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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Night light, pollution of the night sky

I remember looking up and seeing Sputnik. In 1957, I was in Tumichucua, and there were no lights, no adjacent sky glow or light pollution. One night we set up a camp-lamp (with kerozene under pressure fueling a glowing silk mantle that quite rapidly tore) behind a white sheet of tucuyo to catch insects. Bugs would come to the light, get disoriented and slide down the tucuyo into the catch basin or our nets.

It occurs to me that bugs must do the same to every "night light" in the world -- circle, get disoriented, and then weaken and die. Every city, every street light, must decimate the insect population.

I have hunted birds by shining a bright flash light at them. They wake up and stare and the light, unable to move, fixated by the light. I have heard that birds migrate at night. I wonder if the illuminations pointed into the sky from the increasingly urban planet disturb their migrations.

Full sunlight on a clear day has an intensity of about 10,000 foot-candles. City streets at night are typically lit to about 1.5 foot-candles, or 750 times brighter than moonlight. Everything that sees at night, or is hatched or flying by, must be disturbed by the UN-dark, the light pollution of our night.

As the sun sets, I still look for a place to lay my head and sleep. None of the things done at night, the melatonin-challenged activities, make much sense if we are not engaged in actual war or bank robbery. And even then.