Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Neon Tube Experiment

I had been carrying the neon tube in my car for a few days, ready to try out a small experiment. It was a bit too long so I had a bit of it sticking out of the window on the passenger side. Apparently, there’s no specific law against this as long as you fasten a red strip of material to the end. I used an old tanga which I had found in the spare room.
Somewhere, I’d read that if you hold a neon tube firmly at both ends and stand under a 264 million gigawatt electric pylon, like the ones Sevillana are putting up in people’s back yards, the light will pick up the ambient electrical radiation and actually glow.
It would make a bloody good photo, I reasoned, the unfortunate veterinarian lady from the riverbed stood on her roof under the stretch of the giant cables that Sevillana had thoughtfully draped over her home. To say nothing of the massive pylon they had erected just outside her bedroom window. She would stand there like a modern Indalo, her legs slightly apart, her chin raised defiantly. As the vet glowed, just after sunset, I would be ready to take a quite sensational picture.
On the way down from the sierras where I had been ‘on assignment’, the road passes a restaurant outside Turre which is a rather large and modern affair – Madrid money apparently – which sits defiantly under another enormous electric highway once again erected by the omnipresent Sevillana, a disagreeable monopoly whose only interest and loyalty – as proved over the past few months – is to its shareholders. Curiously, the joint, which is large, smart and apparently spreading gently out from the original farmhouse, has no electrical hook-up and has to rely on a generator.
The lines crossing above the locale actually hum and your hair writhes slightly as it debates whether to stand on end under the cables.
A perfect place for my experiment.
I stopped the car outside the door and climbed out with my rod, looking something like a manic Luke Skywalker. Right there, outside the front door, I spread my legs slightly, grabbed hold of both ends of the neon tube and, with a short prayer to the god of idiots, waited to be bathed in light.
Well, nothing happened, actually, and after wishing a good evening to the three or four slightly startled looking waiters together with the cook who had come outside to join me, I put the rod back in the car, fastened the knickers firmly on one end, and quietly drove home.
The cables above the vet’s place, I noticed this morning, are now in full working mode. You can see the air bubble as it touches them. Perhaps the earlier experiment hadn’t worked because the power wasn’t strong enough. These new pylons appear to hold an even heavier charge. I think I might try my neon tube experiment again tonight.


Anthony said...

David and I tried this under the cables and the tube certainly glowed strongly

Lenox said...

I'd better have another go!

David Jackson said...

Hi Lenox,
You need to either hold it above your head, or put in the (dry) ground and stay away.
Reason being is that otherwise you're grounding the electromagnetic field, so it can't activate the phoso in the bulb.

Mind you, stick a large metal pole in the ground, touch it with the bulb, and you can practically read a paper (not the EuroWeekly :) with the light!