Monday, October 25, 2010

Glowing trees, keeping the streets safe

"Can street lights be replaced by trees? Taiwanese scientists believe that they can using gold nanoparticles to induce luminescence in leaves." (http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/ChemTech/Volume/2010/11/leaves_glow.asp)

Far out!  The first mental image this conjures up for me is pretty spectacular. Luminescent, tree lined suburban streets. But, the mental image that follows includes confused lightning bugs, trees in continual photosynthensis and other bizarre consequences for the entire tree ecosystem. Plus, what does this mean for backyard astronomers?  Would it confuse airplane pilots?  I'd like to see this trees-as-streetlights idea explored in a sci fi film, complete with stunning visual effects.

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