h a l f b a k e r y
Fewer ducks than estimates indicate.
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Gravitational waves have already been detected. The
experimental apparatus involves incredibly long holes with
lasers shining about and doing very careful interferometry
on the resultant light. Their signal is often a fraction of a
proton width and for that reason they must work very hard
stop temperature or leaning undergraduates adding
Nature has provided science with a finely tuned
gravitational sensor. The cat. Everyone knows cats land on
their feet when they find themselves flung from tall
structures. This implies they have full ability to align with
the gravitational field in a manner sensitive to polarity.
This behavior can be used to put together a gravitational
wave observatory based upon a feline array. To avoid the
overwhelming local effects of the Earth, the array must be
positioned in space. Fortunately, blasting animals into
space is fully baked. Once we have an orbiting capsule full
of cats we need to prod them until they're all in the
middle. Then we need a readout. I recommend finding a
breed with a pleasing dorsal-ventral color separation, or
just paint one side with a hard-wearing white gloss. Simply
set up cameras along all major axes through the craft. The
cameras only need to the black/white so nothing fancy
Now we wait. At baseline, the cats will assume a random
orientation with a fairly even black-white mix along any
axial pair of cameras. Now, when a gravity wave comes
along, the cats will align, first with one direction and then
the opposite node of the wave. The cats will oscillate back
and forth along an axis perpendicular to the origin of the
From these oscillations, the direction and frequency can be
determined. Amplitude is trickier. Maybe some cats are
more/less sensitive? Maybe a separate instrument? Perhaps
measure the force generated by several cats attached to a
Anyhow, I think it's clear the direction we need to go.
Laser Interferometer Space Antenna
[xaviergisz, Aug 07 2017]
||We will transport all the cats into orbit, or to one of the LaGrange points, free of charge and at any time.
||Or Neptune ... Neptune's nice at this season.
||What about the Oort cloud ? There's a terrible shortage of felines out there ...
||Life support not included.
||The first gravitational wave signal spanned a frequency range from 35
to 250 Hz, according to Wikipedia.
||I worry that the moment of inertia of a typical cat will act as a low-pass
filter that prevents such signals from being detectable.
||Hopefully future advances in wide-bandwidth cat manufacturing
techniques will allow this deficiency to be addressed.
||There is a solution to that problem. The mass of a cat remains approximately constant, but its rotational inertia depends on its shape. By deforming the cat into a long, narrow rod its rotational inertia about the long axis can be made arbitarily small.
||Interesting! This suggests the idea of mounting three similarly-elongated
cats along mutually perpendicular axes, thus achieving directional
||<starts to sketch design for combined cat-stretching rack, extrusion die, and domestic mangle>
||<succumbs to giggling and hiccuping>