There is something very grounding and reassuring about the recent discovery of a black hole choking on stardust.
“In essence, this black hole has not had much to feed on for a while, and suddenly along comes an unlucky star full of matter,” says Dheeraj Pasham, the paper’s first author and a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. “What we’re seeing is, this stellar material is not just continuously being fed onto the black hole, but it’s interacting with itself — stopping and going, stopping and going. This is telling us that the black hole is ‘choking’ on this sudden supply of stellar debris.”
We don’t like to see displays of greed. Take Agustus Gloop or Veruca Salt in Roald Dhals Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Mr Creosote in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
We all know the consequences of enjoying life’s pleasures in excess and we are reminded through parables and subliminal messages everywhere about resisting those deadly sins and keeping our moral compass in check, most of the time.
Sometimes it feels like greed is always the victor and doesn’t get its comeuppance.
The laws of the universe answer to no one. Scientists are constantly embarking on theories that take years to prove only to find that it doesn’t apply anymore or that goalposts have not been shifted; just exist in some other dimension. Perhaps.
But. But. I delight in the idea that just as death and taxes is a concrete certainty, there is indeed a concrete constant out there in space. Not just governed by physics but by some sort of Cosmic Karma. You can indeed have too much of a good thing and certainly if you don’t take your time, if your eyes are way, way too big for your tummy…
Then chances are, you’ll choke.