Success, by association
This Youtube channel makes semi-serious reviews of all manner of weird, old, or simply forgotten cars that the makers manage to get their hands on. But what makes any of that actually interesting is that, between the silly voices and surrealist tangents, the makers find a path through each artifact of the automotive industry to an insightful and sometimes revelatory discussion of how cars both define and are defined by our motion-obsessed culture.
This video explores the deliriously chintzy Chevrolet Chevette, an "economy car" slapped together by a beleaguered General Motors running on sheer panic.
"GM hoped that the name Chevette would call to mind the Corvette, and that it would be a success... by association."
"Astronomers have uncovered a near-record breaking supermassive black hole, weighing 17 billion suns, in an unlikely place: in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the universe. The observations, made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, may indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought."
--from "Behemoth Black Hole Found in an Unlikely Place."
So, 17 billion times the mass of our sun is a lot of kilograms.
I tried to do a little bit of math (I AM NOT A SCIENTIST, A MATHEMATICIAN, OR EVEN ABLE TO MULTIPLY TWO-DIGIT NUMBERS BY HAND SO CHILL OUT IF I MAKE A MISTAKE) to work out how close you could get before getting trapped. It's really scary. The limit is called the event horizon--go past that invisible line and you are the most fucked it is possible to be. The official scientific term is "spaghettification."
I googled around and found an equation to calculate the radius around a black hole below which you have to go faster than light to escape (event horizon, aka: "Schwarzchild radius").
It's actually way simpler than I expected:
r = 2MG/c²
r is the "Schwarzchild radius."
M is the mass of the black hole.
G is a fixed number that has to be used for science reasons.
c is the speed of light.
Oh, by the way, the Sun (according to Google--I didn't measure it myself) has a mass of:
This black hole has a mass of THAT, times 17,000,000,000.
Which works out to:
For comparison, I weigh about 65kg.
Plug that really big number into the top part of the equation, double it, and multiply it again by the special G number, then divide all that by the speed of light (times itself), and you get--you guessed it--another really, big number. But not QUITE as big:
5,018,500,000,000 meters. I looked up the metric prefix for that and it's "tera-," as in "Five terameters." Like "terabyte," for computers. It's a trillion of something.
Five trillion meters. Or, five thousand billion meters. That's the radius of the sphere of don't-go-there around this black hole. If you remember from math class, a "radius" is half the diameter. Our *entire solar system* has a radius of:
Put another way:
Diameter of our solar system: nine billion kilometers.
Diameter of the sphere of space and time that this black hole has cut off from the rest of the universe forever: ten billion kilometers.
No defiance is quite as funny as one that doesn't break any rules at all.
Real Fake Money
“The bills [we used] looked pretty god awful…we had 28 factors that were different -- they said “In Dog We Trust,” for instance -- but the Secret Service is very clear on their definition of counterfeiting. Honestly, if you followed their instructions, you may as well use Monopoly money. Feature films demand a certain bar of quality, so everyone is asked to break law in a sense by making prop money.”
A Googolplex, written out.
Impress your friends and fill out the shelves of your home library with this multi-volume set that seeks to write out the number One Googolplex (a one followed by a googol [10^100] zeroes).
Available in PDF form or (if someone wants to pay) in a slim, 10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 volume print edition.
100lbs of magnetic putty.
It's magnetic putty. What do you want, a reason to watch? Fine: it's magnetic freaking putty.
Why are these still in every newspaper? Do people actually believe them?
Here's an incredibly simple, clear breakdown of several reasons astrology is bunk. If you need it.
The blog in general is great.
Woody Allen Jesus
Tim Minchin is a wonderful, intelligent and heartfelt man. And a killer musician, which is really why any of us have stopped on this post, right?
You are getting old.
A cool site that takes your birth date (or a "friend's" birth date) and cranks out a list of interesting facts about your life so far. Find out how many days you've been alive or approximately how many kilometres total you've travelled through the galaxy. Fun.
Recent studies have indicated that three servings of Jack Hostrawser per day may help to prevent sudden comas.