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Bioluminescence and Sebald

Bioluminescent tobacco plant[Image: A bioluminescent tobacco plant, via Wikivisual].

Until I read this wonderful post over at BLDBBlog, I had completely forgotten the brief section in W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn where he writes about two 19th century scientists who wanted to “capture the bioluminescent properties of dead herrings and use that as a means of artificially illuminating the nighttime streets of Victorian London”. The post describes several recent and fascinating encounters with bioluminescence.

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  1. Have been watching a BBC documentary of ‘Wild South America’ Andes to Amazon:there are large termite nests that, just as the rains come, produce billions of moths, & then the other insects appear (they live in the same mounds)which feed on the winged ones; the worms, at dusk, glow a luminescent green from millions of small apertures across an extensive plain, truly a spectacular, & surreal sight. Lighting a city that way
    might prove to be rather uncomfortable..

    September 18, 2009

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