I Think I Agree with Jon Stewart On EISA 2012 Right Now

I think this is kind of a very weird thing for me to say, but right now in Capitol Hill our Congress and Senate are debating the Energy Independence and Security Act (PDF link), and I think that it’s something that can wait until the rest of the bulls*** is solved and our politicians stop acting like a bunch of five year olds over this debt ceiling nonsense.  I mean, what do they really think they’re going to do?  Default?!  Come.  ON.

Take a moment and watch this Daily Show clip, you won’t regret it.

A snippet:
“It’s not, ‘Let’s all chip in a buy a keg for the party,’ it’s ‘Buy me a keg or I’ll burn your f***ing house down.'”

There is a big post coming in the next day or so about EISA 2012.  Stay tuned for that, I’m trying to demystify it as far as possible.  While the government works on getting this simple thing fixed (yeah, simple, I said it) then me and the world’s network of lighting bloggers and lighting professionals will try to hash out this other bulls*** for you.  I get the feeling that Jon Stewart will want to turn to us anyway for the real deal on all of this once all this other crap is no longer news.  I could be wrong though, Stewart’s a pretty smart and funny guy.

Thanks for the image, Maru!

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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A Note about the 2010 Midterm Elections

Well, as you all probably know by now, the Republican Party has taken control of the United States House of Representatives.  Headlines across America are displaying titles like “GRIDLOCK IN AMERICA” and “THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN” and all kinds of other stuff like that.  Here’s the situation America finds herself in as of today:

Republican leaders like John Boehner are making statements like “This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles.”  Republican Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the #3 House Republican, is making statements like “Look – the time to go along and get along is over.”

Yeah.  Great effing attitude, especially when one in ten of our fellow men and women are out of work.

Democrats are not off the hook here, either – I am an equal opportunity caller of the bull, and Democrats are doing their fair share of stupid crap.  There is a reason that Harry Reid of Nevada SQUEAKED by Tea Party favorite Sharon Angle.  I mean, come on, America – did you see NONE of Angle’s back-and-forth gaffs in this ridiculance we called a midterm race?!  Why was this even an issue?  Democrats are doing nothing that can be considered groundbreaking either.  No one is doing anything.  This is why we are in this situation.

I have a message for the Congress, and specifically the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives.  I want you to listen closely, because the people who read JimOnLight.com are a strong majority of people who love light, lighting, light engineering, power distribution, and technology, to name a few issues we care about here.

This is a short list of things you need to accomplish in my world, you newly found controlling Republicans.  Let’s see if you can “get along” enough to fix these things:

  • Our ever-aging and ridiculously Keystone Cops-esque national power grid
  • Stop being patsies to the money from big lighting monopolies.  Just stop that now.
  • Stop legislating things like INCANDESCENT LAMPS and do something productive to SOLVE the problem, or get someone in who CAN solve the problem.  Legislation is a lazy fix to a technological issue.
  • Get out of the pocket of Big Oil and Big Coal and start getting solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power running in our country on more than the pathetically small scale it’s in now.  If the military were to say “well, we need this new weapon to protect ourselves from whatever it is we’re protecting ourselves from,” you’d hop on that like flies on poo.  WE NEED SUSTAINABLE POWER GENERATION TO PROTECT OURSELVES.  GET ON IT.
  • Stop encouraging America’s ridiculously intelligent people to go work on Wall Street and in Big Government and start giving incentive to get the next generation of Optical Engineers, Laser Scientists, Lighting Designers, and Electrical Engineers, as well as Researchers, Teachers, and general technology leaders working and fixing our problems.  Perhaps then we won’t be ranked so embarrassingly low in the world’s rankings of education and technology.

I’m sure my readership and I can come up with about another thousand list items.  Just give me a call, you know my number.  America is a place full of opportunity and really smart people.  Give us some credit, we’re not all stupid like you think we are in the political campaign ads you pay millions of dollars to run.

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.

So Much Progress, So Few Local Artists

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(image from UnFair Park, the Dallas Observer blog)

Ah, I love being back in Dallas, Texas.  There are so many things going on in Dallas right now, from new construction, to art installations, to new construction with art installations implanted.  As a lighting designer in the DFW Metro, I am extremely excited to see the projects being put into play in the downtown scene come to fruition.

Case in point:  the new Main Street Garden, with lighting installations from New York light artist Leni Schwendinger and a very soon-to-be large Christmas tree designed by New York landscape designer Thomas Balsley.  After all, Dallas is a place that is growing and changing like the best of the cities in our great country.  We’re proud of Dallas.  We’ve got the big new AT&T Performing Arts Center to house some of the best work ever to be presented on stage, the Dallas Theatre Center and their ever-so-awesome seasons of life-changing theatre and works of genius, and a city so full of artists, designers, and other extremely creative people that it’s busting at its seams.

Since Dallas is full of people who love art, love light and lighting, and certainly love this city, why are the majority of the lighting designers and lighting artists chosen to do work on the city of Dallas from places like New York, Chicago, or LA?

When it comes to lighting the city of Dallas itself, why aren’t local companies and local lighting artists chosen?  Does the fact that a designer or artist lives in Dallas make that person exempt from creating “good” art?  Believe me – there are people right here in the Dallas area who have ideas and design talents just as good as those from any other “big” city.

I’m certainly not naive, don’t get me wrong – with regional theatre companies like Dallas Theatre Center, it can be impossible to light a show there if you’re not from New York, LA, or Chicago.  I guess it really comes down to who you know – which is a shame considering the talent in DFW.  From a budget standpoint, doesn’t it seem like hiring local talent might cut back on expenses that could otherwise be avoided?

So how can we change this and give local talent a chance to do what no one in Dallas seems to believe we can do?  I know that this problem isn’t a Dallas-only issue.  So how would you improve this in your community?

Thanks, UnFair Park!

Michael Tsinzovsky’s “Little Night Lamp for Sderot”

I just came across this interesting political statement from designer Michael Tsinzovsky – it’s called the Little Night Lamp for Sderot.

sderot

An interesting political statement product design, indeed.  The luminaire is a commentary on the city of Sderot, Israel, which has been under constant Qassam rocket attacks since October 2000.  Tsinzovsky created this lamp from actual bomb shelter parts – note the light switch – and created a beautiful relief of a lamp.

Some information on the city of Sderot – after reading about the city, the lamp made more sense to me.  From Wikipedia:

Sderot lies one kilometer from the Gaza Strip and town of Beit Hanoun. Since the beginning of the Second Intifada in October 2000, the city has been under constant rocket fire from Qassam rockets launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.[9] Sderot’s population density is slightly greater than that of the Gaza Strip. Due to this, and despite the imperfect aim of these homemade projectiles, they have caused deaths and injuries, as well as significant damage to homes and property, psychological distress and emigration from the city. The Israeli government has installed a “Red Color” (צבע אדום) alarm system to warn citizens of impending rocket attacks, although its effectiveness has been questioned. Citizens only have 15 seconds to reach shelter after the sounding of the alarm. Thousands of Qassam rockets have been launched since Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005.

In May 2007, a significant increase in shelling from Gaza prompted the temporary evacuation of thousands of residents.[10] By November 23, 2007, 6,311 rockets had fallen on the city.[11] Yediot Ahronoth reported that during the summer of 2007, 3,000 of the city’s 22,000 residents (comprised mostly of the city’s key upper and middle class residents) left for other areas, out of Qassam rocket range. Arcadi Gaydamak has in recent years supported relief programs for residents who cannot leave.[12] On December 12, 2007, after more than 20 rockets landed in the Sderot area in a single day, including a direct hit to one of the main avenues, Sderot mayor Eli Moyal announced his resignation, citing the government’s failure to halt the rocket attacks.[13] Moyal was persuaded to retract his resignation.

People living in fear every day sucks no matter which side you believe.

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sderot2

sderot4

Thanks, Yanko!

What? Ohio Public Utilities Commission and FirstEnergy’s $10.80 Stupidity

What?

Have you ever had a volunteer come to your door with a free compact fluorescent lamp?  When my wife and I lived in Oklahoma City,  a community program volunteer brought a free compact fluorescent lamp to our house for us to have and use in order to save energy.  How nice, right?  We thought so.  A public utility, FirstEnergy in Ohio, set up a program (that was approved by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, by the way) that distributes compact fluorescent lamps to customers in Ohio.

Cool program, right?  Free fluorescent lamps for all.  Except they’re not free – FirstEnergy will be charging their customers $10.80 each for the lamps, automatically, with no opt-out program.  Hold on a minute – for $10 I can go down to Target, Home Depot, or Lowes’ and buy a half-dozen compact fluorescent lamps.  What’s with this $10.80 per lamp crap?

Last year, the Ohio state government passed a bill saying that utilities had to cut their customers’ usage 22% by the year 2025.  Apparently this is how FirstEnergy is going about reducing energy usage – by charging customers way, way too much for something that people can buy on their own for 1/6 the price.

An article from John Funk at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland states:

FirstEnergy bought Chinese-made bulbs from three distributors including TCP Inc. of Aurora, because it couldn’t find any made in the United States. A California company will deliver 3 million of them door-to-door to Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers. The rest will be mailed.

Passing out the bulbs is not the way to persuade people to use them, Migden-Ostrander said. The company should have given its customers discount coupons and let them shop for the best deal, she said.

The company’s lawyers resisted that, arguing that FirstEnergy had to begin cutting back power deliveries right away to meet the terms of the new law.

Hmm.  You know what really sucks about this?  If you have seen the letter from FirstEnergy VP of Customer Service John Paganie, it seems like they’re giving these lamps away for free:

We are pleased to provide you with two energy-efficient CFLs. When you install these bulbs in place of two 100-watt incandescent bulbs in your home, you could save about $30 over the life of each bulb.  Here’s how:

Traditional incandescent bulbs cost less to buy than CFLs, but they might only last 750 hours. Your new CFLs should last 10,000 hours, which is 10 times as long. This means you would need to buy more than 13 traditional bulbs to equal the lifespan of one CFL.

Also, your new CFLs will use 75 percent less electricity than a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb, and will produce the same amount of light. When you combine the longer life and decreased energy usage of the CFL, you can see significant, long-term savings for each bulb you replace.

FirstEnergy’s Ohio utility companies – The Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison – are providing these light bulbs to residential customers in Ohio.

We’re dedicated to helping our customers reduce the amount of electricity they use while increasing their energy efficiency. These CFLs are just one simple way you can improve energy efficiency in your home. We’ve also enclosed a booklet with more than 100 energy-saving tips.
For additional information, please visit firstenergycorp.com/energyefficiency.

Thanks, and enjoy your two compact fluorescent light bulbs!

Sincerely,
John Paganie
FirstEnergy Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Customer Service

What the hell.  Doesn’t this seem like a bit of a misleading statement?  I think it does, and apparently thousands of Ohioans also thought it did, because the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, who approved the program in the first place, has turned around and said that they have now asked FirstEnergy to postpone the start of the program until someone knows what on Earth it is going to cost, and what exactly is going on.  From the Consumerist website, a pro-consumer news site (I’m sure you know who they are), who posted the response from the PUCO on the FirstEnergy backlash:

“The PUCO has received a large volume of calls and emails in response to the compact fluorescent light bulb program approved last month for FirstEnergy. Today, I received a letter from Gov. Strickland asking that the PUCO postpone the program until such time as we can address several questions raised by the governor, members of the Ohio General Assembly and FirstEnergy customers related to program details and costs.

As a result, I have asked FirstEnergy to postpone deployment of its compact fluorescent light bulb program until the Commission can thoroughly assess the costs associated with this program. The PUCO approved the program following consensus reached during discussions among the company and other organizations including the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Although the PUCO allowed FirstEnergy to implement its program, we did not approve the charge that will appear on monthly bills as a result. Reports in the media place the cost to customers at sixty cents per month for three years, which equates to $21.60 over the life of the program. The PUCO has not approved these additional dollars nor have we received a request by the company to do so.

The PUCO will gather additional information regarding the program and its related costs. Until the PUCO has specific details regarding the program costs, FirstEnergy should not deploy its compact fluorescent light bulb program.”

I’ll be watching for more information on this ridiculance. If you have any more news about the program, please contact me via the contact form and I will get that info published right now.

A record of the legal case for this ridiculance is here – it’s a dry read, but interesting nonetheless.

Barco, What’s the Deal with High End Systems?

barco_quote

The giant lighting and projector company Barco has been doing really, really well – they bought High End Systems, they’re always getting contracts and selling lots of their gear.  Check out some stock info – I took some captures of my stock tracker.

Year to Date:

barco-year-to-date

Last Three Months:

barco-3-months

Barco’s stock is sitting at $33.56 a share – up $0.27, or 0.81% today.  I am always reading news stories about how Barco has created some new partnership, released some new product for touring video, or presented some new display technology and made yet a new partnership.

Why, if all of this stuff is going on, are High End Systems personnel getting laid off?  There are a lot of really good people who have been let go from High End Systems by Barco – it is business, I understand, don’t get me wrong.  But what are you doing with High End Systems?

The question is fairly innocuous and certainly isn’t directed to offend, but High End Systems is a brand that has been a huge part of the lighting industries for decades – and there is little to no information about what is going on with HES.  The High End Systems website hasn’t been updated in months, and this looks bad.  What is going on here?  At least be up front about what’s going down.

Barco, whatever is going to happen with High End Systems is obviously up to you.  I, as someone who has a lifetime of respect for the lighting industries, High End Systems, and your brand as well, is really hoping that some of that respect is paid to a company (and its workers) that has been a major part of the industries for a long time.

POLL: How Do JimOnLight.com Readers Feel About Healthcare Reform?

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I’ve been following healthcare reform in the United States for the last few months, and no matter what happens, it affects those of us in the lighting industry just like everyone else.  There are pros and cons both ways – many of my friends and colleagues in the industries that work freelance have self-insurance, which stands to take a hit also either way.

I am conducting a plain ol’ poll to find out how people feel about health care in the United States.  Do you think we need to reform the process, or should we leave it alone?  Please vote, no matter where you are!


What are your thoughts on healthcare reform?

  • We need healthcare reform! (82%, 14 Votes)
  • Leave healthcare alone! (18%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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I Guess We’re Going to Spend $3 Mil On OLEDs for Military Equipment

A company called eMagin has gotten more millions to work on some OLED technology.  It’s not going into illumination for buildings, medical technology, or anything like that – it’s going to make some new night vision goggles for the military.  Oh well, I guess we’ll advance the OLED technology somehow.  We borrow all kinds of technology from the military, so I suppose getting OLED research kicking by pouring cash into military spending is better than not spending the money on OLEDs at all, right?

*sigh*

Here’s a press release from Mid-Hudson News on the story:

WASHINGTON – Congressman John Hall says the House approved of $3 million in additional funding for development of next-generation night vision goggles for American troops.  The money has been placed in the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill, which now must win Senate approval.

The technology is being developed by eMagin Corporation in the IBM East Fishkill campus.

The project has previously received $2.4 million, which Hall secured in 2007.

eMagin Corporation will use the federal money to continue to develop Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, towards the goal of a more powerful OLED micro-display device to replace currently used night vision goggles that require bulky equipment.

“eMagin is developing technology that will provide radically better night vision equipment for our troops. This is cutting-edge defense technology that will be made right here in the Hudson Valley,” said Hall. “Continuing federal assistance to this project will provide lifesaving new equipment to our troops overseas, while helping create and maintain high tech jobs in the region.”

Is there any way to create some high tech jobs in the region in something other than military technology? Anyone?  Congressman Hall, just out of curiosity, do you stand to benefit from this at all, besides your district getting some gigs?  I’m just curious.  I mean, besides – politics is always about the people, right?

Thanks for the heads up on this, OLED-Info.