Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Strange Phenomenon

Sunday night around 9 p.m., Kathy and I were flying over Washington, D.C., landing in Dulles to make a connecting flight to Newark. We were sitting on opposite sides of the airplane, and both noticed the same strange phenomenon. We didn't talk about it at the time, but I mentioned it to Kathy a few hours later, and she said, "You saw that, too?"

Here's what we saw: Lights in specific areas of the city were blurry -- but strangely, there were areas night nearby where the lights were sharp and distinct. The blurry lights--whether they were street lights, building lights, or the head or tail lights of cars -- looked somehow rounder than they should have, as if blurred by a computer effect. It made me think of how satellite photos of sensitive areas are blurred out by Google Maps... but, of course, these weren't photos. This was real life.

I've no idea what caused this. Atmospheric conditions seem the most likely cause, but there were also places we could see lights clearly. Other notions that crossed my mind were that the government had set up subtle cloaking technology over D.C., to help prevent attacks. Or, that were were actually staring down into Google Maps, and were experiencing The Matrix as we flew over (and landed in it, and are living in it, still). Maybe Agents will be after me just for writing this.

Anyway, I would have forgotten about it, if Kathy hadn't noticed it too, and independently of me. But now I wonder: Trick of the light and air, cloaking technology, or a privileged glimpse to see how far down the rabbit hole goes?



bastard central said...

you shoulda took the blue pill rob

Rob S. said...

Shit. I thought that was a Gas-X.

Anonymous said...

Most likely what you were seeing was thermals blurring the light passing through them. On the ground we see the same thing as a heat mirage. You can see the effect intensified a hundredfold if you look across the hot jet exhaust of a Navy fighter plane when it takes off.
Don't know what part of DC you were looking at, but it may be part of the urban heat island effect.