Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Consumer banking as Hawking radiation

After finishing an expository note on Penrose diagrams for my magazine, I realised that the logo of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (a.k.a. HSBC) is nothing but the diagram of a Schwarzshild black hole. This will not surprise anyone familiar with the short story "The Fridman Space" by V. Pelevin, where it is argued that the conventional wisdom "money attracts money" can be interpreted as a physical theory where money plays the role of mass and the attraction of capital is described by the Einstein equations. In particular, there should be financial black holes and it is only natural that a big bank should be one of them. This does not mean that the money deposited with the bank is irretrievably lost: thanks to the Hawking quantum evaporation effect one can withdraw money from an ATM or use a debit card for purchases. Another comforting circumstance is that an external observer does not actually see how matter disappears inside the black hole forever; therefore, we maintain the illusion that the money in our accounts actually exists and is ours.
Anyway, all this is to remind everyone that we are celebrating 100 years of Einstein's general relativity this year!

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