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The Unique Powers of a Mirror

Most people see a mirror as a common glass with no special qualities. However, mirrors have many spectacular uses most don’t know about.  Most of us take it for granted that we will recognize ourselves in a mirror. Although some of us cannot pass what is called a “mark test”. Scientists use a method of marking the face, then watching what the subject does in front of a mirror, to test for signs that they recognize themselves and try to rub off the mark. Most children developed self-recognition within 24 months of life, but in some third world countries it takes up to the age of 6. Just as most humans cannot pass this test, most animals cannot either.

Animals that pass the mirror self-recognition test include chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos, gorillas, elephants, bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, and European magpies. Mirrors are also used to calculate the distance to the Moon. The Laser Ranging Retroreflector was left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts, and is used to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Moon. It is essentially a series of corner-cube reflectors, a special type of mirror, which reflect a laser beam back in the direction it came from. These laser beams are aimed at the Moon from large telescopes on Earth, and their reflected light allows scientists to calculate the distance to the Moon with an accuracy of up to just 3 centimeters. Mirrors not only reflect laser beams from space but they can bend light waves, spread them apart, to create more light. This can also be helpful when needing to brighten up a room while keeping the electric bill low, just make sure the room has windows first!

Mirrors are even known to aid in time travel, using wormholes but we’re sure you already knew that. All you need is two uncharged mirrors in a vacuum, placed a few micrometers apart; making sure there is no external electromagnetic field. Now comes the Casimir effect which is a physical force arising from a quantized field between the two mirrors. This quantum electrodynamic force produces a mass-negative region of space-time between the mirrors, which could stabilize a wormhole, and allow travel at the speed of light.

So next time you call a Houston glass company be sure to ask more about the quantized field between two mirrors. If that wasn’t cool enough, mirrors also provide a false sense of a bigger space which can be great for turning a small room into a false larger room. Take for example, the House of Mirrors at the local carnival uses mirrors to create this multi-dimension space that seems to be never ending. By placing the mirrors apart and at certain angles it can cause the viewer to more space or more objects than there really are. Mirrors would be nothing without glass, which has been around longer then mankind has been making it; nature produces glass all on its own, on accident. When lighting hits sand, on a beach for example, it heats the sand up high and quick enough to mold it together creating a long piece of glass.

Now for commercial needs you would be better off calling a Houston Commercial Glass company instead of trying to wait around for Mother Nature. So next time you see a glass mirror think of all the incredible things it can do and the science behind it all.


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