October 3rd, 2005 - Balinares — LiveJournal
Oct. 3rd, 2005
02:11 am - Eclipse, superstitions.
So there's this ongoing partial eclipse right now. Sunlight is dimmed; life goes on as usual.
Being ever the scientist with a sense of everlasting wonder for cool shit, there I go in the office with the windows that open sunwards at this time of the day, with two sheets of paper, one of which I pierced a tiny hole in with the tip of a pen.
Nicephore Niepce, blessed be your soul.
I project the pinhole onto the other paper, I find the right focal, and there it appears: a tiny crescent, the photographic image of the half-eaten sun.
And this is where I want your whole attention.
I've got that piece of paper. It's lying in the sunlight. Half of it is shadowed by another piece of paper. Only a tiny additional crescent-shaped spot in the middle is left unshadowed, like a stencil. It's the exact same fucking paper receiving the exact same fucking sunlight as any other piece of paper lying in the sun. It just has a spot in the middle of the shadowed part where that sunlight is shaped like a crescent.
Yet, according to several coworkers, that crescent shape makes the piece of paper dangerous to look at. Dangerous. Some were borderline panicky about it.
The very same people that don't blink an eye when looking at a photograph of an eclipse.
Nothing you'll tell them will make them think. They just, quote, "won't take the risk".
Because, you know, they said so on TV: the eclipse is SUPER DANGEROUS and you musn't look at it in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER, unless you've got those special glasses made by professionals. (The professionals are magicians that put a special anti-eclipse pixie dust in their glasses that's not available to commoners like you and me.)
There are days like this when I'm reminded that on the evolutionary scale, this species has barely stepped out of the cave.
Today's thought: if you deliver information to people like they're stupid dumbasses, they WILL act as such.
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