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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Found Poem

Bouncing around today, I found How To Catch a Lion in the Sahara Desert.

I'd call its original form an unintentional prose poem, but I've taken the liberty of inserting line breaks and doing some editing to turn it into the following (which I may attempt to record sometime in the next few days):

Found Poem (How To Catch a Lion in the Sahara Desert)


1. Theoretical Physics Methods



The Dirac method

Assert that wild lions can
ipso facto not be observed
in the Sahara desert.

Therefore,
if there are any lions at all
in the desert, they are tame.

The capture of a tame lion is left
as an exercise for the reader.


The Schrödinger method

At every instant there is
a non-zero probability
of the lion being in the cage.

Sit and wait.


The Quantum Measurement method

Assume that the sex of the lion
is ab initio indeterminate.

The wave function for the lion
is hence a superposition

of the gender eigenstate
for a lion and that for a lioness.

Lay these eigenstates out flat
on the ground and orthogonal

to each other. Since the (male)
lion has a distinctive mane,

the measurement of sex can
safely be made from a distance,

using binoculars. Because the observer
affects the observed the lion then collapses

into one of the eigenstates, which
is rolled up and placed inside the cage.


The Nuclear Physics method

Insert a tame lion into the cage
and apply a Majorana exchange
operator on it and a wild lion.

As a variant assume
you would like to catch
(for argument's sake) a male lion:

Insert a tame female lion
into the cage and apply the
Heisenberg exchange operator,
exchanging spins.


The Newton method

Cage and lion attract each other
with gravitational force.

Forget the friction. The lion will
arrive in the cage sooner or later.


The Special Relativistic method

Move over the desert
at light velocity.

The relativistic length contraction
makes the lion flat as paper.

Take the lion, roll it up,
and put a rubber band around it.


The General Relativistic method

All over the desert distribute
lion bait containing large amounts
of the companion star of Sirius.

After enough of the bait has been eaten,
send a beam of light through the desert.

This will curl around the lion,
confusing it completely.
The lion may then be approached
without danger.


The Heisenberg method

Position and velocity
of a moving lion can not be measured
at the same time.

As moving lions
have no physically meaningful position
in the desert, they cannot be caught.

The lion hunt can therefore
be limited to lions at rest.

The capture of a lion at rest
is left as an exercise for the reader.



2. Experimental Physics Methods


The Thermodynamics method

Construct a semi-permeable
membrane which lets everything
but lions pass through.
Drag this across the desert.


The Atomic Fission method

Irradiate the desert with slow neutrons.
The lion becomes radioactive
and begins to disintegrate.

Once the disintegration process
is far enough along
the lion will be unable to resist.


The Magneto-Optical method

Plant a large, lens shaped field
with cat mint (nepeta cataria)
so that its axis is parallel
to the direction of the horizontal
component of the earth's magnetic field.

Put the cage in one of the field's foci.
Throughout the desert, distribute
large amounts of magnetized spinach
(spinacia oleracea) which has,
as everyone knows, a high iron content.

The spinach is eaten by vegetarian
desert inhabitants which in turn are
eaten by the lions.

Afterwards the lions are oriented parallel
to the earth's magnetic field
and the resulting lion beam may then be
focused on the cage by the cat mint lens.

1 comment:

Brenda Schmidt said...

Ha! That's great, John!