Go Great Circle

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Eyes Have It

Little Rock:  As part of my preparation for my radio talk with Dorothy Graves of the Science Cafe -- on our local NPR affiliate KUAR FM89.1 -- November 26, 2013 - about all things related to vision, I have revisited some of my poems and favorite quotes related to sight.  This is a smorgasbord of eye stuff:

Ode to the Eye: 1991
Patterned on the backmost curvature of eye, The great Retina-Dome, Rod and Cone—Inner-Cup Coliseum captures the illumined world and decodes with the aid of some many million R & C sense-cell minicams.

Do you remember rod and cone cells?

Bio 101 Refresher:

Consider your eye in form

A lollipop, with
lash attached and leering from the bone
like the part of a clam which shows,
between the parted shells:

Stereo tadpoles

bulbous in the skull;
tails streaming backward
at your brain …

Consider your eye, this time within:

of the Houston Astrodome.
(This works best while lying on your back)

The spanning bubble roof with the skylight hole

corresponds to your iris,
The coliseum wrap with arena base –
your retina.

Billy Graham is preaching.

Every inch of stadium is full.

The CONE-heads in the center all wear

colored shades and sip a chosen hue:
lemonade, cyan, or red.
The RODgers on the rim
are colorblind and love dim rooms.

Now do you remember Rod and Cone cells?

The greater part of poetry would celebrate
the lesser part of any eye:
A marble-colored muscle, shinning life
and riveting our gaze.
But …
REAL seeing is a corporate vision.
The sum of each myopic rod and cone,
Siphoning a pixel, feeding a mosaic.

Remember –
Your first act of faith
is believing what you see.


Links related to sight and light, from the Journals of the Kirk:


What any eye is, God only knows.
( George McDonald )

Girl with the crystal chip eyes
You look into mine 
and affirm to me worth
Sharing an ember through glass.

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated; but I may remark that, as some of the lowest organisms, in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive elements in their sarcode should become aggregated and developed into nerves, endowed with this special sensibility.

Charles Darwin: the Origin of Species. "Organs of extreme Perfection and Complication."

Note: I read from browsing on the Internet, that Evolutionists show that Creationists distort Darwin’s intent when they quote the first part of his eye-comment, but fail to include the latter. I don’t want to distort his intent -- nor affirm his view, but I will join him in his incredulity.

Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when you will you be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear: He that formed the eye, shall He not see?
Psalm 94:2

Here is a monument that rises up behind us.
Here the sun falls severing the radiant dome of white,
piercing blue above – and below,
Here is the muffled throb of tourist,
as we move in and out of each other’s blurred snapshots.

Steve Scott—excerpt, Snapshots of the Taj.

His eyes are as the doves of the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes.
Song of Songs 5:12, 4:9

(If she could do that with one, just imagine what she’d do with two)

The most amazing component of the camera eye is its "film" or retina. This light sensitive layer, which lines the back of the eye ball, is thinner than a sheet of Saran-Wrap and is vastly more sensitive to a wider range of light than any man made film. The best man-made film can handle a range of 1,000-to-one. By comparison, the human retina can handle a dynamic range of light of 10 billion-to-one and can sense as little as a single photon of light in the dark! In bright daylight, the retina bleaches out and turns it's "volume control" way down so as not to overload.

The light sensitive cells of the retina are like an extremely complex high gain amplifier. There are over 10 million such cells in the retina and they are packed together with a density of 200,000/mm{2} in the highly sensitive fovea. These photo-receptor cells have a very high rate of metabolism and must completely replace themselves about every 7 days! If you look at a very bright light such as the sun, they immediately burn out but are rapidly replaced in most cases. Because the retina is thinner than the wave length of visible light it is totally transparent.
(OOps I can not now find where I "borrowed this from.)

The eye is the lamp of the body. 
If your eyes are good, 
your whole body will be full of light, 
but if your eyes be bad, 
your whole body will be full of darkness. 
If then the light within you is darkness, 
how great is that darkness. 
Jesus. (Mathew 6:22-23)

I did not know that I was blind until I looked into your eyes… (Lyric fragment, Randy Stonehill)  

Brenda, your camera never lies …
(lyric fragment, Bill Malone – Vigilantes of Love)

Vision Variety Show

Should any venture this way, before 6PM Central, November 26th, 2013.... I will be part of a radio show, followed by a live panel discussion with the Science Cafe -- about all things related to the eye, photography, and vision at large - tonight on KUAR (local NPR affiliate) FM89.1   See link.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013


While gilding the lily (or the gardenia or the rose) may add nothing to its glory, and be a waste at that, some applied spray-paint does allow us to see the form of the flower afresh.