Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website, www.rhysy.net



Saturday, 4 May 2013

The Rhyme of the L3 Satellite (II)

They should have sent a poet... but they didn't. Only me. Sorry.


The Sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
He raised Tsys, and through the mist,
Went down behind the sea.

Or to put it another way, the Sun makes data bad. What a surprise.

And the other cats still came along,
But no sweet Leo did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the astronomer's gazebo !

And that was indeed a hellish thing,
And it all of them laid low:
For all averred, the sciency nerds,
Leo had set them all aglow.
To the vets ! said they, take the cats today !
Or more will surely follow.

Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, those sciency nerds,
That it greatly raised Tsys.
'Twas right, said they, the vet to pay,
Though Leo we all miss.

The sky so seen, in radio beam,
A unique facility !
We were the first that ever burst
That particular frequency.

Down came the data, it was sent down,
'Twas as useful as could be;
The Astronomer could not take lunch-break:
So reduced data quietly !

I couldn't possibly comment.

All tropical heat and azure sky,
The blazing Sun, at noon,
Right up above the platform did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Which is a unique cosmic coincidence.

Day after day, day after night,
The data reduced only in slow-motion,
With GRIDZILLA slower than any cargo ship
Adrift upon the ocean.

GRIDZILLA is the software of choice for processing HI data. But it is indeed slower than a tranquillised tortoise with three broken legs because it isn't parallelised.

Data, data, every where,
And certain scientists think -
Data, data every where,
And lots of Scotch to drink !

I couldn't possibly comment.

The wealth of data did indicate,
That there should be much to do.
And furry cats did crawl with legs
The mother and kittens two.

About, about, in reel and rout
ALFA spun by day and night;
The WAPPs, restarting as though cursed,
Gave us all a fright !

ALFA is the receiver what detects hydrogen and stuff. WAPPs are processing instruments for which we can't get any more replacement parts.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the villain that plagued us so;
Bringing students unbidden he followed us
All across Puerto Rico !

I couldn't possibly comment.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

There didn't seem to be any need to change that last verse from the Coleridge original, so I didn't.

And O ! the fearful looks
He wrought in old and young !
Instead of data, a student's unwrit paper
About my neck was hung.

DISCLAIMER : Unless I'm suddenly given a student who can't spell their own name, supervising them won't be all that bad. This is an exaggeration, for the lols and whatnot.

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