The Science of Rainbows Explained…by a cat

I, your humble host Timothy the Talking Cat, am a great believer in science. “Follow the science,” is what I say. Follow it! Keep following it! A bit further! Oops, too far…back up a bit. Look! A rainbow!

But how they work? How does this atmospheric miracle come about? Come with me as we follow the science over the rainbow and onto the yellow brick road of explanation!

Rainbows: what are they? Where are they? Who are they? You probably remember the song you learnt as a tiny kitten: Blue and blue and green and green, bluey-green, greeny-blue and mushy-grey-red, I can howl a rainbow, howl a rainbow, howl a rainbow, whatever…stupid song.

Yes, rainbows the technicolor disappointment in the sky. Frankly I don’t get what all the fuss is about. “Look Timothy, there’s a rainbow!” says the human but frankly if it’s not within 20 feet of my eyes then I’m not going to be focusing on it. When we were hiding from Russian ninjas I nearly caught a rainbow lorikeet but despite their names, they aren’t genetically related to rainbows. Instead they are a species of bird, whereas rainbows are a species of mountain goat (or something else that stands a long way away).

But where do all the colours come from? Well from their feathers I guess. I mean the lorikeet, not the goats. The goats don’t have feather which is why they aren’t colourful. This is the infamous goat-rainbow paradox. If goats don’t have feathers then how come rainbows are so colourful?

This is where the science comes in. To understand we have to go back in time to the age of Isaac Newton. Newton owned a cat called Spithead and it was Spithead who discovered the science of refracturing. Fracturing is when you break something and refracturing is when you break something twice. Before Spithead, cats didn’t know how to break stuff multiple times. Sure they could break something once but not twice. Spithead worked that out and also worked out how to break goats even though goats stand a long way away.

Spithead’s secret was to use a prison. Luckily, Isaac Netwon lived in the Tower of London which is easily the most posh prison in the world. Spithead would get the goats and push them through the prison where they would get refractured into many tiny goats. Soon all the cats in London could see rainbows all over the Eastend because the goats were small enough to see and also really close and not on a mountain.

So the next time you push a human’s favourite mug off a table, you can thank Spithead for the science of refracturing and keeping us free from the scourge of goats.

18 responses to “The Science of Rainbows Explained…by a cat”

    • That’s when you refracture the refractured goats, That’s why the second raindow in a double is fainter, because you lose some goat each time you refracture them.

      Liked by 4 people

    • blue&blue and green&green and blue&blue and green&green and blue&blue and green&green and blue&blue and green&green and I don’t know what that stuff at the end is


    • It’s important to understand that this essay also contains important information about how cats describe colour when using English. It’s not just about the extent of feline colour vision but how they map colour words in English to their perceptions.

      As far as I am aware, this post is groundbreaking in terms of the perception-semantic role of colour in cat/human dialogue.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I think Timothy is mispronouncing the name of Newton’s cat.

    Or at least the name I’m thinking of is what a former MP I know says one of his colleagues used to yell at his K-9, so often that the dog stopped answering to his official name, and only responded to the cuss.

    Timothy would never call a dog by that name, of course. (Or, I expect, call a dog anything that might cause it to come his way.)

    Liked by 2 people

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