I read an article recently on the BBC News website.  Although all the science articles featured on the BBC are almost always filled with the most embarassing errors, this one stuck to the simple facts and managed to escape scrutiny unscathed.

Apparently, a supermassive black hole may have been observed in the process of being hurled from its parent galaxy at high speed.  May have.  There are a number of different possibilities for this bright streak of luminous energy.  But it’s a possibility.

Tiny red circle = speeding supermassive black hole

The authors of the article believe this could be the result of the merger of two smaller black holes.  Or – the author failed specify – the failed merger of two black holes, resulting in one ‘hole’ being slingshot around and right out of the proverbial park.

One of the things that interested me is the term ‘merger’.  Researching, which is what I do – not perfectly or accurately or thoroughly, mind you – confirmed that this is a term used in the field.  A merger.  A merger of two black holes.

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe it’s because I’ve had low-performance jobs in in high-performing businesses the last few years.  But this sounds like a very formal term for what must be a violent and colossal event.

2012 - Bollocks

2012 - Bollocks

Surely it’s beside the point, though.  Am I the only one shit-my-pants terrified of the idea of black holes flying from one end of the galaxy to the other at high speeds!?

This is an object with gravity so powerful that it sucks in light.

Light, which is the fastest-moving thing in all the known universe, cannot escape a black hole.

One of these things could be hurtling towards us right now. We’d never know it, probably.  We’d just be gone.

Singularities – the spherical core of a black hole – can be as big as a sun or as as small as a pinprick.  Maybe one of these pinprick singularities are zooming through the cosmos towards us right now.  It could bore a hole right through the planet.  What would that do?

Singularities do not dress in suits.  An event horizon is not easily explained on a flipchart.

This is no time for business.  Such an event would be catastrophic – apocalyptic.

A merger.  Inappropriate?  Are we so enterprise-driven?

Not THAT Enterprise.

Are we, culturally, in a mind-set that endorses managerial bollocks-speak when discussing peculiarities of the universe of such magnitude?


I would hate to be witness to, say, a wormhole conference.

I wouldn’t like to sit in on a supernova downsizing brainstorm.

What concerns me is that to describe a cataclysm we are using terms from the most banal aspect of our lives.  We’re stapling the face of something so boring, so stressful, so tiresome, so can’t-be-fucking-arsed right on top of the sort of thing words like ‘god’ were invented for.

I’n’t that weird?

— db