10 February 2008


In March 1993, the Northridge [California] Quake knocked out electricity to power grids in San Fernando Valley, affecting a million people. That evening police and fire stations received hundreds of frantic calls from panicked residents who reported a "toxic cloud" high in the newly visible night sky. Without light pollution to which Valley residents were accustomed, they misidentified a natural phenomenon experienced by humans through the millennia until the advent of electric urban lighting only a century ago: They were seeing the Milky Way in the night sky.

Homo urbanicus is indeed far removed from the natural world.

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