Bleats

People Are Getting Far Too Sexually Excited About That Black Hole Pic

Cosmology: always answering humanity's big, thick, thrusting questions.

The very first ever picture of a black hole has been published. Something which Einstein posited as a theoretical object a century ago has now been literally seen by human eyes (well, via their radio telescopes and a lot of data wrangling) in a magnificent triumph of human intellect and ingenuity.

And because it is 2019 the internet is asking the big question: could a dude put his penis in it?

And the answer is no. No, you could not.

The reasons are many.

One is that M87*, the black hole in question, is 55 million light years away which is way beyond the abilities of any Earth-residing hound for space-poon to traverse.

It’s also supermassive, in that the event horizon (the swirly glowing visible bit) is significantly larger than our entire solar system, so even the most well-endowed would find it a cosmically loose fit.

To be fair, those would be the least of your worries if you got there. That radiation alone would cancerfy you before you got your pants off and wangs sporting sudden eruptions of cracks and lesions tend to be rejected by most self-respecting would-be partners.

For those unfamiliar with what a black hole actually is, it’s an object so massive that the escape velocity from its surface (ie: the speed you need to be travelling at to overcome gravity) is greater than the speed of light. That’s why they’re black: not even light can leave it.

They come in many sizes, from tiny short-lived ones to the common ones formed by the death of giant stars to the supermassive ones in the centres of galaxies. We’re still not sure how galactic black holes are created, but most galaxies appear to have them (including our own: hi, Sagittarius A!).

None of them, however, are great for putting dicks in.

One common misconception which might explain Twitter’s whole penile penetration obsession is that they’re giant suck holes that insatiably deep throat the entire cosmos. That’s not the case.

It’s entirely possible that there are black holes with planets happily orbiting around them, just like we do with the sun: they’re just things with a hell of a lot of mass.

What does happen, however, is that there’s a point where if you’re too close to the black hole you will fall in, just like if you were an asteroid that came too close to Earth our planet’s gravity would pull you to the surface.

In a black hole that point is the aforementioned event horizon and it’s where the gas and dust and penises which are too close to the black hole tip over the edge and fall in.

Here on Earth our ocean tides go up and down because of the gravity of the Moon pulling a bit harder on the bit of our planet closest to it relative to the far away side.

Similarly, when you’re super close to an event horizon hole the tip of your erection would be closer to the black hole, and therefore affected more by its gravity, than your ballsack, and the result is that it would be torn to atoms in a process adorably called “spaghettification”.

You’d be very swiftly stretched out dick-first across the event horizon in a stream of super-accelerated particles made white-hot from friction before you even got to ask the black hole if they were finished yet and if they could call you an Uber.

All dick jokes aside, this photograph is a celebration of science, collaboration, and the gathering and disseminating of terabytes of data from multiple telescopes to finally resolve this blurry yet freakin’ incredible photo.

It’s also making a star of Katie Bouman, the computer scientist who did the data juggling, and another neat reminder of the kickarse women of science.

But also, if you do happen to find a way to span the vast stellar distances to blow that most cosmic of loads, do wear a condom.

Better safe than sorry, huh?

NASA Has Cancelled Their First All-Woman Spacewalk Because They Didn't Pack Enough Lady-Spacesuits

Honestly, NASA, aren't you meant to be all about attention to detail?

To celebrate Women’s History Month NASA came up with a nifty plan – the first all-dame spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

It would be a history making moment for this coming Friday, celebrating the growing number of not-dudes in the planet’s best known space organisation.

Anne McLain and Christina Koch – who are busily orbiting us even as you read this – would leave the capsule and float meaningfully in our uppermost atmosphere because… look, now isn’t the time to go into why the ISS isn’t technically in space, the point is that it was going to be a moment beautifully illustrating how far we have come in addressing STEM-related gender inequality.

And now it’s not happening for a reason that absolutely sums up the sort of blind spots and structural sexism which women face: they only have one lady-sized space suit up there.

Yes, it turns out that no-one thought to ensure that there were adequate “medium” torso shields because, as ever, the default assumption is bloke.

Also, just to be clear: the spacewalk wasn’t purely sympbolic: they’d be installing lithium-ion batteries for the space station’s solar arrays. And Koch will still be doing that on Friday, only accompanied by one of her more wang-possessing colleagues rather than McClain.

And it’s embarrassing, sure, but the space-lookin’ biz has a rich history of not being entirely across what these weird non-men are.

Back in the sixties the few female astronomers working in the US were blanket denied access to the Palomar telescope on the grounds that there was only one toilet on site, which men used, and that women couldn’t possibly use the same one. It wasn’t until future discoverer of dark matter Vera Rubin made, ahem, a stink about it that they flushed the policy.

And who could forget the well-meaning NASA tech who politely asked Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into space, if 100 tampons would be enough for her seven day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983.

Anyway, we have every confidence that one day NASA will sort out its unconscious sexism and finally be able to boldly go where no man has gonGODDAMMIT IT’S EVEN MORE ENTRENCHED THAN WE THOUGHT.

Aliens Are Not Visiting Earth No Matter What Blink-182's Ex-Guitarist Reckons

Remember when the History Channel did educational programming? They apparently don't either.

Aliens are not visiting Earth.

OK, let’s temper that slightly: there’s no evidence that aliens have visited Earth, and evidence that things are there are usually pretty easy to find. This is why we can be pretty sure that elephants exist and that Bigfeet do not.

This lack of evidence has not stopped former Blink-182 guitarist, Angels and Airwaves guitarist and alien-in-believer Tom DeLonge making a new TV series arguing that flying saucers are living and working among us.

That series is Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation™ (and yes, that trademark symbol is part of the title). It’s the sort of conspiracy theory garbage which used to be reserved for the internet but is now apparently the a nifty idea that makes History go “yeah, a six part series about what you reckon the US government is hiding, let’s do that.”

The show draws heavily on To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science, DeLonge’s foundation for looking at the spaceships and martians, and reportedly involves interviewing a bunch of people from its staff about what they reckon is a secret government conspiracy to hide the existence of UFOs and the shady (read: largely fictitious) history of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

And sure, shows about how the US government are in cahoots with the space martians is hardly new. But honestly, is there anyone on the planet who thinks that Donald Trump wouldn’t announce the government have had alien contact – especially if he could point out that Barack Obama kept it secret? It’s amazing he hasn’t made that claim regardless, now we think about it.

Mind you, DeLonge could do with the exposure: reportedly his To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science is in the red to the tune of over US$37 million. Maybe they should get into more serious work, like mermaid wellness.

And look, contempt for this sort of silliness aside, it’s entirely likely that there’s life elsewhere in the universe (hell, there might yet be life in our own solar system and we should therefore be sending probes to Europa and Enceladus ASAP!). After all, the universe is a big place full of the same stuff as made life here on our little blue-green rock.

But given how freakin’ large the distances between stars are, the hard limit that physics puts on how fast anything can go, the sheer vastness of cosmic time and the fact that sophisticated life forms that have evolved on planets are wildly unsuited to living in space (as we keep discovering with the many things that go wrong with humans when we send them off-planet), the idea that there are things sneakily visiting a hard to get to planet deep in a star’s gravity well seems like the fantasies of a man who grew up thinking the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in Star Wars was shot on location.

Stop encouraging him, History Channel. You used to be better than that.

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