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LEDs Lighting Up the African Darkness

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the heart-of-lighting dept.

Power 182

Peace Corps Online writes "In a non-electrified society, life is defined by the sun and little is accomplished once it sets around 6 pm. Only 19 percent of rural areas in Ghana have electricity. The rest use foul-smelling kerosene lamps to light their huts, which pollute, provide little light and are major fire hazards. But now Philips has partnered with KITE, a not-for-profit Ghanaian organization, to bring artificial light to villages that have no electricity. The new Philips products include a portable lantern which provides bright white light where it is needed, the Dynamo Multi LED self-powered (wind-up) flashlight that provides 17 minutes of light from two minutes hand winding, and the 'My Reading Light,' which is a solar-powered reading light with built-in rechargeable battery. 'People can now do things in the evening,' says Harriette Amissah-Arthur, KITE's director. 'If you could only see the joy these products bring the villagers. You look at their faces; you have to see it to believe it.'"

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God bless (no text) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062267)

(no text)

Biased article... phillips (5, Informative)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062395)

This article is biased towards Phillips' contribution... Shouldn't there at least have been a mention of the "Light Up the World Foundation" and Dave Irvine-Halliday (U of Calgary)?

http://www.ucalgary.ca/oncampus/weekly/nov4-05/schulich-lutw.html [ucalgary.ca]

http://www.google.com/search?q=philips+lutw [google.com]

Solar powered flashlights (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063337)

And how about finally giving credit to us pollocks for our contribution of the solar powered flashlight, my people have been ridiculed for long enough on this one.

Re:Solar powered flashlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27064021)

And how about finally giving credit to us pollocks

What do fish have to do with it?

Re:God bless (no text) (1, Troll)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062559)

If god wanted them to see at night he wouldn't have made it dark!

So this is either against the will of god, or, hmm no, no other alternative.

Re:God bless (no text) (3, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062613)

So Philips is the agent of the Devil?

think of this:

"In an electrified society, life is defined by the television and little is accomplished once it starts around 6 pm".

Philips makes lots of TVs too.... case proven :)

Finally, someone gets it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063403)

Unlike the OLPC folks! Let there be light!!!

Gunfire (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062269)

Doesn't the light attract gunfire?

Re:Gunfire (5, Funny)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062381)

A small price to pay for not being eaten by a Grue.

Re:Gunfire (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062671)

I modded you funny, but I am at this moment in Africa and it is true that such light (or modern technology) in a tent for example, can indeed attract freelancing bandits.

Re:Gunfire (0, Troll)

tpgp (48001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063007)

but I am at this moment in Africa and it is true that such light (or modern technology) in a tent for example, can indeed attract freelancing bandits.

Oh ffs. You are currently in 'Africa' are you? Do you realise that Africa is of a comparable size to the EU, China, Alaska & contiguous US combined?

So... Where are you in relation to Ghana? Give us a quick breakdown of how crime in your area relates to crime in rural Ghana.

It is utterly typical africa==bandits US groupthink that got your "tech in Africa means you get robbed" got modded up.

Re:Gunfire (3, Interesting)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063203)

He's probably in the Congo.

Ghana is actually one of the most stable countries in Africa. One that has just finished it's third General Election [guardian.co.uk] (with universal suffrage too) this year. It's first was in 1992, with 1996 letting the same guy in again. But considering it spent most of the 20th century ruled by a military Junta, it's come along way.

Re:Gunfire (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063431)

Knowing several people from Africa, or currently living there, I'm going to hazard to say that the "US groupthink" isn't all that far from the truth. I would love to spend some time there, but as a whole it's not a particularly safe place right now.

Re:Gunfire (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063907)

Most people in Africa don't have an abbundance of books, so why do they need a solar powered reading lamp in the tent? Especially if it's only going to attract bandits anyway.

People shouldn't be too quick to proclaim this much of an improvement to the lives of people over there. Just take a look at what happened with all of the mosquito netting that is sitting in warehouses, instead of being distributed to the people who need it to reduce the risk of malaria.

Re:Gunfire (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064375)

Not all of Africa has bandits roaming around all night, and in much of the continent people actually sleep in huts and houses - even where there is no electricity. (I spent some time in Eastern Congo some years back and it was certainly the case then.)

As for not having books, I suspect that if people had more time in which they could read, they might read more. So books would be more desirable and people would print/import/write more.

As for mosquito netting, the fact that governments are corrupt, or that there is a good deal of social inertia to overcome in persuading people to use them is regrettable. But it does not mean that there may not be other things that can be accomplished to effectively change peoples lives, nor that such things should not be attempted.

Very cool. (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062307)

And excellent PR for Philips.

Re:Very cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062593)

Somewhat ridiculous though that this is news. This is the same phenomenon that inspired ol' Negroponte to create the OLPC-- people using laptops as light at night.

Perhaps the last five years might have been better spent on something people really wanted rather than what Negroponte _thought_ they should want.

Fortunately private industry is there when the geniuses come up short.

Where can I get mine? (4, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062329)

This isn't the first product Philips have produced for developing countries.

See wood-burning stove: http://www.research.philips.com/newscenter/archive/2006/060227-woodstove.html [philips.com]

I wish they would make them available to buy in the developed world though. I'd love some of this gear for outdoor pursuits.

Re:Where can I get mine? (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062449)

wish they would make them available to buy in the developed world though. I'd love some of this gear

Driving up volume, cost down, in a buy-one-donate-one, OLPC kind of way...

Re:Where can I get mine? (4, Insightful)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062525)

In my experience, most people would rather pay a fraction of the price of a second item.

Ex: $150 + $150 = bad
$150*1.25 (With a sticker: "20% donated to providing blah in 3rd world countries.") will get more buyers.

We see the same thing in the games industry. People don't want to pay $90 for a content-packed game. They want to pay $30, plus $30 for an expansion if they like it, and another $30 for another expansion.

In my opinion, it is somewhat likely that OLPC would've done better offering laptops in the developed world for slightly more, rather than double. It'd drive the cost of production down quite a bit, get more exposure(which means more donations and support), and it's cheaper for the consumer.

Re:Where can I get mine? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063219)

They would have been far more competitive vs other UMPCs in the developed world if they cost less too.

They ended up being slightly more (or was it the same price?)than EEE, with some pros, and some cons.

If they were $300 plus shipping it would have been slightly less (for some reason I think EEE was about $350, but I can't recall).

Re:Where can I get mine? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063177)

For the most part when the people do real outdoor pursuits (I am not talking about campers and the like) Light Weight is key, A lot of these products for the developing countries are a bit heavy and hard to move. Also if they are too convenient then you get rid of the point of camping. The point of camping is starting a nice fire and slow roasting your food. Or use a small and light backpacker stove where you fill with a Light Gas Pump it up light it and whoosh you burn off you eyebrows but have a nice little cooking stove. That philips wood stove which is good for home use isn't really useful for the outdoor people, it is to big and heavy for backpackers and not as fun as an open flame for the others.

Re:Where can I get mine? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063299)

It is truly fascinating to explore the rich cultural history ofAfrica. [resist.com]

Re:Where can I get mine? (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064455)

Things like the solar cookers [solarcookers.org] project are far geekier than a simple wood burning stove! Cooking food with reflected sunlight, even with snow on the ground, is surprisingly neat. Also for developing countries it's a way to cook without using any natural resources.

At the same time, European Union bans incandescent (0, Troll)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062433)

lightbulbs [telegraph.co.uk] to force their replacement with fluorescent tubes [spiegel.de] containing hazardous mercury (and which are ill-suited for many applications that require instant operation or even harness their heat), rather than leapfrogging directly to LEDs etc.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (4, Informative)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062513)

The EU has done no such thing. Yes, it banned the sale of classic lightbulbs (effective September 2012). But what you replace them with is your own choice, you are not forced into buying fluorescent tubes.

Oh come on, where's the 100W LED in an E27 socket? (0, Redundant)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062609)

Sounds like a plan (best described in /. style)...
1. ban something (pick short-lived widespread household consumable to maximize effect)
2. while there is only one alternative (with unwelcome side effects) available, let alone affordable
3. proclaim "what you replace them with is your own choice" (select from 2.)
4. (whose) profit?!

Re:Oh come on, where's the 100W LED in an E27 sock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062873)

A friend of mine is a senior researcher at Philips. The LEDs will be there by 2012.

Re:Oh come on, where's the 100W LED in an E27 sock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062895)

Looks to me like they opened a market for led lamps (and fluorescent lamps of course). It's up to manufacturers to step in this market. What more do you want? Subsidies?

Re:Oh come on, where's the 100W LED in an E27 sock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063087)

What more do you want?

Freedom of choice, thank you very much.

Re:Oh come on, where's the 100W LED in an E27 sock (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062959)

1000lm LED packs exist, although not in E27 socket format yet. A 100W LED would be much too bright for most applications (brighter than a 300W halogen lamp).

The "hazardous mercury" is pure scaremongering. Fluorescent lights are the primary light source in many work environments and they cause no problem. CFLs are just small fluorescent tubes with built-in starter electronics. In places where most electricity is produced by burning coal, the mercury pollution caused by incorrect disposal of fluorescent tubes is less than the mercury pollution from the coal.

CFLs can instantly provide 70% of their target brightness. If you choose your CFLs such that the power on brightness is sufficient for your application, you get an extra 50% after a few minutes and still save power and money.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062701)

Yes, you are not forced to buying fluorescent tubes.

You could always :-

1 - Sit in the dark
2 - Burn some books to make a dim campfire
3 - Harness the power of naturally light emitting bugs

Of course 1 is no solution at all, just the effect of the initial cause, 2 will piss off the "global warming/cooling/change" crowd, and 3 will piss of the "save the ant crowd".

Any more bright (excuse the pun) ideas ?

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

stalwartPK39 (1105047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062957)

Should I say something incendiary like: "This would never happen in America." in order to increase the likelihood of a response, or should I just politely ask for an instance where America banned a product that was widely-used, just because it was to the eventual greater common good...hmmm

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063243)

R-12 [wikipedia.org] comes to mind.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Rambuncle (740689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064715)

Analog television.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062961)

Why doesn't it just tax them at a higher rate?

As big a fan of CFLs as I am (my house lighting is 99% CFL), banning incandescents is stupid. What do you use in the oven? CFLs NOR LEDs can withstand the heat. (Then there is the dryer and freezer, although leds might do the job, CFLs won't fare well there).

Oven use (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063387)

banning incandescents is stupid. What do you use in the oven?

Indeed! Neither CFLs nor LEDs give off enough heat to work in an oven [hasbro.com] .

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063543)

Hear, hear! I'm a big fan of tax credits for this thing-give people an incentive rather than a punishment. Why use a stick when a carrot works just as well?

A legislative ban on incandescents is just plain stupid for the reasons you mentioned. If you follow the electrons incandescent bulbs aren't a problem. Hell, what is the problem in the first place? Greenhouse gas production and pollution, which comes from many sources including electricity production. Look at overall energy use to see the heart of the problem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_use_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org] has charts clearly showing that the largest energy use is industrial and transportation, energy which in turn is generated by burning fossil fuels directly as with internal combustion engines or indirectly by electricity generation.

The bottom line: CFL's save drop in an ocean.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27064143)

"But what you replace them with is your own choice"

I think I'll replace mine with foul-smelling kerosene lamps.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064721)

The EU has done no such thing. Yes, it banned the sale of classic lightbulbs (effective September 2012). But what you replace them with is your own choice, you are not forced into buying fluorescent tubes.

Quite true. You can sit in the dark.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (2, Informative)

MacroRodent (1478749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062531)

Note that the EU is just banning incandescend bulbs, NOT mandating fluorescent ones. When realistic LED lights become available, of course they will be used.

The mercury problem is easily solvable. Just institute a deposit recycling system for the fluorescents, like there exists for bottles in many countries.

By the way, am I the only one to find the light from white LEDs irritating? Somehow I find it harder to see in LED light than with alternatives, even when the light output is theoretically comparable. It is as if the frequencies in its spectrum just miss the the ones my photoreceptors are tuned into...

Don't say it's no (dumb) move to push fluorescent (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062567)

Note that the EU is just banning incandescend bulbs, NOT mandating fluorescent ones.

It mandates that classic lightbulbs be phased out before equivalent, affordable LED replacements are ready for prime time. As in Australia [bbc.co.uk] , this does amount to triggering their large-scale replacement with fluorescent ones, and all the calculations and public pronouncements have been precisely to this effect.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (5, Interesting)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062615)

It is as if the frequencies in its spectrum just miss the the ones my photoreceptors are tuned into...

Well, that's because the LEDs actually are missing (large) components of the spectrum! :-)

Even when your eyes are tricked into believing the light is white (by equally stimuling the three kinds of color-sensitive cells), the light reflected off of objects isn't "correct".

Imagine two green objects. One has true green pigment, the other has a mixture of yellow and blue pigment. Both look the same under incandescent light, because the light from a glowing filament emits a full spectrum .

When an LED doesn't emit a full spectrum the two objects don't like alike. The "true" green objects only reflects "true" green, not yellow + blue. The "yellow + blue" object doesn't reflect "true" green.

That's why it's hard to see in such light.

Your eyes (or brain) can adapt very well to changes in color temperature (yellowy incandescent light, or the blueish halogen light), but it can't cope with holes in the spectrum.

This goes for compact fluorescent lights as well, even as they keep getting better. The cheap ones are really crappy in this respect.

For fluorescent tubes there is a rating [wikipedia.org] for color temperate and color rendition. It isn't used (as far as I know) for compact fluorescents as they score way to low on this scale. That would make the public relations department of the manufacturers unhappy.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063051)

Your eyes (or brain) can adapt very well to changes in color temperature (yellowy incandescent light, or the blueish halogen light), but it can't cope with holes in the spectrum.

That's bullshit. The eye has photoreceptors for three colors. Each type of photoreceptor has a smooth response curve over a wide band of wavelengths. The response from a photoreceptor only varies in intensity when light of different wavelengths strikes it. Missing bands in the spectrum can cause incorrect color rendition, but do not trigger some "subconscious" reaction to otherwise invisible gaps in the spectrum. It's as if the object in question simply had a slightly different color. CFLs with a CRI close to 90 are almost indistinguishable from incandescent bulbs. The small remaining differences are inconsequential in normal environments without special color rendition requirements (like pre-press), and the option to increase the light throughput by 50-100% while still saving power gives CFLs the edge.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063155)

Who makes these CFLs with a CRI close to 90, and where do you get them?

Most bulbs don't even list the color temperature, much less CRI.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063381)

The Dulux series by Osram is marked with color temperature and CRI in one number: An 827 CFL is a 2700K light with a color rendering index >80. Osram makes compact 930 lights (CRI>90 3000K), but not (yet) in the "normal" E27 socket format. Consumers looking to replace incandescent bulbs should go for 827 CFLs, as they're the drop-in replacement with a light color and color rendering quality closest to incandescent bulbs. ("Daylight" and other color temperatures >3000K are what most people associate with sterile, cold fluorescent tube light. 2700K is the "warm" yellowish light they're used to from incandescent bulbs.)

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (2, Interesting)

tkjtkj (577219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063425)

I have an LED headlight for my bicycle.. its very bright .. and very expensive .. it cost $200, and its the cheapest way to obtain safe night-riding ability. and ive never ever noticed any weirdness to its color spectrum .. Of course, at night one is not looking for incorrect color rendition .. nonetheless, it works, it makes night into day, it keeps me alive... and for those advantages, its priceless. tkjtkj@gmail.com

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27064417)

Just a tip to anyone contemplating buying an LED headlight for a bicycle. It is cheaper and just as effective to buy a small LED flashlight. I have a Fenix L2D and I mount it with a Twofish Flashlight Holder. At $50 a pop you can get a couple and mount one on the bars and one on your head and still save over a bike specific light. There are many other options. Check out the Electronics, Lighting, and Gadgets forum on bikeforums.net for tons of information and advice.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064505)

At night your color vision isn't all that great anyway. The color photoreceptors aren't as sensitive as the "black and white" receptors.

But, as an experiment you can do at home: find something that has a lot of different colors, but it must not be printed (as the print proces only uses 4 inks to make up all the colors). Perhaps a box of crayons, or paint samples. During daylight (or incandescent light) sort them into a gradual rainbow. Wait until dark, and shine your LED headlight on them. See the difference? Some colors appear way darker / lighter this way. That is the effect of gaps in the spectrum.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063897)

You can actually see the gaps in the spectrum yourself if you use a refracting object like a prism. It's pretty neat.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063925)

(I'm only quoting the most relevant part of your text, but I'm responding to the whole post).

Imagine two green objects. One has true green pigment, the other has a mixture of yellow and blue pigment. Both look the same under incandescent light, because the light from a glowing filament emits a full spectrum .

BS. Normal incancesdents are NOT full spectrum. That's why they produce such a nasty yellow light (color temp around 2700K).

LEDs are available in a variety of color temps, but it is true that it is very difficult to make "full spectrum" LED light. OTOH, Fluorescents, including CFLs, are widely available in full spectrum. Yes, your average $1.50 CFL from Walmart is NOT full specturm, but they are easily available.

I agree on the point that if the CRI rating were listed on all lights, nearly all LEDs and any non-full spectrum CFLs would score horribly. Normal incancesdents would not fare very well either.

If you want quality light, buy full spectrum. If you want really low TCO, buy LED. If you're an old dog who can't learn the new trick of liking non-yellow light, buy anything with a color temp around 2700k.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064435)

Normal incancesdents are NOT full spectrum. That's why they produce such a nasty yellow light (color temp around 2700K).

Ok, let me rephrase that. Incandescents have a spectrum without gaps, but are (as all black body radiators) limited in upper frequency. Normal bulbs emit a yellow light (stronger in the red part, not so much towards the blue part of the spectrum), halogen bulbs go somewhat further up the spectrum and thus appear more white. Compared to daylight, even halogen is yellow. The point being made is that the spectrum has no gaps, it is just gradually attenuated at the upper part.

Fluorescents, including CFLs, are widely available in full spectrum.

I have sought high and wide, but I can't get CFL's with good color rendition. Even the ones marketed as "full spectrum" aren't very good! It appears the term "full spectrum" is used to denote "whiter" light, not "gapless" light. I can find excellent fluorescent tubes, but not CFL's. They do get better, but they have a lot of catch-up to do compared to the tube variety. I don't know why, both technologies look the same to me. Apparently they aren't.

LEDs aren't suitable for general lighting. Not bright enough and terrible color rendition. Doesn't matter for some uses, but matters a lot for general use.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064531)

That's why they produce such a nasty yellow light (color temp around 2700K).

You mean that's why they produce such a gorgeous soft yellow light. The only light superior to incandescent is candle light.

What really gets me is when they advertise "daylight" bulbs that give off a blue light, when sunlight is clearly yellow.

Understanding of vision is incorrect (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064743)

Your understanding of both pigment and the mechanism of vision are flawed. Human vision has only a 3-color system, and therefore cannot distinguish many mixes of colors. (Birds have a 4-color system, the last I heard; mammals lost theirs when they became nocturnal, and we have not fully recovered ours because, basically, primate evolution has not had long enough for it to reappear- perhaps the selection pressure is not that great.) What's more, there is no such thing as a pure green pigment. This is because the very concept of "green" covers a range of frequencies, and any "green" light produced by a black body radiator and produced by filtration will have a peak somewhere in the region we call "green", and considerable outliers. It is possible to produce objects that look the same color under one source and different colors under another, but that applies equally between mean sunlight and incandescent bulbs as between bulbs and CFLs.This is because the energy spectrum of an incandescent lamp is nothing like mean sunlight. The fact that we are not usually consciously aware of this shows how adaptable the eye is to different light sources.

As a final note, it is possible to produce fluorescents that give a rendering much closer to mean sunlight than do incandescent bulbs, whereas the only way to get the effect with incandescents is to use filters which stop most of the visible radiation from them, meaning that a very high wattage is needed. In the good old days we needed 1000W Photofloods with special film for color indoor photography, which you can do just fine nowadays with standard discharge flashlamps that are built into cameras.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062697)

force their replacement with fluorescent tubes [spiegel.de] containing hazardous mercury

Didn't someone do the sums on this and figure out that the mercury in one of these CFL 'bulbs' was offset by the lower pollution (itself containing some mercury) coming out of the power plant as a result of using the CFL?

Or maybe that was just propaganda from the CFL camp... time to do some reading.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (3, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062717)

According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ... assuming a coal fired plant this statement is correct - the total amount of mercury is lesser when using a CFL:

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062759)

That's assuming *one* CFL can produce the equivalent light output of one incandescent lamp, which is where it all falls down. To get the equivalent of a 60W bulb using CFLs, you need about 40W worth of them.

Get a light meter and try it.

I have tried it - use the meter correctly (5, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062935)

You are totally wrong. You have to use an incident light meter, it's no good pointing a camera type light meter at the bulb because incandescents all have a bright spot while fluorescents spread the emission over a bigger area.

My own experiments, years ago, showed that in real world use CFLs are equivalent to about four times the wattage of standard 1000 hour incandescents, whereas full size fluorescents produce maybe 5 times the output of the same wattage incandescent. Linear 8W CFLs as used on boats and caravans give about the same actual illumination as a 20W tungsten-halogen bulb, because their light output is much less directional, but then they are much better at illuminating dark corners.

Case in point: when we moved to our present house, the kitchen used 3 100W bulbs. These have been satisfactorily replaced with 3 20W CFLs for the last 20 years. As different types of CFL have evolved, there has been no deterioration in light output, though it is important to buy good quality - GE or Philips - bulbs.

I note that the cost of LEDS is now becoming comparable in lifetime cost with CFLs. The main issue is that LED drivers are relatively inefficient because most of them waste a lot of power in series resistors. What is needed is a really efficient current driver IC for LEDs. This would drive up the efficiency of conversion and make them even more useful in the Third World.

Re:I have tried it - use the meter correctly (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063701)

Okay, case in point: When I replaced the lights in my living room with CFLs, I needed twice as many to be able to see well enough to read. One was dim and eyestrainy. I'm well aware of the difference between spot and incident metering.

Another thing I noticed was that during power cuts, the genny used about twice as much diesel when I switched to CFLs. Somehow they use more power, the fuel bills prove it.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063079)

Your light meter is broken.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062715)

which are ill-suited for many applications that require instant operation

Can you name these "many applications"?
The slowest fluorescent bulb I have is in a little bedside lamp and it starts in under a second. It's not fast, but it's not as if I could actually do anything in the time between pressing the button and the light coming on.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062829)

Can you name these "many applications"?

Incandescent bulbs are still very useful, if only because they still have advantages over their current low-cost replacement (fluorescent bulbs) - instant turn-on, stable color rendition, operation at very high or very low temperatures and unity power factor. Never mind the toxcity and disposal issues with CFBs. LEDs address most of these points though.

Incandescent may be loosing its relevance, but banning them altogether is stupid IMHO.

Applications requiring incandescent lamps (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063237)

Can you name these "many applications"?

If I were a hippie ;-) I'd cite lava lamps and illuminated blocks of salt, but suffice it to wish you you best of luck with an LED in your oven and a CFL in your fridge or snow-covered yard.
Oh, and the latter (unlike lightbulbs) even at room temperature do take significantly longer to reach full brightness than the "one second" you postulate.

Re:At the same time, European Union bans incandesc (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063783)

Pretty much any light that is on for less than an hour a week. That's less than $1 of electricity a year, saving $0.75 of it with a more expensive, slower, less reliable (IME) bulb, isn't worth it.

Mercury From Coal (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062815)

If you live in a region where electricity comes from coal power, much more mercury will be put in the air from burning coal to power an incandescent bulb, than is contained in a CFL (which can be safely recycled). Granted a CFL won't work too well as refrigerator light....

Mercury is found in many rocks including coal. When coal is burned, mercury is released into the environment. Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air in the United States, accounting for over 40 percent of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions.

from US EPA [epa.gov]

What's wrong with Halogen Bulbs? (2, Interesting)

sd.fhasldff (833645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063773)

Halogen light bulbs use tungsten filaments, JUST LIKE ORDINARY BULBS.

Two main differences:

- The filament is run at a much higher temperature, resulting in higher efficiency (around 20%).

- The gas inside the quartz "bulb" (the inner bulb, if you're buying a large bulb as a replacement) is a halogen gas (thus the name). These molecules combine with tungsten evaporated from the filament and effectively redeposits the tungsten on the filament. This results in longer lifetime.

End result: Longer lasting bulb, higher efficiency, roughly same environmental impact as normal bulb during production and disposal, still incandescent light (so no gaps in the output spectrum).

The one downside to halogen bulbs is that they get a lot hotter. Why? They have lower heat output, right? Yes, they do, but the AREA is a lot smaller due to the close proximity of the quartz. An outer bulb, such as typically present in a large-format "normal bulb replacement" (E26 base in the US), reduces this problem to about the same as for an ordinary bulb.

Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062489)

they can feel the insomnia we Americans feel. Seriously, I hope this doesn't have a negative impact.

You will not until somebody decides so. (1)

tristezo2k (672856) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062519)

As usual, big CO test where nobody cares if they die, get blind, etc, and then *when the right time has come* sell where they need. Africa, raped continent. Has had medicine, technology, and many other breakthroughs before anybody, for free. Many times, they kill, but, who really cares? The article makes me *sick*.

Re:You will not until somebody decides so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062675)

As usual, moron post when nobody cares if he does so.

Re:You will not until somebody decides so. (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062743)

Yeah, and if the medicine, technology and many other breakthroughs don't kill them, guaranteed their brother who happens to live in the next tribe WILL.

Africa will always be the raped continent, unfortunately most of the time it's their own people doing the raping ... Hutus and Tutses for example.

Bunch of tribalistic savages, the lot of them ... especially the ones with honorary OBE's.

Camping memories (2, Funny)

raynet (51803) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062591)

The rest use foul-smelling kerosene lamps to light their huts, which pollute, provide little light and are major fire hazards.

I am the only one who thinks kerosene lamps actually do smell quite nice.

Re:Camping memories (3, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062777)

I am the only one who thinks kerosene lamps actually do smell quite nice.

The smell depends on the fuel. Kerosene can contain varying amounts of sulfur and other odour-inducing substances. Better grades have less odour, and may even have some fragrances added, but cost more. I suppose that the nice-smelling varieties are less common in poorer countries. In fact, they probably mix other cheaper fuels (such as diesel) into the kerosene they do have, adversely affecting soot and smell.

Kerosine lamps FTW! (3, Informative)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064461)

I spent some time in northern Sudan as a child. We had kerosine lamps that used wicks, and Petromax pressure lamps that used a mantle (like the Coleman lamps in the USA). As an 8-year-old I loved having my own kerosine lamp to read by in bed. Yeah, it was dim -- but in a pitch black room with dark-adapted eyes, it was plenty.

They DO pollute, they ARE a fire hazard... but the world will be a little poorer when the last kerosine lamp is gone.

see it to believe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062619)

"You look at their faces; you have to see it to believe it"

Well, now I finally _can_ see it.

polute with smelly kerosine? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062751)

give me a break these people burn elephant shit for cooking. the world has become populated by pussies. where the fuck do you think all this electricity comes from any way? all this fag talk makes me want to wretch. look its cool someone gave the savages a flashlight but i can do without all the flowery tree hugging asswipe commentary. man up and grow a pair of balls

Not so long ago. (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062779)

"The rest use foul-smelling kerosene lamps to light their huts, which pollute, provide little light and are major fire hazards."

In other words, the exact same type of lighting my grandfather's household relied on when he was a child. It's easy to forget that there are many people alive today that only had access to very primitive technology when they were young. And it wasn't because they couldn't afford it, but because it didn't exist anywhere on earth.

While I am sympathetic to the plight of countries that cannot afford modern technology for their entire population, and the massive infrastructure required to support it, I do keep in mind that we are talking about a gap of only a few generations - not centuries or millenia.

Re:Not so long ago. (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063191)

While I am sympathetic to the plight of countries that cannot afford modern technology for their entire population, and the massive infrastructure required to support it, I do keep in mind that we are talking about a gap of only a few generations - not centuries or millenia.

Is your proposal that we wait a few generations and see if they've caught up?

While I understand where you're coming from, I don't think the fact that we're not far removed from "primitive" technology is a good reason to not worry about the state of the developing world.

It's striking to compare photos from the Great Depression to the conditions of some modern day countries, but the reason some places haven't caught up isn't simply because we had a head start. The history of colonialism, as well as current foreign and trade policy have a lot to do with keeping things the way they are.

Re:Not so long ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27064339)

how exactly does colonialism keep them in the dark ages? maybe some people are poor for a reason? all humans came from africa, yet africans have proven themselves unable to elevate themselves from their poverty-stricken, aid-dependent, caveman-like conditions. ever wonder why japan has the society it does and ghana has the society it does? some people, suffice it to say, are just fucking lazy.

Re:Not so long ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063715)

I often wonder what can be done today, improving the technology bases we pushed aside in favour of fancier ones. In fact, this is what often the "appropriate technology" folks end up doing, because raising the local base is easier than implanting a whole new one.

The latter causes lots of fancy repairable-if-only-we-knew-how debris by the underdeveloped wayside, and people sitting next to it waiting for the next shipment of "aid". Welcome to the dark side of development do-goodery.

Apropos of nothing: There are still cities where at least some of the public lights are gas operated. I don't know how well they do in efficiency and carbon footprint and so on compared to the electric ones, but I still cannot help but like them.

Re:Not so long ago. (2, Insightful)

benj_e (614605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063991)

First off, kerosene lamps don't have to be "foul-smelling". That usually means that a wick isn't adjusted right.

And you can easily get plenty of light from the right lamp - check out the Aladdin lamps that are used in parts of the US (don't know where else might use them). Simple lamp, cheap fuel, equivalent to a 60w bulb.

I like LEDs, most of my flashlights use them. But kerosene lamps have proven themselves over many, many years to be reliable and cheap. Introducing LED technology to countries without manufacturing capability means that they are just going to continue to be dependent on others.

1000 years of darkness to continue for US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062833)

the prospect (now fact) of handing our dwindling resources (including real estate) over to the same handful of felonious bastards who mucked US up scares some of US into further action to compensate.

Product Naming (4, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062965)

My Reading Light? I'm getting annoyed with people naming everything "My xxx". Was this started by Windows? Or was it "My Little Pony". My God. These people should hire some open source developers to name their products.

Re:Product Naming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063123)

Sure... KReadingLight. Rolls off the tounge doesn't it?

Re:Product Naming (2, Funny)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063143)

My God. These people should hire some open source developers to name their products.

The Gimped Feisty gLight? No thanks.

Re:Product Naming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063151)

MySQL?

Re:Product Naming (1)

Phydaux (1135819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063167)

We'd just end up with MRL (MRL Reading Light).

Re:Product Naming (1)

ryllharu (1441751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063183)

The Open Source flashlight: Luminescent Lurefish.

Re:Product Naming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063591)

My Reading Light? I'm getting annoyed with people naming everything "My xxx". Was this started by Windows? Or was it "My Little Pony".

Specifically? Probably started with "My Dick" back with the cavemen. Sure he probably had "My Club", "My Spear", "My Woman" but "My Woman" would be of no use without "My Dick" and without "My Dick" he'd have been "My Woman" to someone who did have "My Dick" so "My Dick" was certainly the caveman's most important possession.

My God. These people should hire some open source developers to name their products.

No. Just no.

Re:Product Naming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27064119)

"I'm getting annoyed with people naming everything "My xxx".

I don't know about you, but I'd if everything was "My xxx."

Rather...stimulating.

Re:Product Naming (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064145)

Well, if it makes you feel any better, Microsoft's going to release theirs (at least the second version) as "Reading Light", without the "my".

In other news, Open Source is communist because they're taking away the feeling of ownership...

PunPunPum! (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062993)

'If you could only see the joy these products bring the villagers. You look at their faces; you have to see it to believe it.'"

I smell pun... or at least a not so bright attempt at humor

Lighting up the world (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063011)

While it would be nice to think everyone is going to just do everything they can to help developing countries, but the truth is cost has to come way down before a company will partner and do something like this. However, as it becomes better for the image of the country and create practical applications for a product, I'd like to think this will start getting much more popular in all fields of technology, to create cheaper more durable products at a faster rate.

Infection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063039)

Nothing like spreading the cultures of the modern world like a viral infection.

Why should people do things at night? So they can be productive and sleepless and spiritually void, dead, like the rest of the world? The sun goes down for a fucking reason.

I hope this project ultimately fails.

Fuck America, fuck modern living.

Re:Infection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063211)

... says the man using a computer to post his opinion on the internet.

African Darkness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27063205)

The title is racist!

Quote the summary... (2, Funny)

Xanlexian (122112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063713)

'If you could only see the joy these products bring the villagers. You look at their faces; you have to see it to believe it.'

I bet their eyes light up!

Re:Quote the summary... (1)

trb (8509) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064117)

Yeah, if only we could see. Ummm, what would that take. Some kind of invention where you could record a moving image and make it available for playback on demand. Maybe someday.

Small problem... (-1, Troll)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063751)

Yeah the problem, is that for those lights to be useful at night, they need to stay on.
They would have been better off setting up some lights that charge up during the day, and stay on all night , no?

Rapist> "I am going to do you now...."
Victim> "Wait...let me wind up this lamp so I can see you face..."
Rapist> "Umhhmm......ok?"

Wind up != Self Powered (0, Flamebait)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063895)

If you have to wind it up, you are exchanging one form of energy for another. It is not self powered.

Re:Wind up != Self Powered (0, Flamebait)

Loopy1492 (1308571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063967)

Thank you /., the place where every nerd can pick nits 'til the apocalypse comes.
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