1680: Black Hole

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Black Hole
It also brings all the boys, and everything else, to the yard.
Title text: It also brings all the boys, and everything else, to the yard.


Cueball is curious as to why Black Hat has a miniature black hole on his table; Black Hat responds that it "really brings the room together", making a pun on both the black hole aesthetically completing the look of the room as well as it literally "bringing the room together" through its gravitational pull. Evidently the black hole is massive enough to bring the room together optically into visible Einstein rings by gravitational lensing.

The title text makes a cultural reference to a well-known song lyric from the 2003 song "Milkshake" by Kelis, where the singer brags of her milkshake being so popular that it "brings all the boys to the yard" (what "milkshake" is a metaphor for has never been specified). But in this case, since gravity does not discriminate between which things it pulls,[citation needed] it brings "the boys, and everything else" to Black Hat's yard - and unlike with the milkshake, not by choice. If it wasn't for the house walls (which somehow resist collapsing into the black hole), they wouldn't remain in the yard but would come into the room with the black hole, and then into the black hole itself.

As depicted, the black hole is inconsistent with several aspects of physics:

  • This black hole appears to be about the size of a marble. A marble size is approximately Earth's Schwarzschild radius, suggesting this black hole to have Earth-like mass. (Since Cueball and Black Hat are able to stand upright, it suggests the gravitational pull is a fraction of Earth's, Making the black hole's mass also a fraction of Earth's. The black hole may appear visibly larger due to having a visible accretion disc.) See link below.
  • A large (and massive) black hole would bring the room together, in less time than Cueball could converse with Black Hat. The gravitational acceleration of an Earth mass black hole would be of the order of 1013 m/s^2, and the tidal forces (the difference between the gravity at two points) only an order of magnitude less than that. Cueball and Black Hat would be spaghettified and fall towards the Black hole in a few nanoseconds. For an observer at a safe distance from the room, time dilation would appear to prolong the duration that the room's contents formed a messy accretion disc slightly larger than the black hole. (See link below)
  • A black hole with the mass of the Empire State Building would have gravitational acceleration of much less than 0.01 m/s^2, and consequently insignificant tidal forces. However, unlike the scenario in "Neutron Bullet", it would emit Hawking radiation powerful enough to tear the room apart.
  • An uncharged black hole would fall through the coffee table and burrow to Earth's core. Again depending on the mass. If it was an Earth mass black hole Earth would move "up" to the black hole as much as the black hole would move "down" into Earth. See link below
  • See What if a black hole the size of a coin suddenly appears on earth for some explanation along the lines of the problems mentioned above.


[Cueball is standing near a coffee table as Black Hat approaches. They are presumably in Black Hat's living room. The coffee table has a miniature black hole on top of it, resting on a small pedestal.]
Cueball: Why do you have a miniature black hole on your coffee table?
Black Hat: It really brings the room together.


  • The phrase that something "brings the room together" is also a famous line in the cult film The Big Lebowski, where the anti-hero, the Dude, laments the theft of a rug that "really brought the room together".
  • Randall describes a similar scenario in the "Neutron Bullet" chapter of the What If? book, and a black hole of similar dimensions in the what if? article Black Hole Moon.

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IF the explanation of "Milkshake" being a coded message is correct, then I like how Melis plays with it. I always thought the more sexual way, Milkshake meaning shaking her milk bags. Sure, that brings boys to the yard....

It seems like a black hole of that "volume" would mean the earth "falls" into *it*, not the other way around. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Kurzgesagt's video illustrates how Earth would be destroyed (around two minutes in). Whichever object is considered at rest, "falling into" is sort of a euphemism for what would really happen. .42 (talk) 18:13, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

It's not clear what exactly in the comic is a reference to the Big Lebowski movie. This needs clarification. Todor (talk) 06:48, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

In the Big Lebowski, The Dude's reasoning for wanting the rug replaced was that "It really tied the room together" 07:50, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

The event horizon of the black hole in the cartoon appears to be roughly an inch across, which using the formula linking Schwarzschild radius to mass (r = 2MG/c^2) gives a black hole of about 3 earth masses. 08:06, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

OMG. That would mean it also excerts 3 times the gravitational force of earth. As a result people near (also as far away as earth orbits) would only be comfortable standing at a significant angle. Time may also appear to progress slower near the black hole due to the time dilation effect. But I am unsure how pronounced this effect will be from a black hole that size. Audible and visible effects of this would be people talking slower (but not lower as you have with the doppler effect, i beleive that to be a sci-fi misconception), and peoples movements seeming slower. Todor (talk) 08:50, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
That strong a pull would mean the hole would not only collect air and particles, but also pull furniture into it. Seing as both people are standing upright I'm guessing the pull can not be more than say one fifth of earths. Maybe it has a visible accretion disc? If you were to run the formula in reverse what diameter would that give you of the hole itself? Todor (talk) 09:23, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
(out of sequence) One fifth of Earth's mass would give you one fifth of g, but only if you measure it 6400 km (more or less) from the Earth's center. If you measure it 1 meter from the mass center... it's a HUUUUGE gravity. The mass of this black hole must be many orders of magnitude less than Earth's.
--Lou Crazy (talk)

There's only 5 years between the Big Lebowski and Milkshake (1998 vs 2003) so while "more contemporary" is technically correct, I think it underestimates how old Milkshake is. 08:15, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps this comic is in reference to this article referencing tabletop particle accelerators? 08:38, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

I once read a short story about this situation where the hole kept feeding and eventually swallowed the whole Galaxy. I thought it was a Stephen King, but my Google Fu can't find it... Supachris28 (talk) 09:22, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

It was one of the scare-stories surrounding the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where a micro-black hole would form and end-of-the-world scenario would ensue. Apparently such a hole could form but would immediately destabilize. On a related note, this brings into question as to how stable the hole in the comic would be, since it seems rather small. If it were to destabilize it would have enough energy to blow the earth to pieces, despite its deceivingly innocent size. Todor (talk) 09:48, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

See also - Earth by David Brin in which a micro black hole falls into the core 15:30, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Was I right to add a little about hawking radiation?Transuranium (talk) 10:07, 13 May 2016 (UTC)Transuranium

Hawking radiation from a black hole with "neutron bullet" mass (equivalent to the Empire State Building) would be vicious, equivalent to .78 megatons of TNT per second. However, it could spew out increasingly intense radiation for 96 years. [1] A lunar mass black hole would be colder than interstellar space and could outlive most of the universe. .42 (talk) 10:28, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
As deduced above I guess the hole would not be strong enough to pull them in. But you're saying a black hole with a mass smaller than earth would essentially fry them both and set their house on fire IRL? And that would only be if it was stable enough not to destabilize and blow up. Some best-case scenario that is. :) Todor (talk) 11:07, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

The effects of a small black hole the size of a coin, animation by "Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell" 11:28, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

The article currently states that a black hole is "inconsistent with physics", this is inaccurate. If it doesn't violate any laws or break math, it is perfectly valid. Physics allow for seemingly weird stuff, as long as it is a theoretical possibility, makes mathematically sense and doesn't contradict accepted truths. And it remains valid until proven it is not. That is science in a nutshell. Todor (talk) 15:39, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

The inconsistency is in portraying the black hole as a calm, benign object that can rest safely on a coffee table. In reality, it would do something unimaginably violent that would preclude a conversation near the room it's in. .42 (talk) 18:13, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Worst explanation ever

I came here for an explanation and I have so many questions.

  • What's 'The Dude's' rug in the film "The Big Lebowski"? Answer below says it has no relationship to the comic.
  • What about the song "Milkshake" by Kelis?
  • What about the discrimination?
  • What about "Neutron Bullet" chapter of the what if? book?
  • What about Black Hole Moon in that book?

And related to the comic itself

  • What's the mass of a miniature blackhole?
  • What are its effects? 13:31, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

What's an "explanation"? 13:53, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Well, the effects of the black hole is directly related to its size interestingly enough. That was recently added to the article. Explanations are never perfect on the first day, but it gets improved. Todor (talk) 14:37, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Information about the "what if" book would belong in a trivia section if it is added.Lackadaisical (talk) 14:56, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

The Big Lebowski

I'll answer my own question. In The Big Lebowski the sentence is "That rug really tied the room together." [2]. I assume that to bring something together means to make it more agreeable. I deleted the reference. 13:40, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Why delete it? While it may not be an explanation, it is a perfectly valid pop-cultural reference and may indeed be the one used in the comic. Todor (talk) 14:37, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
I think it is appropriate to delete it. It is a common enough phrase to simply be used without referencing anything. Stating that it was the author's intended reference is simply speculation.Lackadaisical (talk) 14:51, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

There is no such thing as "neutrally charged". If it is charged, it is, by definition, not neutral. If you want to clarify against other meanings of "neutral", use "electrically neutral". -- 21:52, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

IMHO the big Lebowski reference should be removed. Unless there’s something not mentioned in the explanation making it particularly relevant, such as the rug literally tying the room together in a similar way the black hole literally “brings the room together” in the comic. If so this should be mentioned in the explanation. Otherwise, it’s just one of many examples of a variant of this common phrase in use, and should not be mentioned in the explanation. PotatoGod (talk) 02:14, 21 July 2018 (UTC)