Thursday, August 11, 2011

Make a Pony-O Basket from a Word

I'll just show you how to do it here. Details on the tiny bit of particle physics involved and on the undip language itself are covered in my 15-minute video, Make a Basket from a Word.


Three Pony-O's can be interlooped in what may properly be called a Mrs. Bright's knot (a three-way version of knot #2425 in The Ashley Book of Knots,) but to make things easier for us to remember, we'll call it Quoit-through-Thread, or sometimes just QTT. Try this right now:

Step 1: Hold NEEDLE upright.


Insert THREAD through NEEDLE.

Pull QUOIT through THREAD.


Once you feel comfortable making Quoit-through-Thread as shown, try inserting THREAD from the left so that QUOIT ends up on the right. Another way to do this variation is to feed THREAD halfway through every time and just pull QUOIT up through the side you want it on.

In making a Pony-O basket, QUOIT always represents a photon, while NEEDLE and THREAD always represent the electron in differing energy states. In the pictures above, the photon color is green, and the two energy colors of the electron are purple and pink.


Undip is a language that tells stories about an electron. We'll choose this undip word,


and find out what shape it makes. Along the way you'll hear the story of the electron and learn to read undip.

You need three colors of pony-O's, 4 pony-O's of each, plus one extra pony-O of any color you like. (You'll always need three colors, and of each color you will always need half the number of letters in the undip word; you will also need one extra of any color to finish off the work.)

Hopefully one of your colors will really stand out. Make that color your photon color. In the photos I'm using bright green as my photon color.

The other two colors are energy colors. The energy of an electron always changes when it emits or absorbs a photon, so our electron's energy state alternates between these two colors at each photon event.

Print or write down the undip word above in lowercase letters. Then turn the page 90 degrees so that you are reading the word from the bottom up.

To begin, choose a pony-O in one of your energy colors. It will become NEEDLE in your first Quoit-through-Thread.

The first letter in this undip word, 'u,' says that our electron emits a photon to the left. Choose a pony-O in your photon color and use it as QUOIT. Emitting a photon changes (decreases) the energy level of an electron, so use the other energy color for THREAD. Make sure QUOIT ends up on the left at this event since we are emitting a photon to the left.

If that QTT went well, you've completed your first photon event.

The next letter is also 'u.' The undip word says that our electron emits another photon to the left. Use the free end of the OLD THREAD (it has the current energy color) as NEEDLE in the next QTT. Repeat the steps above to emit another photon on the left. Remember to change your energy color at each event.

The next letter is 'n.' The undip word says that the electron emits a photon to the right. That's going to be easy: its just like the first two events except that QUOIT ends up on the right. Remember to change your energy color; and by the way, never let go of the current energy state! A good electron never loses track of its energy. For that matter, don't let the work start getting twisted up or your electron will start confusing left and right.

If you set your work down,failing to mark where you were, note that there are only two energy-colored Pony-O's, those are the first and the last. Comparing the first few events with the begining of the undip word should sort out which end is which.

The next letter 'd' is a little different. The undip word says that at this point in the story our electron absorbs a photo on the left. As you might expect, we'll be bringing a photon-colored QUOIT in from the left, but this time it is one of the photons already emitted. We find that photon by running a hand back along the left side of the work. The first loose end we come to is our QUOIT. This time, put QUOIT through THREAD as the first move; then QUOIT on NEEDLE; and then THREAD through NEEDLE. You may choose to always make QTT in this order, but I tend to fumble with it. Absorbing a photon always changes (increases) the energy level of a photon, so THREAD is a different color from NEEDLE this time as well.

The next letter is another 'd'. The undip word says that our electron absorbs another photon on the left, so repeat the previous event, again tracing your hand back along the left side of the work to find the photon to use as the quoit, and bring it in from the left.

The next letter is 'u': again we emit a photon to the left.

The next letter is 'p'. That says that our electron absorbs a photon on its right. This time we trace a hand back along the right side of the work to find the photon we will bring in from the right side. You'll find this photon is a long way back, but as always, its the first one we come to.

The last letter is 'd.' An undip word tells a story that implicitly repeats, so the story is not over just because we have come to the last letter of the word. We are headed back to where we started (and our basket will be finished) but our electron will be headed out for another lap. The 'd' says that the electron absorbs a photon on the left, so trace back along the left to find the photon and bring it in from the left as QUOIT.

At this point we want to bring the only remaining free end (notice that it is none other than our first energy state) as THREAD. This presents a problem because this THREAD is already attached to the work. So this time we toss an extra Pony-O named OUTIE over THREAD before beginning the knot. Things now proceed normally until we would normally pull THREAD through NEEDLE: we pull OUTIE through instead. OUTIE, can be tied off in an a snug overhand knot to keep things from unravelling and to mark where it all began.

Bravo! You've done it!

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