Lightbulb Moment

 

We were sitting on wooden crates. They must have been sculling around in this old cargo hold for decades. Longer. It was an elephants’ graveyard of discarded technology, goods that had long since ceased being traded (at least in this corner of the universe). We pried open the lid on one, carefully. Inside, packed among musty, but still-dry, straw and shredded newspaper was a lamp. ‘Hey, this is solid brass,’ said Maya.

There were even some smaller crates inside. I opened one up. Inside were disintegrating pasteboard boxes.

‘Glory be,’ I breathed. ‘Lightbulbs!’

‘And? What’s so special about— Are those … incandescents?’

‘Exactly.’

‘But we can’t sell any of this stuff,’ she said, patiently, but quietly. ‘It’s contraband.’

‘Sell? Who’s talking about selling? I’m saying – look.’ I got busy with some wires and connectors. A few adjustments. Didn’t want to overload the thing. I was breathing heavily – I never thought I’d live to see one of these again, or be able to get it working. I rummaged around in the box some more and settled the shade I lifted out onto the lamp. The bulb into the socket.

‘Here goes,’ I said.

A pool of soft, warm light lit up the cargo hold. I should have been looking at the lamp, but honestly? It was worth it just to see the look on Maya’s face. Maybe it was a trick of the light, but I thought I saw tears around her eyes. ‘It’s beautiful …’

Yes, it was …

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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Ha! And at least if you drop one, you don’t have to call a Haz Mat team.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Of all the problems that government could have addressed*, that one wasn’t in the upper 10,000.


    * And don’t get me started on the list of stuff that they shouldn’t even think about.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Let there be light!

    • #3
  4. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    One of the loveliest examples of schadenfreude I can think of was the “Oh, [Dear]” moment a few years ago when it became clear that LED traffic lights were useless in icy and snowy weather because they didn’t  generate enough heat to melt the ice and snow and keep the lights visible.

    Not sure if the problem has been entirely solved.  Last I heard, they were making  enclosures with built-in heating coils and thermostats, and retrofitting old traffic lights with wires to melt the ice.  All at significant expense and energy consumption, of course.

    • #4
  5. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    She (View Comment):

    One of the loveliest examples of schadenfreude I can think of was the “Oh, [Dear]” moment a few years ago when it became clear that LED traffic lights were useless in icy and snowy weather because they didn’t generate enough heat to melt the ice and snow and keep the lights visible.

    Not sure if the problem has been entirely solved. Last I heard, they were making enclosures with built-in heating coils and thermostats, and retrofitting old traffic lights with wires to melt the ice. All at significant expense and energy consumption, of course.

    Hmm. It’s not that hard to spin that into a suggestion that one should live in a colder climate because that’s what The Man doesn’t want you to do.

    • #5
  6. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    I’ve heard Some have stockpiles………..  and buy commercial grade. Just rumors tho. I’ve also heard that husbands laughed when Some did so stockpile. But are now drawing from said stockpile. Just rumors. 

    • #6
  7. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    EODmom (View Comment):

    I’ve heard Some have stockpiles……….. and buy commercial grade. Just rumors tho. I’ve also heard that husbands laughed when Some did so stockpile. But are now drawing from said stockpile. Just rumors.

    Yep, yep, yep…it’s just rumors.

    • #7
  8. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    The rated efficiency of a lamp is measured as the light output as a percentage of the power consumed.  Incandescent lamps are around 3% efficient, fluorescent lamps are around 10% efficient, and LEDs are around 15% efficient.  Or thereabouts; it depends on the specifics.

    Any energy that’s not delivered as light is dissipated as heat.  

    Now…if that dissipated heat is put to use, say contributing to heating the house, then the lamp is, in practice, 100% efficient — none the energy is being wasted.  If you switch to high efficiency lamps, your furnace might end up be running more.

    And there’s a certain organic beauty to this; it’s colder in the evening and lights are on more during the evening.  It’s colder during the winter months and the evenings are longer during the winter months.

    So in many situations, the high efficiency lamps in practice are not nearly as impressive as the theory suggests.

    Incandescent lamps are also super inexpensive to manufacture, with no nasty pollutants. 

    • #8
  9. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    And there’s a certain organic beauty to this; it’s colder in the evening and lights are on more during the evening. It’s colder during the winter months and the evenings are longer during the winter months.

     

    You also position the lights close to you, increasing their effectiveness as space heaters.

    • #9
  10. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    And there’s a certain organic beauty to this; it’s colder in the evening and lights are on more during the evening. It’s colder during the winter months and the evenings are longer during the winter months.

     

    You also position the lights close to you, increasing their effectiveness as space heaters.

    We have found a similar characteristic when we replaced our old, inefficient (sic) and sorta noisy oil boiler with a new, efficient (sic) and silent gas burner in our small New England basement: where formerly the basement was warm-ish and dry in the winter from the heat thrown off by the boiler, now the basement is a chilly constant 56 degrees and we run a dehumidifier.  I don’t miss the noise but I resent the dehumidifier we need to combat moisture on what’s stored down there.   

    • #10
  11. David H Dennis Coolidge
    David H Dennis
    @DavidDennis

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    The rated efficiency of a lamp is measured as the light output as a percentage of the power consumed. Incandescent lamps are around 3% efficient, fluorescent lamps are around 10% efficient, and LEDs are around 15% efficient. Or thereabouts; it depends on the specifics.

    Any energy that’s not delivered as light is dissipated as heat.

    Now…if that dissipated heat is put to use, say contributing to heating the house, then the lamp is, in practice, 100% efficient — none the energy is being wasted. If you switch to high efficiency lamps, your furnace might end up be running more.

    And there’s a certain organic beauty to this; it’s colder in the evening and lights are on more during the evening. It’s colder during the winter months and the evenings are longer during the winter months.

    So in many situations, the high efficiency lamps in practice are not nearly as impressive as the theory suggests.

    Incandescent lamps are also super inexpensive to manufacture, with no nasty pollutants.

    I seem to remember, though, that electric heat as created by incandescents is significantly less efficient than heat created by burning fuel.  So in that case you would still be more efficient by letting burning give you heat and LED bulbs giving you light.  Is that not so?

    I live in Miami where there is plenty of heat, so LED bulbs are a no-brainer other than their often staggering price.  Besides, my beloved Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance bulbs create lots of awesome pretty colors that are fun to play with.

    I just wish they were brighter.  It’s still pretty expensive to create super-bright LEDs.

    • #11
  12. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    David H Dennis (View Comment):

    I seem to remember, though, that electric heat as created by incandescents is significantly less efficient than heat created by burning fuel. So in that case you would still be more efficient by letting burning give you heat and LED bulbs giving you light. Is that not so?

    Basic Conservation of Energy; for an incandescent lamp, there’s no place for the energy to go besides light and heat.

    And a modern natural gas furnace is around 80% efficient.

    I live in Miami where there is plenty of heat, so LED bulbs are a no-brainer other than their often staggering price.

    Sure.  And I live in California, stunningly beautiful weather.  

    But for most of the country, the average outside temperature is significantly lower than room temperature.

    • #12

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