Numlock Sunday: Rebecca Boyle on light and the night
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition. Each week, I'll sit down with an author or a writer, behind one of the stories covered in a previous weekday edition for a casual conversation about what they wrote.
This week, I spoke to Rebecca Boyle who wrote “The Dark Side of Light” for The Atlantic. Here's what I wrote about it:
It’s too bright out, according to scientists, and it’s disrupting the way the natural world works. Thanks simply to skyglow, the indirect illumination of light bouncing off the atmosphere, cities can be five times brighter than they would be under natural conditions, an effect amplified on overcast night when the reflection of the human light against the clouds can make a city sky be 1,000 times brighter than it otherwise would be. This effect means that city light pollution can still affect otherwise far rural areas, and something like 99 percent of the North American and European populations live under a light polluted sky. From 2012 to 2016, the area …