merger

Question: If 2 black holes get near each other, can they then gravitationally pull matter out of the other black hole & back into “normal” space?

The short answer is no.

A black hole (in the traditional sense) is defined as an object that has collapsed so that its radius is equal to, or less than, the Schwarzschild of the object.

What does this mean?

Every object has a Schwarzschild radius; this is the point at which an object’s mass is so compressed that the gravitational influence overpowers the other forces of nature and it collapses to a singularity.

Of course, not every object is massive enough to collapse to its Schwarzschild radius. The Earth’s Schwarzschild radius, for example, is about the diameter of a small marble. If you were to apply enough energy to the Earth and compress its mass to that size, it would collapse to form a black hole. The same is true for humans, except I’d need to compress you to a point some 10-million times smaller than a marble in order to turn you into a black hole.

So, what is special about the Schwarzschild radius? This is the point at which the escape velocity for the object is equal to the speed of light. Obviously, since you can’t travel ,or faster than, the speed of light you can’t get out of a black hole neither can another black hole pull you out.

It’s important to realize that, outside of the Schwarzschild radius (also known as the event horizon), spacetime is normal. You can interact with a black hole in the same ways you interact with any other object of mass.

Image credit: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart

Article: From Quarks to Quasars

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Warren Buffett’s Involvement Protects Burger King Inversion Deal With Tim Hortons

An inversion deal of epic proportions such as the merger of Tim Hortons Inc. (TSX, NYSE: THI) and Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW) to create a $23 billion behemoth based in Canada should have been enough to get the protectionists screaming bloody murder.

But the reaction to Burger King becoming a Canadian company has been muted, as compared to the outrage expressed when Walgreen and Pfizer and other such large companies tried their own inversions.

This could be because it’s just a hop north to Canada instead of a long swim across the Atlantic to Europe. There’s also the fact that this merger is not just about saving taxes by merging with a smaller company.

It’s more of a marriage of equals, since the new merged entity with 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries enhances the reach of both parties to the merger and allows them to continue growing their unique brands while leveraging each others’ strengths in the international market.

Secondly, Burger King isn’t going to save billions in taxes by paying $11 billion for coffee and doughnuts and changing their on-paper corporate headquarters to Canada.

In fact, both companies have an effective tax rate of around 27 percent, and the merger isn’t going to make that big a difference in taxes to either of them.

3G Capital, the Brazilian investment company which owns Burger King, will continue to hold a 51 percent majority stake in the merged entity.

The Tim Hortons headquarters in Oakville, Ontario will continue to be the global home of the Tim Hortons business even after it becomes a part of Burger King. And Burger King’s headquarters in Miami, FL will in effect continue to be the operational global home of the Burger King side of the business.

But all the anger towards corporations ditching America can’t be forgotten just because this deal is happening close to home in Canada and it seems more sensible than some of the other recent merger proposals that were purely tax inversions.   

One of the main reasons for the muted criticism is the involvement of Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway is reportedly putting up $3 billion to help finance the merger through preferred shares.

These large corporate mergers usually send the stock of the acquired firm soaring, while the buyer’s share price drops a bit because of concern over the huge outflow of capital and additional debt.

However, in this case, shares of both Burger King and Tim Hortons soared over 20 percent. Some of the credit for investors’ unusual confidence in the value of the deal can be attributed to Buffett’s involvement.

More importantly, Buffett is looked upon as an investor who cares about the American economy more than profits, and if he’s got no problems supporting the Burger King-Tim Hortons deal, then well…this poutine can’t be that bad a whopper.

Photo credit – scazon/flickr

Comcast + Time Warner Cable = Disaster

Comcast just announced that it’s buying Time Warner Cable. If approved, this outrageous deal would create a television and Internet colossus like no other.

Comcast is the country’s #1 cable and Internet company and Time Warner Cable is #2. Put them together and you get a single giant controlling a massive share of our nation’s TV and Internet-access markets.

No one woke up this morning wishing their cable company was bigger or had more control over what they watch and how they get online. But that is the reality we’ll face unless the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission do their jobs and block this merger.

Stopping this kind of deal is exactly why we have antitrust laws. After a year of sustained organizing, we convinced the DoJ and the FCC to stop AT&T from gobbling up T-Mobile.

This merger would put more than a third of all cable-TV subscribers in Comcast’s hands and give it control over more than half of the “triple-play” services that combine TV, phone and Internet service. Don’t forget, Comcast already owns NBC, MSNBC, Universal Studios and tons of cable channels. That means that for most of America, Comcast could control even more of what you see and how you see it.

Putting this much power in the hands of one company is dangerous. This deal would lead to less consumer choice, less diversity and much higher cable bills. 

Tell the FCC and the DoJ to stop this merger today. This is a fight we can win.

Here’s What it Looks like when Two Black Holes Collide

Black holes are the most massive objects in the known universe. We have discovered a number that put our Sun (and our entirely solar system) to shame. In fact, just this past year, scientists discovered a supermassive black hole that is some 12 billion times as massive as our own Sun. Were it placed in the center of our solar system (decidedly not a good idea), it would easily dominate our little corner of the universe.

Fortunately, supermassive black holes generally don’t reside at the center of solar systems; rather, they are found at the center of galaxies. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how they form, but it is believed that they start out as stellar mass black holes (which are black holes that form as a result of either the core collapse of a supernova or the merger of massive objects, like neutron stars).

Over the course of millions of years, these stellar mass black holes consume more and more material, slowly growing into supermassive black holes. Galactic collisions may assist in this process and speed things up a bit, as it is believed that, during galaxy mergers, massive black holes may be drawn towards one another and eventually come together.

But what happens to a black hole when it collides with another black hole?

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1JTTD5b

Giant interacting galaxies

This image shows the spectacular barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 that is shaped like an “integral sign”. It is of type SBb and is accompanied by a smaller, interacting galaxy, IC 4970 of type S0 (just above the centre). The bright object to the lower right of the galaxies is a star in the Milky Way whose image has been strongly overexposed and exhibits multiple optical reflections in the telescope and instrument. There are also many other, fainter and more distant galaxies of many different forms in the field.

The upper left spiral arm of NGC 6872 is significantly disturbed and is populated by a plethora of blueish objects, many of which are star-forming regions. This may have been be caused by a recent passage of IC 4970 through it.

This interesting system is located in the southern constellation Pavo (The Peacock). It is comparatively distant, almost 300 million light-years away. It extends over more than 7 arcmin in the sky and its real size from tip to tip is thus nearly 750,000 light-years. It is in fact one of the largest known, barred spiral galaxies.

Image credit: ESO

Astronomy Photo of the Day: 4/28/15 — Arp 84

Ultimately, the universe experiences life and death in equal measure, but it’s certainly not rare to see something change form; that’s exactly what happens when galaxies of all shapes, sizes and colors meet and converge—they leave chaos in their wake until they eventually settle into new configurations.

The strange formation above is one example of a gravitational merger. The galaxies involved—known as NGC 5395 and NGC 5394, or simply Arp 84—can be found approximately 165 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Canes Venatici.

Clearly, this encounter hasn’t reached a conclusion yet, as we see many telltale signs in its structure. One section suggests the smaller galaxy (NGC 5394) once pieced the central region of the larger one (NGC 5395), the aftereffect giving them the likeness of a blue heron.

Sources & Other Resources: http://bit.ly/1DGJExz

Image Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

So Comcast (the largest mass communication company in the world) wants to merge with TimeWarner (the second largest media and entertainment conglomerate after Disney), and the current chairman of the FCC who is to approve or disprove of the merger, Tom Wheeler, was formerly the head of both the largest cable lobbying organization, as well as the largest wireless lobbying firm. Nothing to see here, just corporate fascism and neo-fedualism ruining everything forever. 

Not A Fan of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger

By this time next year, the Time Warner name will be gone. The entertainment company that has that name is spinning off the publication units of Time, Inc into its own company while the Warner media and content divisions remain its own unit. It’s likely they’ll use Warner in the umbrella brand name and drop the Time because it’s inevitable. Let’s face it, they don’t call the company AOL Time Warner either, especially after AOL was spun off.

Also, the cable service provider Time Warner Cable will also be a thing of the past when the Comcast deal goes through and the two biggest cable providers become one monopolistic entity demon covering top markets across the country, including the Top 5 media markets.

And yes, it is a monopoly. 

Don’t let the media tell you any differently, the cable industry is largely a monopolistic industry. When you only have one choice of a service, that’s a monopoly.

The Comcast customers won’t see anything different, but Time Warner Cable customers will lose so much and will likely be swallowed up by the Comcast culture

“B-b-but you can get satellite services like DirecTV or fiber-optic services like Verizon FIOS or AT&T U-Verse." 

Not always. Most communities only have one cable provider, and smaller companies have no chance of entering the market. Most apartment buildings don’t allow satellite service and only has one company they deal with, which is usually the cable company. For example, I live in an apartment. I can’t get any of the satellite companies and I can’t get FIOS, but I can get Cox here.

The smaller industry means the big boys make the rules and set the prices. Cable prices are already astronomical and are only going to get higher without significant changes in programming, quality, and actual variety. You’ll see more and more clashes between Comcast and the companies that own cable networks like Disney, Discovery, Viacom, CBS, 21st Century Fox, AMC Networks, and the OTHER company that’s still called Time Warner. You know, the one that owns the Turner channels and HBO? Prepare for huge fights that could black out channels nationwide. Larger footprint, bigger impact.

Oh … you might be one of those "cord-cutters” the news media loves to slobber over. You brave souls that bucked “the system” by “dropping cable” and only going through broadband for your entertainment needs.

Think you’re immune?

Think again.

Cable companies have been struggling about what to do about “cord-cutters,” and that only took about a second before they figured out what to do: raise prices and limit access. The American broadband market, which has speeds slower than many other industrialized countries and costs 100% more than in other countries. Prices are getting higher at a faster rate than the speeds they can go. And if you think because you don’t “watch TV” you won’t be affected? That’s foolish thinking.

You’ve heard a lot about net neutrality in the news recently. In case you’ve been living under a rock, net neutrality is the  is the principle that ISPs and governments should “treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging deferentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.” In short, the Interest should remain as is. Big broadband companies and media corporations have been publicly against it by stating publicly they’d never limit access to anything online nor slow you down.

That has been disproven many times over, and most times, the culprit was Comcast. All the major cable companies are against net neutrality, including Time Warner Cable and Comcast. They’ll be in a bigger position to limit access to certain sites, apps, and anything they happen to disagree with. If greed clouds their mind, they could even block access to entertainment sites owned by outside companies like, say, YouTube or Netflix. 

Not saying they would, but given the fact that the federal courts recently gave them leeway to do so, they legally could now. 

So, what can we do about it?

Admittedly not much, sad to say. The weak-kneed division in charge of business mergers like this tend to let oligarchies and monopolies go through with no worries, and this is still the case.

But there are so many people against the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. Diverse voices that normally wouldn’t get along are opposed to this merger. 

If you’re against it as much as I am, contribute your voice to the cause and join us

What the Comcast-Time Warner Merger Really Means

It seems most of the buzz surrounding Comcast’s bid to swallow up Time Warner is focused on the relatively trite (albeit quite real) concerns that accompany any major corporate merger: less choice, worse service, and higher bills.  I understand that.  It’s hard—but not impossible—to imagine how Comcast’s service could even get worse, or its prices higher.

But none of those consumer concerns should frighten us, as citizens, nearly as much as the bigger picture danger of a single entity controlling the majority of what appears on our screens, and therefore what occupies our mental environments.  Not everyone is ignoring this very real threat, however.  In fact, The New York Times’ editorial board points out that “[t]his deal is important because it would give Comcast greater power over media companies like CBS and Disney and Internet services like Netflix and Amazon.  And that would ultimately give it more control over American consumers.”

If this is all sounding a bit paranoid and Orwellian to you (or is it Huxleyan?), let’s take a step back and consider what these two corporations—Comcast and Time Warner—actually consist of.

Comcast is the largest mass media and communications company in the world by revenue.  It’s already the largest cable company and internet service provider in the U.S.  And since it bought AT&T Broadband in 2004, MGM in 2005, NBC in 2011, and PBS Kids Sprout in 2013 (in addition to obtaining partial stakes in the MLB Network and the NHL Network), Comcast is also in the business of creating content.  So they not only control the creative process of making T.V. shows, movies, and sports programming, but they also control the pipelines (both T.V. and internet) through which people consume those programs.  This means that they can (and they have the incentive to) favor their own programming over independently created media.  It also means that they have an unprecedentedly great capacity to control the messages received by millions of Americans on a range of social and economic policies.  As a giant corporation, they have a lot to win or lose in those debates.

Time Warner Inc. is the second largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world and the second biggest cable firm in the country after Comcast.  It owns HBO, TBS, CNN, TNT, the Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, the CW (with CBS), Warner Bros., and many, many magazines.  If the merger is approved, Comcast and Time Warner would deliver internet to 38% of users in the country, or 32 million people.  That’s twice as many as the next biggest competitor, AT&T, which has 16 million subscribers.  The market share in cable would be much larger: a trade journal reports that the two companies combined would control 75% of the U.S. cable industry.

There are the inherent threats to democracy that arise when a single entity in any industry becomes too big to compete with (e.g., Standard Oil in the gilded age), but then there are the additional concerns that arise when the industry is media.  We live in a media-saturated world, in which our conscious selves are nearly blind to the 3000 advertisements we see a day and corporations are finding endlessly underhanded ways to spread system-justifying messages.  The more consolidated all these industries become, with one or two major players controlling virtually all access and profit, the less control we have as individuals or even as large groups.  While Monsanto’s pro-GMO propaganda or CBS’s pro-NSA drivel may not seem immediately related to a Comcast-Time Warner merger (which, let’s face it, sounds pretty boring and technical), propagandistic programming is likely to increase the more consolidated the media industries become.  Corporate cooperation in the form of think tanks, front groups, and trade associations is made easier and more technically legal through mergers and acquisitions that tighten control and yield staggering profits.

In order to approve the merger and allow one major corporation to control media production and distribution across the country (often exclusively), the FCC will need to accept the obviously flawed argument that such a deal will be in the public interest.  Expect exactly this type of doublespeak from the current chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, who spent the better part of his career making just those arguments on behalf of industry giants at the helm of CTIA, the main telecom trade group on Capitol Hill, whose membership includes almost every company in the industry.  Expect it also from William J. Baer, the head of the antitrust division at the Department of Justice, who represented GE and NBC as a private lawyer pushing for its acquisition by Comcast in 2011.  (The revolving door goes the other way, too, as the current members of the FCC will surely keep in mind on voting day.)

But why would the FCC reject the deal, anyway?  Once there’s just one big media company that creates and filters content and then delivers it (at an arbitrarily high cost) directly to our Google Glasses, it’ll be much easier for the federal government.  When the NSA wants to partner with Big Media to figure out who’s binge watching House of Cards on Netflix versus who’s reading The Lone Pamphleteer, it’ll only have to make one phone call.

-the lone pamphleteer