Foster and Partners Teams Up with Lumina to Make the FLO Lamp

Meet the new line of fixtures from a partnership between British design firm Foster and Partners and Italian maker Lumina – the FLO lamp series – a table fixture and a floor fixture.  Sleek lines, low profile, LED sourced, and has an independently rotating head assembly for – well, for whatever you want!  There are a few key configurations – lamp and table, with some other product possibilities seeming like they might emerge.

What a strong form appearance!

Awesome!

The National Lighting Bureau Wants the Phrase “Artificial Lighting” to GO AWAY

Parental Advisory: Explicit Semantics!

I got an email yesterday from John Bachner at the National Lighting Bureau with a press release about something the NLB is fighting – the use of the phrase “Artificial Lighting.”  The NLB is not happy with the way that ‘artificial’ and ‘lighting’ get used together.  From the press release:

“This is not the first time we’ve attempted to eliminate ‘artificial lighting,’” said Bureau Executive Director John Bachner. “But no matter what we do, we see it every day.” He’s not talking about the illumination systems that make contemporary living possible – think how little would get done well or at all without lighting – but rather the term “artificial lighting.”

“‘Artificial lighting’ is a misnomer; it makes no sense,” Bachner said. “Artificial things aren’t real. Artificial leather is not leather. It may look like leather, it may feel like leather, it might even smell like leather, but it’s not leather. And the same could be said about artificial glass, artificial wood, and even artificial foods, like artificial crab and artificial cheese. They may be real something, but they’re fake whatever it is they’re trying to appear or taste or smell to be. That’s not the case with lighting.”

Bachner should know whereof he speaks. A National Lighting Bureau staff executive since 1976, he is a Harvard English major who has been published extensively on a variety of subjects, including proper use of the English language.

“The light we get from electric illumination systems is real light,” Bachner said. “There’s nothing artificial about it.” He suggested that the term “artificial” was applied to distinguish electric and other types of man-made lighting from “natural lighting.” “‘Natural lighting’ is also referred to as ‘daylighting,’” Bachner said, “but not all natural lighting is ‘daylighting,’ or – more appropriately – sunlight. The light we get from the moon is natural, as is the light we get from the stars and even swamp gas and lightning. Man-made lighting is predominantly electric, of course, but gas lighting is still used in places, as are torches made from tree limbs and kerosene-soaked rags, at least in the movies.”

Like many things in our lives, semantics means everything when it comes to the opinion of the masses.  What do you all think of this?

Read the entire NLB press release here:

National Lighting Bureau Calls for the End of “Artificial Lighting”

Remembering Chernobyl, 25 Radiation-FIlled Years Later

As many of you know, today is the 25th anniversary of the nightmare scenario that occurred on April 26, 1986 in Pripyat, Ukraine.  The Chernobyl nuclear power plant performed an experiment that day that somehow caused massive catastrophic failure of critical systems which then caused a catastrophic explosion of the reactor and reactor complex.  Highly radioactive fallout then traveled all over Europe, Russia, Belarus, and other places in that region of the continent.

Look at that image below.  That must have been one unbelievably crazy explosion – I remember designing a play in undergraduate school called Wormwood, about the experience of the firefighters (who were called “Liquidators”) at Chernobyl (which means Wormwood, funny enough), fighting this crazy nuclear fire.  I think back on that point in my design career wondering if even knowing what I know now about design now if I could have ever made that fireman’s monologue creepier.  What a nightmare.

A nightmare.  Sound anything like what’s happening at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant damaged by the earthquake and tsunami a few short months ago?  Perhaps not on the same scale, and let me say that it’s not on the same scale YET, but the fallout and problems of Chernobyl are evident in the disaster that’s taking place at the Fukushima plant.  It really, truly is a nightmare.  Children of children who were exposed to radiation from Chernobyl are experiencing terrible symptoms and mutations, cancer and leukemia.  Thyroid cancers.  Bowel cancers.  Blood cancers.  Babies from people exposed to the radioactive fallout are born mutated, changed, with a short future.

This little guy is a victim of a nuclear power accident:

I find that I can’t look at that little guy without wondering to myself if his little life is really worth electricity for the rest of us from the damage of nuclear power.  You have to understand something – I am not completely against the use of nuclear power in total – there are many uses for it, from medical to science and engineering, and on a smaller scale, generating electricity and light.  The use of sustainable energy sources needs to have a larger slice of the energy grid worldwide so that we can depend less on nuclear power and more on sustainable technologies like solar, wind, wave, and geothermal systems.  Look at Japan right now – Fukushima 1 (dai-ichi means Number One) has been classified as some rating on a scale that we’ve made up to show the severity of nuclear disasters.  The Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster has been given a seven on this scale, which is called the INES Scale, or International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.

There have only been two accidents worthy of being a seven on this INES scale – Chernobyl, and now Fukushima Dai-ichi.

This scale is a bit daunting.  The PDF of the INES rating scale is here, and it’s a PDF link.  I’ve grabbed some screenshots from it, but I recommend reading through it, as it isn’t a long read.

If you look at a “Major Accident” level event, or Level 7, you’ll notice the following:

Major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures.

Then, if you look at what some of the studies done by the UN have said about the grounds around Chernobyl, in Pripyat, and in the surrounding areas, you wouldn’t believe your eyes.  The radioactive products of the Chernobyl explosion were Iodine-131Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 – Strontium and Cesium have half lives that are around 29 years. That’s 29 years for the radiation to decrease by half.  Think of a large area of land that is pretty much uninhabitable – lots and lots of very negative things have come of Chernobyl:

  • Closed lake contamination in fish and other sea food for several decades at a minimum
  • Forest Food contamination (mushrooms, animals, nuts, berries, grains) for decades
  • Agricultural products (crops, cattle, grazing animals) contaminated for decades
  • Surface and ground water contamination
  • Once livable land rendered useless

Over 350,000 people were evacuated and resettled due to Chernobyl – and if you’ve looked at the map around Pripyat, the area wasn’t as populated as the area around the Fukushima Dai-ichi area is populated.  Have you placed Japan next to Russia?  There just isn’t a lot of land mass there to spare!  Can Japan afford to have a space that large unoccupied for that long?  There are 130 million people in Japan – where are a quarter to a half of those people going to go if the land is deemed uninhabitable?

 

I would be remiss if I did not admit that there are some serious issues to overcome with nuclear power generation, and even more remiss if I were to ignore the fact that right now it would take a pretty towering investment both in money and in land mass in order to switch Japan completely over to sustainable tech for its power generation.  The thing about nuclear is that it is pretty cheap up front, and in a very small dedicated space you can generate a lot of power, and 24/7 power, too – at some point, solar will stop charging for the day and you then rely on batteries, wind relies on – well – wind, and wave and tidal relies on the tides.  Geothermal power seems to be a very good opponent to nuclear; there is a whole lot of heat waiting for the taking for myriad uses under the ground – it could replace the need to generate heat with nuclear materials.

What’s the answer here?  Well, my answer is that I have no f***ing idea.  I know that we have a problem.  You know that we have a problem.  What are we going to do about it?  We need to be looking at energy storage technology, distribution technology, lighting technology, electrical technology, and somehow developing a way to tech around our energy problems.

Don’t you love how completely generalized that last statement was?  I know, but I also know that I wish in my heart that I could just sh** kilowatts for the world to have, too.

Some interesting links:

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s daily update page for the Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Plant Disaster

the Chernobyl Disaster

the UN’s Chernobyl page

the UN’s Assessment of the Chernobyl disaster

IAEA’s FAQ on Chernobyl


 

The Switch LED A-Lamp – Definitely the Most Unique LED A-Lamp I’ve Seen!

You know, for the most part, I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the designs of the A-lamp “replacement” LED lamps.  I’m not shooting my mouth off saying I have a much better design, but there is something about that diffused white globe atop the heat sink, which looks like a handful of fins.  I actually kinda like the heat sink design, the fins are neat.  If you’ve held one of those suckers when it’s been on for a while, that heat sink is HOT!  Not Jennifer Lopez hot, we’re talking George Bush’s ears while telling the nation that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction hot.  That is HOT!

I just turned onto a new design for the LED A-lamp from a company called the Switch Bulb Company – they are promoting an LED replacement A-lamp with a high CRI, a warm feel, and a pretty decent output.  The difference?  A lens-type “ball” atop the heat sink that shows each element and the heat dissipation gear inside.  It’s actually quite a beautiful design!  Check it out:

Pretty interesting design, huh!  Switch is offering three models right now – the Switch40, Switch60 (PDF spec link), and Switch75 (PDF spec link).  As you can probably guess, these 40, 60, 75 ratings are the replacement quantity of light per power consumption hint-hint to sell the “incandescent replacement” idea.  The Switch40 doesn’t have specifications online yet, but the Switch60 claims 830 lumens at 13 watts, and the Switch75 claims 1150 lumens at 16 watts.  Pretty decent!  That 830 lumens figure is pretty close to an 850 lumen incandescent at 60 watts in terms of efficacy – if you look at an 850 lumen 60W incandescent, the efficacy is about 14.2 lm/W, but the Switch lamp is putting out nearly the same output at 13W, giving a near 64% efficacy!

Switch is showing two general colors – a “warm” at around 2750 Kelvin, and a “Neutral” colored lamp, more than likely a bit higher in color temperature. I’ve requested to get my hands on one of these, let’s see if that happens or not!  I would love to see one up close!

Check out this quick little video:

POLL – How Do YOU Feel about the Incandescent Lamp Ban?

I’m really curious as to the general feeling of the incandescent lamp ban among the JimOnLight.com Community.  Simple polling among the 18-25 year olds where I am in the country seems to prove that most people either A) don’t have any idea what it is at all or B) they don’t really care either way, which is even more disappointing than them not knowing at all.

How do YOU feel about the systematic forced obsolescence of the incandescent lamp in our world?

(Hey, if you’re an RSS reader, could you come over and take the poll?  I’d greatly appreciate it!)

How do YOU feel about the Incandescent Lamp Ban?

  • I am PRO-CHOICE on Light Bulbs. (80%, 113 Votes)
  • I am ANTI-INCANDESCENT! (11%, 16 Votes)
  • What incandescent lamp ban?! (8%, 11 Votes)
  • I don't really care, I hate light anywayz. (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 142

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The State of Electronics – Karl von Moller’s Documentary on the Electronics Industry

Have you all heard about this cool documentary that’s being made by Karl von Moller?  Karl’s making a “State of Electronics” documentary on the history and progress of the Electronics Industry in Australia.  Electronics is a wide industry – but I think what a lot of people forget is that semiconductors is a large part of that industry, and semiconductors is a very large portion of the modern industries of light.  Solar cells, light emitting diodes (which I think I like calling “leds” a lot lately) and other optoelectronic components and systems.

That kind of blows my mind for a minute there – after going to Photonics West in SanFran this last January, I realized how little I actually knew about life.

Check out the first teaser for the State of Electronics series first:

State of Electronics – Trailer from karl von moller on Vimeo.

then watch this newer one – “Roll Call – State of Electronics,” which has Dave Jones of the EEEV Blog! (I love this dude, I could only DREAM of being that huge of a brain!)

Roll Call – State of Electronics from karl von moller on Vimeo.

Fill up your brain! Be full of knowledge and less full of bulls**t! :)

SausLamp – A Carbon Fiber Flexible Spine-Like Lamp Thing

This thing is pretty cool – meet the SausLamp from OFIS Arhitekti, a design firm based in Slovenia.  I feel ridiculous, but I had to go look up where that is!

SausLamp is a project that is being implemented into another of OFIS’ projects – a student housing project in Paris:

SausLamp is a design that has a sense of consistency – it’s modular, flexible, has essentially endless configurations (i mean, how many things can you come up with?) and gives the user a sense of individuality while somehow still keeping the uniform shape and form factor.  As you’ll see from the images below, OFIS has all kinds of fixture configurations already planned, from desk lamps to floor lamps to street lamps!

The fixture itself is a carbon fiber shell with steel joints.  SausLamp offers an optional opal filter for the opening of each head to further diffuse the light.  Pretty interesting in my humble light nerd opinion!

Check out the SausLamp:

bears a striking resemblance, huh!

Awesome!

Singer Sewing Machines? Nope, Lighting Fixtures and Musical Instruments. Awesome.

Please tell me you have seen this:

Sewing Machine Orchestra from Martin Messier on Vimeo.

Have you seen any more of this guy’s work? “This guy” (and I imagine the thumbs up pointing back at himself for some reason) is Martin Messier. Martin’s an artist, obviously, and his work is pretty darned neat. Check it out!

From the Vimeo video site about the video:

Sewing machine orchestra is the first version of a performance created by martin messier. the basic sounds used in this performance consist entirely of the acoustic noises produced by 8 sewing machines, amplified by means of microcontacts and process by a computer.

the microcontroller system also enable to use the sewing machines to affect certain parameters of the acoustic sound. the wheel, for exemple, can be assigned to the output volume, etc. machine’s mechanism can be activated by remote, using microcontrollers and a computer, without the need for any other human intervention.

these old objects has the effect of taking the imagination further, primarily through their evocative power. whether they remind of specific incidents or recall the relationship to such objects, few people remain indifferent when they see them.

this creation was made possible with the support of the canada council for the arts.

audio, light, performance : martin messier
electronic: samuel st-aubin

What A Fun… Unusual Cosmic Blast!

Have you seen the news stories about this “unexplained cosmic blast” that NASA’s Swift Satellite captured a few weeks ago?  NASA scientists have been checking out this crazy monstrous gamma ray explosion they observed back in March, but that continues to keep shining.  Typically these types of cosmic explosions go on for about an hour or so, maybe a little longer, but this one was huge and bright, with very high levels of radiation being emitted from the site.

Well, research is ongoing into this crazy little phenomena, but the general feeling towards this bright burst is that a star in another galaxy has gotten too close to its central black hole, and the black hole tore the star to smithereens – cosmic smithereens, that is.  I wonder if that’s the name of the new band by Jack Black and Judd Apatow.

When a star gets torn apart by a black hole like we think this one has, observers will notice a stream of radiation, light, and particles that makes a pretty good light show for a few hours.  This one has been going on for a few weeks, which is a bit puzzling, but scientists are thinking that we’re looking directly into the stream of light and particles that the star is giving off.  When a star is torn apart like this, a stream of light will be created along the star’s rotational axis – essentially we’re looking into a big bright stream of star destruction.  This is crazy pretty, no?

From an article at NASA’s Swift Satellite website:

That same day, astronomers used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to make a four-hour-long exposure of the puzzling source. The image, which locates the object 10 times more precisely than Swift can, shows that it lies at the center of the galaxy Hubble imaged.

“We know of objects in our own galaxy that can produce repeated bursts, but they are thousands to millions of times less powerful than the bursts we are seeing now. This is truly extraordinary,” said Andrew Fruchter at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

“We have been eagerly awaiting the Hubble observation,” said Neil Gehrels, the lead scientist for Swift at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “The fact that the explosion occurred in the center of a galaxy tells us it is most likely associated with a massive black hole. This solves a key question about the mysterious event.”

Most galaxies, including our own, contain central black holes with millions of times the sun’s mass; those in the largest galaxies can be a thousand times larger. The disrupted star probably succumbed to a black hole less massive than the Milky Way’s, which has a mass four million times that of our sun

Astronomers previously have detected stars disrupted by supermassive black holes, but none have shown the X-ray brightness and variability seen in GRB 110328A. The source has repeatedly flared. Since April 3, for example, it has brightened by more than five times.

Scientists think that the X-rays may be coming from matter moving near the speed of light in a particle jet that forms as the star’s gas falls toward the black hole.

“The best explanation at the moment is that we happen to be looking down the barrel of this jet,” said Andrew Levan at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, who led the Chandra observations. “When we look straight down these jets, a brightness boost lets us view details we might otherwise miss.”

This brightness increase, which is called relativistic beaming, occurs when matter moving close to the speed of light is viewed nearly head on.

I’m gonna hold off on stocking up for the end of the world another few weeks.  :)