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Submission + - A Technological Ring of Gyges vs the Environment (greenprophet.com)

An dochasac writes: "Many people believe technology can get us out of the environmental mess we're in but here is a strong argument that technology got us into this mess by giving each of us a 'Ring of Gyges', hiding our ecological footprint from our neighbors and even from ourselves. Can information technology destroy this technological ring of Gyges and help consumers see the impact of our choices?"
Technology

Submission + - Hannukah and Other Celebrations of Efficient Lighting

An dochasac writes:

Each December as nights grow long, people of the Jewish faith celebrate an ancient miracle of efficiency. In our oil-soaked, electrified age it is difficult to understand what it meant for the Maccabees to enjoy eight days of light from one day’s supply of oil.

After an early Persian usage of kerosene lighting, people relied on vegetable and animal fats for indoor lighting. For several hundred years whale oil was the best indoor lighting fuel, but when the world neared "peak whale oil," whalers who'd previously prospered in local waters now toiled dangerous waters of the high arctic and southern ocean. Moby Dick's narrator warns:

“For God’s sake, be economical with your lamps and candles. Not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man’s blood was spilled for it.”

We've finally come to a time when each of those eye-watering blue LED "holiday lights" can distract Christians from the context of Christmas for six months on the equivalent of one day's supply of menorah oil. Here is the history of this... uh... progress in efficient lighting.

Technology

Submission + - ESL lights, (greenprophet.com)

An dochasac writes: "Everyone knows incandescent lights are inefficient little space heaters which happen to convert 5% of their incoming energy to light. Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) are more efficient but they contain toxic brain-eating mercury and emit a greenish light. LEDs are also efficient and last longer but if their blueish 'white' light doesn't mess up your melatonin balance, their high price is likely to give you the blues and wreck your bank account balance.

A company called Vu1 has come up with something called Electron Stimulated Luminance (ESL) lights which claim to solve the mercury and price problem in a light which has the warm color balance of incandescents and is compatible with dimmer switches. It's based on CRT technology. Here are some more ESL details along with an explanation of why it's still a bad idea to say these are "trash can safe.""

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