Stories tagged mirror

Sep
04
2010

Arhchimedes heat ray: Did an array of mirrors set ships aflame 2200 years ago?
Arhchimedes heat ray: Did an array of mirrors set ships aflame 2200 years ago?Courtesy Finnrind

Solar powered heat ray

Did Archimedes use a heat ray to set enemy ships on fire over 2000 years ago? A text written about the Siege of Syracuse (212BC) some 400 years later merely said he lit the ships on fire. He could have used flaming arrows or perhaps hurled larger balls of flame via catapult.
Centuries later,

Anthemius of Tralles mentions burning-glasses as Archimedes' weapon.
This purported weapon has been the subject of ongoing debate about its credibility since the Renaissance

Myth Busted?

In 1973, an experiment using 70 mirrors, each with a copper coating and a size of around five by three feet, caused a mock-up ship 160 feet away to burst into flames within seconds.
A group of MIT students used a parabolic array of 127 "polished metal mirrors" 1 sq ft in size for a 2005 MythBusters episode and were barely able to set part of the "ship" aflame.

My favorite Arhimedes heat ray experiment

I recently came across this video of a recreation of the Archimedes heat ray experiment.
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Nov
02
2006

Mirror image: Researchers have found out that elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror and actually look at parts of their body that they can't see on their own. Those are sure signs that that have a self-awareness, something that used to be thought of only being in humans and chimps. (Photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Mirror image: Researchers have found out that elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror and actually look at parts of their body that they can't see on their own. Those are sure signs that that have a self-awareness, something that used to be thought of only being in humans and chimps. (Photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest elephant of them all?

According to the findings of a new study, elephants confronted with a mirror display the traits of self-awareness and will actually primp and preen in front of their image. Previously, it was only thought that humans, chimps and maybe dolphins were able to recognize themselves.

The findings come after watching three elephants at the Bronx Zoo in New York handle themselves in front of an elephant-sized mirror. Among their actions were looking inside their open mouths and studying their ears. One elephant, Happy, even used her trunk to touch a mark on her head that was only visible to her by looking in the mirror. That, researchers say, is a strong sign of self-awareness.

An eight-foot-square mirror was put in the elephants’ pen to conduct the exercise. It was elephant-proofed in a frame of plastic reinforced with steel.

The pachyderms initially tried to look behind the mirror, underneath it. When they finally realized it was a mirror, they then checked themselves out.

Researchers contend that having self-awareness is the first step in having more complex behaviors in an animal. Those attributes would include empathy, compassion and other emotional traits.

But all this has got me to wondering: if an elephant looking in the mirror isn’t pleased with its own huge image, what animal does it think it looks like? It can’t be an elephant.