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Hundreds of Black Holes Roam Loose In Milky Way 254

sciencehabit writes "From Science: 'Astronomers suspect that hundreds of medium-sized black holes are roaming loose in the Milky Way. These rogues, according to a new study, are the orphaned central black holes of the many smaller galaxies that the Milky Way has swallowed over its billions of years of existence.'"
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Hundreds of Black Holes Roam Loose In Milky Way

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  • by VShael ( 62735 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @06:45AM (#27770441) Journal

    And how can the news networks use it to induce fear?
    And more importantly, how we can we use it to sell stuff?

    "Black hole protective face-masks" just don't seem like a seller, to me.

  • by mrsquid0 ( 1335303 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @07:29AM (#27770703) Homepage

    And the biggest risk that most of us face, getting hit by a car on the way to work.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @07:52AM (#27770829)

    That's what has puzzled me to no end since the onset of various hypes. SARS? Your chance to catch it? Play the lottery if you do, your chance for a jackpot is higher. Mad cow? Ditto. Terrorism? 3000 affected of roughly 200 million (directly, not due to the political fallout). Swine/bird flu?

    And now compare that to the chance of a heart attack. Lung cancer. Getting run over by a car. Getting mugged. And various freak accidents that happen all the time.

    It's a miracle that you're still alive! And it's not because of black holes, not because of terrorism, not because of pandemics. It's because you're living.

    Your alternative is to spend your life under your bed. But then again, where's the difference to being dead already?

  • by doti ( 966971 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @08:04AM (#27770933) Homepage

    Because terrorism is nothing to be worried about?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 30, 2009 @08:37AM (#27771193)

    It's not that. The government and it's agencies MUST overreact to these things, or at least hype the media up to let them know they are doing "everything they can" in light of the unfortunate turn of events Katrina caused. Because we didn't overreact at that time, a sh**load of angry black people came out of the woodwork looking for a FEMA handout because Kanye announced Bush hates black people. Now don't flame the comment as racist, it's not, but it was a very dynamic situation that people capitalized on to scam the government for handouts after the fact. If one kid, Asian, Black, Latino, White, (whatever) dies from this, there will be some lawyer telling those parents "Go get the government, they don't like you anyway, let's get rich" he takes a percentage and we keep paying taxes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 30, 2009 @09:06AM (#27771527)

    I agree with you about terrorism, etc but...

    > SARS? Your chance to catch it? Play the lottery if you do, your chance for a jackpot is higher. Mad cow? Ditto

    You're using some hindsight there and really missing the history of the events.

    * SARS -- brand new virus, very high fatality rate initially (higher than spanish flu, for example) and seemed likely to be very spreadable: went from unknown to thousands of cases VERY quickly. In many respects looked like a probably pandemic.

    What spared us: most people turned out to not be all that contagious, but for some reason a few people were REALLY contagious ("superspreaders") This meant that public health measures were very effective: once people stopped circulating and speading it all over it burned itself out pretty quickly.

    * Mad cow: England had been having BSE infections among cattle for awhile... and when they got a downed cow they'd just kill it and use its offal to make more cow food. This unwittingly caused BSE to spread all throughout the island. By the time it was done the whole herd needed to be destroyed.

    When it first started causing disease in humans there was VERY good reason to be concerned: millions had been exposed to the tainted beef, the gestation period for the disease was years long, and there was no real hope of developing a treatment. At first there was a distinct possibility that the human fatalities would be enormous. Luckily, this did not pan out.. within a few years of eliminating the tainted beef from the food supply the human cases slowed to a trickle.

    I'd definitely agree that anyone worried about mad cow TODAY isn't being rational. There will probably always be the occasional cow that randomly comes down with BSE but as long as you don't feed cows to other cows and don't let sick cows into the human food supply, the chances of it ever spreading to another human are low.

    Finally, pandemics are REAL: less than a century ago a single flu pandemic killed 2-3% of EVERYONE ON THE PLANET. Based on the history of the last few centuries I'd guess you probably have a ~1% chance of meeting your end to one. Sure, this isn't as high on the list as heart disease or cancer but it's not negligible either. (Plus a pandemic event would have massive societal effects for the survivors)

    In short, don't be cocky just because we've dodged the last couple bullets. The wrong virus is still capable of ruining everybody's year.

  • note capital 'T'

    Terrorism adj. use by the media to sensationalise otherwise typical occurances into newsworth articles.
    1. the use of panic and ignorance to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes
    2. the state of fear and submission produced by government or governance
    3. a Terroristic method of reporting or of interpreting news reports.

    1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
    2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
    3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 30, 2009 @09:25AM (#27771703)

    >> 3000 affected of roughly 200 million (directly, not due to the political fallout).

    I am so sick of this argument. And, how many would be affected if this were allowed to go on Monday-Friday, 52 weeks a year? How destroyed would the economy be when everyone stayed home and avoided high rises and large public gatherings?

    >> Swine/bird flu?
    Right now, anyone that shows up with symptoms is being treated like royalty. When hundreds of thousands are coming down with it every day, that situation will be different. And 36,000 deaths from the normal flu in the U.S. per year? Yep...that is right and 90% of those are 65 or older. Over 50% of that population is vaccinated against the flu every year. Ignoring everyone else and the fact that being around vaccinated people protects an unvaccinated person from the flu, you can expect ~68,000 deaths just from this age group (assuming this is just a "normal" flu). And what happens when the 50 million doses of antivirals on hand (in the U.S.) are gone and people are still getting sick? It will take eight months to have more available according to the leading manufacturer. (Vaccine is at least 6 months away.)

    ** Blackholes/Gamma Ray burst
    Sure, your point is valid here. I worry about this crap (for no good reason...I mean, what the hell can anyone do about this?) But certainly, the masses shouldn't worry about it much. And you know what...I haven't heard the DHS/HHS/TSA/FBI/NSA/WHO/ET CETERA issuing warnings, asking people to take precautions, stirring panic over this

  • Well, I would like to know, if a black hole comes by, does it actually pull a whole planet into its hole, do we know if this is possible...

    If it has sufficient gravity, then yes, it is quite capable of "swallowing" a planet. Any black hole that formed in the "usual way" from a collapsing star, certainly has enough gravity (pretty much exactly the same as the star that it was before it collapsed) to suck in a nearby planet if the planet is unfortunate enough to be nearby. Of course, that's only really a problem with these "wandering" black holes - if our sun was mystically replaced with an equally massive black hole (which would be MUCH smaller in size), then the planets would continue to go around it exactly as they do now (although we'd all die from freezing since the hole isn't putting out heat like our sun does, but that's another matter entirely)

    I mean at the core a small start implodes and turns into a black hole, but does it have enough strength to suck in another star, or even a whole solar system...

    Again, depends on the size (gravity) of the hole, but generally yes - put two stars on a collision course and it'll be pretty nasty.

    and what happens if you put 2 black holes side by side, do they cancel each other out...sort of like putting a bag of holding inside a bag of holding...?

    Nope, they'd just "merge" in to one bigger one. So, two that had a mass of x, would become a single one with a mass of 2x.

    Black holes are pretty weird and there's a lot of strange physics around them when you get deep in to it, but at the very basic level, they're not particularly odd at all - just think of them as objects with a REALLY large mass for their size (but still no larger than many other objects around, such as stars (of course, holes that used to be galactic centres are generally a bit bigger, since our best theories regarding black hole galactic centres involve a LOT of matter going in to creating them)).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 30, 2009 @10:12AM (#27772279)

    Well, let's see....

    There's the coordinated attack on secondary school science standards, their constant attempts to destroy the recognition of church-state separation, their bigoted hate-speech enflaming public opinon against the minority du-jour (especially in Europe), violence against medical care providers, violence against homosexuals, violence against other religious adherents, their routine attempts to repeal various freedoms and rights....

    Just because they kill fewer people than other fanatics doesn't make them harmless.

    Also, I'd like to go ahead and pre-empt whoever wants to pull the "but the people that do those things are a minority!" by pointing out that nobody ever specified in what quantity they exist nor ranked them in relation to other threats.

  • undefined (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Scubafish ( 1224972 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @10:50AM (#27772877)

    3. a Terroristic method of reporting or of interpreting news reports.

    2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

    3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

    You cannot define terrorism with the word terrorism.

    That's like saying var x = x; Terrorism is undefined.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 30, 2009 @11:38AM (#27773639)

    Let's not forget fine christian organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the IRA. Not to mention the eight years the US just went through being run by a religious fanatic who had people tortured, killed thousands of US troops and many, many thousands of foreigners, mostly civilians.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @02:31PM (#27776499)

    I vote for Buck Rogers to be remade like BSG, who's with me?

    A few years ago, I watched a cheesy rerun with Wilma posing as a hooker to sneak into some fat-cat's hotel room. Oh my! She was SMOKIN' back in the day! I just never picked up on that as a kid.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.