‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall’ 10 True Facts

Winter night © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2020

The nerd in me just loves these ten crazy true facts about mirrors!  I was actually searching for a fiction story based on a mirror but discovered Dr Ruth Searle’s website and decided her information was far more interesting.

Read on . . .

10. Mirrors And Time Travel

We know that a mirror can do more than reflect your image. And I won’t even start to document the amount of films I’ve seen or books I’ve read where the doorway to another world is through a mirror. A mirrored portal can lead you into an enchanted world of the future or the past; a doorway into a fantasy, paranormal or parallel world; a dystopian dreamscape or endless deep space—supposedly—however, with scientific know-how, Dr Ruth Searle explains HOW wormholes CAN make it possible to travel into the past.

9. Mirrors, Phantom Limbs, And The Human Brain

Experiments using mirrors on patients with phantom limbs have allowed researchers to learn a lot about the workings of our brain. Using a “smoke and mirrors” style optical illusion, researchers placed mirrors vertically on a table and used them to reflected the patient’s intact limb… there’s details on creating new neural pathways due to the plasticity of the brain and the connection between vision and touch.

8. Mirrors Cause Hallucinations

“A strange illusion is conjured up when you stare at your reflection in a mirror” writes Ruth Searle. This one slightly freaked me out because I remember as a girl I was told to stare into a mirror in the evening and soon I would see the face of my one true love. Anyway I stared and stared, and the more I stared, the more frightened I became. I never saw anything but I never did try that again.

If you are up for it, the instructions read “At first, you will find that there are small distortions in your face in the mirror. Then, gradually, after several minutes, your face will begin to change more dramatically, and look more like a waxwork, like the face doesn’t belong to you.” Shiver, no thanks!

7. Can Everyone Recognise Themselves In A Mirror?

Apparently children develop mirror self-recognition by about two years old but cultural differences can sometimes influence recognition and is not a sign that they lack the ability to separate themselves psychologically from other humans. One for those parental “aaw, cute” moments when their kid kisses the mirror.

Confident Cat
Confidence

6. Animals That Have Mirror Self-Recognition

Some researchers think certain animals are able to pass a test for recognising their own reflection. Animals which pass the traditional mirror self-recognition test naturally include chimpanzees and orangutans but several others surprised me. Killer whales anyone..?

5. Mirrors On The Moon

This sentence sounds like sci-fi but if you don’t believe me, read it yourself: “The Laser Ranging Retroreflector was left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts, and is used to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Moon. It is essentially a series of corner-cube reflectors—a special type of mirror—which reflects a laser beam back in the direction it came from… Not only can the Laser Ranging Retroreflector measure the distance from the Earth to the Moon, but it has improved our knowledge of the Moon.” There’s more on the website.

4. Mirrors Can Also Reflect Sound

Before radars were invented, mirrors which reflect sound waves were known as “acoustic mirrors” and were used in Britain during World War II to detect certain sound waves coming from enemy aircraft. It is worth checking the photo to see this almost modern art installation.

3. Reflecting Matter With Mirrors

I absolutely love this Sheldon-like paragraph “Amazingly, mirrors can also reflect matter. Such mirrors are known in physics as atomic mirrors. An atomic mirror reflects atoms of matter just as a conventional mirror reflects light. They use electromagnetic fields to reflect neutral atoms, although some just use silicon water…” Put on your Big Bang t-shirt and read the rest of it, I dare you.

2. True Mirrors

Dr Ruth Searle writes “It’s actually a myth that a mirror reverses your image—your reflection is not flipped. What you see is the left-hand side of your face on the left of the mirror, and the right-hand side on the right, giving the illusion that your reflection is reversed. However, a non-reversing mirror, or true mirror, was developed… primarily for applying cosmetics.” On Zoom, there is a function which allows you to reverse your image and I find it very disorientating.

IMG_20171016_115002
Backward and forward

1. Splitting Light With A Mirror

I did not know that mirrors not only reflect light, sound, and matter, but they can also split light beams. A basic beam splitter is a cube, made from two glass prisms connected at their base. The illustration for this one makes it look amazingly simple but the explanation says beam splitters are used in many scientific instruments including telescopes so their function would have to be precise.

So there you have it, folks, a short ramble through the never-ending joys of the internet.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


ListVerse: 10 Crazy Facts About Mirrors | Ruth Searle | 30 December, 2013 | 80 Comments
Profile: Dr Ruth Searle is a marine biologist with a PhD in humpback whale ecology and behaviour in tropical marine environments.  She is also a freelance writer and science nut.

‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod’ Poem by Eugene Field

Childhood can come crashing back when you read something from your past.  I saw the words ‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod’ and instantly I was about five years old.

Unwilling to stay in bed, sleep seemingly a million miles away, I knew as soon as my mother recited this magic poem, I would drift off into dreamland.

Eugene Field may not have known the children around the world who fell asleep under the spell of his words, but I’m pretty sure his own kids were good examples.  Did they know the entire poem?  Every line, every verse, every nuance?  I certainly did not.

If you are in the same shoe-boat, read on to discover the complete original while you sip strong coffee…


Wynken, Blynken and Nod

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”
Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea —
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish —
Never afraid are we”;
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam —
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
‘Twas all so pretty a sail
 it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea —
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

By Eugene Field (1850 – 1895) poet and journalist.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/eugene-field


Biography:Wynken Blyken and Nod by Eugene Field Poet Columnist 01

Eugene Field was born in St Louis, Missouri, on 2 September 1850 and by all accounts was a great practical joker.

In 1875 he married Julia Comstock and eventually they had eight children.  In 1883 he moved to Chicago, Illinois, to write a column for the Chicago Daily News.

His columns occasionally featured light verse for children and he became known as the ‘Poet of Childhood’.  These imaginative poems were both happy and sad (‘Little Boy Blue’ is a well-known tearjerker) and later published in collections including ‘The Tribune Primer’ in 1900 and ‘A Little Book of Western Verse’ in 1903.  Eugene Field died on 4 November 1895 in Chicago, Illinois.

Wynken Blyken and Nodd Artwork by Maxfield Parrish 1905Maxfield Parrish and other artists illustrated his earlier books, and artwork changed to reflect 20th century styles over the years while the eponymous characters remained constant.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward