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Why We Need to Keep Our Night Skies Dark (Video)

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the be-kind-to-astronomers-and-cut-electric-bills-at-the-same-time dept.

Space 130

Kelly Beatty has a unique perspective on the world of astronomy: Beatty's been on the staff of Sky & Telescope magazine for nearly 40 years as a writer and editor, including a stint heading "Night Sky" magazine. He's also written what's been called "the definitive guide for the armchair astronomer," and teaches astronomy to people of all ages. (He even has an asteroid named after him.) Besides being fascinated with the objects we can see in Earth's skies, Beatty takes the skies themselves seriously: his Twitter handle is NightSkyGuy for a reason. We talked a few weeks ago, in dark-skied rural Maine, about his involvement with the International Dark-Sky Association, and why you should care about ubiquitous light pollution, even if you don't have a deep interest in star-gazing. (And it's not just to be courteous to your neighbors.)

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130 comments

WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (4, Informative)

Creosote (33182) | about 8 months ago | (#44690679)

A few days ago, the Washington Post ran a somewhat unconventional travel article on Tucson as a destination for skygazers, and mentioned the influence of the ISDA and the local astronomy community in creating the local ordinances limiting light pollution:

www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/seeing-stars-in-tucsons-brilliant-night-sky/2013/08/22/5bc4d34e-05e2-11e3-9259-e2aafe5a5f84_story.html

Re:WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44690907)

I can't tell you how many astronomers I work with that either live, lived, or want to live in Tucson. It's crazy.

Re:WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691215)

What if I offer you a buck, could you tell me then?

Re:WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44692761)

I actually do know a few astronomers. They mostly live in Central California, near UCSC and UCBerkley. They also spend a lot of time on the Big Island (Hawaii) and in the mountains of Chile.

Re:WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (2)

jeffy210 (214759) | about 8 months ago | (#44691275)

I remember the drive from Phoenix to Tucson at night was one of the most beautiful skies i've ever seen.

Re:WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691617)

Ill second this. The Skies in Arizona are gorgeous. That being said, Phoenix is bad, but you can get out of the city quite quickly and observe the night sky with only a 30 minutes drive to the mountains. But Tucson is a great place, very little in the way light pollution once you get just a little ways away from The UofA and downtown Tucson.

Credentials, I live in Phoenix, and lived in Tucson.

Re:WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691817)

30 minutes is not getting you outside of Phoenix

Re:WaPo article on Tucson as night-sky destination (5, Interesting)

simonbp (412489) | about 8 months ago | (#44693133)

Flagstaff, it should be noted, was the first official international dark sky city. Every time of year except for now (the two-month rainy season), you can almost guarantee a good night's viewing. The seeing is generally better than Tucson (we're at 7000 ft/2100 m, so less atmosphere), though it can really cool off at night (again, less atmosphere; low tonight is 52F/11C). The streetlights are fewer and low-pressure sodium, but the main light-pollution difference is that high power floodlights are banned.

And yes, I am an astronomer here in Flagstaff.

Its all about altitude.. (2)

BreakBad (2955249) | about 8 months ago | (#44690747)

If (when) our mountains of garage reach a certain height we can just put our telescopes on top.

Re:Its all about altitude.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44690889)

This time on Monster Garage Mountain:
On this episode, we build an observatory.

Re:Its all about altitude.. (1)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | about 8 months ago | (#44690931)

Fortunately, I know some Rabbids that are working on a pile of stuff. Perhaps when they are done with it, you can use it.

I think they're saying something about home and moon, but it isn't safe around them.

As a photographer (3, Insightful)

Gagek (1230792) | about 8 months ago | (#44690803)

We need to help be able to see the galaxy. I enjoyed as a kid. Now as a photographer for Impostor Magazine shooting fashion, this makes me miss the good old days!

Re:As a photographer (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#44690937)

where do you live? I can drive hour out into the country and see the Milky Way, even near houses with lights on. more a matter of lack of street lamps and clean air (doesn't work near large cities)

Need Light For Security (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44690847)

Sorry astrology nerds, we need light for security. That's why there is little to no crime during the day or in light saturated places like New York City or London.

Re:Need Light For Security (4, Insightful)

PlastikMissle (2498382) | about 8 months ago | (#44690881)

Have you at least read the transcript? He isn't advocating the removal of night lighting. He's advocating LED lights that are focused downwards, which would not only help with the light pollution problem but is more efficient energy wise.

Re:Need Light For Security (-1, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#44690963)

actually, by the site's own claims 22% of energy is used for lighting, and 8% of the 22% for outdoor lighting.....1.6% is not much to be worried about saving a portion of, sorry.

Re:Need Light For Security (4, Informative)

Spottywot (1910658) | about 8 months ago | (#44691531)

actually, by the site's own claims 22% of energy is used for lighting, and 8% of the 22% for outdoor lighting.....1.6% is not much to be worried about saving a portion of, sorry.

From a wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption [wikipedia.org] article on energy usage

Energy consumption in the G20 increased by more than 5% in 2010 after a slight decline of 2009. In 2009, world energy consumption decreased for the first time in 30 years, by 1.1%—equivalent to 130 megatonnes (130,000,000 long tons; 140,000,000 short tons) of oil—as a result of the financial and economic crisis, which reduced world GDP by 0.6% in 2009.[11]

So 1.6% of that is 2080000 long tons of oil per year based on 2009 figures, it's almost certain that figure is higher now. Now work out how many power stations it would take to create the equivalent output. Not so insignificant?

Re:Need Light For Security (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#44692339)

keep going, the LED lights save 40% of that 1.6% or 0.64%. So 0.64 of 140 million short tons of oil * 7.3 barrels per ton is 65 million barrels of oil equivalent saved for the whole world. the U.S. alone consumes 19 million barrels of oil per day, so why bother?

Re:Need Light For Security (2)

Spottywot (1910658) | about 8 months ago | (#44692433)

Quite simply because there is never going to be just one thing that can make that big a difference all by its self. What's more likely, finding 20 measures that can make 1-2% difference each, or one thing that would make 20-40% difference? ( or whatever your threshold for worthwhile is). While you're thinking about it, why don't you leave all of your electrical appliances on all the time? It would be statistically insignificant and therefore affect no-one.

Re:Need Light For Security (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#44692505)

nuclear reactors produce 55% of the power where I live, that's a solution that can make a huge difference. one ton of natural uranium can produce the energy of 16,000 tons of coal.

Re:Need Light For Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694109)

Where I live nuclear reactors provide something like 49% of the power. The rest is hydroelectric.
I don't think switching to full nuclear is going to change much.

Re:Need Light For Security (3, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#44691033)

Yeah, I'm one of those people who never understood the lack of lampshades on our streetlights. There is no reason shine any light above the horizon, except to illuminate the buildings, and most of them, you don't want to see.

You know what else travels far, the noise. You can hear a city from 10-20 miles away.

And the RF, well..

Re:Need Light For Security (4, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#44691247)

There's not even much reason to shine light at the horizon - all that gets you is a bunch of night-vision destroying bright points in the distance. Light falls off with the inverse square of distance, and beyond a short range it no longer provides anywhere near enough power for our eyes to use. Ideally we would figure out how far from the light you can get before it ceases to be useful, and shield the light so that you can't see it directly from much beyond that distance. That would actually *improve* effective illumination since you wouldn't have all these bright point sources in the distance blinding you to everything within several degrees of them around them.

Can't tell you how many times I've driven into town at night and cussed out the light-lined streets that make it impossible to see anything.

Re:Need Light For Security (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 8 months ago | (#44691931)

Those light-lined streets aren't lit anymore. Some busy streets have one light on every other light pole still powered and some streets don't have any powered lights.

Re:Need Light For Security (2)

fche (36607) | about 8 months ago | (#44691237)

Even light that is laser-focused toward the ground tends to bounce back up from the gray concrete. Take a night flight at your nearby general aviation airport and look down. You'll see few lights directly, and large swaths of glowy orange.

Re:Need Light For Security (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | about 8 months ago | (#44693289)

Correctly designed lighting does make a huge difference though. Areas that mandate proper cowling of outdoor lights and low pressure sodium are notably less light polluted. The big island of Hawaii takes light pollution rather seriously, and it does make a massive difference. The lights of Hilo are very dim and muted from a distance. It works so well that it is difficult to pick out constellations in the night sky from 9,000 ft. up Mauna Kea, not because the sky is too bright, but because there are too many stars in the night sky.

Contrast that with my home in south Florida where it seems there is a mandate that every parking lot be illuminated with white lights pointed mostly skyward. On clear nights you can make out stars all the way down to magnitude 1. Other nights you've got the moon and Venus (sadly, that's only mildly sarcastic).
       

Re:Need Light For Security (5, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | about 8 months ago | (#44691277)

I have been in well-lighted gated communities where the lighting was well designed; you could clearly see around you for safety but light pollution was minimized, such that you could luck up and enjoy a great view of the sky. How did they accomplish this? They installed the lights properly, such that all of the light was aimed down at the ground on and surrounding walkways. It was very safe, minimized light pollution (you cannot eliminate it because some light will reflect off the ground and of course off of fog), and of course, very "green" because all of the light produced was aimed at the ground.

I live in Lee, NH - on most nights, except when the moon is at or within a couple of days of full, I can see the Milky Way very clearly - I consider our sky to be very dark, but by astronomical standards it isn't (compared to oh, say, north-central Maine, Antarctica, northern Canada, and central Australia - or North Korea where the only people who have lights is tyrants). The only (clear) nights I cannot see the Milky Way is Friday Nights, when the NASCAR track has events going on - when I drive by there it pisses me off. The lights are installed improperly, spraying probably >70% of the light produced straight up into the sky. This is commonplace in the city, where people are ignorant asses and I get that, but this is rural NH. Why the hell are you assholes at Lee Speedway wasting all that electricity to produce wasted light, rendering the sky unviewable? When it comes up for vote, I will be voting to NOT give them an extended season, and if the vote is at a town meeting I will explain why - it won't be the noise, nor the traffic, but the light pollution.

I don't mind the noise of the cars (hell I love engines as I'm a motorhead myself, having driven many muscle, sports and exotic cars, and having rebuilt several engines myself, but the idea of a race where you only turn left bores me to tears) but the light pollution is awful; it ruins one of the best aspects of living in a rural area.

Lighting fixtures are stupid-easy to select and install properly.

Re:Need Light For Security (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691985)

I live in Lee, NH - on most nights

Where do you live on the other nights?

Re:Need Light For Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694135)

Your moms bedroom. Why?

Re:Need Light For Security (2)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 8 months ago | (#44692797)

Agreed. I grew up listening to Sears Point/Sonoma Raceway on summer nights and looking out my window at the countless stars in our seemingly black skies... 20+ years later, the sound of the races gives me a pleasant relaxed feeling, but 10+ years of having a city council in developers' pockets (claiming "progress" means turning every square inch of carefully-preserved open land into buildings/concrete) has caused such severe rapid growth that the night sky is now merely dark blue and has depressingly few stars.

Re:Need Light For Security (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | about 8 months ago | (#44693301)

Consider yourself lucky. Our night skies are a sci-fi film version of orange, with few stars keeping the moon company.

Re:Need Light For Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691905)

Did you at least read the sarcasm in his post?

Re:Need Light For Security (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44692707)

Not only does it save enough in electrical costs, the LED street lights actually do cut down on light scatter. For the last two years they've been installing them in Santa Cruz, Cal. At night I can actually see at street level much better, and as I look up, I can see more of the stars and even the Milky Way. The light is more like a bright full moon night. Not at all like the washed out red spectrum light from hi-pressure sodium lights.

You don't need light security. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691059)

First, that lighting makes you less secure.

A thief needs light to see his victim properly. A burgler needs to see how to break in. A rapist needs to see the mark.

If they had to have a torch on them to get that, they'd be a hell of a lot easier to see.

Your "statistics" are a complete washout.

Re:You don't need light security. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691525)

Little known fact, thieves, burglars and rapists use night vision goggles.

Also because most thieves, burglars and rapists are in the armed forces, or were in the armed forces, where they are able to "acquire" night vision gear and hone their criminal skills. Only criminals join the army, navy or air force. Intelligent people get jobs, mouth breathers with room temperature IQs get guns and kill, pillage and rape.

True story.

Re:You don't need light security. (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#44691541)

So the alternative is that the bad guy remains hidden in the dark while the victim holds the flashlight?

Night lighting is only partly for that type of security. It is more for people to see where they are walking, negotiate stairs, ramps,,, to see where they dropped their keys, etc.

Re:Need Light For Security- not! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691121)

it may seem so intuitively, but research is inconclusive. Bright night-time lighting produces sharp shadows that bad guys can hide in, and reduces the eye's ability to detect peripheral movements.
See http://cops.usdoj.gov/Publications/e1208-StreetLighting.pdf
and http://keysso.net/community_news/May_2003/improved_lighting_study.pdf

Re:Need Light For Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691787)

Wait, did you just say NYC at night has very little crime? O.o

Re:Need Light For Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44692717)

Wait, did you just say NYC at night has very little crime? O.o

Wait, was that a whooshing sound I just heard coming from over your head? O.o

Re:Need Light For Security (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#44692689)

Bull.

Criminals work our neighborhoods during the day. Because that's when everyone is at work. The reason they come out in business districts at night is because that is when the people are not there. Except for muggers. They go where the people are, brightly lit or not.

The whole light == security thing is a sales pitch by the power companies who want to sell street lighting.

Re:Need Light For Security (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44692839)

That is a real misconception. Light doesn't reduce crime, it only gives people a better feeling so they tent to come to places where they feel safe. Criminals most of the time don't like to be watched so go to other areas. That is also the reason why you hear music in some parking places to give people a safe feeling. To be honest, I prefer a parking without the music so I hear other people. And about the light? Please turn it off, it gives burglars the need to use a flashlight again and what is easier then to aim for the light with your gun ;-)

In The Netherlands there are towns that turn of lights after a certain time and crime didn't go up. Other cities are also reducing lights and on some places it is turned of completely. In other places we may just need lights with motion sensors so they turn on when its needed. In GB soms roads have LEDs in the asphalt which turn green when your light hit them, but they are orange when a car past the same spot in say the last 60 seconds so you know people are in front of you.

Light itself doesn't create security, only a safe feeling, but how it is used it how it becomes a security measure. This is what some cities in The Netherlands are also experimenting with. How to use light to create safety not to give everything a nice glow. You may want to read what green light does for the environment.

Re:Need Light For Security (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 8 months ago | (#44693191)

You need light on the ground, not light in the sky. Australia's capital city has an observatory mounted on a hill. As such careful thought was given to the design of street lighting. Light pollution is a fraction of what it is in every other major city yet the streets and parks still all meet the same standards for illumination as elsewhere.

Re:Need Light For Security (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 8 months ago | (#44694035)

It tells a termightillion about the supposed "intelligence" of slashfuckers that so many loserboy nerds have seen it fit to respond to this turdbrained troll. Your faces are now brown with all the shit that has been falling on it like a smelly hailstorm of feces.

Optimal viewing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44690855)

I find it's best to get above 10,000 ft, as rural as possible, and preferably the first clear night after a good rain. Oh, and when it's a new moon.

Having just been out in the Elk Mountains of Colorado, southern end of the Maroon Bells, for 2 nights camping at 11k+, the night sky before the waning moon came up was phenomenal. Great view of the Milky Way!

I have yet to acquire the appropriate camera gear, or telescope, for duration shots/filming, but I'll get there eventually!

B-b-b-b-b-b-b-but I'm scared of the dark. (0)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 8 months ago | (#44690861)

Seriously, this is what people always say when I say outdoor lighting wastes energy and causes light pollution.

It makes me so angry that I could hide in the bushes outside their house and stab them to death with a glowstick.

Re:B-b-b-b-b-b-b-but I'm scared of the dark. (2)

TheGavster (774657) | about 8 months ago | (#44691373)

I regularly observe in Charlestown, RI, which has fairly good lighting ordinances to protect the nighttime viewing conditions (and thus draws people from miles around). The only big light in town is the police station, to which I regularly say when I pass it, who can trust cops who are scared of the dark to protect them?

But I like cities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44690905)

Places without lots of light don't have interesting culture.

Re:But I like cities (0)

jonyen (2633919) | about 8 months ago | (#44690969)

Perhaps you haven't heard of Burning Man?

Re:But I like cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691163)

Besides your response not having anything to do with the comment you replied to, Burning Man doesn't apply because he used the words "interesting" and "culture".

Re:But I like cities (3, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 8 months ago | (#44691019)

As anybody who's been to Vegas can confirm, lots of lights = lots of culture. So, yes, you are right.

Re:But I like cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691239)

What stunned me most about the night sky in Vegas was how the light from the Strip overwhelmed the stars so much that the sky appeared to be pitch black. Looking over the city from the top of the Stratosphere I could only see a black void above everything.

Re:But I like cities (2)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 8 months ago | (#44692051)

Funny thing about Las Vegas is that it is both the worst and one of the best places to see the stars. The strip is extremely bright but relatively small and rather than being surrounded by suburban sprawl and smaller towns and villages like most other cities, Vegas is surrounded by empty desert. Drive out into the desert just far enough for the Vegas glow to disappear from the horizon and you're in business.

Re:But I like cities (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#44691293)

Ever visited/seen documentaries of just about any developing nation on the planet? Rich and varied cultures with roots going back hundreds or thousands of years.

Oh wait, you mean the sort of "culture" that lets you get a Big Mac at 2am on your way back from watching the midnight showing of Slasher XXIV in stereoscopic surround sound. Nope, they don't have any of that.

Re:But I like cities (2)

kimvette (919543) | about 8 months ago | (#44691297)

Look up. I just moved away from Boston to New Hampshire. I'd say NH is far more cultured since people are far more polite and entertainment is plentiful, plus it's nice to actually GO OUTSIDE and enjoy nature, especially the dark sky at night. You know, SCIENCE SHIT, as in astronomy.

Re:But I like cities (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#44691629)

You mean drunken night-time culture. Visit nearly any rural area on earth and you'll find vastly different cultures in nearly every place. Visit any bustling city at 11pm and you'll find the same drunken assholes in all of them.

Re:But I like cities (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44692507)

You say that like it is a universal fact. I can assure you many of us choose to live the country living and enjoy the nature and clear sky everyday. Also, no hobos or junkies asking for money, clean my windshield or mug me. If the big city works for you, that is fine with me. Just dont put everyone in your basket.

Happiness (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#44690917)

I don't think that I have ever met a person who, when away from the city lights, didn't marvel at the grand display overhead. I also don't think that I have ever met a person who upon re-entering a built up area ever said, "I'm glad those twinkling stars have finely gone away."

To be even more specific the darker it has been the more people have always marveled. When you can see our galaxy edge on in all its glory then the whole experience becomes just that much better.

But for some reason we don't fight the big box stores when they blast a megawatt or two into the completely unused corners of their lots. Or the car dealerships that seem to want to keep their cars warm with the lighting; not to mention the dealers that then use the skyward spotlights to announce that their salesmen are like the gods of Olympus.

Obviously some lighting is necessary but I would love to see some requirements for intelligent lighting. Lights that take into account that there is nobody needing their services and thus they can turn off. I suspect that at 2 in the morning all but the most populated areas would be quite dark. Plus the added bonus of reduced energy costs.

Re:Happiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691181)

If the lights were turned off in the unused places you mentioned they would quickly become used and not in a way that you want.

Re:Happiness (1)

JanneM (7445) | about 8 months ago | (#44691287)

There's absolutely a lot of places where changing the lighting in sensible ways would make a major difference. Just having street lights and others shining downwards only can have a large impact, and save energy and money in the process.

But in large cities this particular battle is lost. Dense urban areas will be too bright no matter what you do, short of a war-like imposed blackout. Have street lights point downwards and there's still enough street area to lighten up any dust or particles in the air (and all that activity makes sure there's plenty of dust and stuff to reflect off as well).

Where I live (central Osaka), I can usually see a few of the brightest stars at night from our balcony, but it's a close thing. A long-exposure shot of the sky will pick up a sprinkling of bright stars, but the sky itself is bright enogh that it drowns out anything else.

Re:Happiness (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44692543)

I live in a star revervation. We basically use lights that point only to the ground and reduce intensity around 1am... Nothing fancy but it is still safe to walk around at night and enjoy the stars too.

Re:Happiness (3)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 8 months ago | (#44692979)

People in my city fought overdevelopment, big box stores (only recently lost that war), and car dealerships -- but as we discovered from the mid-90s onward, citizens are effectively powerless when the city council is in developers' pockets and everyone you elect to get rid of them turns around and does the same regardless of party affiliation. Sadly, all of that development meant a lot of McMansion types started moving here in the late 90s that don't have the interest in dark night skies or being close to nature that previous generations did, so now it's doubly difficult...

Re:Happiness (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 8 months ago | (#44694223)

Intelligent use of lighting would be great; most cities I've lived in or near suck at it and absolutely don't care.

Another thing I noticed decades back, moving from outside a small town to a Modern American Megapolis: city folks don't see the stars at night; they have no sense of awe, or humility.

Genetic Engineering for Night Vision (2)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 8 months ago | (#44691031)

How much longer before genetic engineering gives us humans the night vision many of our fellow mammals have?

Re:Genetic Engineering for Night Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691167)

How exactly would that help? Most of what you see at night isn't limited by what your eyes are capable of seeing its limited by reflected light bouncing off of the atmosphere back at you.

Drive out to the country on a night with no moon, the sky is completely different.

Re:Genetic Engineering for Night Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44692567)

Um, it'll help by removing the need for outdoor lighting at night?

Re:Genetic Engineering for Night Vision (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44692589)

How could we evolve such a thing if we keep ourselves innundated by light as much as we want?

Can NOT view video (1)

GnuPooh (696143) | about 8 months ago | (#44691133)

Does it annoy anyone else that I you can't view slashdot videos behind a firewall and you can NOT view them on a Android device. Unless Slashdot can use a friendly format for firewalls and Android devices can you please just use YouTube or at least cross-post it. It's really annoying.

Thanks!

Re:Can NOT view video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691663)

Have you tried downloading the video with e.g. youtube-dl?

Re:Can NOT view video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691673)

I am actually pretty happy with this video player. The playback was very smooth compared to most web video players, and that includes YouTube.

Re:Can NOT view video (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 8 months ago | (#44693283)

Does it annoy anyone else that I you can't view slashdot videos behind a firewall

That must be a "problem" with the firewall, like it being configured to block them, i.e. it's doing its job.

There's no problems whatsoever watching them through the reasonably strict business class firewall here, so it's not firewall-unfriendly. If the firewall is slashdot-unfriendly, I suggest you dump the running configuration and eyeball it to see what you need to change.

Check out f.lux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691169)

At ~8:05 into the video they discuss the harm of bluelight from LCD screens and the importance of melatonin.

I've been using f.lux [justgetflux.com] for years. It's makes working at night much more comfortable.

Re:Check out f.lux (1)

kylemonger (686302) | about 8 months ago | (#44693237)

By working I assume you mean writing code as opposed to editing photographs or video or do anything else related to the graphic arts, because having a program silently dicking with your monitor's color temperature is just the thing if you want to ruin hours of work.

Re:Check out f.lux (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44693625)

Actually, I do work with audio/video on occasion. I rarely do color intense work at night. I save that for early in the day when my eyes are fresh. I'll work on tweaking avisynth scripts (to test the next day) or scene cutting and audio work at night but that's it.

Flux doesn't silently dick with the colors, it's blatantly obvious. There's no doubt at all that it's shifted to warm colors. In fact, I hated it at first (defaults were too much) but week after week I found myself wanting warmer colors.

(Same AC that posted about f.lux. I need to register..... some day.)

Light pollution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691243)

Let's work on noise pollution first. Modified cars, deafening noise, thumping music so loud that you hear it ten blocks away.

Eh? Where's the link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691411)

There are a lot of links, but none of them go to anything relevant to the post.

Holiday (4, Interesting)

hort_wort (1401963) | about 8 months ago | (#44691573)

I could see having a country-wide holiday every year where the lights around the city would be shut off early in the evening. We have plenty of useless holidays already, why not one that actually gives city kids a chance to see the stars?

Re:Holiday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44692015)

I could see having a country-wide holiday every year where the lights around the city would be shut off early in the evening.

You can enjoy that 365 days a year in Australia.

Re:Holiday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44692787)

Only in the outback.

Re:Holiday (3, Insightful)

gawbl (941021) | about 8 months ago | (#44693775)

I agree, but this is very unlikely. The local streetlights (San Jose CA) are wired directly into the local power grid, without benefit of meters. The only switches are the light detectors on each streetlamp. There is no "off switch", anywhere.The city has a deal with the local power company (Pacific Gas & Electric); they pay a flat fee per month for all the streetlamps in the city.

Night Skies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44691857)

Traveled to the Cherry Springs dark sky park for the first time this past weekend. Was quite awesome. Will need to go on a night when there is less moon, but what we saw before the moon came up was fantastic.

Cultural idea to have all lights off occasionally (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 8 months ago | (#44691861)

If we must have clear skies for stargazing, but want well-lit cities, why not have all lighting off for just a few days each year. Everyone can then gaze in awe at the sky, and have practicality the rest of the time.

It could become a cultural thing where everyone participates. Even a little light pollution wrecks the experience of a REALLY clear deep black sky, so I say it's all or nothing.

Re:Cultural idea to have all lights off occasional (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#44692585)

but want well-lit cities,

Do not want.

Criminals don't give a damn about the 'cover of darkness'. That is just the sales pitch power companies made up to sell street lighting.

There's an app for that (1)

g01d4 (888748) | about 8 months ago | (#44691921)

The Dark Sky Meter [darkskymeter.com] lets you point your (newer) iPhone overhead to determine the sky magnitude. Supposed to work reasonably well (I've not used it). Their website has a map of various readings from all over.

Yeah, we could do that... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#44693185)

We can keep the skies dark, but maybe a better idea is just to work towards space tourism and an off self sustainable off-world colony. Then you could really see the stars, and help fight Extinction.

go somwhere dark whilst you still can (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 8 months ago | (#44693721)

Here's the US light pollution map: http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/ [jshine.net] and here's what the colours mean: http://cleardarksky.com/lp/VndbtPObNYlp.html?Mn=cameras [cleardarksky.com] If you haven't been to a truly dark sky (blue or darker on that map) then you really owe it to yourself to go. Just take yourself and some binoculars and look up. Mind-blowing. Unfortunately, the skies are just getting brighter the whole time. Whilst LEDs are more directional, they're also brighter and they deliver whiter light that does more harm to your dark adaptation and is harder to filter out. If LEDs were used properly, we might have a chance for getting better illumination and an improvement in light pollution. From what I've been seeing, though, LEDs are just going to make things worse.
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