Doofus Of The Day #1,082


Today’s award goes to the Astronomy Department of Cornell University in New York.

Physicists at MIT and SUNY Stony Brook recently announced findings that the total surface area of two black holes was maintained after the two entities merged. While this research was a welcome confirmation of both Stephen Hawking’s work and the theory of general relativity, it failed to address a crucial matter: what were its racial implications?

That is a lacuna that an astronomy course at Cornell University aims to prevent. “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” asks the question, “Is there a connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness?” Anyone familiar with academia’s racial monomania knows the answer: of course there is! Though “conventional wisdom,” according to the catalog description of “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos,” holds that the “‘black’ in black holes has nothing to do with race,” astronomy professor Nicholas Battaglia and comparative literature professor Parisa Vaziri know better.

. . .

The humanities and much of the social sciences have been beyond parody and beyond shame for a long time. What’s different about “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” is its co-listing in an actual science department. The course fulfills Cornell’s science distribution requirement, touching as it does on such concepts as the electromagnetic spectrum.

. . .

Today’s academic charlatanism consists in part in mistaking rhetoric for knowledge and words for things. This sleight of hand is particularly prevalent in matters relating to race … Seeing specters of racism everywhere, the racial avengers are tearing down every institution associated with Western civilization, simply because of its “whiteness.” Science had stood as a guard against such metaphorical, magical thinking. Bit by bit, it is succumbing.

There’s more at the link.

Such a course may help racial activists become even more incompetent, irrelevant and incomprehensible than they are already, unlikely though that sounds.  However, I fail to see how it will help astronomers understand one whit more about their field of study, or make any meaningful contribution whatsoever to the study of the universe.  What are they supposed to do after taking this course?  Reclassify “black holes” as “rainbow-deficient voids”?  Demand that white dwarf stars be referred to henceforth as melanin-deprived and vertically challenged?  Hypothesize that spacecraft may one day be propelled by unicorn farts and sparkles?

However, I do have one scientific experiment to propose, linked directly to this new course.  Let’s drop everyone at Cornell who had anything to do with designing, approving and presenting this course into the nearest black hole, and watch as their academic intersectionality takes on an appropriate gravitas – or, in this case, gravity.  That might be highly informative!



  1. Any student taking and passing this course is proof of not just incompetence, but malice. Malice towards what> Everything!

  2. When I read things like this I'm asking myself how stupid parents can get to pay tens of thousands of dollars for this pseudo-education. What kind of worth does a STEM degree from a program full of this nonsense does have? Even in Europe where I live the universities are chocked-full of nonsensical courses but at least they still maintain a scientific focus – at least for now… Incredible!

  3. Let's not. In fact, your suggestions should be taken seriously. CRT should definitely be applied to astronomy, and all sciences.

    It's better comedy this way.

  4. I have a better idea – rather than rename things that are literally black or white, just change the words we use for people. Use 'mahogany' or 'umber' instead of 'black', since humans don't actually come in that color anyway.

    Or, I don't know, stop acting like the amount of melanin has an impact on anything other than your ability to hide a blush?

    1. Or lets go back to the terms I heard in the black community of New Orleans in the 1979s, Mulatto, Quatroon, Septroon, Octroon, Creole, High Yellow, Reds, Whites (African facial shape, blonde kinky hair and blue eyes), and Blues. And yes, they hated each other for the differences.
      John in Indy

  5. Well, if calling it a black hole means that it is a dark entity that destroys every thing it touches and no matter how much you throw at it it won't go away, well…

    Maybe call it 'inter-city youth hole' instead of 'black hole'?

  6. Oh for crying out loud. Dr. Battaglia should have his PH.D. (I presume he has one at a university as prestigious as Cornell used to be) stripped and be made to use a walmart 60mm refractor for all future observations. The Comparative Literature professor can be expected (but not excused) to behave in such a nonsensical manner. But an actual Physicist/astronomer should know that the reason a black hole is called such as it emits NO electromagnetic radiation as it's escape velocity exceeds C Thus it is dark/black to the observer. What you'd actually see if you got close enough (before being torn apart by the several thousand G tidal difference from your feet to your head) is hard to know, likely some very odd effects due to severe gravitational lensing. To use a modern idiom, "Go Home Cornell, you're drunk". Any one who spends the aproximately ~$80K/year has overspent by ~$79,999.90

  7. Don't they already teach that 2+2 or any other addition of numbers is whatever you want it to be? It's amazing any real science or engineering will be done in the future.

    Would you trust a pharmacist or doctor trained to think that 2+2 is whatever they fell like that day?

  8. HEY???? Why aren't there any WHITE holes? Or Are there any zebra-stiped, red, yellow, green, blue, or mauve? Inquiring minds want to know!

  9. No syllabi. This is nothing more than a colloquialism the purpose of which is to separate the students/parents from their money. The hook is 3 college credits.

  10. I might suggest the colors red, green, blue, mauve,but "invisible" should be "safe", and "non-binary."

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