Posts Tagged cosmology
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.
I added some features to Haiku Detector so that it will find haiku made of more than one sentence, though I haven’t released the new version yet, since I’d like to release it on the Mac App store (even though it will probably still be free, at least at first) to see how that works, and to do that I’ll need an icon first. If you know anyone who can make Mac icons at a reasonable price, let me know. Meanwhile, New Scientist has released a new ‘collection‘ called The Unknown Universe, so why not mine it for haiku? The topics are ‘The early universe’, ‘The nature of reality’ (again), ‘The fabric of the cosmos’, ‘Dark materials’, ‘Black holes’, ‘Time’ (again) and ‘New directions’.
Let’s start at the very beginning, the early universe:
Can we really be
sure now that the universe
had a beginning?
At first, that seems like a terrible place to break the sentence to start a new line. But what if we pretend, until we get to the next line, that ‘Can we really be?’ is the whole question? Because that’s the real reason people wonder about the universe.
Now, here’s a multi-sentence one, which conveniently has a full sentence as the first line:
“We’re back to square one.”
Tegmark agrees: “Inflation
has destroyed itself.”
Deep. But what is this inflation thing, anyway?
Well, for one thing, it’s
not clear what actually
does the inflating.
Only then will we
truly know what kind of a
bang the big bang was.
“I am not convinced
the cyclic model is that
But I think this is my favourite. There’s a monster at the end of this universe, and it’s making crosswords.
Cosmic monsters that
have survived into our times
also pose puzzles.
Now for the nature of reality:
“It pulls the rug out
from under us to prove a
theory right or wrong.”
Maybe we just need to look around us.
There is also down,
and, for that matter, left, right,
forwards and backwards.
Have we figured out what we’re looking for yet?
What it is, though, we
do not have the words or the
concepts to express.
Maybe E. L. James can help us figure it out:
allows us to see the shades
of grey in between.”
These ones are about the fabric of the cosmos:
“If you go by what
we observe, we don’t live in
space-time,” Smolin says.
We battle against
them each time we labour up
a hill or staircase.
“But where did the weak
primordial fields that seed the
dynamo come from?”
The same force that keeps
our feet on the ground also
shapes the universe.
I like this one for the contrast between the first and last lines:
loss paradox dissolves. Big
questions still remain.
Here are some of the ‘dark materials‘ haiku, about dark matter and dark energy:
The discovery of
dark matter would be the find
of the century.
I love how this contrasts ‘discovery of’ with ‘find of’; I didn’t notice that in prose form.
We still don’t know what
it is. It is everywhere
and we can’t see it.
That opens the door
to a dazzling array of
This chase through space will
be thrilling, but the quarry
may still elude us.
“It seems like a long
shot,” he says. But others are
being won over.
“But we don’t see a
fifth force within the solar
system,” says Burrage.
Though maybe the array of possibilities isn’t so dazzling after all:
It is limited
to perhaps three things. First, dark
There are only two haiku about black holes, but one of them sounds like an idea Dan Brown might write about, probably without first reading New Scientist:
A BOMB made out of
a black hole is a rather
And the other sounds like it belongs on an episode of Doctor Who:
One of them will have
to blink if this paradox
is to be undone.
There are no more haiku on time, but luckily there were some in the last collection. I love this one about new directions, though:
Put that to many
physicists, and you will get
a grumpy response.
Ah, those physicists, always hopeful:
things have usually led
somewhere,” says Davies.
They even have a solution to that ‘we still don’t know what it is’ problem from earlier:
“We don’t know what it
is so we have to give it
a name, a symbol.”
After that, it gets
a lot more speculative,
but here’s the best guess.
But they’re not that confident about it:
There are also good
reasons to think it is an
Paths to a theory
of everything will become
even more winding.
For instance, it could
decrease with time, or even
Infinity makes things even more difficult:
is a concept that defies
But it is at the
big bang that infinity
wreaks the most havoc.
The first line of the first infinity one reminds me of a CERN friend’s recipe for gravity: you just put ‘it’ in gravy.