Tempera Blacklight Paint for Next Week’s Rave?


I was searching around in the hotel room a few nights ago instead of sleeping, and I saw an article about some really cool (and considerably cheap) multiple color blacklight tempera paints!  These things are fairly vibrant; honestly, there are a lot of installations and projects on the smaller scale that could benefit from something like this considering its price and ultraviolet luminance.

I have this dream where I light a white room that is covered in multiple colors of blacklight paints, but the room is white when I walk in.  As I step to the console, the room goes dark, and I am shown an RGB view of the room, then a CMY view of the room, and then the console lights up and I have to play an enormous game of Simon.  It’s one of my favorite dreams!  Funny enough, every time I play the dream the sequence is different.  I am totally going to make that a design someday, and I’m gonna throw some Bad Boys in there, and have a huge rave.

I’m still the most enormous fan of Wildfire ultraviolet fluorescing paints — I did a parade a few Halloweens ago and used a ton of it, and lit a few pieces of dance that had a very intense Wildfire paint design (with some high output UV sources, of course) that was kinda mindblowing – moving images in real-time with one of the multi-dancer Bodhisattva routine and wildfire paint.  If I only had the foresight to ask a grad student for a camera at the time – and if I only had the hindsight to solve all of the world’s problems…



But this, my friends, is Wildfire paint:



Thanks to Wildfire’s blog, The Blacklight Blaze for the image above the video, and DirectGlow for the images of the paint!

California Bans Underage Tanning Bed Use

You know, it’s kind of amazing to me that we need a law that says “HEY STUPID, DON’T DO THAT.”  You know, with anything though – toasters in the bath tub, hair dryers out in the yard in the sprinkler, and eating rat poison.  These things typically lead to instant death and destruction.  But WHY IS IT that, even after a study in 2010 that said, OUT LOUD, that people who use tanning beds are at least three IF NOT FOUR times more likely to develop melanoma.

Doctors believe melanoma is a cancer caused by altering the DNA of cells by some kind of light, most believe the UV spectrum is to blame.  I mean, we use UV-C to clean things – when UV-C is applied to a surface, it doesn’t necessarily kill the germs and nasties, but it cripples them in such a way that they die anyway from having their DNA destroyed.  So, one would assume that, given the circumstances of this idea of a tanning bed using ultraviolet light to essentially put a nice golden crust on our skin would be a poor idea.  Right?  Here’s a picture of Kirstie McRae, a 14-year old two years ago who got 70% burned from overexposure in a tanning bed.  This kind of picture has GOT to stop people, right?

Oh, contrare, mo frere.  Regardless of the fact that you can get more than your share of tanning-able light by being outside, our vanity has suggested that we now must have a law to stop children from using tanning machines.  In California, a law has been passed to make it illegal for a business to allow someone under 18 to use a tanning bed.  From an article at Huffington Post:

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed into law a bill that prevents children under 18 from using the popular tanning method. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Although Texas has banned the use of tanning beds for children under 16, SB746 bill makes California the first state to set a higher age limit. Thirty other states also have some age restrictions on the use, said the bill’s author, state Sen. Ted Lieu.

Under current law, children 14 and under in California already cannot use the beds, but those ages 15 to 17 can do so with permission from their parents. Illinois, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island have considered an age limit similar to California’s, but have yet to enact them, said the Democrat from Torrance, Calif.

The ban will hurt businesses, many of them owned by women, said the Indoor Tanning Association. About 5 percent to 10 percent of its members’ customers are under 18, the industry group noted.

I’m particularly interested in this comment, which talks about the societal pressures of tanning, which kind of makes me vomit in my mouth a wee bit:

“Girls in affluent California communities especially are surrounded by the message that being tanned all year round is cool,” Christina Clarke, of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, said in a recent statement supporting Lieu’s bill. “Pop music star Katy Perry is even singing about it.”

Ah, vanity.  We all have some degree of it.  But this has to be said, and please – men and women both – you have got to know.  We cover up ourselves all year round, some of us wear pants, some wear shirts, but for the most part, we hide a lot of our bodies from light.  When you decide to put on a swim suit and hit the beach, it’s perfectly okay that you’re white and pale, the human body is a beautiful thing.  Vanity isn’t worth the three or four times risk of developing melanoma.  Do you know what melanoma is?  Have you ever seen some images of it?  Here, let me help you!  I went to the National Library of Medicine to find some good ones for you!

So, this melanoma thing, it’s pretty nasty.  Tanning beds increase your risk of melanoma by three to four times.  Melanoma is the most fatal form of skin cancer, and it is the leading cause of death from skin cancer.  Tanning beds increase your risk of fatal cancer by three to four times.  How else can I put this?

From the Public Med Health website:

Melanoma is caused by changes in cells called melanocytes, which produce a skin pigment called melanin. Melanin is responsible for skin and hair color. It can appear on normal skin, or it may begin as a mole or other area that has changed in appearance. Some moles that are present at birth may develop into melanomas.

There are four major types of melanoma:

  • Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type. It is usually flat and irregular in shape and color, with different shades of black and brown. It is most common in Caucasians.
  • Nodular melanoma usually starts as a raised area that is dark blackish-blue or bluish-red. However, some do not have any color.
  • Lentigo maligna melanoma usually occurs in the elderly. It is most common in sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually large, flat, and tan with areas of brown.
  • Acral lentiginous melanoma is the least common form. It usually occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails and is more common in African Americans.

Rarely, melanomas appear in the mouth, iris of the eye, or retina at the back of the eye. They may be found during dental or eye examinations. Although very rare, melanoma can also develop in the vagina, esophagus, anus, urinary tract, and small intestine.

Melanoma is not as common as other types of skin cancer. However, the rate of melanoma is steadily increasing.

The risk of developing melanoma increases with age. However, it is also frequently seen in young people.

You are more likely to develop melanoma if you:

  • Have fair skin, blue or green eyes, or red or blond hair
  • Live in sunny climates or at high altitudes
  • Spent a lot of time in high levels of strong sunlight, because of a job or other activities
  • Have had one or more blistering sunburns during childhood
  • Use tanning devices

Other risk factors include:

  • Close relatives with a history of melanoma
  • Coming in contact with cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic, coal tar, and creosote
  • Certain types of moles (atypical dysplastic) or multiple birthmarks
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication

Gross.  Why would you voluntarily put yourself through this knowing the risk associated?!

Got any weird looking moles after prolonged sunbathing or tanning bed exposure?  Doctors are going to use the ABCDE method of examining your trouble spots, so you should know it too:

Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the shape, color, size, or feel of an existing mole. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. Thinking of “ABCDE” can help you remember what to look for:

  • Asymmetry: The shape of one half does not match the other half.
  • Border that is irregular: The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.
  • Color that is uneven: Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.
  • Diameter: There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than the size of a pea (larger than 6 millimeters or about 1/4 inch).
  • Evolving: The mole has changed over the past few weeks or months.

Melanomas can vary greatly in how they look. Many show all of the ABCDE features. However, some may show changes or abnormal areas in only one or two of the ABCDE features.

In more advanced melanoma, the texture of the mole may change. The skin on the surface may break down and look scraped. It may become hard or lumpy. The surface may ooze or bleed. Sometimes the melanoma is itchy, tender, or painful.

Happy Monday, everybody!

Thanks to Telegraph, WebMD,  and the American Cancer Society.

Enter The Ultraviolet Ninja

That sounds like an excellent psychedelic kung-fu film, doesn’t it?

I’ve been doing my normal duties of researching and digging around for articles lately, and in my search I’ve found several items pertaining to using ultraviolet light as a disinfectant in the home.  Some of these products look pretty interesting, and some of them look like pretty interesting Home Shopping Network stuff that you sell at garage sales once you realize you bought and stored something without using it, ever.  I’ll let you be the judge.

First, the UV Onion, from Yun Li:


The UV Onion is a disinfecting device that is both solar and powered by the strength of the UV ninja.  It looks like an onion, so obviously you’d probably use it in the kitchen – Yun Li’s site says it’s made for all rooms of the house.  It has a solar storage battery inside as well for those times when the sun just doesn’t shine.



Next up, the Photon Scorpion Finder Freedom Micro Keychain Light from Photon Light, Inc:


Scorpion Under Ultraviolet Light © Kenton L Elliott

Before I get any further, scorpions, you and your friend the spider can keep your creepy, nasty, misshapen butts away from me at all times.  We have nothing to talk about, ever.  Photon Light has made it so you can detect scorpions in your boots, sleeping bags, under piles of wood, and in other places these little poisonous vermin like to hide.  Apparently scorpions have fluorescent bodies, and the power of our friend the ultraviolet ninja helps to illuminate them so you can give them the boot, per se.  Nasty.

The Scorpion Finder runs about $16.  (thanks, Gadgeteer!)

scorpion finder

Next, the VIOLight Toothbrush Sanitizer from VIOLight:


Makes pretty good sense, huh?  Your toothbrush lives in the bathroom.  You take your pants off in the bathroom, along with doing all kinds of other somewhat disgusting things in the bathroom.  Often, your toothbrush lives near the sink in the bathroom where you wash your hands after doing certain relatively disgusting things in the bathroom.  Doesn’t it make sense that you might want to use the power of ultraviolet light to clean the funk off of your toothbrush?  After all, you do put it in your mouth.


Amazon has this gadget for about $40.

The next ultraviolet gadget is considerably more expensive, retailing at around $280.  Nevertheless, meet the Purelight UV Sterilizing Wand from Gaiam:


The Purelight wand has a 15,000 hour UV lamp, several settings, and the feeling that you’re crippling bacteria and other nasties forever.  Try to reproduce NOW, microscopic vermin!


The problem with anything that uses ultraviolet light is basically an issue of form factor – to disinfect something with UV light, you have to have the device in the place you want to sterilize for between 10 and 25 seconds.  With most of the devices out there (take the Purelight wand for example) you might want to sterilize your mattress, but that might take a long time depending on how large your mattress really is.  As form factor increases and prices decrease on this gear, I think the UV disinfecting trend will become more commonplace in homes.  This is of course just my opinion, and we all know how that can go.

Salmon DNA Into LEDs

My buddy Dave Atkinson sent me an article from MIT’s Technology Review – scientists have discovered a way to use strands of DNA woven into fibers to make very bright white light by doping some DNA with fluorescent dyes and weaving it into a nanofiber of sorts.  The DNA nanofiber is then wrapped around an ultraviolet LED – the DNA material absorbs ultraviolet waves of light and fluoresces different wavelengths of light (blue, white, or orange) according to the combination of dyes doped on the DNA.  How cool is that?

The whole light emitting process is based on energy transfer.  From the way I understand it, energy is transferred between the different dyes that are doped onto the DNA.  Also, if that wasn’t complicated enough, the dyes will only exchange energy if they are the right distance apart, some distance between 2 and 10 nanometers.  When the UV LED is shone onto the DNA fiber, one of the dyes will emit blue wavelengths of light; if the two dye molecules are the correct distance apart, the other dye will then absorb some of the blue energy and emit orange wavelengths of light.

Who got that?

From the article:

By changing the ratio of the two dyes, the researchers can alter the combined color of light that the material gives off. Varying the amount of dye also lets them make finer tweaks. For example, by increasing the proportion of dye in the DNA from 1.33 percent to 10 percent, they can change the white light from cool to warm. “As you go across the white spectrum, if you want a soft yellow-type light or blue-type light, you can get these very easily with the DNA system,” Sotzing says.

Okay – this is very interesting.  I am also not a biological/chemical engineer, so my queries are only as intelligent as the things I have come to understand.  My question would be about energy loss between the three materials – I have to believe that there are some photons lost between the transfer from UV to blue and to orange, right?  Aaron Clapp, one of the scientists working on this at Iowa State University, also brings up an interesting point – he calls it “overly dramatic,” to quote the man:

“It’s really very cool [work], and I think that it has practical promise,” says Aaron Clapp, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State University. “[But] it seems like an overly dramatic way of doing it.”

Clapp speculates that instead of relying on energy transfer between the two fluorescent dyes, you could just change their ratios and get the colors you want.

However, each dye would then require a different input energy source as opposed to just one UV source, Sotzing points out. What’s more, energy transfer between two dyes gives better control over the color of the output light.

Walt says that it may be possible to use the first dye to transfer energy to multiple dyes and get an even wider range of colors. “The results reported here suggest DNA-[energy transfer] light emitters are promising,” Walt says, “but the ultimate utility will depend on factors such as lifetime and power efficiency.”

I love it when we come up with novel ways to use light. Now we’re using the delicious DNA of the salmon to make blue and orange light.  Next up:  roast beef sandwiches that light up my landscape lighting.

Verilux UV-C Wand – Like An Ultraviolet Light Saber

We know our pal Ultraviolet Light and the ninja germ killing abilities it possesses – and now a company called VeriLux has created the Cleanwave UV sanitizing wand.  It’s like a UV light saber to smack germs in the mouth.  Verilux says, about the CleanWave:

Originally developed for sanitizing hospitals and clean rooms, UV-C light technology can now be safely and easily used in your home! UV-C light has the ability to eliminate 99.9% of household germs, bacteria and viruses in seconds, without harmful chemicals. The Verilux Cleanwave Sanitizing Light Wand is a convenient and easy way to safely kill the harmful germs that lurk throughout your home. With a new improved design that is slim, and lightweight, this wand is very easy to use and perfect for eliminating potentially dangerous allergens, bacteria, and germs from a baby rooms, kitchen counters, flatware, bedding, sofas, bathroom surfaces, and just about anywhere within the home. The Verilux Cleanwave sanitizing light wand is also safe, featuring a safety shut-off that turns the UV-C bulb off when the wand it tipped upside down to prevent harmful exposure to your eyes and skin. This is a feature that has been overlooked by many manufacturers of UV-C light wands and we are very pleased that Verilux has included it on their wand!

You hold this thing over surfaces for between 10-20 seconds, and you’ve crippled the genes of the germs, if not killed them all together.  99.9% of those little punks will be destroyed, so breathe easy.  I imagine I’d be making that stupid VWOOOWV noise every time I used this thing, too.

The Verilux Cleanwave sanitizer is running around a hundred bucks.  Check it out.

verilux cleanwave

Oreck Employs the UV-C Ninja


Oreck, the company that makes products that suck (like vaccuums!) has called up our friend the ultraviolet light class C samurai and made a vacuum called the Halo.  In addition to having twin motors for ultra sucking power (this is getting out of hand), the Oreck Halo uses UV-C light to kill as much bacteria as possible while cleaning your floors.

Seriously though, it’s $599.  That’s a lot of vacuum.  That’s more than a Dyson.  It does come with 3 yearly “tune-ups” for that wad of bread you have to put down for the Halo.

oreck halo

MINUS: The Garbage Can That Doesn’t Smell Like Rotting Death

I usually notice that I forgot to throw out the bag of garbage in the kitchen around day two of the empty raw chicken package being in there, especially if it’s humid.  My beagle Gracie certainly notices if anyone puts anything in there, and she does her “I’m smelling the can but not *really* smelling the can enough so you don’t see me smelling the can” face.  How freaking adorable and disgusting.  But designer Cem Tutuncuoglu has invented a can that not only freezes your garbage, but also kicks the snot out of it with our good friend and the ninja of wavelengths, ultraviolet light.  The designer claims that the can not only kills and de-stinks your garbage, but also gives off “a pleasing light” in your kitchen.

Check out these images:




Check out Cem‘s website, but be forewarned – you’ll be bombed with a whole bunch of publicity this guy has gotten for some reason.  It’s actually a task to find his work through all of that self-love.