I'm a newbie, and I've got some questions that are raised by Leonard Susskind's "The Black Hole War," a fascinating non-technical book about his argument with Stephen Hawking about whether or not information is conserved even if it is dropped into a black hole. I've read several threads and the FAQs and they have been a help but I am still at sea. My current hangup seems to be about the idea of "now." If information is conserved, or if entropy doesn't decrease, you've got to be able to count it up. This seems to make sense only for a local area, because what does it mean to have something that is a function of time if time is different at different locations? Susskind mentions a thought experiment whereby someone on the outside of the event horizon drops a container containing atoms of hot gas (with a lot of entropy) into the black hole. When (oops - what does this word mean in this context?) the container crosses the event horizon, entropy in the universe outside the black hole decreases. Crossing the event horizon is a non-event for the container of gas, but to an outside observer - and I guess that means any place outside the event horizon, even only a micron - it takes an infinite time for the container to cross the horizon. Locally to the container of gas, it experiences no change and just crosses this point (except what about the part of the container which isn't at the event horizon yet?). To the rest of the universe, it appears this event never actually completes due to time dilation. Does the black hole itself ever gain the added mass / entropy / information? Does the universe outside the black hole ever actually lose it? What does "ever" mean in this context? HELP!!