You ever notice that fire doesn’t cast a shadow? I mean, it seems obvious that a light source wouldn’t specifically have its own shadow, right?
Well, guess what?
This guy at The Action Lab shows you how to reveal the true nature of that fickle plasma. Yeah, we see you, fire–and your charred, malevolent heart. Fire can, in fact, absorb certain wavelengths of light (under the right conditions).
Light, or visible electromagnetic radiation, is a fascinating and tricksy type of energy (not as tricksy as dark matter, but that’s another story and shall be told another time). It exists as photons (a type of particle) that resonates in a wide range of frequencies–which is why it is sometimes referred to as both a particle and a wave. While direction, wavelength, and polarity can very greatly (and in turn have a host of effects on life on Earth), its speed is constant, and the fastest in the known universe.
If you’ve read Lightbringer, some of this will at least sound familiar. Likewise, you’ll remember that the magic system in Lightbringer is light-based, wherein drafters can turn light into matter–specifically, a wondrous, spectacular substance called luxin.
But it’s all fantasy, right? Mined from the deep well of curiosity in Brent’s cerebrum?
I always thought physicists were the most badass among scientists.
The theory that drives these experiments is the Breit-Wheeler process. It’s not new; Gregory Breit and John A. Wheeler devised the theory in 1934. It’s kind of a riff on what is arguably the most famous (and perhaps famously misunderstood by the general population) equation discovered by the big guy himself, Einstein: E=mc². From the article: “The theory of the Breit-Wheeler process says it should be possible to turn light into matter by smashing two particles of light (photons) together to create an electron and a positron.”
So it’s not exactly sucking light in through your eyes and propelling solid matter out of your body. But a journey of 1,000 miles and all.
These stunning spiders may be as close to real-life drafters as we will see in this universe. They have the unique ability to make brilliant reflective plates on their abdomen, using guanine. Even cooler is their ability to make the plates expand and contract at will!
Perhaps it’s appropriate that British entomologist William J Rainbow was the first person to catalogue and describe these surreal, tiny spiders.
We took one look at these clever critters and immediately thought of Andross Guile… Even though they’re kind of the opposite of Andross, in that they’re beautiful and harmless.
Mirror spiders, or Thwaitesia argentiopunctata, live in Australia, and can be found in every state in the country. Ahh, Australia: land of frilled-neck lizards, quokka, and platypus. I mean, where else would they live?
Oh, wait, they’re also in Singapore? UGH, you southern hemisphere folk get all of the fun creatures, don’t you? I suppose it’s a fair trade for having upside-down seasons and your toilets flush backwards.
(I do enjoy a good game of two truths and a lie.)
Most of the images we found were taken by Singapore-based photographer NickyBay. For more beautiful images of mirror spiders and other fascinating insects around the world, you can also check out Nicky’s website (link above).
Thank you to our sources, for sharing information about our beautiful world: Australian Geographic, This Is Colossal, & Strange Animals.
We’ve created a new feature on the wesbite that (for now) we’re calling Real Life Fantasy. In it, we will be sharing stories, news, and other documentary media that echoes some of the ideas, concepts, and imagery found in Brent’s books.
Our first post is about tetrachromacy: the ability to see TEN TIMES as many colors as most humans.
This particular article has been making the rounds for a while now, and it shows up in our inboxes occasionally. Which is to say, it’s a perennial favorite. It demonstrates that reality can sometimes bleed into the fantastic; more importantly, it shows that our man Weeks did his homework when it came to writing about females being superior chromaturgs. You can’t fight biology, dudes.
Feel free to discuss in the comments (just remember, we’re all friends here). And if you see something IRL that bears a resemblance to something you’ve read in Brent’s books, pass it along to us!