Is The Light Bulb Ban A Bright Idea?

A new law that goes into effect on 01 January 2012 begins a ban on incandescent light bulbs starting with 100 watt bulbs and moving towards the lesser wattages over the coming years in an effort to save money.  The real question is, does the current replacement bulb, the compact fluorescent bulb, effectively replace the incandescent bulbs.  Has the bulb technology progressed to provide us with a suitable replacement.

Current compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFL’s, have claims of extraordinary lifespans but in reality the lifespans are vastly different between brands.  The CFL’s also are much more expensive than the traditional incandescent lamp.  The CLF’s also provide a different color light and are not suited for dimming applications or for lamps with multiple brightness settings.  CFL bulbs also have a much larger environmental and health impacts.  They contain mercury and cannot be cleaned up in the same manner as when a traditional bulb is broken.

 With all these drawbacks, it is necessary to look for more alternatives.  One alternative to the CFL is the LED bulb.  LED bulbs unfortunately have not progressed in technology to where they are a viable replacement for the incandescent or CFL bulb.  LED do require less energy and also have a much smaller impact on the environment (no mercury) but at the moment are nearly 50$ per bulb.  This extremely high cost puts it out of reach for just about any consumer, especially when the lifespan of the bulb is less than that of a CFL.

This brings up the issue of stop-gap measures.  Is this light bulb ban just another example of governmental propagation of environmental stop-gap measures? Or does it have a positive lasting effect on the environment?

Here is the link to the article I found in Popular Mechanics:  http://www.popularmechanics.

com/technology/gadgets/news/is-the-light-bulb-ban-a-bright-idea-6459591-2

Richard

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C’mon Baby Light My Fire

Since my father died long before my kids were born they only knew my mother as a single grandparent whom they called “Gee Em”. Her marital status was a matter of some concern to ZoeZoe: (Offering her grandmother a bedraggled weed pulled from her yard). Heres a flower for you, GM.GM: Oh, thank you, darling.Zoe: You can use it to get married.GM: ?!Zoe: You know, GM, you should get a Daddy. Hell fight the robbers, and if anything gets broken, he can fisk it.

Zoe was probably all of four years old at this time, but she had her ideas of marriage and the duties of a husband  pretty clear. Her role model for a “Daddy” was, of course, her own father. Not that he had ever been called upon to fight robbers, but judging from his insistence on all doors being securely locked at night and the fact that he owned a shotgun and knew how to use it, she felt pretty certain that he would be able to protect us.

As for the second qualification on his paternal CV – a “fisker” of broken things – that was something that he had demonstrated on innumerable occasions. From toys to car engines, electrical items to furniture , there was nothing her Daddy wouldn’t put his mind and hands to. What might have escaped her notice is that more often than not, Mummy was the slave labour utilized in these projects.

Why do men in general find it so hard to multitask? Put a broken item into a man’s hand and so much of his energy flows into his brain as he contemplates the damage, that his body  is too weak to  gather together the tools and materials needed to repair it. Thus, if Daddy was the ‘Ustaad’, then Mummy was the ‘Chota’. And it is the duty of the Chota to ‘fetch’.

After years of obeying commands beginning with “Bring me….I need……where are the……why don’t we have any……” I have learned to distinguish between nose-pliers, wire-cutters, adjustable  and pipe wrenches. Hell, I even know what an Allen Key is.   I pride myself on having every variety and size of screwdriver in my house. Insulation tape and solder wire, nails, screws and rawl plugs, Elphy, Samad Bond and wood glue, all have featured on my shopping lists along with vegetables, bread and eggs.

Being the Gofer for the repair of a portable article is comparatively painless.  The case is quite different when the job is ‘on location’ as it were, such as fixing a car engine or an electrical fault in the main box. Then the task takes on the aspect of a surgical operation, with Adi crouched , hunched or bent into a shape suitable for getting at the required part and me standing by to hand him what he needs. Invariably, the area in which the fault lies is not only almost inaccessible but also cloaked in darkness, so that a vital duty assigned to me  is holding a torch and aiming the beam where it is needed. How ironic that ‘carrying a torch’ for someone means  being passionately in love with them.  I have never come so close to murdering my husband than when I have been subjected to a constant stream of instructions on how high, how low, how near and how far to hold it, with the refrain: “ HERE, HERE, NOT THERE – WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Anyway, despite our conjugal DIY adventures, we are still together after 34 years, and with age, the Master Repairman has surrendered most of the jobs to others. However, once in a while, we find ourselves in a situation where there is no one else to call upon:

About three weeks ago, we had a new gas boiler installed, and kept having problems with it. The plumber came and adjusted the thermostat, but every now and then the flame would go out, and we would call upon  Cyrus, Zoe  or our live-in driver, Amjad,  to relight it. After a week of uninterrupted hot water supply, we assumed the problem had gone away. What we didn’t realize was that the faithful Amjad was relighting it every morning, unasked. Then he went on leave, and we woke up one morning to no hot water. Zoe was in Australia, Rachel was spending the night at a friend’s place, and Cyrus had already left for an early-morning appointment. I had to leave for school in an hour, and I really really needed a shower. The weather was still cold, so there was no way I was going to brave the chill of water that had sat all night in the overhead tank.

In order to light a gas boiler, you have to be young, supple, and have periscopic vision. There is a little door that opens at floor-level, and right inside, beyond your view, is the orifice from which issues the gas for the pilot.  It is at this orifice that you have to hold a flame while pressing down on a knob (outside the boiler) to release the gas. You exert pressure with the thumb of one hand, reach inside with a lit match in the other, and assume a foetal position to be able to see where the hell the pilot is.

Between us, we have a total of 138 years, one good knee, two whole lungs, three working ankles and four usable arms and hands. You will notice that backs are not in the list, so bending  was out. Armed with a torch (that bloody torch!), a mirror (to reflect the inside of the boiler) and long spills made out of rolled newspaper (for lighting the unreachable pilot), we set out through the back yard , never taking our eyes off the ground because this is where the dog performs.

Our quarry stood at the end of a narrow  covered passage, half of whose width is taken up by a cupboard and a wheelbarrow. This meant that we could only approach it in single file. Since I am the one with the good knee and the better part of the two whole lungs, I had to perform the manual labour while Adi, who has the technical know-how, stood behind  giving directions without being able to see the action.

I draw a veil over the scene that ensued. Suffice it to say that the boiler got lit, I had my shower, and we are still together.

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Street Lights they are a’ changin’. How will telescope light pollution filters adapt?

For the hobby of astronomy, the biggest obstacle of all time is light pollution. Hands down. The more lights in yiour area, the less you will see.

We try to fight it when we can. Petition for lights that reduce upward glare, maintain some dark sky locations, and advocate for limiting new lighted areas. But on an individual level, there is only so much we can do to fight light pollution.

One of those things is to employ a light pollution filter.

069

Light pollution filters work by blocking certain spectra of light while letting the imporant ones through. The light from stars, nebulea, and galaxies is pretty well measured and so has the light from our street lamps.  So by filtering out the spectra of the latter, you can provide the viewer with a nicer image of deep sky objects. These filters are not a substitute for dark skies, but they can help a lot when there are no other options.

However, light pollution filters depend on one thing: being able to block out those unwanted spectra.  They got a good handle on street lights, and the large lights that many retail centers might use, but it seems the street lights are changing.

I didn't ask for this!

I didnt ask for this!

Up until recently, street lamps illuminate using High Pressure Sodium Bulbs. These provide a good modicum of light for less electricity than an incandescent bulb would, and have a longer life as well. They give consistant light over their life-span (unlike fluorescent bulbs which can fade over time). The only disadvantage to using HPS bulbs is that they do take some time to turn on and become fully lit. But given the amount of time it takes for the sun to go down this has not been much of a disadvantage.

However, times are changing. As LEDs have become more and more economical many cities have been switching from HPS to LED bulbs. There are good reasons for this, as studies have shown that the broad spectrum light from LEDs allowed pedestrians to better see possible tripping hazards and car braking reaction times are much faster. LEDs also may have longer life spans than the HPS bulbs.

But light pollution filters were made to mostly to combat HPS street lights. Let me demonstrate the difference. Here is an image of a HPS street lamp in the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia:

2016-11-28-17-11-26

Note the heavy orange-ish tone of the light. This has been the standard for decades. Now look at an LED street lamp in Center City Philadelphia:

2016-11-28-18-11-41

Yeah, you might notice a bit of a difference there.

Now LEDs do have other advantages, like a possible energy saving ability to adjust to varying levels of moonlight. But it looks like they will be adopted more and more in the future, which may cause problems for astronomers who employs light pollution filters. They still will filter out much of the light that is produced by retail locations (which can be more problematic in some regions than street lights.

www.spectrum-scientifics.com

Mega Tiny Powerbulb – When light meets power!

 

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With all the smart and powerful devices flooding the market. Mega Tiny is another brand comes to our mind when we think about the internet of things without the internet.

They have really great product line starting from anti-gravity cases to chargers and cables but the recent product they have launched was really innovative in every area.

PowerBulb is the worlds first LED light bulb with dual USB ports that turns any lamp into a charging station.

Charge Any USB Device From A Light Bulb

PowerBulb is the worlds first LED light bulb with dual USB ports that turns any lamp into a charging station. We created the PowerBulb as a simple, elegant solution to the problems we face when looking for convenient ways to charge our devices.

With MegaSmart™ Charging, PowerBulb automatically senses and sends more power to the device with the lowest charge. And the dedicated on/off button on the bulb allows you to turn the light off while continuing to charge your devices.

No more extension cords under the couch or under the bed, no more losing charging adapters, no more power strips everywhere. The PowerBulb will charge any 2 devices simultaneously including iPads, tablets, smartphones, watches, Kindles, or any accessory that can be charged via USB charging cables.

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