What do you see?

What do you see? An alien sun rising over some distant desert landscape? Arid rivers marking the surface of Mars? Leave your guesses in the comments! #ISeeTheWorldWithScience  

Forests in Flames: Actually, this photo was commissioned by the United Nations to bring attention to deforestation from coca cultivation. Three countries account for the global cocaine production: Peru, Columbia and Bolivia. A study led by SUNY professor Liliana Dávalos showed that in a 5 year period, coca cultivation led to the destruction of 890 square kilometers of rainforest. That accounts for ~6 percent of rainforest loss, totaling 14,000 square kilometers, or an area slightly larger than Jamaica. Spraying with herbicide proved to be an ineffective deterrent: for every 30 hectares sprayed, only one was eradicated. In contrast, government protection of land seemed to prevent illegal growth of coca plants. 

Sunburned Eyes: Dilated pupils and red eyes are a visible sign of cocaine use. Curiously, cocaine was used to treat snow blindness, an extremely painful form of sunburn of the eye caused by UV radiation bouncing off snow cover. Did you know that British explorer Ernest Shackleton packed medicinal cocaine for his expedition to the South Pole in 1907 (see here for a fascinating pix http://goo.gl/W8Jo5). [Note: Shackleton came close, but did not make it to the South Pole. Later, his wife recounted : “The only comment he made to me about not reaching the Pole was “a live donkey is better than a dead lion, isn’t it?”] 

Snow Blind Friend:The Urban Dictionary defines Snow Blindness as Cocaine addiction, as heard in this poignant song by Steppenwolf: SNOWBLIND FRIEND live John Kay & Steppenwolf 1989

He said he wanted Heaven but prayin’ was too slow

So he bought a one way ticket on an airline made of snow

John Kay, the charismatic frontsman of Steppenwolf, was legally blind with a congenital disorder of cone cells leaving him with complete color blindness and only black and white vision.  

Ref: Forests and Drugs: Coca-Driven Deforestation in Tropical Biodiversity Hotspots. Dávaloset al.,  http://goo.gl/B1NVbs

Photographer: Javier Crespo, Leo Burnett Colombia advertising agency.


This entry was posted in Rajini Rao and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

147 Responses to What do you see?

  1. Wesley Yeoh says:

    blood vessels in the eye?

  2. Gregory Esau says:

    What a fascinating introduction that made me see that pic completely differently!!

  3. Azlin Bloor says:

    I have no idea but Wesley’s guess sounds good! What a fantastic read, Rajini, love the dead lion quote!

  4. Rajini Rao says:

    Good guesses! This photograph took me on a journey from coca plantations to snow blindness to Steppenwolf 🙂

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    Azlin Bloor , yes..that gave me quite a chuckle. I’m glad he had a sense of humor, as did his wife. The photo in the link brings out the gritty challenges that those explorers endured. On their way  back from the expedition, they nearly starved to death. 

  6. How fascinating!  Thank you so much for sharing these several stories in one post.

  7. Mark Herndon says:

    I SEE the Forest for the Trees ; )

  8. Rajini Rao says:

    I will admit to cropping the top/bottom of the pix a bit; even so, G+ readers are way too smart to be misled 🙂 

  9. Rajini Rao says:

    Mark Herndon , great answer 🙂

  10. Chad Haney says:

    Eye see what you did there Rajini Rao 

  11. Rajini Rao says:

    I was vein enough to think that I could fool you, Chad Haney .

  12. Rajini Rao says:

    Sabien Daems , you do..where, where? This photo did remind me of a chick embryo in development: http://umanitoba.ca/Biology/BIOL1030/Lab3/images/ChickEmbryo-5Dayc.jpg

  13. Chad Haney says:

    I hope I’m a good pupil, Prof. Rajini Rao 

  14. Rajini Rao says:

    You are clearly a man of vision, Dr. Chad Haney.

  15. Chad Haney says:

    Iris-t the temptation to call this a #punderstorn  but I think William McGarvey may lens a hand.

  16. Rajini Rao Looking at the tree like nerves, I got the idea it is an eye. The dark sun like pupil supported my imagination. But I couldn’t imagine, this is caused by cocaine. I highly appreciate your concern for rain forests.

  17. Chad Haney says:

    Rajini Rao always has a  cornea-copia of scientific facts.

  18. Rajini Rao says:

    R Prakash Prakash  Cocaine apparently makes the eyes blood shot, although it is hard to say if a close up of an ordinary eye would look pretty much like this too. My opthamologist always makes me see pictures of my retina and they look rather red and glowing!  

  19. Rajini Rao says:

    There is so much aqueous humor in these punderstorms! 

  20. Long waking hours may be!

  21. Sorry — for a moment there, I was blinded by delight, Dr. Chad Haney .

  22. Chad Haney says:

    I was sclera for a minute that you wouldn’t show up William McGarvey 

  23. Rajini Rao says:

    William McGarvey , Lol …but on the same post as Steppenwolf? :O

  24. One of your corneast lines yet, sir…

  25. About Steppenwolf, Rajini Rao — I knew you’d Hesse me.

  26. Rajini Rao says:

    You should have expected some back lash , William McGarvey , for that prime example of mondegreen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen#Examples_in_song_lyrics

  27. Chad Haney says:

    I need to focus on some other tasks. I’ll see you later.

  28. Interesting info. For curiosity, how exactly cocaine affects human body? Is there any other medical use of it?

    My thought – Asteroid falling on desert… 😀 #JustForFun

  29. Go easy on the rum, Captain Blood-shot. ;P

  30. “Spare the rod, and spoil the cone”, my Pappy used to say…

  31. Rajini Rao says:

    Jitendra Mulay , cocaine acts on the reward centers of the brain by blocking removal of dopamine. I had a post on the mechanism recently : http://goo.gl/1jVdga

    Cocaine was used as a topical anesthetic. I think it was a variant, though..not exactly the same form used for “recreational” purposes. 

  32. Rajini Rao says:

    Your pappy had some nerve , William McGarvey 🙂

  33. Chad Haney says:

    Snow Goggles made of ivory.


    Before there were sunglasses, the Inuits had snow goggles.


  34. Rajini Rao says:

    That’s a super cool looking iggaak , Chad Haney . I’d wear that. 

  35. Rajini Rao you are an equally well magician too… you misguide people’s attention by conjuring a false image first(alien, forest…etc) 🙂

  36. Got it, thanks Rajini Rao !

    Too sad I haven’t taken biology or neuroscience, it’s more interesting.

  37. Rajini Rao says:

    Guilty as charged, prabhat parimal 😉

    You can get your biology right here on Google Plus, Jitendra Mulay .

  38. Right. That’s why I’m on Google+, ultimate source of knowledge shared by expert friends. 😉

  39. Rajini Rao says:

    I omitted to link to the original photograph, Tom Willingham , as I cropped this a little bit: http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/united_nations_forest_in_flames

  40. Rajini Rao says:

    Tom Willingham , thank you for that link! I was wondering about the mechanism for the anesthetic effect. It appears to be a sodium channel blocker. 

  41. If we legalized and regulated cocaine like alcohol we could treat coca production like any other agricultural activity and bring it onshore and closer to demand.

    Of course that won’t stop people from burning rainforests to temporarily grow other cash crops. A family has to survive somehow :/

  42. JIMI W says:

    A close up photo of eye ball

  43. Tom Lee says:

    Rajini Rao great post as usual. Thanks!

    My first guess was a picture of blood vessels in some human organ. I could not spot the location in the body where the pic was taken.

    Yeah, Steppenwolf ‘s John Kay is color blind. Snowblind friend, one of my favs. Speaking of Kay and cocain, how about The Pusher ? :-)

  44. Rajini Rao says:

    Richard Healy , excellent points. Therein lies the problem: it’s complex. I read somewhere that more rainforests are denuded by the fast food industry’s demand for cheap soy for animal feed. We’re all in this together.  

  45. Rajini Rao says:

    Tom Lee , I’m in the mood for Steppenwolf. Just listened to The Pusher. 

  46. Ole Olson says:

    This is really cool. The curvature on top kind of gives it away, but a little photoshopping to stretch it out would confuse most folks. 

  47. Rajini Rao says:

    Now why didn’t I think of  ‘shopping this? Next time, I’ll be more tricky Ole Olson . 

  48. Pamela Wang says:

    Someone’s eye perhaps?

  49. Scott Kent says:

    The picture of the inner eye.

  50. Mary Gerald says:

    Oddly enough, I see 2 things at the same time.

    I see a fluorasene image of the vessels of an eye,

    and I also see very fragile trees

    reflecting into a small pond.

  51. Jay Stark says:

    the side of an eye

  52. Jim Carver says:

    That’s the last thing you see when the comet fries everything. In this case, a little coke wont hurt you.

  53. That’s a close- up of an eyeball! 

  54. Jim Carver says:

    Joshua Calloway That’s the most insightful comment I ever read. You should be in pictures.

  55. Ryan Foster says:

    It’s an eyeball. cracks are the blood vessels, and up top you can see the iris and pupil. Sorry, no alien suns today.

  56. I first saw bare trees through some kind of funky lense.

  57. Rajini Rao says:

    That’s actually the creative vision the advert group were trying to evoke. 

  58. Jim Carver says:

    It’s always about the masses and the money and very seldom about what needs to be done. They need to evoke some change in the way we do things or it will be the same as that comet I made up.

  59. Tif Walker says:

    super human, I suppose.

  60. I don’t have to guess; my ophthalmologist shows me these — right before telling me I need to spend more time with my contact lenses out!  ;D

  61. Rajini Rao says:

    Somewhere up in the comments I made the same remark, Sallie Alys Montuori . Except that he uses a fancy camera to take images of my retina and points out some random black shadows just for fun 😉

  62. LOL!  I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be deterred by the high count of comments; what fun I missed!

  63. Jim Carver says:

    Less than 3 relates to an IQ rating?

  64. Jim Carver says:

    Sallie Alys Montuori Usually if you toss the ones out with less than five or ten words there’s not much fluff to go through. I always read all of them, but most people don’t and then have no idea what I’m talking about because they didn’t read the a priori.

  65. Sunil Bajpai says:

    You filled me with confidence, but you blinded my eyes.

    You tricked me with visions of paradise…

    Thanks Rajini Rao for a great post!

  66. Don Stoddard says:

    paradise isn’t what you see, but how you see it

  67. One of the opening scenes of “into the void by nin” :p

  68. Eyes seen via new ones

  69. Cordell Lee says:

    That’s good to have in eyeball.

  70. 99 comments… time to mute the post

  71. Rajini Rao says:

    Mark Bruce , I agree! I saw this pix shared in social media and recognized what it was right away. When I did a reverse Google image search for attribution (missing in the shares, of course), I was captivated by the story behind it. I ended my journey with Steppenwolf, which was a bonus 🙂

  72. Sam Dixon says:

    Rajini I think you are so gorgeous. I know this doesn’t compare to the conversation that you and your friends are discussing, but I was so moved by your beauty.

  73. Doc Rajani says:

    Never had imagined,,,, I see eyes like this in real,.almost daily,!….great post indeed!

  74. some million years ago a poet was thinking about it at a bank of river overthere bcz his beloved died due to aridty


  75. Ken Romine says:

    It is what it is gods eye saddend by our selfishness kendg

  76. Greg Hill says:

    Looks like some one smoke to much weed last night

  77. Rajini Rao says:

    Not weed, cocaine actually Greg Hill (that’s the story behind the image). 

  78. Chad Haney says:

    Read the text, nah I’ll just comment.

  79. Rajini Rao says:

    Good morning, Chad Haney . He was close, though 🙂

  80. Greg Hill says:

    OK then is it too much corlen

  81. Chad Haney says:

    Good morning Rajini Rao you get a lot of people who don’t follow instructions so I was just messing around, as you know.

  82. Rajini Rao says:

    We’ll whip them into shape, Chad Haney  😀

  83. Chad Haney says:

    Must be the cocaine.

  84. blood vessels in the retina 🙂

  85. Esmail ja says:

    Very nice pictures

  86. Esmail ja says:

    Good evening. To all

  87. Rajini Rao you have great eyes for art!

  88. I think it’s the bottom of an eyeball, or something else

  89. ไอแอมเชไล้ทภาษาอิงลิส

  90. Toyia Berry says:

    Looks like am eyeball

  91. gerri perry says:

    That’s an eyeball.

  92. bahjat 1975 says:

    النار الی منکم

  93. Joe Gonzales says:

    Looks like a forest on fired, looks cool doe…

  94. nana afifi says:

    An eye post night shift

  95. DAVE TV says:

    Thex Dar lol! 👀

  96. This could be an eye with wide open lids, or a black hole sucking the alien forest.


  97. খুভ সুন্দর হয়েছে ।

  98. Meg Moses says:

    neurons  and synapses

  99. Sai Satyam says:

    its a sun rising on an alien planet

  100. Unde-water forest? Vascular, nerves,?

  101. I’m also a student of science just give the reality not imaginary

  102. It’s awesome to think about nature I think these is a art

  103. Lar Yungmann says:

    close up of an eye?

  104. I think it is zoomed picture of an eye ball or eye veind

  105. Lar Yungmann says:

    Abdul Qayoom Mangrio life imitates it’s planet

    Now I see plausibility of a deciduous tree-line (?)

  106. Lar Yungmann says:

    Abdul Qayoom Mangrio …in the Fall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s