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Ask a scientist with professoratrix Scarly!

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Added: Saturday, November 21st 2020 at 2:31pm by Scarly666
Related Tags: dumb, professor, bullies

As an almost Doctorate in Physics, I will answer all your questions about the physical world and make fun of theological ones! So go ahead and ask me something seriously complicated or really stupid I’ll let you know which category it’s in and what the answer is this week!


“there are no stupid questions, just stupid people”

Mr Garision, South park. 

So don’t be shy, here I’ll start for you with some old classics -


Q. Is a black hole a gateway to another dimension?

A. No it’s not, but if you get pulled into one you’ll get squashed down to one dimension. 

Q. What is a white hole?

A. An American re-write of a black hole

Q. How accurate do you think Astrology is?

A. About the same as Guliani’s evidence of voter fraud - Zero to the power of all the numbers also amounting to zero. 

Q. I’m  an Aquarius what star sign are you?

A. Daenerys the-burn-your-village-down-for-being-stupid. 

Q. What is a black hole?

A. Finally a fucking proper question!

Q. So what is a black hole?

A. O rite - it’s what is left over after a star at least three times the mass of our sun runs out of fuel and collapses. A star that size will explode like a smaller star but the density of the star’s core has so much gravitational energy it will pull the star in on itself. Once this happens not even light can escape. 

Q. What does a black hole look like?

A. So far we don’t have actual images, other than one supermassive black hole, what we do have is telemetry and so we can build the object by it’s effects on various instruments. The object, when we do finally resolve it, or if you were to visit one will appear black because of the effect it has on light, it will also look blury around the edges. Intense gravitational distortion warps space/time amount the object so you it would look like a dark blob with bright swirls around it, those swirls will be super heated plasma falling into and being stripped apart by gravity, two intense light like beacons of gamma-ray discharges will be exiting the poles - in a smaller black hole. 


User Comments

Why does time seem to flow only in one direction?

Short answer - because that is the nature of time. 

The long answer - I’m going to have to cover off a few things you might know so sorry if this is a bit duh, it’s a complicated question and the answer needs a to cover off a few things. 

As you are probably aware time and space are influenced by the presence of mass, mass slows the movement of time so less mass the more fluid. There was an experiment done where a matched pair of atomic clocks made, one taken up to high altitude and therefore the effect of gravity was lessened. The clock that stayed on earth kept its normal motion through time - relative to us. The clock that had been on the aircraft came back showing a difference. This is in essence time travel, where the earth-bound clock ages the clock on the airplane essentially went to the future, albeit a few fractions of a second - relative to the stationary one. Of course it didn’t time travel it just moved faster through time.

Then time isn’t fixed, like the universe that encloses it - it moves outward at different rates everywhere and where this not the case the sky would be blinding light because all the light every star had put out would still be there - rather than having moved away at roughly - the speed of light. 

So time is relative, not absolute but it still permeates all of the cosmos. 

Now to negate the effect of time - you have to slow it to the point you can reverse it right? And then to time travel you need to exceed its influence by speeding up past the speed of light. Which unfortunately is impossible because relativistic physics gets in the way. It’s all due to mass, light travels that fast - why can’t we? Because a light is made of photons and a photon has no mass, therefore it does not have to expend massive energy to accelerate like we do, for example you can speed particles to near light speed as they do in particle accelerators like the LHC but they can’t actually reach light speed because the particles they use have mass. It takes 4 TeV (4 terra volts) to power the experiment that they did to find the Higgs-boson. 

So then time can’t stop or flow backwards - unless you breach the light speed barrier. 

In theory if you could go faster than roughly 300,000kps then time would go backwards - relative to you of course. 

Another issue is the second law of thermodynamics which basically says that in a closed system - our universe appears to be a closed system - entropy can only increase. The direction time moves is forward - and this correlates with disorder and the direction of entropy. To introduce order or to force it we must expend energy and the first law of thermodynamics is that no machine is 100% efficient, you will lose energy through heat, friction and so on, increase force means increase in expenditure. Therefore no star trek or Dr How more to the point. 

So after all that crap basically time is a one way street, an effect of and intrinsic result of the big bang. Entropy is unstoppable in our enclosed system and time is a part of that. It’s also worth bearing in mind that time is something humans perceive in a particular way which we have evolved to do - like the ability to see in the visual spectrum and not say in the infra-red. Time is a directional force like expansion itself but not at all fixed.

But then there are tachyons which if they exist can move around past light speed and therefore time like it ain’t no thing. 

I have no questions. My scientific knowledge is such that I can't even form a question, but I understood all the answers given...

It doesn't have to be complex or particularly deep, and also it's not mandatory, but thanks for the stars and the company x

I find all the studies and theories/facts about the black hole totally fascinating. It's something I've been interested in for as long as I can remember.  You've just inspired me to go back to learning more and more about it.  It's been such a long time since I looked into it, there would be some interesting "new" facts to fascinate me even more.  Congrats on your "almost" doctorate in physics, I wish you much success in achieving the ultimate.

We are actually learning a huge amount about them now as astronomy is going through a sizable revolution in terms of data quantity and quality. They come in a vast variety as well so there is also that. One of the things that's been the most spectacular is that a facility in the USA and it's twin in Italy LIGO and VIRGO detected a phenomena that Einstein predicted called 'gravity waves' when two black holes collided a couple of years ago. This proved that when events like that happen the fabric of the universe ripples - and so do we more or less like an ocean wave - only we are the ocean!

You should also check out Neutron stars they are my favorite space wierdness here is an informative little vid - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udFxKZRyQt4&ab_channel=Kurzgesagt%E2%80%93InaNutshell

wow!!  Thank you for that!! {#basic-laugh.gif}

I wait for answers to the deep questions from you until then I look up and see Mother Nature just offering me jaw dropping beauty! :O)

I find that mesmerising as well, I used to go out to a remote facility in the outback before the Corona to do research and in my off hours I'd lie on one of the out doors tables and watch the stars. 

I have a genuine question, Scarly. If sound waves can't travel through empty space, would the Big Bang have been silent?

Very cool question! 

Yes plus a few other factors, other than no one had ears at the time because there were no people, ears, time or atoms to make these things out of - at that stage.

However there is a hiss to the big bang it's a static that comes from the background radiation left over from the big bang. Inaudible unless you are a mechanical organism maybe. 

And the his is entirely measurable? What kind of things does it tell us?

Absolutely it's measurable, quite a long time ago the Hubble Telescope mapped it and there is a surprising relationship to it and the areas of high and low density in the cosmos, essentially if you turn the map inside out it's a snapshot of the ancient universe. 

Good gracious. That's pretty amazing. So the more there is the bigger the hiss then?

Well, the thing is that in space you can't hear anything because its a vacuum but the radio waves hiss, and it is everywhere pick a direction, it's unavoidable! 

Q: Black bag and brown boots? 

Can be done, if the texture match and neither is a feature, But there needs to be some padding - blue mainly - I'm thinking Prussian and maybe a yellow? 

Oh! Oh! Prussians! As in Germans! As in men who are sexy and nerdy at the same time! Oh! Oh!

Who dosen't love a hate fuck now and then? 

Are German men hateful when they fuck? Maybe I don't really want one then.

A hate fuck Scarly? So you do have a thing about Metal Heart then? HaHa.

I now apologise unreservedly.

Hahaha I'd break him I think 🤔 

If Preußischblau was just a couple of shades lighter It would be the most perfect color ever.

Yes. I rather feel that you would. HaHa.

You call it Preußischblau too? I thought that might be an English term. That would be a nice colour, I love light blues, I painted my living room a light cyan years ago it was like being in the sky. 

I don't think the Prussians call it Prussian Blue. But probably the rest of Germany does. My folk in Baden-Württemberg do. Its like French fries. I bet the French just called them Le Fri, before they turned on America and Freedon and President W and our fighting men abroad and Jesus. And the name had to be changed to save the Free World. I'm not saying Americans can be petty but .....

Cyan is nice. I like it with a light burgundy and white. (I don't mean wine there. It might look like I did).

French braid, German measles, Romanian vampires.

Nice colour selection - I'll have a red though - or a white - I like wine :) 

Romanian vampires?  HaHa.

I'm more of a beer girl myself. Though I quite like some Reislings.

I prefer cider to beer but I don't mind that either, I like Asahi, Corona and Stella :)

Stella? Artois? That is a fine beer. Not sure I fancy Corona these days.

Its nice in the heat with a slice of lime.

If the Universe began from a singularity 13.5 billion years ago and, as I understand it, we are now able to peer (via Hubble) 12 billion years back, how is that the Universe has a diamter of 93 billion years? How is that possible? Is it related to the expansion?

This is the type of questions that to answer could fill a very long essay, so I am going to make some assumptions, that you understand using red shift to determine speed (away from us) and that the expansion rate of the universe depends on mass density and energy density. Also that there seems to be a contradiction in relativity regarding expansion exceeding light speed - which your question is about if I read it right. 

I’ll do a bit of a fill in list and get to the answer after that -

The universe did in the very outset exceed light speed, the proviso there is that this is pre-matter, which I agree looks like a convenient loophole. The inflation phase, also explains the apparent uniformity of the cosmos, matter wise - and this correlates with the image of the cosmic microwave background as I mentioned above to Creative14. Now if you are travelling at light speed+ you tend to keep going barring any immovable objects. 

Yes the universe still appears to be speeding along at light+. 

The reason the cosmos is larger than it’s age would suggest, is yes due to expansion, imagine you are a metal ball in a soup of fuel and you’re close to lots of other metal balls then suddenly the gas explodes outward, you’re not only moving away but so are the objects that were close to you, ugly as it is to relativistic physics this expansion is in fact exceeding light speed though still adhering to the second law of thermodynamics which says that entropy will continue in a closed system, as the universe is a closed system. 

As I mentioned above fuelling this is also mass density and energy density, which is why we hunted for so long for dark matter, the missing number in the expansion that made the whole theory work. 

So in the end a galaxy 13.8 billion light in the past is actually 46.5 billion light years away and that being a radius measure the diameter is 93 billion light years (ish).

You understood the question correctly and I the answer. Thank you.

Where does poo come from?

Poo comes from Pooland, just below Peeden next door to Jizzuania. 

"Once this happens not even light can escape"

So what happens to the light once it's trapped by that overwhelming suckitude of gravity?

And...is that you munching on my carpet in an alternate universe?


It gets to be part of the black hole's unholiness!

Yes ma'am I am with gusto my italian friend!

So I'm Italian in that alternate universe?  Cool beanz, I love the food.

Quantum Physics is what I dig, even as I struggle to comprehend it.  Seems the smaller things are, the weirder things get.  The known laws of physics break down.  Things can be in more than one place at the same time or at all times.   Keep munching my Norwegian friend, it feels soooo good!

Why not I have a thing for dark :)

By it's nature the Quantum is complex, and made worse because it seemingly contradicts relativity. A great Physicist called Richard Feynman once said  "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

The issue really is what the ultimate nature of 'things' are, and recently a team of physicists proposed that the reason the two don't match is that we are looking at 'objects' the wrong way - that if we assign the nature of particles to say stars then the math plays out - aaaaand oddly it did in their thesis. Give us 20 years and I'm pretty sure most of this will be solved things are moving that fast in the field.

I think I'm pretty darn good at most oral things :)

And by our looking at those particles, do we change the nature of them?  The old Schrödinger's Cat question.  Haven't you solved that yet?  (teehee)

Well that's the genesis of things like the LHC, LIGO, the SKA and so on, different ways of 'seeing' - to 'see' something as you know you have to bounce photons off it and thereby either change it's nature or miss it entirely.

We have but we had to kill the cat - sorry.

Hey I'll try find something for you that's not dry and maths intensive if you like? There's some cool stuff on youtube and there are bound to be decent articles somewhere that give an accurate summery of what's current? The problem is almost always that the person writing the article gets it wrong or they introduce some new age shitfuckery into the mix, it always ends up  with tin foil and burning 5g towers.

I'm no slouch at maths and have always had an interest in astronomy and later, physics.  I am particularly interested in the nature of time, which seems to be some sort or membrane, flexible, malleable.   Technically we could travel time, we just don't have the technology (yet) which would move us fast enough without killing the puny meat our brains are trapped in.

And anything quantum related always fascinates.  I LOVE IT when things don't go as expected, when the 'known' laws of physics break down, leaving even seasoned scientists going "wtf!"

Time.  Time travel.  Size.  Smallest things that misbehave, according to Einstein.  String theory.  Alternate universes.   Link away, my brainiac friend, I will read or watch anything you suggest.

Poor kitty, but hey, we all gotta die sometime.


When I come across stuff I'll pop over - and there is a lot going on now that is in the WTF catagory. Even advances that are being made atm are mind boggling.

Hey there is this channel on youtube that I think you might like - it's Fermilab's https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD5B6VoXv41fJ-IW8Wrhz9A

It's got enough science without the dumbing down and patronising hosts in it. It's a little on the dorky side but good.

Haha nice Schrödinger meme!

Dunno if I've recommended this before  - I tell this to everyone who is interested in Physics - Richard Feynman's Six easy pieces, its a series of lectures he did in a book, and it's a modern penguin classic so it's not expensive. He is really good at making the brain bending seem sensible.

Link saved for the snowy afternoon we've had forecasted and I can probably get the book delivered from our local library.  Thank ya muchly!

Here is the pdf of it from Accedemia, save your energy x



Thank you!!!!!

I know you're not keen on google but this is a great resource and I use it a lot for reference, footnoting and keeping up with what's happening in particular fields -


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