Viganella residents to get sunlight after 800 years but blind after five minutes of staring in amazement
By Dan Moren, MacworldDEC 10, 2006 4:00 pm PST
Eight hundred years ago, building a town in a tiny little valley in Italy probably seemed like a good idea. For one thing, it would be well-defended. For another it would be, um, pretty. But slowly, the residents of Viganella realized that they’d made a terrible mistake. You see, the 1,600 meter peak that bounds the town also has the nasty effect of blocking sunlight from reaching the village for 84 straight days during the winter.
But the people of Viganella had a dream .
Build a giant mirror —8 meters wide and 5 meters high—that would reflect sunlight into the town. The mirror itself is controlled by a computer that continually adjusts its position to reflect the optimal amount of sunlight.
Okay, I have a few questions. First off, are they entirely sure that a giant mirror reflecting sunlight is a good idea ? You’ve seen what happens when you put ants under a magnifying glass on a hot day. Aren’t they essentially pointing a death ray at their town? Secondly, how long do you think it will take for a citizen of the town to go permanently blind by staring at the giant illuminated mirror? My money’s on about five minutes.
We’ll see on December 17th, when the mirror goes into effect.