Saturday, October 23, 2010
Fresh Thick Cream
Explanation: Q: Why are black holes black? A: Because they have an event horizon. The event horizon is that one-way boundary predicted by general relativity beyond which nothing, not even light, can return. X-ray astronomers using the space-based Chandra Observatory now believe they have direct evidence for event horizons - therefore black holes - in binary star systems which can be detected in x-ray light. These binaries, sometimes called x-ray novae, are known to consist of relatively normal stars dumping material on to massive, compact companions. As illustrated, the material swirls toward the companion in an accretion disk which itself glows in x-rays. If the compact companion is a neutron star (right), the material ultimately smashes into the solid surface and glows even more brightly in high energy x-rays. But if it is indeed a black hole with a defining event horizon, then the x-ray hot material approaches the speed of light as it swirls past the surface of no return and is lost from view. Recent work describes observations of two classes of x-ray binaries, one class 100 times fainter than the other. The results imply the presence of an event horizon in the fainter class which causes the extreme difference in x-ray brightness.
Here's a poem by John Tarrant:
THE LIGHT BENEATH SLEEP
Sometimes, underneath deep sleep
is a certain diffused glow,
as, in the rainforest, luminous toadstools
glow green among the leaf litter
and beetles crawl about with winking abdomens.
One night when I followed this glow
I came to an upturned tree
that was a kind of cathedral for glowworms
and the light beat against my face, my chest and my hands.
At the end of the corridor of sleep, a dream stands.
It may be that at the end of the corridor of death
there is the walking slightly uphill
through the green fields;
and then the light underneath sleep
is both in front and behind.
- John Tarrant
The presence of cream is great in small doses. I sicken with too much of it. That is true for butter too. This would not be an issue except that my desire to enjoy the cream and butter tastes overloads my ass, as they say. However, I am able to eat quite large dollops of vanilla ice cream, and then do it again. I haven't actually found the limit. Of course I haven't had any ice cream for at least a couple months now and know that for reasons of health, never again except just a taste maybe now and then. I quite frankly would rather totally abstain than eat a smattering of ice cream. Actually a smattering of anything I really enjoy just pisses me off.
Fresh Thick Cream
Such a heavy rich
flow like fresh thick cream across
my palate working
into the deep heart
of love bursting forth,
my display intended for
your eyes and savor,
to anchor the truth.
August 4, 2009 12:30 PM