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No. 117: May-June 1998

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Light Makes Bright

As revealed in SF#116, the backs of our knees are strangely sensitive to light. Illumination of these regions somehow encourages our pineal glands to release melatonin. D. Jones has suggested a more direct way in which light can reach the pineal gland -- through our ears!

The pineal gland, which is believed to be the relic of the third eye that our distant reptilian ancestors possessed, is now buried deeply in our brains. But, it is possible that light could reach it through the ears by diffusing through the soft, translucent tissues that lead into our skulls. A commercial opportunity arises here.

Jones notes first that melatonin is a mood enhancer and stimulant. We all have read how depressed far-northern peoples become during their long winter nights; and we know first-hand how exuberant we are on bright spring days. Why not, asks Jones, manufacture "earlights" mounted on headbands? These would direct red light (which diffuses better through tissue) into the ears and thence to the pineal gland. People could thereby be made cheerful and enthusiastic whatever the season, weather, or time of day. We could dispense with all those mood-enhancing pills.

(Jones, David; "The Seeing Ear," Nature, 391:541, 1998.)

From Science Frontiers #117, MAY-JUN 1998. 1998-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987