Shedding Light on Light

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Jane Brox, author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, discusses how artificial lighting has affected the path of society, as well as our energy demands.


Jane Brox

Comments [15]

Bruce Rosen from New York

Early in 2007, GE announced they'd be developing an incandescent bulb with efficiency comparable to the CFL. By the year's end, they withdrew this promise & last year, they closed their last manufacturing plant in the US. All of the CFLs available are made in China - lesser environmental & labor standards + long carbon-based transport, including by super containerships. Where is the environmental benefit & not producing lighting - of whatever type - a REAL security problem for the US?

Jan. 06 2011 12:08 PM
Andy from Brooklyn

Photons are also ionizing. I think what you mean is harmful radiation, which in this case would be higher-energy photons.

Aug. 04 2010 01:07 PM

Just tuned in. When will we see the shelves stocked with LED type 'bulbs'?

Aug. 04 2010 11:26 AM
artista from greenpoint

best read ever:
Disenchanted Night: The industrialization of Light in the 19th Century, by the fabulous Wolfgang Schivelbush.
(yes, it was written in English.) All his books are terrific.

IN the 1970s New York City made it illegal for office buildings to keep their lights on, because of the energy crisis What happened?

Aug. 04 2010 11:25 AM
Julian from Manhattan

The incandescent ban has been in effect in the EU since fall of 2008. This shows how far in advance they are than us, despite the recycling problems for compact fluorescents.

Aug. 04 2010 11:25 AM
John from Jersey Shore

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are recyclable at Home Depot. Take them to Home Depot and they will be properly recycled.

Aug. 04 2010 11:24 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

As far as recycling CF bulbs, Home Depot takes them for recycling.

Aug. 04 2010 11:24 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

As far as recycling CF bulbs, Home Depot takes them for recyling.

Aug. 04 2010 11:23 AM

The growing use of compact flourescents will have affects on emotions. The cooler, more pale, greenish quality of many of them is really bad for people's emotional state.

Fortunately, LEDs are on the way -- no mercury, even more energy efficient, and much greater control of color.

Aug. 04 2010 11:23 AM
Dennis Moyes from Rutherford, NJ

My most vivid memory of my trop to New Zealand was how DARK it got at night. I spent hours on my first night there looking up at the night sky and enjoying all of the stars I couldn't see at home. It was ase inspiring.

Aug. 04 2010 11:22 AM

Light _is_ radiation -- the question is, in what part of the electromagnetic spectrum does the radiation fall.

Incandescent lights fall well within the visible section of the spectrum -- towards the warmer colors (reds, oranges, yellows). Flourescents are cooler, which is why they emit more UV.

Aug. 04 2010 11:21 AM
Daniel from Munich

ALL lightbulbs emit radiation: photons, tons of them. Light is radiation.

Aug. 04 2010 11:21 AM
Dennis Moyes

My most vivid memory of my trip to New Zealand was how DARK it got at night. I spent an hour or more on my first night there looking up at all the stars that I couldnt see at home. It was awe inspiring!

Aug. 04 2010 11:20 AM
Olivia from Manhattan

The new New York Times building is the worst light polluter in midtown! That building is ALWAYS fully lit up. It is a beacon of wastefulness.

Aug. 04 2010 11:13 AM
Betty Ann from UES

Does her book mention Marshall McLuhan. He identified the light bulb as a clear demonstration of the concept of “the medium is the message”.

A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. He describes the light bulb as a medium without any content. McLuhan states that "a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence.

Aug. 04 2010 11:10 AM

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