The true story of why cosmologists around the world are shifting their gaze from the heavens to the White House.
Most people are familiar with the concept of black holes. A black hole is one outcome of the Einstein field equations: a point in spacetime that is so gravitationally intense that the normal laws of physics cease to operate.
A black hole exerts so much gravitational attraction that surrounding spacetime flows toward it, a little bit like water flowing down a drain. The event horizon of a black hole (formally known as the Schwarzschild radius) is the point beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape. This is why they are called black holes: light can fall in but it can’t come back out again. So there’s literally nothing to see.
Black holes absorb everything around them: spacetime, gas, planets, stars, other black holes. They are nature’s vacuum cleaner, absorbing literally everything including the virtual particles that momentarily pop in and out of existence in empty space (the so-called vacuum energy of space).
Now it’s important to understand that one of the fundamental realities of physics is that nearly everything is symmetrical. For matter there is anti-matter, for the electron we have the positron, and so on. Even time is, from a mathematical perspective, symmetric.
Therefore it should be no surprise to anyone that a joint team of scientists from NASA and ESA have recently discovered the counterpart of black holes. The big surprise is that they discovered this phenomenon right here on Earth.
Normally we’d expect an obvious symmetry whereby black holes have their opposite as white holes. But scientists are 100% confident that the newly discovered phenomenon should be called an Orange Hole. Furthermore, just as the supermassive black hole at the center of our own galaxy is called Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sag-A-Prime) so the newly discovered phenomenon has been labeled the Orange Prime A-Hole. This naming scheme is under dispute, however, with several teams of European scientists pressing hard for Terminally Retarded Unstable Mini-Phenomenon.
At the time of writing this article it is unclear which terminology will ultimately become common usage.
The key characteristic of the Orange A-Hole is that it can absorb nothing whatsoever. No matter what is presented to it, whether physical objects such as books or briefing documents, or informational objects such as PowerPoint presentations or audio briefings, nothing can increase the A-Hole’s substance.
At first this behavior puzzled researchers because of the many datapoints showing clearly that the A-Hole’s outer shell is extremely fragile and buckles under the slightest pressure. It seemed therefore that information ought to be able to penetrate the non-event horizon.
Subsequent mathematical modeling and empirical observation served to reveal the mechanism: the Orange A-Hole is so vacuous that information simply passes through without coming into contact with anything at all. Thus information does traverse the A-Hole’s fragile event horizon but, like the ghostly neutrinos that pass through solid matter every second of every day, it does so without any measurable effect. It is speculated that one could deliver an infinite amount of information to the Orange A-Hole without a single idea ever coming to rest inside its core.
Observation of the behavior of the A-Hole over the last decade has confirmed that it is indeed an information-free void.
Another contrast with black holes is the stability function. As best as we know, black holes are extremely stable. Their gravitational field is so intense that matter, to all intents and purposes, ceases to exist in a meaningful way inside a black hole. This makes them the most stable features of the entire universe, capable of remaining constant over hundreds of billions of years.
The Orange A-Hole, however, is extremely unstable and its perturbations and random oscillations are impossible to predict from one moment to the next. Adapting the old adage about throwing dice, physicists have noted that “the Orange A-Hole has no memory.” Physicists are still undecided about whether or not the A-Hole will implode at some point in the next few years or simply decay into an increasingly unstable orbit around itself until such time as it evaporates in a squalid little puff of self-adulatory wheezing and bad hair.
Physicists are still baffled by one presently inexplicable feature of the Orange A-Hole. Black holes have the most powerful gravity in the universe; conversely the A-Hole has no capacity for gravity at all. Yet the A-Hole (or TRUMP in the alternative nomenclature) is orbited by nearly forty-three million tiny A-Holes, all of whom appear tidally locked into place around the Prime A-Hole and are totally unable to escape. Some physicists are calling this phenomenon Anti-Gravity while others are calling it Typical Human Stupidity.
With a second Eclipse of Human Reason predicted to occur in November 2020, scientists are confident that they will have at least another five years to study the Orange A-Hole close up. The only problem is that the A-Hole’s fundamental instability threatens to destroy the entire planet in less than that timeframe.