black reflections

The Day After (Storm) Doris.

Kelly Hall Tarn, Lake District National Park, UK.

This image was taken on Friday (24th February 2017) just after sunset. I was quite surprised to see the water so still as there had been a ‘weather bomb’ less than 24 hours earlier!

1/13/17 @coldsunnyday The ducks aren’t actually green. They’re untrustworthy creatures, and they’re lying about what color they are. Don’t listen to them.

It’s an optical illusion called “structural color.” Their feathers are black. The fluffy side bits of the feathers (barbs) are also black. The little hooks that keep the barbs all lined up (barbules) are also black. There are microscopic little ridges (tubules) on the barbules that are also black. But the tubules are exactly the same size as a wavelength of green light, so instead of absorbing green light the way a black object should, they reflect it and the ducks look green. 

If you put one of the ducks under a good enough microscope, you’d see that no individual part of it was actually green in any way.

Avian biology generally can’t produce blue or green pigments. Birds that look blue or green are lying about it. Don’t trust them.

Except for turacos. They’re actually green, and very pleased with themselves about it. Look at this guy, here’s a bird you can trust:

My other reflection photos 
photo by ©mustafakılınç

  • It calls itself Jimothy, in a voice that bypasses the ears entirely. It seems very proud of this Human Name.
  • On all fours, it’s roughly the size of a horse.
  • Its skin (?) is a black that reflects so little light that it looks more like a nightmare-shaped hole in the world than an actual creature.
  • Despite looking like, let me state this again for emphasis, a goddamn nightmare, Jimothy is probably the most benign of the Fair Folk who show up regularly around campus over the last decade or so (they come and go).
  • It has virtually no interest in the favortrade, it very very rarely takes offense to anything, and it doesn’t seem to mind being seen. It’s attitude towards the students is best described as vague disinterest.
  • It’s not entirely clear that it understands human hand gestures (thumbs up, finger guns, peace signs), but it does its level best to mimic them back at you, and seems delighted about it.
  • It fuckin loves plastic jewel beads. It exclusively buys them with its own teeth.
  • Anyone who has been close enough to make this trade will tell you that the teeth go all the way down. There are more teeth lining this thing’s mouth and throat than from the outside it appears to have mouth and throat.
  • Jimothy is a particular favorite among science-minded students of the Forbidden Major, as its teeth are both the easiest biological material from Elsewhere to acquire and the safest to own, being fairly purchased.
  • It follows that in a heavily, heavily salted room on the third floor of the chemistry building, students of the forbidden major carry out experiments on the teeth. They have discovered nothing useful yet.
  • A few of the cannier students wonder why Jimothy is so content to bargain away pieces of itself, when such a thing is so taboo among the rest of the Gentry that even asking for a lock of hair can bring fierce, sudden punishment upon you. Most write it off as an oddity. They are not entirely wrong.
  • Due to its laid back attitude and apparently harmless quirks, it’s regarded with a kind of cautious affection by Involved students.