How do toy-makers make a product 10 times more appealing to kids? They make it glow in the dark!
When I was little, I dreamed of putting glow-in-the-dark stars on my bedroom ceiling. However, my mother had an aversion to glue, nails, tape, and anything else that marred the house’s painting surfaces, so my ceiling stayed a boring white. (My brother didn’t get his bust of Napoleon, either, but I think my mother turned down that idea because she feared it would fall off the wall and brain him while he slept.) It’s still my dream to have those stars, but now I want to paint them myself and create an accurate view of the night sky.
The nature of glow-in-the-dark stuff completely intrigues me! While bioluminescence exists in nature, it wasn’t until 1965 that we patented the glow stick. For the first few years, only the armed forces got to have proper dance parties and night-time semaphore meetings. In 1977, glow sticks got picked up by campers, night drivers, and rave-goers.
Here are some links about some of the weird things that glow in the dark:
- Why Civil War Soldiers Glowed in the Dark – There were myths about the civil war soldiers at the Battle of Shiloh who were visible after nightfall but it took one inquisitive high school student and his microbiologist mother to figure out what made them glow. Be warned: the reason is a tad bit gross.
- Glow-in-the-Dark Cats – In 2007 scientists began cloning cats and used glow-in-the-dark genes to help determine if the cloning was a success. They’re hoping to use these cats to push AIDs research and stem cell research forward. This is a short news clip from the first cloning experiment and shows the cats glowing a dull red.
- Glowing Pygmy Shark – National Geographic loves to showcase strange animals and they’ve recently discovered a new shark that glows in the dark to escape detection. Who knew? A bit of reverse logic, but it seems to work for this little guy.
- Glow-In-The-Dark Experiments – Want to feel a bit like a mad scientist yourself? Hubpages has a whole list of easy experiments that show you how to make your own luminescent writing, drinks, or geysers (yes, a geyser). These are great for kids, Halloween parties, and just any event that demands a bit of after-dark fun.
- Life’s Little Mysteries – This site completely answers all the little mysteries we encounter! I think I’m a tad addicted now. I have always wondered why manufactured products that glow in the dark are always green. Surely there could be more colors! If you’ve wondered this yourself, there’s finally an answer at this site.