News, Professor Diablo's True Revue

A Letter from Professor Diablo

1 Comment 26 June 2012

 Professor Diablo writes:

This message was typed on a device powered by electricity taken from a grid distributing energy transformed by coal plants, nuclear plants, hydroelectric dams, wind farms, and solar cells. Power arrived at our station invisible to the human eye, uniform, predictably alternating its direction of flow, unmarked and indistinguishable moment by moment. We have no way to know if this particular instantiation of that power (or that one) traces its origin to the long dead, compressed deep in the earth and extracted by a miner in a small coal town. It might, instead, have been transformed when the impounded water of the Watauga River fell over the dam that flooded the valley and erased several little towns from the map, including a place once known to old timers, prophetically, as Fish Springs. Maybe this volt is a tommyknocker come over from the old country to tap out his familiar warnings from down below in the shale fields.

There is a mathematical relationship between instantaneous power, voltage, time and resistance. It’s beautiful to look at:


 p(t) = v2(t) / R 


But power is a word with several meanings. Long before anyone wrote down the formula for p(t), humanity had known the idea of power. We had thrilled to it and suffered for it, created it and hoarded it. We filled libraries with our measuring and cataloging of that power. The power described by p(t) is a correlate of that first, original idea of power, which has always meant putting the living where you want them:  outside the wall, in seats beneath the blue projected light, under the water, in the ground, in rows marching two by two.

Tonight our artists — Mike Wiley, Jeff Whetstone, and M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger — will solve for p in their own way using their own ancient methods.


 Professor Diablo

(Professor Diablo’s True Revue TONIGHT:  8 p.m., Casbah in Durham.)


  1. Watch: “Professor Diablo’s True Revue II,” Wherein the Professor Examines Power – - August 2, 2012

    [...] Whetstone, and roots and folk rock act Hiss Golden Messenger explored the theme of power. In a letter written before the performance, the Professor noted the mathematical relationship between power, [...]

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