Fukushima, the Continued Nightmare — Get Ready to Freak the F*ck Out

tepco-fukushima-daiichi

Some readers wonder why I find these kinds of stories important.  I normally don’t answer those kinds of emails because I cannot ever think of something to say that doesn’t typically start with what in the world makes you think the continued poisoning of our planet to make light is not somehow important?! so I usually just don’t answer back.

Ah, well.  Everyone has their priorities, right?

Check out this VICE News documentary on the current nightmare fuel taking place right now at Fukushima Daiici power plant in Japan.  Holy shit.

Can the Little People (ie, US) Beat Xcel Energy in Boulder? These People Say YES

xcel-energy-sucks

Xcel Energy, the people who started up the Colorado solar-to-home movement only to withdraw from it quicker than John Wayne Bobbitt lost his wang, are back at the douchebaggery again.  This time, a group of very smart and very environmentally conscious people called New Era Colorado is putting the kibosh on their plans for coal-fired world domination.  Check this out:

From the video page:

This is a grassroots David and Goliath campaign to create a landmark model for how communities can take control of their energy future: http://igg.me/at/localpowerYou can support this effort on Indiegogo:http://igg.me/at/localpower

This is pretty great.  These folks are simply trying to stop the mass amounts of money from flowing into the pockets of the “we don’t give a shit” power brokers and back into the hands of the community, and to save the Earth one city at a time.  Can you imagine what would happen if this works?  I for one would love to see solar panels and wind turbines out en masse instead of coal fired plants spewing black death into the atmosphere.  But, that’s just me.  I’m sure the Xcel Energy executives need their Mercedes and homes in the Hamptons, too.  Right?

Check out the Campaign for Local Power’s IndieGogo campaign.  Feeling frisky?  Donate ten bucks, you’ll literally change the world.

From the IndieGogo campaign website:

Back in 2011, our community did something no other community had ever done before: we voted to explore taking control of our power supply for the sole purpose of lowering our impact on the planet. Xcel Energy spent nearly $1 million dollars on that election, but lost–because a committed group of community advocates and a small nonprofit that engages young people in politics won the day. Outspent 10-to-1, the grassroots coalition registered voters, knocked on doors, and made thousands of phone calls.

With voter approval, the city launched an extensive analysis and found that it could get cleaner, cheaper power that was just as reliable all on its own.

But now, Xcel is back, with a misleading initiative they’ve helped place on Boulder’s fall ballot that would stop the city’s formation of a local electric utility dead in its tracks. Their ballot measure is masquerading as a way to reduce government debt, but it’s really just a dirty trick–the measure includes impossible, even illegal, requirements that would stall out the very process voters already approved.

They’re back to undermine our local process, because the city’s findings made it clear that they stand to lose more than the $35 million dollars in profits they make annually from Boulder. They know that Boulder is on the verge of setting a precedent of national significance that would threaten not just Xcel, but the very core of the coal energy’s business model–not to mention that industry’s billions of dollars in profits.

We out-organized them in 2011, and we know we can again in 2013 if we have the resources to achieve the reach we need. Boulder has already voted to move forward–this fight is about keeping the coal industry from holding us back.

Can you help these smart people defeat the coal giant in the region?  Like New Era Colorado on Facebook, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.  Xcel Energy will not.

The Light of War – Helicopter Blades, Dust, and Static Electricity Make St. Elmo’s Fire

Some people call the magical light that emanates from helicopter rotor blades that are changing pitch at night in the desert “fairy dust.”  Others call it “St. Elmo’s Fire.”  War correspondent Michael Yon called it the “Kopp-Etchells Effect,” for two soldiers that died in the battleground of Afghanistan — Benjamin Kopp and Joseph Etchells.

From an article at NPR, written by Robert Krulwich:

Corporal Benjamin Kopp was shot in 2009 during a battle in Afghanistan and died of his wounds just over a week later. He was 21. He’d had already served for three tours and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Because he had put himself down as an organ donor, his heart was quickly transplanted into a 57-year-old Illinois woman named Judy Meikle, who told The Washington Post, “How can you have a better heart? I have the heart of a 21-year-old Army Ranger war hero beating in me.” Other organs went to other recipients.

Joseph Etchells was also a corporal, but in a different army. He was a fusilier in a British regiment, also assigned to Helmand Province. He was 22 and died the same week as Benjamin Kopp. This was also his third tour of duty, and he was killed by a roadside bomb.

Photographer Michael Yon attended his battlefield funeral, a small affair where fellow soldiers removed the colorful feathers they wear in their caps and tossed them onto the Helmand River, “the same waters where ‘Etch’ used to swim after missions.” At the ceremony, Michael was told that Cpl. Etchells had wanted to be cremated, “then loaded into a firework and launched over the park where he used to play as a kid.” As nutty as it sounds, his friends say that was his choice. I checked the Manchester papers. There was a funeral. Thousands gathered at the church, so many they had to set up speakers for those who couldn’t fit in. But there were no “fireworks” …

Even in war, there is light.  Every time I write about something having to do with war and death, I am always reminded of my buddy Boz who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, two weeks before he was finished with his tour.  I met Boz working a trade show at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX.  What a cool dude you were, Boz.

Boz, this one’s for you.

These images below are amazing when viewed at full size.  Just click on each one in the gallery below.

fairy-dust-helicopter-6

fairy-dust-helicopter-5

fairy-dust-helicopter-4

fairy-dust-helicopter-3

fairy-dust-helicopter-2

fairy-dust-helicopter-1

A Random Snowstorm Video to Break Up the Summer Heat

from http://media.trendland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/simon-beck-snow-art-2.jpg

from http://media.trendland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/simon-beck-snow-art-2.jpg

It was hot as hell this week here in Ohio. You know those mornings when you wake up feeling like you just worked a whole night loading in a show because it was so hot and humid the night before?

Yeah. I was on a summer tour where our bus driver kept forgetting to reset the air conditioner after plugging into shore power. It was July. Those mornings SUCKED!

In my quest to get all of this old video processed, here’s a few minutes of a snowstorm from Denver that I must have grabbed back in 2009… enjoy its cold frostiness!

A Random Snowstorm in Denver, 2009 from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Bruce Munro Makes Nature Better with Light, Again

bruce-munro-cheekwood

World-renowned light artist Bruce Munro is back on the scene with an installation at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum, Nashville, Tennessee – and once again, he’s taken some color, a smidge of light, and improved upon the night time viewing of life in the park.  When asked about his experience in the park, Bruce Munro had this to say:

‘during my first visit to cheekwood earlier in the year, I had a visceral reaction to the scale and positioning of the estate’s buildings. they are at one with the landscape, breeding a sense of understated balance and harmony that truly inspired me and undoubtedly permeates the visitor experience,’ said munro. ‘this is the most perfect place to exhibit because it provides a variety of opportunities to respond to – each space varies in both scale and topographical character. in addition, cheekwood’s world class exhibition galleries are a veritable jewel in its crown. I feel lucky and privileged to install my work at this prestigious and beautiful estate.’

What do you think?  Leave a comment on the post, tell the world what you think about this installation!

Bruce_Munro_cheekwood_colors

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-01

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-04

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-02

The Cheekwood site has a lot of great information about the installation, including the what-and-wheres of the pieces.  From the Cheekwood website:

Mansion Lawn and surrounding gardens/Field of Light
At the center of the exhibition’s many installations will be the Field of Light, which submerges the viewer within a landscape of 20,000 lighted glass spheres, each rising from the ground on a slender stem.This is the largest Field of Light expanse Munro has ever created in a rolling landscape, and is designed to utilise the existing pathways in the garden to allow people to wander through it and view it from various different perspectives.

Materials: Frosted glass spheres, acrylic rods mounted on stakes, bare optic fiber, halogen light sources with hand-painted color wheels

Japanese Bamboo Garden/Fireflies

Hundreds of cool white Fireflies will be installed throughout the bamboo leading into Cheekwood’s Japanese garden, creating a magical space of illuminated springs amongst the bamboo.

Materials: Copper tube, brass stakes, acrylic polymer fiber optic cable

Japanese Garden Pavilion/Candlelight
Visitors will have just exited the bamboo garden and the Fireflies when they arrive at the pavilion in the Japanese Garden. Candlelight will introduce something architectural in form and warm in color temperature. Hundreds of flickering LED candle luminaires will make the pavilion become an illuminated stage.

Materials: Treated timber, stainless steel fixings, LED candle luminaires

Japanese Garden Dry Lake/Blue Moon
The dry lake within the Japanese garden is an intimate space, set in a valley of rounded hills. The Blue Moon is 5’ in diameter and will appear as a giant hovering moon of flickering icy blues.

Materials: Clear acrylic spheres and acrylic polymer fiber, stainless steel

Robertson Ellis Color Garden/Water-Towers
Water-Towers is comprised of 40 structures built out of one-litre recyclable plastic bottles filled with water, laser-cut wood layers, and fiber optics connected to an LED projector and sound system. This installation beckons visitors to immerse themselves in the spaces between the towers to explore the spectacle of light and sounds.

Materials: LEDs, fiber optics, new one-litre PET bottles, audio system

Mustard Meadow/Light Reservation
Light Reservation is an assembly of tipi-like structures made from spent fluorescent tubes on an expanse of Cheekwood’s lawn by the ponds.

Materials: Redundant 60w fluorescent tubes, 12v electric fence modules, polymer filters, polycarbonate tubes

Reflection Pool/Fagin’s Urchins
Fagin’s Urchins are a site-specific installation created for the formal reflection pool at Cheekwood. Sap green spheres are positioned centrally in a line close to the water’s surface across the reflection pool. By night the surface of each sphere becomes an illuminated Lilliputian world of the night.

Materials: Polycarbonate, acrylic polymer fiber optics, stainless steel

Cheekwood’s Mansion Loggia/ Light Shower
The double height of the iconic Loggia in the Cheekwood mansion offers a wonderful opportunity for Munro to create a site specific installation of the Light Shower, an installation of 1,650 teardrop-shaped diffusers suspended from the ceiling by fiber-optic strands.

Materials: Acrylic diffuser drops, powder-coated mild steel, acrylic polymer fiber

Cheekwood’s Mansion Rotunda Staircase/Bell Drop Chandelier
The stunning rotunda staircase in the Cheekwood mansion will be transformed with the beautiful Bell Drop Chandelier. A cascade of fiber optic cables terminates in a miniature conical brass bell shade approximately seven feet from the ground floor level.

Materials: Brass, powder-coated mild steel, acrylic polymer fiber optic

Cheekwood’s Museum of Art Galleries/Exhibition
A gallery in the Museum of Art will be dedicated to small-scale works and videos from Bruce Munro.

 

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-03

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-08

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-06

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-07

bruce-munro-at-cheekwood-05

Thanks, DesignBoom!

SOCCKET – Kicking A Soccer Ball Gives You Light

soccket_howto

I haven’t seen something this awesome in a little while.  What you’re looking at in the images of this post is a device that was funded on Kickstarter called Soccket.  Soccket is a soccer ball that has a kinetic energy converter inside; once you kick the ball around for 30 minutes, you get 3 hours of LED light from the included flexible LED lamp.  Think of the implications of greatness that can come from this device — Soccket gives people in the Third World (or really any world) the ability to have light in which to live and study at night, all from playing for 30 minutes.  Soccket is also being fitted with a phone charger as well, which is apparently coming in the next round of Kickstarter funding.

Soccket (and Uncharted Play, Inc) is the brain child of co-partners Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman.  Talk about a cool story – from the Uncharted Play, Inc website on the founding:

In May of 2011, Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman founded Uncharted Play–a new kind of social enterprise that would show the world that doing good and doing good business need not be mutually exclusive.

The Uncharted Play dream began in 2008 when Matthews and Silverman met during their junior year at Harvard College. Both studying to be social scientists with no experience in engineering, they nonetheless worked together on a class project to invent the SOCCKET– an energy harnessing soccer ball. Through this experience, both women realized that the world of play was truly uncharted territory when it came to tangibly addressing real issues facing the society. Though the future was uncertain, they knew that an enterprise grounded in sustainable, realistic solutions for happiness had an undeniable value.

After graduating from college, Matthews and Silverman set up shop in New York City and established an enthusiastic team to further develop the founders core values. The SOCCKET is constantly being reiterated to truly meet the needs of the end user, and development on several other fun and functional products has already begun.

From the Uncharted Play Kickstarter campaignUncharted Play, Inc is the company who invented Soccket:

The SOCCKET is a durable, energy-harnessing soccer ball. Using Uncharted Play’s patent pending technology, the pendulum-like mechanism inside the SOCCKET captures the kinetic energy generated during normal play, and stores it in the ball for later use as an off-grid power source. Just 30 minutes of play can power a simple LED lamp for 3 hours.

About one ounce heavier than a standard soccer ball, the SOCCKET is constructed from a custom water-resistant EVA foam that is both durable and soft to the touch. Designed and assembled in the USA, the SOCCKET is currently being piloted in select resource-poor areas of North America and South America.

Check this out!

soccket_4

soccket_2

soccket_1

How Energy Efficient Buildings Work [Infographic]

Another infographic that is RELEVANT to my interests!

relevant-to-my-interests

 

I just find these things so very interesting and provocatively helpful; it’s an image, but organized in such a way that you’re led on a journey across, up, down, and along the image.  The jackpot at the end of the rainbow?  You learn something!

For instance, let’s learn about How Energy Efficient Buildings Work!

Energy-Efficient-Buildings-infographic

LEDs, Lady Gaga Smell-Well, and Projections at Nuit Blanche 2012

Did you go to Nuit Blanche 2012 in Toronto in October?  Laura and I did, and we took some photos that I’m just now able to get to after the trade show season.  I spoke with lots of people on the street at Nuit Blanche this year, and everyone seemed to have a great time — the only thing that was a bit hard to manage was the influx of people that were present downtown for this event.  There were some awesome exhibits and light installations — but anything interactive was pretty much mobbed with people and hard to really get a sense of the artists’ messages.  Regardless, it was a lot of fun!  Check out some photos below, and experience my entire trip with the photo gallery at the bottom!

There were some fun words at the top of this post that describe how f*cked up some of the Nuit Blanche-goers got, it’s worth a quick peek.  It’s totally true — lack of organization, and a real lack of general community.  Read the post.

As we walked by the Hudson’s Bay Company in Toronto we noticed this freaky storefront window scene that we had to stop and check out — and it was Lady Gaga’s perfume on display.  That’s some pretty crazy perfume marketing, huh!  I definitely liked the design enough to take photos…

Lady Gaga's Smellwell

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-11

Apparently this perfume makes you smell like a psycho mad scientist:

Lady Gaga Does Window Displays

Oh, officially of course Lady Gaga had nothing to do with Nuit Blanche, but her display was part of MY Nuit Blanche, so that’s why it’s here!

Something that we saw but didn’t really get a chance to experience was Beam of Underground Sun by Arezoo Talebzadeh and Kaveh Ashourinia — ostensibly, they had taken some very bright LED sources and put them down under the street at several meters down.  Arezoo and Kaveh also added some powerful fans and some silk cloth under the street to give the effect of waves of light being cast up through the grate they chose in the street.  Check this one out, it is beautiful, especially with the photos of no people around it:

beam-of-underground-sun

This, however, is what the real Nuit Blanche Beam of Underground Sun experience was, which was different than intended I assume but had its own jua de vive, if you will:

It was still beautiful, just mobbed with people standing directly in the way of the beam and the overall everything of the piece.

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-37

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-40

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-39

You can kind of see down into the shaft with the fan, the fabric, and the LED units:

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-38

It was pretty cool to be standing in an intersection of Bloor Street with no one trying to honk at me or run me down!

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-8

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-9

Probably one of the coolest things I saw this year at Nuit Blanche was the installation called Planes by Tricia Brown Dance Company — and it was awesome!

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-15

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-16

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-17

…and behind the walls you can see a little behind-the-scenes action!  I almost didn’t want to see this — the movement of the dancers and the projections themselves were so riveting that seeing the how-to took away from it for me.  Ah, the life of making mystery for the audience!

nuit-blanche-2012-jimonlight-20

Check out the Gallery View below of the Nuit Blanche event in Toronto — and check out the official Scotiabank page on Nuit Blanche so you can see the intended (and actual) views of the art from this year’s show!

Hurricane Sandy – New York and New Jersey Blackout Satellite Images

This is really unfortunate and pretty telling as to the power and fury of Mother Nature – the Earth Observatory at NASA has published images, both before and after, of the East Coast where Sandy came ashore.  You have to see this, it is unbelievable.

So here is the coast before Sandy hit:

and here is the ensuring blackout and chaos post-Sandy:

From the Earth Observatory page on Hurricane Sandy:

This pair of images shows New Jersey, New York, and eastern Pennsylvania as viewed at night by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. The top image was taken at 2:52 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (06:52 Universal Time) on November 1, 2012. For comparison, the lower image was taken at 2:14 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (06:14 UTC) on August 31, 2012, when conditions in the area were normal.

Both images were captured by the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as gas flares, city lights, and reflected moonlight. In the top image, lingering clouds from Hurricane Sandy are lit by moonlight and obscure much of New York’s Hudson Valley, northwestern New Jersey, and northeastern Pennsylvania. (For a wider view, download the large image beneath each web image.)

Turn on the “view image comparison” button to see the difference in city lighting before and after the blackout. In Manhattan, the lower third of the island is dark on November 1, while Rockaway Beach, much of Long Island, and nearly all of central New Jersey are significantly dimmer. The barrier islands along the New Jersey coast, which are heavily developed with tourist businesses and year-round residents, are just barely visible in moonlight after the blackout.

Along with the scattered electric lights, there is a bright point along the shore south of Mantoloking, New Jersey, that could be fires fueled by severed natural gas lines. Note: It is not clear if the fires reported on October 31were still burning on November 1.

For more views of the storm, visit our Hurricane Sandy event page.

The Earth Observatory has this applet on the website that allows you to move a slider across both images overlaid together, showing a humbling differentiation between the before and after shots:

In order to get this view, go to the Earth Observatory Blackout in New Jersey page and click the “View Image Comparison” button.  It’s crazy how the blackout just spidered across the coast.

Nieuwe Heren’s Aegis Parka Warns You about Pollution with Light

Dutch designers Nieuwe Heren make another appearance on JimOnLight.com!  You might remember them from their very cool Deconstructed Floodlight about a year ago.

Meet the Aegis Parka — a jacket that lights up to warn you about polluted areas in real time.  It reminds me of the movie Cherry 2000 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome all rolled into one crazy looking piece of clothing:

It detects toxins in the air, offers oxygen, and features a very durable ceramic scaly fabric that is supposed to be pretty tough.  From the Nieuwe Heren website on the Aegis Parka:

Aegis: as stated in the Iliad, is the shield of Zeus, possessing great powers, forged by Hephaestus with a surface of gold like scaly snake-skin.

With Urban pollution growing out of hand, and lifespans diminishing due to airborne pollutants we felt the urge to design a jacket that counters those effects.

A sensor in the parka registers hazardous molecules and signals you of the intensity. The more Led’s illuminated the worse the air quality. A built in respirator with an active carbon filter helps you inhale fresh air.

Biking/walking through the city wearing this garment even contributes to the air quality, as the suit is treated with a TiO2 (titaniumdioxide) solution, which cleanses the air due to it’s photocatalystic properties.

The garment is created from schoeller®-Ceraspace™, a scaly fabric created out of ceramic particles, making it far more abrasion and heat resistant then leather.

The inner lining consists of schoeller®-PCM™ a special textile containing millions of microcapsules filled with Phase Change Materials (PCM). They balance out temperatures which are too high or too low to achieve the wearer’s personal comfort climate.

Very cool!  Welcome back to JimOnLight, Nieuwe Heren!

Thanks to Geek, Stuff, and DesignBoom!