately described as just one system with very few descriptors.
The 'lost' information/matter/energy is what causes a 'big bang' for a new universe created when the star collapses into a singularity.
This information, to be useful for the newly created universe, must be hidden from ours in order to 'balance the books' of entropy and information.
That is the 'self censorship' observed in our universe with the event horizon.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_censorship_hypothesis

Our universe is just a 3d holographic projection/mass delusion housed within the singularity of another parent universe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle

The serpent eating it's own tail is what is reality. Endless universes being created and consumed to create more universes in an endless cycle of destruction and birth. Time without end, creation without beginning.

Radius? (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 2 months ago | (#47524327)

What's this about radius of a black hole? Circumference or surface area makes better sense to us, radius of an object with such intense gravity is difficult to comprehend due to the relativistic effect on distance, so comparing radii is not helpful to most of us.

Not black enough for this universe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524333)

It's like... how much more black can this black hole be? None.. none more black.

RE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524343)

Could it also be that black holes are dark matter?

Called black because it's not bright like a star. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524361)

People are confused by basic astronomy language. There are two things in the universe, those we can see, and those we can't. The only things we can see from Terra are stars that are bright enough to be seen lightyears away. Stars are Bright, everything else is Dark. Dark Matter and Dark Energy refers to anything that's not part of a star.

Could this 'negative energy' zone be the source of (1)

Zondar (32904) | about 2 months ago | (#47524483)

Dark Energy?

Would a 'negative energy' zone potentially produce Dark Energy, which is the repulsive force accelerating inflation?

Does this explain why inflation is increasing? More 'black-hole-type' objects with more of this negative energy space in existence... creating more Dark Energy...

infinitely density (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 months ago | (#47524515)

"My name is George McFly, and I am your density."

I can hear (-1, Troll)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47524585)

The Rev. Jesse Jackson now meeting with the Physicists and asking them to create a diversity program for the universe while also insisting that they become members of his Rainbow Coalition.

"We must not allow the progress we've made in astrophysical objects to be eroded by these people who don't know what it is to be black. Black is beautiful. Am I MLK Yet?" The rev. Jackson was quoted saying.

Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524647)

Who says information can't be lost? Behold the "Blue Screen of Death"

It's because a Dark Hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47524657)

The Dark Hole could be concentrated Dark Energy, hence it would be also bigger on the inside, than on the outside. It would not be infinite but just some kind of different beast living off in the vacuum energy, like a waste from the stars.
Note that the stars are not some very old cosmic objects but everything in Universe really very young, hence there isn't much waste produced yet.

The Universe haven't yet even decided if will continue to expand or it will collapse one day, of course we will never know what will be the idea in 100 years.

To summarize (1)

jphamlore (1996436) | about 2 months ago | (#47524675)

There's a Vaz difference in the region between the Schwarzschild radius and the radius of the star's observed dust ball?

Another way of looking at it (1)

whitroth (9367) | about 2 months ago | (#47524725)

In fact, this makes perfect sense. Consider that we *know* black holes evaporate via Hawking radiation. I haven't read the paper, but unless I miss my guess, what he's effectively suggesting is that the evaporation starts as the star collapses, and becomes stronger as it grows more dense, to the point where a balance is reached, *above* the Schwartschild Radius.

                  mark

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