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Author Topic: Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt  (Read 8277 times)

Offline f6

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« on: 12/02/2008 20:47:10 »
I have just finished listening to a free podiobook called "singularity" by Bill deSmedt. Absolutely brilliant story, check it out over at podiobooks.com, and unless you want the story spoiled for you don't reed this post.

I have a some questions about the science in the book. It is of course entirely fictional story, but I want to get an idea how plausible it is.





The centre piece of the story is that the Tunguska (sp?) (northern Russia) event was not a meteorite but a microscopic black hole impacting, and then getting trapped in an orbit inside the earth, a slowly decaying orbit, until some Russians discover it and proceed to capture it.

How plausible is this idea? The author says the singularity has the approximately the mass of Mt Everest, in a point source, obviously, travelling a a few thousand of km/h. He uses a nuclear power plant on the floor of ocean and loads of electro magnets to first of all nudge the orbit of the singularity as it "apogees" (if a subterranean orbit can have an apogee) and then slow it down to rest. How feasible is it to slow an object the size of Mt Everest to rest from thousands of km/h? The "braking path" used was 10km long. once at rest the singularities own hawking radiation was used to produce steam to turn turbines to provide power for the magnets to hold it in place. I know nothing about hawking radiation, again is this feasible?

Much of the plot is centred around the crazy physics associated with singularities. Further on in the story the Russians lower the event horizon on the singularity and create a time machine of sorts, and here the author brings in some even more crazy quantum physics/philosophy about needing a consciousness to have reality... The story is very very well done, but I would love to hear an educated opinion on the science in the story.

There is much much more, room temperature superconductors, bad shrooms letting you see what the universe looks like when no one is looking, self-fulfilling prophecies of time travel, hazardous waste disposal using molten iron baths...


If someone much more learned than me has listened to/read Bills book I would love to hear your comments on the plausibility of it.


 

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2008 21:55:48 »
I black hole within the body of the Earth would either evaporate (with a big bang) or would would be slowly gobbling up the insides of the planet - with nasty consequences.  This is not something that would easily go unnoticed.

As for how you might trap a black hole - the mind boggle?  How a black hole might trap you, is another matter.  The only way I can imagine trapping a black hole is if it had an electric field - but a fast moving object with an electric field would also generate a large magnetic field - again, this would not have gone unnoticed.

How deep were they presuming this object was below the Earth's surface?

I would have though that the black hole, if it survived the impact (not at all sure it would), would have fairly quickly reached the core of the Earth, as I would think the orbit would rapidly decay.
 

Offline f6

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #2 on: 12/02/2008 22:27:38 »
the author emphasised this was a micro-black hole, very small mass as far as block holes go. That it was microscopic enough to mostly pass through the space between the atoms, but nonetheless it was slowly eating the earth, and as its orbit decayed and the got closer to the centre it would interact with more and more atoms by function of the density of the earth increasing as it gets deeper and of its speed decreasing. The installation at the bottom of the Marianna trench drilled a further kilometer into the crust to start trying to draw the singularity higher. The Tunguska event was in 1910 and the Russians started their project in the 90s, so the orbit was only 80 or so years old, I guess it was not too deep yet.

The Russians were initially the heroes of the story, saving the planet from certain annihilation. The world had only another 200 years until it was eaten alive. The window to stop it was very small, another few years and the singularity would have been too deep to influence its trajectory.

But then the time travel side of playing with a singularity minus its event horizon quickly turned the Russians into a force that must be stopped.

At the end of the day, the author only meant his book to be an entertaining read for someone with an interest in science, and he succeeded tremendously. If he has taken great poetic licence with the laws of physics, good on him .
 

Offline Jenkoul

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #3 on: 13/02/2008 23:59:11 »
Hi, f6 --

Thanks for the kind words about the podcast of my book Singularity ( newbielink:http://www.podiobooks.com/title/singularity [nonactive]). Sorry I'm responding to your post so late, but chalk that up to the fact that Google Alerts ain't all that alert. ;)

Anyway, I did want to say that most of the science in the book does in fact check out. If you were to look at the quotes on the dust jacket of the hard cover edition, you'd find the following from Dr. Kip Thorne, author of Black Holes and Time Warps, and one of Stephen Hawking's best buddies:

Quote
I very much enjoyed Singularity. Bill got the vast majority of the physics right, which is highly unusual -- especially in a book that is such a good read.

(In fact the only aspect of the physics Kip found implausible were the too-precise orbital dynamics of the primordial black hole within the earth. The science in the book has also been vetted by Jacob Bekenstein, the man who first proposed black-hole entropy, and Scott A. Hughes, MIT's currently reigning relativity guru.)

In any case, I wanted to say thanks, and to let you know that Dualism -- the sequel to Singularity -- is nearing completion as we speak.

Best,
Bill DeSmedt
newbielink:http://www.billdesmedt.com [nonactive]
 

Offline f6

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #4 on: 14/02/2008 09:26:13 »
Thats great Bill,

boy this is embarrassing, and amazing at the same time. The real live author responding to my post (thats the amazing part, the emabarassing part is wondering if I quoted your book correctly in previous posts, it was an audiobook, not so easy to look up quotations)

I am very impressed with your research, it surely made the story what it is. Tell me, the suit Bonaventure was wearing when she went into Grishin's lab, the invisibilty one that isn't, is that technology real? or is it an extrapolation of current science?

After all that gushing over your story above, can I offer one nit-pick... take it from one who lives here, we call it the "An-tip-o-des" not "Anti-podes" Trust me, I live in NZ (British Colony, in the south pacific).

Does Duality contain the same kind of edge-of-your-seat application of strange science that singularity did? If so I may actually have to pay real money for a copy this time.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #5 on: 14/02/2008 10:15:23 »
The main problem is that in order to control a black hole electromagnetically it has to be a charged black hole and such an item is an extremely unlikely thing because material in quantity in general is normally electrically neutral.  An uncharged black hole can only be controlled using gravity and you would need to use a stronger gravitating object to do it.

The only way to do in a science fiction story would be to go and find another similar hole orbiting the sun near the earth and manipulate it gravitationally using an asteroid with rocket motors so that the second black hole penetrates the earth and has a close encounter with the black hole orbiting inside the earth and "hooks" it out into a different orbit outside of the earth.

Also I am not sure how the original black hole was persuaded to go into an orbit inside the earth in the first place because in order for it to do this it would have to loose a lot of motion energy by a gravitational interaction involving a third body other than the earth itself.  Maybe it was a previous close encounter with the other black hole that put it in the orbit in the first place.

I also think that a "hot" black hole would not absorb significantly more material than it was radiating unless the local temperature was hotter than the hole itself so it would not be a danger to the earth by absorbing a significant amount of material.  Simple thermodynamics says that.
« Last Edit: 14/02/2008 10:22:36 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline Jenkoul

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #6 on: 14/02/2008 10:39:48 »
After all that gushing over your story above, can I offer one nit-pick... take it from one who lives here, we call it the "An-tip-o-des" not "Anti-podes" Trust me, I live in NZ (British Colony, in the south pacific).

Does Duality contain the same kind of edge-of-your-seat application of strange science that singularity did? If so I may actually have to pay real money for a copy this time.

LOL -- Thanks, f6: I'll work on my pronunciation!

And, yes, Dualism is shaping up to be, if anything, stranger than Singularity. It brings back Jon Knox and Marianna Bonaventure to wrestle with issues of artificial intelligence vs. collective consciousness, mind vs. body, love vs. infidelity, life vs. death -- you know, all the standard stuff. ;)

Best,
Bill
« Last Edit: 14/02/2008 11:52:27 by Jenkoul »
 

Offline Jenkoul

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #7 on: 14/02/2008 10:50:50 »
The main problem is that in order to control a black hole electromagnetically it has to be a charged black hole and such an item is an extremely unlikely thing because material in quantity in general is normally electrically neutral.  An uncharged black hole can only be controlled using gravity and you would need to use a stronger gravitating object to do it.

The only way to do in a science fiction story would be to go and find another similar hole orbiting the sun near the earth and manipulate it gravitationally using an asteroid with rocket motors so that the second black hole penetrates the earth and has a close encounter with the black hole orbiting inside the earth and "hooks" it out into a different orbit outside of the earth.

Also I am not sure how the original black hole was persuaded to go into an orbit inside the earth in the first place because in order for it to do this it would have to loose a lot of motion energy by a gravitational interaction involving a third body other than the earth itself.  Maybe it was a previous close encounter with the other black hole that put it in the orbit in the first place.

I also think that a "hot" black hole would not absorb significantly more material than it was radiating unless the local temperature was hotter than the hole itself so it would not be a danger to the earth by absorbing a significant amount of material.  Simple thermodynamics says that.

Hi, Soul Surfer,

What -- Kip Thorne's not good enough for you?!?  ;)

Seriously, though, your first three issues are grappled with, as best I could, in the body of Singularity itself. The short answer to all of them is "black monopoles." Rather than rehearse the longer answer here, why not give the podcast a listen and see what you think? It's free, and it's available at newbielink:http://www.podiobooks.com/title/singularity [nonactive].

As to the fourth issue, the timeline to a gravitational collapse of the planet is still up for grabs, with about as many (widely-differing) answers as there are physicists to whom I've posed the question. One point, though: your thermodynamics example works best if there's no countervailing inward force. In the case of a micro-black hole, there's always gravity ...

Best,
Bill
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #8 on: 15/02/2008 15:10:08 »
Sorry I was forgetting the trapped magnetic field. we chatted about that in another recent topic.  Sorry  haven't read the book yet although I do like science fiction particularly if it is reasonably well grounded in science, sociology or biology.  Not too keen on fantasy and magic unless it's very well characterised with interesting social overtones.
 

Offline f6

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #9 on: 17/03/2008 03:08:13 »
Hi Bill,

I have just listened to your book again now. Tell me you have sold rights to some big budget studio who will make an awesome movie out of this story!

Plus I have been thinking about that word antipode, although the "proper" pronunciation may be "an-tip-o-dee" when said this way it really does not alert the listener to the true meaning of the word, ie, opposite point. I think although grating to my british-trained ears, your pronunciation is a more accurate use of the word, especially in your book, where you are refering to point in an orbit rather than New Zealand and Australia.
 

Offline Jenkoul

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #10 on: 18/03/2008 14:16:55 »
Hi Bill,

I have just listened to your book again now. Tell me you have sold rights to some big budget studio who will make an awesome movie out of this story!

Regrettably not, but not from lack of trying. There's actually a very bright Hollywood actress who was interested last year, but she was unable to get her producer on board <sigh>.

OTOH, I'm not sure a medium that persists in cranking out the nth remake of Dukes Of Hazard or Journey To The Center Of The Earth (in 3D, no less!) is really the right venue for Singularity:)

Best,
Bill
 

Offline f6

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #11 on: 18/03/2008 19:56:53 »
When Hollywood finally sees the opportunity they are waisting, get an older actor, like Mr H Ford, to play Jon. Someone who can play the analyst well. Of all the Jack Ryans I liked his the best.

Now for marianna...I'm thinking Jolie, but that may be taking the stereotype too far. The two best tomb-raiders in another some-what-mystical adventure? But with the budget the suits should be throwing at this project, why not! Although if you do ge Jolie, you may have to revise your descrption of Marianna's curves  ;)
 

Offline Jenkoul

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #12 on: 19/03/2008 19:20:05 »
When Hollywood finally sees the opportunity they are wasting, get an older actor, like Mr H Ford, to play Jon. Someone who can play the analyst well. Of all the Jack Ryans I liked his the best.

Now for marianna...I'm thinking Jolie, but that may be taking the stereotype too far. The two best tomb-raiders in another some-what-mystical adventure? But with the budget the suits should be throwing at this project, why not! Although if you do ge Jolie, you may have to revise your descrption of Marianna's curves  ;)

Well, we can dream, I spose. Jon Cusack is the one I'd pick for Knox -- he's quirky enough. And I like Danica McKellar for Marianna -- she's smart enough, and fits the body-type.

Best,
Bill
 

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Singularity - By Bill DeSmedt
« Reply #12 on: 19/03/2008 19:20:05 »

 

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