Ok, there’s “The Elegant Universe”, and “The Ambidextrous Universe”…. even “Stephen Hawking’s Universe”… and so on for these titles. But how about “The Scary Universe” or “The Dangerous Universe”? (Personally, I wish we’d just stop with the whole “The fill-in-the-blank Universe” stuff, so I probably should have not written this first paragraph.)
Well, I myself don’t think of the Universe that way, but tonight (at 9:00pm) the History Channel will be presenting the next show in their series (called “The Universe”), which is about (they say) the Most Dangerous Place In The Universe”. It looks as though it will be a survey of various places where a lot of very energetic activity is taking place, powering some of the most powerful phenomena we’ve ever seen, such as quasars, magnetars, and so forth. So black holes will feature quite a bit, I imagine, and although I probably should not really be telling you about it before I’ve had a chance to see it (recall my remarks about the windy shooting conditions), I think (I’m not sure) that I’ll be making an appearance as one of the contributors. (I did not get caught off guard this time.)
The whole “dangerous” motif is a sort of deliberately sensational way of presenting some spectacular facts about our universe, of course, but if it is all done with a wink, why not? (Assuming that they don’t unnecessarily scare people). I think that the serious idea behind it is to relate these things to human scales, which can be interesting to do sometimes. Anyway, the programmes have been rather good overall (despite my showing up) and so I imagine this one will be too. I recommend having a look if you’re interested in such things.
Oh, and I can’t confirm this, but I may well be again be seen using my superpowers to crush/squash a star, but this time I won’t stop at making it into a neutron star… It’ll be a black hole or bust, baby!
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):