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Re: Infrared

  • Subject: Re: Infrared
  • From: "Leo A. Martin" <leo@possi.org>
  • Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 17:12:05 -0700 (MST)

Hermine wrote

> I only recently found out
> that certain flowers which to humans look WHITE,
> appear to be like a Stanley Kubrik on LSD colour
> fantasy beyond our ability to perceive the visible
> spectrum, if one is a bug or other pollinating agent.

The lens in our eye (behind the colored iris) stops the infrared. This is
one among many possible causes of lenses going cloudy (known as a
cataract.) It's good our lenses do so, because infrared is very damaging
to our retina.

Almost everybody who has cataract surgery nowadays has a small plastic
lens implanted behind the iris. The artificial lens also stops the
infrared. But it wasn't always so. In times past some people didn't have
lenses implanted and had to wear very thick glasses instead.

A LONG time ago, I think in the journal Science, an entomologist wrote a
report. He deliberately refused an implanted lens so he could see what his
subjects saw. He reported flowers looked very different - and not just the
white ones. Lots of them have infrared landing targets.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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