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03/16/16 PHD comic: 'Super Massive Black Holes'

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Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Super Massive Black Holes" - originally published 3/16/2016

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

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1335 days ago
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33v0: 33v0: what is it about capybaras that attracts groups of small animals to them? Its not just...

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33v0:

33v0:

what is it about capybaras that attracts groups of small animals to them?
Its not just mammals either its like birds and turtles and frogs too

look at this shit

They radiate peace

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1338 days ago
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Dadster
1338 days ago
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Amazing!
New Hampshire
sirshannon
1339 days ago
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I need one of these.
ZeroEffect
1339 days ago
The capybara abides.
emdot
1338 days ago
Oh man, that just lead me down a 30-minute capybara rabbit hole. They are awesome.
theprawn
1339 days ago
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I will not be happy until I see the sloth cuddling the capybara.

So we wanted to release today, but found an animation bug that...

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So we wanted to release today, but found an animation bug that was sporadic where a player wouldn’t see other players animate, and it took most the day to figure it out. We fixed it, but we wanted all hands on deck before we released it in case there were any problems (our European partners) so we postponed the release until Saturday and tested all night. We found one more bug, and the heat map somehow isn’t working. So hopefully that’s an easy fix, we’re wanting to release tomorrow afternoon.

Well here’s the pimp fort, or what we could build in 7 days. In the last shot you can see the horde invasion. I don’t know what happened, but they tore through our base and had me on the run in the lake.  RIP madmole and Kinajuu lol.

Even without heat map zombies, we got our asses kicked. Should have had some spiked traps and made some ammunition. Oh well it’s fun to learn from our mistakes, and adapt to new challenges. That fort would have easily held up in a9 or previous builds, but the AI is so much better now. They didn’t go for that one door I had by the trussing they were crawling all over the fort hitting us from various angles. I retreated to the last oh shit room and that was it, they breached it in seconds. I ran for it, tread water swimming away from dogs all night, went back at dawn and got a little over confident with my sledgehammer and got tagged, stunned, surrounded and became zombie food. Good times though. I hope you guys enjoy this build as much as I have.

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Into the Sun

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Into the Sun

When I was about 8 years old, shoveling snow on a freezing day in Colorado, I wished that I could be instantly transported to the surface of the Sun, just for a nanosecond, then instantly transported back. I figured this would be long enough to warm me up but not long enough to harm me. What would actually happen?

AJ, Kansas City

Believe it or not, this wouldn't even warm you.

The temperature of the surface of the Sun is about 5,800 K,[1]Or °C. When temperatures start having many digits in them, it doesn't really matter. give or take. If you stayed there for a while, you'd be cooked to a cinder, but a nanosecond is not very long—it's enough time for light to travel almost exactly a foot.[2]A light-nanosecond is 11.8 inches (0.29981 meters), which is annoyingly close to a foot. I think it would be nice to redefine the foot as exactly 1 light nanosecond. Because we don't have enough unit confusion in the world already.

This raises some obvious questions, like "Do we redefine the mile to keep it at 5,280 feet?" and "Do we redefine the inch?" and "Wait, why are we doing this?" But I figure other people can sort that out. I'm just the idea guy here.

I'm going to assume you're facing toward the Sun. In general, you should avoid looking directly at the Sun, but it's hard to avoid when it takes up a full 180 degrees of your view.

In that nanosecond, about a microjoule of energy would enter your eye.

A microjoule of light is not a lot. If you stare at a computer monitor with your eyes closed, then open them and shut them quickly, your eye will take in about as much light from the screen during your reverse blink[3]Is there a word for that? There should be a word for that. as it would during a nanosecond on the Sun's surface.

During the nanosecond on the Sun, photons from the Sun would flood into your eye and strike your retinal cells. Then, at the end of the nanosecond, you'd jump back home. At this point, the retinal cells wouldn't even have begun responding. Over the next few million nanoseconds (milliseconds) the retinal cells—having absorbed a bunch of light energy—would get into gear and start signaling your brain that something had happened.

You would spend one nanosecond on the Sun, but it would take 30,000,000 nanoseconds for your brain to notice. From your point of view, all you would see was a flash. The flash would seem to last much longer than your time on the Sun, only fading as your retinal cells quieted down.

The energy absorbed by your skin would be minor—about 10-5 joules per cm2 of exposed skin. For comparison, according to the IEEE P1584 standard (as quoted on ArcAdvisor.com), holding your finger in the blue flame of a butane lighter for one second delivers about 5 joules per cm2 to the skin, which is roughly the threshold for receiving a second-degree burn. The heat during your Sun visit would be five orders of magnitude weaker. Other than the dim flash in your eyes, you wouldn't even notice.

But what if you got the coordinates wrong?

The Sun's surface is relatively cool. It's hotter than, like, Phoenix,[citation needed] but compared to the interior, it's downright chilly. The surface is a few thousand degrees, but the interior is a few million degrees.[4]The corona, the thin gas high above the surface, is also several million degrees, and no one knows why. What if you spent a nanosecond there?

The Stefan-Boltzmann law lets us calculate how much heat you'd be exposed to while inside the Sun.[5]There's also direct pressure from the heavy particles, protons and stuff, bouncing around, but the radiation turns out to be the dominant component.

I'm going to hijack this note to ask another question: How does this transporter work, anyway?

When you teleport somewhere, presumably it does gets rid of the matter that was in the way, so you don't end up combining yourself with whatever was there. A simple solution is to have the teleporters swap matter between the two locations. Kirk gets teleported down to the planet, a Kirk-sized chunk of air gets teleported up to the Enterprise.

So what would happen if an AJ-shaped chunk of Sun-interior gets teleported to snowy Colorado, then we just left it there?

The protons inside the Sun bounce around at speeds of about 350 km/s (about half of the Sun's escape velocity at that depth, for weird and deep reasons.) Freed from their crushingly hot neighborhood, the whole collection of protons would burst outward, pouring light and heat energy into their surroundings. The energy released would be somewhere between a large bomb and a small nuclear weapon.
It's not good. You would exceed the IEEE P1584B standard for second-degree burns after one femtosecond in the Sun.[6]Although it wouldn't be a second-degree burn until many picoseconds later, since the definition of a second-degree burn is one which damages some of the underlying layers of tissue—and in the first few femtoseconds, light wouldn't have time to reach the underlying tissue. A nanosecond—the time you're spending there—is 1,000,000 femtoseconds. This does not end well for you.

There's some good news: Deep in the Sun, the photons carrying energy around have very short wavelengths—they're mostly a mix of what we'd consider hard and soft X-rays.[7]<what_if_book_reference>I wonder if there are more soft or hard x-ray photons in the universe.</what_if_book_reference> This means they penetrate your body to various depths, heating your internal organs and also ionizing your DNA, causing irreversible damage before they even start burning you. Looking back, I notice that I started this paragraph with "there's some good news." I don't know why I did that.

In Greek legend, Icarus flew too close to the Sun, and the heat melted his wings and he fell to his death. But "melting" is a phase change which is a function of temperature, a measure of internal energy, which is the integral of incident power flux over time. His wings didn't melt because he flew too close to the Sun, they melted because he spent too much time there.

Visit briefly, in little hops, and you can go anywhere.

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1858 days ago
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satadru
1859 days ago
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"Visit briefly, in little hops, and you can go anywhere."
New York, NY
JayM
1860 days ago
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Sooooo... how many nanoseconds could you spend on the surface of the sun. No time for math.
Atlanta, GA
jlvanderzwan
1860 days ago
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"Looking back, I notice that I started this paragraph with "there's some good news." I don't know why I did that."

earthisalie: carlboygenius: Correcting Internet...

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earthisalie:

carlboygenius:

Correcting Internet DisInformation: The American Space Pen / The Russian Pencil

thank you for this.

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1862 days ago
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leiter420
1859 days ago
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Good example of not trusting the Internet at face value
DGA51
1862 days ago
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I've been around long enough to remember when there were advertisements for "the space pen that writes upside down" in the Sunday supplements of newspapers. Yes, I even remember newspapers. As for putting the story to rest -- it's a zombie and no matter how many times you kill it, it keeps on shambling back.
Central Pennsyltucky
HarlandCorbin
1862 days ago
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Yay for putting this old story to rest!
blaisepascal
1862 days ago
Given that this old story has been "put to rest" dozens of times before, I doubt that this will be the last.
mwclarkson
1862 days ago
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"because snide morons on the internet never know what they are talking about"
Providence RI USA

Marriage

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People often say that same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 60s. But in terms of public opinion, same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 90s, when it had already been legal nationwide for 30 years.
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1861 days ago
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zipcube
1856 days ago
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lol @sjk being an arch conservative idiot on yet another feed
Dallas, Texas
dukeofwulf
1860 days ago
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Suggesting that gay marriage will lead to marriage with children and animals is patently ridiculous. Children and animals don't have the legal standing to enter into a marriage contract, full stop.
chillybasen
1860 days ago
yes, it's a classic slippery slope argument and is absurd. It was also used during interracial marriage and they all look like idiots now.
dukeofwulf
1860 days ago
Chilly, I'm sure they point at the current gay marriage trend as proof of the slippery slope. "See! We let the blacks murry our girls, and now the gays are getting uppity!" To some people, perverts are just perverts, whether your "fetish" is interracial, intra-gender, or inter-species. But the last time I checked, the one group most often associated with paedophilia is the clergy.
mvanzante
1860 days ago
I don't think animals and children are the next step, but I think there will be something. Close relations (siblings or first-cousins) marriages? After all, if you don't have to facilitate procreation to get married, then what's the problem? There was also an interesting This American Life recently where they talked with an individual who was struggling with a fetish for children and knew/admitted it was wrong. As a part of the story TAL mentioned that there are already folks calling for the lowering of the "Age of Consent" laws.
dukeofwulf
1860 days ago
Fair points. Cousins: that's more of a Western cultural taboo than a religious one; cousin marriage is fairly common (and even preferred) in other parts of the world. Age of Consent: there's hardly agreement on that topic, even in the US, where state laws vary from 16 to 18. Still, sexual consent is clearly different from marriage. But you're right, the separation of marriage from procreation will have HUGE (and long overdue, IMO) implications on our culture.
mvanzante
1860 days ago
I was addressing "moral decay" more so than marriage, hence the reference to age of consent laws.
sjk
1860 days ago
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Where's the line depicting "marriage" with children and animals? That is the next step after "marriage" of one man and one woman being redefined as one human and one other carbon-based lifeform.
Florida
rraszews
1860 days ago
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I hope this is heartening to people who feel like the progress of civil rights has been too slow or backsliding. I can't think of any time a major social issue like this turned around this quick without it involving a lot of bloodshed.
Columbia, MD
natw
1860 days ago
does DVD vs VHS count as a social issue?
rraszews
1860 days ago
We lost a lot of good men fighting the Format Wars
kousha
1861 days ago
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The data tells an interesting story.
Palo Alto, CA
PeterParslow
1861 days ago
What story do you see?
thelem
1861 days ago
I see that ~10% of Americans don't approve of interracial marriage. As a brit born in the 80s, I didn't realise anyone still objected to interracial marriage.
jhronline
1861 days ago
Even more interesting is that the English language still uses terms like "interracial" to describe two humans (i.e. two beings of the same race) being married who happen to have differing skin color.
jad
1860 days ago
In 2012, 21% of polled British citizens agreed with a statement that said the growth of interracial relationships is a bad thing. (The language and tenor of the statement is significantly different than those asked in the US Gallup polls, but still "tells an interesting story" about ongoing British attitudes to mixed-race relationships.) http://www.britishfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/British-Future-Polling-Charts.pdf
bcs
1860 days ago
The term "race" refers to subcategories of "spices" (at least with respect to the human species). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_classification)
kousha
1860 days ago
It's interesting that new laws in the 1960's were more progressive (with respect to popular opinion) than the laws now.
PeterParslow
1860 days ago
I speak only from GB. I see a story of conformity: when same-sex marriage came up here, it had the support of the media & top policitians. Anyone wanting the law to remain the same was effectively labelled a criminal, and in some cases excluded from 'the debate'. Faced with a rhetoric of hatred & violence, people quickly conformed to the new normality. I wonder if people would express reservations in even in a secret poll. Regarding inter racial marriage, there wasn't a law to change, but inter racial relationships seemed to become more common through the 90s. I'm a bit surprised by the poll jad reports, but then my samples never seem to be representative.
rtreborb
1861 days ago
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Seems like an odd choice of content for an XKCD comic in that it's not tech related or really a "joke" but rather trying to get a message across. Just an observation.
San Antonio, TX
peterrecore
1861 days ago
It's data plus analysis. That is not a first for XKCD. There are plenty of non joke XKCD's in the archives - the "visualizing radiatation doses" one, the visualizing money one, the vertical measurement one showing how deep stuff is in the ocean, etc.
rtreborb
1861 days ago
@peterrecore True--good point.
tedder
1861 days ago
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"People often say that same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 60s. But in terms of public opinion, same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 90s, when it had already been legal nationwide for 30 years."
Uranus
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