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Black Hole Plays Pool With Plasma 43

the monolith writes: The Hubble Space Telescope is revealing that there is a pool game in progress, with a long shot being played out on a cosmic scale. It appears that the first recorded shot was observed in 1992, while subsequent canon shots were recorded between 1994 an 2014. In actuality, the shots are plasma, the current player is a black hole, and the playing surface is galactic space itself. The BBC has a story on the observations and interpretations, while the journal Nature has the paywalled in-depth article. The current score is unknown, and one can only hope that there were no life forms involved in the collision.
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Black Hole Plays Pool With Plasma

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  • Every pool game I have ever played was played on what was essentially a two-dimensional surface.
    • Well, it's hard to make a 3D analog requiring gravity without causing some other issues, so a pool table is probably the best way to explain it.

      It's a freakin' black hole ... to say it's nothing like we know is a bit of an understatement.

    • While the playing surface is usually 2-D, the balls have always moved in 3-D in the games I've played. When the players are bad, the balls arc through the air to land on the floor/go through a window/etc. When the players are good, use of english means that the balls are accomplishing specific rotations that influence the other pieces with a decidedly non-2D physics model.

      So if these plasma balls aren't on a 2-D plane, it's highly probable that this black hole just isn't very good. Most black holes are m

      • Thinking this through:

        - Straight shots are 2D. No english, just shots.

        - English introduces the third dimension? Fine. Using a little english, for example hitting the cue to the side of the rail to spin the object ball toward the rail improves your shot, but the balls are still on the table... 3D? Not really.

        - Hopping the ball, however, is one way to get to the object ball you need when it is blocked (the old behind the 8-ball problem). This becomes 4D?

        Wow. Pool is more fun than I knew. Shame it's wo

        • Using english for side-spin is 2-D, as you're still on the plane of motion. But you can also add topspin or bottom spin without hopping the ball, which involves rotation through the third dimension, thus making it more than a two-dimensional maneuver.

          And yeah; any useful pool move also takes time into account unless it's a straight shot, so until you go hopping the ball, you're in 3 dimensions (x, y, and t).

          • No. Topspin/backspin change direction, but not dimension. Time is not a significant consideration for 99% of players. The 1% pocketing more than one ball on a shot regularly may have that problem occasionally. Three-cushion billiards more so.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @12:12PM (#49792271)
    I read of one planet in the seventh dimension got used as a ball in a game of intergalactic bar billiards. Got potted straight into a black hole, killed ten billion people.
  • Writers like this (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    shouldn't be allowed to write about science.

  • It appears that the first recorded shot was observed in 1992, while subsequent canon shots were recorded between 1994 an 2014.

    Every true beleiver knows only the first shot is canon. The rest are all apocrypha.

  • ... 'Fats'.

  • Hmmm, so either we're dealing with a black hole photography nut, or else a black hole that really, really cares about religious doctrine. Enough to drive them to drinking or to shoot somebody, not clear which.

    Canon shots. Yet another activity atheists can't participate in.

  • Black Hole's mother is chastizing it to "stop playing with your food!"

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @01:45PM (#49793113) Homepage

    What's with the cutesy headline? "Shock collision in black hole plasma jet," is pretty sensational on its own, and actually tells us something. Maybe more people would have read the article and we'd have a discussion here instead of crickets.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      "Shock collision in black hole plasma jet,"

      ...is actually a way better headline. Pool is (nearly always) a game of skill, not violence.

  • Actually I saw Lister make this shot in 1991.

    https://youtu.be/YW3UyJiOvHY?t... [youtu.be]
  • The video looked just like water droplets from my dripping tap gliding down the Teflon pizza pan. Bigger drops would push through the grease more slowly and subsequent, smaller droplets would chase through their slipstream, colliding to massive effect.

  • In any decent analogy, the black hole ought to be a pocket if playing pool. Perhaps, they should have compared the behavior to one of those billiard games played on tables with no pockets.

    My other comment is that BH is a really slow player. I am not particularly speedy myself, but playing since 1992 and not yet finished a single frame ... jeesh!

  • In the slowest conflict in galactic history?

"Plastic gun. Ingenious. More coffee, please." -- The Phantom comics

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