Cree’s LMR-4 Modular LED

I have been so busy and accumulated so much content lately that I find myself playing catch up with some pretty great footage and images!

One such bunch of stuff is from LightFair 2010 in Las Vegas.  Tom Roberts gave me a pretty great introduction to Cree’s LMR-4 modular LED product.  I finally got the video cut together – check it out!  What a cool product!

And an update – Ginny from Cree made the following video about the LMR-4, which I recommend watching!

GOP Senate Tea Bagger Ron Johnson Thinks Sunspots Explain Climate Change

Wow.  This news is about a week and a half old or so, but have you heard what the Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson (also celebrated by the Tea Baggers) thinks the source of all of our climate change is in the world?

Sunspots.

Johnson thinks that there’s no way that man-made causes are to blame for climate change.  I mean, after all, he is supported by the party is named after something people do with balls.  He must be right on.  Here’s his quote from the Milwaukee Sentinel about the subject:

If you take a look at geologic time, we’ve had huge climate swings. We’re sitting here in Wisconsin. Had it not been for climate swings, we’d be sitting on a two or three hundred foot thick glacier. Man wasn’t around back then. So no, I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate change is proven. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity, or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate.

The Middle Ages was an extremely warm period of time, too. It wasn’t like there were tons of cars on the road. So it always strikes me as a little absurd for anybody to think, Okay, this is the sweet spot in geologic time for climate. And it’s such a good place, that we have spent trillions of dollars, and do great harm to our economy, on a fool’s errand. I don’t think we can do anything about controlling what the climate is.

Amazing. I feel so much better about politicians now. The fact that he relates our economy to global climate change just kinda blows my mind.  If stupidity was a crime, this moron would be doing life in prison.

Here’s a couple of videos that you should watch to get a scoop on this craziness:

Also:

Damn.  If I were the Sun, I’d be horribly offended.  Seriously now – are we, as a collective population, REALLY stupid enough to be swayed by ridiculance like this?  Gosh, I sure hope not.

Thanks, Duke.

Crepuscular Rays. Know Them, Love Them.

My friend Millisa sent me this pic the other day, and it kinda blew my mind:

Those rays!  Holy crap!  SO BEAUTIFUL!  That’s the stuff that paintings are made of, right?  Funny enough, they actually have a real name and an explanation – they’re called crepuscular rays.  It’s kind of an unfortunate sounding name, don’t you think?  It sounds like something you’d find on the bottom of a ship cruising Lake Michigan.

Gross.

But the principle is very awesome – atmospheric optics dictates these crepuscular rays as beams of light that appear to emanate from one single point in the sky, from the sun.  A cloud, mountain top, or some other obstruction is what causes this phenomenon.  Honestly, it’s no different than the beam that comes out of a moving light, conventional light, or anything of the sort.  It’s a blockage – just like the aperture of a lighting fixture is a blockage to only allow enough beamage out of the light to make it diverge, or appear to diverge.  Like this:

There are also anticrepuscular rays, too – they are the opposite of crepuscular rays, and typically you have to have your back to the sun to see them.  Anticrepuscular rays appear to converge at the antisolar point, which is the exact opposite point in the sky from the sun.  Like this:

Cool.  I like to learn something new every day!

Thanks, APOD (1) and APOD (2)!

What is The “UV Index,” and Why Should I Care?

I was driving earlier this morning through Ontario on my way to Buffalo for a flight, and the sky was clear and cloudless.  It’s a little on the chilly side up there in the Buffalo area (at least it was at 7am when I was on the road), but on the CBC News I heard an anchor talk about a “very high UV index that will make being outside a little on the burny side.”

What?  I’m going to Dallas right now on a flight, and the UV Index is something that I’ve always just assumed was because we’ve polluted a hole in the ozone, and Nicolas Cage is going to have to deal with aliens like he did in that horrible movie about the sun burning up the Earth.

So what exactly IS the UV Index, how does it affect us, and why should we care?

Well, have you ever been sunburned?  How about melanoma?  Ever had a skin cancer scare?  Sun poisoning?  Blisters?  It’s the ultraviolet rays of the sun’s radiation that make our skin the color of a lobster when we’re out in it.  Did you know that overexposure to the sun can cause cataracts?!

Yeah.  I still love the sun.  That’s probably why I’ll look like a freaking leather catcher’s mitt when I’m 50.

There are three types of ultraviolet radiation:

  • UVA – makes it through the ozone layer
  • UVB – mostly absorbed by the ozone layer; some does reach the Earth’s surface
  • UVC – completely absorbed by the ozone layer and oxygen

Our Environmental Protection Agency has quantified the risk of the amount of UV exposure that we get on a certain day.  From the EPA’s website on sun exposure:

and something a little more helpful, from Wikipedia:

UV Index Description Media Graphic Color Recommended Protection
0–2 No danger to the average person Green Wear sunglasses on bright days; use sunscreen if there is snow on the ground, which reflects UV radiation, or if you have particularly fair skin.
3–5 Little risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Yellow Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen, cover the body with clothing and a hat, and seek shade around midday when the sun is most intense.
6–7 High risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Orange Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen having SPF 15 or higher, cover the body with sun protective clothing and a wide-brim hat, and reduce time in the sun from two hours before to three hours after solar noon (roughly 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM during summer in zones that observe daylight saving time).
8–10 Very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Red Wear sunscreen, a shirt, sunglasses, and a hat. Do not stay out in the sun for too long.
11+ Extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Violet Take all precautions, including: wear sunglasses and use sunscreen, cover the body with a long-sleeve shirt and trousers, wear a very broad hat, and avoid the sun from two hours before to three hours after solar noon.

I guess that extra four hours a day in the sun over a period of 30 years wasn’t so good for me after all, huh!

When you’re outside this summer, do yourself a favor, wouldja?  Put on some sunscreen!  I’m certainly not one to advocate for staying out of the sun – it’s my favorite source of light after fire!

Thanks, Dermis.net and J Grundy!

What Do You Think About the New “Lighting Facts” Labels?

So, the Federal Trade Commission (or the FTC, as we refer to it – or as Eminem says, “the FTC won’t let me be, let me be me, so let me see…”) has decided to add some “Lighting Facts” labels to lamps now.  Check these babies out – hopefully you say “hey, those are lighting nutrition labels!”

So obviously there are two labels here – one for lamps containing mercury, and one for lamps that do not contain mercury.

What do you think of these labels?  Quite frankly, I think there is some information missing, and I’m probably being overly anal about this – but it’s my blog, and I think it needs more stuff!  First, what happened to the colored “Light Appearance” graph?  Like this:

CRI, CCT, efficacy, maybe even the equation for people to figure out how to determine their own yearly energy usage cost per lamp based on their OWN kilowatt-hour price and usage hours per day.  Now these are things that I think would be important, no?  Granted I am a lighting nerd, but I really think that dumbing something like this down just drives down the intelligence level of our society.  What’s wrong with providing more information?  I mean, how many people actually give a damn about how much Selenium their McNuggets have?

My point exactly.  But we get to know about minute differences like that with food.  Why can’t we know about more detailed aspects of our illumination?  Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that we have this now, being implemented in mid-2011, because it’s better than nothing.  From the FTC website on the matter:

Under direction from Congress to re-examine the current labels, the FTC is announcing a final rule that will require the new labels on light bulb packages. For the first time, the label on the front of the package will emphasize the bulbs’ brightness as measured in lumens, rather than a measurement of watts. The new front-of-package labels also will include the estimated yearly energy cost for the particular type of bulb.

Yeah.  It is definitely better measured in lumens, don’tcha think?  That’s my two cents.

Thanks to the Lighting Facts website and the FTC’s post on the subject.

Colin Rich is My Weather Balloon Photographer Hero

I just ran across this amazing video by a guy named Colin Rich – Colin has a great, cheap little weather balloon camera rig that he has launched twice now.  Colin’s rig, the Pacific Star, is a small box made of light material using two Canon point and shoots – one for stills and another for video.  The work is quite amazing – Colin was able to capture light from 125,000 feet above the surface of the Earth.

Beautiful.  Check out these two videos of the Pacific Star’s two launches – last one first:

Pacific Star II from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

Pacific Star I from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

David Gallo Talks Underwater Illumination at TED

Bio-luminescence in sea creatures is a phenomena that I have been interested in for some time – Mother Nature is an amazingly psychopathic mommy figure full of very interesting adaptations of human and animal behavior.  Things like bio-luminescence, Circadian Rhythm, and the body’s generation of Melatonin are all things that fall under this category.  Mother Nature,  you so crazy!

A scientist and underwater explorer named David Gallo talked at TED back in 2007 about this very phenomenon.  Check out the video below – you won’t be disappointed.  David says that we’ve discovered about 3% of our planet, and every time that we find a new place in the ocean, it is usually filled with exciting new discoveries.

Luminaire Efficiency Rating

This is not my typical Monday morning post type, but I cannot not share this article.

I just read a great article on Luminaire Efficiency by the awesome Craig Dilouie from the LightNOW Blog.  If you have any doubts on this subject, you should definitely read this article.  For those of you who don’t actually know who Craig Dilouie is, he’s the guy who’s written the Lighting Management Handbook, The Electrical Systems Design & Specification Handbook for Industrial Facilities, the Lighting Control Handbook, among many others. He’s also take a ride into writing horror stories!

Thanks for the great article, Craig!

Luxim’s Light Emitting Plasma + A Hydrogen Fuel Cell = Win

More news out of our favorite high output lamp technology from Luxim – a hydrogen fuel cell paired with Luxim’s Light-Emitting Plasma technology made its appearance at a celebrity gathering lately, debuting the first mobile fuel cell powered entertainment lighting application.

Check out the press release:

FUEL CELL-POWERED MOBILE LIGHTING SYSTEM FEATURING LUXIM’S LIGHT EMITTING PLASMA TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYED AT ACADEMY AWARDS®

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Mar. 23, 2010—At the Academy Awards® ceremony held earlier this month, a new mobile lighting system incorporating Light Emitting Plasma™ (LEP) from LUXIM and a clean hydrogen fuel cell was deployed at the celebrity gathering, infusing the festivities with a brighter, cleaner sparkle.  The novel mobile unit was recently developed by a team of collaborators as a more efficient alternative to traditional technologies powered by diesel fuel generators.  In addition to LUXIM, the team consisted of Sandia National LaboratoriesThe Boeing Company, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Altergy SystemsMultiquip Inc., and others.

The use of the new system marks a major departure for this kind of high-intensity entertainment lighting application.  Up to now, mobile lighting units were powered by diesel fuel generators that produce carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot, making them less than ideal for the environment.  Before this technology arrived, mobile lighting units typically consumed 4.4 kilowatts.  The LEP system consumes only about 2.3 kilowatts for the same light output, a reduced power requirement that saves energy and increases the system duration (operational time between refills).

Said Geoff Browne, LUXIM’s Vice President of Sales, “It’s a thrill to see our technology deployed at such a high-profile venue.  The fuel cell mobile system featuring LEP is an especially good fit for the entertainment industry.  It meets film production sound levels, maintains zero exhaust emissions and can be used for indoor and outdoor film shoots.  But beyond the novelty of deployment at a highly visible Hollywood entertainment event, LEP is gaining steady adoption in multiple other important commercial venues like street and area, and general lighting.   It’s simply the most powerful, efficient and cleanest light source for new-generation high-intensity applications.”

LUXIM is the world leader in Light Emitting Plasma technology, having shipped more than 50,000 products under its LiFi™ brand.  These products are used in applications as varied as projection display, medical instruments and entertainment lighting.  In each application the technology has brought dramatic improvements in efficiency, life and color quality.  LUXIM is now bringing the benefits of Light Emitting Plasma technology to the area lighting market with the goal of playing a meaningful role in reducing the planet’s energy consumption and abating climate change.

LIFI and LEP are trademarks of LUXIM.  Other names used in this press release are trademarks of the parties indicated.

To learn more about LUXIM and LiFi, please visit www.luxim.com.

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Austin’s Solar Sunflowers

A while ago I wrote about the Solar Sunflowers that are installed on the rear end of a retail park in Austin.  They’re large beautiful structures that you can see on I-35 as you drive by a certain Home Depot.  Here’s the aerial view:

I have always wanted to see these things up close and personal, so when Leia and I were driving down I-35 to hook up with some friends for SXSW we sort of spotted them from the highway.  It’s pretty fantastic to see something like this after you’ve researched it – the experience was awesome.  It’s also nice to be able to have a light nerd freakout around my wife.

The photovoltaics for these units are built into the structure of each of the 15 flowers; they in themselves are functioning art.  During the day, the sun shines through the PV material, which has some blue poly edges that create beautiful blue light in the shadows.  At night the sunflowers’ stamen-like LED arrays illuminate the face of the PV panel with deep blue light.  Beautiful!

Austin’s Solar Sunflower Garden, off off I-35 – JimOnLight.com from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.