So, that magical trickster Harry Potter may not be the only one to skulk, sneak or slink under the cover of invisibility with his fancy cloak. The cloak anonymously given to Harry by Hogwarts Professor Dumbledore one Christmas, may have spawned a slinky copy at Berkeley University. It now seems that frippery that makes you fade could have a future.
Amateur magicians, sleeping office workers or those hell-bent on performing dastardly deeds in the future, may demand drapery for disappearing as de rigueur.
Those clever light-meisters at Berkeley University have been able to manufacture a thin fabric that wraps around an object and makes it disappear. Harry’s cloak is possibly made from the hair of a Demiguise – a creature that can become invisible (a bit like my dog when we walk.) Demiguise hair is a bit thin on the ground in California, so those at Berkeley’s Material Sciences Division have chosen nannoantenna (teeny weeny gold block thingies) as their material of choice for their cloak of invisibility. The nannoantenna interfere with light waves and cause them to reflect as though off a flat surface like a mirror although the surface is rippled.
The problem now, is that for us un-magic types, in order to don such non-detection garb, we would have to be the size of something we can hardly see – like a few cells – which renders the exercise useless (unless you are a prank loving cell.) However, to paraphrase Xiang Zhang the bright Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering, in tomorrow-land we will be able to make big stuff disappear.
Personally, I don’t need it. I can walk into numerous, Nameless department stores seeking help and become the victim of an elaborate disappearing act, perpetrated by sales staff whereby they don’t see me and I don’t see them.
Although, in the event of inadvertently opening my front door to pushy, perambulating, telecommunications sales folk, then I’d like to order two cloaks, size ten when you have them thanks – one to put over me and one to put over them.
Tony Abbott must have also felt as though he had sunk below an invisibility cloak, Monday week ago. One minute he was the highly visible, battle-scarred master and commander of the scurvy ridden, mutinous, frigate HMRS Oz. The next minute the Malcolm Turnbull dreadnought cannoned him out of the water sweeping him to oblivion. No doubt Tony was crying “Frig it, frig it” as he slipped beneath the waves.
Unfortunately, also slipping beneath the waves are the islands of the Pacific. The oceanic version of the cloak of invisibility is encroaching alarmingly on their shores. Taro Island, part of the Solomon Islands may be the first provincial capital in the world where the inhabitants have to abandon their homes, as the rising sea casts its inky reflective surface over the coastal areas as though they have never existed.
Lucky that good old Australia won’t disappear too soon will it Peter Dutton? So I can feel relieved that when I walk Jack, he can happily roam and disappear and then reappear. He hasn’t got a cloak, but I think he is related to the Demiguise. I think he enters a parallel realm where he is out of my tyrannical control. He returns with a smile on his dog face and we go home much happier for the experience.
There are certainly times when we wish that we could vanish beneath a veil. Examples of good times to dive under your creepy cape are: Your turn to pick up your teenagers from a party at 2.30 in the morning – invisibility cloak. Carting Cayden the carsick kid, to footy in the hills? – invisibility cloak. You have nothing to wear – invisibility cloak (be careful to wear underwear for this one.) Sneaking into work half an hour late, because jeez it was hard getting’ outta bed – invisibility cloak.
Of course these valuable reasons, like saving you from a rampaging boss are not the only ones for the development of invisibility cloaks. Other uses range from superfast optical computers, 3D displays and high resolution microscopes. Unfortunately, humans being what they are also list applications for bloody warfare. In this they should heed the words of Dumbledore who urged Harry Potter to “use it well.”