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Science

Modeling a White Hole With Your Kitchen Sink 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the fancy-equipment-is-for-wimps dept.
jamie passes along this excerpt from Wired: "That ring of water in your kitchen sink is actually a model white hole. For the first time, scientists have shown experimentally that liquid flowing from a tap embodies the same physics as the time-reversed equivalent of black holes. When a stream of tap water hits the flat surface of the sink, it spreads out into a thin disc bounded by a raised lip, called the hydraulic jump. Physicists’ puzzlement with this jump dates back to Lord Rayleigh in 1914. More recently, physicists have suggested that, if the water waves inside the disc move faster than the waves outside, the jump could serve as an analogue event horizon. Water can approach the ring from outside, but it can’t get in."
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Modeling a White Hole With Your Kitchen Sink

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  • Re:Um, No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Prune (557140) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @10:31PM (#33921686)
    If you check the second link in the slashdot summary you'll see that this is a serious paper, and cannot be dismissed merely by the flippant comment of a random slashdotter. Although arxiv is a preprint repository, virtually all papers you find there have ended up published in peer-reviewed publications. Anyway, an analogy can be made between any two things, and it's just a matter of degree how suitable an analogy is; it's not a black and white choice.
  • Re:Um, No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Saturday October 16, 2010 @10:51PM (#33921736)

    It's a sink ... and some water coming out of the faucet. There is no mystery here and it isn't related to a black hole.

    Why would you say this? If they had said that the movement of large amounts of water in a dam or lake shares the same physical properties as a black hole, would you so flippantly dismiss the study? Similarly, if they had compared it to a stream of atoms, would you have said "that's interesting" or would you have claimed that there can be no relation between atoms and black holes?

    I suspect that it is the mundane familiarity of the common sink that makes you dismiss this without having studied the concepts at all.

  • Re:Um, No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @12:02AM (#33921974)
    It seems like these days almost all slashdot posts are flippant comments, or something even less relevant.
    Don't you miss the days when slashdot posts were by people with I.Q.s that were larger than their shoe sizes?
  • Um, Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neoshroom (324937) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @06:06AM (#33923042)

    It's a sink ... and some water coming out of the faucet. There is no mystery here and it isn't related to a black hole. Let's keep things in perspective. Analogies are great, especially car analogies, but a small wave of water in my sink is not analogous to the event horizon of a black hole any more than my garbage disposal is analogous to the rest of the black hole.

    What are you talking about? This idea was completely brilliant. If physics has shown us anything, it is that the mysterious and the commonplace are often inexorably linked. I read what you just said like this:

    It's an piece of turf... and an apple falling from a tree. There is no mystery here and it isn't related to our planet going round the sun. Let's keep things in perspective. Analogies are great, especially car analogies, but a small piece of fruit on a tree is not analogous to a planet circling round a sun any more than my garbage disposal is analogous to the rest of the solar system.

    Except...it is.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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