Naked Singularities and Antarctica

In the first part of Daybreak, we are told that the Colony is in the accretion disk (a reasonably close orbit) of a naked singularity. Naked singularities are an unsettled question in physics. Some don’t think they can exist, others say they can. Here is an explanation from Scientific American written from the pro side.

Such singularities, if they exist, are still massive and have a deep gravity well, but the singularity is not covered by an event horizon. There may be an event horizon present (black hole,) but it is outside it.

The presence of such an object seems important. You just don’t throw one of these into a show if you don’t intend to use it. A black hole or singularity is highly powerful and destructive. So it may exist just to provide a destructive tool, something that can be used to even the odds in the otherwise futile attempt to attack something as large as the Colony.

That’s not so easy. Because singularities and black holes have such deep gravity wells, you can’t just push the colony into one, any more than you could push the Moon into the Earth. Once in orbit, you are very stable, and in fact absent friction you would stay there forever. Pushing something in orbit around a massive object into the massive object is actually harder to do than pushing something far away that is not in orbit, as counterintuitive as that sounds. If you were still in space, and you wanted to put something into the sun, you would just drop it. From the Earth, in orbit around the sun, it would be much harder to get something to go to the sun.

Near a massive object, there are strong tides on anything that is as large as the colony. This is to say, the gravitational force on the close part of the colony is stronger than the force on the distant part, resulting in a net force that would be trying to tear it apart. The colony would have to be strong if it is subject to such tides. However, if there were such tides, you would find the close and far ends of the colony regularly pelted with rocks which would be orbiting at different speeds than the colony as a whole is. If the rocks are still with respect to the colony, tides are not strong.

That one can jump to the mouth of the colony opens up one of the scientific issues with all forms of teleport. The colony has vastly different gravitational energy, space curvature, kinetic energy and angular momentum than ordinary flat space. BSG FTL jumps, however, seem to somehow account for all that, ignoring important rules of conservation. When they jump near a planet, they seem to jump into orbit around it, rather than watching it zoom away.

Many SF stories that have FTL jumps, by the way, make it a rule that jumps can’t do this, they must be done from relatively flat space to relatively flat space. You can’t jump near anything. They do this not simply to be more accurate. Limiting jump technology is a good idea as it can be a plot killer. It’s good to make it hard. If you have it, anybody can escape from anything, anybody can get into anything, and anybody can put a bomb anywhere. When Galactica jumped into the atmosphere in Exodus, it was wicked cool, but also generated a lot of plot holes. Why don’t they do this all the time? Why do colonial ships even have the ability to fly in space, if they could just jump from atmosphere to atmosphere? Why don’t they just jump nuclear bombs next to targets in the middle of battles? Better not to have to ask those questions.

Naked Singularities and SF

SF Writers love naked singularities, because the rules of physics break down. They feel they can write anything, use them as a handy plot device, because nothing you write would be known to be wrong. That’s not quite true, but naked singularities have become a standard in the toolbox for writers that want to do FTL jumping, time travel and alternate realities.

Does this mean we’re in for this? I would be disappointed because this naked singularity has been introduced only in the last episode. I don’t like it if a story resolves its problems with something magically powerful, out of the blue, in the last episode. That cheats the audience. Some readers here think there have been hints of singularity based teleportation. They point to the maelstrom from which Starbuck’s body was transported after the viper exploded. They think this suggests a singularity inside the maelstrom. Leaving aside the questions of the difficulty of having that in physics, this show already has teleportation in the form of FTL jump ships, so the OTG hardly needs to bring in a singularity.

Others have wondered if the singularity might be the path to our real universe, an alternate universe from that of BSG. Now the truth is that travel “through” a naked singularity is a concept that SF writers love but which is actually quite difficult to work out in reality, even with the little we know. But leaving that aside, it is writable in the traditions of the SF that uses naked singularities. Would this ending satisfy you as a “wrap it up” ending? I can’t say it would do so for me.

Ron Moore of course, as a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has a history with magic wormholes, though he didn’t create the setting for that show. To my mind the most satisfactory plot use of the singularity would be as a means to make it possible to destroy the colony, but it is a strange enough object to introduce that I suspect it will be more.

Antarctica

Several have noticed that the land mass shown on the blue planet with sunrise at the start of the episode is Antarctica. It follows the land patterns precisely. The editing tells us this is Caprica. Is it just the graphics crew using some stock images to make it easy to make a realistic Caprica? Or is it a subtle hint that real Earth is out there?

First of all, the land mass is brown, not white. But we saw Earth in “Crossroads” at the end of season 3 and it had normal sea levels. It was not a planet of melted polar ice caps.

Secondly, the stars in the background, which have come to be less and less reliable, are the stars of the solar system, but they are from the Zodiac. As you can figure out, if you were looking at the Earth over the south pole, the stars in the background would be those of the north pole, such as the little dipper and North Star, and the stars around them. The sun, however, only appears in the Zodiac, and it never appears where they show it in this picture. Of course, they have used the Earth stars in the wrong way many times now, but you would think that if they were showing real Earth, they would take some care this one special time.

Finally, the terminator (day-night line), instead of going from polar region to polar region, curves east-west. It does do this in Antarctic winter (July) though I am not sure it ever gets quite like this, with the sun rising in the North, rather than slightly east or west of North.

So, hint of Earth, or graphics dept. borrowing some images?

Anders

Something revealed in the comments that I didn’t know. The reason we have seen Anders in a hospital bed or in a tank for all these episodes is external to the show. The actor, Michael Trucco, broke his neck in a car accident and was still recovering when this was shot. He is better now, except for some fused vertebrae, but back then he really couldn’t act below the neck! So Anders the perfect machine, one with Galactica, looks like a last minute addition to the plot, but it’s going reasonably well.

Asian style writing

In the zoom-overs on Caprica, it is interesting to note that four buildings have Asian style writing on them. I don’t think it’s actual asian writing (perhaps those who can read it will tell us) but it is obviously styled on it and reads downwards rather than left to right. In one case, there is a street with three shops with asian style signs, and a 3rd saying “McCool” — it’s quite common for Asian streets to have signs with English words.

On the other hand, Laura’s door says “701” in good old arabic numerals. In Asia they use those as well.

This implies that the Capricans really write with an Asian script. But all papers and signs on Galactica are in English, and read horizontally, not down. Of course we see English because the audience needs to see English, but this is a bit hard to reconcile. Perhaps they just bought the 3-D city simulation from some Asian graphics company and forgot to edit out the signs when they added the Colonial Heavy luxury ships etc.?

There is english and asian

There is english and asian font. Given we have seen asian cuisine and chopsticks throughout the series I think we can deduce that both are used.

Very little English

There is precious little English in the city. And more to the point, giant, downwards reading Asian characters on the prime real-estate skyscraper buildings are just not something seen outside of the Asian world in reality. You see it on the shorter buildings of the chinatowns. Though English signs are quite common in the Asian world. This is, if intentional, clearly a city that uses an Asian script as its primary writing mode. However, it may not be intentional.

Aurabesh

At least one of the signs is in Aurabesh, which is a Star Wars lettering, so I think I would rule the asian influence out. I think they are all probably written in different languages.

Big Bounce

Per wiki on naked singularities:
"Some research has suggested that if loop quantum gravity is correct, then naked singularities could exist in nature"

Per wiki on loop quantum gravity:
"The main successes of loop quantum gravity are: [....] 3. It replaces the Big Bang spacetime singularity with a Big Bounce."

So even if they only use it to destroy the Colony (which imo would be a waste of a perfectly good plot device), it fits in very well with the show's running theme of cyclic history.

I actually said that I think

I actually said that I think loop gravity theory would be part of the answer a couple days back.

Asian writing

There are the other languages on the show, including, but not limited to French, Latin and Greek. Asian writing on the buildings doesn't raise any flags to me and seems like just another meaningless background element.

Correction

Scratch that: I wouldn't say it's MEANINGLESS, but I don't think it's anything more than what it is: like everything else on this show, it's meant to convey the closeness between their culture and ours, a connection between our two worlds. Another way of saying 'life here began out their' or even the other way around.

The long vertical script is

The long vertical script is Chinese, the mangled characters of a company name perhaps, hard to tell as it is poorly written. The sign with a picture of a man (?) has one Chinese (could be Japanese) character on its side. Perhaps someone in special effects will blog about this somewhere but it just seems to be recycled pieces of a prop from elsewhere.

All that aside, during an episode where the writers and directors could show us in so many ways how this is a different and interesting world, it just looks like people living in the Pacific Northwest. After making an attempt in the pilot to show how different these other "humans" are, this seems to have given way to laziness on the part of the writers and direcotrs.

By the way, no one commented on the galaxy shot at the beginning. Seems too luminous and compact to be our Milky Way. Is this long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away?

It is not, technically

Our galaxy is now generally accepted as a barred spiral with 2 to 4 arms. We took a long time to learn this and are not fully certain, because of course we can only see a small part of our galaxy. So the galaxy may or may not be meant to be ours.

Other languages

If there are other languages, they are barely present, and most of the characters are from Caprica City and speaking the Caprican language or a Colonial lingua franca. What’s odd is that Caprica City is a city with a predominantly asian writing, when on board, it is all done as English. It may mean something or it may just be the computer model they bought.

A million explanations

They may have done it consciously without any meaning. There's a million explanations, which leads me to believe it's nothing important and not worth our time scrutinizing, unless we could translate it, and it turns out to say something interesting.

To anonymous: I don't think it's laziness. I think they started out trying to make them as different as possible, but soon realized how impractical it would be on a modest budget (hence the modern structures, cars, culture and technology). As i've said, there are many explanations for this and other things. It's not worth scrutinizing, nor is it worth criticizing. Let's stick to the story.

I saw Brad doing his

I saw Brad doing his research in the BSG newsgroup so expected something new. When topics start getting too long or people start running out of things to say it can get messy. This new topic is a bit of a dud for me but that might just be a bit of burn out creeping in. I'm not really interested in talking about the story or characters at the moment so I'm spinning my wheels a bit.

Asian Writing

In the few Chinatowns I've been to in Canada (Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto (where I live)), you can be in the middle of them and see barely any English if you're looking in certain directions. It's similar in other cultural areas (Little Korea, Greek Town, Little India) but our Chinatown is bigger than these and the concentration of Asian script is denser than these other areas of Toronto. There's also an area in Markham, just north of TO which has a large Asian population and there's a large shopping centre there called the Pacific Mall. Maybe we're just flying over a specific area of Caprica City.

Similarly, in Blade Runner, we're most likely shown the Chinatown portion of Los Angeles and not a representation of the whole city, hence the apparent predominance of Asians in that film...unless, as an Asian friend of mine observed when I went with her to see the Final Cut version, "So everybody went off world except for the Asians?"

Also, all of these cultural centres I've mentioned have some of the best places to eat. Pho Hung on Spadina has great Vietnamese food and there's a Chinese bakery on Baldwin that has the best pork buns.

Also-also, I think the McCool image of the babay, is simply the Art Dept. working in a picture of someone's kid (and "McCool" might be their last name). I worked in the Art Dept. of a cop show a few years ago and I delighted in making up autopsy reports for all my friends that would never bee seen in detail on screen. This kind of stuff happens a lot --most glaringly on BSG was the use of "1707D" as part of the serial number on the door of the room the Final Four were meeting in (when Cally overheard their conversation).

Milé

English in Chinatown

Perversely, while there may be sections in our chinatowns without much English, in actual Asia, they love English and roman lettering and use it all the time. They need to learn thousands of symbols. Adding 26 more doesn’t slow them down at all. I have been surprised to see lots of storefronts in most asian cities (and in Greece as well) that are labeled only with roman letters. It’s chic.

This is not the ghetto of an immigrant culture. These downward reading Chinese style banners are on the skyscrapers right next to the spaceport, on the waterfront. That’s the center of town.

The languages can't matter

Does it really matter though? Since it is obviously 5 separate visible languages it seems to me they are just showing a culturally diverse society.

I don't think they matter

It is just interesting that while we have been shown English all over Galactica and in all the reports they read, they decided to paint Caprica City as a city dominated by Asian script.

And the Temple of Five had yet another script on its walls.

Dominated?

Dominated by asian script? That's a clear exaggeration from someone who wants to find meaning in nothing. There was one shot of a few block radius of a large, obviously metropolitan city.

I don't agree

While it is just part of a city, including the central core and spaceport, there is no roman lettering except the McCool sign. It may mean nothing, just some fun or an easter egg or a mistake because they bought some Asian software. But a city were multiple buildings have vertical style Asian signs on them and no buildings have English names on them is indeed one where the Asian script is dominant — at least on this planet. Of course this is not this planet, but it’s all we have to go on.

Also to be clear when I say “dominated” I mean it in the sense that the predominant form of writing in this city appears to be an Asian style, downward reading script.

It isn't dominated. There

It isn't dominated. There is only 2 languages on Caprica signs out of 5 that are asian and they aren't even both the same language. One of the languages is 100% confirmed to be a language from Star Wars and another is most likely the same language that you see all over the walls of Cylon tech. No language dominates at all in those pictures, it is even across the board.

What I mean is, using our world as an example

Think of any cities where the downtown skyscrapers have long tall signs in Asian script. These are precisely and only the cities where Asian scripts predominate. If I flew you over any city on Earth and you saw this distribution of signage and lettering you would be foolish not to conclude you were likely in a city that predominantly uses Asian script. I am not convinced that we see anything clear enough to identify it as a Star Wars script. If so this is just an easter egg, designed to cause threads like this. :-)

Where I live it is a major

Where I live it is a major city and English is the first language, but we have a huge Asian community and we have building with Asian signs much like the sign on that one building. The Star Wars script is definitely an easter egg. Just like the door marked NC-1701d.

"That one building"

Again, it isn’t any one building. The 4 signs together (one English, 3 Asian style) are very much like an upscale chinatown of sorts. (I’ve lived in a chinatown and the signs are usually much more mishmash.) It’s the fact that it’s the big skyscrapers next to the waterfront spaceport, and the fact that there aren’t English signs in the scene.

As you know, our cities (and I know, this is not our planet) are filled with signs of all kinds. Though in our society, the signs on office towers are usually at the top, and 1st floor, not striped down the sides as is done in Asia. Since this city has only a very few signs, it, or its culture, obviously regulates them or discourages them. So when you only see a few, and they are all not English, it says English or any other roman alphabet language is not predominant here.

one English, 3 Asian style I

one English, 3 Asian style

I disagree. There is only 2 Asian in style. I think you are confusing one if the fonts for Asian when it isn't.

Some are hard to read

But the ones I refer to have the characteristic of appearing to read downwards, which is Asian style. Realize of course that barring a big revelation that I still hope for about a history on old Earth, these writers are not of any Earth type.

However, the point is that we have never seen read-down Asian style writing in the show ever before, even though many of the regular characters are Caprican. Now, we see it for the first time as the predominant style of writing in downtown Caprica City.

Not to go back to the Colony

Not to go back to the Colony argument, but I think you are just not seeing things right. This time I can almost guarantee it won't be answered, but I will trust my track record with the visual queues over yours. But hey, why don't you tell me to "pay attention" again...

p0wned

Brad's correct to analyse the signs for what they mean but, I agree, the Caprica signs are wankage. That places BSG's treatment of culture and science at pretty much the same level. It's comic book stuff. They grab attention and have a certain amount of intellectual and emotional texture but close analysis reveals them both as nonsense. Ron tried too hard and, like Steve Jobs, aimed for producing a Lisa but got a Mac. Better luck next time.

Indeed

This is spectacularly unimportant. I just found it curious, and different from how writing has been shown in the series prior to this. I doubt we will see much more about it. I stand by the statements of how you would interpret signs like these in an Earth city. This is not an Earth city, though, so we can only say so much.

Focus

Your treatment of the signs has been sound enough and a lot of the comment has filled in the blanks. Personally, I found it boring but that's only because I'm already familiar with it and was too lazy to make the effort some of the other contributors have made. I've been doing some reading on photography (which I note is another interest of yours), and can see a rough comparison between this subject and good landscape photos. An interesting foreground object and composition can lift an otherwise magnificent but dull picture. If you revist this topic, perhaps, a better choice of focus can help give it more edge. I'm not being judgemental here, just sucking something else out.

Plenty of historical and faraway places, and our own personal experience can inform us but conceptualising and fleshing out something different is tough. You always run the risk of being gimmicky or too hazy. That turns me off a lot of sci-fi. Interestingly, I found the few brief seconds in Alien Verus Predator 2 had a compelling alien environment. Like a lot of comment, I found it compelling and wonder what a big budget and less focus on small town dreg would've delivered. This sort of stuff is difficult to do well and I've found even cheaper mediums like comics tend to skirt around it.

Yeah...

This comment has been moved here.

Typo a-go-go

I meant "baby" and, most especially, I meant "1701D"
I do try to proofread my posts, but jeez, getting the Enterprise-D wrong...BAD typo, bad.

m.

Languages in BSG

I don't have a screencap handy, but there is hebrew lettering on some Raptors. It isn't on all of them, which leads me to think it isn't all all the models they use for filming, maybe only 1 or 2.

Languages

There is 1 Chinese script, 1 English Script, 1 Massassi Script (I can see where one would confuse it with Aurabesh as they are both from Star Wars), and two that I cannot identify however I could swear the poster in green (top pic) is the same as the Cylon lettering.

I would say they were deliberately going for many languages to show a diverse culture for anyone who bothered to do what we are doing. The Star Wars script is probably a nod by fans working in the FX department, much like Serenity landing on Caprica when Roslin was diagnosed with cancer.

Cosmic Joke

Thanks for the new topic, Brad. The link to the article on naked singularies was pretty interesting even if on reading it the thing turned out to be mostly padding. What leaps of the page for me is how tangled the maths gets and how the standard model is a product of ego as much as anything else.

There's a dialogue @ 0:22 - 2:00 from No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M's Way that touches on drama and scientific handwaving people might find funny. BSG has been veering between being too camp or taking itself too seriously lately. I figure, a different perspective might help grease a few wheels.

the singularity and the kobol opera house

I am inclined to believe that the naked singularity is a plot device for the last cylon-human battle and the presumed destruction of the Cavil faction.

I don't think it will serve as a gateway to another dimension or alternate reality, mostly because for a show that has avoided time travel, aliens, and many other tricks of the sci-fi trade, this would be a massive departure for the writers. Ending BSG with human and cylon survivors finding "our earth" on the other side of the singularity seems as plausible as ending Barney Miller by having Barney, Fish, Yamata, and Wojo going through a naked singularity and finding another crime-ridden New York to police.

But... what if the writers did have this in mind? Here's how I think it might play out:

-- First you've got the big battle, which ends with Galactica's destruction. No surprise there.

-- Then you've got some survivors, probably in raptors or maybe on the colony itself, after the Cavils have been wiped out.

-- The damage from the battle has somehow (however unlikely) resulted in the colony being drawn into the singularity.

-- The survivors get word back to the fleet to rescue them.

-- The fleet arrives, with Baltar leading a rescue party. He somehow saves the day.

-- But in saving everyone, something goes wrong, and Baltar, Six and Hera get sucked into the singularity ala walking through that door at the Kobol Opera House.

-- They emerge in our universe, crashing on our Earth, in the present time, and go to live in New York (hence the shot of Six in Times Square).

Not sure what happens to the rest. Could they all be wiped out? How terrible would that be?

But perhaps there is some kind of a link between the singularity and the Kobol Opera House? And hence the connection with "our" reality?

Not quite sure how this all fits together just yet... But food for thought.

Opera House

Well said.

Ending BSG with human and cylon survivors finding "our earth" on the other side of the singularity seems as plausible as ending Barney Miller by having Barney, Fish, Yamata, and Wojo going through a naked singularity and finding another crime-ridden New York to police.

So did not need THAT mental picture.

But perhaps there is some kind of a link between the singularity and the Kobol Opera House? And hence the connection with "our" reality?

I think the Opera House represents the "space in between life and death," or the space between the universes. If we're not dealing with an alternate universe, then it could be the space between life and the afterlife.

ending Barney Miller by

ending Barney Miller by having Barney, Fish, Yamata, and Wojo going through a naked singularity and finding another crime-ridden New York to police.

This would be hard to pull off, with Abe Vagoda being dead and all. :-)

He'd be a head character.

He'd be a head character.

ressurection proof

I enjoy this blog too much to be distracted by this, but for the sake of Bernice (Fish's wife) and other family, let us set the record straight: Abe Vigoda is not dead.

In 1982, People magazine erroneously declared him dead. Vigoda took the error with good humor, posing for a photograph showing him sitting up in a coffin, holding the magazine in question. This rumor was nearly started again in 1987 when a reporter for Secaucus, New Jersey television station WWOR, Channel 9 erroneously referred to him as "the late Abe Vigoda". She corrected herself on the air the next day. His erroneous death has remained a running joke for Vigoda. For example, a Late Night with David Letterman skit showed Letterman trying to summon Vigoda's ghost. Vigoda then walked in and declared, "I'm not dead, you idiot!" In 2002, Greg Galcik recorded a gothic rock song "Abe Vigoda's Dead", a parody of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus. A November 2006 Conan O'Brien sketch showed an audience member summoning the dead. The "deceased person" turned out to be Vigoda. Additionally, the Web site at abevigoda.com, run by an outside party, has as its sole purpose a status announcement of whether the actor is alive or dead.

As of February 2008, Mr. Vigoda is alive and resides in Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Umm...

This kinda spoils the joke if you explain it to people like this. In fact, I only put a smiley on it to stop people from all chiming in with explanations. Trust me, everybody knows Vagoda is alive. Huge numbers of people even have a browser plugin that will tell them the moment he dies.

Dropping the ball

I've found that American's tend to think more in bullet points and audience reach. That has a psychological and cultural impact, and why this sort of "joke" wouldn't get much traction. It wouldn't be packaged as a high profile product and have an industry form around it. On another level, this helps explain some of the differences between American and British criticism of shows like BSG, and can be seen in treatment of branded companies like IBM versus the build them up knock them down mentality in Britain. Notably, American's tend to get off their asses more but Britain has more social liquidity. This pattern is changing as Iraq and the economic crisis, and the rise of Asia as a top tier economy is rolling forward.

There's hints of this in BSG and it helps increase its relative world wide success, but the really tough questions about the differences and integration issues between the humans and Cylons has been ducked. The Cylons have been painted as a shallow charicature and the integration is mostly two sides shouting at each other. The more philosophically deeper and character developing issues have been almost totally neglected and flushed maybe an entire series of quality content down the shitter. A more fleshed out vision and network committment might have stretched BSG to 5-7 series instead of dropping the ball.

Cause & Effect

I just hope the whole series isn't like that episode of TNG, and they're all caught in a time loop. I don't want to see the end of the last episode, the singularity implodes and the timeline resets itself, with the head characters being echoes from previous loops trying to guide them out of it. Ugh. A scary prospect.

All about how they do it.

All about how they do it. As long as it is done well it really doesn't matter to me what the answer is. It could be the exact same as Dark City and the Virtual people can be the weird race manipulating the humans. Don't care so long as it isn't cheesy as I watch it. If it feels right, I am down with it and so far, other than a couple too many Adama staring at the ceiling shots, I have been happy with everything they have done.

I love you

Haha, your dedication to detail is on the level of ridiculous but I love you for it. This blog is awesome and I love and disagree with you always

OTG and the naked singularity

Perhaps the OTG resides in the naked singularity? In Babylon 5 the Shadows built their capital city around a vorticular cavern beyond which lived the first of the First Ones, Lorien, whom they worshiped as God. Perhaps the cylons did the same thing for their OTG? Perhaps in the final episode everyone is going to meet their maker?

Perhaps the naked singularity conveys on the OTG its godlike powers, omniscience and omnipotence, and because it is a naked singularity, the OTG has the ability to manipulate and influence all and sundry by the manipulation of spacetime to create the mental angels and the physical angel. The naked singularity as a plot device grants all things, past and future, physical and mental, and even the eternal recurrence.

Lords of Kobol

In addition to that Babylon 5 example, there's the wormhold aliens in DS9 who the Bajorans worshipped as gods.

I still think we're going to see some representative of the Lords of Kobol, either they reside in the singularity somehow, or the singularity is a gateway to either another universe or the afterlife.

Yes, the singularity does grant all things, which is why a lot people don't like it being used as a plot device.

The writing is Chinese

The writing is Mandarin Chinese. In the picture displayed in this post, the sign is the company name written in Chinese. The last two characters, ??, mean 'company.' The company name appears to be Mao Chang Company (????) The middle two characters appear to be a mirror of the first two, thus they are upside down. I live in China now and that is what my Chinese assistance just told me.

Chinese writing has appeared before

In the Resistance webisodes there is a scene where the Chief is standing in front of a whole bunch of packing crates with Chinese characters over them. I think we're supposed to infer there are several Colonial languages and the 'English' we hear them speak (probably Caprican, which has become the Colonial standard language) is simply the most common.

As for the naked singularity, I am reminded very much of The Naked God, the final book in Peter F. Hamilton's excellent Night's Dawn Trilogy, which uses a singularity to explain and resolve most of the storyline. It's done reasonably well (and was set up in the first book), but I wouldn't like BSG to do the same thing. For me, BSG has been great particularly because it hasn't relied so much on technobabble and 'wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey blobs in space' (see ST: Voyager). It would be very strange for RDM to reverse this and use a singularity introduced in the last two episodes to resolve everything. The fact in the last podcast he said that they wouldn't use Daniel (a character introduced five episodes from the end solely to explain away a minor continuity error and show some more of Cavil's character) to resolve everything seems to make it less likely he'd use a magic singularity instead.

Naked singularities

Brad says, "Naked singularities are an unsettled question in physics... Such singularities, if they exist, are still massive and have a deep gravity well, but the singularity is not covered by an event horizon. There may be an event horizon present (black hole,) but it is outside it."

Not all naked singularities, if they exist, are necessarily massive, and that's one of the reasons that some physicists think that naked singularities might be possible. If a singularity lacks the mass to bend space enough to prevent light from escaping, then there's no event horizon and so it's "naked," i.e, visible. What makes you think a naked singularity can have an event horizon? What geometry do you mean?

Hard Sci-Fi

I think if there is one thing you can take from the Islanded podcast and The Last Frakkin' Special is the Mission Statement had pretty much nothing to do with science. Add in the Science Adviser's interview with him saying he fits the science to the show, not the show bending to science. Call it Glowy Space Area 162 if you want. It really doesn't matter. It nothing more than a tool to advance the plot in some way. A way we don't even know yet, but I am fairly positive will tick off the Hard Sci-Fi junkies.

Mass and naked singularities

The first way I saw naked singularities proposed was in black holes with extremely high internal rotation. Such black holes, it was postulated could generate a singularity outside their event horizon.

Other naked singularities are proposed for stellar collapse with non-uniform density. But it’s still stellar collapse, there is still the mass of a large star in there and thus a deep gravity well.

While I won’t claim expertise in this area, I have not read about a singularity forming (naturally) without lots of mass present. One could imagine an artificial one. However, this one has an accretion disk, and that requires that it has lots of mass.

kugelmass

Artificial black holes have occassionaly cropped up in literary sf. Greg bears "eon" and Fred Pohl's "Heechee series" where an alien race is utilising and congregating mass (a kugel mass Pohl calls it) to collapse the universe and also as a huge source of energy. The Heechee apparantly live inside black holes, hiding from a malevolent alien race.

One thing I wanted to add

I think the black hole is not going to be a passage to another universe where our Earth exists as some have postulated- as it stands, it will be the sight of a battle and likely the damage suffered to the Colony will cause it to drift and get sucked in, and possibly several basestars as well. I hope they address the Civil Wat- what happened to all the other 2s, 6s, and 8s? I think whichever base stars in turn get sucked in will be the only survivors on Cavil's side of the war. I wonder if the black hole was merely included as a mass destruction device.

The science on BSG is often shaky, but I don't think Galactica will go through the black hole to another universe in our Earth for a few reasons:

1. The fleet is staying behind. If Galactica goes through it, whatever is on the other side it will likely be the one way trip Adama promised. I think the entire populace of the fleet's fate is tied together.

2. Like Brad said, it's too big a deal to introduce at the end.

3. The fact that Galactica is not about the science indicates that this will not be how the whole thing is wrapped up, so the black hole will likely do only what we know it can do- devour matter that gets too close.

The fleet is staying

The fleet is staying behind.

So sure are you. I don't believe this will happen.

The Galactica is going there

The Galactica is going there for a battle, remember. IF they get sucked in, it will be by accident. I can't see any of the characters realizing they need to go through, convincing Adama, jumping back to the fleet, telling them to come along, and then making that final jump back.

One Way Trip

I agree, but by the time going through is an option I think Adama will be dead. The Galactica is going there as a "one way trip." Those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice will receive the ultimate reward: resurrection in some fashion, either in another universe where they find Earth or in an afterlife where they find Earth. The fleet is already splintered with the Galactica going on this mission. With both Roslin and Lee as part of the suicide mission, the only person left to lead is Baltar.

the end

I hope they don't go this route, but there are many inklings it may. Just because there is a naked singularity does not mean there are no rules or laws in the universe. it is not carte blanche for magic, chaos and fantasy or any other eschatological religious fantasy. That would be taking the notion of naked singularity way beyond any sort of reason. It just means we will have to work out a quantum theory of gravity which includes possible infinite densities- it will just show up problems with current theoretical physicals and show the way to better models and understanding. I don't think black holes are the last refuge of god or the devil, that would be massively simplistic and a very silly cop out for the show. If it does go that way i'll be selling the entire collection of BSG on amazon soon after never to watch again. It would be the ultimate cop out. I do hope they end it sensibly.

There may be some indication that the laws of cause and effect will be effected as there is no event horizon to shield the more bizarre physical effects of a naked singularity. So the door is open for a highly advanced technological society to utilise these effects from a future time to make sure they cause the events that got them there in the first place (Cyclic concept) This may somehow explain starbucks apparent re emergence after the explosion of her ship, but doesn't explain her retaining memories of everything that's happened after that point and a brand new viper. Unless that is still to happen. According to relativistic theory which shouldn't really hold up near or in black holes all time exists at the same instant, we are travelling at the epeed of light through time in a sense, so there may be a spanner thrown in the works of narrative linear time coming up? My brain is beginning to hurt.

If all else fails i hope they leave the End open to interpretation from a rational and mystical viewpoint??

Dark ending with a new beginning

These are good points.

1. The fleet is staying behind. If Galactica goes through it, whatever is on the other side it will likely be the one way trip Adama promised. I think the entire populace of the fleet's fate is tied together.

Maybe. A "dark ending with a new beginning" could mean that only part of the fleet gets through the singularity. It makes a kind of sense that only those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice receive the ultimate reward. We know the ending is a bit open-ended, so it may turn out that we don't really know the exact fate of those who pass through. It may be up to interpretation if those who pass through are dead or have gone to an alternate universe. "Earth" could be a figurative afterlife "paradise" or a literal planet. The former scenario fits nicely with the hybrid's prophecy. As far as what happens to the rest of the fleet, well, Baltar would probably lead them.

2. Like Brad said, it's too big a deal to introduce at the end.

But they've already introduced the concept of the singularity. All that is left now is to see what they do with it. I don't see them introducing a big concept like this without it having an impact.

3. The fact that Galactica is not about the science indicates that this will not be how the whole thing is wrapped up, so the black hole will likely do only what we know it can do- devour matter that gets too close.

Galactica is not about the science, so the singularity will be all about how it affects the character arcs.

When it was introduced

Remember, this was written as one episode, and split into two nights by the network. The singularity was introduced in the final episode. We just are waiting in a week long commercial break. The final episode is too late to introduce something that has a major effect on the story, in my view.

You ever seen a movie with a

You ever seen a movie with a surprise ending?

Lots of them

And when done properly, after you see the surprise ending, you understand how it was all building up to that from the start. Like The Sixth Sense or Planet of the Apes or Blade Runner or anything by Agatha Christie or most other mystery novels. There are hundreds of them. And the good ones generally don’t pull something out of left field you never heard of before in the story to resolve it. Usually if it’s a Deus Ex Machina the audience and critics rightly complain.

Barry Norman, the film

Barry Norman, the film critic, hates Deus Ex Machina. I can't recall any specific movies but he certainly leapt on "and with a leap and a bound the hero was free" trick if some director tried to pull it. I recall, that's what made a lot of people unsatisfied with games. The thin pretence of a story and changing controls and gameplay between games made any investment worthless. It doesn't get any better and as you get older it becomes more noticeable.

Thematic Connection

I don't think the writers should have introduced something like a singularity this late in the game without some foreshadowing. Like Alvin said, most viewers aren't dissecting the show as we are. Many viewers don't understand how black holes function either, let alone how a naked singularity is different and controversial. Even more so, I wouldn't be surprised if most viewers do see a connection between the novas talked about in other episodes, the swirling mass of clouds that looked like the Eye of Jupiter that Starbuck saw when she blew up, and this black hole. I see a thematic connection between those elements, but obviously not a scientific one. Most viewers aren't going to make a distinction.

I got no proof, but I expect

I got no proof, but I expect we will get a completely new plot point tonight and that is the notion that Cavil is getting direction from a higher source too. Like I said, they haven't shown anything to necessarily suggest it, but I am pretty sure Cavil is a puppet.

Brown Antarctica-Like Continent

Brad and some others have said that the continent on the blue planet in Daybreak is "brown." I don't really regard it as brown. To me, it looks like a white continent that is in very dim, reddened light from a sun that is setting. If you go into Starry Night Pro and take a look at Antarctica, you'll see that it looks brown, where the light is failing. And in Google Earth, Antarctica is white and tan:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ogleearth.com%2...

Antarctica can appear white and tan in true color satellite images:

http://veimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/2433/land_shallow_topo_2048.jpg

I meant to add...

Of course, if you're looking at Earth from a high altitude and Antarctica is there, then the Sun cannot be right next to the planet as it is in Daybreak. So, if the continent in Daybreak is Antarctica, then it represents an impossible image.

I see no tan in those images, actually

And more to the point, compare the clouds over the (dark) parts of the continent with the land. The albedo of the clouds and the snow should be similar, and the albedo of the water much lower. I see the land a little brighter than the water, and much darker than the clouds, even in very dark regions where there is no chance the clouds are high enough for solar illumination.

tan + black = brown

Brightness...

The albedo of the clouds and the snowy areas of the continent should be similar, but the lighting should not be similar. All of us know this from experience: it's dusk, the sun has set from our perspective, it's getting dark... but up in the sky, the tops of the clouds are brightly lit, even many kilometers towards the darkness. And even when the sun has set finally on those cloud tops, they can still get some light scattered to them from the atmosphere above them, if the Sun still shines there.

Brownness...

The light is reddened at sunset, and this is due to the light passing through more atmosphere, so the effect is stronger at the ground than at altitude. Here is a sunset at Antarctica:

http://k53.pbase.com/g6/58/777058/2/90258360.WCIuPZ7f.jpg

It's photographed from the surface, but almost the same color is going to be reflected to space. Here is a sample of the color from that image:

http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/1040/colorofantarcticaatsuns.png

That can only be described as brown. There is blueish-white color from the snow, plus yellowish-white light from the Sun that is reddened at sunset, so mix that together and you get brown.

Not the sunset zones

I refer to the section that is far away from the terminator where neither the clouds or the ground are subject to direct or even fairly indirect sunight. Those clouds and the ground should have the same albedo.

Anyway, we’re niggling on the colour when the stars and sun say they are not being particular on technical accuracy if they want it to be real Antarctica.

naked singularities NEW SCIENTIST article

Love the Blog Brad, you are a keen analyst. Found this article while browsing the new scientist database.
new scientist is a british science magazine with articles written by leading science writers and scientists. This article is somewhat more user friendly and comprehensible than the scientific american one which is quoted everywhere. The link is http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12707

That is comedy!

And if a singularity follows no rules, it could leak lawlessness into the universe, destroying any concept of cause and effect.

You know, sometimes you just have to sit back and appreciate the better societal jokes.

It can't exist because it follows no rules and therefore cause and effect would not exist. If it exists it has existed this whole time and cause and effect still work. The singularity doesn't just pop up out of thin air because all of the sudden a bunch of scientists decide it is actually there. Did gravity not exist before Galileo? Before that did things not fall when dropped? So the truth is a bunch of scientists just haven't figured out how it would work, but instead of saying, "We don't understand it," they chose to say, "That is unpossible because it would destroy the fabric of reality as we know it." It is truly a wonder the clergy and scientific community don't get along better. They have the same reaction to things they can't explain.

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