How to get rid of dark matter

March 02, 2018

Here’s a CSIRO pop-up radio telescope in Western Australia. It receives signals from the dawn of time as well as acting as a picnic table.

Because I am an investigative journalist using fuzzy logic to report from the far side of the universe I have never had the time or space for left-brain activities, such as taking down sun shades.

This revelation became apparent this week at our ‘‘pop-up’’ newsroom in Nathalia, which involved sitting under a shady canopy for a few hours and yarning with locals about the state of the nation and the price of nails.

It’s a tough job etcetera.

This was all fine and dandy and proved to be a very useful stakeholder engagement performance indicator activity.

Until it came to taking the sun shade canopy down.

Then it turned into a spatial stakeholder performance awareness nightmare.

When I arrived at the mobile newsroom, the bright red sun shade canopy had already ‘‘popped-up’’ at the end of Blake St opposite The Bridge Hotel.

When it came time to head back to the frenzy of Shepparton everyone had mysteriously melted away, leaving myself and Miss T to pack everything up.

Even though Miss T obviously had more left-brain skills than me because she could operate a mobile phone single-handedly, we soon discovered the sun shade would not ‘‘pop-down’’ as easily as it appeared to have ‘‘popped up’’.

The red canopy was supported by a steel frame pyramid with a square base and a leg at each corner.

According to verbal instructions from other stakeholders, the whole shebang easily folded down into a flat blue zip bag.

When I stood back and looked at the structure, I tried to imagine how this could be possible.

Astronomers are still trying to work out how the universe folds down into something only slightly smaller than a zip-up bag, and here I was being asked to work out how a three-square-metre pyramid concertinas into something that fits in the back of a Mazda 5.

Anyway, as journalists are highly trained at creating something out of nothing, I reasoned it can’t be too hard to create nothing out of something.

So Miss T and myself took a corner each, popped every button we could find and pushed the frame towards each other.

Nothing happened.

I pushed so hard I bent one of the steel legs.

I thought if I stood in the middle and prayed very hard it would deconstruct itself, a bit like a creator would do at the end of the universe.

After all, the thing did look a bit like a tabernacle.

Then I realised I was standing in the middle of a steel pyramid on a grass verge at the end of a country town’s busy main street looking confused.

The police had already driven past once.

I was about to walk in to the local hardware shop and ask for an angle grinder, when Miss T decided to live stream us on Facebook for a solution.

I tried to look like the sort of bloke who tears down sheds for a living and who has spanners dangling from his belt — but I was biting my lip too much.

Eventually I used my X-Box One X Call of Duty skills and pressed the same button that Miss T was pressing and the whole thing collapsed into a long flat piece of two-dimensional space-time continuum.

Too easy.

Then I read yesterday that a signal from the dawn of time had been picked up by a radio telescope in the remote Western Australian desert.

The signal also pointed to dark matter, which could be the glue which holds the universe together.

If I knew this during the ‘‘pop-up’’ debacle I could have just used a torch to get rid of the dark matter.

Makes sense to me.

John Lewis is The News’ chief of staff.

More in Opinion
Login Sign Up

Dummy text