Useless (youngwilliam) wrote,
Useless
youngwilliam

Starlight, Starbright


Star light
Star bright
We're going to hang some new stars in the air, tonight
They're going to circle by day
They're going to fly by night

-- Laurie Anderson




Tonight, after work, I noticed that someone at Paddy Murphy's (a pub downtown) kept releasing helium-filled balloons out a window from the second floor now and again. Twice, actually. Each time with three balloons (red, white, and blue).

That got me to thinking about how keen it might be to release balloons at night with glow-sticks hanging off of them, so you can see them on their trip up. That got me to thinking about hanging those cheap laser-pointers off of them, with the pointers pointing down. That way, you could see the laser dot on the ground and watch as it heads off. And then that got me to thinking about the idea of hanging a downward-facing laser pointer, as well as some multifaceted plastic bauble, so it ended up twinkling as it went up.

About a dozen of those set off at the same time at night? Seems like it'd be rather nice to sit back and watch them for the next however long it'd take for them to drift out of sight (be it upward or sideways).

In other news, long ago and far away, I used to watch some California university's Physics lectures on cable, back in high school. During one, they cited a poem by James Maxwell (he's the guy who unified electromagnetic theory, and is of Maxwell's Demon fame) about the accidental breaking of one of the first attempts to set up a trans-Atlantic telegraph line.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, I've been able to track it down.


THE SONG OF THE ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH COMPANY

by James Clerk Maxwell, c. 1857



Under the sea, Under the sea
Mark how the telegraph motions to me,
Under the sea, Under the sea
Signals are coming along,
With a wag, wag, wag;
The telegraph needle is vibrating free,
And every vibration is telling to me
How they drag, drag, drag,
The telegraph cable along,

Under the sea, Under the sea
No little signals are coming to me
Under the sea, Under the sea
Something has surely gone wrong,
And it’s broke, broke, broke;
What is the cause of it does not transpire,
But something has broken the telegraph wire
With a stroke, stroke, stroke,
Or else they’ve been pulling too strong.

Under the sea, Under the sea
Fishes are whispering. What can it be,
Under the sea, Under the sea
So many hundred miles long?
For it’s strange, strange, strange,
How they could spin out such durable stuff,
Lying all wiry, elastic, and tough,
Without change, change, change,
In the salt water so strong.

Under the sea, Under the sea
There let us leave it for fishes to see;
Under the sea, Under the sea
They’ll see lots of cables ere long,
For we’ll twine, twine, twine,
And spin a new cable, and try it again,
And settle our bargains of cotton and grain,
With a line, line, line,—
A line that will never go wrong.


Oh! And after three earlier tries in the past, I finally managed to sit through Decoys II. Man, I ought to be getting an award for watching these things. If you've seen the first film (who has a nicer name if you get a French release -- instead of being called Decoys it's called The Sisters of Ice), don't feel you have to bother with the second. If you haven't seen the first film, you might want to look into it, since it rather diverges from the standard alien invasion film. If they make a Decoys III (II ended with "The End...maybe"), I'm hoping they somehow manage to recapture more of the first film's feel. I'm also hoping things work out for the theoretical film version of John Dies at the End.
Tags: telemedia
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