Could an animal have eyes like a reflecting telescope, rather than with a lens? The back of the eyeball is a paraboloid mirror, and the retina is a small body on its focal plane.
Because the retina must be small, such an eye would have poorer resolution than a vertebrate eye of similar size.
Are there any organic mirrors in the real world? How smooth is the reflective layer behind a cat’s retina?
Perhaps I’ll inflict this idea on worldbuilding.stackexchange.com – in the form of a question, though I dislike Jeopardy for that gimmick.
I watched Behind the Curve (2018), a documentary about the Flat Earth movement. In the beginning, Mark Sargent says (I paraphrase), “I know the Earth is not round because I can see Seattle from here [Whidbey Island].”
If I knew the distance from the Space Needle to Sargent’s house, the altitude of that house and the altitude of the lowest part of the Space Needle visible from there, I could put an upper bound on the curvature.
I recently read the Long Earth saga by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. The story begins in the near future when an eccentric engineer anonymously publishes plans for a “stepper box” which takes the user to a parallel world, adjacent in a chain of millions.
It soon emerges that a few humans have the talent of Stepping without a box. In one episode, two of these (including an ancestor of a main character) help the Underground Railroad, provoking in me a question they did not ask: Rather than sneaking the escapees to Canada, what if we leave them in a side-world? They’d have to learn to live Paleolithic-style (metallic iron cannot be transported), but that life evidently was not so bad.
Three or four days in a row, I’ve stopped to let a doe (usually with fawn(s)) amble across the road. Wondering whether that’s because I now live closer to the edge of town. Of ~twenty residences in ~sixty years, this is the first not within an incorporated city.
I rarely see deer out in the county, though.
Prince Charles succeeds his father as 2d Duke of Edinburgh. There are now three living British princes with the title “2d Duke of…”; how often have there been even two? Continue reading
The backstory of Methuselah’s Children, by Heinlein, involves a foundation to promote human longevity. One thing it does is study natural long-lifers by paying a bounty for marriages between people whose grandparents all lived 100 years or more.
Now here’s a stack of wacky ideas of mine. Continue reading
Last night I watched Peter Ustinov’s adaptation (1962) of Herman Melville’s story Billy Budd. In 1797, a young merchant seaman is drafted onto a warship, where his sweet nature is admired by all except Claggart, the cruel master-at-arms, who resents Budd’s inability to fear him (because Budd is too innocent to see evil in anyone). Continue reading