Wavelength: 7 x 10-7 - 1 x 10-3 m
Frequency: 3 x 1011 - 4 x 1014 Hz
Energy: 2 x 10-24- 2 x 10-22 eV
Infrared (IR) is the closest to visible light we’ll get to on this end of the spectrum. At it’s shortest wavelength it is just bordering on what we can see with the naked eye. The IR radiation can be broken up further into the following spectrum:
Near Infrared: 0.7µm - 1.3µm wavelength
Short Infrared: 1.4µm – 3µm wavelength
Mid Infrared: 3µm - 8 µm wavelength
Long/Thermal Infrared: 8µm - 30µm
Far Infrared: 15µm – 1000µm
Astronomers divide the spectrum differently, usually as follows :
Near IR: 0.7 µm – 5 µm
Mid IR: 5 µm – 40 µm
Far IR: 40 µm – 350 µm
Mid Infrared and Long Infrared are emitted by an object naturally, while Near Infrared and Short Infrared are reflected off an object.
IR was first theorized by Emilie du Chatelet in 1737 in a paper titled Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu. Her theory was proved correct in 1800 when William Herschel published the first record of experimental proof of IR radiation.
The most common type of IR radiation that you or I would recognize is heat. IR radiation from the Sun provides Earth with 49%  of its heat, with thanks to greenhouse gases. Without any of those, no IR heat would be absorbed and slowly released back into our lower atmosphere to keep us at our cozy temperature.
Without IR radiation, we wouldn’t be able to use nightvision technology. Both traditional nightvision and thermal imagine use light in the IR spectrum to enhance images in otherwise dark areas. The absorption of IR into clouds and the atmosphere allow our weather satellites to make mostly accurate weather predictions that you end up seeing on the nightly news. In astronomy, IR can be used to measure through clouds of molecules, nebulae, and detect redshifted objects .
Blackbody radiation is the natural amount and type of electromagnetic radiation that an object absorbs at any given temperature above absolute zero. At Earthly temperatures, blackbody radiation exists in the IR range , as that is the only range on the spectrum that it won’t absorb entirely.
Some animals have evolved natural mechanisms that allow them to detect IR light. These animals include pit vipers, pythons, some boas, vampire bats, and some insects. It is unknown the degree to which these animals can sense IR light, but there’s no doubt that it must help them hunt prey or avoid predators!
Passive Solar Heating & Cooling Manual. Rodale Press, Inc.. 1980. Retrieved 2007-08-12
Protecting yourself against electromagnetic radiation
The average person usually doesn’t realize they are jeopardizing their health by innocently clicking away on the computer or talking on a cordless phone. Linked with cancer, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, miscarriage and a host of other devastating diseases, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a serious modern concern. And exposure is almost impossible to avoid. But with diet and a measure of awareness, the dangers of EMFs can be reduced.
Created by cell phones, power lines, computers and microwaves, as well as other electronic and magnetic devices, EMFs wreck havoc on the body. These fields induce brain fog, forgetfulness, anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue in those who are sensitive. The following three common appliances emit strong electromagnetic radiation and cause a variety of health disorders:
Microwave - Cancerous growths, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, muscle and heart impairment, blurred vision and increased cholesterol.
Computer - Erratic heartbeat, sleep disorders, miscarriage, severe headaches, thyroid malfunction, loss of energy, stress, dizziness, poor memory and decreased libido.
Cell phone - Insomnia, memory loss, dizziness, nausea, poor concentration, hair thinning, eye problems, respiratory complaints, tinnitus, brain tumors and aneurisms.
Needless to say, protecting oneself from EMFs is crucial for well being.
Unplug and preserve wellness
Completely avoiding electromagnetic radiation is impossible. Yet minimizing exposure lessens the damaging impact on health. The first rule of thumb is to turn off and unplug appliances when not in use. Next, avoid Wi-Fi networks — especially in the home. Fully charging laptops and then unplugging when ready for use is another way to minimize EMF exposure. If the computer needs to be connected to a power source, make sure plugs and power strips are located far away from the body. Steer clear of halogen and fluorescent lighting. Both technologies produce substantial EMFs. LCD lighting is a safe alternative. Cordless phone? Avoid DECT technology — it transmits a strong radio frequency signal, even when idle. Keep the handset away from the body by activating speaker mode. The same for cell phones. If this isn’t possible, use a tube headset. Even with lower levels of exposure, it is still important to fortify the body in order to avert health issues.
Prevent and repair damage
Grounding the body as well as using key foods and supplements improves resiliency to EMFs. Earthing is an excellent practice to ward off the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields. Simply stand barefoot on a dewy patch of grass or walk along a sandy beach for at least ten minutes each day. Learn more here. A nutrient rich diet is also essential. Below is a list of edibles and superfoods that protect against EMFs:
- Vitamin D3
- Sea vegetables
- B-complex vitamins
- Tulsi (Holy Basil)
- Omega-3 fatty acids
In addition, consuming high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) foods is vital to prevent and heal DNA damage from EMFs. Good choices include: artichokes, cranberries, red beans, pecans, pomegranate seeds, rosemary, asparagus, blueberries, walnuts, prunes, cruciferous vegetables, cinnamon, dates, broccoli and cilantro. Always remember to select organic for ultimate nutritional power.
Even though living in an age of Wi-Fi and all sorts of EMF spewing gadgets is hazardous, we don’t have to be victims of this invisible menace. Tend to the diet, ground the body and unplug appliances whenever possible. By taking these precautions and proactive steps, modern living need not be so dangerous.
The colour magenta does not exist in the human visible spectrum, and is instead made up by the brain to bridge the gap between red and violet
A beam of white light is made up of all the colours in the spectrum. The range extends from red through to violet, with orange, yellow, green and blue in between. But there is one colour that is notable by its absence. Pink (or magenta, to use its official name) simply isn’t there. But if pink isn’t in the light spectrum, how come we can see it?
Here’s an experiment you can try: stare at the pink circle below for about one minute, then look over at the blank white space next to the image. What do you see? You should see an afterimage. What colour is it?
You should have seen a green afterimage, but why is this significant?
The afterimage always shows the colour that is complementary to the colour of the image. Complementary colours are those that are exact opposites in the way the eye perceives them.
It is a common misconception that red is complementary to green. However, if you try the same experiment as above with a red image, you will see a turquoise afterimage, since red is actually complementary to turquoise. Similarly, orange is complementary to blue, and yellow to violet.
All the colours in the light spectrum have complements that exist within the spectrum – except green. There seems to be some kind of imbalance. What is going on? Is green somehow being discriminated against?
The light spectrum consists of a range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (check this too). Red light has the longest wavelength; violet the shortest. The colours in between have wavelengths between those of red and violet light.
When our eyes see colours, they are actually detecting the different wavelengths of the light hitting the retina. Colours are distinguished by their wavelengths, and the brain processes this information and produces a visual display that we experience as colour.
This means that colours only really exist within the brain – light is indeed travelling from objects to our eyes, and each object may well be transmitting/reflecting a different set of wavelengths of light; but what essentially defines a ‘colour’ as opposed to a ‘wavelength’ is created within the brain.
If the eye receives light of more than one wavelength, the colour generated in the brain is formed from the sum of the input responses on the retina. For example, if red light and green light enter the eye at the same time, the resulting colour produced in the brain is yellow, the colour halfway between red and green in the spectrum.
So what does the brain do when our eyes detect wavelengths from both ends of the light spectrum at once (i.e. red and violet light)? Generally speaking, it has two options for interpreting the input data:
a) Sum the input responses to produce a colour halfway between red and violet in the spectrum (which would in this case produce green – not a very representative colour of a red and violet mix)
b) Invent a new colour halfway between red and violet
Magenta is the evidence that the brain takes option b – it has apparently constructed a colour to bridge the gap between red and violet, because such a colour does not exist in the light spectrum. Magenta has no wavelength attributed to it, unlike all the other spectrum colours.
The light spectrum has a colour missing because it does not feel the need to ‘close the loop’ in the way that our brains do. We need colour to make sense of the world, but equally we need to make sense of colour; even if that means taking opposite ends of the spectrum and bringing them together.
Well, now we’ve got that sorted out, explain this: stare at the dot in the middle of the image below - you should see all the colours melt away.
(via: Null Hypothesis)
Are cell phones safe?
Lately, cell phone safety has been a hot topic in the news. It is estimated that over five billion people use cell phones globally. The World Health Orgnanization has a research arm called the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which has recently upgraded the possible risk for cancer to classification 2B. Category 2B also includes exposure to lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform to name a few.
Why are people worried? All electronic objects emit some type of electromagnetic energy, or radiofrequency energy. Look above this post to see a chart of the electromagnetic spectrum. Some radiation is ionizing, meaning that it can damage cells. X-Rays are one form of ionizing radiation. The inventor of X-Rays himself, Wilhelm Roentgen, died from cancer. The radiation emitted from cell phones is supposed to be non-ionizing and safe for humans. They are similar to but less intense than the types of rays that come from microwaves that cook food. It has some people wondering if the electromagnetic radiation from cell phones can “cook” human tissue (it can heat human tissue at very high levels), and if so, what the long term biological effects may be. This problem may be made worse by the fact that the places where we hold our cell phones, in our pockets and by our ears, expose our brain cells and sexual reproductive cells to possible effects. Brain and sex cells are sensitive, and even more so in adolescents, who have thinner walled skulls and where the rate of cell growth is much higher- which could compound any toxic effects. I recently heard a mother tell her child, “You are not getting a cell phone until you turn ten.” I did not get my first cell phone until I was sixteen, and of course it was bigger than most house phones today.
The only problem is that cell phones have only been in mainstream use since the 1990’s, so we would only be beginning to see the results of any health risks. Further, PDA smartphones that act as small computers have increased the amount of energy they produce. The FCC has a set guideline for the amount of radiation in order to approve a cell phone for marketing. The limit is 1.6 Watts/kg of absorbable energy. However, cell phone makers themselves state in user manuals that cell phones are to be held away from the head when in use, and this is the distance at which the energy guideline is met. Iphone 4 recommends 5/8 of an inch and the Blackberry manual says .98 inches away. Most everyone pushes their phone directly against their ear- so that the amount of absorbable energy can actually be greater.
The largest study to date is called INTERPHONE. It is a case-control study looking at tumors of the two types of brain tissue that absorb radiofrequency energy, gliomas and meningiomas. It analyzed over 5,000 patients with these tumors in thirteen countries. It found that there was an association with the incidence of gliomas in cell phone users who had the highest cumulative amount of cell phone use. The gliomas were also found to be located in the temporal lobe, the area of the brain where we hold our phones. Overall, the study concluded that there was no increased risk for brain tumors in general, but that further research is warranted (as there was bias and error that could not validate the results, and due to the fact that none of the study subjects had used a cell phone greater than 12 years). Here is a link to the study for inquiring minds: http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/39/3/675.full.pdf
More data and studies will be coming out as the awareness of possible cell phone dangers is at an all time high, but the limiting factor on when we can use the word “safe” relies on the length of time it would take before cell phone-caused disease manifests itself. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am thinking about buying a wireless headset for my phone- and considering buying stock in companies that make them, because I may not be the only one.