Why a Hollander Beater Sings
By I. Manutt
Remember the little girl in Peter Pan who came close to the footlights and asked the audience: "You do believe in fairies, don't you?" Deep down in your heart did you feel like smiling, or were you sadly wishing you could believe in such foolishness?
A new cult has, however, sprung up during the 21st century that asks us to believe in far more unbelievable things that one has ever seen while awake and sober. This curious sect is generally known as the "academics". They too certainly can tell the weirdest fairy tales you ever heard, all accompanied by a brain- storming mass of figures which leaves you gasping with admiration.
You may remember what you learned at school about matter being made up of molecules and molecules being made of atoms beyond which matter is indivisible. That is to say, with a meat axe, you can divide a substance into small pieces like ground beef; and looking in a microscope you can divide a substance into pieces smaller than the naked eye can distinguish; after that by means of chemicals you can separate molecules from each other although you can't see them even with a microscope; then with more chemicals you can separate the atoms from each other, but beyond this no treatment has any effect.
At least that's what we learned at school and that effectually proves that there are no such things as fairies,werewolves or elves. But now come our academics have come up with another story. Mind you, you don't have to believe it. They say that atoms can be made to throw off particles rather like a small boy throwing gravel in a puddle for fun of the thing. Of course the atoms must have some provocation; for example, if they get good and hot they can throw gravel off like a snowplough stuck in a snowdrift.
Now, all ordinary people know how to take such talk as this. It's just like Arabian Nights & The Wizard of Oz rolled into one.
Now there was a certain gifted lecturer in the 1970's called Professor A.Nutt who could make calculus eat out of his hand. Well, our academics tell us he was at the leading edge of conservation theory in the '70's & was renowned for thinking outside the box.
Here then is his explanation for "Why does a Hollander Beater Sing?"
To make the matter clear, look at the picture of a Hollander Beater in Figure 2. Now look at Figure 3 & see that just in front of the roll, resting on the floor of the beater is a stepladder on which you can see a lot of elves throwing balls. In front of the ladder is an ordinary window blind with slats. (the roll)
Now, suppose a strong current of water buffets the stepladder. Each little elf gets as mad as a hen on a hot griddle and tries to escape throwing his ball at the shutter & then wriggling through himself. Of course some elves are fatter than others & get stuck whilst others get cut in half & some get plain squished.
It is obvious that they will all try to rush through at once…pushing & shoving like a crowd on the first day of the sales. This would cause the shutters & even the shutter supports to jump & vibrate, making a noise like a troop of angry baboons whose afternoon nap has been disturbed by a young child banging on a drum.
If, while the elves are struggling to get through the shutter, we open the slats by the fraction of an inch then the noise will subside as each elf will have more room to escape and will not be in such a panic.
Providing the slats of the shutter are perfectly aligned & the shutter itself is fixed into place firmly, the more ordered movement of the elves cause the slats merely to vibrate gently producing a harmonic warbling noise. This is known as the Song of the Beater.
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