Letourneau, J. et al
The tension was palpable at Asimina Observatory last Tuesday night, as astronomers gathered in hopes of witnessing a rare cosmic event: a graduate student packing their “papers to read” folder with so much dense literature that it would collapse into a black hole.
“An event of this magnitude has only happened a handful of times before,” said astronomer Dr. Terence Haynes. “Sure, plenty of grad students have folders of research papers they will never read dense enough to have nuclear fusion occurring at its core, but to have accumulated so many papers in a single place that the folder deforms spacetime itself… it’s a truly remarkable feat.”
Astronomers first began watching the folder of PhD student Lucy Porter as she was preparing for her preliminary exam. “I had never witnessed the gathering of so many 1000 page review articles before. We were repeatedly forced to revise our models to explain how a single folder of unread papers could be so dense without collapsing into a black hole ”
When asked what the consequences of the folder turning into a black hole might be, Dr. Haynes said, “Shit, I hadn’t really thought about it. The black hole would consume everything around it, so adjacent folders like ‘healthy recipes’ and ‘novel ideas’ are gone for sure. Could be the end of life on Earth I guess? Jeez, that one’s kind of a downer.”
Porter, however, suggested that risk was low on account of vague plans to remove papers from the folder as she read them at an unspecified future date. “I’ll definitely work through the folder as I’m preparing for my defense. Once I get through this final experiment for my paper, I’ll have a lot more free time.”
While experts applaud her plans, they note that this is often the exact point at which PhD students enter a Netflix black hole.