Media Blog

CNN’s Don Lemon Asks if a Black Hole Was Involved in MH370’s Disappearance

I don’t mind that CNN is pumping the story for ratings — but this is freaking idiotic. Via Mediaite:

CNN’s Don Lemon has been entertaining all sorts of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, including the chance something “supernatural” happened, but on Wednesday night, he actually asked panelists about the possibility a black hole was involved.

Lemon brought this up along with other “conspiracy theories” people have been floating on Twitter, including people noting the eerie parallels to Lost and The Twilight Zone, and wondered, “is it preposterous” to consider a black hole as a possibility?

And not to be outdone by the stupidity of the question, here’s the physics-defying answer:

Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.”

Considering there is a ginormous black hole at the center of our galaxy that isn’t sucking in our entire universe, I’m pretty sure a tiny black hole over the Indian Ocean would pose no real threat. But, hey, I’m just a blogger. What does a scientist think would happen if a small black hole hit the Earth?

Shravan Hanasoge at Princeton University and colleagues wondered if there was a way to avoid future false alarms. They ran detailed simulations of what would happen if a billion-tonne black hole struck Earth.

It would probably hit at a good clip, moving at a relative speed of a few hundred kilometres per second. But it would be smaller than an atomic nucleus, so it would only make a small, needle-like tunnel through the Earth.

Despite its small size, we would still know it had hit. That’s because when the black hole first reaches and then exits the Earth’s outer core, the outer core would vibrate, creating spherically symmetric shock waves. These would trigger every seismic detector on Earth at the same time – unlike regular earthquakes, which are more localised. “This distinguishes the signals from anything we would typically see,” says Hanasoge.

Happily, the effect would be minor, like a global magnitude-4 quake. “There would be no widespread destruction,” Hanasoge says. “It would be almost unnoticeable.”

Oh, so nothing happens. Keep up the great work CNN!

And of note, Mary Schiavo is an expert who could have answered questions on the likelihood of terrorism and the plane’s disappearance, but CNN wasted her time on nonsense.

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