Posts

Friday Afternoon Awesome – Pink Floyd Doing “Great Gig in the Sky” at Earl’s Court

pink_floyd

Sometimes all you need is some Pink Floyd to get by.  Here’s The Great Gig in the Sky from Earl’s Court in London – from the Pulse tour!  LOOK at all of those VL2s!!!  NICE!

Now go pick your face up and go back to finishing up your Friday.  If you’re really bored, go check out Earl’s Court as it stood during PLASA 2012…  it’s going to be torn down soon.

UK Streets Might Get Mood Lighting

Heyooooo! JimOnLight’s UK correspondent here, coming at you with hot off the press news!

The conversation to dim streetlights during very low traffic levels has been initiated, and it’s causing quite a stir! The Press Association reports:

” Norman Baker, the local transport minister, supported the move as long as safety was not compromised.

In a parliamentary written answer he said: “The level of light reduction will be based upon internationally agreed standards and made in consultation with the UK’s Institute of Lighting Professionals.

“It is right that lighting authorities consider, in the interests of cost-saving and the environment, whether lighting can be sensibly dimmed or turned off, consistent with proper safety assessments.” “

The roads in question are the A roads, the major thoroughfares connecting cities which are not motorways. The Californian side of me would describe A roads as “highways,” while motorways are “freeways.” Kapeesh?

So we like saving the environment, and we like saving money. Why is this such a massive discussion?

Numerous fears including increased crime, automobile accidents, are mixed with financial worries. The conversion would cost a significant sum, and people aren’t sold on MAKIN IT RAIN!

The Telegraph reports:

“…While authorities across the UK are saving £21.5 million per year by turning off nine per cent of lights, the schemes to reduce street lighting cost a total of £106.3 million.

The bill for installing dimming technology or converting lights to part-night operations, which is five times greater than the saving, means some councils will not start seeing the benefits for up to eight years.”

This follows other UK locations, such as the Welsh county of Gwynedd have already experimented in dimming street lights between midnight and 5:30 am. There seems to be much more support of dimming street lights than turning them off. Kirklees and Derbyshire are amongst numerous experiments in turning off street lights, both completely and in selection (1 in 10 seems to be a common cutting ratio). Fears of isolation ensued.

What do you think? Turn ‘em all off and make everyone wear headlamps, selective black outs, dimming, ALL OF THE LIGHTS! @ FL or something else?

 

If you found this interesting, I also posted about the delightfully unexpected results of blue street lights in Glasgow as well as Japan here. I’m imagining these cobalt lamps as urban super heros, stopping crime and saving lives! Neato burrito.

A Total Moment of Randomness – My Fourth Phase T-Shirt

I was throwing out some old t-shirts this weekend, and I came across one of my favorite t-shirts ever – my old Fourth Phase UK shirt!  For most of you this will probably be one of those “what the hell is Jim talking about?” moments, but for the people who know Fourth Phase from the days before they became part of PRG, I hope you enjoy the memories!  Fourth Phase doesn’t exist anymore, but I spent some time putting together some cool rigs in their warehouse!

This t-shirt has been all over the place.  Unfortunately, white deodorant stains t-shirts, at least hundreds of thousands of miles of it does…

Kate Lancaster and the Vulcan Pulse Laser

vulcan-laser

Just to probe the depths of my inner nerd (like even bigger than the nerds in Revenge of the Nerds, part ONE), I found this great video today through Physics World – Kate Lancaster, a physicist at the Vulcan laser at the the Central Laser Facility in the UK, did an interview with a Physics World.  I’ve embedded it below.

To give you an idea of how unfathomably powerful the Vulcan laser is one zetawatt per centimeter, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 watts.  I had to look that up – I had no idea how many zeroes a zeta had!  It’s 1X10^21 watts per centimeter.  That is unbefreakinglievably powerful.  My mind cannot comprehend it – in the video, the narrator/interviewer says that the Vulcan laser is as powerful as all of the sunlight on Earth, condensed into the size of the tip of a human hair.

Check out the video – it is only for the super-geeks among us – but it’s a quick little awesome interview about the Vulcan laser and what goes on there.  I just wish they included the name of the interviewer!  What a thing to leave out!

British Doctors Tell Age-Related Macular Degernation to Suck It

Have you ever heard of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD?  Do you suffer from AMD?  It is a common form of blindness, and as you get older (hence the age related part), your macula starts to degenerate (hence the degeneration part) and you lose your detail vision.  This sucks, as there hasn’t been much that people can do about it happening until lately.  It’s not a cure per se, but it’s a new technique that doctors are saying might be able to help re-generate part of the macula that needs a bit of wakey-wakey-eggs-and-bakey.

By stimulating a part of the eye called the Bruch’s Membrane, scientists in the UK have been able to slow down degeneration of the macula, and in some cases stop it altogether.  Using a laser to “breathe some life” into the membrane, scientists have been able to wake it up a bit so that it continues to perform its function and not just sit there like a dunce.  The laser treatment takes about ten to fifteen minutes.  Crazy, huh?

Oh yeah – “hey Jim, what is the Bruch’s Membrane, and what does it do?

Bruch’s Membrane is a part of the eye behind the retina, between the retina.  Bruch’s Membrane performs a very, very important function – it removes waste products from the retina and brings in nutrients and oxygen.  You’d think that’s pretty important, huh?  Check out an eye diagram:

detail1

Bruch’s Membrane is part of the Choroid, which lives behind the retina.  When it doesn’t do its job, waste products just build up around the macula and the cells begin to die over time.  The laser treatment targets this membrane to hopefully stimulate it so it starts to perform its waste removal function:

eyesight

From the article I read about this procedure in the Daily Mail:

The technique is the brainchild of Professor John Marshall, an ophthalmologist at King’s College London who pioneered laser surgery to correct shortsightedness.

Professor Marshall, who hopes the treatment could be available in a couple of years, said: ‘It is really exciting news. It won’t bring back damaged eyesight but it may prevent AMD.’

The technique rejuvenates the ‘Bruch’s membrane’ – a thin layer that lies behind the retina.

This provides the retina’s light-sensitive cells with nutrients and removes waste created as a by-product of the way retina cells renew themselves.

But the membrane’s cells eventually lose the ability to take waste away, allowing deposits to build up.

It can then become so damaged that the retina’s lightsensitive cells start to die off. In a trial involving more than 100 diabetics, Professor Marshall found that using a laser stimulated the membrane’s tired, ageing cells into action.

After the cells were ‘ energised’ by the laser, they began to clean up the waste again.

Patients also said the treatment led to a ‘ marked improvement’ in their sight.

The non-invasive operation uses a laser modified to give pulses of light that do not damage the eye’s light-sensitive cells or cause any dangerous heating of the target area.

Professor Marshall will now treat up to 200 people with AMD in one eye as part of a second trial. Such patients usually get the disease in the other eye within three years.

He wants to see if the laser prevents the good eye losing its sight. ‘If you can delay the onset by three, four, six, seven or ten years, it’s proof of the principle,’ he said.

Tom Pey, of Guide Dogs for the Blind, which funded the research, said: ‘This is potentially a huge breakthrough for millions. The science behind it is proven.’

The Macular Disease Society said: ‘If this works, then it’s very exciting. However, it will be years before this could be ready for use.’

Let’s hope we read more about this in the very near future!

Watch Out, UK Energy Suckers

MONEY Energy 2

Wow.

In Norfolk, the Broadland District Council has spent over £30,000.00 to rent a thermal imaging plane to spy on people’s houses – not looking for the elusive British exhibitionist, but to see how the people are using their electricity.  If you’re in Norfolk, UK and blasting your heat, lights, and other electrical gear, your house will exhibit a high heat signature.  On the flip side, if you don’t have enough money to heat your home, your house will have a very low heat signature.  They’re tracking that, too.  This is a little Aldus Huxley for me.  What do you think?

From an article at Consumer Energy Report:

“The project we put together was for a plane to go up on various nights flying strips of the district and taking pictures,” he said. “Through those images, a thermal image photograph can be created in which you can pick out individual properties which are losing a lot of heat.”

“We do a lot on domestic energy conservation already and realised it would be useful to see if any of the homes which were particularly hot were properties where people had not insulated their lofts.”

“We were also able to look at very cold properties and think we might have picked up people on low incomes who are not heating their homes because they cannot afford to.”

Critics are concerned, however, that the crackdown was just another example of local authorities extending their charter to poke their noses into every aspect of people’s lives.

Hmm.