In “Portrait of a Black Hole,” Avery E. Broderick and Abraham Loeb explain that inside the event horizon of a black hole everything moves toward the singularity. In particular, any virtual gravitons emitted by the singularity will be trapped inside that singularity. Therefore, there could be no gravitation field outside the singularity, and the space around the singularity must be flat. But in that case, nothing would hinder the virtual gravitons from freely propagating. Is there a solution to this conundrum?
Jersey City, N.J.
EDITOR GRAHAM P. COLLINS REPLIES: The question reminds me of the one time in my life I spoke to Richard Feynman. I was in 7th form in high school, and after Feynman gave a public lecture at Auckland University I went up and asked him: If nothing can get out of a black hole, how could the gravitons that create its gravitational field get out? The answer is that the gravitons are virtual particles, which can move faster than the speed of light and thus can escape from the black hole.
War or Peace
I was disappointed and dismayed by Lawrence M. Krauss’s “War Is Peace” [Critical Mass]. I agree with his political positions, but the way he presented them was shallow, unthoughtful and insulting to people who have genuinely held positions that differ from his own.
Krauss’s piece makes the magazine look like a liberal blowhard—especially because Krauss provides no thoughtful policy analysis, no new insights into the science of health care or politics, and it treats anyone with whom he disagrees with great disrespect. (“Zombielike protesters”? No—active citizens who disagree with him.)
David G. Haskell
Department of Biology
University of the South
KRAUSS REPLIES: I appreciate the concerns expressed by Haskell, but I think he misinterpreted the point. My piece was not about health care or climate change per se. It was about disinformation replacing information in the media regarding such issues. It was in this regard that I expressed contempt for both right-wing fanatic radio hosts (if I knew of any really left-wing fanatic radio hosts I might respond equally negatively) and ex-politicians who fabricate claims about “death panels.” Thus, it is not their views that I tried to express contempt for. It is their lies and distortion. No doubt I could have been more polite, but I think it is an issue we need to be upset about.