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Fungi- ancient bulbs?


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#1    Ichihara

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 11:07 AM

The Turtle (also called the American Turtle) was the world's first submersible with a documented record of use in combat. It was built in Old Saybrook, Connecticut in 1775 by American Patriot David Bushnell as a means of attaching explosive charges to ships in a harbor.

Six small pieces of thick glass in the top of the submarine provided natural light.[5] Illumination while submerged was provided by a piece of cork that gave off a fungus-powered bioluminescent foxfire. During trials in November 1775, Bushnell discovered that this illumination failed when the temperature dropped too low.

http://en.wikipedia....le_(submersible)

Foxfire, also sometimes called "fairy fire", is the bioluminescence created by some species of fungi present in decaying wood. The bluish-green glow is attributed to luciferase, an oxidative enzyme, which emits light as it reacts with luciferin.

The oldest recorded documentation of foxfire is from 382 B.C., by Aristotle, whose notes refer to a light that, unlike fire, was cold to the touch. The Roman thinker Pliny the Elder also mentioned glowing wood in olive groves.[3]

At the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, foxfire was used for light on the Turtle, an early submarine.[4]

http://en.wikipedia....bioluminescence)


could it be that ancients used them as illumination?


#2    Peter B

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 11:43 AM

I have no idea. But it's a fascinating thought.


#3    Bennu

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 11:53 AM

Yeah you would think that somebody else before Aristotle and Pliny the Elder would have noticed the glowing wood at some time in history wouldn't you. However, since theirs were the first known mentioning of it, apparently nobody actually used it for lighting, probably because lamps were so much brighter and convenient. I did read, though, that Egyptians would use a series of shiny metal mirrors to reflect sunlight to the interiors of structures they were decorating with inscriptions, to prevent soot from torches dirtying up the walls.


#4    Ichihara

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:13 PM

bennu
what about heat? what about safely dreaming without fear of being fry?  and lack of evidence for fire use in temples, tombs etc.

Edited by Ichihara, 10 August 2014 - 12:16 PM.


#5    aquatus1

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:29 PM

Can you even read by foxfire?  I know it glows rather dimly, but I can't imagine it has enough light to see anything by.


#6    Ichihara

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:36 PM

At the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, foxfire was used for light on the Turtle, an early submarine.

i think you could read.

Edited by Ichihara, 10 August 2014 - 12:38 PM.


#7    aquatus1

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 12:51 PM

View PostIchihara, on 10 August 2014 - 12:36 PM, said:

At the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, foxfire was used for light on the Turtle, an early submarine.
i think you could read.

As it turns out, that Wikipedia entry was incorrect.  I have corrected it.

Benjamin Franklin did not suggest foxfire for the Turtle.  David Bushnell, the designer of the Turtle, affixed small pieces of woods with foxfire to the needles of the barometer and compass, so he could navigate in the dark.  Unfortunately, the cold temperature rendered the fungi inoperative.  His friend, Benjamin Gale, sent a request through another friend, asking Benjamin Franklin for suggestions for other methods of illuminating the instruments.

From what I have read regarding fungi over the last hour or so, I have found claims of fungi bright enough to read by, but I haven't found any actual examples or first-hand reports.  Extremely bright fungi seem to be the 50-foot shark of the bioluminescent world; everyone knows it is out there, but no one has ever seen it.

Edited by aquatus1, 10 August 2014 - 08:34 PM.


#8    Ichihara

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:44 PM

View Postaquatus1, on 10 August 2014 - 12:51 PM, said:

As it turns out, that Wikipedia entry was incorrect.  I have corrected it.

Benjamin Franklin did not suggest foxfire for the Turtle.  David Bushnell, the designer of the Turtle, affixed small pieces of woods with foxfire to the needles of the barometer and compass, so he could navigate in the dark.  Unfortunately, the cold temperature rendered the fungi inoperative.  His friend, Benjamin Gale, sent a request through another friend, asking Benjamin Franklin for suggestions for other methods of illuminating the instruments.

From what I have read regarding fungi over the last hour or so, I have found claims of fungi bright enough to read by, but I haven't found any actual examples or first-hand reports.  Extremely bright fungi seem to be the 50-foot shark of the bioluminescent world; everyone knows it is out there, but no one has ever seen it.

can you give links, sources about turtle?


#9    Noteverythingisaconspiracy

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:58 PM

View PostBennu, on 10 August 2014 - 11:53 AM, said:

Yeah you would think that somebody else before Aristotle and Pliny the Elder would have noticed the glowing wood at some time in history wouldn't you. However, since theirs were the first known mentioning of it, apparently nobody actually used it for lighting, probably because lamps were so much brighter and convenient. I did read, though, that Egyptians would use a series of shiny metal mirrors to reflect sunlight to the interiors of structures they were decorating with inscriptions, to prevent soot from torches dirtying up the walls.

View PostIchihara, on 10 August 2014 - 12:13 PM, said:

bennu
what about heat? what about safely dreaming without fear of being fry?  and lack of evidence for fire use in temples, tombs etc.

With the mirrors they had available in ancient Egypt I don't think there is much chance of being fried. You need some kind of parabolic mirror to get enough heat for frying people. The use of a flat mirror is a perfectly feasible explanation for how they did it. I don't know if they did use this method but I don't see why they couldn't ?

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#10    aquatus1

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 09:02 PM

Sure.  Here's a link to the correspondence.  You'll find the first reference to fox fire in the first letter.  Towards the bottom of the letter, you'll also see that Franklin was consulted regarding the underwater explosives Bushnell was developing, which is what probably led to the confusion.

Now, I did read an interesting article about new genetically engineered fungi being sold as a novelty product, but I still don't think they are quite at a reading level just yet.

Edited by aquatus1, 10 August 2014 - 09:08 PM.


#11    Harte

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 09:04 PM

Given the abundance of ancient lamps that have been found, the use of fungi seems unlikely.

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#12    aquatus1

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 09:04 PM

Mirror to light interiors do seem to be another one of those things everyone assumes were real, but that don't have any actual evidence behind them.


#13    Bennu

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 09:37 PM

View PostNoteverythingisaconspiracy, on 10 August 2014 - 08:58 PM, said:

With the mirrors they had available in ancient Egypt I don't think there is much chance of being fried. You need some kind of parabolic mirror to get enough heat for frying people. The use of a flat mirror is a perfectly feasible explanation for how they did it. I don't know if they did use this method but I don't see why they couldn't ?

I think Ichihara meant the lamps, rather than the mirrors. Lamps would certainly be more dangerous than fungi.

It was an interesting idea, Ichihara. Sadly no records of it exist so it will remain just an idea. It was a novel idea though. I hadn't thought of such a possibility before. These glowing fungi are not common knowledge. This is actually the first I've heard about the glowing wood fungus. I knew there were mushrooms that glow, but they would be very fragile and short lived I would think. You couldn't really keep them around for any length of time. Probably not much fungus growth in Egypt, though. Rather dry conditions. They also didn't have much wood.

Edited by Bennu, 10 August 2014 - 09:38 PM.


#14    Trovan

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 09:39 PM

Myth busters did an episode on the mirrors and they were fairly unsuccessful.  They determined that you needed something to disperse the light rather than just focusing mirrors.



#15    Bennu

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:20 PM

View PostTrovan, on 10 August 2014 - 09:39 PM, said:

Myth busters did an episode on the mirrors and they were fairly unsuccessful.  They determined that you needed something to disperse the light rather than just focusing mirrors.

Maybe they just used very clean-burning lamps instead of torches.





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