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A dazzler is a directed-energy weapon intended to temporarily blind or disorient its target with intense directed radiation. Targets can include sensors or human vision. Dazzlers emit infrared or invisible light against various electronic sensors, and visible light against humans, when they are intended to cause no long-term damage to eyes. The emitters are usually lasers, making what is termed a laser dazzler. Most of the contemporary systems are man-portable, and operate in either the red (a laser diode) or green (a diode-pumped solid-state laser, DPSS) areas of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. It is a form of luminescence. In most cases, the emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation. The most striking example of fluorescence occurs when the absorbed radiation is in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum, and thus invisible to the human eye, while the emitted light is in the visible region, which gives the fluorescent substance a distinct color that can only be seen when exposed to UV light. However, unlike phosphorescence, where the substance would continue to glow and emit light for some time after the radiation source has been turned off, fluorescent materials would cease to glow immediately upon removal of the excitation source. Hence, it is not a persistent phenomenon.
In China, some people carry willow branches with them on the day of their Tomb Sweeping or Qingming Festival. Willow branches are also put up on gates and/or front doors, which they believe help ward off the evil spirits that wander on Qingming. Legend states that on Qingming Festival, the ruler of the underworld allows the spirits of the dead to return to earth. Since their presence may not always be welcome, willow branches keep them away. In traditional pictures of the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin, she is often shown seated on a rock with a willow branch in a vase of water at her side. The Goddess employs this mysterious water and the branch for putting demons to flight. Taoist witches also use a small carving made from willow wood for communicating with the spirits of the dead. The image is sent to the nether world, where the disembodied spirit is deemed to enter it, and give the desired information to surviving relatives on its return. The willow is a famous subject in many East Asian nations' cultures, particularly in pen and ink paintings from China and Japan. A gisaeng (Korean geisha) named Hongrang, who lived in the middle of the Joseon Dynasty, wrote the poem "By the willow in the rain in the evening", which she gave to her parting lover (Choi Gyeong-chang). Hongrang wrote: "...I will be the willow on your bedside."
In Japanese tradition, the willow is associated with ghosts. It is popularly supposed that a ghost will appear where a willow grows. Willow trees are also quite prevalent in folklore and myths.
In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travellers. The Viminal Hill, one of the Seven Hills Of Rome, derives it name from the Latin word for osier, viminia (pl.).
Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called "Under the Willow Tree" (1853) in which children ask questions of a tree they call "willow-father", paired with another entity called "elder-mother".
Old Man Willow in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, appearing in The Lord of the Rings.
"Green Willow" is a Japanese ghost story in which a young samurai falls in love with a woman called Green Willow who has a close spiritual connection with a willow tree.
"The Willow Wife" is another, not dissimilar tale.
"Wisdom of the Willow Tree" is an Osage Nation story in which a young man seeks answers from a willow tree, addressing the tree in conversation as 'Grandfather'.
In "The Secret of Salix Babylonicus," set in the Babylonian exile, the willow is portrayed benignly as a symbol of sympathy in grief and perseverance in suffering, an upright character who shows solidarity with the exiles and comes to express the spirit of the psalms.
The "Whomping Willow" is a feature of the grounds of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter stories. In Central Europe a "hollow willow" is a common figure of speech, alluding to a person one can confide secrets in. The metaphor was used e.g. in the poem Král Lávra (King Lear) by Czech poet Karel Havlíček Borovský (1854).