Downtime

Apr 11 2019   3:08PM GMT

Black holes and ejaculations

Ryan Priest Ryan Priest Profile: Ryan Priest

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There’s a bookshop located in Old Street Station near our office where we can sometimes be found nonchalantly perusing the blurbs of various works of literature during our lunch break.

The other day, we gave the back of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now the once-over, but quickly put it back down. In a nutshell, the book argues that we humans don’t give ourselves enough of a pat on the back. And something about prioritising that over all the books reminding us of the things we still need to get right felt a bit brazen. Let’s face it, we’re mostly feckless, destructive, infantile clowns. We don’t need a lecture on how to rest on our laurels.

But something happened on 10 April that made us think of that book again. The sublime work of the likes of computer scientist Katie Bouman while the rest of us continued to dick around was rewarded with our first ever photo of a black hole, and it felt like a moment to reflect on just how clever us silly little sods can be when we turn away from lewd memes and take something seriously.

Seeing these passionate researchers’ dedication to learning more about our universe and their tearful pride in this beautiful, groundbreaking achievement nourishes us with tangible hope for all of our souls, does it not? Oh, forget it, then. Look how much the black hole resembles this Chinese sperm extraction robot.

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