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Why the f*%# do animals glow?!

I’ll get to the point: animals and fungi glow because they like to rave throughout the night.

jk.

The truth is, organisms glow for many reasons (raving being one of them).

Some animals glow as a form of counter-illumination. The firefly squid is one example of this. If a predator is swimming below the animal and looking up at it, it actually makes a dark background against the surface. When lighting up, the squid can blend itself into its surrounds a little bit better.

The light is produced is in photophores, basically an organ whose job is just to produce photons. The badass thing with this is that animals, instead of producing the photons themselves, will sometimes house a bacteria (Allivibrio fischeri) in the organ in a symbiotic relationship (=BFFs). In this case, it’s the bacteria that is actually bioluminescent.

anglerfish with bioluminescent bulb hanging from forehead

Take this anglerfish, for example…yes, it’s also the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. I bet rotting livers on dead people are more attractive. But the anglerfish DGAFs whether or not its body is attractive or ugly…because it’s that danging light blob that does the actually attracting. (Ever more precise: it’s the bioluminescent bacteria living inside the bulby organ.)

Lil’ fishes get curious when they see a light floating around in the ocean…and they go explore…and then they get eaten up by the ugly-but-efficient anglerfish. Work smart, not hard, says the wisdom of the anglerfish totem.

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U impressed bro?

Love. Ahhhh. The reason for being alive and the culprit for all of our friggin problems. We try to hard putting ourselves out there and also trying to play it cool.

Wouldn’t it be badass just to have your eyeballs light up whenever you found someone attractive? No need to be so vulnerable.

cat with glowing eyes
Yep, that’s tots bioluminescence.

Another reason why bioluminescence occurs is to attract a mate. This is one of the more commons reasons why animals (and fungi) barf out photons from various parts of their bodies.
bioluminescent barfing fish

Okay, so NOT literally. I actually have no idea what’s happening to that fish. Maybe it thought a glowstick was some Pop Rocks.

What I was referring to was insects like fireflies. Different species of fireflies light up in different patterns, just like morse code. This helps communicate to the ladies: “Hey babe, look how hawt I am, come on over!”

 

 

bioluminescent firefly up close micro
oh hai  (0_0)

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There are many more animals that are bioluminescent for the same basic reasons: to attract mates or defend against predators.

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Glow worms in cave
bioluminscent jellyfish in ocean
Comb Jelly
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Bioluminescent millipede

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glowworm closeup
Glowworms

Bolitaena_pygmaea_femaleTomopteriskils

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Bioluminscent plankton in ocean

bioluminescent insect gif

bioluminescent plankton in waves along shore

 

 

 

 

 

Surfing the Wavelengths of Consciousness

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All I wanted to do was to fly across the canyon that was in front of me me. I knew I could make it; the gorge was only about as long as a yellow school bus. The small river flowing along the bottom of the valley didn’t hinder my confidence one bit.

It didn’t take long before I gave it my first try. I took a running start and thrust myself off the side of the canyon. I spread my arms wide to enlist the help of my turquoise fabric wings. I barely glided that far out before I floated right into water below me. It wasn’t a bad experience, though. Not cold or traumatic in any way, especially considering how many people were now gathered around up above to witness me fall.

Before I realized what happened, I was back up on top of the canyon again, ready to give it another shot.

“Attention! Everyone, attention! Down here!” announced a girl’s voice down the canyon’s path to my right. She was about to try flying across the canyon also! Before I knew it she was soaring so smoothly across my field of sight. Coming from the far right, she gracefully flew past me with a hang-glider, towards the left, eventually past what I could see. If she had gone straight across the canyon, she would have easily made it…multiple times. But, show-off as she was, the finale of her act led to a Splash!

“Awwwwwwwwwwww!” The sequence of events happened outside of my viewpoint, but I still knew that she didn’t make it across. Silly girl.

I got ready to give it another attempt. But the damn people! It was starting to get crowded at Flight Canyon, and I was having a hard time trying to find an opening on this cliff side to depart from that correlated with an opening on that side to land on.

I saw my mother. Strange, I don’t see her that often and I rarely see her supporting me these days. Luckily there was an opening near her…and one close-by to me too. I quickly lined myself up, took a running start, and leaped into the air once again!

It was only until I was about a quarter of the way across that I realized I forgot to open up my wings. Without panicking, I spread out my turquoise cloth once again, and focused on my destination: the cliff closest to my mom.

As difficult as soaring across a canyon could be, I didn’t feel any pressure whatsoever. I was only focused on my goal.

Closer and closer I approached; I only focused on the opening at the other cliff. Although I had “wings,” they weren’t the ones that could flap. They only gave me that extra pause in the air that I needed. Patience was key here, not endurance.

Within feet of the opposite cliff side, I realized that I wasn’t going to land on top of my target. New plan: grab on to the side of the cliff! Surprised by my lightness, I grasped onto the rock formation a lot easier than expected. I wasn’t slammed into the corner of the wall; it was like my own intentions delicately placed me there. Holding on to the cliff just feet away from my mother’s feet, I easily pulled myself up and stood next to her.

Destination: complete.


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It was my turn to go. Why? Well, first of all, I already had the experience. This definitely would not have been the first time that I made a trip like this. Not only that, but I was ready to embrace the next events to happen. They seemed innate, even destined. My fishbowl-shaped hat was placed over my head completely; it feels so natural that I always forget I’m wearing an astronaut’s helmet. And…off I go! Instantly, I was surrounded on all sides by dark emptiness. I could see some sparkles off in the distance, but I wasn’t able to tell if they were stars, planets, galaxies, city lights, or something else.


I didn’t realize it at first, but everyone was so sex-crazed here. Inmates were constantly skinny-dipping or trying to find alone time. It wasn’t that easy though. Just because someone wanted to go fuck someone else on the backside of the patio, doesn’t mean that three more people won’t follow, in an attempt to join in. It’s difficult to recall clear recollections of this place.

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Now, the unusual part begins to happen. Not only am I a character, but I am also the narrator. How could I be both? Either I should be the character with the knowledge of what is about to happen, or I should stick to objectively noting observations, without riding the emotional roller coaster.

The sex-demented part of this journey is a near a finish, next comes the great escape. I am planning to flee this strange resort-like prison. However, right before I initiate my getaway, I distinctly remember an encounter. I held a bunch of small stones and was looking through them carefully. I noticed a small shiva lingam stone, about the size that my roommate back in the other world has…who also was a character in this crazy realm. I passed her the stone back and found another shiva lingam a little bit larger than the first, and kept that one on me.

My awareness shifted almost instantly. ESCAPE ESCAPE!! I became primal, like a gazelle that just realized the sound it heard in the nearby bushes was from a cheetah about to sprint towards its dinner.

I had to move deliberately and even perfectly; I knew that I couldn’t make any mistakes in this transition.

I saw a male and female running in front of me towards a fence on the far side of the prison grounds. Although the fence was mostly made out of tall wooden pieces, a small chain-linked segment materialized in their path.

As I approached the fence, I could sense there were people chasing me down…and slowly catching up. I knew that I still had enough distance between us that I could make the climb over the escape route.

It was now or never. If I didn’t make this obstacle in the next two seconds, I was never going to escape out of this hellhole. It was more than a judicial prison; it was the physical exhibition of my darkest self, the aspects that I aggressively wanted to avoid.

I leaped off the ground from a few feet away to give myself the highest start on the fence. Luckily I did, because I had a harder time pulling myself up than I thought I would. As I flipped over onto the other side—

I saw the female successfully make the initial escape and her male companion get pulled away by the enemy. She got up and bolted through the backyard to the neighborhood awaiting her journey on the other side of the house.

I feel a strange deja vu, like I was once an astronaut taking off from here. It was as if I was experiencing two separate moments at the same time, instead of them happening linearly. I time-travelled and I was standing in the portal, half of me on one side, half on the other. Time is a fascinating phenomenon, or maybe it’s just an imaginary paradox…

The next streets all feel like a dream to me. I am running…running…running… away from the negative, self-destructive recognizable past, but towards an unfamiliar, but definite opportunity.

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There is a girl running on the streets below me. She is alone in the neighborhood. The prison guards teamed up to make sure they had the male back at the chain-link fence checkmark. But they wouldn’t give up on the female. If anything, they wanted the female so desperately. They had to have her, but couldn’t yet.

The details to my past are foggy, but I know it’s worth leaving behind. Down one street, across the next, though another backyard and over the fence. I was running to freedom, whatever that looked like. This neighborhood was gloomy. The colors were barely perceptible, and it seemed like there was no life anywhere.

She was running dead smack in the middle of the road, past a fire station. I told her how Hawaiians are…

Are those my thoughts or someone else’s? Didn’t matter for long, because I saw what I didn’t realize what I was looking for: an opening. The street I was running down curved left in several houses, but there was also an empty lot straight ahead. It was the entrance to my exit…Only a park, a large grassy field with happy, playful people. I was too focused on escaping to actually see the smiles and watch the games, but I could just feel it. This was where I was supposed to be going towards.

I crossed the final turn of the street and ran across the grass. This park turned into an oasis, a giant meadow. I could see infinite grass to the left, a forest straight ahead, and rolling hills rippling to the sunshine to the right. I took off towards the grassy hills and ran…and ran…and ran…filled with warmth, sunlight, happiness, and freedom, I kept on going. I finally made it to my unknown opportunity. This is my escape.

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