NASA JPL composite image of Earth and Moon.
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Today's Date:
February 24, 2018
Mass of Black Hole:
22.078 micrograms
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Frequently Asked Questions

What about the Logical 2012 Information article that says it would take more than a billion years for a micro-Black Hole to absorb even one gram of matter?

There are two major flaws in that article, either one of which is sufficient to blow a gaping Black Hole in the middle of the logic:

  1. That article assumes the Black Hole will absorb only atomic nuclei and ignores the fact that it will also absorb electrons, which are much more plentiful and which offer many more opportunities for the Black Hole to absorb them.
  2. That article assumes the Black Hole will absorb matter at a constant rate, ignoring the fact that each time it absorbs any matter, it grows in mass and thus is better able to absorb more matter.

That article also ignores Hawking radiation which, as the author states, is hypothetical and can not presently be experimentally verified. Our model for the growth of the Black Hole does account for Hawking radiation, and even with that steady loss of energy, it shows the Black Hole growing to consume the entire earth in little more than four years. If we change our model to ignore Hawking radiation, it predicts that the Black Hole would have absorbed the entire earth before February of 2009.

If the Black Hole is absorbing electrons, doesn't it acquire an electrical charge? Wouldn't this affect its ability to absorb matter by attracting positively charged atomic nuclei?

Yes and no, but mostly no. Remember that the Black Hole's gravity is so intense that even light can not escape from its event horizon. And photons, the fundamental particles of light, are also the "exchange particle" by which electrical force is exerted. Since photons can not get out of the Black Hole, the electrical charge can not influence any matter outside of the Black Hole. Yes, it can be said to have a charge within it, but that charge can not interact with any matter outside of the Black Hole. Physicists argue about whether a Black Hole that absorbs electrically charged particles truly has an electrical charge or not, but the bottom line is the same: It does not influence matter outside of the Black Hole.

How are you monitoring the current mass of the Black Hole?

We are not actually monitoring the mass of the Black Hole. It is undetectable, and will remain so until it begins swallowing the earth. The current mass of the Black Hole as displayed in the "Status" section of each page (upper left) is based on our calculations and not a direct measurement.

The LHC has been switched back on several times since September, 2008. Has it created more Black Holes? Won't this accelerate the destruction of the earth?

Yes, the Large Hadron Collider has been repaired and has conducted many more experiments since September 19, 2008. Yes, it has almost certainly created dozens more micro-Black Holes since then. But no, the earth will be destroyed only by the first one, and the more recently created Black Holes will have no effect.

While the first micro-Black Hole was still subatomic in size and in the microgram mass range, any additional micro-Black Holes created by the LHC would start out on a similar growth trajectory. However, each one would take several years to grow past the 25-microgram threshold to become capable of absorbing whole atomic nuclei. The first one passed that threshold in September of 2012, and the later ones will never have the opportunity to catch up.

Hypothetically, if any two Planck-mass Black Holes were to collide and absorb each other, the combined micro-Black Hole might have grown more quickly than either would have done by itself. However, the odds of this happening are vanishingly small. As of this writing (10/1/2012), the first Black Hole is many grams in mass, so it is already absorbing much more than a few micrograms every hour. The absorption of one of these Planck-mass Black Holes at this stage will not make any difference.

On the last day, December 21, 2012, the original Black Hole will absorb the entire earth, which includes any micro-Black Holes created since September, 2008. Despite what you might have read about the titanic forces unleashed when two Black Holes merge, that applies only to two Black Holes of star-sized mass. When an Earth-mass Black Hole absorbs a dust-mass Black Hole, nothing spectacular will happen.

Why did the Black Hole take so long to grow to an appreciable mass? According to your data, it existed for several years without growing beyond 23 micrograms.

The answer to this is described on the page, How the Black Hole is Growing.

The slow growth is due to two phenomena interacting to result in net growth just barely greater than zero.

First, while the Black Hole had a mass just under 23 micrograms, it occupied a space smaller than an electron. Its gravity, while intensely concentrated, was very weak, so it was barely able to draw any mass into itself. It could only absorb an electron here and there as it fell back and forth around the earth's center of mass. Over the course of a day, it only absorbed a mass equal to its own mass.

Second, the Black Hole is constantly losing mass due to Hawking radiation. It was losing mass nearly equal to its own mass every day. The only reason it did not evaporate altogether (as many physicists say it would) is that it was absorbing just enough electrons to compensate for its losses to Hawking radiation.

The net result was a very, very slow increase in mass amounting to barely more than the mass of a single electron every day. This continued until the Black Hole had grown to a mass of about 25 micrograms, at which point it was able to absorb matter more effectively and yet its losses to Hawking radiation had not increased. At that point, on September 7, 2012, the Black Hole began growing appreciably day by day. As of this writing (10/1/2012), it has a mass of about 51 grams, and it is roughly doubling in size every day.

(Asked a few times before 12/21/2012, but not published until after.) Isn't your little "experiment in viral media" unethical? Aren't you both contributing to unreasoned panic and exploiting the gullible?

We don't feel guilty about it at all. Yes, we were making a buck (not many bucks, mind you) on the fact that many people don't know how to read critically or to assess the veracity and credibility of what they're reading, but ultimately, that's pretty much what all advertising is. The plain and simple truth doesn't sell very well. And we have now verified for ourselves that even a moderately well thought-out "lie" without a vigorous promotion plan doesn't sell very well, either.

For whatever it's worth, there were many, many other Web pages promoting the idea that the LHC would destroy the earth on the last day of the Mayan calendar. Although we came up with the idea independently, we were not the first to publish it. The publication of this Web site was a very small drop in a very large slop-bucket of apocalyptic nonsense. We're quite secure in the notion that our little site didn't make any difference to anyone who was inclined to believe such nonsense, just as it had no effect on anyone who recognized it for the nonsense it was.

If anyone was driven into a panic over the content of this Web site, let them learn to be a more critical reader. This will not be the last misleading Web page you ever come across.

(Asked a few times before 12/21/2012, but not published until after.) The earth is being destoyed alright, but not by a hidden black hole. It is being destroyed by (take your pick: Climate change; pollution in general; warfare; other manifestations of human greed and evil). Why don't you do something about that instead of having this worthless Web site?

For one thing, there is a message on the little-noticed disclaimer page which would change the world for the better if everyone would take it to heart. Maybe a few visitors to this Web site did get that message and give it proper thought. That helps, if only in a very small way.

Second, we do have other Web sites which address other concerns and which, we believe, also contribute to making the world a little bit better.

Finally, if you would like to use the and related domain names to draw attention to the problems you would like to address, make us an offer to buy the domains. We're not really using them anymore.

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Visitor Comments

  • Anonymous: This explains a lot.
  • (Multiple anonymous commenters): This site is full of crap! - Thanks for your comments. Please check back on December 22, 2012, if you can. Update, 12/22/2012: Well, yes, you could say that. Please check the Disclaimer Page that has been here all along.

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