Posts Tagged astronomy
Last November, instead of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I created NanoRhymo, where I wrote a tiny poem every day inspired by a random rhyme from my rhyming dictionary, rhyme.science. April was GloPoWriMo (Global Poetry Writing Month — NaPoWriMo/National Poetry Writing Month to people from unknown nations who think ‘national’ gives their invented holidays a more realistic sheen) so I decided to do the same thing. Here are the poems I wrote.
I see the news, and holler ‘Zounds!
That’s downright nuts! That is not cool!’
To see the thoughts that he propounds
I *hope* it’s all an April fool.
There once was a rascal named Flanagan
who magnified ev’ry shenanigan
and when they were caught
repented, quite fraught,
then made their escape and and began again.
After careful excavations,
came some reckless replications,
running rife, now run away!
Cunning life, uh, finds a way.
As now we face with Brexit
an end of mutuality,
I need theatricality
to show what’s going on.
It’s really quite complex, it
must be faced with joviality;
I can’t take the formality
or show-stopping fatality…
Before my poor brain wrecks it
by facing the reality
I need some musicality —
the show’s still going on!
This spineless chipolata
brings disgrace to Vertebrata!
I wish to seek asylum
in a different subphylum.
Some scoff at using styli.
I’m not so highfalutin’,
so please excuse me while I
tweet from my Apple Newton.
There’s no need to call the lawmen
and exclaim “Oh no! Us poor men!”
when things aren’t tailored for men.
Cast aside “misandrist” strawmen.
Watch how much you hold the floor, men.
I don’t agree with their ways!
Why can’t they learn new skills?
Their ‘breathing’ thing is hokum!
I won’t pay for their airways!
Why can’t they just use gills?
They’ll learn to if I choke ‘em!
If you’re ineffectual, although you’re intellectual,
then your inefficiency might stem from some deficiency —
memories ineffaceable which should be made untraceable,
ineffable reverberations crowding useful thought.
Eight radio telescopes, made connectible,
made a black hole’s light detectable.
One small stop, and mission’s ending.
One giant lapse, no lunar mending.
Look at what you learn and hail your
huge success you earn through failure.
While some propound that we transcend
ignore the boundaries to end
discrimination: life unlabelled
as woman, Asian, bi, disabled,
how you see me, and I myself,
still have myths attached we fell for,
still affect what we expect
to be, or see, and left unchecked
this blinding to the groups we see just
lets those stealthy fictions lead us.
If the shot in your arms is a killer,
you’ll find yourself bolstering the holster,
but if what’s in your arms is a pillow
you’d best be reupholstering the bolster.
Previous dates say you’re lesser? Miladies,
we all start out infinitesimal.
Growing from dust we become planetesimals;
now you’re sixteen out of ten, hexadecimal.
I’m just very old; I’m not bitter.
I don’t care I can no more transmit a
request that will pass the de Sitter
horizon and get to your Twitter.
Day 16, inspired by the rhyme cassava’s and guavas, and a true story involving Joey Marianer and I hearing Beth Kinderman’s ‘Stop Covering “Hallelujah”‘ at MarsCon, visiting a ball of twine but not a furniture shop, noticing many other phrases that could scan to Hallelujah, and later writing a song to that tune about the ‘purple guava’ meme on JoCo Cruise. This poem is, of course, to be sung to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah:
At MarsCon just before the cruise,
we heard some Hallelujah blues,
saw Minnesotan places, but not Marva’s.
Beth Kinderman was in our head,
but thanks to Paul we wrote instead
A song like Hallelujah about guavas.
Purple guavas, not cassavas, purple guavas, not cassavas.
We ended up writing and rewriting many songs to that tune, and Joey has been going through our growing list of Hallelujah parodies and singing them on YouTube.
is an app that finds haiku.
I wrote it myself.
Day 18, in reply to a friend who was surprised to have missed that I wrote a haiku detector:
Let us watch the rich contriving
ways they can continue thriving,
cunning tricks to keep deriving
profits from their deeds depriving
others of the means of striving
for a life above surviving.
On day 20, I considered my post on unintentional haiku in the Mueller report to be my poem for the day.
Some may say that art’s nonvital —
mere indulgence for the idle.
But while we breathe with no recital,
without reprieve, we’re suicidal.
In my bookcase of seducers:
Collins, Van Dales, and Larousses.
Some who judge not right from wrong,
Some who tighten grammar’s nooses.
Come to my Chambers, Roberts, Pons,
and I will Reed you all night long.
Avoiding PDA to
to those who’d subjugate a
self you’ve not revealed
may further make the straighter
subconsciously equate a
same-sex love display to
a sin that’s best concealed.
My dictionary says some plants are dipterocarpaceous,
even though it sounds like that is doubtfully veracious.
Lots of plant clades sound like this; it’s really not fallacious!
Caryophyll- amaryllid- hamamelidaceous!
I then got distracted by life for a while and wrote more poems in May, but let’s pretend they correspond to days in April.
In a culture split and sectored
sometimes came the unexpected
when two groups who both were hectored
saw their interests intersected.
In an immune system intergalactic
dark energy swells in repulsive analogy
for self-versus-self, a matter of allergy,
and the Big Rip apocalypse anaphylactic.
Species risk extinction and your
stocks deplete if you seek grandeur.
If instead you seek subsistence,
you might sustain that coexistence.
You love with your minds and hearts
but also have matching parts.
“How do you two have sex?” acquaintances pry.
Consensually, consensually, consensual-L-Y.
Today’s the day we stand beside
the women who have multiplied,
divided, added, and subtracted,
extrapolated, and abstracted
such that all of us were raised
to heights and powers that amazed.
Some pound pavement swaying ballots,
Some pound foes, build walls with mallets
Some pound notes are worth less… well it’s
some pound of flesh to buy and sell us.
Oft upon a spacetime,
a red star gets the blues
and puffs up like a superstar
with nothing left to fuse.
Pushing hot and heavy,
it finds its stellar rise
affords a new and rapid way
Squirts new heavy ions
to interstellar dust
then collapses in and pulls some back
and into stellar crust.
compressed by weight of all
our star invites its nearest friends
to join the neutron ball.
neutron star where mass of more
than one Earth Sun is bound.
Heart a seething chaos,
skin so smooth and hard,
beneath the skin, too densely packed
to tell each piece apart.
Love-crossed star starts dancing
with friend who heard the call:
another star-crossed lover,
another neutron ball.
They pull each other closer,
spin fast, and by and by,
they kiss in bursts of gamma rays
and heavy nuclei.
Once upon a planet
of star-fused chemistry
some humans sought to learn of how
their atoms came to be:
Made their own large nuclides
used traps to measure mass,
then calculated where they’d fit
in star’s electron gas.
Nuclides so unstable
they fall apart on Earth,
at pressure, they survive in dead
star hotbed’s upper berth:
Isotopes of nickel,
and lots of iron too,
zinc-80 (deeper than we thought)
But no zinc-82.
Once upon a line graph,
those data points could show,
a hint of where and when and how
big elements may grow.
Is it supernovas,
or casanovas’ kiss?
Is it neither? Some of both?
And what else did we miss?
Probed big atoms’ origins,
but all their parents knew:
My daughter works in science labs;
don’t ask me what they do!
Tried to tell the physicists
but all that students knew:
zinc-80 (deeper than they thought)
and no zinc-82.
This is my understanding (as a mere mathematician/code monkey) of the cover story of this month’s CERN Courier. I picked up a copy on Friday evening on the way out of work, and decided I could interview people I know in ISOLDE and write an article about it in 400 words or fewer in order to apply for an editorial trainee scheme at New Scientist magazine, since applications weren’t due until Monday and I needed a writing project for the weekend anyway. Once I’d read the article and enough supporting material to understand it, I realised I probably wouldn’t end up writing the article. I wasn’t sure I really understood the significance of it, I didn’t have access to the original paper from home, and what’s more, the result was a month and a half old, which is far too old, according to New Scientist’s freelancing guidelines. It might work for getting an internship at Old Scientist, but I probably wouldn’t like that because I’m the editor-in-chief at Old Scientist and I’d probably treat my interns poorly.
Anyhow, I decided I’d just appoint myself New Scientist’s, or maybe the CERN Courier’s, unofficial contributing troubadour, and write poems about their feature articles. If Popular Science can have a contributing troubadour, so can New Scientist. So, certain I couldn’t adequately explain ISOLTRAP’s result in 400 words or fewer, I set about writing a poem about it, which came out at 302 words. I tackled it rather longitudinally though; it doesn’t go much into the specifics (or even mention the r-process or ISOLTRAP by name) and occasionally I may sacrifice clarity for rhythm or puns, but I tried to give all the context needed to have some kind of understanding of the final result. This article is probably easier to understand than the CERN Courier one. One of the many interesting things I learnt while researching this is that stars actually get the blues before going supernova.