Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gravitational Wave Detector

For some reason I spent two days last week thinking of gravitational waves, something which might represent a useful form of astronomy in future decades. I thought that an array of condenser microphones (effectively a static electric field) would make a good detector, as a fuzzy cloud of electrons can be more densely packed in three dimensions than using laser interference and chunky satellites to detect these. Of course though, these would be ultra sensitive to vibrations and so would ideally need to be placed in orbit or off planet somehow, so I thought the dark side of the moon (to avoid stray E.M. emissions from Earth), in a crater shaded from the sun, perhaps buried deep under the lunar surface. Yes, cheap (sarcasm) (actually though, it shouldn't be too expensive to do this. All you need to do is crash land a tunnelling machine into the surface and it could bore a vertical shaft into the lunar surface automatically).

Anyway the electron cloud would probably be subject to all sorts of interference from different sources in the radiation of space, and the capacitors would need a power source, which would also be a source of interference (as well as shortening their life-span - still that could be accounted for during analysis).

Then I thought of using the piezoelectric effect to create another type of three-dimensional gravitational wave sensor, little more than a matrix of wires in a crystal. I initially thought that a geologically inactive planet itself could be used as a detector, most planets being crystal rocks of some sort of another, although of course every planet is regularly deformed by gravity, and stochastically which would further corrupt the data. However a big crystal cube in orbit might be relatively tough and free from such concerns.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

War Poem

I helped host a poetry night last night, the fourth of a regular annual event. The night before at about 4am (always a good time to write poetry, don't you think?) I wrote a poem for it, a war poem as the theme was the first world war. It's a bit surreal, so I'm not really sure what it's really about. We ran out of time on the night so I didn't have time to read it, so I thought I'd put it here instead.

There were no people,
just a bird,
on a black twisted limb
of something once living,
in a sea of northern clay in the rain.

And I watched him sing,
and blink a black eye
to the cold-soaked day
in the chapel of pain.

And his feathers were brown,
like a moths, in a case,
in a box behind glass in an Edwardian town hall,
and my skin was white
like the salt spit sky.

His gaping mouth gasped,
drowning in silence.
My deaf-ears were grasping for a music unheard,
as I blinked a black eye.

There were no people,
just a bird.